Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

So, I now tell my pitch to anyone who wants to hear it, and some who didn’t!!  But hey I need to practice!  I have gotten positive feedback from everyone.  People I didn’t expect to even care showed a lot of interest.  No not any literary people, family!  Yes, my family have been supportive. To have my dad call me and ask if I could read my pitch to his stepdaughter because when he was explaining it to her she wanted to know more.  And to have my husband perk up and ask questions was more than I had hoped.  I just wanted everyone to like it.  But everyone seemed to genuinely want to know more.  To me that is the point of a pitch.  I know my family may be easier to win over than agents that hear all sorts of stories numerous times a day.  But I am hoping they see something in me and my writing!
I have said my pitch so much that my oldest daughter is starting to give me pointers. 

Ok, I have wrapped up my journey for 2010! I know it will be a long and hard journey with many ups and downs but I can’t wait to see what happens in 2011!!  Hope everyone has a safe and fun New Years Eve!  


Well January 12th is going to be here before I know it!  I need to have my pitch perfected well before that.  So I sat down with a notepad and pen……….. Yep nothing!  My novel is 50,000 words; I should be able to write something about it.  I would jot part of a sentence down and then scratch it out.  Nothing I was writing really conveyed my book in the right way.  It was all wrong.  I shut the notepad for now, I will come back.  This happened for several days.  Writing the actual novel was a lot easier that writing a pitch!
I took notes from some helpful websites:

Again nothing, nothing and nothing was happening on my pitch!  And of course as I sit in carpool line reading on my phone these articles I have been reading for the past week, it hits me.  I looked around the car - No pen and no paper!  I have to get this idea out; if I loose it I might not get it back!  So I go to my notepad on my phone and start texting it out!  It was no where near good but it was a start!  Over the next couple days I built on what I had typed up in the car.  Cut and paste and reworded.  I made sure my first sentence was a complete pitch.  Just in case they cut me off there!  My first paragraph was about the book with the second talking about the series my first book was apart of and lastly a short line summing up the magical experience I hope the reader got out of my book!  I loved it!!  And I was ready to start pitching to my family!! 

Time to talk!

Ok since I booked WDC I figured it was now time tell people outside of my immediate family about what I was doing.  Now anytime someone asked “hey what have you been up to?”  I didn’t just start rambling on about my book and NYC!!  I think some people would have looked at me as a little crazy!  But I did however ease it into the conversation with some of my cousins at Thanksgiving.  It was fun and exciting to actually be talking about my work.  For some reason I had always been ashamed, like I wasn’t good enough to write a book, people might make fun of me.  But what this writing process has shown me, is that I completed something many people might think about doing, and I actually did it!
Telling people worked out well.  Last week one of the cousin’s girlfriends I had told saw an event at a bookstore in New Orleans.  She immediately thought of me and shot me an email.  She thought it would be good practice for New York.  I was extremely touched that she thought of me.  I guess it made me feel as she took me and what I was doing serious. The event is called Pitchapalooza and it is on January 12th!!
Yea it is a scary thing; I will have one minute in front of agents to pitch my book!  Oh yea and everyone will be in the room.  I am looking at this solely as practice for New York.  This will hopefully help with my nerves.  Just thinking about it makes me want to vomit! 
Ok no more procrastinating I have to start my pitch!  I have no clue where to begin!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Taking a chance!

I found information about the writers digest conference.
The conference did sound great, I could learn a lot but the most enticing thing was a pitch slam!  I could pitch my book face to face with agents; no waiting, the response would be immediate.  The conference is in New York and it’s not cheap.  I don’t have a job and would never think of taking anything away from my kids for a possibility.  So I turned to my parents and my grandparents.  I told them about what I had been up to and what I wanted to do.  I was extremely nervous and I had convinced my self that they would tell me no, I was asking for money right before Christmas. 
My family all responded with a YES!  Ok then I got scared; did I really want to put myself out there?  I decided yes I did; I remembered I wanted to come out of the closet not stay in!  I booked my flight that night, non refundable, non stop flight to NYC, no turning back!

I booked the conference and my hotel room, a friend of mine even said she would go with me just to keep the cost down!  Plus she said, she didn’t want me to chicken out and she was going to give me support!  I am lucky I have such a great family and wonderful friends!

Now what?

Back in November I googled how to get a literary agent, 49 million results!!  After reading what seemed like a hundred different articles I was left with a headache and a fear that my dream might be impossible. 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A query letter is a formal letter sent to magazine editors, literary agents and sometimes publishing houses or companies. Writers write query letters to propose writing ideas.

Brief overview of a query letter:

From that same website I did an agent search, 75 results!  After looking at every single one and researching each of them I again started to get worried.  I learned it takes 2 weeks to 6 months to hear back from agents.  My nerves are going to be shot checking my email for responses. 

I continued to try to write my query letter, but put it on the back burner because this was something that frightened me tremendously.  To email an overview of my book, which I put so much effort and pride into, and to have someone tell me they didn’t want to look into it.  I know rejection is something I better get used to, but if I didn’t send any out then I wouldn’t get any rejections back!  On the other hand, if I don’t send any out, I wasn’t even given myself a chance for success either. 

A little intro....

I am what you might call a soccer mom.  I am actively involved with my daughters school and her other activities.  Monday night we have soccer practice then Tuesday and Wednesday dancing.  I attend school functions numerous times through out the month.  I have a one year old that I am running after also.  I try to have dinner made nightly and the house cleaned enough so my husband doesn’t go mad. 

Also, I am what I call a "closet writer."  I write fiction and I have for almost 9 years, but very few have heard my ideas let alone read anything I have written.  I was always jotting down different story ideas, then I would do lots of research on my characters, then I would start the story.  Then I would stop and start on another one.  Nine years of this and not one complete story. This doesn’t make you very credible with your family when you go to them and tell them you want to write a book. 

As I walked out of the library with the kids one day this past summer I saw a flyer for a writer’s workshop.  I went home and couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I wasn’t a writer but I wanted to be.  I made a decision that this would be a start.  I wanted to go see what it was about and maybe meet some people that shared my same passion. 

I loved every second of the workshop.  I met people that were like me and learned a lot.  There was an editor there and I took her card.  I came home and told my husband that I was tired I talking about writing a book and that I was ready to actually do it.  I met with the editor we made a timeline and came to an agreement.  I was hoping to be done the story in a year.

Well I couldn’t stop and I finished in less than 5 months.  We are now in the final revision process.  I am doing my research for agents and publishers.  This is the part that is overwhelming, especially while my main responsibility is and always will be on my family. 

This blog will chronicle my journey on how I plan on achieving my dream of getting my books published while trying to maintain my family’s life as we know it.  It is time for me to own this dream and make it a reality.  My name is Jessica Berry and I am a writer!!