Posts Tagged ‘comics’

Pitching to a Literary Agent doesn’t have to be like Speed Dating

I’m not much of a speed dating type of girl. I get my romance tips from comic books and film noir and believe in the date ’em one at a time approach.

A couple of weeks ago I pitched to agents and there were some that were reserved and others that just clicked with me. While I’m happy for the opportunity for meeting multiple agents I’d prefer their submission to be special. Meaning, I’m not into multiple submissions. I know with many writers it’s a shotgun approach to submission with the thought that a writer may miss their window of opportunity.

I can’t live like that because when I send you a manuscript I want you to know that I sent it to you and only you. I picked you out of the sea of agents to show you my work in hopes that you believe I have the chops to write well and in hopes that we can work as a team. It’s a two way street. We can be of value to one another and make a good team.

I know the term EXCLUSIVITY towards an agent is frowned by writers but I see it as something special.

Really sit with it, meditate on it.

An agent is believing in your work so much they want to be first to see it. The good point is if you both gel then this could make for one awesome business partnership. The negative means you don’t get to “date others” for about two weeks to a month while the first agent is looking at your work.

If rules/boundaries are established with the first agent that they will only have a certain amount of time to look at your work then what is the problem?

You give your word or a handshake or both and send out a manuscript to one agent at a time and while you’re waiting you write, you edit, you enter contest, you hope you’re both the right fit. After a month has passed you either get rejection, acception or silence. If it’s silence then speak up and tell them that you are asking for a response so that you can proceed further since this is a career choice for you. Let them know that you respect their time just as you KNOW they respect yours as a professional writer.

No matter what you do sending out submissions is a waiting game and for that it’s stressful and it’s a hard lesson on being patient. Personally I’d rather get feedback one agent at a time than from multiple agents all at once and try to decipher too much feedback.

Do not ever make your decisions based on fear or anxiety. Be wise about your choices and if you decided to shotgun submit then good luck to you and for those that prefer one at a time then good luck too.

Gainful Employment

When you don’t listen to your gut you wind up in situations you wish you weren’t in and pray for the nearest exit.

This explains the past decade of my work life– except for the parts that involved working in the culinary environment. Now, despite the multiple challenges I’m facing around me I have unleashed my passion for writing and currently pursuing a full-time career in the field. As I told Ben during our meeting: “If I had any more passion I’d set myself aflame.”

In the past couple of weeks I’ve discussed this new found freedom with new friends and discovered that, though blatantly obvious now, I want to work in the publishing world of comics and books. I’ve worked as a freelance editor for multiple projects and written various articles, but I long to work with others.

Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing my piggy slippers and working from home but those jobs are rare and I think it wise to work with other creative minds. Lengthy isolation for a writer can lead to lack of professional growth. In order to avoid such a path I’ve been a member of various writing organizations including the awesome Liberty States Fiction Writers. There are familiar faces of the group and I’ve met so many new people that I’m grateful for their experience and mentoring. Yes, I’m lookin’ at you Gary Frank!

As I write this I’m gathering my fiction portfolio and planning to add a couple of new short stories for my admission to New School University’s Masters Program. (Keep your fingers crossed.) In the past I liked romantic elements to stories and thought I was suppose to write romance novels but unfortunately every piece I wrote screeched to a halt.

I wanted to write stories that took place in the 40’s or alternate histories; stories that my sci-fi/Twilight Zone lovin’ mom would love; stories that involve strong black women in action-packed plotted stories where romance was a small portion of the story.
Well duh. I wasn’t meant to write romances; I’m supposed to write speculative fiction. Once I figured it out the potential writers block ended and I found I was more comfortable writing short stories and novellas. I also found that I have a knack for writing TV treatments and Comic Book scripts.

If Octavia Butler and Neil Gaiman’s work had married in another life I wanted my writing to be the result. (Still do, but let’s not get too crazy) They are the two authors that have kept me writing despite life’s distractions. They were and are a constant inspiration to keep moving forward.

I have been inspired and kept jotting down my notes in my journal and gave myself permission to want to write in multiple fields. Nowadays, no one in their right mind would tell Neil Gaiman to focus on only one field in writing. Could you imagine the past when Mr. Gaiman came onto the scene?

“Mr. Gaiman, while it’s nice you have written a few novels, you may want to refrain from writing a comic book. I mean, this little idea for this new project you’re calling Sandman may not be good for your career as a novelist.”

Ha!

I think the lesson here is to not limit yourself as a writer.

Many times people ask writers were they get their ideas and for me my answer is a little different from other writers. I usually get new work from sleeping.

Yep, earlier this year I had about 3 months of ideas after waking from a night’s sleep. I had so many that I had to write synopsis for over two dozen ideas. If I wanted to limit myself I could pursue each one as a potential novel but they are not to be clustered, and as I mentioned before, I realized that some stories were TV treatments, Comic Scripts, Novellas, or Short stories.

In the midst of a feast of creative ideas I am proactive enough to send my resume to every NYC publishing house seeking a writer or Editorial Assistant. Until then I’ll work on my New School portfolio short story and remember something that Mr. Neil Gaiman said:

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”