JERRI CORGIAT’S NEWSLETTER
May / June 2008
Note to Readers
Feature Article: Gut Instincts
Best Book(s) I’ve Read This Month
Nope, I’m not writing from Texas! I keep changing my mind about where I want to live, so decided to take the wise advice, when in doubt, don’t. (See my blog (www.jerricorgiat.blogspot.com) for an article on decision-making and other dandy experiences of mid-life!) That doesn’t rule out Texas forever, though – in fact, I’ll be dipping my toes (and that’s probably about all!) into their hot summer sun over the Fourth of July. Maybe I’ll get to spend a month there this winter.
Because I do love the Texas coast. I have a proposal out that’s set on the gulf – a book that, if bought and published – would launch a new series with a new family. Obviously, I’ll let you know when and if that happens.
But, if it doesn’t, you know what? Life’ll still be fine! I hope you’ve leapt into summer with both feet – have a good one!
FEATURE ARTICLE: GUT INSTINCTS
I was recently asked to be part of a published author panel. The Q&A was largely designed to, hopefully, benefit unpublished writers. These panels are helpful – I remember attending a few pre-publication — but anyone attending should be issued a caveat. I just happen to have one.
Before you break into this business, there’s a period of networking, reading, and soaking up information on writing and marketing and publishing. Along the way, you pick up a set of conventionally-followed rules... Rules like write only one genre, otherwise you’ll confuse matters. Submit to agents, because only they’ll get you read. Don’t post a synopsis on Publisher’s Marketplace; it looks desperate. Don’t nudge agents about submissions for three weeks—-or maybe it’s two months. Ditto editors. Never, ever, never, use anything but TNR or Courier. Set your margins at one inch, all the way around.
So, okay, it really is a good idea to keep the margins at one inch and use TNR or Courier and some agents can be prickly if nudged too often, although most consider themselves human, and I don’t want to work with the other ones, anyway. But after watching this friend of mine, I don’t feel so certain about any of the other rules.
First off, she writes whatever moves her. Young Adult. Adult romance. Romantic comedy. Chick Lit. Mystery. Historical fiction. She writes all this stuff even though we’d all told her she’d just confuse... well, we weren’t that sure who she’d confuse, but I’m just saying. She didn’t listen to us, and she’s now published in two of these genres and has come close in others.
Acknowledging she can’t always be at the front of the line, she’s also decided she won’t have one foot in the grave before she raises her hand and asks for her turn. She understands that this is a business – her business – and life’s short. So she nudges whenever it makes sense to nudge. Most people respond. Some don’t. If they don’t, she moves on.
She’s peddled manuscripts directly to editors, too. She’s not afraid to pick up the phone and call them. With the result that she now knows a lot of editors, who, by the way, are receptive to seeing her work. Oh, not just because she calls them, of course, but because she’s good, and she’s tactful, and she’s... good. Then, last year, she posted her stuff on Publisher’s Marketplace, unafraid to look desperate.
Breaking those other rules have paid off; breaking this last one did, too. A few years back, she'd written a chick lit book that was published by a large publishing house. She wrote a second chick lit book with the realistic expectation it would be published, too. But chick lit, as a genre, had run its mile, so the publisher passed. Then everyone else passed, too, no matter how many agents she nudged or what editors she called. Having a manuscript orphaned... well, it's not unusual, happens all the time, is the nature of the beast... that’s what everyone told her.
She shrugged... then threw it up on Publishers’ Marketplace.
And along came a film agent who read the synopsis and liked it; the film agent peddled it to a big-time producer, and he liked it, too. Enough that he purchased the option to make it into a movie. My friend then turned around and sold this suddenly-attractive book to a publisher without benefit of an agent's help.
So this previously-unwanted book has made her a few pocketfuls of change, but, believe it or not, the story doesn’t end here. This past week, she learned a Big Name Actress’s production company liked it even more than Big Name Producer. (I can’t tell you the names because the dealing’s not done, but, believe me, you’d know them.) BNA bought it—and BNA has even signed on to star.
Sometimes, in this business (heck, in life!), we get so caught up in conventional wisdom we forget to follow our gut, even though our gut often knows more than... well, than a published authors’ panel.
BOOK(s) I’VE READ LATELY:
WICKED, by Gregory Maguire
I just started this after seeing the (wonderful) musical. How creative!
HISTORIC OVERLAND PARK, by Norm Keech, Ross Marshall, Ann Ogden, Florent Wm. Wagner
That’d be in Kansas – my childhood hometown. Love it, although it's rather lowering to see scenes of my childhood in a history book. :)
FINANCIAL PEACE REVISITED, by Dave Ramsey
Financial guru expounds on the novel idea of living debt-free.
Fiction for and about women rediscovering themselves