Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gently Rapping

I’ll kinda miss doing my Wednesday and Saturday blogs, but today is my final one. I’ll still stay in touch by updating my CLD Facebook page on the first day of every month, plus more if I have any big news regarding my book-publishing effort.
I did attend the Killer Nashville mystery writers’ convention a couple weeks back and had some encouraging news. I was there on a Sunday morning for three agent/publisher book pitches, with my first 10-minute shot occurring from 10:40-10:50 with publisher Martin Shepard of The Permanent Press out of New York. When I finished, he asked me to send him the first 50 pages of my manuscript, so a glimmer of hope right off the bat.
The next 10-minute pitch was with publisher Deni Dietz, and she ultimately asked me to submit my entire manuscript to her. Then my third and final shot was with New York agent Jeff Kleinman, supposedly a difficult person to deal with who surprised me by wanting to see my first three chapters.
In fact, Kleinman immediately liked my story idea and asked if I brought the first three chapters with me. I didn’t, never suspecting that any agent or publisher would ask such a question at the convention. He chided me a bit for being unprepared but bottom line: He still wants me to send the first three chapters.
Of the 650 people at the convention that weekend, an organizer told me that the agent/publishers asked to see a total of 40 sample writings, including my three. Made me feel good until they all gave me their final words of advice – “Okay, we like the idea. Now make sure you have every word perfect before you submit anything to us. Don’t send us crap. Now it’s all about the writing. Make it great.”
Deni Dietz, who wants the entire manuscript, told me that her publishing house doesn’t take any manuscripts under 65,000 words. Mine, before I began a final edit that I just started over Labor Day weekend, was 57,800 words. As I currently write this blog Tuesday night Sept. 6, the book is now 59,000 words after I’ve gone through the first 10 chapters of the 45-chapter novel. I’ve got some more ideas of scenes to add, so onward I shall go.
Dietz and the two others said there is no hurry for my manuscript or chapters – they each already have their 2012 book lineups set. They all told me that when I’m ready to submit my work to them, the earliest it could get published is 2013. Sheesh, they work way in advance.
So more writing and editing is my plan of attack, and I’m focusing on impressing Deni Dietz since she asked for the whole thing. I work with a good editor at Journal Communications – Raven – who said she would read and critique my manuscript when it’s finally ready.
Ironically, Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite authors and his most memorable work is The Raven, so Raven seems like a choice of destiny to oversee my final edit. I plan to have the rewrite completed by the end of September, at which point I will approach Raven for her help. I will suddenly come a tapping, as if someone gently rapping, rapping at her chamber door. Hopefully, Raven won’t say, “Nevermore.”
Thank you to niece Andrea who from March 8-Sept. 7 posted my 45 blogs – hey, the same number of chapters that are in my book. Thanks for reading the blogs, everyone. Talk atcha on my CLD Facebook page Oct. 1 – maybe sooner. KL