Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Prithee, Inform Me: Where Are You in Your Career?

Every once in awhile, meine Autoren, I grow weary of hearing the sound of my own melodious voice (astonishing, but true), so I'd like to take a moment to ask you: where are you in your literary career?

Whether you're a fresh-faced college freshman writing your first novel or a seasoned author with a dozen novels under your belt, you know one thing: writing is hard work. Tell us what you're working on, whether you've got representation, how many years you've been writing, what genre you prefer, how and why you became a writer, &c, &c. No, really, let's talk about you.

Go nuts!


  1. I have one complete novel, two in revision, and just signed with a literary agency. I couldn't have done it without the support of my parents and wife, who have let me take nearly two years off to see this through.

    My career is about to take off right when the industry decides to take a dump in its trousers. Life could be worse though. Much worse.

  2. I've been a medical writer for many years and took up fiction writing on a whim in February. Since then, I wrote a three book series of short novels which is going to be released by Siren this winter. I'm starting a new series and considering stretching into a different e-book/pod publisher this time around.

    My books tend to run 50-60,000 words after editing, so I see myself sticking with e-book publishers for now. I'd love representation, but until I can force myself to write longer I don't see it happening.

    Since I'm new I'm still just trying to have fun, improve my storytelling, and play to my strengths.

    Thanks for asking!

  3. Though on paper I appear to be an accomplished established writer with eleven publihsed works of fiction, I see myself on the front end of a steep learning curve. I'm just starting out but unlike many others I am learning on the job.

    Right now I'm 15,000 words into the first novel in a new detective series.

  4. Not quite as lucky as Murray S. I've been writing in one form or another since I was a teenager and that's more than thirty years ago. And before you ask, no, I haven't been trying to get published that long.

    I write because there's stuff that would ooze out of me if I didn't. There are so many stories to tell. I've finished two novels and one novella and have at least three more in various stages. The novels are fantasy adventure with a little romance. The novella is erotic and I have just started at women's literary fiction piece (think Jody Picoult)and I am writing this at the same time I'm trying to complete the sequel to one of the previous books I mentioned.

    I have the finished three projects out there in the world somewhere, and am waiting to hear back on them. Aside from my writing, I also write a daily blog to keep myself sane and keep from worrying over my next trip to the mailbox where a new and interesting rejection may be waiting.

    But, I will keep writing no matter what they tell me, because I don't know how not to.

    I'm trying to get an agent and although I keep getting told that they are completely intrigued by my premise and I write great, they still have to pass. Usually that is followed by "I'm looking for urban fantasy". But I'm not looking to write it. And so it goes.

  5. At the dead start.

    First draft of my novel just finished. 88 000 words.

  6. I'm trying not to check my email and voicemail every few minutes as my agent sent my first manuscript out on submission last Monday.

    Sorry, had to go check my email again....

    I'm not the most patient of individuals to begin with so this is pretty much driving me insane :)

  7. I have published 12 novels with two more scheduled for publication in 2011. I recently signed a contract for two more (scheduled for 2012). Currently, I write for two publishers (historical romance for one, paranormal for the other) and will be going back to contract soon on one of them so hope to have at least two more books contracted before the end of the year. I have an agent who I trust and adore. I also have a full time job. Two years ago, I finished my MA in English. I've been writing since 1988 and published my first book in 1989. After my 2nd book (1991) I had a bit of a publishing gap, in part because I became a single parent, but for other reasons as well. My current agent has made all the difference in the world. I hope to be writing for some time to come.

  8. I'm in my forties and just started writing fiction about three years ago. I have written extensively for my job and even had nonfiction articles published in magazines, but never fiction. I had stories percolating in my brain for decades, though, and at some point I just started typing them out. Now I can't stop the stories from forming.

  9. I’ve been writing seriously for the last four or five years. I’m seeking representation for my completed YA fantasy novel, Jack of Hearts. Hard at work on the second novel. In the lulls, I squeezed in half a dozen short stories (even published one!)

    May day job (which tangentially involves writing) as a game designer requires me moving to France for the next several months, so that should make things interesting on the writing front.

  10. I've been writing since forever - honestly. I used to scribble stories that only I could read in Mead notebooks that my mom would buy me.

    Since the Mead notebook days, I've had a couple poems and short stories published in literary magazines. I've been working on something solid since about December of last year. I'm about 10,000 words in and my goal is 125,000 words.

    Other than that, I'm an Editor for a children's value priced imprint and I've had to re-write my share of horrible rhymes. I'm not credited in any of these, but you know. My mom knows I did it, so that's good enough for me.

  11. I'm beginning training as a literary agent! No serious writing thus far (too many manuscripts to read), but perhaps in the future.

  12. I began telling stories to make excuses for being late for supper, late for school, late for gym, choir practice … Or I might have been telling a story to detract attention from my last, not so perfect, report card.

    Like so many others, my early stories center around the family; that unit of people in their varied combinations who mold and shape our thinking. I write the memories that linger and leave footprints in the sand.

    I am actively seeking a literary agent for my third book, The Tale of Lizzie Brogan and The Moon Goddess, an 85,000 word, humorous, paranormal, about a late bloomer who finally grows up with a little help from a ghost.

    I am learning how to write the perfect query and synopsis, the best first sentence and the tightest first twenty-five pages and ultimately present the best ready-to-wear manuscript.

    When I am not writing, I read or indulge in television, movies and music. I am also one of "those" craft-nuts.

    I am a good cook and a better baker.

    But, truth be told I am the best story-teller.

    Visit my blog and judge for yourself: http://ramblingsfromtheleft.wordpress.com/

  13. Finished 2 YA novels, sold none. Seeking representation. #3 is a steampunk magic political intrigue lesbian-reluctant-romance rock-music story. Sort of.

  14. Published a few stories and poems, one chapbook, novel project asleep for now while I try to finish my thesis. Have been editing a literary magazine for 8 years.

  15. Still in college writing my first novel--YA romance with a paranormal twist. At the amateur level, I guess I've been writing for pure pleasure up until this point. My mom--imagine this--always told me I'd be a novelist. Now I'm ready to try my hand and I hope it goes well :) just at 30k now.

  16. Don't know how to change my post as title to my name Dee_FitzGerald

    Just starting. Finished a memoir with a "how to" twist that is in pre-edit by friends and family preparatory to self-publishing. Just starting blogging and hope to share my experiences in the self-publishing game with others so they can learn by my experience.

    I have a website www.deefitzgerald.com which I hope to use in marketing. I have started attending a neat writer's club in Southern California and heard a presentation on blogging a couple of weeks ago by Sonia Marsh. Am still trying to figure out the whole blogging thing.

  17. Have three fantasy manuscripts ready to market and revising a fourth. I'm being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the marketing arena.

  18. I'm almost 44. I wrote a bunch of short stuff through the years and then, as a way to keep track of a bedtime story for my then five-year-old son (now 12), I wrote the script for an action/adventure graphic novel. It took me two years. I pimped it around for a year and decided the only way it would ever get published is if I got a traditional prose novel published first. I wrote a supernatural thriller in 20 months that got some partial requests, but no offers for representation. I wrote what I call a religious thriller in 17 months, shopped it around and got no interest whatsoever. I wrote novel #4, a mainstream tragicomedy, in seven months (117K words). I'm on my third draft(trying to get it under 90K) and am getting it ready to shop around. I've been so focused on this project, I have nothing in the hopper for #5.

  19. I wrote America's Galactic Foreign Legion, a 13 book science fiction series. The first three books were published this year, the fourth comes out in September.

    In July the series sold 100 Kindle books. In August the series sold 500+ Kindle books. The paperbacks sell once in a while, but the Kindle sales are exploading and are a pleasent surprise, and give me great Amazon Kindle sales rankings and great position in Amazon's Kindle catalog among its Sci/Fi Adventure & War listings.

    Any suggestions. I cannot get my books on any brick and mortar bookshelves, but it looks like I'm making a lot of money on Kindle sales (Often 15 to 20 books ales perday). I expect increased Kindle eReader ownership this Christmas will be a great windfall for my sales if I can maintain current Kindle sales rankings as each book in the series comes out.

    Walter Knight

  20. I've got four published, one I'm trying to find either publisher or agent for, and one I'm getting ready to start.

    I love the idea of playing with religions and the idea of how we define God. So, the new book is going to do all of that. How do YOU define God? Who is the entity to you? What if God wasn't who you thought he was. What if EVERYONE was right and yet, NO ONE was right.

  21. Aren't you nice to ask?! I have been writing for twenty five years, but just got my first contract two years ago. I have one novel in print 9AND THE BEA GOES ON) and one more in production due to release at Xmas.(MY MOTHER THE MAN EATER) Both are Romantic Suspense. I have two more finished and ready to pitch, as well as three in the works.
    I am also a playwright and have written eleven plays which have all been produced at least once (some twice) but my first ever play to be published with a well known theatrical publisher is coming out before Xmas.

  22. I have 2 futuristic books out, one more coming out next year.

    I have 7 mysteries out, 1 more this year, 3 next year, 3 in the can, waiting to submit.

    I have 3 time travel books out. Waiting for rights reversions on those before I continue working on the series. I will probably go to the Kindle with that series.

    I have 5 romantic suspense out, one more coming next year.

    I'm working on a mystery plus a multi-volume alternate America series which I hope to put out either by myself or with a publisher (if any are still in business by the time I finish writing it).

  23. 10th book (Girl, Stolen) out September 28th. Contracts for six more, both YA and adult. Currently on my fourth and fifth publishers and one-and-only agent. Finally was able to quit the day job in 2008. For better or worse, I am branded as a mystery/thriller novelist, so that's what I write.


  24. I'm deep into the query stage with my forensic crime novel. It's my fifth novel, but it's the first one that I felt was ready to shop (What did Stephen King say? The first million words are just practice? I'm a big believer in that...). It is complete and edited and re-edited. Quite a few fulls and partials out so far, so I'm hopeful. It's been a very interesting journey thus far, but I suspected I've only seen the tip of the iceberg...

  25. I started writing again about a year and a half ago, finished two novels (first one utter crap), snagged representation with the second, and am currently on sub with it (a YA thriller). We've received three rejections so far and are waiting to hear from another 10-12 houses. It's been three months, which feels a whole lot more like three years.

    Peter - I was like you for about the first six weeks and then started writing a new novel. It's tough to imagine writing while waiting, but it really does take your mind off things. Burying myself in work has been the best way to stop the obsessive email checking (that and letting my phone alert me to new messages).

    Good luck, everyone!

  26. My first novel, a mid-grade historical novel-in-verse (a mouthful, yes?), debuts next September. I've had an agent for almost a year. I've written three other mid-grades and seven picture books and have been writing about twelve years.

  27. I've just finished my second novel. The first was read in full by a couple of UK agents, one of whom met me and told me she wanted to see me write 'something big'. I did that (I think) and am now steeling myself for the rejections, having spent several weeks re-acquainting myself with the query process. I've changed my expectations a lot: these days I feel pretty heartened by a personal rejection...Meanwhile I'm trying to drum up some support and constructive criticism by blogging my book (a thriller about a Caribbean dictator) a chapter a week: http://theseconddeathofjuanlaroca.blogspot.com/

  28. I wrote a novel (literary fiction) that was published by a small publisher in 2006 and just found an agent for my next two novels, one a middle-grade summer adventure and the other adult literary fiction. I think we'll be sending them to publishers this fall.

    I'm also a playwright and have had a couple hundred productions of my plays in theatres across the country. About 35 of my short plays are published and used frequently by students and schools and small theatres.

  29. My first book, American Gypsy-a memoir about growing up in a Roma(Gypsy)family,is due out from MacMillan's FSG Books next year. Honestly never thought this would happen since English is my 5th language and I've only been speaking it for 15 years, which, if you know anything about mastering a language, isn't long at all.

    I'm also working on an urban fantasy novel based on my experiences during the years my parents did some ghost-hunting. Write what you know, right?

  30. My first book (HUNTED BY THE OTHERS) was released by Kensington in May of this year. My second book comes out in January, 2011, and the third est. July, 2011. My first novella comes out in the anthology NOCTURNAL on September 7th.

    Not doing too badly for myself. *g*


  31. At the start. The very, very, very start. Writing an adoption memoir, which will hopefully be less awful than that categorisation suggests.

  32. I'm frustrated by the query process for my first novel. But I keep reminding myself that since I am a core contributer of short fiction to a British magazine, I am getting paid as a writer, which means life is pretty good!


  33. Well...after taking a major detour self pubbing a very crappy novel (which I plan on writing a series of blog posts about, called "Don't Write Like This") and a nifty chapbook, I decided to start all over from scratch and make an honest attempt (and ultimately successful, knock on wood) at getting published.

    I finished up a weird little novel about a woman who's in debt to a loan shark (her uncle) and decides to raise the necessary funds by doing adult movies. I also added a twist by giving her a symbiont, who she gradually introduces her to world and eventually turns her into a real person.

    Right now, a writer/blogger friend just finished a read through for me and over the weekend is planning on giving me her honest critique about it (including notes).


  34. I've published 10 books (4 author, 6 co-author), but it's all nonfiction contract work. Been trying to get my fiction published for about 14 years. On my fifth agent. Rather depressed about the, uh, recent unpleasantness in publishing.

  35. Right at the beginning. I've got a couple of completed manuscripts but I haven't started querying because 1) the last one wasn't the quality I wanted it to be and I'd like some more practice, and 2) I work full-time and am in grad school and it's difficult to balance everything. I realize life will always be busy, but I'd prefer to wait until I've finished my education before adding anything else on my plate. It's a temporary setback, but chances are my career-job will be paying more bills than my writing-job. In the meantime I'll work on perfecting my craft.

  36. I'm with a small publisher and my first novel comes out in October. I'm working on a sequel at the moment while preparing for a virtual tour as well. I'm currently writing science fiction, and I also like to read fantasy and thrillers. I enjoy my job and career, so I don't intend to ever write full time. Just enjoying the journey right now!

  37. Interesting spread of writerly experience in this readership!

    I'm partially finished my third novel draft, and right now I'm focusing on revising the second novel. Editors have advised me that my non-human-focused fantasy works are too unusual to be attractive to conventional publishing. But I don't think anything good ever came of avoiding new ideas, so I'm looking into self-publishing and online marketing.

  38. I've got several picture book manuscripts that are polished and ready. But my primary focus is on finding an agent for my YA novel in verse.

  39. Novel #1, about a father and son who travel to the future to face an immortal tyrant: Finished. Queried. Trunked.

    Novel #2, about a bookworm who joins an air pirate crew to find the mother he thought was dead: Finished. Querying. Planning to revise as YA.

    Novel #3, about a Thai village girl who controls fire, and the bounty hunters chasing her: Drafting.

    Otherwise, not represented yet. Got one short story published.

  40. I've written three books over the past year and a half, all first drafts. The third - my current WIP, I'm starting to edit and revise. The plan is finding an agent for my Paranormal Suspense soon after.

    I've listened to all the recommendations to never shop your first novel. After 230,000 words (3 books - all the same genre) it's time to get serious. (Hugs)Indigo

  41. Querying my third novel (my first YA). Concurrently writing my fourth novel (my second women's fic) and my fifth novel (my second YA). Also/always working on some short fiction in between everything else.

  42. I'm a debut novelist - my middle grade mystery novel Dead Frog on the Porch was published last fall by Gumboot Books in Vancouver. It's been called "Nancy Drew for the ipod generation" and is the story of twin protags who discover that kids can change the world even if it is one frog at a time. The second in the Megabyte Mystery series Dead Bird through the Cat Door will be out later this fall.

    I've been writing since Jesus left Moose Jaw. I'm unagented (but interested) and I'm working on a y/a that was inspired by the life of my late grandmother who came to Canada from Russia in the beginning of the last century (which is about as long as I've been trying to write it).

    I have a blog Three Dead Moths in my Mailbox ... where writing meets life or life meets writing where I reveal my plans to take over the world one manuscript at a time.

    Thanks for listening, love your blog!

  43. I've got 5 novels published, all romantic suspense, and a number of short contemporary romances. I've recently expanded by putting some of the works that have reverted to me on Smashwords and Kindle (most as free reads). I recently found out that one of my publishers has discontinued its romance line, so I'm trying to decide where to go next.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  44. i'm almost 25, querying for adult SF (115000 words, which i'm still trying to pare down), working on a fantasy. just got another rejection today...

  45. I am just some guy who was inspired to pen a novel, set to writing, and liked it--alot. I have no experience to speak of and a thousand other reasons to fail, but that is part of the appeal. I am completing my first revision and hoping to have another revision and copyedit completed within a month or two.

  46. Not where I want to be. :)

    When I wrote D&D material, I was the belle of the ball. Querying the fiction novels has been a cold shower.

    I have two completed mss that failed to gain representation (though I'm waiting for a few agents still who are closed to submissions). I have a third ms, a complete first draft. I'm letting that sit before revising and just started a fourth, to which I am 2500 words into it. (Yes, I mean just started.)

    Thanks for asking, Eric. How is your pursuit going?

  47. 50 years old; wrote my way through grade and high-school, then abandoned it all for a corporate slogging life. Am now taking off a year to write. I have a novel in revision, a children's story and a musical script bursting out of me.

  48. Well since you ask ... I have written one novel, a murder mystery set in my native South Africa. I have just signed with a Berlin literary agent and am busy making the revisions she suggested. I HOPE to be on the cusp of a career as a novelist, as that has been my lifetime dream.

  49. I've been seriously writing for about five years. I've gotten a novel to the second queue at Baen (where I'm still waiting after 14 months for a response). I've also been looking for an agent, so far without success. Here is a summary of my projects:

    1) I've got a dark urban fantasy with romantic elements called "Lady and the Necromancer",
    2) A space opera about a barbarian queen in charge of a starship called "Battle for the Sphere." I so enjoyed working on this one that I wrote a sequel (not necessarily the brightest thing to do with an unpublished novel, but everyone tells me to write what I love)
    3) "Time Threaders" A young adult novel about a universe in which time is constantly branching into a small number of threads. All but one thread is doomed to dissolve, and the society of Time-Threaders is able to determine whether the thread they are experiencing will continue or not. They have special devices, a meeting house, etc.
    4) "Sword and Illusion" A high fantasy about a warrior queen who faces the greatest challenge in her illustrious history: finding a husband and starting a family

  50. I'm soon 26, a mother of two, a wife to a sailor, and I have a full time job. Finding time to write is exhausting in itself. My house needs to be tidy, or I'll have a bad consciouns.

    I am born in Wales, but moved to Norway when I was 6. I speak and write Norwegian better than English, and find it difficult to write because I think Norwegian - and write in English. The results are a lot of grammar mistakes.

    My written Norwegian has always been the best of the class, but it's a boring language, barely any synonyms to the words, and I'm just fed up with it! That's why I try to write in English.

    But I have written a lot in Norwegian, and this week I sent off a childrens book to a publishing agency. I have a second one almost done.

    As for English writing I am halfway through the first YA book in a series of three. It's slow, but getting there.

    Thanks for asking and reading.

  51. I've been writing in one form or another for 20+ years. Wrote in the RPG industry, tech writing, and business/instructional writing, but always in the background, there was fiction.

    I spent ten years, off and on (I'm a stay-at-home dad with two school age boys, so it was more off than on for several years :), writing my first fantasy novel. It comes out as AMONG THIEVES from Roc in the U.S. (from Tor in UK and Australia) in April of 2011, with two more to follow. I have another novel sitting at the 80% done stage, waiting for me to have time to get back to it when I am not on deadline. Not quite sure when that will be, though....

    I'm still figuring this writing thing out, and now have marketing and promotion to add to the pile as well. It's one learning curve after another, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. And there are still plenty of days where I am more off than on when it comes to getting words on the page. The trick, I have found, is to set yourself a goal (daily, weekly, whatever) and stick to it. Other things will always come up, but you have to make time to write if you want to be a writer.

  52. I am a soon-to-be high school freshmen and am about to start editing my second book (and by second book, I mean second first draft. My first novel didn't make it through edits).

    My current WiP is titled THE LEMONITES, and it's contemporary YA. I started writing seriously last October, soon after starting my blog. I typically write about 2,500 words a day. Hopefully. Ideally.

    I'm not represented as of now (clearly), but I hope to be within the near future!


  53. I've been writing for 20+ years, writing SERIOUSLY for the last five years. Never published in anything except my middle school literary publications, so those don't count.

    I officially have one novel written (1st draft) and I'm working on the second. In actuality, I've probably buried 3 or 4 novels over the last 10 years because they, uh, were crap. My current completed novel is now obsolete because in the current WIP I completely changed something that was a major plot hole.

    The current WIP will probably get broken up into 3 novels by the time I'm done, one focusing on each of the characters, with a 4th novel tying the story up with a pretty silver bow. At least, that's my intention.

    I've also got numerous other books and ideas on the back burner, and I'm editing a bunch of my short stories to shop them around a bit.

    Oh, and I occasionally write extremely bad poetry, but that never sees the light of day anywhere except in my personal collections.

  54. I've had a short story published and a handful of articles in newspapers and online. I have written two novellas, but hardly anyone has seen either of them. I've just graduated from college and now I'm searching for a job in publishing, but it seems harder than finding a needle in a haystack at this point. During the interim I'm writing short stories and blogging about the publishing world at large with book reviews scattered throughout at verbslap.wordpress.com.

  55. I'm the college freshman one, only this is my third... not novel, but third first draft of a novel-like thing. Crossing my fingers for first usable manuscript.

  56. This story won't leave me alone...

    Do you all LOVE your projects all the way through? It began as a 60pg short story hand-written in 1 weekend, grew into a 50,000 word novel written during nano, then blossomed into a full-length novel (400pg hand-written in a month then typed up/edited over the next 1½ years)...and it's over 175,000 words. I haven't started cutting yet, and it already hurts.

    I've only published small newspaper articles, so I'm really just starting out. It was either this or teaching...


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