Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Becky the writer

Did you know that I think of myself as a writer? I do.
That probably seems silly to you, because obviously I write on this blog every single day, but something about it doesn't quite seem to count.
Maybe because it's goofy, self-absorbed, and undergoes almost zero editing?
And I always, 100% of the time feel embarrassed when I tell people that I am "a writer."
Including right now.
Because what does that even mean? It's like it's not even real, unless you're a published author or a newspaper reporter, of which I am neither.
But when I was staying with my parents a few weeks ago, several things happened. First, I started writing the Essays on Motherhood, which got an aaaamazing response and I thought "People like when I write things!" (jumping up and down like a little girl).
Then, I started reading a terrible book. It was sooooo bad, maybe the most poorly written published book ever, but it was published because a 15 year old wrote it, which is impressive (I guess). And I thought to myself "I wrote an entire book. Why isn't it published? It's so much better than this."
Thirdly, I gave up on the above book and started reading East of Eden instead, and I was like, "LITERATURE! I love you, literature."
Sometimes I forget that I love reading real, physical, beautiful books. And I love writing them.
And I did write one.

Over the last twenty-three years, I have written dozens and dozens of stories and book beginnings, about three of those turned into novels, and one of those is good. I started writing it before Travis and I were married, and it has nothing to do with marriage, motherhood, or twins. It's about sisters.
It's a Middle Grade novel, which means that it's about a hundred pages long and it's aimed for kids (girls, really) between the ages of 10-13 or so.
I've been working on it, and editing it, and fixing the ending this month, and now I think I'm going to try to get it published. For real.
And I'm telling you guys about it, because I am nervous and excited and nothing will probably happen -but if it does, I expect each and every one of you to buy this book from me.
To prove that you love me.

Aaaand, I'm also writing this post because I have no idea where to begin.
So if you happen to be a children's book editor or a YA lit agent or... you know, some sort of big shot at Penguin books (I can dream, can't I?), or just a regular person who has some experience in the book publishing world, I'd love any and all of your tips.
Comments, emails, promises to make me a best-selling author with a movie deal? I'll take them.
And maybe I'll send you a signed copy, when it's all said and done.

oh, and ps... I might let some of you read it. If you ask me nicely, and promise to help me edit it.

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Betsy Hite Reddoch said...

My brother in law is trying to get a childrens book published and tried Cedar Fort (www.cedarfort.com) with some good response, but no deal. It's worth a shot.

Sara said...

I've been lurking here for a while, but I don't think I've introduced myself. Ahem.

Oh, hello, Becky! I'm Sarah! I'm a writer too.

I'm also wondering if I read the EXACT same book-written-by-a-fifteen-year-old. Funny thing is, I wrote a book when I was fifteen, and it's GOOD now. Probably because I've spent the last two years editing it? Haha.

I think it's awesome that you're entering the query wars. I'm in about the same position ... minus husband and babies and plus high school and four other books I'm trying to write all at once.

One site I've found that's been really helpful is the blog 'Literary Rambles'. (http://caseylmccormick.blogspot.com/search/label/Agents%20that%20rep%20MG) That link will take you to a list of spotlights on agents who rep MG.

You should also check out QueryTracker.net for the actual querying process. They let you compile your own list of agents, who you've sent a query to, how they've responded etc. You can also see comments from other authors who have queried the same agent -- that can give you clues into the status of that particular agent at any given time.

Good luck! And remember: you made cute babies, thus you can do anything.

The Waldram Family said...

I was going to suggest Cedar Fort. They are based in Utah and publish LDS themed books, but my cousin recently had a book published by them that wasn't LDS themed but clean and wholesome! You should check them out!

Kayleigh said...

There's a blog I follow called Kiersten Writes. I started following her a few years ago while she was going through the publishing process and ended up getting a three book deal. She did a post about the process.


I don't know if that helps, but she's been in your position before and got published! And she's a BYU grad and pretty anti-Stephenie Meyer, which gives her some points in my book.

Becky said...

Becky, I don't know how to go about getting published, but I'm a technical writer/ freelance editor. I've edited a few books for different aspiring authors. None of the books I've edited have been formally published (just self published). I used to edit for BYUs Leading Edge (sci fi) magazine. Feel free to contact me if you want someone to edit your book.

I do know one local Utah author who got published with Cedar Fort, so they might be a good option for you.


Robin said...

Becky! I read part of that book! I love that you finished, because I thought it was fantastic then. I would LOVE to keep reading it and helping you edit!

Angela said...

I wanna read it! My sister-in-law is working on getting her stuff published. I've read two drafts of her first book in a series and loved it! I'm a great editor...not to brag! My sister, Hannah, ALWAYS makes me read her stuff before she turns them into her AP English 3 class. :-) (If a 16, almost 17, year old trust me, you should, too, right??)

Anyway...I'll ask my SIL what she's doing to get hers published and get back to you!


Claire said...

Becky, hello. This is Claire. You're going to publish a book. Because why shouldn't you? I've been going going going on a book idea myself and it's such a rush. I've hardly told anyone because, like you said, I feel embarrassed to say that I'm a writer. Even though I am. Just like you. I write every day. I'm trying to make a habit of calling myself a writer in my head. But I don't know that I'll actually fully believe it until I see CLAIRE FORD at the bottom of a hardback book cover.

Also, I'm freaking graduating in editing. I would be honored to read your book. I've done one other book that was not fiction, but I did take a fiction-editing class. So yeah. The offer's there :) Though I could go into labor at any minute. But maybe over the summer? I guess it depends on your time frame. (This is getting very long...)

In that fiction-editing class, we learned all about writing book proposals and stuff. If you're interested, I can send you some of the things I learned. Then again, I'm sure it's all available on the internet somewhere.

One last thing: East of Eden is the most intriguing piece of fiction I've ever laid my hands on. So good. I'm glad you're reading it.

K bye.