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Viewing Blog: Carrie Jones, Most Recent at Top
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Please be warned. If you are going to read this blog, you have to understand that I'm a little bit weird. John Wayne is my internal editor. Grover the Muppet is my internal cheerleader. I know! I know! Weird. I'm the author of Tips on Having A Gay (ex) Boyfriend (May 2007/Paperback May 2008), Love and Other Uses For Duct Tape (March 2008), Girl, Hero (July 2008), Need (January 2009), Moe Berg's Story (Spring 2009).
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1. Books

So, I have seven books under contract. That is super cool and I am ridiculously lucky. I know it.

But I still feel like I'm not working hard enough. It's sort of like I spend so much time thinking, "Wow. I can't believe this is my job" and I worry that it will go away super soon because that's how everyone says publishing is.

So, instead of enjoying the fact that I have actually, miraculously:

1. Gotten books published and been paid for it
2. Have more books under contract

I waste my time worrying that I won't get to do it much longer.

This is silly, I know. I should just be grateful, I know. Somehow though, my brain refuses to just enjoy the ride. 

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2. My tweets

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3. My tweets

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4. How to Become a Traditionally Published Author

First off, I have a disclaimer. I wrote "TRADITIONALLY" up there because I currently have no idea how to be a self-published author. I'm sure someday I will know how to be a self-published author, but I am honestly:

1. Not organized enough to be a self-published author
2. Way too cheap to hire people to edit, copy edit, design, and market. Seriously. I am so cheap that I am having a hard time justifying conditioner even though my hair is currently a tangled mess. I also need a haircut. But again. I am cheap. It's kind of a problem. I grew up super poor so I always worry about running out of money. Being a writer for a living has not helped with this issue.


Back on Track: Also, I think a lot of the steps are similar because whether or not you are a tradionally published author or a self-published author you have to write a book. Right?

The Steps.

1. You Have to Want It

Seriously. You have to want to be published enough to devote time to it.
Talking about writing does not equal wanting it.
Writing words down somewhere?
That equals wanting it.

2. You Have to Write

Words have to make their way onto a computer or a notebook or something. You can't publish The Book of Awesome without writing The Book of Awesome.

3. You Have to Read

Reading is studying. We learn the craft by immersing ourselves in the tools of the craft. That means stories and sentences. Words are just symbols of images and objects and actions. It's cool to see how other authors use those symbols, arrange them, pick them out. That's how we learn! Repeat after me: Learning is fun.

4. Do Not Freak Out That You Suck

Everyone sucks. Everyone is brilliant. And almost everyone thinks that they suck and that they are brilliant and that they suck. It's like a cycle. You can't get hung up on how good The Book of Awesome is ESPECIALLY on the first draft. You just have to write and write and write until you get to the end of the first draft because that's where the fun starts.

5. Global Revision is Awesome

No. I am not lying. Revision really is awesome. It's like making a collage. You cut things up, add things in, smell some ModPodge and laquer that whole thing up into something beautiful, something with layer and meaning, something that makes sense. Revision is what saves us all from the suck that is our first draft, and if you think about it as putting a puzzle together or solving THE MYSTERY THAT IS YOUR PLOT or THE MYSTERY OF HOW TO MAKE EVERYONE NOT HATE YOUR MAIN CHARACTER, it's super fun.

Revision is not about hating yourself. Revision is about loving your story enough to step up and make it shine.

6. Line Edits

Okay. Line edits are where I pretend I'm one of those writers that are in movies. You know the kind, right? They worry over every word. They hook-up an IV line of scotch because they use the word "cringe" 87 times in a 1,000 word poem. That sort of thing. Line edits are like when you pretend to be an evil editor, red-lining words out, deleteing images, and all that stuff. It's kind of hot in a sadistic way.

7. Write a Query

This is the part where I used to cry. That's because the writing side of awesome has suddenly turned into the business side of getting noticed. I am a flamboyant person when out in the world, but I am sooooo super shy and soooo horrifying self-deprecating. Like I have a hard time admitting to the fact that I am a best-selling author because it seems braggy to me. I know. I have issues.

Anyway, I hate this part but it is super necessary to getting published.

A query is a letter to an agent or publisher telling them why he or she wants you and your book. It's like speed dating in 300 words or less and you don't get to wear a cute skirt or lick your lips or anything.

Queryshark is the best resource for this. It's Janet Reid's site. She's an agent. queryshark.blogspot.com

8. Hello? Hello? We Should Be a Couple

Now that you have a query letter, you have to start searching for an agent. An agent represents you and your book, helps you find a home for your book, negotiates contracts, rights and takes about 15% of your earnnings as his or her agent pay. You want an agent who loves your work, tolerates you, that you feel respected by, that communicates with you, that advocates for you.

Basically, you want your agent to be kick ass in a way that doesn't intimidate you but instead compliments you.

Remember to keep track of what agents you send stuff to! Also, do not stalk them.

Just like there are good cops and bad cops, good cheese and bad cheese, there are good agents and bad agents.
A nice place to sort through them is pred-ed.com, which is Preditors and Editors.

A good way to find them is agentquery.com

9. Shove Your Baby Out the Door

Now that you have:
1. A book
2. A query letter
3. Agents to send it to

You have to shove your book baby out into the big world. Do that.

Remember to:
1. Follow the agents' guidelines about how many pages of your book that they want with the query letter.
2. Not seem like a stalker, but seem like you know a little something about the agent's other clients, or likes.
3. Be detail oriented. Follow all those guidelines about submissions that the agent has posted out there. Really. This is not the time to be a quirky cupcake by writing YOU WANT ME AND YOU KNOW IT WE BELONG TOGETHER as teh subject line in your email query.

10. Wait Forever

You will probably have to wait forever to hear anything from your potential Best Agent in the World about the Book of Awesome. This is normal. This is annoying. Try not to stress. Realize that when you do stress it is normal to stress.

Write while you wait.

11. Accept What Happens

Sometimes your Book of Awesome will not find a Best Agent in the World. This does not mean you suck. Repeat after me: I do not suck.

It just means what then?

It means nothing, honestly. Publishing is weird and slow and subjective. A book nobody notices can become a international bestseller in a couple years.

So... if everyone says no, you must just keep writing. Query a little more, but in the meantime write another book. If you want to write as a career, you have to treat it as a career, and keep producing words, refining your craft, practicing your trade. If you are already working on other Books of Awesome, it makes it much easier to deal with Book One of Awesome being rejected.

If an agent asks for a FULL, this means she wants to see the whole entire Book One of Awesome. Send it. If they like it they will probably call you. Try to be cool about this. It will be hard.

If an agent asks for a full, calls, and then offers to represent you...

1. Do a happy dance.
2. Do the happy dance silently so the agent doesn't hear whooping noises.
3. Tell them you'd like a little time to think about it.
4. Think about it or at least pretend to.
5. Keep dancing.
6. Accept offer.
7. If you have queries out to other agents, send them a quick note saying you've accepted representation somewhere else and thank them for their time and consideration.
8. Dance more.
9. Wait while your agent send out Book of Awesome to publishers.
10. Try not to stress. This is called Being on Sub (submission) and it is super stressful.
11. Keep writing.
12. If you get an offer from a publisher - Boom! You are golden. Your agent will craft that offer with you and - Booyah. You are traditionally published.

Please remember to be nice throughout the whole process. It's stressful. Life is stressful, but try to be kind even when you are in the pits of rejection despair. It's super important.

Yay! Good luck!

I will try to write more blogs about writing instead of just posting pictures of my dogs and snow, but posting pictures of my dogs and snow is so much more fun. Less helpful though, I know. 

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5. My tweets

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6. My tweets

  • Sat, 03:36: RT @writerstephanie: Today @poetswritersinc told me I could not be listed in their directory of writers because YA novels "do not qualify."¦
  • Sat, 03:48: Tonight I played Cards Against Humanity with three other humans and a dog. The dog won.

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9. My tweets

  • Mon, 20:43: The autocorrect on my phone just changed the word "USUAL" to "IDESK," which pretty much sums up my day today. #amwriting
  • Mon, 22:15: Overwhelmed by his visit to the "doggy spa" (code name: kennel), upon arriving home Scotty immediately… http://t.co/DeQxi3J4qU

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14. I Have Been Writing for a Living for Nine Years: This Means I am Old and Lucky

In my quest to blog, and my inability to think of anything to blog about, I've been randomly looking at old blog entries. And I realized that it was at the end of January in 2006, halfway through my MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, that I sold my first book, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, which the awesome editor Andrew Karre took off the slush pile and made a million times better.

Anyway, this is weird.

It's weird because it:

1. Seems like two years ago and not ALMOST A DECADE!
2. Has made me realize that if I've been doing this for ALMOST A DECADE, I should not feel so bizarre when I write down AUTHOR as my profession when applying for a credit card or mortgage or something.
3. Made me realize that by now I should be better at copyediting my own blog posts and status updates and tweets and not have so many typos.

Also, it is weird because I was kind of calm about it when it happened. Here is the evidence in the form of the original blog post.

So, despite the fact tha)t I can't spell, the nice editor man called me back yesterday and talked to me for 40 minutes and told me all the good stuff about my book and what he thinks could get better. It was like talking to a Vermont College mentor. It was really cool. He was brilliant and really, really nice. And he's starting the book through the acquisitions process at his imprint, which is really cool...

But, I'm not getting my hopes up about it, until papers are signed.

Still, he had the best insight on the piece and I am so excited about working on it. So, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to go work on it. He only wants another 10,000 words. Geesh. Piece of cake.

I currently have six more books under contract. Now. In 2015. I am super excited about them. Three are middle grade with Bloomsbury. Three are young adult with Tor. And the thing is? It doesn't feel like nearly enough. When I was at Vermont, my advisors would laugh at me because I was:

1. Goofy and they liked goofy
2. Way too productive
3. Liked revision soooo much
4. Capable of telling a joke

But the thing is, I am so lucky. I might feel like six books under contract aren't nearly enough (my poor agent), but I will never forget how lucky and happy I am that I get to write AUTHOR on all those business forms. If you're a pre-published author, I can't wait for the day when you get to do that, too. Remember to post about it so you can look back nine years later and be all, "Whoa.... Did that happen? Wow."

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15. My tweets

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16. My tweets

  • Fri, 21:04: Trying to focus on this, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
  • Fri, 21:05: Ever since I wrote Star Trek fan fiction in fourth grade, I don't know how not to write. It feels more vital than eating, honestly. You?
  • Fri, 21:21: Friends are not Acquaintances http://t.co/nBD9Ml5iMW

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17. Friends are not Acquaintances

So, I am vaguely having a sad day today, which is totally fine because EVERYONE has sad days, right?

But today is one of those days where the sad is sort of focused on wondering why people sometimes suck sooooo much. I know! I know! Not a terribly mature thought.  It's also about how acquaintances are so terribly different from friends and that you should never confuse the two.

Because I need to actually blog occasionally, I started perusing my old LiveJournal entries for inspiration and the first one I found was from 2006, January, the same week as now. It's mostly about my car being broken, me not knowing what to write about. Then it sort of moved over into a tale about how the car was so sick that it's transmission was broken, the tow truck guy couldn't fix it, and had to take it away. I had been okay with this and even being
stuck at home when at 12:30 p.m. the school called.

“Mommy, I don’t feel well,” Em’s little voice had said on the phone. “Can you come get me?”
Of course, I could. I’d just dash into the car and save the day and  –
Oh, oh…

I slumped to the kitchen floor. My worst mommy nightmare had come true. Emily needed me and I wasn’t right there. I had no car. If you know me and you know Maine's rural nature, this was a huge deal for me.

I called a friend. He came right away, driving past my road of course, but hey, he did turn around when he saw me jumping up and down, screaming and waving a large HELP ME flag in the air. We picked up my little girl and brought the feverish, stuffy head, fever, but she can still talk, little pumpkin home.

That friend saved my day. I tried to sing him that old “That’s What Friends are For” song that was popular in the 1980s. Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick sang it on Solid Gold and held hands. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember all the words.

Holding his ears, he said that was okay and sped the car up a little bit and said I could stop singing. Please.

I owed him. I still owe him big. But he died two years later and I will never get to pay him back for all the times he made me laugh or missed my road or rescued me.

And even right now, when I need him because I am thinking about how fickle people can be, how integrity is often a word that is more about how cohesive a car's frame is than a person's character, he finds me through an old blog post, reminding me how important friends are and how good and dependable people can sometimes be.

And also that I need to buy cars that don't break.
And not to freak out if I'm not right there for Emily instantly.
And stuff.

So, thank you, Don Radovich. I still miss you.

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