My Horny Hump Day post is here.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group convenes the first Wednesday of every month, and gives participants an opportunity to vent, share struggles and triumphs, and just commiserate in general.

I’ve finally decided indie publication is the right choice for me, and the underlying reason I passed up so many great contests and stopped querying. Something I couldn’t understand was holding me back. Sometimes your head knows something before you can admit it in your heart, and other times your heart knows something before you can get it through your head.

I’ve never been like most people, and amn’t about to start going along with the crowd now. I don’t want or need validation from some arbitrary gatekeeper. Writing isn’t a one size fits all assembly line. Creative control is very important to me. I’ll happily accept critiques and edits, but would never essentially rewrite an entire book in a style and voice that’s not mine, just to be more commercial, or take out important characters or subplots. I don’t write for people with short attention spans or trendy/commercial tastes.

I’ve given up trying to figure out what exactly agents want. Also, I’m still annoyed at how I was dogpiled by three agents in a pitchfest awhile ago, and told, based on two freaking six-line pitches, that I don’t know how to write or research historical properly, that my characters’ names weren’t accurate, that I was an ignorant idiot for saying Holland instead of The Netherlands, and that the pivotal midway point of Jakob’s story was historically inaccurate and never would’ve happened. I was also told I just inserted a romantic angle to try to make the book more YA (huh?).

The spelling Jakob actually is used in The Netherlands, though the Jacob spelling is more common. Take it up with Mike of Behind the Name if you don’t believe me. It also says in the book that his parents felt the less-common spelling gave him more personality and distinctiveness. And Katherine wouldn’t have been uncommon for a German Jewish girl born in 1930, particularly since she’s not Orthodox.

Also, there were instances of people escaping from death trains. If he’d stayed on that train, it would’ve been the same familiar Shoah story for the thousandth time, no original angle. The whole point of his character is that he wants to avenge his father’s murder and fight to free his country. The love story is also hardly conventional, given how Rachel doesn’t show up till over halfway through, doesn’t appear again until Part IV, and then is only heard from through her letters in America for the remainder of the book, after she and Jaap quickly marry while he’s still in the service.

I later found out one of these agents was involved in some rather high-profile online bullying of someone who gave a negative review to one of her clients’ books. These are not the kinds of gatekeepers I want to knock myself out to impress, though I must say I’ve had some wonderful interactions with other agents in contests, pitchfests, and e-mails.

WUW Winter

What I’m Writing

Working through edits for Jakob’s story before heading back into editing Adicia’s story. I’m painfully aware that I probably need to restyle the opening of Little Ragdoll a bit, though it’s inevitably going to be quiet and old-fashioned, given that this is a slower-paced, character-driven book with a large ensemble cast and more about growth, change, and the journey of coming of age and getting out of poverty. As I’ve said, Part IV is the most fast-paced, heavily plot-centric section, with the plots of Parts I-III being a lot slower to unfold, more peripheral to the characters’ journey and development.

What Inspires Me

Really, the fact that I’m so close to getting Little Ragdoll down to 380,000 words, after the completed first draft clocked in at 397K. It would be a bit shorter if I hadn’t written in left-handedness for 13 characters during my first round of edits awhile ago. It may very well be below 380K after I’m done with the last round of edits.

What Else I’m Up To

I’m slowly recovering from a very bad recent flare-up of my eczema. I’m also livening up my walls. Next to my poster of The Who is a still from my favourite Marx Brothers’ film, A Day at the Races, which I had in storage for awhile. I’m also getting some posters and photos from eBay, which I’ll showcase once they’re framed and in my hands.

13 thoughts on “IWSG and What’s Up Wednesday

  1. The publishing world is undergoing a huge transformation right now. It’s hard to let go of the old dreams that we’ve held since before this publishing revolution began. But as someone who has been an indie author for 3 whole weeks now, trust me, you’re doing the right thing. Make your books the best they can possibly be, and then make them available to your readers. The old gatekeepers served a purpose in the past, but it isn’t the past anymore, even if you do write historical fiction.

    Have a great week!

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  2. I agree with the commenter above on the publishing world and all sorts of transformation. And for agents, I think, it’s all about the bottom line. Do they feel they can sell or not? And sometimes that boils down to the name and fame of the writer more than the story.
    Good luck and good for you.
    Silvia @
    SilviaWrites

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  3. I’m excited for you in making the best decision for your writing. Like Kate said, things are changing so fast in publishing, it’s going to be a different world in another two years. We’re seeing more deals of self-pub authors with success where the agents and pub houses are coming to them (not a TON but it’s happening) and successful authors are brokering “hybrid” deals where they have more control over rights (Romance author Stephanie Laurens just signed a deal with Harlelquin where she retains ebook rights I believe, which HQ has never done).

    The online feedback and contest loops can really be hit or miss. I’ve personally been bullied by commenters on my story, both in blog and twitter (thankfully not by an agent though). You never know who will click on what in the wild of the Internet! Publishing is so subjective too; you are right that commercial fiction often has rules, but then it just takes one breakout author to be successful despite the rules.

    It’s smart to keep tabs on who is saying what, especially when you mentioned an agent involved in online bullying (I probably know who you mean). Huge red flag. I wouldn’t care for their feedback either.

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  4. You’ve got to make the best decision for your writing and your book. Go with your instincts 🙂

    Sorry to hear about the eczema. Hope it settles down quickly.

    Have an amazing week!

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  5. Love this: “Sometimes your head knows something before you can admit it in your heart, and other times your heart knows something before you can get it through your head.” I think I’m going to carry that one with me this week. Ultimately, I think you have to do what’s right for your book and your writing process. I think it’s great that there are more options for writers now than ever before. It doesn’t matter how stories get into the hands of readers just as long as they do.

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  6. Eeks. I’m so glad that self-publishing is available now. What’s the point of publishing your story if it’s been edited to the point it’s no longer yours?! Congratulations on your decision and good luck!

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  7. I’ve had some bad run-ins with gatekeepers who didn’t understand a story or who asked me to revise to the point that I lost the voice and the manuscript became worthless. Good luck on this next step in your journey.

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  8. I am right there with you. I’ve read some traditionally-published books and think…how? Why? Agents can be so fickle. They truly are about the bottom line. I’ve been told by NY agents that they loved my story, my writing, but they simply cannot find a place in the market for my book. Translated: they can’t get rich off of my book. I also enjoy and appreciate creative control. Maybe it’s my controlling personality. I support you 100%. I love being an Indie author. It has opened so many avenues to me that I wouldn’t have otherwise had with an agent. Wishing you so much luck.

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