Friday, October 21, 2005

Up, down, and all around.

Three things came in the mail today.

1) A personalized rejection letter from one of the first agents I queried, Ann Rittenberg. She didn't request a look at my partials, but she did send me a very nice letter on her personal letterhead. If it is a form rejection, she has the best form letter in the business. If it isn't, I wonder why my query letter warranted a personal response but not a request for more material? I chose Ann because of a speech she gave where she described her client list as damaged -- people who were either from broken homes, or had suffered extreme tragedy, or Texans. Transit Gloria is a story about a Texas family that is destroyed by adultery, divorce, and murder -- and inspired by real events in my life, so I thought it might fit into her list. Apparently, I thought wrong. I know. Boo - freakin - hoo.

2) The pages that Kathryn Wall read and edited for me. Based on our conversations, I knew what to expect, and wasn't disappointed. Red pencils are more expensive than No. 2s, and between pencils and the return postage, Kathryn invested quite a bit in my manuscript, but I may need to quit letting people give me advice. My editors are duelling. What one puts in, the next takes out, and vice versa. Kathryn liked more than I gave her (or myself) credit for. Among the edit marks I found several instances of "I like this," and "Very original." I told Kathryn that after her editing, I probably qualified for the Guiness Book of World Records as the author of the most edited first 3 chapters in a novel. That was before I got the next envelope.

3) An invitation to send my first forty pages to an editor at Random House. I met him at the writers conference I attended a few weeks ago, and he is going to critique my work. I hope he likes my first forty pages, particularly since he will be the fifth professional to go through them with a red pencil in hand. I'm paying for the return postage myself this time, but he's buying his own pencils. I'm almost certain the Guiness Folks will be contacting me soon.

Hopefully, I will have news about Stories of Strength this weekend. If I do, I'll update you here.

Also discovered one of my online amigos getting a mention at the high altar of blogdom. Jill Miller Zimon got a nod at the Public Journalism Network for making waves..

Check out Serentity J. Banks's essay on synopses. I've read part of her book, and her synopsis and she is damned good, folks.

Mark Pettus,
Friday, October 21, 2005

11 comments so far. Thank you, Blogger Bernita, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger Bunneh, Blogger serenity, Blogger Jill, Blogger Dawno, Blogger Bernita, Blogger Caryn, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger The Daring One, Blogger Mark Pettus,

Let me know what you think

Leave a comment


at 6:42 AM Blogger Bernita said...

Came via 007's blog and read all your back posts and enjoyed them.
Thank you.
Very subtle blog, you're a clever, clever guy.
Good luck, thought I doubt you'll need it. You're clearly on your way - and sooner, not later.

at 12:01 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

Wow. Thanks.

On my way...where...exactly? The loony bin?

Gosh I love comments. Someone is reading! Hurrah!

By the way, I followed Bernita back to her blog. Clever ain't the half of it. This lady is funny.

at 8:47 AM Blogger Bunneh said...

You're starting to make me think that including a red pencil in a submission packet might be an irreverently amusing idea.

*is kidding.....mostly*

at 9:36 AM Blogger serenity said...

Do people really still use pencils? Gosh ... LoL!

I know all too well the "dueling editors" drama. I have one or two pieces that no longer resemble what I originally put to paper. I agree, sometimes it's just time to stop taking advice.

And hey ... thanks for the link! I feel all warm and fuzzy now. :D

at 10:02 PM Blogger Jill said...

You make me giggle! I didn't know what PJNet was all about - I just wanted to learn (same ole same ole for me) and Leonard Witt responded. That was very cool, I have to agree. But the high altar of blogdom?? Are you familiar with their work? NOW I'm impressed!

(And hey - thanks for listing me as a friend. :)

at 1:25 AM Blogger Dawno said...

Hi Mark, thanks for listing me as a friend as well.

Some days I think I'd love to have a finished work 'out there' -- other days I look at the few words I've strung together and well, the laptop won't fit in the shredder...

I'm rooting for you, for what it's worth.

at 2:33 PM Blogger Bernita said...

Thank you, Mark. That was exceedingly nice of you.

at 9:08 PM Blogger Caryn said...

Congratuations on the Random House request. I haven't read much of your blog yet, but it looks like you must be doing something right to have so many people giving honest, time-consuming critiques.

at 9:20 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

Anna said...
"you must be doing something right"

Yeah, even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.

The thing I did right was ask. We're all book people, so we have a lot in common. Most people will help if they can. So I ask them if they can.

at 9:53 PM Blogger The Daring One said...

I'm a little scared and excited reading about your publishing adventures. I'm just beginning to write and know I need to brace myself for major rejection.

A friend recently told me he'd submitted his novel but couldn't get published. When I asked him how many publishers he'd submitted to, he said, "One."

I won't give up that easy but the struggle scares me.

at 10:09 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

Excited is good. Scared is normal.

You can't brace yourself for rejection. It's like playing guitar, first you have to bleed, then you get callouses. There's no easy way around it.

Don't worry about that yet. Write. Practice your skills and learn the craft. If you write quality stuff, you'll get published. You'll have to work at it, but it'll happen. One of my mentors once said that publishing isn't a lottery, and all the talk about the odds is meaningless. If your writing is good, and you submit it, you'll get published. If it isn't good, nothing you do to increase your odds will make any difference.

Tell your friend to try again. A lot of people get rejections for their query letters and think their novel has been rejected, or they get their partials kicked back and quit. I tell other writers to keep submitting until 12 different people have rejected their full manuscript. Then rewrite and rename and start all over.


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