Either way you look at it, it was a good day.
Monday morning I had the opportunity to go to a meet and greet and hear Lauraine speak on writing and her different novels. I’ll admit, I was not a fan prior to my friend letting me know about the gathering. Not because I didn’t like her work, but because I was unfamiliar with it. She was selling her newest novel available July 7th, Someday Home.
She is one of the few authors I know of who is an extrovert. Starting off somewhat quiet, she quickly warms the crowd. The more the audience reacts to her words, the more animated and comfortable she becomes. She had a few important things to say: First, don’t let yourself run out of ‘somedays’. Her motto is “what’s stopping you?” Second, have the tenacity of a bulldog. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth working hard to do right no matter how difficult it may be.
She spoke for about an hour on her various books and how she writes. About midway through her talk she said that her first book took about one year to write and critique. She began to feel like she wasn’t talented. I needed to hear that. I personally thanked her for that tidbit because that is where I’m at right now, which brings me around to what I alluded to in my last post.
I met with Lauraine’s literary agent, Wendy Lawton. I had asked prior to the event if I could speak with her, but when it came to that moment I was so nervous. To an unpublished writer, meeting an agent like Wendy, who has helped the careers of so many, it was like a singer meeting Simon Cowell, at least that’s how I felt. My trepidation kept me from even drinking coffee, I couldn’t keep my stomach from doing Zumba moves. I went a little fangirl, embarrassingly enough.
I told her how nervous I was and she laughed and asked me why. That, in itself didn’t calm me. I was still so worried about my pitch. She said, “So, tell me about your story.” I told her I’d written my pitch, but… she flicked her hand as if she were shooing a fly, “Just tell me about your story.” I can’t tell you how much those few words relieved me. My pitch sounded fake to my ears, but my story is my baby. I could talk about that all day.
I told her in about two minutes the gist of my novel. She asked me the word count and I told her. After talking back and forth about my options, and asking if I was part of the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Association, she handed me her card and told me to go ahead and send my proposal directly to her because our meeting was the query and I’d passed.
Wendy was incredibly generous to meet with me, that wasn’t something she had to do. Not only did she not have to meet with me, she didn’t have to give me advice, but she did that, too. Here is what she said, I’ll paraphrase because I cannot directly quote. Christian fiction is not dead, don’t believe the rumors. Readers are still out there, the market has just changed. She also said she has five debut authors waiting for the right opportunity. Now is a tough time for new authors (I knew this as she blogged about it a few weeks ago, but chances are you didn’t read it. It’s a good message http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/a-subtle-technique/ ).
Lastly, and the one that will affect you, my readers, the most, is this. Don’t give away your novella. Hold onto it. Publishers love a novella for debut authors, it allows them to offer something at a lower cost and gain a readership for you with their resources. Also, you don’t want to build momentum for a series that may not publish for quite some time. I can’t argue with her logic. She knows her trade. When I agreed with her, and said “You’re right it probably wouldn’t be for at least a year or two.” She responded with, “Maybe not that long.” It was encouraging. She is encouraging.
Even if I never get to work with Wendy Lawton (but hey, a girl can dream), I still count this as a completely positive and learning experience. I was amazed while we were talking, a few women came up and asked her questions about Lauraine and she was able to answer all of them. She knew her client like a close friend. In fact, her introduction said they were close friends. I was so impressed by that. Prior to this meeting, I was intimidated because she is one of the top women in her field and represents top women (like Lauraine Snelling) which made me nervous. Now, I’m impressed not only by her knowledge but by her humble attitude and willingness to spend her precious time with someone who, at the very least, might be a waste of her time, at best (and I’m still praying) another author to add to her five already waiting.
I have come up with another option for you to get to experience a little of my writing. I will blog on that in the coming weeks, stay glued to your computer (like we all aren’t anyway). I will update soon. Thank you so much for your prayers. I can’t tell you how easy the words came once I was able to calm down.