Friday, October 27, 2006

Silly but exciting!

As you all already know, my fabulous agency has sold my book to the Italians and the Greeks (yay the Mediterranean!). Well now my fabulous agency has written a little blurb about it in the news section, and I am tickled pink I tell you! Tickled pink!

Highlights included a substantial pre-empt from the Italians for new children's author Adrienne Kress's Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and a heated Greek auction which started at the fair and concluded the following week with a record breaking advance for three books - the largest the agency has ever had in this territory."

Check it out at the website itself: (click on the news section, I'm after Martina Cole in the Frankfurt article)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Secret Revealed!

Okay first of all I wanted to announce that I have downloaded the latest Firefox and I have discovered all these new features on my blog, so that is totally cool, and may explain why this entry looks a little different from the others.

All right.
The secret to getting published . . . Okay so I lied a bit. Just a bit. I don't have any magic formula to getting published, aside from write a good book. But I do have some advice in the process of getting either an agent or a publisher.

Something that I find that isn't addressed all that often about this process is the sheer mental will power it takes to send out those queries once you are absolutely ready to take that step. It seems a daunting task. Who do I send things to and how many people do I send things to and what kind of stamps do I use and do I need a label and and and . . . and then you can sit there, paralyzed, and all this before you even consider the possibility of rejection.
So I say, take your time. Don't assign one day to get all this organized. Make a schedule.

Start by perfecting your query. This may sound obvious, still I'm just pointing it out anyway. But here's the thing, don't take forever on this. Yes it takes some time, but I find many authors use the perfecting of a query as an excuse not to face sending it out to agents/publishers. Take your time, but also give yourself a time line. Work bloody hard in the time you've been allotted, but view it as an assignment for school.

Okay, once the query is all set, start your research. Now depending on your history, you may already know which agents you want to send things to, you may have met some at writing conferences, or you could be like I was: have no idea at all about who the agents are, and who even are considered the top ones.
If the latter is the case (but really it's a worthwhile investment in any circumstance) buy the requisite book, there is one in every country. In England, the Writer's and Artist's Yearbook is very good, offering not only a listing of agencies and publishers, but articles and advice from industry professionals (probably much more reliable advice than from yours truly). Find which agents represent your work. Find what their requirements are. And find out to whom you should address your query.

The latter can be done by either researching online (most every agency these days has a website), or even a phone call. AH! Not a phone call, you should never call an agent!! Dude, relax. A quick phone call to ask the receptionist to whom you should address the query is not offensive. You don't have to say why or who you are, and quite frankly they won't care anyway.

Try something like:
"Hi, yes. I was calling to inquire to whom I should address my query for my (fantasy/children's/mystery) novel."

They may say they aren't accepting any new submissions.

"Oh okay, thank you very much for your time."

They may tell you.

"Thank you very much."

Whatever it is, say as little as possible, be as polite and as expedient as possible, and ta-da! Done and done.

The question of how many agents to send to is one that is answered differently by many. I say quite a few, but not every single one in the book. Choose wisely, but remember that while the big agencies are famous and have success on their side, the smaller ones may be able to focus on you and give you more attention. So choose from both lists, and send, I dunno, ten queries let's say. You want to save some agents so if you are rejected across the board you can re-visit your query, make some changes if you feel it necessary and send it off to ten more agents. There are a lot of websites available to double check that the agencies you are sending to are legitimate. Remember while there are a few legitimate agencies that charge a reading fee, this is typically to be considered to be a warning sign. And there are those 'agencies' out there who recommend an editing service for a fee before they'll look at your work. Don't do it. Use common sense people! Check out Predators and Editors, as well as, for way more info on the subject.

Now this is my advice for a schedule. And of course this all depends on your free time, which as an actor I have plenty of, but you as a real working person may not so much. You may also have a family to take care of. But my advice is to take a full day (maybe two) on research. Buy the book. Go on the net. Choose your agents. You may think this is a short time frame, but work fills the time allotted and, like the query, you could research forever.

You'll need to print off your letters. Now depending where you are you may also be sending off the first three chapters as well (this is more common in the UK). It depends of course on your setup at home, but because of all the pages that needed to be printed I went to a print place and spent the money for them to do it (when I say print place I mean something like Kinko’s or Kall Kwik in the UK) If you choose to do this, give yourself a day for it. Purchase stamps and envelopes today as well once you are done printing because now you can put a sample package together and get a sense of the weight. Remember that you may be sending more weight than usual, so factor in a bit of time to calculate such things at the post office. Have fun with this though, go print stuff, then go to Starbucks or something for a tall chai latte, then go to the post office. As Douglas Adams taught us: DON'T PANIC.

Then give yourself one final day. On this day make the phone calls to the few agents you don't have the names for. Address your snail mail. Write the emails. And stuff envelopes.
And then you are done!

Well, don't forget to send the stuff off.

Remember this is just a template. But what I am trying to do is break down the act of querying into manageable bits for you. Once you are taking things one step at a time, the task seems far less daunting. Trust me, I am the sort of person who starts to cry when I see how overwhelming the task is ahead of me. Once I had perfected my query etc, it took me a full week to send all the stuff off (and I mean a full week of preparations - though I did have an amazing audition for the Edward Albee as well).

So there you go. I can't guarantee you will get published or an agent. But I can definitely guarantee you will NEVER get published or an agent if you don't send your stuff out.

And the fewer things standing in your way, I think, the better.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

One other thing . . .

Since this is blog also belongs to the actress and temp I wanted to announce that after a year of nothing I have been cast as Third Witch in a production of Macbeth! Yay!!

Do It!!!

I've had a lot of conversations with friends and random people about writing to be published these days. This time last year I was very much not the expert on any of this, and now, well now I find myself immersed in a strange wonderful brave new world. And I love every second of it.

Now of course I am no expert. Though I am quickly learning 'the ways', I have been at this game under a year, and there are far more experienced authors out there than yours truly. All I can speak of is personal experience and quote the plethora of blogs and articles available on the world wide web. But I thought I would share some of my thoughts on writing and on trying to get published. Read or don't read, and remember always regard anything you find on the internet with a degree of suspicion. Okay. Now . . .


There is a saying out there, somewhere, by someone probably really smart, that I can't find exactly, so I'm going to have to wing it here, that goes something like, "The difference between a published author and not is perseverance." I believe this goes with almost every art form, visual, performance, etc. And this is what makes all the difference.

Having become an author most unexpectedly, the thing that surprised me most was how many people were genuinely interested in writing a book. Now I'm not talking of that age old, "Oh you write, I was thinking of writing a book myself." But good friends, or people I respect, who genuinely are interested in pursuing the art form. Some of them want to be authors in much the same way I had (and still do - I have not given up on the dream yet my friends) always wanted to be an actor. Seeing new authors being published hurt, because they wanted to be one of those. And so of course they asked me how I did it.

Uh . . .

Aside from the mechanics (which you can read further down this blog) I said, I wrote. I had never before completed a novel (somewhere deep in the bowels of my computer is a 140 page single spaced un-spellchecked pirate opus I wrote as a teenager and still lacks an ending), but something this time spurred me on. Whether it was the story, the characters or the sudden silly thought, "Maybe I could be published", it's hard to tell. But I became intensely devoted to the writing of it. When people asked me what was new, I told them about a chapter I had just finished. When I knew I was going to busy with a play in the fall, I made a point of writing two pages single spaced a day during the summer.

And so I tell people write. But don't just write when the muse strikes you and you are inspired and excited and can't stop your fingers flying over the keyboard, write also when you can't bear the thought of looking at a computer screen. Write when all you want to do is cry. And write when you think you absolutely suck at it. Follow a schedule. I try to be as romantic as possible. I think about what a "real" writer would look like working and try to emulate that. So I have created this little nook with a corner desk and little doo-dads scattered about that inspire my story. I have also recommended writing an hour before work. That is to say waking up an hour earlier than you normally do, and writing. An hour, one little hour, does not make a massive difference in the scheme of things. Doing something before the day really begins means that at the end of the day, if something comes up, someone wants to go for drinks, you want to be spontaneous and see a movie or are just exhausted, you can do these things, because you have already taken care of the writing. It isn't hovering over you, a weight of yet one more thing to do.

If you want to write a book, start today. Like going on a diet, or starting to exercise, don't wait for the next week to start because if you miss Monday then you'll have to wait yet one more week. Start on a Thursday. Start now. And then continue. I was watching some daytime talk show where they had some expert on that said you had to do something 21 times before it became a habit. I don't know if that's accurate, but why not try? Write for 3 weeks straight. Just do. When you are happy, and when you are miserable, write. It's a job, it's not always going to be fun.

The message is a bit repetitive I confess. And it isn't all that relevatory. But it is the truth. And it works.

Next time: How to get published (yes I am going to reveal the secret! - okay, I mean not really, but I have a bit of advice that I think may be useful, I dunno . . .)

Friday, October 13, 2006


Being published in Greece. My dream of being translated into a foreign alphabet has been realised.

Next can I have a pony?

Monday, October 09, 2006

I've been caught out!

My dear wonderful readers, I must confess I have been caught out. I have made an incredible omission in the telling of my story which is not only unforgivable, it is downright sinful. I intend to rectify the situation immediately.

When I spoke of the process of acquiring an agent I neglected to point out that I was in the company quite often of another Adrian. How I could have forgotten to put him in boggles the mind. He was there the day I printed up the manuscript to be sent that first time to Julia. And he was there in the pub where I shared my fears of rejection. And he was one of the first ones informed of any and all updates. So . . .

Darling other Adrian, please accept my humblest apologies. It shall never happen again. Okay it may happen again. Probably will happen again. But I shall always put it right.