“If you want with all your heart and soul to be a fiction writer, then reach for the stars. Reach for the fire from Heaven. Strive to be a great writer. Give it everything you’ve got. Write the story or the novel you dream of writing, and don’t settle for anything less. Don’t let fear hold you back. Go where the the pain is. Go where the pleasure is. Don’t give it half your soul. Be willing to risk ridicule, rejection, or indifference. And just keep going. Keep living and breathing and working as the writer you dream of being. -Anne Rice, Facebook Post
Writing the book is the easy part. I know. I know. Trust me, I’m not crazy. Getting the words on the page, putting your thoughts and dreams and ideas into a concrete vision. It’s pain, and sweat, and tears. But it’s the easy part. Because, what comes next?
I think a lot of people write a manuscript and leave it be, leave it sit, because if you leave it on your laptop or your bookshelf, it may be gathering dust, but it’s safe. It’s protected. There isn’t any risk. No one even knows it’s there, except you. Putting it into the ether, releasing it into the world, you are waiving red silk and you are exposed. I know, I wrote my novel and let it sit for three years. It was safe. No one could reject it or my dream. Then, I decided to be brave. Still, what next?
Confession time. When I wrote my book, I had no idea what a ‘query’ was. Yeah, I have an English degree. I know what a cover letter is. I know how to outline. I know what a synopsis is. But, how does one ask someone, “Will you please publish my book?” A query, a question, is the beginning.
In the age of technology, it’s not just a letter anymore. The question comes in many forms. Sometimes, it even comes in a tweet. Confession, until I wanted to publish, I never tweeted. I didn’t have twitter. I wasn’t even really sure what to do, once I got Twitter. I am blessed that the writing community, as a whole, is incredibly warm and informative. I learned the purpose of a hashtag and the ways I could use it to connect with people and start building my social media presence.
What a difference 280 characters can make.
One day, I saw a reference to something called #PitMad. After much research, I learned #PitMad is an opportunity to pitch your book to editors, publishers, and agents in three 280 character tweets over the span of one day. If someone in the industry is interested in your tweet, they like it, and you send them more information. Think about it, 280 characters could change your life. That’s a monumental revelation.
I had the unfortunate event of ending up in the hospital last week and then in bed for the following five days. Before I knew it, my phone dinged. It was 11:59 at night and a reminder came up on my phone. “It’s March 7, 2019, and #PitMad is today.”
Insert several expletives here. I’d been so sick, I’d forgotten what day it was. I hadn’t even started to form my pitch. How could I condense 85,000 words into 280 characters? It wasn’t easy. Although, it helped I had already been doing more traditional querying. So, I said a little thank you to the almighty iphone for reminding me a huge opportunity was waiting. I stayed up a little late, despite work the next day. Somehow, in the eleventh hour, I came up with my 280 characters.
Syn attends a military college in Hell and must stand with the Devil against ancient foes to save the demon she loves. For Syn, happily ever after is Hell, and the Devil is in the details. #PitMad #NA #A #PR #UF #F #SF #R #P #pitmad #Writing Community- jenperkins1015 twitter account, March 7, 2019
I was scared. It’s the first time, I’d really put it out there into the world. This is what my book is about, this is my vision. Okay Anne Rice, I’m giving it my go, I whispered to no one in particular as I hit the button confirming my Tweet. I won’t let fear hold me back. I will go where the pain is. I will take the risk. What if no one liked my tweet? It didn’t matter, I had to try.
I will go where the pleasure is. I’ve never been so happy at a notification on my phone in my life. I almost squeed out loud, in my office, when I took a short break to look at my phone. Someone liked my tweet. Then another. And another. Three.
Now, that’s not a lot. Those likes may not take me to the finish line. But, it’s more important than I can say. It’s the first response from anyone in the industry, “Yes, we want to see more.” It gives me hope. It terrifies me.
But, I will follow the words of my childhood hero, Anne Rice. I will risk ridicule, rejection, and indifference. And, I will keep going and working on my dream.
If you are trying to get published, google #pitmad and check out their dates for the Twitter event. If you are looking for encouragement for writing and publishing, check out Anne Rice’s facebook page right now. She’s posting a lot of great and encouraging advice.
Also, a quick thank you to everyone who is reading this post, my blog, my tweets. To anyone who is supporting me in this endeavor. It’s the most precious thing in the world to have the support and encouragement of my family, friends, and dare I say it, fans!