Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Another Blog - Oh no!

Publishers are encouraging authors to start blogging. Ok fine, no problem.
But for me there is a catch. The Non-Dog Blog is for everything that isn't about dogs. So what's the problem? Well... my book very much involves dogs, you really can't call it the "Non-Dog Blog" but it seems so unfair that after more that 500 posts, I have to start another one. Sigh. Well not yet. I think I can copy selected posts from the blog into the new one which is likely going to bear my name - how boring is that?


Baby's First Writing Contest Entry

So apart from trying to find a book agent, I noticed that Writer's Digest is having a short story contest. I keep thinking that I don't have a clue as to how to write a short story, but I look back at what I've written before and I'm such a liar. Sure enough, I have more than one short story. And one of them is actually not a bad one either, so I spent time cleaning up the punctuation, and submitted it. It is a $25 entry and I know that some say you should never pay to enter a writing contest, but I really like Writer's Digest and it seemed reasonable enough.

This is very much a long shot and I think, if anything, I can hope for coming in 30th place or whatever, but at least I've done it instead of just dreaming about it, so it's a good confidence builder if anything. I will hear on Feb 16, 2016, so I can forget all about it until them.

After that, maybe I can publish the story assuming that it didn't win anything.

Job hunting and Agent querying are nearly the same thing

I am currently looking for another day job as well as looking for a book agent for my novel, and I’m noticing that querying book agents and submitting job applications are remarkably similar.

You are asking a complete stranger for attention and the odds are likely that you will be either rejected or ignored. In a way, the rejections of book agents are more useful than the silence that you often get from prospective employers. At least from a book agent, you often get a response, sometimes even a useful one. It’s actually less demoralizing than it used to be. The problem with employers is that technology has made applying for jobs very easy, but this means that HR depts get overwhelmed with many, many resumes--many of them irrelevant as people have taken to scattershotting applications which doesn’t help anyone, and sometimes they completely overestimate their capabilities: sure I can be the CEO, no problem.

The best way is to be organized about what and who you applied to, be it employment or a book agent. Keep a document or a spreadsheet that notes the day, and who you applied to, and any special requirements like “first 5 pages in the body of the message” and any response that you got. I use Google Drive for this so I can get to it from anywhere.

To find agents who are looking for people you can get the list from