Results of Querying: So You Think You’re Asexual

I’m going to stop querying on So You Think You’re Asexual for the time being because I have received two nibbles from agents who are currently considering my expanded nonfiction book proposal, and I think that’s enough.  If I get rejections or something I’ll go back into it.

Agents queried:11

Agents who declined: 5

Agents who didn’t respond (yet?): 4

Agents who responded in the affirmative: 2

So we’ll see what happens.

Editing Hell: Bad Fairy

One of the agents I’m talking to asked me to scale my Bad Fairy book back from 146,000 words to 115,000 or less because that fits the length that’s commonly accepted in the market for first novels.  If I can do that then she’ll look at it.

I considered it for a while and decided that even though it’d likely be hell, she’s probably doing me a favor.  I’ve had a couple full-manuscript-reading agents end up passing on my project citing a saggy middle or problems with the pacing.  So . . . maybe an ultimatum like this is the best way to help me tighten it up, like it or not.

It’s just frustrating because I already got it down to 146,000 words from its original 171,000 words (mostly with Jessie’s help), and I thought THAT was monumental.  The ridiculous word count was part of the reason I never entered this book in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition; they have a word cap of 150,000 words.  I was astounded when I slipped below that for the first time.

And now I’ve gotta do it again.  I’m not looking forward to it but I need to roll up my sleeves.

In the meantime, I made a comic about it for So You Write.  Haha.

Ready to Query: So You Think You’re Asexual

My basic first draft of So You Think You’re Asexual: An Introduction to the Invisible Orientation  is complete, though of course there will be lots of updates and changes if I end up finding representation.  I’ll be soliciting a test audience if it looks like my book is going to get the kind of interest I want.

My basic query letter (with personalized agent stuff at the beginning, and modified if needed):

What if you weren’t attracted to anyone?

A growing number of people today are identifying as asexual: they aren’t sexually attracted to other people, and they consider it a sexual orientation—like gay, straight, or bisexual.  A commonly overlooked and dismissed orientation, asexuality is estimated to affect approximately 1% of the population.  However, because of the overt sexuality of society, most asexuals feel isolated and ill-informed; they remain invisible, confused, and think they’re broken because they cannot relate to a central aspect of human life as we know it.

Is it a hormone disorder?  Can asexual people have relationships?  Should it be cured?  This book outlines what asexuality is, counters misconceptions, provides resources, and puts asexual people’s experiences in context as they move through a very sexual world.  It includes information for asexual people to help understand their orientation and what it means for their relationships, and it includes tips and facts for those who want to understand their asexual friends and loved ones.

My qualifications for writing this book include the following:

I’ve been writing about asexuality awareness since 1998.  As an asexual person casually writing about my own experience, I posted a Top Ten list outlining the most common misconceptions about asexuality on my own website.  This earned me media attention and mainstream magazine interviews (“Asexual and Proud,” Salon, May 2005; “No Sex? No Problem,” The Daily Beast, July 2009; “The Opposite of Sex,” Marie Claire, August 2010).  Some years (and several interviews) later, I created two series of asexuality-themed YouTube videos to reach a different demographic.  One was a video version of my Top Ten list, and the other was an ongoing series called “Letters to an Asexual.”

These earned me more media attention, many subscribers, and a part in a documentary as a major interviewee ((A)sexual by Arts Engine, premiered at Frameline, the gay and lesbian film festival, in June 2011).  I also picked up a spot writing articles on the subject for Good Vibrations, a respected sex-positive magazine (“Asexuality is Not Antisexuality,” January 2011; “Sexual Attraction vs. Romantic Attraction,” February 2011; “Are Asexuals Queer?” March 2011; “How to Be an Asexual Ally,” July 2011; and “Why Should the Sex-Positive Community Promote Asexuality Awareness?” October 2011).  I’ve been mentioned on international television and interviewed for various academic and human interest pieces, usually pseudonymously under the name “swankivy” or “Ivy,” but my legal name has also appeared in several of the interviews.

I have a full proposal and sample chapters available if you’re interested.  Thank you for your consideration.

Results of Querying: Bad Fairy 2011

I only just started querying for Bad Fairy in November of 2011, so this isn’t going to be a big update, but this is how I’m doing on queries so far:

Agents queried: 9.

  • Query rejections: 6
  • Non-responses (so far): 3

One of the guys I queried had actually represented a fairy tale retelling I particularly enjoyed, so I mentioned it in my query.  He said this to me:

I appreciate your thinking of me, but I actually don’t normally care for fairy tales, or for works with the basis feel of a fairy tell, or retellings.  Mercedes Lackey is an exception because I just have an affinity for her work and I’d be happy to read her grocery lists, but otherwise, this book is probably not a good match for my tastes.

Heh, “happy to read her grocery lists.”  Maybe someday someone will say that about me?

Planning to continue the querying streak in 2012!

Ready to Query: Bad Fairy Trilogy, Book 1

Editing Bad Fairy has been a complete nightmare, but I got it down to 146,000 words, and I had a lot of help.  Especially from Jessie.  Thank you to the following people who helped me in the test audience:

These people read the whole thing and gave comments: Jessie, Victor, Mike Lee, Amanda K., Alicorn, Laura, Michael, Joy, Patricia, and Laurel.  These people read part of it and gave comments: Brianne, Fred, Jeremy, Jeaux, Reeny, Elle, Jaron, Mikaela, Andi, Jessica, darkchime, Jack O., Clare, Shelby, Mandy, Michelle, Amanda W., Susan, and Jordan.

My basic query letter (with personalized agent stuff at the beginning, and modified if needed):

What happened before Sleeping Beauty slept?

Delia Morningstar is a precocious and inquisitive half-fairy girl whose great talent and drive mark her for a promising future. But she has some peculiar interests: What is she learning when she dabbles in forbidden “dark magick,” and why does she have such an interest in the afterlife? Shunned by popular society, she struggles to make a living, but when one of her attempts to help her kingdom is misunderstood, she is ultimately held responsible for a curse on baby Aurora, her kingdom’s beloved princess.

Now forced into hiding, Delia must live in disguise as a typical fairy and continue to work toward a surprising goal: Saving the princess from death. While tweaking destiny from behind her mask, Delia discovers unexpected aspects of both herself and her enemies. Though she eventually succeeds in her original goal, she finds that dealing with who she’s become is a battle she’s only beginning.

In addition to writing fiction, I work as a copyeditor/proofreader, run several websites, and have five published nonfiction articles.  My other long fiction projects include adult science fiction and YA magical realism.

 

Results of Querying: Finding Mulligan 2010

Finding Mulligan didn’t do any better in 2010.  I’ll be entering Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award competition with it in January, though.

Agents queried: 15.

  • Non-responses: 8
  • Query rejections: 7

One of the rejections said this:

I’m afraid it’s not striking a chord with me– dreams/dream worlds aren’t really something I’m drawn to. Further, your protag is a bit old for YA– college is a hard sell to publishers for a YA novel.

Yeah, I’ve heard that before.  Hm, maybe this will be a thing someday, though?  Who knows.

I also had a phone chat with an agent who seemed kind of interested in my other project, Bad Fairy, but not as much in this book.  We ended up talking on the phone kind of as a fluke.  One of my editing clients asked if I wanted to talk to his agent, and he had the guy call me.  It was a good chat and he said a lot of supportive (and reality-check-oriented) things, but I told him I haven’t started developing Bad Fairy into a trilogy yet, and he never responded to my partial manuscript for this book.  Oh well.

I’m going to leave off querying for this thing until I have some better ideas of what to do, but I’m going to try contests.

Results of Querying: Finding Mulligan 2009

Really struck out on Finding Mulligan queries in 2009.

Agents queried: 24.

  • Non-responses: 9
  • Form rejections: 13
  • Partial requests: 1

. . . Most of the form rejections contained the phrase “publishing is a subjective business.”  Well, I hope so!

One of the rejections said this:

If I may offer a tip, you may want to consider your word count as this genre is usually more like 70,000 words.

::shrug::

The guy who rejected my three-chapter partial had this to say:

While I thought the premise to be unique, I just did not get enough sense of the paranormal.  Along the same lines, I simply did not find myself drawn to the characters as much as I had hoped to.  It seemed as if the story was lacking a depth that I wanted to see in the early pages.

Hmm, boo.  Though I will say I’m surprised to see disappointment over lack of “the paranormal” because my book isn’t paranormal.  I’m still using this advice to try to make my stuff better.  I’m continuing to tweak and edit here and there.

 

Ready to Query: Finding Mulligan

Okay, enough editing.  Thank you to the following people who helped me in the test audience:

These people read the whole thing and gave comments: Mommy, Fred, Ronni, Mike Lee, Reeny, Jessie, Laura, Victor, Cara, Meggie, Alicorn, Amanda, Rob, Patricia, Jeaux, Daddy, Stacy, Kim, Jeremy, Kalinda, Corinne, and Jay.  These people read part of it and gave comments: Jack, Deborah, Mikey, and Jessika.

My basic query letter (with personalized agent stuff at the beginning, and modified if needed):

Nobody understands the meaning of “a double life” better than Cassandra Howard.  A smart, sarcastic student by day, she becomes a different person at night; Dia, her charismatic second self, is the darling of a fantastical dreamland where she can do anything.  And while Cassie and Dia share their memories, they prefer to keep their lives separate.  That changes when they fall in love.

Mulligan, dreamland’s delicious drummer boy, sets his eyes on Dia.  But Cassie is pretty sick of her other self getting everything good about their life, and she talks Dia into helping her find the waking-world version of her boyfriend.  A mysterious portrait of Mulligan leads Cassie to two candidates: is it Terrell, the model who posed for the painting?  Or is it Jamie, the artist who painted it?  Maddening maybes play tug-of-war in her mind until she finds herself attracted to both guys, and she fears betraying her dream love if she picks the wrong one.

To test her contenders, Cassie begins to impersonate Dia in the waking world, but gets the shock of her life when her counterpart’s magical charisma and talent actually work in her favor.  When lines of identity start blurring beyond their comfort, they’ll have to uncover the nature of dreamland and deal with the repercussions of this love triangle.  (Or . . . love pentagon.  Whatever.)  And one thing’s for sure: dreams of happily ever after do sometimes turn out to be nightmares.

Finding Mulligan: Hiatus for Cassie

Well, I got away from writing my “Mulligan” story for a while because Bad Fairy got attention from an agent and I had to respond to that.  I wanted to reread the book before sending it to her, and I hadn’t gone ahead and done it before submitting because I was pessimistic (unlike me!) and thought no one was going to ask to see beyond chapter 3 for a long time. When this agent asked it kind of threw me. I had to take a vacation from writing Finding Mulligan because of that and a few other life things (visits, obligations).

Chapter three is in progress—has been for a while—but little miss Cassie . . . um, rather, Dia at the moment . . . is running around in her dream looking for her sweetheart and I think I stopped her mid-sentence. She probably won’t mind. She hasn’t been sitting around waiting to be written about for years. The idea for her only crystallized in my head recently.

The agent who was considering Bad Fairy ultimately rejected it for being too long, but told me she really likes my style and voice and wants to see my future work if it’s shorter. Still more reason to put a fire under it and try to have Cassie ready by early next year. I think her story will be fairly short if I don’t try to do stupid things to it.