New video: On Book Proposals–and how I got my nonfiction agent

Here’s me discussing how I got my nonfiction agent, with some explanations of what went into my book proposal and how nonfiction is different from fiction in this regard!

I didn’t really want to go all out on making a “how to write book proposals” video because I don’t really feel like I’m qualified to do that. I understood fiction querying very well but I haven’t had much training (or time put in) on book proposals so what worked for me probably won’t transfer easily to anyone else’s project unless they just follow the outline really vaguely and build upon it.

Representation Settled: So You Think You’re Asexual

Today I accepted an offer for literary agency representation and signed a contract for my nonfiction book So You Think You’re Asexual.  I am officially a double-agented author.

Everyone, please meet my second agent, Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger.  She really knows her stuff, agrees with me that a book on asexuality is something that needs to exist, and even teaches a workshop on book proposals! I think I’m in really good hands here!

What this means: Nonfiction is sold through the proposal. With Andrea’s help, I will be fine-tuning a document that will be going to publishers. This is no big deal for me because the proposal (and the book) is already written, since I had to have a proposal in order to query nonfiction agents. Andrea said the proposal I sent her was in need of only minor changes, and I have a few things I want to add/change too. Once we have the proposal finalized, it will go out to the editors Andrea knows who might be interested in acquiring it. The book itself will probably not be requested by publishers until or unless someone decides to make an offer. (It feels so backwards from the way fiction is sold, since you have to have a polished manuscript BEFORE querying agents!)

We’ll be approaching publishers soonish.  I hope to be able to share good news when I have it.

Offer of Representation: So You Think You’re Asexual

I’m super happy to announce that my book So You Think You’re Asexual has one offer of representation from a literary agent. So . . . I’m going to have two agents, with one representing my fiction and one representing my nonfiction. How cool is that?

My call with the offering agent was this morning and I’ll be able to make a more detailed post about it once I’m finished going back to the other agents who have the proposal and letting them know the situation. More details will be revealed–including who the lucky agent is who gets to work with little old me, haha–once I actually sign a paper and make it official.

I have a feeling this is going to be a good thing. . . .

Panel Experience at Creating Change

As mentioned in my last post, I was one of the speakers on the Asexual Voices panel at Creating Change 2013 in Atlanta, a national LGBT conference that included asexual people in its workshop lineup for the first time.

I was one of four speakers. We had me (an aromantic asexual woman), Tristan (a gay graysexual man), Rin (a panromantic asexual agender person), and M. (a panromantic asexual agender person) on the panel. We all talked about our experiences with asexuality and the community, and gave a sixty-minute question-and-answer session, followed by a caucus of asexual people and allies. It was a good experience.

panel1

Besides the panel, I got to go to other people’s workshops and network with other folks in the queer community. President Obama sent a video in support of LGBT organizers and the community, which was really huge. And I got to meet David Jay (founder of AVEN), Sara Beth Brooks (founder of Asexual Awareness Week), the other panelists Tristan (of the Asexual Agenda), Rin, and M., and also Hannah (who was there for work stuff) and a couple other asexual people we went to dinner with.

thursdayacegroup1panel3saturdaytristanivy
saturdaymivyfridayaceliteraturesaturdaygroup2
 

David Jay did some report-outs from each day of the conference. Day 1 happened before I got there, and Day 2 and Day 3 include me in the videos.

I had a lot of good experiences, and now I’m ready to start working on my nonfiction book again. I already have a bunch of test reader volunteers, but if anyone reading this wants to be a test reader, let me know.

Speaking at Creating Change: Asexual Voices Panel

Today I’m heading to Atlanta, Georgia for Creating Change, which is the National Conference on LGBT Equality, put on by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. It is the largest yearly gathering of of activists, organizers, and leaders in the LGBT movement. And I’m one of them!

I’m one of the speakers on the Asexual Voices Panel. With three other asexual speakers and a moderator, my co-panelists and I are providing discussion of asexual experiences and outreach, with a thirty-minute presentation and a sixty-minute question-and-answer session.

acevoices

(We had a last-minute change and Christina couldn’t make it. M. LeClerc from Boston is our replacement.)

We are also having an asexual caucus immediately afterwards.

acecaucus

Last year Sara Beth and David went to this same conference and there was a really warm response, with a high demand for our materials and an avalanche of interest when they screened the documentary movie (A)sexual (which I was in). We hope to make even more connections, learn more about allying with the larger LGBTQ community, teach people about our community, and have a lot of fun.

People at the conference can come to our panel at 4:45 on Friday. People at home can follow our tweets (#cc13) or check out the Livestream.

And since lots of people supported our fundraising campaign for the trip to Creating Change, we’ll also be preparing their rewards. Fifty-two people donated to our cause and I’m sure even more want to see us succeed, so we want to be able to show them some results. I hope to be able to share some pictures, videos, and stories when I come back, after which I will redouble my efforts to polish my nonfiction book (So You Think You’re Asexual: An Introduction to the Invisible Orientation). I’m going to take test readers for the first time, and probably go back to querying as one agent who’s followed up with me twice now seems to be dragging his feet.

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.

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.

New Nonfiction Book: So You Think You’re Asexual

There aren’t any traditionally published laymen’s books about asexuality, so I decided I’m just the girl to write one.

After all, I’ve been interviewed in magazines, radio, and visual media.  I’ve made helpful videos on YouTube and have nearly 1,500 subscribers.  I’m followed by a lot of people on Tumblr and LiveJournal and AVEN regarding asexuality.  So, since “who you are” matters more in selling a nonfiction book than what you’ve actually written, I decided if anyone’s qualified to write one it’s me.  And I’ve begun to do so.

This one won’t be handled the same way I’ve handled my fiction, though.  Nonfiction books are often sold based on the idea/the author, and often get purchased before they’re written.  I plan to have a first draft before I query, but I also don’t intend to solicit a test audience until or unless I find representation or a publisher for it.  I will be querying agents, though, even though you don’t necessarily need one for nonfiction, because I feel more comfortable doing it that way.

This is going to be FAST because I’ve said all this stuff before and I just have to figure out how to organize it.