I write. I travel. Check out my website: www.sherimcguinn.com
January 2019 Update:
I got off track in 2018 – had a realtor put my home on the market, put everything in storage the beginning of July, and hit the road visiting family. This involved about 8,000 miles of driving! When there was a glitch that left me with an open week, I made a last-minute choice to attend the Romance Writers of America Conference in Denver. There’s usually a romance thread in my stories, so while I thought my stuff was YA or Women’s (depending on the book), I figured I’d have something to learn. My new novel was with another round of beta readers after major revisions, and getting to talk one-on-one with Robin from Ingram Sparks was a major plus to the week.
It was a well-run conference with an avalanche of learning opportunities. However, I came away determined to give traditional publishing one more try – I’d pitched the new novel and had more than a dozen agents asking to see anything from a brief synopsis to fifty pages – and an editor from Simon & Schuster.
Well, that took months, during which my place sold and I was house-hunting in multiple states and dithering about it because I knew I couldn’t afford the loan for which I pre-qualified. I wanted to stay in the Sacramento area and went as far as Paradise looking for something I could afford – about two weeks before the fire. It was a pretty town, but having lived in fire country, I never got past the drive-by stage.
Then a family crisis put a bump in the road and I spent two months bouncing between northern and southern California. Finally, in December, I loaded the storage unit into a truck and moved in with my son in southern California – he’s got this crazy decrepit place that’s a house connected to a store that is now zoned residential. We’re still working on fixing up my space, but I have a good temporary work area and am finally focused on my writing projects again.
Thanks to the internet, none of this disrupted my contact with the agents. Some of them sent pleasant rejections, some avoided that by putting deadlines on when to expect an answer, but no one asked to represent the book. My beta readers had been a bit put off when I started searching for an agent, but I did get some feedback from them that had me completely frustrated and wondering if I should just trash it. In the meantime, I’d picked up a few editing/formatting gigs, one of which has been incredibly involved because it’s an art book with lots of images and citations.
That’s a more sure way of paying the bills than self-publishing novels.
Then I got a response from the editor at Simon & Schuster, Abby Zidle, who had asked for fifty pages – enough to get her through the scene that made me call it women’s rather than YA. It was another rejection, but the feedback she gave me was encouraging. She really liked the main character’s teenage voice and didn’t think the scene I was concerned about was a definite rule-out for YA, but she wasn’t sure.
If you go on to read the 2018 Update, you’ll see how all of this was off my plan.
My first blogs for 2019 will go into this planning aspect a bit more. But as I go into 2019, one project is to re-read Peg’s Story with the beta reader’s comments, then polish or trash it. Yesterday I got a fan letter from Australia about Running Away. Peg is the mom in that story, so I will probably polish.
January 2018 Update:
I started this blog when I was traveling, limped along with few entries when I wasn’t, and finally got into a weekly habit with blogs primarily about writing. I’ve been writing all my life – the A+ kid from grade school on – and tried to get published a few times when I was younger, but since 2005 I’ve been approaching it professionally.
That doesn’t mean I’ve gotten everything right. That won’t ever happen – there’s always more to learn. It does mean that I take it seriously and make sure everything I put out there is polished. It also means I’m juggling multiple projects at all times.
The goals I have for this blog are altruistic and selfish: I want to help other writers be more successful, but I’m also hoping many of those who follow the blog also end up being fans of my books.
This year, I’m publishing a new novel, the mother’s story from Running Away. Nearly a thousand copies of Running Away are out there. I’m hoping to have a great launch for Peg’s Story: In Search of Self. If you’d be interested in helping that happen, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you.