3 S.R. Johannes: Shoot for the Milky Way

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shoot for the Milky Way

I have not blogged in a while (cough - over a year?! ) But I am back on the horse and I plan to stay on it this time. I have re-committed myself to Writers Rehab and am going to stay in - even longer than Britney Spears! Wow, I am committed!

You are probably wondering: "Why? I've been so inspired all of a sudden?" Good question!

My good answer:
  • An instructor recently told me not to settle for less than what I think I deserve. That I was born to write.
  • A fellow SCBWI member just got a 3 book deal with Hyperion. She got an agent in March and sold her book in a "good" deal by Aug. Best news is she has 2 kids - the same age as mine - and started her book a couple years ago. There is hope for us moms that juggle diapers, pacis, and keypads (really its computers but pens sounded better).
  • I have a hunch. I know this is the path to my purpose. How I don't know - but I just do. I have no excuses anymore. My 4 year old is in PreK and my 16 month old starts a mommy day-out program. Or as I now call it - mommy-day-write.
I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

So - now I need a plan right? Ok, plan #99 - hopefully #99 is a charm!

I call it The "Get off my Ass" Plan - creative, clear, yet catchy. I am going to reach beyond the stars for my dream. I'm shooting far and I am shooting high.

I'm shooting for the Milky Way!

So here it is!

1 - Finish my YA Thriller, "Grace under Fire" - CHECK.

SIDE NOTE: Ok so I've already done this. I just wanted something to check off something so I felt I was moving forward. Is that cheating? Come on you all do it to - create a "to-do" list of the things you have already done - just so you can feel like you have achieved something in your busy day. Fess up!

SIDE NOTE Squared: Actually I have finished 1 YA, 1 MG (which is shelved due to editing complications), 1 PB series, 1 holiday PB, and 2 PBs. But who is counting? Actually my husband probably is and most likely my parents. And I know my bank account is!

Question of the day:

How many books can you write and still be unpublished? Answer - Ill tell you as soon as I find out. Stay tuned!

2 - Review Plot thoroughly - CHECK, CHECK. I am working through my manuscript with my amazing critique group to revise each chapter.

SIDE NOTE: Actually it is not a critique group, it is a support group called The Calliope Circle. Kinda like "Alcoholics Anon" but without the booze. Ok, ok so there MAY be a little booze - not with them that's just coffee and snacks, but maybe when I'm writing or trying to write.

SIDE NOTE Squared: Speaking of support groups - is there a "Writers Anon" out there and if so - did someone sign me up without my consent? It sure feels like it.

SIDE NOTE cubed: And if there is a Writers Anon- who would sign up? Doesn't every writer want to be known? Maybe not.

3 - Remove my name from the Writers Anon list!

SIDE NOTE: Does anyone know who owns the list or is that a dumb question?

4 - Revise, revise, revise - CHECK. If I knew WHAT to revise it would not be an issue. The issue is figuring out how to find out, who to believe, and when its done!

SIDE NOTE - I am already working with a great editor, Harold Underdown, in a class that spends the next 6 weeks revising and re-revising (is that a word?) my first 3 chapters, synopsis, and query letter. I have worked with him before and I like him. Be wary though - he cuts to the chase . His services may even come with a disclaimer - "Not for the soft-hearted". But as my dad always said: No pain no gain." I am starting to believe him.

5 - Focus on literary agents.

SIDE NOTE: For my first MG book, "On Tattered Wings" I queried mostly publishers.

SIDE NOTE Squared: Status? 19 form rejections, 5 personal rejections with comments, 3 "we would like to see it"s, and 1 editorial letter who ended up not taking it after I did all the edits (that is a whole nother story and yes I am a little bitter about it.) So 18 rejections and 1,000 cliches later - I shelved it. Then there is my NonFiction book that was in the top 2 books being considered by American Girl but was REJECTED :( Some see it as me winning the Silver. ONly no metal - just a piece of polite paper. At least it had my name on it.)

6 - Research Agents - This year (or what is left of the remaining 33%) I am going to focus on getting a clean query packet out to 10 - 15 agents that really fit me and my style. I'm shooting for November. Doable - right? Write!

You all probably know the rest but Ill quickly recap.....

7 - land a 3 book deal with 6 figures

8 - get my book on shelves in all major and independent book store.

9 - receive great reviews form top publications - maybe even an award or two.

10 - hit the bestseller list and stay there.

11 - sign a movie deal.

12 - Walk the red carpet and accept my well-deserved Oscar for "Best script/screenplay"

13 - hit the big time - The Big O (Oprah)

14 - help other struggling authors :)

Ok so I have my plan - now I just need some goals for the remaining 33% of the year

  • Finish going through book by end of Sept
  • Edit - no wait - PERFECT query packet by Oct 1
  • Send packet out to 10-15 agents that I hand chose by end of Oct.
  • Perfect book with a great line edit (oh Harold!)
  • Wait for all 15 to come back screaming "YES WE WILL TAKE IT!"
  • That's it - easy as pie!

So as you can see I am shooting past the stars because the stars are not far enough for me...

I'm shooting for the Milky Way!

Now, who's the Space Cadet? :)


Anonymous said...

I'm fascinated by this class you took with Underdown. How cool is that? Do tell--where, when, how, etc. I like the idea that he is tough. I may complain about getting "bloodied" by my crit group, but secretly I am pleased that they force me to stretch and do a better job...

Anonymous said...

Oh and by the way, I have no doubt that you will hit all your markers'
--including hitting the bestseller list and staying there!

Carrie Harris said...

I'm with you: I love to hear about success stories, especially for people like us with young kids! That kind of thing makes me think there's hope for us!

Well, maybe not for the Oscar-Oprah-3-book-deal thing, but close enough. :)