I have spastically awesome news to relay on behalf of fabulous blue-haired writer, Stephanie Perkins. Actually, I'll let her tell you herself. . .
[Go on, please, take a peek.]
How awesome is that? Yay! This is the manuscript, by the way, that I posted (and sort of gloated) about HERE. Maybe you remember, I don't know. Anyway, I'm so happy that it is now in the hands of Kate Schafer Testerman, aka Daphne Unfeasible, who Jim and I had the pleasure to meet at SCBWI Western Washington last year, discovering in her a fellow true-blue Joss Whedon fan and kindred spirit. I can't wait to hear how things go with the sale of Stephanie's book! I'M SO EXCITED!
It's been so cool, the past few months, seeing talented writers I've met get representation. Just a few weeks ago when I was talking to LK Madigan, she mentioned that her own agent, Jenn Laughran of Andrea Brown, had just signed a new client who goes by the name of Gwenda Bond. I think that because "Gwenda Bond" is such a cool name, maybe Lisa wasn't sure it was her real name, but as far as I know it is, and I'm so happy for her too. Yay, Gwenda! She got the news on New Years Day, too. Does that augur a great year, or what? Here's her giddy announcement.
And there's the incredibly talented Amber Lough, whose manuscript I was also lucky enough to read last year -- it's a grim story about a peaceful island nation invaded by the cannibal Maori in 1835, and it's written so beautifully. A little while back she signed with Laura Rennert, also of Andrea Brown, who's shopping it now. Yay! (She also gave birth to her second child a few months ago, so she's had quite a year!)
And of course. The marvelous Jolie Stekly, former co-Regional Advisor of the Western Washington SCBWI, who has stepped down from those duties to devote herself more fully to writing, signed in the fall with Rosemary Stimola, who has begun to shop her manuscript, of which I have only read the first chapter, which hooked me immediately. Go, Rosemary!
Lastly, this one goes back a bit further, but the lovely lovely Holly Cupala signed with agent Edward Necarsulmer IV, who has gotten her a two-book deal with HarperCollins. The first book, which was once marvelously titled "Brimstone Soup," has been renamed "A Light That Never Goes Out" and I'm not sure when it's slated for release. 2010? Can't wait to read it!
So, writers out there, persevere. I myself have an unorthodox agent story and didn't go through the usual process (Jane was my licensing agent for Laini's Ladies first, and isn't primarily a book agent, though we did meet at an SCBWI conference), so I don't really know what the usual process is, except that it is HARD. And it is PAINFUL. And can take a really long time. But look. All these writers with fabulous agents! It happens. In fact, it happens A LOT. The most important thing, I think, is to have the best possible manuscript. I remember in art school, a teacher (who I later came to hate, but this was before that) saying that the world of illustration really is a "meritocracy" -- unlike fine art, it's not about what gallery you've shown at or where you went to art school, just about how good your portfolio is. Well, I'm sure there's *some* importance to "who you know" (because, isn't there always? I'm a big believer in meeting people at conferences) but writing is the same. It really is the work that is important. Write an awesome book. That is the secret to getting published. Right? I wrote about that more, including Mo Willems citations, in THIS POST last year. Of course, even an awesome book isn't going to be right for every agent, so you have to find the right person, kind of like dating.
Anyway, so. . . HAPPY DANCE for the newly agented and newly published and soon-to-be-published! Yay!
And, oh, I got up and running on Scrivener last night and I can tell I am going to love it, as soon as the shininess wears off enough for me to stop playing with it and get some writing done. Before I actually downloaded it and did the tutorial, I couldn't quite imagine what it is about it that makes other writers rave so much, but now I understand. See, it's not a "word-processing" program to make your document look all pretty and formatty (though it does look pretty). It's mainly an organizational program that pulls every auxiliary document, every scrap of research, every version of every scene, etc, into one "project binder" and makes it super easy to navigate through your own work. As someone who has gotten mired and lost in file directories that look like this:
Silksinger draft 1
Silksinger draft 1a
Silksinger draft 1aa
Silksinger draft 2
Silksinger new draft 2
Silksinger no really new draft 2
(ha ha, I'm serious. It's bad) -- I can tell this is going to be awesome. I love how it makes it easy to split the text into individual chapters and then combine and split them again at the drop of a hat, depending upon what you need to do at that moment. And it's got outline functions, and an honest-to-god index-cards-on-a-corkboard function, so you can see your book at a glance, and there are all kinds of other tools that I could tell you about, but it'd be better for you do download the free trial and play with it. Oh, it's Mac-only, which I love, having only ever owned Apple computers since that first Apple 2GS back in 1987, and there are so many programs that are PC-only. But this, this is for us. So, nyah.
Now, I'm going to go and play some more, highlight things willy nilly, and drag photos of horse gas masks and Moroccan tea pots into my Inspector. Because I can.