Monday, December 17, 2007

Auld Lang Syne


The end is upon us. No, not of the world or civilization. Nothing that dramatic. But a mere two weeks from today is New Year's Eve - or the end of 2007 will be upon us. I'm not a huge believer in New Year's resolutions, but I do set a few goals every year, particularly with regards to my writing endeavors.

Over the years I have achieved many of these goals. Finish a novel, submit material for consideration at least once a week, attend at least two writing conferences during a set year, write a set amount of words each day. Get up two hours earlier to write. Those are the easy ones, since I can control whether they happen or not.

Then there are those beyond my control that I have still accomplished. Win a writing contest, publish a story, sale a story, and for you non-writers, getting a story published and selling it are not always one in the same. Many markets pay nothing or give copies of the the publication as payment.

BUT ...

(There's always a but isn't there.) Two goals at the bottom of my list have always eluded me, and with only two weeks to go, and very little material out right now, and most literary agents and editors busy wrapping up end of year business, chances of that changing are Slim and None. And lookie there, None just drove a dagger through Slim's scrawny little chest.

That's right, for several years now acquiring an agent to represent me has been my primary focus. Signing a contract for one of my novels is still unchecked as well, but since I've only submitted to a few editors(those I've personally met at conferences) landing an agent will most likely occur before an offer for a book deal.

It has been said that acquiring a good, reputable literary agent is as hard or harder than getting published. I don't know about that, but I can verify neither one is an easy task so although I've failed year after year to realize my goals, at least in the technical sense, I still can take heart in the progress I've made.

From query letters, to requests for partials, to requests for fulls. Until this year that was as far as I'd ever gotten. But in 2007 I have had three different agents place phone calls to me. I count that as a minor success, and I have every confidence that 2008 will be the year I finally mark off at least one of those checkmarks.

Another writing related success for 2007 is this blog. I am still a bit overwhelmed at the growth that has occurred in only eight months. I started this blog to help market myself and to get my name out there. I never dreamed it would turn into such a fun and rewarding place to share my crazy thoughts, ideas and stories. I relish the immediate feedback your comments provide and I am proud to say I now have many more friends because of this blog. Thank you all.

On that note, a meme that Sherry over at Sage and Thyme tagged me with.

The Rules
The tagee is to post the first line, of the first post for each month of the year.
Provide a brief recap of these posts.

March

Coming soon - Blogging will be a new endeavor for me and I plan to post something within a few days so please check back.

This wasn't the real being and the few days quickly turned into a few weeks as April Fool's day was my first real post

APRIL

Better late than never - Have you ever shown up late for a party only to discover your friends are five or six drinks ahead of you?

That same sense of being out-of-place hit me as I sat down to type that first post.

MAY

'Cause I'm Lazy - This has been one heck of a lousy day.

A pretty pathetic post but true nonetheless.

JUNE

Call me Benedict
- No, not the pope, the traitor.

My take on some Chick Flicks.

July

The Love Boat -- Feedstore Chronicle #7

So we are up to lucky number seven of the Feedstore Chronicles.

A tale of my old boss, Earl's, luck. I still have more Feedstore Chronicles to tale but if you missed the first batch and enjoy the Santa Sagas you might wanna go back and catch up starting with Chronicle #1.

August

The rest of the Booty story

31 days in July - 31 posts. 1 day gone by in August - Zip, Nada, Zilch from me. But the good news is I hammered out another chapter of Plundered Booty last night.

Okay, so this is more than one sentence. Sometimes I don't like to play by the rules. this was the second part of my explanation of how I came to be writing a novel titles Plundered Booty.

September

Goodbye Feedstore, Hello Gridiron

Last night I headed down to Dick Bivins stadium here in Amarillo an along with 7,500 hundred other people watched my 16 year old nephew's varsity football debut.

This is when I put the Feedstore stories to rest and announced my tales of being a high school football ref in Texas. Those stories were short lived as they never drew many hits or comments.


October

Trust Me, I know What I'm Talking About

Today marks the sixth month anniversary of my first official post on this blog. Yep, I started this sucker on April Fools day. Fitting huh? Anyway in the spirit of that the most noble of holidays and with tongue planted firmly in cheek, here is my answer to WordVixen's tag about blogging advice.
Here I am cheating again. This post was my anti-advice fore blogging. I had a lot of fun with it.


November

What's Floatin' In my World

Today's post will have a little bit of everything.

And it did from announcing my recently pubbed short story to hot air balloons and Bill Clinton. Hot air and Clinton in the same post was merely coincidental.


December

I'll Tell You What To Believe, another Saga of the Second Rate Santa

I don't want this blog to become All Christmas ... All the Time, but I did say I would get another Second-Rate Santa Saga up this weekend.
The second installment of the Santa Sagas.


That sums it up. I think you are supposed to look back on the list and come up with some kind of theme, but this list only proves what I already knew about myself. I'm 90% storyteller and 10% writer and for me telling a good story is where the fun is. The rest of it is work, but work worth doing and 2008 is going to be my year. I can feel it in my bones.

I'd love to see all of y'alls year end lists so pick up the challenge and do this meme. Or at least drop a comment and let me know your goals for the new year.

22 comments:

Jenn said...

You have not failed at any of your writing endevors. It just has not happened yet. I have total faith in you and your writing, I am very proud of all you have accomplished. You are a wonderful writer and you will be rewarded for all you have done.

That sounds like a fourtune cookie. When we read fourtune cookies my friends always say in bed after you read them out loud. I hope you are not holding your breath. hahaha

Charles Gramlich said...

That's good progress with the agents and getting the personal calls. I hope 2008 brings you an agent for sure.

In my experience, getting an agent has been harder than getting published.

Shauna said...

I never set goals for the new year. I don't know what that says about me. Or maybe I do and I just don't want to delve that deep.

Sam said...

cool meme!

New Year's resolution -
Stop procrastinating so much on the internet.
(sound of hysterical maughter)

Sam said...

laughter.
Laughter.
Not maughter.

Ello said...

Hey Travis, This is a good meme! I got tagged with it too so I'll post this week. I'm with you on the whole publishing thing. It is such a difficult road. I look at it as a long race of hurdles. The first hurdle is actually writing the book, the next one is getting an agent, the next getting a publisher, the next getting good sales, etc. It is all about overcoming obstacles. But we keep at it because it is (we hope) all worth it in the end. I hope that 2008 turns out a lucky year for us both on getting an agent and getting published.

Sherry said...

Thanks for doing the meme Travis. I think this has been really tell-all...you ARE a great story-teller, you have a way with words, you paint a picture and you have a terrific sense of humour.

I think it is all in timing and with the strength you've gained in 2007, with the blogging and the slogging (with getting yourself out there, published, agented), 2008 can only bring you good things!

Sherry said...

btw...I think your wife is as funny as you are...that's a huge plus in a relationship!

Holly Kennedy said...

Travis, a stream of consciousness reply for you here (excuse typos and poor grammar)...

No, having 3 agents phone you is not a minor success. It's big. Most of them only communicate via snail mail or email. The danger in phoning a writer direct, btw, is they worry they may hook up with a "cling-on" who becomes velcro-like and assumes a phone call means some kind of promise.

Secondly, it sounds like you're going through what every writer does on his/her way to publication. Don't, however, DO NOT let the rejection get you down. It will happen if you persist.

Yes, getting an agent is hard (they say you have a 1% chance of landing a solid NY literary agent these days). However, networking helps, as do referrals, as does blogging, and your writing, of course, will eventually catch someone's eye.

My personal opinion, however, would be that you not bother submitting directly to editors. It's rare that they'll you up unagented, so focus on getting an agent first instead of spreading yourself thin.

Work on your WIP until it shines and make certain your query is knock em dead engaging and leaves them wanting more.

(If you like, I can email the query that helped me get my agent and also stirred up six other offers at the same time -- let me know).

2008 will shine. Just you wait.
Hang in there.

Appletini said...

My one and only goal this year... is to be a licensed professional :)

Marla said...

This tag makes for a good blog intro. Keep writing!

inherwritemind1 said...

I am proud to say I now have many more friends because of this blog. Thank you all.

Thank YOU, Travis. If it weren't for your encouragement I might not have started my own blog.

I love what Jenn says: You have not failed at any of your writing endevors. It just has not happened yet.

With someone like that at your side, how can you lose?

Phats said...

wow that tag was quite a lot of work!

I can't believe it's almost 08 but I am VERY thankful it is, because it means I have made it. I used to make resolutions but the longest I would last would be like a month. this year I am just going to try and return to my old workout routine from my cheerleading days when I was in the best shape of my life

Have a great Holiday travis

alternatefish said...

I stink at New Year's Resolutions. Here are a few anyway:

graduate from college (yay!)

find a job that will keep me in books and booze

write something I'm proud of (maybe we'll work on publishing it next year...)

Bernita said...

What they said.
Your year has been like a side mirror - the objects are closer than they appear.
I don't make New Year's Resolutions. I just intend to survive.

Barrie said...

I think 2008 will be the Year of the Agent for you. Seriously. You're that close.

Cheryl Wray said...

I LOVE this idea for a blog post. I am so doing this at the end of the year. Thanks for the great idea!

I have had plenty of success getting my nonfiction articles and books published, but...aaahhh... the elusiveness of the fiction success! I would SO love to get my novel finished and find a publisher, but I never seem to be able to get myself motivated in that area (even though it is my New Year's resolution EVERY year!). I love hear about other writers' struggles, so I thoroughly enjoy reading about yours here.
Continued good luck, and have a very Merry Christmas!

Travis Erwin said...

Jenn- I couldn't even try to succeed with your support.

Charles - One rung at a time. I've heard many published authors say the same thing.

Shauna- Go ahead, delve. it won't kill you.

Sam- Yep, the internet is a great way to procrastinate and I am guilty myself.

Ello - I wish you luck as well. One of the great things about blogging is meeting so many others who share the same goals.

Sherry - thanks. This was a fun meme to do. Like my novels this blog has not went the direction I first envisioned.

Holly - Thanks, and don't worry, I'm way to stubborn to quit now. If nothing else I'll get there on sheer tenacity.

Appletini - One measly goal. Don't make me call you an underachiever. :)

marla- Thanks for coming by. I'll keep writing as long as someone keeps reading.

Tena - It has been my gain to encourage you. Just means I have one more good blog to read. And yes, I am lucky to have my wife.

Travis Erwin said...

Phats- It was a bit time consuming but it was fun to look back at the year. And happy holidays to you as well.

Fish - Those are all worthy goals.

Bernita - I hope you are right.

Barrie- I like the sound of that. 08 - The Year of the Agent.

Cheryl - Any writing success is to be congratulated. Now get to work on that fiction.

Melissa Marsh said...

Great goals! I always like starting a new year off - it's like the slate has been wiped clean.

I've been trying to snag a literary agent for awhile now, too, and this year it didn't happen (unless the agent who has my full says something miraculous in the next 13 days).

My writing goals for the new year:
--complete two novels
--acquire a literary agent
--manage my time better!

Bubblewench said...

Goal: pick up some depends and wear them next time you read more then 4 of Travis's posts in a row cause I keep peein myself.

Cicily Janus said...

Travis, you never cease to amaze me. What you have accomplished is much, and not a minor feat by any stretch of the imagination. Having an agent pick up her phone and call you without your prompting or bribing...that is success.

Keep up the great work.

And of course, besides your wife, I am your biggest fan. Need any head patting or head clearing, you can always come to me.

Yours,

me