Peering Out From Rejection

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Can you see me over the enormous pile of rejections I’ve collected? Maybe if I jump you’ll catch a quick look at the top of my head. It’s rough out there and I’ve got the battle scars to prove it! That being said, this round of queries was actually more successful than all previous rounds. Success is all in how to you choose to define it, right?

I call this round successful because it has the highest rate of actual responses. This means I got personalized emails, rather than the usual deafening, soul crushing silence that makes me think my query package ended up in a black hole somewhere.

In total, I sent out 13 query packages that included a revamped query letter (which I created after taking a great workshop at Phoenix Comicon). Considering this was a test run for the new query letter and freshly drafted synopsis, I decided to keep the total number packages sent out on the low end.

Within 9 weeks, I received 6 personalized responses from agents. The last one came just a couple of weeks ago. All were very positive and encouraging, citing that my project just wasn’t right for them. While its never fun to be rejected, I do take some pride in the fact that I wasn’t chastised for terrible writing or told I should give up (I’ve heard horror stories from writers who have received rejections of this nature).

With 7 total responses, that means 53% took the time to answer me and they did so with something other than a form letter. You know what? I’ll take that with a smile. In previous rounds of queries, I was lucky to see a 30% response rate. This is progress.

On the other hand, there were six black holes. I’m in the process now of learning how to check in with agents who have not responded. I’ve never been brave enough to do it, but at this point, I don’t think I really have anything to lose!

In addition, I’m diving right back into the battlefield. I’ll be participating in #PitMad on Twitter today! Search the hashtag and you just might see my pitches for my novel. If an agent favorites the tweet, that means they are requesting a submission. It’s my first time, so I have no idea what to expect. Nothing may come of it, but I figure it’s worth a try. And it’ll be fun to see what other authors are pitching!

The rejection pile is high and mighty, but I keep telling myself one thing: All it takes is one “yes.”

 

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c.b.w. 2017

May Status Report: 2012 Goals

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May is always a crazy month for me as it signals the end of the school year.  As a teacher, that means I’m in a mad dash to finish curriculum, administer final exams, close out grades, and pack up my classroom for the summer.  Despite the extra workload at my day job, I managed to make some great headway on my 2012 writing goals.

1) Submit five pieces of writing to contests, journals, literary magazines, or the newspaper.

I just finished a story for a small Writer’s Digest contest.  In every issue, they post a prompt with an invitation to submit entries.  The deadline is June 10th for the piece I wrote and I will submit it well before that date.

I am also gearing up to comb through a gigantic list of upcoming writing contests compiled by Stephanie Smith. While most contests seemed geared towards fantasy and YA genres, there are categories for contemporary fiction that might fit some of the stories I have in my “vault.”  It’s worth a look at the very least!

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.

In April, I submitted the first thirty pages of my novel for a critique, but I learned the hard way that not everyone keeps their word.  After more than a month of waiting for the promised critique, I wound up with nothing.  Thankfully, the situation has since been rectified and those pages are now in the hands of someone who has very kindly agreed to pick up the dropped ball.

As a result of this little hiccup, my first novel has been on hold.  I’m hoping the arrival of a critique in the next week or so will allow me jump right back in and make some great revisions.  After all, the big picture goal is to make it as polished as possible for the eyes of an agent.

3) Work on my second novel.

Over the last few weeks, my muse has been obsessed with my second novel.  The story is swimming through my imagination at such a fast pace, I can barely keep up.  I literally keep my novel notebook and pen with me at all times because I can’t stop writing!  Two of my characters in particular are incredibly chatty and have created a new twist in the plot.  I never saw it coming and I am beyond excited to continue exploring this new story element.

Starting word count: 51, 381
End word count: 53, 695
Total word count: 2,314

4) Send out five query letters and be ready with a synopsis.

Last month I made the mini-goal of sending my query letter to Pitchapalooza via the World Literary Cafe.  I am happy to report that I met that goal.  I didn’t win the contest, but it felt great to finally put a query in the hands of an agent.  The ice has officially been broken and that motivates me to send out more query letters.  One down, four to go!

In addition, my new critiquer has agreed to give my query letter a line-by-line assessment.  I am beyond excited to get some help on making my query as strong as possible.

5) Keep up with my blog.

Back in April I set a schedule of posting four times a week, but my muse obviously did not agree with this plan.  In the month of May, I posted 29 times and my inspiration is not slowing down.  Thanks so much to my readers for continuing to stop by every day.  I have a lot planned for the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

6) Network more with other writers.

I’ve stepped back slightly from networking, (mainly due to time constraints), but I still managed to do enough to see my numbers go up once again.  I’ll be back in full force over the summer to keep my network growing!

My Facebook Page has grown from 110 to 140 Likes.

On Twitter, my followers have grown from 211 to 237.

Thank you so much to everyone who has clicked those “Like” and “Follow” buttons!  I appreciate all of you so much!

To follow me on either network, please visit my sidebar.

7) Inspire other writers to keep writing.

As always, I hope my presence is positive and inspiring.

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c.b. 2012

April Status Report: 2012 Goals

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I can’t believe its time again to reflect on my 2012 goals already!  April slipped by so fast, I’m surprised I got anything accomplished.  This month was full of revisions and editing, which is productive and worthwhile, but very quiet.

Sadly, I have to admit a failure, but I don’t see it as a bad thing.  An unexpected development has forced me to push back a deadline, but I believe it will be for the best in the long run.  Sometimes, it’s all about keeping my eye on the big picture.

1) Submit five pieces of writing to contests, journals, literary magazines, or the newspaper.

I just finished a short story for a small contest and I’m really happy with how it turned out.  I’m letting it sit for a little while before I go in and do some final revisions, but I’ll have it submitted before the deadline, (June 10th).  Yay!

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.

April turned out to be great month for my first novel.  I was able to go in adjust dialogue in three sections, which will help alleviate a problem all four of my beta readers spotted.  In addition, I’m in the process of figuring out where to add a scene I took out during the last revision.  I’ve debated where it should go for a long time and I now have it narrowed down to two places.  I’m hoping to have some time today to make a final decision.

The first 30 pages of my manuscript have also been submitted for a full assessment thanks to the prize I won in the Fourth Writer’s Platform Building Campaign, (See Celebrating a Win).  I’m looking forward to some honest feedback that will help me make further improvements.

3) Work on my second novel.

I didn’t get to work on this project in the traditional sense, but I’ve done a lot of scribbling in my novel notebook. I got stuck trying to create a transition between two sections and I finally figured out what was missing thanks to some late night brainstorming.  However, I still managed to get a bit of a word count.

Starting word count: 50, 831
End word count: 51, 381
Total word count: 550

The story is always on my mind and in the last week, my characters have started to get chatty.  I’m getting snippets of conversations between them and I love what I’m hearing.

4) Send out five query letters and be ready with a synopsis.

This is going to sting a little to write.  In March, I set a deadline to have a query letter sent out by the end of April.  Unfortunately, some unforeseen circumstances have prevented that from happening. The critique I won in the Writer’s Platform Building Campaign allowed me to send my query for an assessment as well.  I haven’t received all the feedback yet, so I’m hesitant to do anything until I receive a full critique.  Based on what I’ve received so far, I believe it will be incredibly helpful and will give me a much stronger chance of landing an agent.

On the bright side, I have plenty of time to participate in Pitchapalooza via the World Literary Café.  The Book Doctors are accepting queries in a little contest all the way until May 15.  The winner’s query will be put in the hands of an agent.   Hence, my new deadline is May 15.  I won’t miss this one!

On the synopsis front, I sent it to a beta reader who gave me some great advice.  I’ve made a few changes and its already looking better!

5) Keep up with my blog.

Again, this hasn’t been a problem!  I’ve slowed down a bit this month in order to maintain my sanity and create more time for other projects, but ultimately, posts have been steady.  In April, I posted a total of 25 times and I appreciate everyone who stopped by to read and comment.  Thank you so much for continuing to follow my journey!

6) Network more with other writers.

April has been another great month in terms of networking.  The more I explore the World Literary Café, the more I love it.  They offer so much in terms of classes, forums, and links.  I’m still exploring and I’m sure I’ll find loads more!  Thanks to WLC, I’ve been able to boost my network considerably.

My Facebook Page has grown from 41 to 110 Likes

On Twitter, my followers have grown from 156 to 211.

Thank you so much to everyone who has clicked those “Like” and “Follow” buttons!  I appreciate all of you so much!

To follow me on either network, please visit my sidebar.

7) Inspire other writers to keep writing.

As always, I hope my presence is positive and inspiring.

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c.b. 2012

Celebrating One Year!

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It’s hard to believe that one year ago today, I launched my blog.  The last 12 months have brought more milestones than I ever thought I’d reach and has allowed me to be part of an amazing community of writers and readers.  My gratitude goes to all of you for deciding to follow my journey as a writer and creative spirit.  Your presence as readers and commenters is so encouraging, inspiring, and very much appreciated.

As my muse and I grow, my blog continues to evolve, which means both new and old followers may not be aware of everything hiding in the nooks and crannies of C.B. Wentworth.  So, it seems the only fitting way to celebrate my one year anniversary is to take a look at how far I’ve come and where I’m heading next.  Let’s take a tour!

Along the Top: 

  • There is a small menu of page links that divide the content of my blog.
    • About – Like most bloggers, I wrote a little blurb about myself and the purpose of my blog. Perhaps I got a bit too whimsical, but I stand by the arguments I have with my muse!
    • My Bookshelf – Did you know I keep a log of all the books I read?  Books I’ve enjoyed from 2010, 2011, and the growing list of 2012 are all listed on My Bookshelf.  This year, I started writing snapshot reviews and providing links for each title.  I update this page regularly and leave comments open for book discussions, debates, and recommendations for further reading.
    • Home – The main page of my blog is where all new posts appear.  I write on a number topics, which are represented with category links below the main header.  Content is pretty random and that’s largely because I don’t believe in limiting where my muse can go.  If anything, I like the element of surprise for both myself as a writer and for readers.  My voice, however, is what ties everything together.  I’ve been told I have a unique personality and it comes through in everything I write!

On the main page:

  • Blog Schedule – I post three or four times a week, typically Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.  However, there are weeks where I’ll post every day.  It depends on how chatty my muse is and how much time is available to write.
  • Comments – Every post is open to comments and I make it a point to answer every single person who leaves a comment.  Reader thoughts are important to me and I enjoy the conversation.
  • Current Series/Projects:
    • Wreck This Journal – This series documents the pages I complete in Keri Smith’s groundbreaking book of the same title.  I’m happy to say this series has inspired a number of people to buy their own Wreck This Journal and embark on a similar journey of reckless creativity.
    • Project Art Journal – This series showcases pages from a journal I created with paper lunch bags.  Each page is constructed using mixed-media collage and I provide step by step instructions for the techniques I use to create each layout.
    • Sundays in London – A three week sojourn to London serves as the inspiration for poetry and musings.  Every Sunday I post a photograph from my adventure, along with the words it inspires.
    • 2012 Goals Status Report – At the end of every month, I hold myself accountable for the writing goals I’ve set for 2012.  I document both successes and failures as they occur to keep myself on track for the year.
  • In between these regular series is where random topics run rampant.  A post without the aforementioned titles is one where I’ve wandered into fiction, travel, books or any of the other categories listed under the main header.

Along the sidebar:

  • The main photograph is my actual bookshelf.  I took this shot with my cell phone and played with it on iPhoto until I got it to match the color scheme of my chosen theme. Every photograph on my blog is my own, unless otherwise noted.
  • Subscribing to my blog is as easy as clicking on the “sign me up” button.  Thanks again to those who have already done so!
  • Over on Facebook I’ve create a writer page, where I post blog updates, links to other blogs and sites, announcements, and general musings about writing.  Clicking “Like” button opens up these features and I love it when people write on my wall.
  • My Twitter Tweets chronicle my writing process, books I’m reading, and fantastic inspirational quotes I find in a variety of places. Click the button on my sidebar and we’ll tweet together!
  • Pinterest is my newest obsession.  The crafter and artist in me can’t get enough of the visual inspiration this site has to offer.  I pin everything from upcycling projects, photos of my dream flat in London, and art journal pages.  Click the red button on my sidebar to see what I’m pinning and to follow along.
  • I recently joined the World Literary Cafe to network with other writers and readers.  So far, it has been an amazing experience!  I’m still learning the ropes of all it has to offer, but I highly recommend it to anyone looking for information about how to network.
  • I joined goodreads a few months ago, because I loved the idea of the 2012 Reading Challenge.  I have a goal of reading at least 30 books this year and so far, I’m right on track.
  • Musings of a writer is a little section where I place random quotes that pop into my head.  I don’t change it very often, but I always try to come up with something that represents my philosophy of what it means to be a writer.
  • In the Recent Posts section, I keep a listing of the 50 most recent blog entries.
  • My tag cloud is just as random as my posts, so I guess that’s another indicator of how my muse works! Clicking on any one of those tags will take you to all my posts relating to that topic.
  • I’m sorry to say my Blogroll is in dire need of updating!  I have about 30 blogs to add, but the current list of blogs are still among my favorite.  I visit them daily for a great read and endless inspiration.
  • The Campaign Shield serves as my badge for surviving my first Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign.  The campaign was worth participating in as I met so many wonderful bloggers and I really enjoyed the challenge of tough writing prompts and competition. I’m still in shock that I won the last competition, (See Fatespeak)!
  • Thanks to some fabulous bloggers, I’ve been lucky enough to receive several blog awards.  There’s nothing quite as encouraging or gratifying as another blogger acknowledging my work.  I appreciate every single one and those who gave them to me.

Filling out the Footer:

  • I keep all the logistical information at the bottom.  This is where the archives, calendar, and blog stats reside.   I wish it was more exciting, but alas there is always a corner for the technical stuff!

Random Tidbits:

  • My gravatar photo is the same photo I use for all social media.  The meaning behind that black and white road can be found on a post entitled, One Photograph Changed Everything.

Photo by Robert Frank, (as featured in "The Americans.")

  • My icon photo is a collage I created and photographed.  I pieced together magazine photos of trees, cliffs, and petroglyphs.  The emphasis on the hand in the center is symbolic of the human journey in which we all travel.

Collage by c.b.w.

  • Back in August, my post The Best Souvenirs Are Free was chosen to be Freshly Pressed.   I wish I could properly convey how exciting that was, but I still can’t find the right words.

The Best Souvenirs Are Free

Coming Soon:

  • Project Flash Fiction – As summer approaches, I’ll be embarking on a challenge to write one piece of flash fiction every week.
  • Finish This Book – With Wreck This Journal winding down over the next couple of months, Keri Smith’s most recent book will be my next source of reckless creativity. Pages and experiences will be posted on a bi-weekly basis.
  • Pinhole Camera Adventure – On a whim, I bought a kit for a pinhole camera and I plan on documenting the experiment from start to  finish, including the photographs I take with this contraption!
  • Project Upcycle – Pinterest has turned me into an upcycling fanatic.  I have several projects lined up and I’ll be documenting each one as they are completed.
  • Q&A Journal – Another summer project where a question a day can lead to anything.  A weekly post will document my answers and the inspiration that will likely ensue.

Thanks again to all my readers, new and old!  This year has been an incredible experience and I can’t wait to see what is yet to come.

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c.b. 2012

Programming Note

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It’s no secret that I’ve been writing like a lunatic lately.  While I love posting something new every day, I am beginning to worry about burning out my muse.  Starting next week, I will be reverting to my previous blog schedule where new posts will show up on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Occasional posts may show up on “off” days, but only if I find myself particularly inspired or have something on my mind.  Otherwise, I’ll be using the extra time to focus more energy on my 2012 goals, (my query letter deadline is looming ominously), read other fantastic blogs, (I don’t want to fall behind on this one!), and squeeze in my day job.

To stay apprised of all new posts, follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook Page – C.B. Wentworth

Twitter – @cbwentworth

Both can also be found along my sidebar with handy dandy follow buttons!

There will be a post tomorrow, but instead of the usual Sunday in London, I’m planning on posting something cute for Easter.  Let’s just say I got a little creative with pompoms, pipe cleaners, and wiggly eyes!  Sundays in London will return next week with new musings and pictures.

Many, many thanks to all my readers and followers for your amazing support.  Every click, comment, and like inspires me to keep writing!

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c.b.w. 2012