In yesterday’s post, I mentioned I would be talking about the agenting (yup, pretty sure I made up this word) process today! As a girl who likes to keep her promises, that’s exactly what Ill be covering today.


It was 2016 when I began my writing career. I’ve been writing books since I was at least eight years old; I still remember that story I wrote about my favorite stuffed animal when I was in second grade. I should probably find it. It’s probably got a basis in there for my next bestseller. Anyway, my professional dip into writing came in 2016 when I published my first book, Sin in Suburbia.



I had always had dreams of becoming traditionally published, but that was before I knew self-publishing was a thing. After writing Sin in Suburbia, I decided to reach out to one of my favorite people, BB Easton, who I had met through the online community on bookstagram. I had a couple questions about how to publish a book. She suggested self-publishing and gave me pointers on how to do it, as well as, gave me all kinds of great advice and encouragement. I will forever be grateful to her for answering my email.


Not long after, I had everything set up and hit publish. The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve since self-published the rest of The Brookston Housewives Series: Secrets on Sapphire and Skeletons Amongst Sycamores and an Amazon Top 100 in Ghost Suspense Bestseller: My Girl. There have been a few novellas sprinkled onto the list as well.


I am so proud of these books and always will be, but after five years of self-publishing and blogging and taking time off for much needed ‘me time’, I still felt that itch. My dream to be traditionally published was a dream that still existed. It was an itch that needed to be scratched. So, after much thought and consideration, I decided I was going to retire S. Cole (my self-published pen name) and chase after my dream of becoming traditionally published. I would hate myself if I didn’t try. So, here I am, as Shay Apple, running after the dream.


Becoming traditionally published is not an easy feat. It’s a long process and arduous effort and you’ve got to have a good amount of patience and faith that all will work out in due timing if you’re going to take this path. After researching the process and sticking myself in the middle of it, I’ve learned a lot about how it works. I’m definitely no expert, but I think I’ve got the steps down.


Do you want to become traditionally published? Here are the steps:


Write the damn book. You can’t do anything without this very important first step. A lot of people dream of writing a book and seeing it published. However, this can’t happen if you don’t take the time to sit down and write the thing. This is the hardest part. You can do it!




Craft together a query letter. Might do a separate post on this, but in the meantime, there are a ton of resources online to find out how to put together this pesky little thing.


Research agents. You have to find agents who are looking for YOUR BOOK. You can’t send a query letter to an agent who is searching for children’s books if you wrote an adult horror novel. I mean, you can, but I can almost guarantee they won’t offer representation.


Make a list of agents you want to query. After you’ve researched, make a list of who you want to send your query out to. My list right now has over 100 agents on it . . . it seems like a lot, but it’s not. At least to me, it isn’t. I’ve got my list in an Excel spreadsheet and I keep tabs on who I’ve queried, when I queried them and when their expected response is, and then whether it was an accept (for a full or partial) or a pass. You’ll want to make a list and organize it in a way that is most beneficial for you.


Send out the queries! There are a lot of sources that have differing ideas of whether you blast to all of the agents on your list or send them out in batches. As a writer who has over 100 agents on her query list, I prefer to send out in batches. With my current manuscript, it actually worked in my favor to do it this way. I sent out a few and waited to see what the response was. Some of those first few requested fulls or partials, but then ultimately passed. I sent a few more out and received much of the same response. This told me that my query was working, but something with my manuscript was not. After getting some feedback on my work, I completely changed the first fifty pages of my manuscript. I sent out new queries to my second batch and got more full requests. I had a couple revise and resubmit and I looked at my opening pages again. I added in two new chapters, reworking the manuscript and resubmitted. So, you see, sending out batches worked in my favor and helped me make my manuscript even better. Now, you don’t want to query until your manuscript is in pristine condition. I thought mine was. I was ready to query. However, through this process, I learned where things needed to be switched around. Had I sent out my query to every single agent on my list, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make any changes. I could have made them, sure, but my list would have been depleted and I would have had no new agents to query.


Wait for a response. If writing the manuscript is the hardest part, this step is next in line. Some agents are super quick in their response times and others are a bit longer. You aren’t the only one querying them. They get tons of queries every day. So, as I mentioned before, patience is a key in this process. The average response time I find is 6-8 weeks, with some falling a little below or above that timeframe. I typically give about three months before I CNR (closed; no response) a query and move on. Be sure to read their bios and research online because some agents are okay with you sending them a little, polite nudge. I’ve done this a few times and I either get a quick, kind reply back or none at all. If I don’t get one at all, I’m right where I was before I sent the nudge, so, no harm, no foul. However, I, personally, will not send a nudge if I don’t find that they ask for it somewhere online.


This is just the beginning steps on how to become traditionally published, but these are my steps to the agenting process. I hope this helps!


What do we think? Should we do more writing process posts? Share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments below!


That’s all for now, Poison Apples!


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It’s Tuesday and I’m back with the feeling of meh. I tried y’all. I tried with the positive mindset and waking up on the right side of the bed. I meditated right before I fell asleep last night, but it’s just not a good day today. The thing that’s getting me through though, is accepting that that’s okay. It’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to have a bad day. As long as the negativity doesn’t linger unnecessarily, I think having an off moment or two is healthy. I’m no professional and I’m still working on trying to get in with one, but I think it’s human to be sad or down or upset. You can’t be happy 24/7, no matter what Instagram shows.



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I was looking forward to this week being a great one after having such a good weekend. I really wanted to leave the smile on my face and mean it, but it’s just not happening today. There are some things going on in my personal life that are still unresolved and then there’s the whole trying to ‘make it’ as a writer thing that’s happening.


As I was meditating last night, I could feel the tension in my shoulders and in my neck. I tried to relax my body and focus on my breathing, but the tightness in my body was unwavering. My focus kept going to the pain and then my mind would wander off to the things that were causing me so much stress. All of that, when I was meditating to free myself from the stress. I am definitely no meditation expert and I know learning how to do it properly takes time. So, I’ll get there eventually. It’s a practice I’ll have to keep doing and hopefully will see results soon.


After meditating, I should have just put my phone away and not looked at it. I had already set my alarms for the next morning; there was no need to look at any notifications. However, I did. I looked. I had gotten an email from an agent I had queried and it was a rejection. Now, I’ve gotten many of these before, so it wasn’t the end of the world, but after trying to de-stress before going to sleep, I probably could have gone without seeing that email and waited until this morning to open it.


We’ll get more into the agenting process in tomorrow’s post. (I’m pretty sure I just made up that word: ‘agenting’).


Anyhow, all of this to say: if you’re having a bad day, it’s okay. Keep the positive thoughts coming and hope soon they’ll outweigh the negative ones. And if they don’t do that until tomorrow, know that I’m here with you. We got this!



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Do you meditate? Know any tips or tricks on how to clear your mind while doing so? Do you use an app? If so, what is it? Drop all your answers in the comments below!


Happy Tuesday.


Good Morning Poison Apples!


It's Monday morning and it's the start of a new week! If you've known me for any time now, you know that I have never had a huge problem with Mondays (don't get me started on Tuesdays though).


Monday, to me, is a day to start fresh, relax, and wind down from the weekend before we get to the grind of the week. Having this mindset has always gotten me through the Monday blues and get my week started off on the right foot.


As I mentioned in my last post, I've been having a little bit of a difficult time lately, but this past weekend wasn't actually that bad.


Friday night, I chilled out at home with a couple glasses of wine; I went classic with a red Moscato, screw top and caught up on shows on my DVR.



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I wasn't really looking forward to Saturday because I had to work. I'm a Monday through Friday kinda girl, so the thought of having to go into work on a Saturday was not really something I was looking forward to. However, it actually ended up not being such a bad thing. It got me out of the house, which is something I haven't been doing on the weekends lately . . . and though, yeah, I'd have rather spent my time on a patio with a cocktail, chatting with one of my friends, I still moved from off of my couch and right now, I'd call that an accomplishment.


The drive in to work was nice and easy and I listened to my current Audible read: Good Girl, Bad, Blood by Holly Jackson. This book is the sequel to A Good Girl's Guide To Murder, which I HIGHLY recommend btw.



My shift at work was pretty easy and I got to continue looking at the beautiful, sunny day while I worked. After four hours, I was back on the road, commuting back home, and I was in the house while the sun was still shining. After taking a shower, I opened my blinds and took in the last bit of daylight while I made some dinner and sipped on some wine. I ended the night with some true crime from dateline and then I cozied up in my bed.


Sunday was just as good; I got housework done and then spent a few hours with a friend, chillin, catching up, and watching a movie on Netflix I've been wanting to watch: Thunder Force. It was pretty cute! All of that, and then I ended my day in a bubble bath!



I think a lot of what turned this weekend into such a good one was me changing my mindset about it Friday night. While I was at work Friday, really throughout the whole week, I wasn't looking forward to this past weekend. I knew I had to work and I needed to get chores done and I felt like my weekend was pretty much a wash. However, before I went to bed Friday night, I told myself to enjoy the time I was going to have to just relax. Though I still had to wake up to an alarm Saturday morning, I still got to sleep in. Though I wasn't going to get much time to write this weekend, I was going to have a clean house and more money on my next paycheck. That positive mindset turned the whole weekend around.


So, cheers to this Monday and keeping the positive mindset going!


I just need to remind myself to do this again on Tuesday 😅


Much love,


Shay


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