Saturday, March 15, 2008

Why You Should Always Have a Backup Laptop

As a writer, one of the most important lessons I've learned since becoming computer savy is Save Often. The other day, I learned another one. Always have a backup laptop or desktop computer. Why you may ask - Well...I had just gotten through downloading my latest edits from my editor onto my Dell laptop and I happen to glance down and see my sweet Zoe chewing on something - I should have known something was up because she was so quiet - and lo and behold I see it is a cord, and not just any cord, the cord to my laptop. I immediately glance down at the little battery meter in the corner of my screen and see it is below the halfway mark. I almost came unglued. All my recent edits are on this laptop. Hours of work. Zoe of course disappears the moment I holler her name, and then I scramble for my zip disk drive and start transferring files. So here I am praying like crazy and watching this little meter. Well, my prayers were answered - I managed to get all my manuscript files transferred onto the zip disk before the power ran out. So out comes my old trusty IBM - I knew I kept it around for a reason. Now I'm back in business. And according to Dell, will have a new power cord sometimes next week. And the representative really didn't seem that surprised at my story. Evidently Zoe isn't the only dog that likes laptop power cords. It's a wonder the knucklehead didn't get electrocuted. Geez!

I had a record number of rejects this month - but I also had another manuscript request, which definitely makes up for the rejects. I'm not going to say who because I don't want to to jinx it, but it's a publishing company that I've been trying to get my foot in the door to for a couple of years now.

The reason I had so many this month is I'm taking the advice of a well known author - Starting in December for each reject I've received I sent out three queries. It's been a daunting task - but as of right now I have three publishing companies reviewing two different manuscripts, not including the one mentioned above.

For those of you unfamiliar with the process. A writer sends out a query letter to a publisher or agent first to tweak their interest. If they like your idea - they request a synopsis of your story and 3-5 sample chapters. If they liked those, then they request the manuscript. Some publishers will let you send the compete package right off the bat (query, synopsis & sample chapters) but the majority want only the query letter first because they receive so many submissions. The first two steps take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for a response. When a manuscript is requested - it takes anywhere from a six weeks to three months & sometimes longer.

The rejects are usually informal, but every now and then you get one where they've added a personal note, and if you're extremely lucky, they'll refer you to another agent or publisher. I've had several with personal notes, but only one personal referral. And I keep all my rejections - they inspire me to keep writing. Strange you may think, but if you ask most of your well known writers - they'll tell you about their rejection file. Stephen King for instance - talked about this in his book on writing. In college he had a professor tell him he had no talent.

Speaking of writing - I better get off here and get some done. I've got a manuscript I've got to get ready to send off. Wish me luck! Stay safe & Be blessed my friends!