The Write Calling

Is writing your true calling? Here you'll find encouragements for writers, book reviews, publishing industry insider tips, and market news. Read musings on writing and publishing by Katey Coffing, Ph.D.: Life Coach for Women Writers.

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Published fiction and nonfiction author who embraces her creativity and coaches other women to do the same. For information and prices, visit Women-Ink.com.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Guest Post—Getting the Manuscript Requested

From one of my fabulous clients, Laura Armstrong, who recently got a request for her full romance manuscript. (You GO, girl!)

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"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." Well, I was squirmingly ready, and, hallelujah, Katey Coffing did appear.

In 2004 I stumbled into a pitch to a well-known editor and staggered out with a request for a partial. Dumb as they come, I thought the editor was being nice to everyone that day. The problem was further complicated by my pitch being better than the manuscript. "No problem," I chirped to myself, "I'll fix it."

2005 = hacked up manuscript and me with a sinking feeling that I was in deep doo-doo. Procrastination is a cover for one emotion: fear. I found myself dragging that manuscript around with me like an anchor, realizing every day that if I didn't get published, it was my own darn fault. I was afraid of getting it done and having it rejected, not getting it done and being a "could-have-been," or—new one, here—getting it done, getting it published and then having people I knew read it! Argh!

Enter the lovely Katey. With a gentle but firm hand, she pushed, encouraged, prodded and cajoled me through the following (among many other things): 1) how to finish a manuscript for the second time; 2) how to write a synopsis, short, long, one-page, 3) how to write a blurb that would roll off my tongue whenever someone asked, "what's your story about?; 4) how to hold my head up in my local RWA chapter (yes, Nora is a member—no pressure there) because at least I had my PRO pin finally, and 5) how to pitch when you know what this is really about this time.

2006 = I just sent off my first requested full manuscript to a wonderful editor. Katey, knowing me so well by now, emailed me a smiley and said, "Let me know when it has ACTUALLY LEFT YOUR HANDS." I was sliding back into the "well, let's take one more little look at it to make sure it's just perfect" routine, i.e., procrastination, aka FEAR.

Once it disappeared from my mailbox, I got a little Zen about it. At what point does a manuscript cease to be part of its author and become an entity onto itself? Or does it ever? I felt as if I'd pushed my baby bird out of the nest. I can only hope it remembers what I said about the cat.

But let me bask a moment—I finished it. It was requested. I sent it. Please, dear Universe, may I take the next logical step? I promise I'll answer the Call, lickety-split—

(And thank you, Katey!)

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Aw, shucks, Laura. You got me blushing, grinning, and puffing up like a proud mama all at once!

Everyone who reads this, please wish Laura the best of luck!

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