It’s been absolutely killing me not to share this news. But I’m going to have the amazing Lance Reynald do the honors. I am so very happy for him, you have no idea! Here’s Lance…
This week’s wrap seems such a hard one to start. It feels as though it’s such a long one coming, but it really isn’t. Still, I find myself floundering around looking for some point of origin for the crazy fortuitous journey to begin.
It certainly isn’t a secret around the Park that I really love our craft. In all it’s wild and crazy forms. Everything from some of the classics to the craziest and most random of the bloggers. I find inspiration, insight and some spark within most of it.
A few years ago I started tinkering around in Bloggsville. It gave me a place to explore my writing and get some feedback here and there from what I found to be a compassionate and understanding audience. Initially hidden behind a series of quirky screen names and odd profile photos I overcame a certain timid nature and used the medium to find my voice. The worlds of Journalspace, Blogger and a few others I can’t remember and long ago deleted acted as an incubator for the style of writing I find has become recognizable as my own.
Now, a mild digression moment here. When I started all of this wild blogging the literary world didn’t yet understand the medium or what role it might play. All the writerly magazines dismissed it as a waste of time. I even had a few friends that we’re writers tell me not to invest my time and skills into something that wasn’t the actual “ work”. As though they all adhered to this unwritten rule that they were a breed apart from the common blogger; the writing done in the medium something less than their efforts. This view is still a riddle to me. It’s all words and audience somewhere isn’t it?
And then came MySpace.
Now, this is where the naysayers should pay a bit of attention. Back when I still had fewer than 50 friends over at MySpace my roll call included a collective of memoirists, a major imprint, a handful of talented writers, literary organizations and of course, Jenna Jameson.
They all said serious literature would never catch on in Bloggsville.
Hmm? (how serious are we talking.)
In April of 2006 I added my most valuable friend to that MySpace page. A friend that would help me find a novel in the random blogposts. A friend that would offer unwaivering support to an idea, a dream. A friend that would connect me to some of the most talented writers working with the craft today. The friend that would quickly move from a shared love of thunderstorms to having the affectionate nickname of “the wondertwin”.
It was the wondertwin that saw the very first copy of Pop Salvation. She gave me the push to take it from a few insane blogposts that left my readers mute into a novel length debut.
Certainly, there are a few people in my life that made the growth of the novel possible. But, Susan Henderson is the one that I’d credit with actually pushing me to limits of my own potential with this one. She’s the support that resulted in the book’s completion. That support isn’t just about our friendship, it’s about a passion for our craft. A friendship born in Bloggsville, with a steady foundation here on this page you’re visiting.[USED TO BE A COOL PICTURE OF A POP SALVATION CAMPBELL’S SOUP CAN, BUT IT’S GONE NOW.] Click here to “friend” Pop Salvation. Cool mock-up courtesy of iamthatguy.
Looks a bit like serious work to me.
Crazy journey for two years work, huh?
Where does it all go from here?
Working with friendships, taking chances here and there, taking heed some of the conventional wisdom and doing it my way anyway? Admittedly, I am a bit of a workhorse, and not a patient one at that. Susan can vouch for me there. She saw the first copy of Pop in early October and my worries about what it would do followed soon thereafter. We’re always our own worst critics though.
I don’t have the typical story with this one. I can’t tell you the tale of swimming in the slush pile and having a wall of rejection letters. I queried three agents informally via e-mail and sent along the first 40 pages. I didn’t hear back from a single one of them. Doubtful any of them have seen a single word. No contact is certainly no rejection. One thing I learned about my patience over the past few months; no form rejection letter means they haven’t even found the time to look at you.
I relied on friendship and the strength of my work here at the park to get my foot in a door. I’ve learned that there is a certain code, or compassion, among writers.
When we can, we help one another.
I’ve had a lot of help in the past two years.
I asked one of those friend’s what his advice was regarding how to send my little book out into the world. His response to my worries about the conventional wisdom,
“what’s to lose… at worst you’ll get a form letter back.”
Being ever the rule breaker and anarchist at heart, that was just the push I needed to do exactly what I wanted to do. Was that sneaking in the back door or just a bit of luck on the DIY approach I apply to most of my life? Who knows? It worked.
Pop Salvation ended up exactly where I wanted it. The imprint my gut told me would be the best home for it. Getting it there was through hard work, determination and the friendships built right here in the Park.
So, to all of you and especially to the Wondertwin, Thank You. I wouldn’t have done it without such a great bunch of friends and such a lovely playground.
Now, I’m off to bust out some edits and get this beast on the shelf for you kids in a year or so. I can’t wait to see what it all looks like then!
All my best and all my heart.
Follow that dream, you can get it!
Thank you to this week’s guest, Monica Drake, and to everyone who linked to LitPark this week: Rachel Fershleiser at Smith Magazine, M.J. Rose, Reading Writing Living, Kimberly M. Wetherell, A.J. Davis, Anthony S. Policastro, Janet Reid at FinePrint Literary Management, the Amici Forever forum, Charles Shaughnessy, Word Junkie, and Simply Wait.