Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kim Lauer: Another "No"...Finding Joy in the Journey of Writi...

Kim Lauer: Another "No"...Finding Joy in the Journey of Writi...: I received my fourth “no” from a literary agent today. It was the nicest so far and the one with the most feedback; although I still wish ...

Another "No"...Finding Joy in the Journey of Writing

I received my fourth “no” from a literary agent today.  It was the nicest so far and the one with the most feedback; although I still wish for more.  I am still extremely thankful that I haven’t heard, “You’re a horrible writer” or “It’s just like everything else out there.”  Until I read one of those responses, I will feel good.  I believe in my story and feel that it is unique (I am aware that every writer thinks that) and I would hate to hear that I am horrible at something I love so much.   I will keep trudging along the publishing road.  I am learning a lot as I get to each step or obstacle along the path, and I am discovering some parts really are quite fun.
I remember when I first got an email account.  I was so excited every time I clicked on the button to open my inbox or start my connection.  I was excited to see or hear the words, “You’ve got mail.”  I wondered which college friend had sent me something or if my boyfriend states away had emailed.  That feeling soon faded.  My email became work related and not very exciting.  My friends resorted to leaving me posts on Facebook or Twitter.  It just wasn’t as exciting to see what mail happened to be in the inbox.  Things changed about a month ago when I started sending out queries to agents and publishers.  I get excited to check my inbox again.  The little flutter of anticipation has returned.  I can’t wait for the site to load and read who has sent me a message.  Is it a response to a query?  Has an agent fallen in love with the prĂ©cis of my book?  Are they dying to read more?
So far the answers to those last two questions has been “no.”  That is okay, for now.  I am excited to be on this new adventure.  I have things that give me joy and contentedness in my life, but it is fun to have an exciting entity to anticipate and dream about.  It provides a lot of delight to my routine that can seem dull at times.  It is one aspect of the writing road that I am thoroughly enjoying.   I like suspense.  I like adventure; and someday an agent, or a publisher, or maybe just a few readers will enjoy my Middle Grade Adventure book.   
Since I am not only an aspiring author but also a Christian and a youth worker, I thought about all this in a different way as well.  Sometimes our lives can be tough.  We often hear the word “no” about things that are extremely important to us.  “No, you didn’t get the job.”  “No, the cancer isn’t gone.”  “No, the car can’t be fixed.”  “No, I don’t want to be your friend.”  It is tough to hear the word and what sometimes follows.  Life on this earth is rarely easy, but we can find joy about our adventure here when we know where to look.  God doesn’t tell us “no.”  He says, “Yes!”  Yes to salvation, yes to forgiveness, yes to love, and yes to hope.  He knows there is more to come, and he wants us to find true joy.
What can you be happy about in your life today?  What simple things, like checking your inbox with hope in your heart, can put a smile on your face?  Where are you finding the joy in whatever adventure you are on?  I hope you can see it clearly and feel it abundantly.
Matthew 6:33 reminds us “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kim Lauer: Will My Book Be Published? Who Knows?

Kim Lauer: Will My Book Be Published? Who Knows?: What are the odds that my book will be published or even picked up for representation by a Literary Agent? Pretty low. I am aware of tha...

Will My Book Be Published? Who Knows?

What are the odds that my book will be published or even picked up for representation by a Literary Agent?  Pretty low.  I am aware of that, and yet I am still making an attempt to get my manuscript printed.   I am also hopeful.  It is just a part of who I am; I can’t help but be optimistic.  I am also confident that things will work out with another aspect of my life causing some stress.  My current HOA is hounding us about our yard and the lack of grass, even though we are in a draught and under water restrictions.  They want to fine us and aren’t giving us much time to fix things.  I am positive that this situation will be resolved amicably and in our favor.  Why am I so sanguine?  Because I have seen amazing things happen to not so amazing people.  It is how my God likes to work. 
Every day we encounter things that can send us into worried frenzies.  Some things are huge, and some things are minute.  From there’s a gnat in my lip gloss (thank you Beth Moore) to a 2 month old losing a lung (current worry for my husband’s coworker), we experience exasperations and anxiety daily.  It’s a part of life.  It’s how we react to these things that truly matters.  Will we let the latest difficulty pull us down and out?  Will we constantly worry and nervously await a response from a publisher or agent until it consumes us?  Will the possibility of our HOA fining us a ridiculous amount of money when we can’t do anything about the current climate aggravate us to the point of uncontrollable anger?  I hope not; for in God I hope.
Have you ever realized how many times the words “who knows?” are in the Bible?  I know of at least three.  What are these words referring to?  Three separate people telling the others around them that God could change his mind and relent, have pity, be gracious.  These three people spend time on their knees, on their faces, in tears, in sackcloth (a sign of humility), and fasting in hopes that God will see their actions and have mercy.  It is what they decided to do when they were faced with horrible news and extreme anxiety.  They said, “who knows” God could fix this.  In two out of the three cases He did just that.  I bet they were glad they asked.
So…who knows?  Maybe my book will be published someday.  Maybe my recent stress about our HOA will be resolved.  Maybe the little boy will be healed and do well after the surgery.  Who knows?  God knows, and I believe he wants all people to come to know Him and believe.  Sometimes we may be going through something just so that God can do something powerful and show how much He cares.  Hopefully we are reminded just to ask.  One king did, and it resulted in the biggest restoration in all of history. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kim Lauer: The Secret Circle as a Gateway

Kim Lauer: The Secret Circle as a Gateway: There have been many things about the process of getting published that have intimidated and discouraged me. One particular aspect kept...

The Secret Circle as a Gateway

There have been many things about the process of getting published that have intimidated and discouraged me.  One particular aspect kept me from doing an important and responsible thing that every writer should.  I was terrified to read other books from my genre.  I was sure that one would be too similar to my own story that I spent five years developing.  I got a hollow feeling in my stomach each time I researched other Middle Grade Adventure Fiction.  It was like watching a horror film. 
On one particular hot and sunny day in late August, just as I was preparing to send my newly edited and nicely arranged query and first three chapters to a publisher, I ran across a title and description of a new series on the CW.  The title alone sent the familiar feeling into my stomach.  I quickly researched all I could about the new show, which was also a book.  It sounded way too much like my book; the one lying on the counter in front of me waiting to be sent to a publisher for the first time.  I almost didn’t send it.  I figured it was as I feared, and it was just too comparable to everything else on the market.  I am glad I didn’t listen to those pesky feelings of doubt and incompetence. 
No, I haven’t heard back from a publisher or agent, but I have been watching The Secret Circle.  The first episode was scary.  There were a few moments where I felt like I could be watching a scene out of my own book, but then things changed.  Witchcraft became a major theme and so did romance.  I started to embrace the differences of The Secret Circle, and I even started to view its similarities as something that may actually help my book get published.  The Secret Circle could actually be an access point for me and my dream.
I think there are many obstacles and pessimistic feelings that can stop aspiring authors from pursuing their publishing dreams.  I am glad I didn’t let one of my biggest fears get in the way.  Sometimes a book, or show, or movie can remind us instantly of our precious manuscript.  Don’t be scared to read it or watch it.  Don’t run from the things that are similar to your book.  Discover and delight in the differences and the fact that the popularity of something resembling your manuscript may bring you an even bigger audience. 

I am reminded of something Priscilla Shirer once said about how God goes before us and tinkers with the gears to make sure that when we step up to the plate maximum results will be achieved.  He may have brought about a new series on a popular network just for me.  "The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kim Lauer: One Agent or Many...That is the Question.

Kim Lauer: One Agent or Many...That is the Question.: I decided to write about waiting again today. We are always waiting for something. What are you waiting for today? I am still waiting ...

One Agent or Many...That is the Question.

I decided to write about waiting again today.  We are always waiting for something.  What are you waiting for today?  I am still waiting for a response from the very first (and only) agent I have sent my manuscript.  She is behind, via twitter.    This current waiting spell has made me think about quality versus quantity.  Why did I only send my manuscript to one agent instead of a mass of them?  I researched and practically stalked quite a few literary agents in my hunt for the perfect fit.  There were quite a few extremely talented and professional people with an interest in my brand of book.  So… why just the one? 
I don’t know if I have a good answer as to why.  She seemed like the perfect fit for my manuscript.  I wanted to make my query speak to her directly.  I think she would love my book if she gives it a chance.  Hence I am waiting from one yes or one no from one agent.  Maybe my chances for a “yes” would be higher if I had sent my book to the dozen or so agents with an interest in Middle Grade Adventure Fiction (with light fantasy).  After all, isn’t the “right” agent the one that says “yes!”   Maybe…maybe not. 
I am curious to know what other aspiring authors do when they send out a manuscript.  Do you seek an agent first?  Do you send a query to as many literary agents and publishers as you can?  Do you seek the one perfect fit and hang your hopes on her or him for a while?  What happens when or if they say “not for me?”   I am thankful that I still have a dozen agents to pitch when that inevitable first “no” comes my way.  I am also thankful to have so many blessings in my life.  My book being published would be great, but all my eggs really aren’t in one basket.  I have a great job, great family, great friends, and a God that is leading me where He wants me to go.  All I have to do is say “yes.” 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kim Lauer: On Steve Jobs and the Printed Word

Kim Lauer: On Steve Jobs and the Printed Word: In honor of Steve Jobs I thought I would blog about technology and the way it has affected me and those I love. Karl and I never had a ce...

On Steve Jobs and the Printed Word

In honor of Steve Jobs I thought I would blog about technology and the way it has affected me and those I love.   
Karl and I never had a cell phone until we got married in 2003.  We shared the first one.  I remember he teased me about programming all my family members in the precious 2, 3, and 4 spots for one-button dialing.  Number 1 has always been for voicemail.  We had a really old computer for the first 3 years of our marriage, and then I got him a DELL for his birthday.  I can remember when the internet was invented.  I was in middle school…in reality I guess it could have been earlier, but I remember learning about it in middle school.  People were debating the disappearance of the post…much like the latest buzz about the vanishing of printed books. 
I want to share a small detail about two of the people I love the most who are among the reason why “snail mail” and “paper-books” will always exist.  My husband, Karl is an avid sports fan and collector.  He has huge boxes in his “man cave” full of all sorts of sports cards.  He is constantly buying and trading these cards, and he usually makes a trip to the post office about once a week.  He will forever be using the “old-fashioned” way to send things, but he is also grateful to sights like ebay and Sports Card Forum for ways to trade and buy with people all over the world.  He does miss entering his favorite card shop in Elgin, Illinois (Shoebox Memorabilia), and he does occasionally visit the shop in North Austin.   
My mother is a fabulous person for many reasons, but one of my favorite things about her is that she has a library card and probably checks out a book once a week.  She will never own a kindle or a nook.  She, like many, enjoys the feel of a book in her hands and the smell of paper.  She spends her whole day staring at a computer screen and would not enjoy having to do that to escape into her latest reading adventure.   She even had my dad print out my 486 page manuscript so that she didn’t have to read it off her screen. There will always be printed books because of people like my mom.
I am thankful for all the people like Steve Jobs and the technology that makes our lives easier and more informed.  I am also thankful for those who work hard to deliver our beloved packages and handwritten notes.  I am especially grateful to agents and publishers everywhere who help writers get their polished work into the hands of many. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On Waiting for Replies to Queries...and Other Things

Have you ever thought about how many definitions there are for the word WAIT?  There’s the verb form (used without object) - to remain inactive or in a state of repose; to be available or in readiness; to remain neglected for a time; to postpone or delay something or to be postponed or delayed; and to look forward to eagerly.  Wait can also mean to attend upon or escort.  We wait on, we wait up, we lie in wait, we await; wait (in British-speak) also can refer to a band of musicians that plays in parades.  Wait is quite a weighty word. 
I know what it is to wait.  All people do, really.  I think if you ask anyone at anytime what they are waiting for they can probably give you a pretty quick answer; if not three or four.  Currently I am waiting to hear back from the first agent I sent my manuscript.  I am also waiting for a man to step up and attend our middle school retreat this weekend.  One seems more important and time-sensitive than the other.  I don’t want to tell the four boys who are signed up that they can’t go.  The agent I sent my work to usually responds within two weeks.  Today is the two week mark.  I know agents are busy though, so I can wait. 
                There are many scripture references to waiting.  I picked one to share today that most spoke to my present circumstance and mood.  Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.  I am waiting patiently.  Fortunately, I have many blessings and do not need my book to be represented or even published.  I will continue to write regardless because writing is a part of me.  I will wait and see where God leads me next.  I am having less patience with waiting for a male chaperone.  It’s funny how life can put things into perspective for us.
Enjoy your waiting today…maybe you are only having to wait so you can learn something too.

Kim Lauer: On Waiting for Replies to Queries...and Other Thin...

Kim Lauer: On Waiting for Replies to Queries...and Other Thin...: Have you ever thought about how many definitions there are for the word WAIT? There’s the verb form (used without object) - to remain ina...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kim Lauer: The World of Writing

Kim Lauer: The World of Writing: The World of Writing I am learning that the more I explore the world of writing, the scarier it gets. It all began one afternoon in Elgin...