Welcome to my amazing new website design! I am so grateful to the incomparable Kimberly Cho of Half Cup Studio for creating it. The logo and the look of the site feel so resonant for me, giving me a boost, like a good mantra or mission statement does. A felt sense of clarity about what I’m about as an author.
I’m entering a new phase of my novel-writing as I complete the second draft of Rooting for Time and prepare to send it to “beta-readers.” This weekend, I plan to attend the Chicago Writers’ Association conference, Let’s Just Write!, where I will have the opportunity to “pitch” my book to several agents and publishers. In preparation for this, I have been quite busy.
I’ve been revising my first draft, cutting it down by 11% in the last 3 weeks. (Taking a haiku class with Miriam Hall really helped with that!). Working with Kim on the website included hiring a wonderful professional photographer named Romulo Ueda to do a photo shoot, learning how to do makeup for the photoshoot with help from Agata Marino and my writing buddy Christa Bruhn, and reacquainting myself with my pre-covid wardrobe. My other writing buddy Karen Milstein and I plan to attend the conference together, and have been zooming daily to practice our “pitches,” select excerpts from our books to read aloud at the conference, and check in about travel logistics.
As I have researched and written this book, it has gradually been transforming my relationship to time. For example, I took it as more than a poetic coincidence that my entire celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim this year consisted of dressing up for and doing the photoshoot! Purim is the holiday where we celebrate the story of the Jewish heroine Esther, who becomes Queen by winning a beauty contest and is able to help save her people from a massacre. While the story is quite problematic, and how it’s celebrated by some today is atrocious, in this case the timing really helped me feel the support of my own roots as I spent an uncharacteristic amount of time and money on how I look, for a strategic purpose.
I have been listening to awesome podcasts and reading social media about how to find an agent or publisher. There is a ton of support out there for traversing this steep learning curve! I’m especially loving The Shit No-One Tells You About Writing. One of the things I’ve learned is that for my all-important “query letter,” I need two recent “comps” – comparable or competitive titles to help potential agents and publishers understand the target market for the work. So I’ve begun browsing bookstores and online book reviews, talking to librarians and booksellers, reading more, and thinking about books I’ve read that have influenced this one.
Unfortunately, I’m not yet at ease enough with all of this to be sleeping well, but maybe that will come when I’m not so new to it. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and overall, vulnerable, to be starting to put my work out into the world. Stephen King in his memoir On Writing says you should write with the door closed and revise with the door open. I’m sure there will be a lot more revisions to come before my story can be purchased in a bookstore. But I’m taking the advice of writing coach Laurie Scheer that it’s not a question of whether I will get published, but when.