Category: writing

Dear Children, You’re Fired…Or I’m Fired?

For weeks now, I have been trying to get my kids to read my official revised draft of Children of Planes

The youngest started to read it. To make it official, she even asked that I draft up a Inked41723143_1807676106012125_2867250365001105408_n_LIcontract of what my expectations were of her to be a professional reader:

Note the deadline of September 3rd….

Apparently, she got bored with the fact that “her character” wasn’t mentioned yet and hasn’t gone back to it. Suffice to say, if I was paying her to read it, she’d be fired.

The eldest was like, “oh… well you know I have soooo many books I have to read this year for L.A, so I can’t even…”

I’m pretty convinced that if my own kids won’t read it, it is likely pretty crappy.

So, what do you do when you’ve developed this new found interest to try to get a novel published, but then realize it’s likely to be crap?

Scrap it?

Get new kids who are properly brainwashed and want to read their mother’s manuscript?!

When Failure Is Really A Wake-Up Call

A few weeks ago, before the Summer of Slacktitude ended and I was insanely blinded by medical goo in my eyes, I had felt empowered enough to send out a few query letters to agents. I had this grand idea of sending a few out each week so that I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed with absolute failure in one swoop.

That idea lasted all of one day, equaling two agents that I had found on Writer’s Digest.

Weeks later, which was last Thursday, I was at work. I checked my email, read said email, saw I was rejected and went on with the rest of my day.

You guys it was the sweetest rejection email I’m like to receive. She was like, “We read your query, and I’m sure it will do really well with another agent. Unfortunately, we’re overloaded with projects at this time and cannot take anyone else on.”

Let’s face it, her it’s “us” not you didn’t fool me. It’s likely me, although, I was expecting something more like “You are unoriginal!” or “That is the worst query letter ever! Quit writing.”

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Instead, what I got was an email that made me more encouraged to query other agents. And is it wrong that I feel as if this rejection secures my identity as an author? I  ripped off a band-aid that was supposed to cause me a lot of pain, but all it really did was sting for two seconds. It didn’t really change how I identify as an author, nor did it curb my writing.

And plenty of the authorial greats have had to rip the same band-aid off. Over and over again. I’m in great company:

Madeleine L’Engle – rejected 26 times

J.K Rowling – rejected 12 times

William Golding- rejected 20 times

Even George Orwell’s Animal Farm was rejected. ANIMAL FARM!

You can see even more at Buzzfeed’s 20 Brilliant Authors Whose Work Was Initially Rejected

It made me realize that it’s time.

It’s time to break through the fear of rejection and seriously campaign for my story to be published. This is the moment where I prove that I believe in my Middle Grade Fiction piece and its right to be in the hands of as many readers as possible. I need to keep being tenacious and keep pushing until I finally get a YES.

I’m fired up!

 

My game plan for the next few weeks:

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Writer’s Digest has compiled numerous agent databases as well as some added info on how to market yourself as a writer in a way that appeals to agents. These books seem like the next investment for an aspiring writer hoping to become published. I am going to query until Yahoo tells me I’ve sent too many emails in one day and need to take a break.Children of the Planes

 

 

I am going to begin work on the sequel of Children of the Planes, simply because my kids want me to. Being published does not validate me as a writer; my readers do. If the only readers right now happen to be my little children spawn, then so be it!

There is also a conference coming up in Massachusetts for Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators members where I will have the opportunity to get feedback from agents and editors about what they’re looking for. It sounds like a great opportunity to network and grow as a writer.

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. If I didn’t have as amazing of a network as I do, I’d like have quit after that first no.

Sloppy Signatures

 

At one point in my life I had a flawless signature. In middle school, I dreamt of being Mrs. Faith Yu. It was fluid and beautiful. I obviously missed out on the opportunity to have a perfect signature by not marrying my crush…

That also means I’ve never really had a legal flawless signature.

It never really mattered until yesterday, when I had to re-evaluate our insurance records. My insurance agent passed over a tablet pad and pen as he said to me, “Check your signature to make sure it looks as close to your signature as the key pad will allow.” In my head I thought, Dear Sir, I am a product of my environment. Since when does the image on the screen pad ever match one’s signature? My insurance agent had me thinking, do I even have a true signature: a fancy practiced script of my name that people could read right away? Does it really matter?

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I am not alone in wondering the value of a signature in a digital world. Linton Weeks wrote for NPR in his article “The Great American Signature Fades Away” that “In recent years, however, as computers and keyboards have become more prevalent, the art — and the necessity — of penning one’s name has gone out of style. The opposable thumb is used more for clicking a button than gripping a pen.” There’s a reason that they usually take a photocopy of your ID when you sign up for a new set of documents. That has more value in contesting legal documents than signatures.

From a newly fledged writer’s perspective, however, a signature seems really important. Friends and family have been saying “I want a signed copy” ~ meaning that eventually I will have to sign my name on things that they, hopefully, treasure forever. Is this how I meet my failure as a writer?! Should I have been dutifully practicing a legible copy of my name all this time?

Sure enough, what showed up on the screen after I signed on the pad was a hot mess. I wouldn’t want to read a book by the person who penned that sloppy signature… nope… not even the e-copy.

When the agent signed on the key pad, his signature was flawless. It clearly matched the printed signature he has on the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthday cards he sends us each year. Clearly, it is my own failure at having a fancy signature that is holding me back and not the technology. I wondered for a second if I could ask the agent for tips on supreme signature handcraft, but I realized that might have been overstepping our insurance agent/customer relationship.

To rub more salt into my sloppy signature wounds:

A few hours later, I was asked to go into work to set up a digital copy of my signature very much like my insurance guy has plastered on all those aforementioned cards. I met up with my sister, Alycia. She handed me this form where I had to sign my name three times in different sizes.

I can do different sizes! It was making the three signatures look the same that was the problem. When I handed the form back to Alycia, she looked it over, handed me another form to try my three signature again and muttered, “I knew this would happen.” Signature failure Number Two.

I clearly am a failure at signing my own name, so I did some research and found out that Business Insider’s Skye Gould, Megan Willett and Mike Nudelman compiled a list of famous signatures in their article, “The 17 Coolest Signatures Of Famous People Through History.” Most of them have the feel of a signature, but really end up looking like mini sized pieces of art. On the other hand, J.K Rowling’s signature isn’t the hand crafted beauty that I would have expected, which makes me think that I have a chance at being a decent book signer someday!

Weeks argues that signatures are relevant these days largely for sentimental value. It should be considered a piece of art that signifies who you are, which is backed up by Gould, Willett, and Nudelman’s piece. It has me thinking that I can choose to look at my sloppy signature as a failure, or I can look at this new opportunity as a writer to create a signature that is uniquely me. A whole separate piece of art. Who knows! Maybe I can create such a noteworthy and memorable signature that it will one day end up on the “18 Coolest Signatures of Not-So Famous People Through History.”

Signature Pending

You’re a Published Author!

 

Ahem, I would like to make a declaration that will forever alter the history of the world as we know it.

I, Faith Allaire, am a published author.

Whew! I need to put that on business cards! Maybe make myself a name tag! Definitely change my job status on LinkedIn.

This is only a proof of the impending set of books WITH MY NAME on the cover, but it still looks and feels like a real live book! And it smells like one.. like a new book which not yet had the chance of living.

Not sure what one does with the proofs of their books, I introduced it to its new family. I think it’s going to fit in nicely as their Queen.

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For now, you can buy the E-book version at Amazon.com