Has it really been since April that I last posted? Wow. Sorry about that!
Well, allow me to update all of you on the latest.
One of my stories (I'm not allowed to say which one) was a finalist in the Genesis. This is a big Christian writing competition offered by ACFW. Here's their link: http://www.acfw.com/. If you scroll down on the left side all the way to the bottom, click on "Genesis Contest," then click on "Click here for the 2009 Genesis finalists list," then scroll down to the "Historical Fiction" category and you'll see my name! Isn't that exciting?! I'm learning that this is a pretty big deal because a number of finalists from previous years have "Genesis Finalist" then the "year" in their signatures. Some date back as far as 2002! So, whether I place or not, just being a finalist is BIG. By July 15 it will be safe to announce which story it is that finalled. I'll post an announcement then.
The final round judges are Sue Brower from Zondervan, Charlene Patterson from Bethany House, and Wendy Lawton an agent from Books and Such. I'll find out if I placed or not in September at the ACFW conference/banquet. Pray they all LOVE my story! :-)
In the meantime, a small press told me they wanted my book ("The Master's Wall" first in the "Iron and the Stone" series; see book jacket description below) and asked for names of qualified editors. I'd be their first fiction line, so they wanted some good fiction editors (editing fiction is different than editing non-fiction). Totally excited, I sent them a list and asked for an advance. This publisher states clearly that they don't offer advances, but I was hoping they'd negotiate because if they did offer an advance, I'd be able to market my book in popular venues. Well, I didn't hear back from them for over a month, and none of the editors I'd given them had heard anything. That's usually a sign of rejection.
During this time, a fellow writer, Amanda Cabot (her latest release is called "Paper Roses." Don't you just love that title? She comes up with the best titles. Check out her book: http://www.amazon.com/Paper-Roses-Texas-Dreams-Trilogy/dp/080073324X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246725342&sr=1-1. It's awesome!), put in a good word for me with her agent, Joyce Hart from Hartline Literary. Well, Joyce read the beginning of "The Master's Wall" and wanted to represent me. I was thrilled because this is a BIG agent.
Well, despite this, I waited on the small press. Only to hear nothing. You see, I was thinking, if I went with the small press on my own, I'd make more money (yes, I'm greedy) because agents earn about 15 percent from sales. Well, I already wouldn't be making much because this was a small press, so I really didn't want to share. Anyway, after I didn't hear back from the small press, I gave up and signed with the agent. And I can't tell you how glad I am that I did this!
Joyce is wonderful! You can read all about her here: http://www.hartlineliterary.com/.
Well, guess what? After signing the contract with Joyce, the small press contacted me, saying they were ready to go ahead with my book. They wanted someone else to read it to check its saleability (which I thought they'd already done, since they accepted my book) and they'd go from there. Well, as much as I love this small press, I had to tell them "no" for my greedy reasons stated above. The small press was very disappointed, and that's when they informed me that they were willing to offer an advance! Boy. I told them I wish I'd known that from the beginning, but because they never responded to my email, publishing "etiquette" says that means "rejection," (It's actually "rude" and not "polite" in any form, but it's the way of the business.) I'd signed with an agent and there was no way I was going to fire her in order to go through them. Then they UPPED the advance, saying if I went with them NOW, they'd shoot me off a check asap! Wow! I still said no.
So, after listening to the advice of some multi-published authors, I decided to tell Joyce about the small press. They said she'd likely be able to negotiate a better deal than if I went without her, and in the end make more money because I had an agent. And, they were right. Joyce looked over the contract for this small press (they have it on their website), and told me where the percentages could be improved.
I told her I needed to decide whether or not to go with this small press, and informed her that I agreed with them to get back in touch by September. She told me, she'd send out some queries to editors in the bigger houses before then. And right now, someone from Revell (a division of Baker House) asked for a proposal. Yeah!
Now I'm praying my book ends up in the right hands (will you pray too?). We'll see what God has in mind.
By the way, I had to get a headshot done for the Genesis. So, I finally have a picture of myself where I look semi-intelligent. You know how it is, no matter what the photographer does, the photo is still "you." Blaaah. She touched it up for me nicely, removing the wrinkles under my eyes, then I asked if she could take some weight off. LOL Of course, that wasn't an option. So, you can view my lovely picture up at the right. Enjoy!