Monday, November 21, 2011

Ten Years and One Day

Hi, I’m Linda Hull, and I used to refer to myself as the most successful unsuccessful writer around. Fact is, until very recently, I was enjoying (in what can only be considered a masochistic way) an illustrious career in almost getting published.

Since this is my maiden InkSpot post and I figure there are a few of you out there who know the pain of which I speak, I thought I’d share a few highlights from all that time spent chasing both the muse and that even more elusive beast known as the book deal:

Years in Front of the Computer: Ten.

Hours in Front of the Computer: I’m hopeless at math, but a whole, whole, whole lot.

Hours at Critique Group: See above.

Completed Manuscripts: 3 1/2.

Revisions to Completed Manuscripts: See Hours in front of the Computer.

Agents-Literary: 3 (The third time was the charm—I’m talking you, Josh Getzler!)

Agents-Film: 1 (until said agent wrote a manuscript, sold it for major bucks and retired from agenting.)

Offers of Representation: 5 (Not counting that one agent who wanted a fee and another I met at a conference who read ten pages of a WIP, asked me to send everything I’d ever written, then neglected to ever call me back.)

Editor Rejections: Enough to paper the one wall in my office not already covered with the rejections by agents not so swayed by my literary charm.

Highlights of Editorial Rejections: “We gave Ms. Hull’s manuscript, in fact both of her manuscripts, a great deal of consideration around here but ultimately decided to go in a different direction.”

“I liked this novel. I really, really liked it—engaging fast-paced, funny but…”

“The prose is cinematic, witty and a quick fun read. Unfortunately…”

Number of Times I Quit Writing: My keyboard doesn’t seem to have an infinity sign.

Planned Alternate Career: Stripper at a nursing home.

Number of Times My Husband Talked Me Out of Planned Alternate Career and Reassured Me the Writing Would Someday Pay Off: See Number of Times I Quit Writing.

Luckily for the folks in the Denver area nursing homes, I got the proverbial call this past September. (Actually, it was way cooler than a call and happened ten years and a day after my first writer’s conference, but I’ll get to that, likely in an upcoming post.) Suffice it to say, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Teri Bischoff, Midnight Ink, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and my dear friend Ben LeRoy who co-authored the idea I developed into Eternally 21, the first book in a series featuring Mrs. Frugalicious, who trolls the malls for savings until she’s accused of shoplifting and suspected of murder.

For me, now the real work begins. For those of you stuck in the purgatory of almost, don’t quit. Or, do quit, but only long enough to drink off that last horrible form rejection or evisceration by your critique group and do the revisions necessary to make it happen.

It can and does happen.


Lois Winston said...

Welcome, Linda! That 10 year mark seems to be quite common among authors. You're now part of a very special club. Best of luck on your series. I can't wait to read it.

Robin Allen said...

Welcome fellow soldier! Those publishing rejections are heartbreakers, aren't they? Thank goodness Terri saw all of your gems.

Mark Stevens said...

Great column, Linda...

Shannon Baker said...

Good job on said husband for his constant support and belief. I saw his face the day you got "the call" and he was one proud partner. Congrats on the overnight journey. Can't wait to read it.

Alan Orloff said...

Welcome to the party, Linda! I'm sure there are a lot of people very glad you're persistent (and not just those folks in the retirement home!).

Linda Hull said...

Thanks for the warm welcome!
Shannon--I really enjoyed your post--it made me hungry and not in a Nebraska dinner table kinda way. Forgive me for not commenting but I've just figured out how. Yes, I'm that dense.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Welcome Linda! And congratulations on that first sale. Sounds like a fun series.

Darrell James said...

Welcome to Midnight and to the Inkspot Blog, Linda! At ten years, I consider you a fast-starter. It took me even longer to get my furst novel published. Things will move a lot faster now (faster than you'll want them too). Good luck!

Shannon Baker said...

Linda--you just HAD to mention Nebraska, didn't you? I'm still red-faced (not in a Go Big Red good way) over Saturday's performance.

Beth Groundwater said...

Congratulations, Linda, and I'm very, very glad to have you with us in the Midnight Ink author community--a rapidly growing one!

Vicki Doudera said...

Welcome, Linda! You sound like fun, and I'm looking forward to meeting you, talking mysteries, and congratulating you on your hard-earned success in person.

Keith Raffel said...

Fabulous column, Linda. May you go from success to success.