Friday, August 05, 2005

Thank you, Google!

My literary agent was right.

He stressed the importance of having a web site for an internet “presence” (someplace for publishers to go and learn more about a prospective author). He also urged me to maintain a blog as an outlet for all that writing energy and attempts at verbal creativity.

However, if it weren’t for Google, nobody would have made the connection between me and Lantz Powell.

Well, OK, a diligent search using Yahoo or MSN’s new search engine, or maybe one of the dozens of others might have turned up the link, but Google gets the blame credit this time.

What am I talking about?

Well, someone was looking for information about my agent and Googled his name. One result was a link to my blog, since I mention him (Lantz Powell) in the title bar.

That “someone,” who I will call Susan, emailed me to ask about my association with, and impressions of, Mr. Powell. That in turn led to a series of emails about her writing, her former agent, my writing… One thing led to another, and I sent Susan a copy of my synopsis and the first three chapters of my novel.

Susan chose to share that file with her close friend and “critique partner” who I’ll call Joan. Two days later (Wednesday) I got two emails, messages from Susan and Joan.

First, they were both very complimentary and claimed to be impressed with what they’d read. (*blush* Well, if THAT doesn’t turn on an author, nothing will!) Susan asked some additional questions and offered some tips, advice, and perhaps some contacts. Woo — Hoo!

But Joan’s email was amazing!

Joan wrote probably four long pages of thoughts, comments and suggestions about the book. She pointed out a weakness in the synopsis. She nailed a problem I’ve had with the opening and offered me a great idea for a fix! She provided several suggestions for how the story could flow, several of which are better than the way I have it now. And she had only read the synopsis and the first 17 pages!

I just can’t begin to give you a sense of the value (to me) of these emails. And I can’t begin to explain what a morale boost they gave me!

Both ladies expressed willingness to continue a correspondence if I wanted.

(Uh, let me think about this… Do I want to continue to get morale-boosting, valuable help; along with comments like “This book will sell!” Hmmm. Let me decide…)

So, what did I do?

I sent them a four-page email further discussing some of their suggestions, thanking them (maybe too) profusely, and attached a file which was the entire manuscript of the book.

I had completely re-written the book so many times over an 18-month period, mainly based on my agent’s input and suggestions, that I was close to burn-out on more changes. But that was 7 months ago. Now I’m so excited about the suggestions Susan and Joan have made that I’m drooling to go through it again from start to finish and fix parts that I didn’t think needed fixing.

This book project has been a real roller coaster ride. At present I’m back on the up-slope, climbing to no telling WHAT kind of high point. Those of you with whom I shared recent emails from my agent will understand.

Sure feels good!

I think I’ll buy some stock in Google.


Karyn Lyndon said...

I have found writers to be the most helpful people in the world...more than any other profession, especially since we are all competing for the same press time and shelf space. I think it's because writing is such a lonely business and nobody really understands us as well as other writers. Hope Susan and Joan can help...and I wonder if they are members of RWA.

schnoodlepooh said...

woo-hoo. I think you're a little closer to being published. Go for it! Good job, Google!

Michelle said...

I am over the moon with happiness for you. I also hope you are closer to being published than ever before. I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

Anonymous said...

Nothing is more valuable to me as a writer than genuine, insightful feedback - good or bad. Congratulations, and I'm thrilled for you regarding the renewed enthusiasm.

Candace said...

That's just the kind of experience I've had with the online writers' group I'm in! Isn't it great?

Hale McKay said...

Estupendo! ...and all because of link! Congratulations, John.

Duke_of_Earle said...

Thanks, all. And Karyn and Candace, did I just hear an "I told you so" (or maybe two) from up in the Dallas area?


Nankin said...

Too cool. I'm very jealous.