It has been a year and a half since I started working with my client, a prominent retired neurosurgeon. The last months have been taken over with administrative tasks for which my old job as an academic program coordinator prepared me well. (Lesson: Do not disdain the desk job you may have now; the skills you are learning will enhance the writing career you may someday fall/wander/ or otherwise move into.)
With a manuscript that has been beaten into a form presentable enough to shop around to agents and publishers, I have spent the last months toiling away at the following tasks: researching the market for books similar to the one I have written; researching agents and publishers, including university presses; crafting query letters to agents; processing comments from Beta readers and tweaking the manuscript; assisting my client with brainstorming his own contacts (some pretty prominent ones there); formatting, printing off, and mailing the tome to connections out there who might provide a trenchant blurb or a referral to an agent; and taking gross advantage of my writer and editor friend Kathy Papajohn's expertise, not to mention her tendencies toward grammar totalitarianism.
This whole part of the writing process, while at times tedious, has also given me the chance to hone my persuasive writing skills and has given me a better understanding and new respect for the business that is writing.
It has also motivated me to get back to my own writing, and introduced me to some great resources. One of the best is the Writer's Digest website. It is chock full of great advice, notices for writing retreats, contests, and conferences, tutorials and webinars, reviews of agents, etc. You can subscribe to their free weekly newsletter on the site or here.
Through Writer's Digest, I have also been introduced to some writers out there who consistently provide helpful tips on the writing process from composition to publication. Check out my blog list on the sidebar for links to some of the blogs I am following, including Brian Klems' of Writer's Digest.
That's it for now. For a future post, someone remind me to tell you the weird story of how my client's and my manuscript (a testament to persistence, hard work, and the pursuit of excellence) ended up in the hands of novelist Brett Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho, a book (in the words of Wikipedia) widely condemned as overly violent and misogynistic.
Like I said, weird.