A YEAR. A whole year of blogging. Can you believe it, guys? I’m astonished—back when I started this thing on July 16th, 2011, I thought it was a fun foray in a new medium. I never expected it to go anywhere, though. I’ve always sucked at journaling; I must have 10 or 15 notebooks from my childhood that started out as attempts at diaries and ended up languishing in some drawer. Frankly, I had no reason to think this experiment would turn out any differently.
But holy crap. One year later and I’m still writing posts. Twice a week. More or less regularly. And even weirder/more unexpected: people are reading those posts. I’m continually so surprised and grateful that anyone would ever be remotely interested in reading my rambles. So thank YOU. Yes, you. The person reading this post. Because without you, it would be hard to convince myself that I haven’t spent the last year talking to myself. Combine that with the fact that I’m a writer and spend a lot of my free time talking to people who don’t exist, and…yeah. I’m glad you’re here! *hugs*
But oy, here I am getting all maudlin and sentimental, and this is supposed to be about planning a PARTY!
Because I’m feeling so warm and fuzzy, I want to give back to YOU GUYS on my blogiversary. So, I need to hear from you: what do you want? Some ideas I had (though I definitely want to hear your suggestions too *points emphatically to comments box*):
- BEA advance reader copy (ARC) adoption (a.k.a. giveaway)! I would love to read all the books I’ve acquired since arriving in NYC this summer, but frankly, I’ll be lucky to find the time to read a fraction of them! And the point of an ARC is to generate publicity (via blogging or word-of-mouth) for the book before its release date. Frankly, I’m doing those writers a disservice if I just sit on all these books until I can read them, so I’m excited by the prospect of giving some away to good homes. (And guys, I have TONS of ARCs, in a variety of genres. Srsly. Check out my haul.)
- Query letter critique! I’m an intern for a literary agency. I read A LOT of query letters. I’ve also been studying query-writing for years, and as a writer, I know how frustrating it is to try to condense 50-90K words down into a measly little one-page document. As such, I think I’m fairly well qualified to offer useful critique and tell you honestly (but kindly) how I would respond to your query if it showed up in our inbox.
- Opening pages critique! Similarly, I read a lot of opening pages. Sometimes they’re the opening pages from requested manuscripts; sometimes they’re just pages included in the body of the email with a query.* As any agent or intern can attest, most of the time, we can tell within a couple of sentences/paragraphs whether the writing is any good, although I’ll generally read a bit further just to be sure. So if I do this critique, I’ll read the first ten pages of your manuscript, offer constructive criticism, and tell you (again, honestly but kindly) what aspect of it (if any) would make me stop reading.
Those are my blogiversary thoughts so far. I could do one. I could maybe even do a couple. Not sure yet how I’ll pick winners yet (a raffle/drawing? an actual competition/contest?), so let me know your thoughts. And if you have another idea for a celebratory blog event, tell me about it! (EDIT: I’ve even inserted a poll to facilitate your choice! Go! Click!)
For now, I’m off to keep on doing what I do: reading/writing/critiquing manuscripts. Happy Thursday, everyone!
Ari and Fred
* PROTIP: if an agent doesn’t ask for pages, you should still always include your first five pages (UNLESS the agent specifically says not to include any). Our agency doesn’t request pages, but if you include them and your query isn’t abysmal, I will read them, and we’ve requested manuscripts from people who had poor queries but whose opening pages were good. Of course, that is absolutely not an excuse to write a bad query! Polish it until it shines. Don’t leave us in any doubt that you’re a brilliant writer. But don’t waste an opportunity to hook us, so include those opening five pages. And if you’re concerned because your opening five pages aren’t the most intriguing/gripping part of the book…well MAKE them intriguing/gripping, gosh darn it!