Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Agent Stalking is a Good Thing

A writer must have invented "TWITTER".


Wish you could get to know these agents a little before deciding whether or not to query them?

Target/Agent doesn't blog, but does she tweet?

Going crazy waiting to hear back from an agent or two? Wish you could see what their day is like, if they ever spend any time looking at submissions, and why in the world haven't they reached out for yours, which you're sure is sitting right in front of their faces? (ahem)

If I had the capacity for internet program design, and if I were a similarly neurotic writer, I'd invent a program that would seduce agents and editors, and famous writers, to jot down a line or two during their days, telling me just what it was they were thinking or doing at the moment. I'd arrange their comments to be sent to my own little window on their world. I'd make sure I could send off a pithy response or two which they actually may read...sometimes.

I'd make it the coolest thing to join. I'd give it a cute name.
Twitter, maybe. What is cuter than taking a moment to tweet?

Okay, so Twitter may just as easily have been created by someone who likes to stalk others...

Sounds like a writer to me.

Of course it’s not as exciting as stalking them in person, at a national conference, for instance. It’s not as classy as linen stationary correspondence. But it’s great for weeding out agents whose attitude rubs you raw, or who lets it slip that something incredibly close to what you’re shopping around is really not his/her cup of tea, even though he/she requested said cup of tea which is currently sitting on his/her desk, getting cold.

On the other hand, you may find an agent’s sense of humor makes you laugh EVERY TIME she tweets. You see that she just may be the one to GET you. You may find that this perfect agent is going to participate in a conference just a state or two away and if you’re quick, you may get a face to face appointment!

Disclaimer: as someone who has tried to limit her time on-line, joining Twitter was the last thing I had planned to do. But I’m happy I did. My neurosis has lessened. I don’t spend time wondering what an agent is doing. I now have a good guess. I know he or she has a lot more on her plate than I used to think. Client reads, edits, edits, edits, submissions to read, then a hundred more tomorrow. When I get a reply back, I feel a bit more blessed.

So, if you have some stalking to do, I’m just sayin’... After all, that’s what the Indians used to do. Hide in the bushes and make bird calls.

Ainsley MacQueen

Thursday, July 23, 2009


To be, or not to be...me. That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to use a pen name is really what I was after. But like Hamlet, I've already wasted far too much of my life pondering this question.

When first considering a pen name, I made a list. This took no small amount of time. I used every marketing-inclined brain cell while considering each alternative and bothered every acquaintance for his or her input (field research).

Ultimately, I landed on something that spoke to me, rang my bells, and seemed a good marketing move. I got business cards, a website, and started this blog. I have been, for the past two years, Ainsley MacQueen.

I don't know if I'm the only writer to do this, but I have actually been jealous of myself, Ainsley MacQueen, on occasion. The thought of Ainsley MacQueen getting credit for the books I write rubbed me wrong. It's like the gal in the mirror walking out of the glass and taking over the most exciting parts of my life.

So I rebelled. I told my RWA chapter friends that I was plotting Ainsley's murder. I began imagining my own name on those book covers, and I imagined my new fans awaiting my every release, but then I stalled. My name is often pronounced wrong, spelled wrong, and not easily remembered. So I was back to square one.

Or was I?

Perhaps I have been trying to eliminate the wrong person from my career picture. Perhaps Ainsley needs to do the murdering!

Besides, I made the pen name decision two years ago. I spent all that time making the best decision I could make, and I went forward. Why try putting the rose back on the bush, when I have a perfectly lovely vase to put it in--a vase that looks a helluva lot better in public than the old bush, you know?

(Dorian Grey has nothing on me.)

Ainsley MacQueen is alive and well and taking over. Vive la portrait!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oh, bouyancy!

I was reading a friend's blog http://www.judyswriting.blogspot.com/ today and was inspired.

At the end of the blog, she gives a short list of positive things to be, and I finally have a definition for my personality; I am buoyant.

Before some of you (Lisa Water Closet, et al) fall onto the floor and lose your grip, I am not speaking of the fact that I find it physically impossible to drown!

I refer, rather, to my attitude in general. I wouldn't call myself optimistic. What fun would that be? You can't enjoy sarcasm with those rose-colored glasses on.

But I'm not a total pessimist, either. Although my head goes under every now and then, I tend to bob back. I'm buoyant. It is the more liquid equivalent of bi-polar, perhaps, but I tend to linger longer on the upswing. The size of my...egos... keep me up there, I guess.

(I thought this would be a bit of a bandaid for that last "piss or get off the pot" post.)

The Chronically Buoyant Ainsley

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pucker Up, Buttercup!

Brace yourselves, Effies!

The reports from RWA's National Conference are going to be a mixed bag, and the bags are due home in a couple of days.

What do I foresee in the mix?

I suspect the usual report of writer's and VIP's trying to keep a stiff upper lip in the economy. I expect the true and worthy advice about making sure your product is absolutely perfect if you expect to sell in these choppy industry waters, and I expect some desperate celebrations on the popularity of romance novels in a depressed society.

But I am guessing that the real juice to be wrung out of the RWA National grapevine is going to make us all pucker.

Newbies are a tough sell. Newbies are going to be THE TOUGHEST SELL this year. It doesn't matter what you write, or how good you are, how many awards you win, or the ever-reliable 'who you know'.

If you are a newbie, with no publishing numbers to set of the mousetrap, you're going to be laying in wait for the dumb luck of a mouse/agent stumbling and flying onto your cocked, but empty trap. And if you get lucky enough to have her at your mercy for a few seconds before she sets off again in search of negotiable cheese, you'd better have a big voice and something pithy to say.

So, my advice to you, before you hear it firsthand, is to brace yourself for bad news, determine whether or not you have what it takes to TAKE THE MOUSE BY THE BALLS, or go the other route and find a palatable exit strategy.

It can all be summed up with one of my favorite lines from The Shawshank Redemption, "You gotta get busy livin', or get busy dyin'."

To those of you queuing up for the River Stix Tour, I bid you a fond farewell. To those of you who decide to stand upon the battlements with me, I've got your back.