An update…and a suggestion

Hello, campers –

First, the less-good news: I have not yet been medically cleared for two-handed typing (one of the annoying after-effects of my recent car crash, but I hope to be soon. On the bright side, MRI technology has improved beyond all recognition in recent years.

This means (we’re back to less-good news now) I’m not going to be up for generating brand-new posts for a while. This really irks me, not only because we were in the throes of a great ongoing discussion on dialogue revision, but also because I’m very eager to share the fabulous first pages that took top honors in the Author! Author!/WHISPER Great First Page Made Even Better Contest. There is much rich material there for productive discussion; obviously, my right hand would very much like to be involved in the feedback-giving.

Are you about ready for some good news, after all that? Excellent: the annual August vacation period has begun in the New York-based publishing world; in most cases, it will extend until after Labor Day.

What does that mean for aspiring writers, you ask? Well, since so many publishing house denizens are and will continue to be out of the office, it would be practically impossible to pull together an editorial committee to consider acquiring a new manuscript or book proposal. That means, in turn, that it’s not a very efficient time for agents to be approaching editors, at least if they would like their calls and e-mails to reach something other than the Millicent or two left behind to mind the store. Being practical-minded souls, agents often choose this literarily fallow period to take their own vacations.

Translation: if you have a query you were intending to send their way, or even requested materials, it probably will not be read until after Labor Day. So savvy writers use these weeks not for submission, but for revision and the necessary research for productive queries in September.

See why I’m so irritated not to be able to compose lengthy, detailed posts right now?

So here is my proposal for handling this period productively. While you’re going back over your manuscript (yes, AGAIN) and compiling query lists, please feel free to post questions here. (One hand is usually sufficient for question-answering.) Please also comment early and often on posts; trust me, if you have a concern or difficulty, another member of the Author! Author! community will have it, too.

To facilitate discussion until my right hand is up and running again, I’m going to re-run a few provocative older posts over the next few days — specifically, those on dialogue revision — interpolating additional advice whenever I cannot bear, well, forbearing. That’s definitely left-hand doable.

Also, would folks like me to go over how to put together a submission packet and/or query letter before Labor Day? Please speak up, if so. My instinct is to spend August on craft and revision issues, but if there is strong support for devoting some serious post time to how to get your project in front of an agent or editor’s nose in a professional manner, I’m always up for that.

Thanks for the many kind messages, and try not to worry — my will to communicate is far too intense to keep me off the blog for long. Be well, be safe, and, of course, keep up the good work!

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