Impatience Is a Virtue Too

Snapple Real Fact #926: George Washington was the only unanimously elected President.
(I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty sure I could accomplish this amazing feat too. If only I had the time.)
Okay, so back to patience, or my lack thereof. All my life I’ve been told that patience is a virtue, to be more patient, that good things come to those who wait, blah, blah, blah. Yep. That’s right. It went in one ear and out the other. I meant to listen (I really did!), but it didn’t seem like particularly good advice at the time. Still doesn’t.
I’m more of a ‘take the bull by the horns’ kind of girl. If you want something, go get it. Make it happen. NOW. Because really, what’s the point of waiting? Sometimes you’ve just got to step up and take the initiative.
Take Sean Combs (a.k.a. P. Diddy) for example. (Yes. I realize there are numerous examples of self-starters throughout history who’ve had an amazing impact on our lives and the world at large, but I’m going to cave to the MTV generation for a moment. Not because I’m especially enamored with P. Diddy, but because he makes a great point. Stick with me for a minute.) Maybe you didn’t know this, but Combs is credited with dragging himself out of the Harlem projects with hard work, perseverance, and what my dad calls intestinal fortitude (yes, I mean guts).
When asked about his success, Combs said:

“I’ve never been surprised about what happened to me. I’ve put in hard work to get to this point. It’s like when you become a lawyer – if you’re bustin’ your ass, you’re not surprised when you get your degree. I came in to win, you know. This is why I stay up late while other people are sleeping; this is why I don’t go out to the Hamptons.”

I’m not going to be the next princess of hip hop (ask anyone who’s had the misfortune of hearing me sing), but that doesn’t mean I won’t be a published author. I know what you’re thinking. If it were that easy, everyone would do it. And what happens if I can’t find an agent who believes in my work as much as I do. Will I give up? Will I query myself into a coma? Will I just keep waiting for something to happen?
Unlikely. As I said, I prefer action. Swift and efficient. I may be new to publishing, but I’m not new to hard work, brand management, or marketing.  I’ve got a whole arsenal of tools and talented folks in my back pocket, not to mention a plan. As I sit here today I am fortunate to have a very creative graphic designer working on cover art for my book and a well-trained and experienced editor reviewing my manuscript. Why? Because I haven’t ruled out self-publishing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not done querying (I didn’t get where I am today without a reasonable amount of patience!). I would L-O-V-E being traditionally published. Not only would my words be available for millions of readers to enjoy, it would free up my time to do what I love most: write. Instead of being a jack of all trades, I would have a team of professionals to ease the burden. But I’m also a realist; a realist who is determined to make my dream a reality.

J.J. Bonds

Must Love/Hate Queries

Snapple Real Fact #878: Only male fireflies can fly.
(At first I was a little indignant at Mother Nature’s slight against the female of the species, but then I remembered chasing fireflies as a kid. Only the ones flying in the field got captured and placed in jelly jars… or worse!)
This week’s rant is all about query letters. What’s a query letter? Perhaps you’re better off not knowing, but since you’re probably still reading, I’ll keep writing. A query letter is a one pager designed to pique the interest of a literary agent who (if the stars align in your favor) will champion your book with established publishing houses.
It sounds so easy, right? After all, I’ve already written 300+ pages and finished my first novel. What’s another page?
Well, that one page was more difficult to write than any page in the actual manuscript. Maybe more difficult than writing all of the pages. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t challenging to condense 300 pages into 1, but that wasn’t the hardest part. The hardest part was the pressure. The knowledge that this 1 page was bound for a harried agent who probably reads thousands of query letters a month (and likely rejects 99. 9% of them). Oh, and did I mention that I was going to query the agents who represent some of my favorite authors?
Yep, that’s PRESSURE. Three paragraphs designed to make them say ‘I want more’; three paragraphs to make an impression.
Needless to say, I agonized over the query for hours on end. I agonized over it for days, actually. I changed words, bugged my proofreaders, and chugged Snapple all the while doing my best to ignore Sabot, my seemingly attention starved cock-a-poo.  The end result? One very numb butt (I really need to get cushions for my dining room chairs) and one edgy query.
I don’t know what the odds are of gaining literary representation. Probably 1:1,000,000. Probably I have a better chance of hitting the Mega Millions, but you only live once. So I’ve sent out twenty query letters and now the really hard part starts: waiting.
I’m not very good at waiting. Ask anyone who knows me. I’ve been checking my email like a crazy person since I hit send on the last email. It’s actually getting a little compulsive. My husband says this is a good exercise in patience and actually had the audacity to suggest that I limit myself to checking email once per day. (Yes, I know. It sounds like I’m married to a complete stranger… because there’s no way I possess that kind of self-control).
So, this is me (crazy/impatient) with my fingers crossed hoping that a little bit of talent and a little bit of luck will take my journey to the next level!
J.J. Bonds