Archive for the ‘Joanna Volpe’ Category

In the writing process, most specifically the querying process, writers’ self-doubt is at an all time high.  After you’ve given all you can into a project that has consumed your life for the last 6 months to 6 years, you now put it out there for the world to judge.  So what ends up happening when rejected?  Some people get angry.  Some people take to the internet.  And some people go after the people who rejected them — agents.

Most do not do this literally.  Although in 2012 there was some crazy asshole who did do this literally and trended on Twitter.  Some rejected writers take to their blogs, twitter statuses, and random comment sections to rail against the agents who rejected them.  I never understand this.  Even as a person who has received rejection, I really don’t get hating the messenger.  Yeah, it sucks.  Sure.  Get a grip and go back to work.  Shit, if it were that easy, wouldn’t everyone write a book?  And then how special would you feel when you did it?  It’s like the Looper movie all over again.  (Okay, I know that’s a stretch.  I just saw it and it’s on my mind.  Oh, that terrible scene with the limbs haunts me.)

To combat this unjustified hate, I spread rational love with royal icing.  New Leaf Literary is an agency of very generous people.  They dispense advice through their Tumblr, chat it up on Twitter, and provide encouragement through their WriteOnCon keynote speech.  Do they have to do this?  No.  Does it take time to do this?  Tons, I’m sure.  Then why would they do this?  To help those writers out there still receiving rejections.  Hey that’s you fucko who’s about to write some scathing comment about how they’re ruining publishing with gatekeeping.

Here’s to you New Leaf Literary for being awesome.  Thank you for taking the time to help us all.  Even the fuckos.  It’s appreciated by many.

new leaf_finale

Author’s note:  No, the cookies aren’t a bribe.  No, I did not send them with my query.  No, they aren’t a gimmick to go with my current WIP.  They are only a genuine thank you.

Author’s note #2:  I fought every urge in my body to title this post with a cliché.  Out of respect for the pretty cool people the blog post is about, I silenced all my witty one liners.  Seriously though, if they were witty, they would’ve made the title.


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It’s agreed the holidays make everyone crazy.  Things like racing around from store to store, children’s activities with a party every day, and baking boatloads of cookies all stacked on top of the already taxed life can break anyone.  So, everyone gets a bye because of the holiday, but January 1st is right around the corner and then it’s all about the possibility.  That might be the moment where this post reminds, “you can do it!”

The other day a new employee to my staff asked me what was my pet peeve.  It didn’t take a second of hesitation before blurting out, “People who say they don’t have enough time.”   I usually follow it up with some annoying cliché of “we all have the same number of hours in day” or “Helen Keller had the same amount of time.”  I really don’t understand my Helen Keller one because what else did she have going on besides learning a way to communicate.  But some play I saw in elementary school must have stuck with me and Helen Keller became some kind of multi-tasking goddess in my eyes.

Helen Keller probably feeling a to-do list during this portrait.

Helen Keller may have to drop down to position number two after reading this blog by Super-Agent Joanna Volpe.  She is beyond awesome with some killer clients that are my faves, like Allan Woodrow of Zachary Ruthless, Kody Keplinger of The DUFF, and Veronica Roth of Divergent.  (They probably sound familiar because they are books I’m always trying to shove down your throat in casual conversation.)  I must say I was really excited to read about the day-to-day schedule of an agent.  It’s not because I have so little life I want to read other people’s day planners, but from what I see, they work ALL. THE. TIME.  Ms. Volpe’s post pretty much confirms it.  But what she also hits on is the fact she chooses her time this way because she loves it.

Ms. Volpe's fresh face after 168 hours of non-stop work (or her Twitter pic.)

I’ll be the first to admit there are times where I over-book.  It drives Hubs crazy when I have three extra minutes and I put the time into a project instead of arriving three minutes early for something.  But I look at it as an opportunity to get a jump on something on my list.  (Yes, I have lists going at all times.  There is one next to me as I type.)  My standard answer when someone asks to add something to my already packed schedule is “I’ll get it done.”  With that, comes my word I will meet the deadline or re-schedule a new one with plenty of time, not an hour before it’s due.  (Go ahead, ask my boss.  She’ll confirm.)

The question often asked of me is “How do you do it all?”  It’s the same answer as Super-Agent’s.  Because I want to.  When something is important, you prioritize to make sure it gets time.  It’s the things we value as less important which fall to the bottom or get swept under the carpet.  It has nothing to do with time, but with what you value.  For me, I had to cut out television.  It wasn’t giving enough back for the amount of time it consumed.  When I made the break, I was able to write and started down this novel path.  I haven’t missed it a bit.  Another commitment was not taking the time from the kiddos.  They still get me after work until they go to bed.  My writing life starts after that or the times where they don’t want to hang with me anyways.  (Example: Right now Lego Batman is waaaay cooler than Mom wanting to clean the house.)

What I’m trying to say is when you are making your resolutions for next year, don’t let time be the deterrent.  If you really want to do it, meaning it gets moved up to the top of the priority list, time won’t be the problem.  You will need to assess the lesser important thing to devote less time to or give up entirely.  It’s not an easy thing but, remember as Ms. Keller and Ms. Volpe have proven, anything is possible if you want to do it.

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