Famous Enough

I need a platform.And while Platform The Secret Agent Monkey seems to have taken over my blog, I doubt he alone is going to make me Famous Enough to get an agent or a book deal. But don't tell The Husband that. I'm still working on convincing him that I need a finger monkey or my dreams will never come true. Until that happens, I need to come up with some other Platform Building plans. Right now I am considering any and all of the following:

*Move to Jersey Shore. Make friends with Snooki. Steal a Bumpit. Make it work with my Mexifro. Say something to piss Snooki off (on camera, of course) and let her beat me up (on camera, of course). When she offers hush money to keep me from suing, I counter offer with a contract with her agent and give her back the Bumpit I stole from her dressing room. It didn't work for me, anyway. Then? Wait for book deal. *Divorce The Husband. Move to Hollywood. Shack up with a Rock Star. Divorce Rock Star after granting exclusive interviews to the paparazzi hiding in my garbage cans. Move back in with The Husband (who was totally in on the plan) and grant more exclusive interviews to the paparazzi I invited over for pizza. Wait for book deal. *Get pregnant with 15 babies at the same time. Force The Husband into a reality show he wants nothing to do with. Make sure to get all the free plastic surgery I can while my 15 minutes is still riding strong and a few more when no one will touch me except for my garbage paparazzi crew. But I draw the line at the reverse claw mullet. My Mexifro already has enough "character." Wait for book deal. *A murder rap. Wait for book deal. *Buttercup's cute enough, me thinks. Talk The Husband into moving to Questionable Parenting-ville so we can join up with the Toddlers and Tiara's circuit. I figure just a few appearances is enough to get my name out there before Buttercup is scarred for life. (side note: this plans is banking on a sizable advance, since I'm gonna need a chunk to spring for the preventative therapy to keep my kid from going all Celebrity Rehab on me when she gets older as payback.) Also? Wait for book deal. *Rob a bank. Get lipo and a boob life. And a tummy tuck. Oh, and cap my baby teeth.  Approach Sports Illustrated and get the cover. Parlay that experience into a television show host gig. Divorce The Husband so I can hook up with an ex-actor-turned-musician who is now only famous in Europe and in the States for being married to me. Wait for book deal. *Buy a time machine with the leftover funds from the bank heist. Become a cute child actor who grows up to be a messed up adult who also happens to be broke now because I spent my millions on too much crack and crystal meth. Clean myself up, find and marry The Husband, have my Buttercup, and hire a ghost writer to pen my story, because being famous once is usually Famous Enough for a memoir to actually happen, even if it's socially acceptable to not even be expected to write it yourself. And? I probably wouldn't have to wait very long for that book deal.

I'm still working out the kinks, of course. The Husband is being all You're crazy and Just Be Patient and You wrote a great book and it's cute, but seriously?

I'm just me. I'm not a name. After I end up on the cover of The National Enquirer?

Oh yeah. That's the ticket.

Platform? Here I come.

The Typo Queen Strikes Ag...Oh Never Mind

I got tired of sitting here with my thumb up my ass waiting for responses to a few queries still floating around in Publishing Land, what with not having a clue what I had even sent out to whom and all, so I took the initiative (read: HC Palmquist made me do it) and trolled through my gmail account to set up a proper excel sheet. You know, so I'd have half a clue. I cringed at some of the quick form rejections, smiled at the You Don't Suck, The Market Does responses, and even did a little jig when I saw an invitation to query an agent with future projects.

Then? I saw this:

Dear (Mystical Gatekeeper Agent Person), When you see my query you also will see a very obvious typo...in the title of my book. While I am known to typo more often than should be legal, I am well aware of how to spell "Sane." Unfortunately, I am coming down with a cold and shivered while attempting to make the correction. That is when my fingers hit send for me before my head fixed the word. I understand if this takes me out of the running for consideration. But I did want to take a moment to explain myself. Please have a wonderful weekend.

Sincerely,

Pauline M. Campos

So, who's surprised that I never heard back from this agent?

Anyone? No?

Yeah...I figured as much.

Mamavation Monaday: My Un-Famous Reality

But I am relatable. (Shut up, spell check. It's a word, dammit.) I'm overworked. Stretched in more ways than I ever dreamed imaginable.

I? Come last on my to-do list because Motherhood comes first. And that, my friends, includes the dishes and the laundry and the dusting and the mopping and the schlepping around of the Mother of All Diaper Bags because I must at all costs be prepared for The Unknown. Even if we are just going to Walgreens for vitamins and OJ.

It means cooking dinner while packing The Husband's cooler for work while chasing the damned puppy out of the kitchen while saying "uhuh" and "okay, baby" in response to questions and stories you aren't really paying attention to while promising to make it up to her later with some one on one time. Her turf. Her rules. This means I go by Mama Prince and have to wake my sleeping Princess with True Love's First Kiss. Then we giggle and color and I love that she doesn't give a flying shit about staying in the lines.

It means I showered today at 4 p.m. and put a brand new pair of pajamas on (read: yoga pants and an old T-shirt) and never bothered with a bra because who really gives a damn when I knew I wasn't leaving the house?

Nick Jr. is king in my house. If she is awake and in the room, nothing with commercials, sex, violence, swearing (shut up, I save it for the blog) is allowed. Which means that The Husband and I can recite entire episodes of The Backyardigans and know when The Fresh Beat Band has come out with a new song before we know that that something exciting has happened in the Wonderful World of Adults.

What doesn't it mean for me?

Motherood (and my reality) doesn't include nannies or television interviews because of what I do or who I am married to. It doesn't mean record deals or millions of fans across the globe who give a shit about who I am or what Target brand I wore while teaching Buttercup to ride her new new wheeler on training wheels. There are no tabloid covers, no paparazzi hiding out in my garbage cans. No plastic surgeons, no drivers, no live in help of any kind.

Which brings me back to the (slowly shrinking) muffin top I'm still sporting because My Un-Famous Reality  doesn't always allow me the time to attend to, well, me. Not all the time, anyway.

I know. I know...Other Moms do it. I get that. But I'm still trying to figure it all out. My daughter will be four in June and I'm still trying to figure myself out, for crying out loud.

And?

That's my story. That's who I am.

Look in a mirror. If you see a variation of my reflection, you are my target audience. You are who I want to connect with.You are the reason I wrote my book.

I've been querying, trying to get an agent. Not long enough to start crying, but definitely long enough to have received feedback that's making me wonder why I didn't just lie about my reality and call it fiction, because apparently that's where it's at (and yes, I am over-simplifying here) if you aren't already famous. It's called a platform, and they are required for getting a non-fiction book on the book shelves.

That's the part that brings me back to the Me Not Being Famous Thing but still having written a book that seems to require me to be famous for you to ever see it. Agents are telling me they like the project but momoirs are tough to sell. That Moms just won't buy a book buy a Nobody from Nowhere when they can buy a book by Celebrity Mom from Hollywood.

I get it. Publishing is a business. It's about the bottom line. But I don't get how an experience as universal and unifying as motherhood is limited to the Rich and Famous. I want to relate when I read.

I want to see myself and my struggle in those pages.

What about you?

A Very Query Christmas

I thought I just had to rewrite a song. Then I checked out TBFF Juliette's blog and find a full out blog post prefacing her little zombie-themed holiday ditty and find myself feeling all inadequate. Cuz I got nuthin'.

So instead of embarrassing myself while trying to be witty and typo-free at the same time (which is probably about as likely as real life BFF Mel successfully walking and chewing gum simultaneously) I'll just stick with the basics.

* TBFF Juliette was asked to host a 12 Days of Christmas blogathon.

* TBFF Juliette agreed.

* TBFF sent me an email indicating she now wouldn't be sleeping until next week and proceeded to tell me that because she was in, I was automatically required to participate.

* I considered telling her to bite me (which really? If you know me, you know this is only a phrase I save for my very best friends. Which actually makes it a compliment.)

* I then decided I want to stay on TBFF Juliette's good side seeing as she has The Walking Dead backing her up now. My posse consists of a 4 pound puppy, an 18 pound mutt, and a sarcastic 3 year old. Juliette wins.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me An idea for a brand new book.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Two new shiny chapters and an idea for a brand new book

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the fifth day of Christmas My true love gave to me Five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the sixth day of Christmas My true love gave to me six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the seventh day of Christmas My true love gave to me seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the eighth day of Christmas My true love gave to me eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the ninth day of Christmas My true love gave to me nine query rewrites, eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the tenth day of Christmas My true love gave to me ten tweets supporting, nine new rejections, eight query rewrites, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the eleventh day of Christmas My true love gave to me eleven foursquare updates, ten tweets supporting, nine query rewrites, eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

On the twelfth day of Christmas My true love gave to me twelve agent offers, eleven foursquare updates, ten tweets supporting, nine query rewrites, eight new rejections, seven likes on Facebook, six beta readers, five thousand words, Four hours wasted tweeting, three plot holes, two new shiny chapters, and an idea for a brand new book.

Merry Christmas, ya'll. Now go make Holiday Merriment on Juliette's blog. If you want in on the zombie survival crew, it's a good way to make nice while there's still time.

Operation: Google Stalk

@LukeRomyn: It's a sad day when you Google yourself and the results tell you to get a life

Oops...that's been happening to me a lot these days. I'm in the middle of my personal Sit and Wait after the Queries Phase hell, and believe you me, I am about ready to get a restaining order on myself with the sick sad obsessive online searching.

What will an agent find if they are interested enough to look beyond the query? (Read: I may have dropped one too many F-bombs in tonight's tweet stream.)

So I decided to take a break on my new self-stalking hobby and stalk Mercedes Yardley instead. And for kicks? I asked her to stalk me.

Cue the Jeapordy theme.

Answer: Spend entirely too much time on facebook, twitter, fouresquare, and their own blogs under the guise of "research for their next project."

Question: What does a writer actually do?

Mercedes is one of my favorite people on twitter. And not just because she beta read my entire manuscript in record time, either. And also not because she actually liked it. A lot. And definitely not because my middle name is her first. (Ok, that was really the reason I started following her, but our relationship has since moved far beyond the superficial. Seriously. I may even introduce her to my mother soon. After my mother gets a twitter account, that is.)

For the sake of my art, let us all pretend that Mercedes does not yet have an agent and is still toiling away in the Land of the Unpubbed like the rest of us, shall we? That makes it easier for me to justify Google stalking.

Let the games begin.

Did you know that Mercedes:

*can be found here on Twitter? Her most recent tweet to (how cool is this?) author Luke Romyn (as of the writing of this blog post) is as follows:

@mercedesmy: But...I want to believe.

*Blogs at A Broken Laptop. (Kick ass name, by the way.) A quick search of her blog tells me and my ninja-like skills that she loves stillettos, has killer legs, likes to build snowmen out of old liquor receipts and cocaine (after the kids have gone to sleep, of course), is gorgeous, knows how to market herself (hello PLATFORM!), and is just made of awesome.

*is not the first Mercedes Yardley you will find on Facebook. Trust me.

*is as eloquent as she is snarky (Just follow her on Twitter if you aren't already.)

And that's just page one. If you have no life like me or are an agent and in the business of doing this sort of thing for a really good reason, you'll also find Mercedes on SheWrites (which also serves as a nice reminder to stop stalking myself and my friends for five minutes tomorrow to set up my own page. Ok, maybe six.)

I can't wait to see what Mercedes dug up on me. I'm guessing lots of self-deprecatation and typos.

But really, it's just a guess.

Now it's your turn. Google yourself. And report back in the comments.

Mamavation Monday: Ams and Am Nots

@aspiringmama: Sometimes? Doritos really are the answer.

Let me tell you who I am not.

I am not:

*Perfect

*Able to spell anything corretcly

*Interested in geting over my Tofu Phobia

*Friends with my scale

*In posession of a heaf of hair that actually moves when the wind does.

*An expert in Pubic Relations (Click on the link above for this one to make sense)

*Working out right now. (I know...I know...But my Christmas cards are almot done and the tree is up and it's preeeeeety! And, And, And? I finished and hit send on a zillion queries, mostly typo-free, so I'm busy writing a blog post as I wait for the rejections to start pouring in so I can stare longingly at The Husband's unopened bag of Doritos while I read them because I will physically need some at that point.)

Now for what I am:

*Honest.

*The Typo-queen (Exhibit A? My tweet stream)

*An expert in making the Post Mama Muffin Tops and Cellulite look gooood. And? I know how how to turn a hoodie into Assmoflauge by trying it around your waist and making it look like you did it to coordinate your outfit and not hide the circumference of your badonkatonk.)

*Trying my damndest to not get discouraged by my body's utter lack of interest in anything I AM doing right to try and shed some flab off my ass. (Damned Doritos.)

*Proud owner and curator of the world's first social media approved Mexi-fro.

*Still looking for my point in this post.

Oh right. I wrote a book about trying to lose the weight after the baby blew out the candles on her second birthday cake. But do I have the answers? No. Do I have a rockin' bod to show for my efforts? (Note the lack of photos in this post and assume the worst.) Hell no. Do I plan on going to the gym tomorrow? Nu-uh.

 But do I want to?

Yeah. I do.

Even when life kicks me in the softly padded ass, even when emotions sneak up and make bad things sound good (like that Doritos tweet above), I am still trying. I am still wanting to better myself and provide my daughter with a healthy example. SO i almost always eat right. I don't bitch about my thighs or my muffin top out loud. I tell her she is healthy. I tell her she is strong.

The truth of the matter is that I have health issues that aren't making anything easier. But that isn't saying I want it any less. And while I am in limbo, I am figuring the best thing I can do is look in the mirror and love what I see. Mexi-fro, muffin top, fat ass, and all.

If I can show my baby girl I am happy where I am now while I work on getting where I want to be, then it's all good. And if I never get there? I need to be able to smile and laugh and hug her close when she asks if eating her dinner will make her grow up to be healthy and strong.

Because it's all about her, people. I'm just along for the ride.

The Typo Queen (strikes again)

@aspiringmama: this might be a really funny story later. maybe. when i am dead.

Remember my pubic relations SNAFU?

I just topped it.

I know. I'm just as shocked as you are. I mean, really...sending off a cover letter for a pubLic relations job and unknowingly admitting that I'm an expert on pubes? How in the hell do you top that?

I'll tell you.

I'm in the middle of sorta kinda proving myself wrong. In the past three days I have queried four agents for Baby F(Ph)at. And before that? I sent off a query to another who's name I had already pink puffy hearted on my notebook. I'm not sure how you do it, but my little query method is to go into my Word documents, pull up the last query letter written, copy and paste into a new document, and then personalize accordingly. It's not a genius system, but it is working just fine for me and helps me keep track of where I am at in the process.

Also?

It's proven that typos are much easier to spot after hitting send.

Lemme expound on that.

I have one line in my query which uses the term "post mama muffin top." It's a quick and easy visual for the reader and a phrase I use so often on my blog and in real life I am considering having it tattooed on the actual muffin top which inspired the phrase. Right away the reader knows I am talking about having had a child, gaining weight, and then wondering why cellulite hasn't been reclassified as a substance stronger than crazy glue (read: the shit sticks like nothing else.)

When spelled correctly, "post mama muffin top" works.

When it isn't? When, say, the in on the muffin is somehow dropped in a moment of complete idiocy?

For those of you not keeping up with the program, let me (correctly) spell out my (incorrect) spelling for you.

My query to secret agent person had the phrase: "post mama muff top" in it.

As in "muff." As in my mind automatically went to a really dirty place when I read it 1,000 times after having copied and pasted the last query into a new document.Which led to a momentary breakdown and thoughts of suicide by chocolate and this tweet:

@aspiringmama: damn it. just. damn it. #neverrereadaqueryalreadysent

Also?

@aspiringmama: I should write a new book. #thetypoqueen. Just think of the money a publishing house would save on editing!

All I want for Christmas

Dear Santa, I hope this blog post finds you well.

I am sure you have already received Buttercup's Christmas list. And yes, I am perfectly aware that your sled is only equipped to carry so much,with the gifts for children all around the world thing and all, so I am already trying to explain to her that you probably won't be bringing everything on her list.

Don't worry. The Husband and I have got your back. We went out and bought a few things on your behalf and will sit back happily while she praises the man in the red suit who somehow managed to make breaking into homes not only socially acceptable, but a much anticipated event. Props to you, Santa.

Anyway, you can let the Elves know that the Sing-a-Ma-Jigs, Unicorn Pillow Pet, and Disney Princess Movies are already taken care of. We might even spring for the Dora the Explorer Power Wheel Jeep. But the rest is all you. And we'd appreciate it if you could possibly return the favor by sticking "Love, Mama and Daddy" on a few of the things you happen to drop off. Because really? It's only fair. And? We're now broke.

I've already had a few friends and family ask me what I want for Christmas. I've already got my two front teeth, so that's out. And The Husband and I are already on the lookout for another puppy, so don't worry about poking holes in a box for something cute to breathe out of. But really? My list isn't really that long. I'd like a few books, maybe Stephen King's On Writing. Perhaps the complete Harry Potter series because I have never had a chance to read it. (I know. I know. Shut up.)

I'd also like something sparkly. But don't worry. I'll ask The Husband for that. So you're off the hook again. (See how considerate I am being?)

So what do I want you to leave for me under the Christmas tree? My laptop, opened and logged in to my email account (You got into my house, big guy, so let's not be modest here. We know you've got the skills), with a brandy new and very pretty new message from my dream agent. One that, very clearly, states they love me and my manuscript. A contract would be nice, too. But you can save that for my birthday. It's the day after. I can wait.

Just think! I'm saving you space in your sled again to allow for more Christmas cheer. I'm thinking that should count for some points, yes?

I've been a good girl, Santa. Pinky promise. And? I'm leaving you some cookies on the table. But forget the milk. Since Rudolph's the one doing the actual driving, feel free to help yourself to the liquor cabinet.

Sincerely,

Pauline (a.k.a. Aspiringmama)

On Me and the Speed of Molasses

Good gawd, I'm picky. I was when I was dating and I am probably worse with querying agents for Baby F(Ph)at. Case in point: I got my first boyfriend when I was 16, had three serious boyfriends before The Husband decided he was the Prince this Mexican Princess was looking for and answered my ad, and walked down the aisle at the ripe old age of Are you fucking crazy? You have your whole life ahead of you!!! 24.  Maybe I missed out on some singles fun by declining that Spring Break trip to Mardi Gras with the sorority sisters I wouldn't have paid to be friends with because I was too busy staring at the shiny new engagement ring on my finger prior to becoming Mrs. The Husband, but hell, I was happy where I was ( i had always said I would marry a guy who was half Mexican, taller than me, and spoke more English than Spanish. Guess what I got? Yep...exactly what I ordered). No need to go looking for what I wasn't.

Querying is very much the same for me. I have compared the process of searching for an agent to finding love a few times on the blog, and the comparison is still true for me. And? It explains why I have only queried 10 agents since July.

Namely? I am not a query slut.

(Don't get your panties in a bunch. I am not calling you a query slut. I am merely saying that I am not one. Big difference. Huge difference. Huge!)

Sure, I could have had my letter in the hands of 40 or 50 or more agents by now. Some may argue that I should have. But I respectfully disagree (in my case, anyway). Because when it comes to searching for an agent, I am being just as picky as I was when I was looking for my prince. If I don't get all super excited and start dreaming about how my first name would match his last how insanely awesome it would be to have THIS agent take me on as a client, then I'm not going to bust my ass to perfect the personalization on the query and send the damned thing out. It's hard enough when I want it to work out. I am not going to go that kind of crazy when I only have a name, an email address, and no idea who this person is or if anyone else has ever heard of them. (And yes, I did turn down one agent who refused to give details on her track record. Call me crazy.)

Which takes me to the search itself. I've gone through the requisite books at Barnes & Noble. I've highlighted names in my agent listing books. And? I have twitter-stalked enough agents long enough to know if I am going to continue following and query or unfollow because I'm not getting all googly-eyed at the thought of them calling me if I make myself pretty and send them a note with a box to check yes if they like me. Like my Husband requirements, my agent list is pretty specific. I'm betting she will be a mom, appreciate a properly placed F-bomb, and have an active twitter account or at least know what a tweet actually is when not referring to the sound the birds make in Snow White. Did I mention I was picky?

So maybe my search is moving slow. Okay, slow is an understatement. But that's okay with me.I'm still looking. And I'm not sweating the small stuff. The Husband answered my yahoo ad the day I was clearing out the inbox because I had decided I was going to take a break from the dating scene. The rest is obviously history.

Now...let's see how this agent match search of mine plays out. 'Cuz I could query her...or her...or maybe? Maybe I'll just wait for the next agent that has me doodling their name in hearts on the cover of my notebooks.

URAW seeks IA (See Ad for Translations)

Pretend this is a personals ad. Hell, I got The Husband that way. I think my headline was "Mexican Princess Looking for her Prince." I was bubbly. Cute. Snarky. And ended the ad with "Now give me a reason to call you back." And? He did.

Obviously, I can't be as free with my words when querying an agent because I want to be published and have people laugh when they read my book and not unpublished with a laughable query letter. Granted, I don't have an agent yet, so the query very well may suck. But that isn't the point of today's post.

Today's question of the day, dear readers, is: If finding an agent was like finding an online date (or the old-fashioned newspaper personal), what would your personal ad say?

Let's start with the acronyms.

Thanks to the roommate freak-fest of a movie that was Single White Female all know what SWF means (and I opted to get married right out of college rather than put myself into that kind of craziness. With a man I met online. I know. Let's not talk semantics.)

Ok, so a person seeking person ad would read something like:

SWF duh, with K kids, AL animal lover,  ISO in search of AL animal loving SWM take a wild guess, K ok kids okay, who is DTE down to earth, funny, HWP height weight proportional. I love cheesy movies, nice dinners, and long walks on the beach.

Got all that? Good. Now let's move on to the agent.

First we would have to have the description

I think it would go like this:

Name: Pauline M. Campos

Age: 32

Height: 5'6''

Weight: Shut up

Eyes: Brown

Hair: See Mexi-fro

Now for the actual acronym-filled personal

URAW unrepresented aspiring writer of SMMM snarky mama-minded memoir with plans to create a national movement to make said SMMM a mandatory baby shower gift is ISO in search of IA interested agent who is TF typo-forgiving and KWTI knows what twitter is. SOH sense of humor important. You appreciate the importance of a well-placed FB F-bomb for emphasis. I am waiting for the RA right agent to OMAC offer me a contract. SM sign me and I promise you the LOP lack of platform because I DHARTSIJOABI don't have a reality TV show in Jersey or a Bump-it will become a non-issue as we begin our new journey together.

There. Now to sit back and wait for the flood of responses to come pouring in. Maybe I should go wash my hair and decide what to wear on our first date. Or buy a bump-it.

Waiting to (be Read)

A guide to writing query letters. The Life of Pi. The entire collection of Roald Dahl. Steering the Craft. And a My Head Hurts list of other titles I have shoved in this little cubicle.
They are all waiting To Be Read.
I've purchased or been given these books withing the last 18 months or so and have yet to open one of them (well, except for the Roald Dahl collection. I got that just because I wanted to re-read them. Because I'm so totally available for that, right?) The first 12 months don't count because I was writing a book and was lucky if I had time to read a menu. And the last six I've had my nose stuck in queries, research, and when I had the time to indulge, my nook. It wasn't until I emptied and reorganized the bookshelf that I realized I was still sitting on a goldmine of good reading...and that was after I carted two box loads out to the mini van for donating.
I won't lie. I almost donated most of these, too.
"I don't have time."
"I'll never read them."
But I didn't. I'm a writer. I can't throw away words.I might not have time, but I will get through this To Be Read cubicle of mine. And not to point out the obvious or the fact that I had this book before I started querying month ago but didn't bother to look at my own bookshelf, but I'm thinking I might start with that query letters guide. You know, just in case I ever plan to give that a try, maybe, someday.

The Typo Queen

Confession: I once submitted a cover letter for a public relations job. I didn't get the job. My qualifications were great. I would have rocked the job, too. But I am pretty sure that the individual who happened to open the email containing my letter is probably still laughing even though this story took place about 9 years ago. After all, they were looking for someone with experience in public relations. I, however, had stated in the cover letter that I had experience in pubic relations.

Yuck it up, people. Yuck. It. Up.

I remembered this little incident when my dear friend Jeanne was helping my fix a few typos in my current manuscript and realized I wasn't sure which was more embarrassing. I had "they's" where "the's" should have been, dropped hyphens, missing "I's", and a crap-load of other insanely obvious mistakes that got by not only myself, but multiple reads by various trusted writer friends. Every time Jeanne pointed a new one out, I responded with a, "Seriously?" And then I would say something witty like, "This is why I was a reporter and not a copy editor." Because really? I probably would have been a better pubic relations specialist.

I am a self-admitted Typo Queen. My brain works faster than my fingers can type and because I know what I meant to write, I usually miss what actually made it to the page. I can catch Other People's typos easily. But my own? Say it with me, people: Pubic Relations.

The point to this little trip down my typo-ridden memory lane is this: Don't trust your own eyes. Beg, borrow, and bribe multiple people to read your work. (I promised Jeanne a bedazzled pony. She obviously liked the idea.) Then ask more people. Pay for a professional copy edit, if you feel the need and have the funds to spare. But by all means, remember that fresh eyes are a must.

This is something I seem to have forgotten from my days as a city editor at a little paper where we fancy-titled individuals wrote our stories, took our own photos, and laid out the paper every week. The rule was that we couldn't edit our own work and two different pairs of eyes had to sign off on each page before it was cleared to go. The other rule was that all pages had to be edited off screen because it's easier to miss mistakes when they aren't on the printed page.

Tonight's word-fixing session reminded me of all that. Which was nice, because I'd hate for a typo to get in the way of me and my dreams which involve finding an agent and getting a book deal and are in no way related to any career choices that involve anything pubic.

It's show and tell time. What's your favorite typo story?

The Rejection Celebration

"Embrace rejection! Wink at it, laugh, maybe bake a rejection pie. You'll get there. Why not have fun along the way?" --Agent Michelle Humphrey of the Martha Kaplan Agency as quoted in the October edition of Writer's Digest.

I couldn't have read this little piece of genius on a more perfect day. There I was, minding my own business on twitter, checking email, and working on edits when two (that's right, T-W-O) rejections came in, not five minutes apart.

To tell you the truth, the second one didn't even faze me. My eyes were still adjusting to the fact that I had struck out again from the first email.

I blinked, sighed, cursed my writer's ego for having the audacity to think that a perfect stranger would love my words, and then sighed again, straightened my back, puffed out my chest, and said, "Screw it. On to the next."

Because really, there's no where else to go but up if I plan on getting anywhere. But that's easy to say now, of course. When the next response comes floating in, I'll be a bundle of nerves as a gather up the courage to actually open the email, and then holding my breath while I wait for the next batch of courage to be gathered up before I can actually open my eyes. And then...

Well...

It's either a happy dance or a rejection pie. Or maybe rejection shoes? Or perhaps a pair of rejection earrings?

I asked The Husband today what he thought I could treat myself with every rejection I face and overcome; something that would make me smile, laugh, and a little bit giddy. He automatically suggested going out for a drink with a friend and getting whatever girly drink comes in those big ol' take-me-home glasses so I could start my own collection. Then he stopped, looked at me, and said maybe that wasn't such a good idea. After all, I really don't have time to join AA.

"But I can't bake a rejection pie!" I wailed. "I wrote a book about my ass being too big. Baking a pie is really kind of counter-productive, considering I'm only on number 8 of what could be an incredibly long line of doors slammed in my face. Think of the calories!"

"A glass of wine then? One for every rejection?"

I just looked at him. "Really? I'm trying to find something I don't usually do on a regular basis."

"I thought we had ruled out AA meetings," he countered.

"Right...what about shoes? I could buy a pair for every..."

"No." He didn't even let me finish the sentence. And honestly, that hurt.

"I could get a new book for the nook, maybe?"

He laughed. "Like you'll have time to read that many."

I raised an eyebrow. "Seriously?"

"Um, I didn't mean..."

This time I cut him off.  " Whatever. How about a new silver charm for my pandora bracelet? I kinda like that idea."

"That could be a lot of charms..."

"Did you forget to turn your filter on this morning?"

His eyes twinkled and the corners of his lips twitched for just a moment before he regained control and he was able to speak. "I just meant, maybe you can think of something a bit more affordable? You're the one who said this wasn't going to be easy."

And he's right. I am the one that said that. Which means me thinking I can buy a $25 charm for every rejection means I need a job to support that Rejection Celebration habit I'm trying to start.

So I need ideas, peeples. Something fun that won't break the bank. And I'm fully expecting my comments to explode on this post because I know I am not the only person in the world looking for a pick-me-up when I get another no from another agent. Ideas, peeples...Do you celebrate your rejections? What's your guilty pleasure?

*Update: The Husband said ponies are out of the question.

The Platform Conundrum

Dear Future Agent, I have a secret to share. It may shock you.

Then again, probably not.

See...(and this is kind of embarrassing to admit)...but (deep breath) I. Am. Not. Famous.

I'll give you a minute to digest that little piece of information. Because really, the Holy Crap factor was probably enough to knock the wind out of you. You know, while you laughed at me. So I understand if you need to compose yourself.

Right now, dear Future Agent, you are probably asking yourself why you should give a damn about me and my Regular Peeples status. Or not. After all, we haven't been formally introduced yet. Or perhaps we have and I just haven't quite convinced you yet. So in reality, you are probably busy cycling through your inbox while fending off off over-zealous writers with good intentions and big dreams who may have sent you cookies instead of a properly formatted query letter, wishing it was five o'clock so you can get home and pop the cork on a bottle of wine, skip the glass, and stick a bendy straw in there. You know, after you have served the kids dinner. (I'm going out on a limb here and guessing you will be a mom. And if you are doing that bendy straw thing, we are soooo a match made in heaven.)

But back to the me Not Being Famous and why you should care thing. You see, before I find you I have to be told to keep looking by others. "This is a subjective business..." "Other agents opinions may differ..." "What doesn't work for me may be perfect for another agent..." Oh wait. It's been three weeks and two days. Which means I can cross two more off my list. I know my query is solid (maybe). I know my writing has promise (right?). I know I will not be a word-diva when it comes to revisions (which I think is major bonus points, yes?) I could focus on the fact that I just got turned down again or I can remind myself that these two passive rejections are playing their karmic roles in getting me closer to the day I find you. But instead, I think I'll focus on the fact that my (solid) query is missing something. That my (promising) writing isn't even going to come into play for many of the agents who shall come before you because of that pesky little platform thing. And seeing as I don't really have one to stand on, why ask for more if I don't have enough to get me past Go to collect my Monopoly money?

You already know, dear Future Agent, that Non-fiction and Strong Platforms go hand in hand. That there is plenty of rhyme and reason for the current system. I get it, too. But I have to admit that the whole situation kind of has me in a pickle similar to the Gotta Have Credit to Get Credit situation I found myself in when I was young and stupid enough to jump on the first credit card offer that got me a free T-shirt on my college campus; I'm not famous enough to garner the attention of many agents looking for famous enough people to garner the attention of publishers looking for people famous enough to sell books. So they have (and will continue to) take a pass on me. No matter what they may think of my writing or my claims that my old job, this blog, and my twitter addiction could be considered a platform.

And that's okay. It sucks. But it's okay.

Because one day, you will take a chance on me. And I'll do that little happy dance every writer does when their own future finally slows down enough for them to grab hold. And then I can dream bigger and work harder (while trying to remedy that Not Being Famous thing while taking breaks from that working and writing thing, of course.) Until then, I'll continue to nurse my bruised ego, marvel at the fact that the girl who was so unsure of herself has grown into the woman who is sure enough to continue this soul-crushing exercise as long as it takes, and wait.

I may not be famous (enough) yet, but I'm stubborn as hell. Which means I'm not going to let my cute little platform (or lack thereof) get in my way.

Sincerely,

Me

Reverse Nesting

Something strange happened when I finished writing Baby F(Ph)at. In short, I looked up and realized I suck as a housewife when I'm knee-deep in a manuscript. After a year of getting by with frantic "just throw the extra shit in the closet!" sessions reserved for guests and making sure we had enough clean laundry so no one was wearing anything nasty, I finally saw the house through the eyes of my alter-ego, (Mexican) June Cleaver. And aye...Ward has reasons to question if he's man enough to stick around when I get to writing that next book.

While it's true that I finished the book before I left for BlogHer, it's also true that I was away from home until last week. And after a few days of doing the blissful nothing I demand after 20 days of non-stop family, I blinked...and then it all came into focus.

The dust covered blinds (I wrote my name one one...kinda cool, actually.)

The junk drawer so full of random crap that it wasn't even closing anymore.

The closet. Which we couldn't fit the vacuum into. And that's a problem.

The dust bunnies under the couch (which are now getting their own mail forwarded to my address.)

The linen closets (not just for linen anymore! Holy shit! That's where that other thing I don't need went to...)

Needless to say...I have my work cut out for me.  That's why I started a to-do list with one or two projects to be tackled daily. Like the dusting and the evicting of the dust bunnies. Or the junk drawer and the closet. Or telling The Husband to bite me and to shove it when he tells me I suck as a housewife when I'm writing a book. Or maybe just telling him to fuck off and then laughing because I can't keep a straight face because he is so totally right.

It's been about a week since I started my reverse nesting. That's what I like to call this phase. Moms-to-be nest when a baby is on the way. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Moms who are writers nest after they (I) finish a book and figure out they (I) better haul ass on Operation Clean House before the next project is officially started. (While they (I) are (am) querying.)  Because that's such a relaxing combination.

And when I type Chapter 1? Again?

It's house, hell, and hand basket...all over again.

Bring it.

Until then, I'm gonna whistle while I work and rock this happy homemaker thing.

A Brain Cloud in Progress

I've got these great ideas for blog posts. I think them up all the time. When I'm brushing my teeth or giving Buttercup a bath.

When I'm driving.

When I'm knee-deep in a three week hell-cation and am aware that aside from, like, 2 friends, no one I actually know reads my blog (yet).

These moments happen all the time. You know the kind. Where you look up from whatever you are doing like Twist on The Fresh Beat Band and suddenly have a bright idea animate itself right next to your quirky little smile? Those moments are awesome...sometimes a blog post even writes itself. And when I'm in the habit of writing everyday, I can hold on to these mind pictures long enough to get through an entire day (including a story and bed time) before finding myself with enough free time to sit down and peck at the keyboard.

But I'm not in practice right now. Instead, I'm grasping at straws with no idea what I was thinking about five minutes ago because I am:

*simultaneously reading Eat, Pray, Love and Julie and Julia on my nook and calling it Baby F(Ph)at research while I continue to plod my way through the #agentsearch.

*bitching cuz I never found the time to get my sport length acrylics redone (read: filled and filed way the hell down) after BlogHer and am now hating life as I type because I still have a few BlogHer posts to write and at this point I'd really rather just not.

*ignoring and being mutually ignored by BFF Mel as our marathon-online-window shopping Skype session has surpassed the point of conversation, the interest of The Husband and Mr. @Bobherz, and has morphed into a nonversation. I'm writing a blog post and she's trying to find the perfect accessories for her new nook and every 10 minutes or so one of us will ask the other how it's going, the other will give a noncommittal "s' alright" before resuming our BFF-y shared silence. Well shit...I think she just hung up on me. It's cool. Not like we weren't talking for three hours.

*recovering from 20 days away from home, even if home isn't the home I still own 2,500 miles away because The Husband took a job 2,500 miles thissa way, and realizing that after this time on our own---with no real family or friends out here---I much rather prefer my own brand of crazy than the kind forced on me by competing personalities and agendas...even if it means scorpions and tarantulas because it's legal to drown them in bug spray.

*thankful that the, like, 2 friends I have who read this blog won't be mentioning this blog or the contents of this post to any of the little faces I may be imagining on said scorpions or tarantulas in the weeks to come.

*hoping that the little faces think I'm talking about other little faces should they ever come across this blog post when I'm at the top of the New York Times Best Seller List on a day that they got bored and decided to troll for a reason to start an argument because the laundry is done and the kids are in school and really, what else do we do right now?

*munching on Buttercup's Gerber Graduates Mild Cheddar Lil Crunchies because I knowingly and willingly jumped so far off the wagon while away that I'm now resorting to pilfering my daughter's cheesy snacks because it's almost midnight and I'm not even looking at a spinach leaf until Monday morning after I wake up, not before I go to0 bed and oh hell yes is this an important distinction.

*wondering if I should break up with my Blackberry gently or just tell it like it is...

*also wondering if I'd get more blog comments if I gave the two friends who are reading it a cute group nickname, like pranksters but not, cuz that one's already taken.

*wondering also if I'd already be a famous writer with book deals and "Now a Major Motion Picture" stickers on my book covers if I had started out not actually wanting to grow up to be a famous writer.

*thinking that the idea of Catherine the Great peeing on me whenever it rains is one of the sweetest ways to bring a smile to my face when I might be having a particularly shitty day.

*am surprised you are still reading thi...never mind.

How to write a proposal (or passing the buck)

For those who've been reading the blog for more than five minutes, you know I've mentioned my non-fiction proposal more than a few times. It took forever to write and I did have the help of a freelance editor to hold my hand during the process. It was grueling but oh so satisfying when I completed it.

I've been asked more than a few times for a post describing how to go about writing one, but I'd like to leave responses to questions like that in the hands of the experts. One of the best places to look for proposal advice (and anything else you can think of related to the writing process) is literary agent Nathan Bransford's blog. Seriously, check it out. And bookmark it. If you're anything like me, you'll be referring to his site often.

And a side note on proposals: In my own agent search, I've come across one agent who states that memoirs are sold as novels and proposals and are therefore not needed. To counter that, I've also come across a billion others who say that without a proposal, your non-fiction book (memoir or otherwise) isn't going to get on a bookshelf anytime soon. In fact, many I plan to query actually require one as part of the querying process.

So take it as you will. But also take it as a lesson to further emphasize the point that agents are individuals with individual tastes and requirements for submission. Bottom line? Pretend it's a blind date where both parties are trying to figure out if they want to break the awkward silence and actually converse. Either there's chemistry or there isn't.

Here's hoping for chemistry, world peace, and a smaller ass.

New (Query) Truths

Hit send. Hit send. Hit send. It's the twitter mantra of the brave who have made it to the land of The End on their respective projects. There's plenty of talk of nerves and sweaty palms and hyperventilation and total and absolute fear. I've heard it can be paralyzing, that fear. I've even seen ongoing twitter conversations in which one writer would be cheered on by a cast of supportive friends until they finally ignored the nerves just long enough to HIT SEND.

And then the twittersphere erupts in silent cheers and exclamation points of happiness.

So I was a little surprised when I realized how easy it actually is to Hit Send. I haven't had one nerve go haywire or had to wipe a sweaty brow. I've just, quite simply, hit send. And it isn't until the response appears in the inbox that the nerves hit, the palms get sweaty, and the hyperventilating begins because it is at that very moment that I have lost all control over what will come to be.

Hitting Send doesn't scare me. But I'll be honest. There are plenty of nerves, two very sweaty palms, and some slight hyperventilating going on as I click the email open to see what's in store.

Ask Aspiring Mama

I'm reading an old copy of a fashion magazine and just came across an advice column question in which the writer asks the advice-giver-outer why she can't score an agent for her book. I mean, she sends them cookies! That she baked! (Why haven't I tried that yet?) Um, I'm gonna go out on a limb here with this one.

1) If your just sending cookies, they might confuse you with a harmless stalker who likes to bake.

2) If you are actually including the query, I'm thinking the cookies might actually be a distraction.

"Here's query #45 of the day and OMG! Chocolate CHIP! Who wants one?"

Which can only lead to glasses of milk to dunk the cookies in and oh nos! That query was just totally made unreadable by that spilled glass so now you have no query in the agent's hot little hands AND they don't even know who to send the thank-you note (for the cookies, mind you) to.

3) If your cookies suck, you are so not getting a response.

4) If they don't, I'm thinking they are better off saved for the agent who actually signs you. Which means the query needs to go out all on its lonesome. Send the cookies after the contract has been signed. You know, so you don't look like a harmless talker who likes to bake.

5) Unless, that is, you are writing a cookie cookbook. Then, and only then, might your cookie-sending be an acceptable form of hooking said agents.

6) Oh wait...you're not. Please refer to #4