My journey with Peri and her friends

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Getting some attention

Posted by Gayle on July 18, 2008

Kraemer Park, one of the locations in the book

Kraemer Park, one of the locations in the book

In February 2008, I did one more round of edits, printed my manuscript, and headed down to San Diego for yet another SoCal Writer’s Conferences. This time, I had sent in the first 20 pages for three different people to read: an editor (Mike Sirota), an agent (quite frankly, I don’t remember her name), and a publisher (Karen Syed, Echelon Press).

I tried to use my time wisely, by going to workshops that had information on getting published, attending a few read & critique sessions to get feedback, and hanging out with Gordon Kirkland. Okay, that last activity was only useful and wise in that I like hanging out with him.

For my advance submissions, Mike Sirota was semi-encouraging. As I sat down, he said, “Ah, at last someone I can give good news to.” Then he proceeded to tear my work apart and tell me to rewrite it all from a completely different perspective and using completely different characters.

Next.

The agent was very young and perky and “played devil’s advocate” with me, questioning Peri’s motivation for going to Benny’s place, Benny’s fascination with Dean Martin, etc. She wasn’t a horrid person, but I could tell that, even if I changed it to please her, we would not work well together.

Then there was Karen. She not only liked my work, she “got” it.

“Have you finished this?” she asked. “Send it to me.”

(Insert girlish squeal here.)

But-but-but… I had already asked Jean Jenkins to work with me, as my editor. Although I had re-read and edited, I wasn’t confident that the book was really publisher-ready. What a lovely dilemma!

Jean said to go for it, so I did one more quick clean-up, then sent it to Karen the following week.

I didn’t hear from her for four months, so I figured she just wasn’t that into it, and I sent it to Jean for editting. As timing would have it, that’s when Karen contacted me and said, do you want a contract?

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