The other night I went to my second meeting with the Scottsdale society of Women Writers. This is quite a dynamic and enthusiastic group of women who all have the same common goal of writing, publishing and selling their work. At least those I’ve met are interested in that path. Many of them have already been published traditionally or have self-published. And self-publishing is an act that I’m coming to learn is slowly becoming more traditionally accepted form of publishing as well.
We sat around the good viewing side of the table, there were six of us at our table, and chatted while we waited for dinner to arrive and the leader of the group, Patricia, to get things kicked off for the night. I was wearing my name tag in guest red but had just joined that night and it felt great to know that next month I’d be sporting member blue; no longer just a guest but one of the people who can call herself a Writer. As we talked about the projects we’ve all worked on, our lives in general and what our current success has been in publishing, I suddenly realized that a few of the women at our table were asking me about the steps I’ve taken in publishing my novel.
I am not yet published, this first manuscript that I wrote during (the dare known as) NaNoWriMo in 2009 had its edits completed in mid-2010 and I’ve been shopping it ever since. My time doing research to find out the proper steps and ways to go about getting a 60,000 word Chick Lit novel into mainstream publication has armed me with a whole bunch of knowledge but no contract with an agency as of yet. But I still felt great that I could contribute to the smaller group at our table with a little bit of information on how they too could get their work out into the world. Maybe those yet unpublished authors at our table would find quicker success than I have and I hope they all go for it!
My book, I professed, is a specific sect of a specific genre. Generally when I make these kinds of statements the person I’m talking to nods and says “oh, that’s nice” but they don’t ask the follow up questions. These ladies asked exactly what genre it was, what makes it more niche-y and I was overjoyed to describe it! I need to create an elevator pitch as if I was the book talking, it will help with queries, so the more I can narrow down by saying it out loud the better.
I told them that it qualifies as Chick Lit but my female main character isn’t like typical girlie-girls. She’s not all about shoes and purses, she’s a tomboy who loves The Bruins and beer and jogs almost daily. One of the women at my table said “ooh, cool!” and I almost ran over across the table to hug her. It hit me in that moment that there have got to be hundreds, if not thousands, of women just like my main character out there. Women that would think a story about a tomboy and her friends hanging out at bars, building businesses, and finding love in Boston is cool. I mean, I’m that way. My character’s disposition and activities came out of my imagination so while she isn’t a carbon copy of me, there are still a whole lot of “she’s the me I’d be if I could create the dream me” moments.
I agreed that I thought it was pretty cool. It’s not likely I’ll ever write a girlie-girl story with a high heel wearing, Prada bag carrying, powerful and rich type of girl simply because that is not me.
So while I pondered the fact that there is a definite market out there for my work I started to wonder if I already know that entire network of people. In theory of course, I hope more than the few hundred women I know will enjoy my book. I guess I mean that if I’m a tomboy and most of the gals I know might also be considered tomboys it must be reasonable to deduce that there are many, many others out there too. Maybe even some Agents.
Next step: find an Agent who likes a good Porter and an Irish Townie who knows how to kiss, can’t live without hockey, and is there in a crisis for her friends regardless that she too is essentially in the middle of a crisis.
Or at least find an Agent who wants to read about that girl because although it nerves me, I can’t wait to stand in front of the group and talk about my soon to be published novel.