Saturday, December 17, 2011

Where Have All the Tomboys Gone?

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 Maybe those yet unpublished authors at our table would find quicker success than I have and I hope they all go for it!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.


Linda Myers said...

Now that I've self-published, I've order the Writer's Market book for 2012 and am going to see if I can find a traditional house that will carry it. This advice from a former publishing company fellow. He says it's a long shot, but worth it.

Good luck!

Rosebud Collection said...

Keep at it will succeed..

Almost Precious said...

Looks like you've found a good group to belong to and they should also be a big help in networking.

Jenn you've got passion, talent and perseverance ... you will make it to your goal. :)

Hoping your Christmas is a very special one filled with the love of family and friends and overflowing with happy memories.

Insomniac #4 said...

Your book sounds awesome and I'd be very interested in reading it. I don't mind "chick-lit" as long as it's not too girly. You're speaking my language with the hockey love! :)

Have you ever seen the show "My Boys"? It was about this sportswriter gal in Chicago who had one female bff--and a bunch of guy friends (hence the title). The way you described your story reminds me of that--single, sports loving writer girl who can drink the boys under the table but can't find the right *man* . Not girly-girl stuff at all.

Good luck with the book. Keep us posted, and thanks for the follow!

Suldog said...

Not that it probably matters in the long run, as I'm not the demographic for which you're shooting, but I'd read your book.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Linda I have heard that once you've self published its easier to get published simply because you're familiar with the process and of course, have been published...the old catch-22! What are you thinking of working on next?

Thanks ladies and gents, I can't tell you what the encouragement means!

Insomniac yes I have seen that show once or twice. Funny I don't remember her career but the premise was definitely fun and much more my speed than say anything with the Kardashians :-)

CoffeeBreakCrn said...

Good luck! i actually jsut read an article about 'how to get published'. Don't know if you heard this alraeady but... I thought this was a great advice: every publisher is different so do your research.. see what type of books they publish, their writing style etc... and tailor to that.

Good Luck

Joan said...

Very cool you found this group. What great inspiration they can bring to you, and you to them.
I would love to read your book!
Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Rosebud Collection said...

Had to stop by and wish you a Merry Christmas/Happy New Year..
Sending you love and blessings for 2012..Carolyn