Thursday, November 29, 2007

Does any work get done in December?

Word is that many literary agents don't submit during December. Rationale: The publishing industry slows down and agents don't want their clients' manuscripts buried and moldering on editors' desks.

These agents say it's better to submit after the New Year. But I wonder, won't that result in a deluge, and overwhelm editors with envelopes and packages? If a month's worth of submissions is held back, how many will arrive the first week of 2008? I'm curious to know how editors prioritize when they receive dozens of manuscripts at once. There must be some editors who make their way through the pile chronologically...

Hmmm. Is this a chicken or the egg situation?

It's well known that many other industries also slow down this time of year, while everyone scrambles to decorate, buy gifts and cook for the holidays and attends seasonal functions. What does all this lost productivity cost our economy? Why don't corporations just accede to this national trend, and give employees off from December 15 to January 3rd, instead of going through the motions and requiring everyone to show up at the office?

I know I can't afford to take off an entire month just because of holiday hustle and bustle. Financially--well, I don't get paid vacation days and don't want to abandon all hope of earnings. Mentally--sometimes I feel guilty if I take the weekend off. No way could I play or party for two weeks.

I've also heard of an agent who prefers not to submit on Mondays or Fridays. And they say publishing slows down in August, too.

Maybe that's one reason many authors have agents: to trust that they know the market better than we do.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Multiple Personalities

What a variety of parts I've been asked to portray recently...from a corporate district manager (cast without an audition) to a doctor (auditioned and got the part) to a weed (auditioned, don't think I got it). Yes, the voice of a weed.

Sit back for a moment and imagine how you'd use your voice to convey the demise of a weed.

First I tried various short, high pitched shrieks, but they grated on my ears, even when I sat further back from my microphone. Gaspy groans ended up sounding too much like Meg Ryan in that famous When Harry Met Sally scene.

By this time my throat was starting to hurt. I wondered if my neighbors could hear the screaming. It's very hard to scream quietly. Finally settled on a sort of gurgly sound.

This week, went on two more print looksees. One was for bad can't imagine how big my hair gets if I brush it while upside down. And if I don't flatiron my bangs, each piece goes a different direction. They wanted a mugshot type look; not sure if I came across mean enough. And, they saw over 200 men and women in 8 hours.

The next day, coincidentally, went back to the same photographer for a "nice lady next door" print ad for a well-known prescription drug. I saw blondes, redheads, brown haired women 5 hours who knows how many they will see. The photographer did remember me from yesterday...

I can only hope I've assimilated enough information from watching many seasons of America's Next Top Model to pose competently and connect with the camera.

Moving from on camera, VO, and print to live theatre...I'm in a musical revue, where, among other things, I'm zombie lawyer and a tap dancing cheerleader who does the splits...

Monday, November 19, 2007

RWA National 2008 Hotel

For those planning to attend RWA's National conference next July in San Francisco, here's a heads up about the hotel. Fortunately it's in the middle of, food, sights...all in walking distance.

San Francisco Marriott

Lobby area: is under renovation. A new, focal point lobby bar is on its way as is a new entrance and registration desk. There is a Starbucks and several restaurants, but see Trish Milburn's post about other convenient eating options. The Garden Terrace will seat fewer people after the second floor renovation than it does now.

Rooms: The guest rooms are fairly spacious and, as you can see if you go to the link, provide beds with lots of pillows. Farthest from the elevator is an even larger room offering seating area with a couch and two chairs in addition to the two chairs in a regular king room.

Other: Check in is 4:00 PM, though they happily gave me a room when I arrived at around 11AM. But very few people were checking in at that time, and I don't know how crowded they were the night before. Internet access is $12.95/day. This is one of those hotels with mid-rise and high-rise elevators. There is a health club (24 hours) and a pool; the spa area was recently renovated.
Taxi from the airport: around 25 minutes and $40.
Shower head has various speed/strength options. Flat screen TVs.
The staff was very friendly and helpful, particularly those at the Concierge desk.

Picky Notes:
The blow dryer hung on the only hook in my room.
The closet, in a king bed room at least, is fairly small for two people to share. There were at least two spacious drawers.
If you care about a great view, check to make sure your room has one.
At this time, there are no beverage machines on the room floors.
The line for taxis can be long, but it was easy to get our own taxis.

Conference space: is huge. Most rooms and registration are beneath the lobby but there are some meeting rooms on 4 & 5. The main ballroom is bigger than last year's.
Check out the floor plans.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Persistence Paying Off?!

Faithful readers, I have an announcement: yesterday I felt like and believed I am a working actress and author. Here's why:

In the late afternoon I spoke with my literary agent...she said liked all the changes she'd asked me to make on my latest opus, that it was now a stonger book. Whew. And that she'd submit it right away, after I sent her 4 copies of the new version. (Some of you may think, 'why can't she make the copies?' But often it's up to the author to do that.) So I fired up my printer. Fortunately I had enough paper and toner to print 1404 pages.

Meanwhile, I was learning my lines for a Walgreen's training video that started at 10:15 pm, and glancing over copy for an audition I have for two corporate videos today.

I carried the huge stack to UPS and overnighted the 4 copies, thrilled to have this off my plate and on hers. Then I went to two hours of my high energy three hour improv class, and drove to the burbs for the Walgreen's shoot. I had three scenes, finished at 2:20 am and got home at 3.

It's still hard for me to believe that all I have to do is say the lines, and the producer/director/writer will be happy with my performance. Not to say that they don't ask me to try different things on each take, or adjust my position or how I hold a clipboard or whatever...but then I do what they say and they are happy with that. Not that this is always remember lines and say them with the right inflection/emotion while turning at a certain moment without moving out of camera frame.

I guess part of me still wonders if I am an actress.

I am.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

When NO turns into YES

Sometimes NO doesn't really mean means 'try again' or YES.

A recent post ("Close but no Cigar") bemoaned my 19 vote loss in the national Romance Writer of America board of directors election. Rest easy, faithful reader, because I am now on the board! A director in my region moved to another position, and the board appointed me to fill the vacancy. I am enjoying learning about my responsibilities, and look forward to the first board meeting.

An editor I know has read part or all of FOUR of my manuscripts. One might think that, since she didn't want to buy any of them, she'd be done. But she just asked to see part of another. Yes, again I have proved close but no cigar. Is the fifth time the charm?

When I first mentioned the premise of ms #9 to my agent, she wasn't thrilled. But she read the first 50 pages and changed her mind. Now I'm waiting to hear on final revisions...

Some might find victory all the sweeter after you'd thought you'd already lost.

The question is: what steps can I take in the future to avoid the emotional roller coaster of turning NO to YES...and go directly to YES? Or are timing and luck, not my actions, the controlling factors?