Alanah Winters

Alanah Winters: Compelling fiction

My Literary Journey Continues...

Hey Steve, put another shrimp on the barbie for me, will ya? Okay I don’t personally know anybody named Steve. However, I’ve been a busy little bee, so it would be nice to find someone else to cook my shrimp… and all the rest of my meals for that matter.

 Now I have a real craving for shrimp...

Now I have a real craving for shrimp...

I’m not complaining, there’s a lot for me to be thankful for in my life. My search for an agent is still on the way. No home runs as of yet, but I’ve had a few leads. Some of them have went cold and others still have a smoldering ember of hope (fingers crossed). 

I also went to Las Vegas to further my understanding of the literary world. I know what you must be thinking. How can drunken nights and gambling help my pursuits of literary genius? Well they don’t… So luckily I went there to participate in a wonderful conference thrown by RT Booklovers.

I may have partaken in a little bitty bit of the other stuff as well.

 Good times to be had, for sure!

Good times to be had, for sure!

Anyway, the conference was beyond amazing and I learned so much! I even had a meeting with an agent, up close and personal. The experience is now in the "pivotal moments" pile of life events I’ve been gathering since [enter year of birth here].

Like I have just written, I’ve had different people interested in my work, but what seemed elusive was creative criticism. I thought people's opinions about my work would come in droves, but I was wrong. I know, I sound like a crazy person. I mean, who really wants their work to be torn a new, you-know-what?

It feels great to hear you’re doing everything right. However, in the back of your mind you know there’s always room for improvement and you need others to help shine a light on places you weren’t even aware were dark in the first place. So in those few minutes spent with a professional, I received positive feedback on my writing and helpful hinters of how to brand myself and my work! That’s truly priceless.

 Communication is key! Along with the occasional juice box.

Communication is key! Along with the occasional juice box.

Okay, I’m going to share a couple of my faux pas I have made and had no idea until after the agent meeting. No one gets to laugh at me though. Here it goes. I went to the meeting selling my current work under the genre “Urban Fantasy”. Which would’ve been fine if my characters were from N.Y.C. or Los Angeles or (enter big daunting city here). Not from the wine country of Temecula, SoCal. So suburbia doesn’t equal “urban”, which makes sense. Please don’t ask what the heck I was thinking in the first place. All I know is genres can easily start looking alike when you need to define your book for others. I find that I try to cast a broad net so I could catch the attention of as many people as possible. Let’s just say it didn’t work the way I wanted it to. Anywho, I now know this particular series that holds the titles “The Beast Within” and “The Beast Unveiled” would be under Contemporary Fantasy”. To be honest I didn’t even know that was a thing. Yeah, lots to learn.

Talking about learning, in the huge worldwide web you can research until your eyes cross and conflicting information is always present. Especially in the field of authorship which has been revamped and is still growing into another beast altogether. So I was caught off guard when I found out that since I started my first series with self-publishing, I will more than likely have to keep on that very path for the remainder of it.

When I first heard that piece of information I felt my heart drop. She broke the news after reading a few pages of my work and telling me she was very impressed by the depth of my character from the first few paragraphs. I was thrilled she had a genuine interest in my work, but couldn’t help but to be bummed that I have one to two more books before I could move on to my next project. I was sure she would’ve forgotten me and my character by the time I had new material. And I thought that meant I wouldn’t be truly considered by any agent until I had finished with my series. I think she could feel the shift of energy in my pose. Luckily, she assured me that self-publishing is an avenue many new and seasoned writers explore and it very rarely gets in the way of an agent looking for a career client, which is a client they keep for the whole of the writer’s career. She then asked what I had in my writing docket for the future. After I talked her ears off she showed more interest and asked for five chapters of my current work to read through! Yes, she is one of the embers I was talking about. We'll see, but this opportunity never would’ve existed if I hadn’t opened myself up to the experience. I look forward to what this may bring to my future and my literary growth.    

Since then I’ve revamped my five year plan and came up with a solid plan of attack. But that’s for another blog… Happy weekend all!