Here’s what my 2011, personal and professional (they’re all jumbled together) looked like. It’s not short, but still sweet, and I went by the numbers. I’m very thankful for everything that happened this year, but it’s important that people know that this blog post isn’t just about what I got done. This is a chance to take a breath, look back, and hopefully encourage any writers who are where I was a year ago (aka beating one’s head against a wall). It’s also a big wet thank-you smooch to everyone who has helped me. Happy New Year!
3: number of books contracted…one co-authored short novel (Long-Distance Lovers), one novella (Love My Way), and one full-length novel (Bring Me Back)
2: number of new works close to submission…one novella (Title TBD, but I’m accepting suggestions, I am suffering from a case of writer’s title block), one full-length novel (Hiding in the Spotlight)
175,000: number of words I wrote this year. Not including emails and blog posts and queries and synopses. 175K words of fiction. It might be more. I cut a lot.
187: number of times I doubted what the hell I was doing. (Not an exact count.)
1: number of writing conferences attended…Writer’s Digest Conference in January.
5: number of agents I pitched at the WDC Pitch Slam in January for Bring Me Back.
187: number of times I considered running out of the room or simply throwing up during Pitch Slam.
43: number of queries sent for Bring Me Back. I sent a grand total of 89 between fall 2010 and 2011.
0: number of agents who signed me as a result of Pitch Slam or querying
4: small press submissions for Bring Me Back, one of which turned into a contract, from Turquoise Morning Press. (SQUEE).
1: number of agents and/or publishers I needed to say “yes” for Bring Me Back.
1: number of agents and/or publishers I needed to say “yes” to me on anything. My first book contract was from Ellora’s Cave. (MORE SQUEE).
0: number of hours I now spend worrying about not having an agent. I have accomplished plenty on my own, thank you very much, and when I look back at 2011 and forward to 2012, I can say it’s all mine.
1: number of critique partners I need. Karen is my everything when it comes to getting my words on the page and later getting them into shape. I love her for this.
1: number of full-time cheerleaders I need. My friend, Sara, is the perky one on the sidelines with her hair in pigtails, waving pom poms like a crazy woman. I love her for this.
1: number of incredible men I need by my side. None of this (and I mean zilch, zero, nada) would be possible without the boundless encouragement and support I get from my hubby, Steve. I love him for this and lots of other things, like being the best dad ever to our two stupendous-in-their-own-right children.
Countless: number of friends and fellow writers who help me be a better writer or be a writer at all. You know who you are. I would name everyone, but I would invariably forget someone and then everybody I forget would have to get a hastily written apology note. If you’re wondering, “I wonder if she means me?”, the answer is “Yes!”.
Is there a lesson in all of this? Probably. I guess what worked for me was to keep trying. As hokey and trite as it sounds, persistence really does pay off .
Author Jennifer Anderson is on deck for RNRHS, to which she says, “Thank you for having me on today. I love these questions! Music. Dancing. Love! Love! Love!” I heartily endorse Jennifer’s use of exclamation points here and below, especially when discussing the finer points of Vanilla Ice and NKOTB. The thing I adore most about her post is the mention of plastering her bedroom walls with photos from teen mags. I was waaaay into those magazines when I was in high school. I saved up babysitting money to buy them. I rubbed the ink from the corners of the pages. I oh-so-carefully went from perforation to perforation to remove the posters. Of course, Duran Duran, played a pivotal role in the creation of my one-of-a-kind wallpaper, but I did allow U2 and The Cure and a bevy of one-hit-wonders to grace the outermost corners of my bedroom.
Pacific High School, Class of ’95, Go Indians!, Currently: By day, I pretend to know what I’m doing as a medical biller. By afternoon, I dabble in the PR/Marketing industry as a manager for Turquoise Morning Press. By night, I wrap up in a cape and let my fingers do the walking…across my keyboard.
Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: To me the 90′s was the rise of rap/hip hop and I luuuuved to shake my groove thang. Six Flags is like 10 minutes from our high school and there was a dance club there for everyone and they played the best music. We’d come off the dance floor soaking wet. But man, we loved it. I would have to say a tie between Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” or Naughty by Nature’s “O.P.P.” Why O.P.P? Yeah, you know me! Actually, we did a dance for cheerleading to it and wore tie dyed shirts with O.P.P puffy painted on our butts!
Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: Bopp Magazine was way huge and I couldn’t get enough. My walls were plastered with pictures of NKOTB during my freshman year. Then they died out a bit and so did my need to put up posters. But not my taste in music. I loved it all. Metal, rap, rock, R&B. My favorite CD case was of Aerosmith. You know the one. With cow utters on the front. A close second would be Stone Temple Pilots. I still have both CDs.
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: I loved all types of music but if I had to pick one group that I didn’t like it would have to be Guns & Roses. Don’t get me wrong, I can belt out “November Rain” likes there’s no tomorrow but Axel’s personality is what did me in. Plus, he got into a fight with a fan in St. Louis and well…no one really liked him after that.
Best show or concert you saw in high school: Stone Temple Pilots, hands down. I was going into my senior year of high school; dating an older bad boy and rode to the concert in the back of a pick-up truck. The haze from people lighting up during the concert was so thick, you could choke.
Optional bonus question: Best high school make-out song: Nine Inch Nails “Closer” ( I have to give credit my husband. He helped me think of it. Oh yeah, we’re high school sweethearts!)
Jennifer is the author of “Knight in Armor”, a sweet romance in the Men In Uniform Anthology released by Turquoise Morning Press. Her debut YA novel Ice Princess is due in April 2012. You can learn more about Jennifer at jenandersonauthor.com