2011 began on a low note for me. In January, my agent cut me loose. It wasn't that he had lost enthusiasm for my book. He hadn't, he said. What he'd lost was the ability to sell fiction in today's publishing world. It was a theme I heard repeated later in the year.
Needing an agent, I rewrote my query letter and synopsis. Then I did another revision of the book—the eighteenth draft. In February, I began a new search for an agent. If my previous agent showed his uncertainty about the publishing world by getting out of fiction, other agents are showing it by taking fewer risks with new authors. So far, 57 queries have netted me eight requests for partials and one request for the full manuscript. One agent, after telling my how much she liked what she'd read and after requesting more of the book, decided to get out of fiction. That makes number two. I'm not taking it personal.
I attended two conventions, Killer Nashville and Bouchercon. At Nashville, I learned more about the angst of agents and publishers in the world of e-books. At Bouchercon, I talked to many writers who told me to get my backlist published in e-books. I was ahead of them on that. Locally, as workshop coordinator for Brazos Writers, I organized a screenwriting workshop with screenwriter Bonnie Orr as the instructor. She preached the merits of the beat sheet. My favorite workshop of the year was in September. It was a full day workshop on the Art and Science of Investigation. Our speakers were Steve Smith, a psychologist who specializes in memory and eye-witness testimony, Suzanne Lowe and Jorge Molina, Texas Rangers forensic artists, and Jeff Tomberlin, an entomologist who studies colonization of corpses by flies. CSI is now so boring.
I began four short stories this year and finished two. I have been sending one of the completed stories to publishers. It has been at Alfred Hitchcock for six weeks. the other story appears in a collection of my short stories published by Ilium Books. Game Face is now available for purchase as a trade paperback, or an e-book in Kindle and iPad/Nook formats. I also published six of the stories in the collection as stand-alone e-books for Kindle, Nook and iPad.
The downside of writing the short stories and publishing the e-books is that I put my novel on hold. My resolution for 2011 is to finish it.
On the whole, I think 2011 was a good year and I'm looking forward to 2012. How was your year?