Tag Archives: literary agents

Dear Esteemed Literary Agent

Dear Esteemed Literary Agent:

Vulnerability is an inexorable element of metamorphosis.  Mothers recognize it as they gestate, birth and raise their children; teens feel it as they face down adulthood; friends attempt to camouflage it as they navigate constantly shifting relationships with their peers. When vulnerability meets tragedy, an opening in the soul erupts and we are faced with the burden of transformation or stagnation.  A Heroic Survival, an Abysmal Truth: the Story of Dallon Whittaker dissects one such magnanimous journey through the eyes of the extraordinarily intuitive, seventeen-year-old Dallon (Dalli) Whittaker.

Set in present-day Pittsburgh three weeks after his mother, Nora, has died from an aggressive form of breast cancer, Dalli recalls the scenes and conversations between him and his mother which illuminated the previously concealed truth about his father’s distant fatal car accident—an accident that occurred prior to Dalli’s birth—and the ensuing dissipation of his paternal relatives.  Buttressed by his closest friends, Noah and Angelica, and his maternal uncle, Paul, Dalli guides the reader through his quest to make sense of his family’s jaded past and his newly orphaned status, all the while preparing for his matriculation to George Washington University.

An eccentric, Jewish psychologist, Nora is resurrected on the page, ultimately making this maternal-nerve-tapping story a piece of strong women’s fiction.  As Dalli contemplates his late mother’s quirky obsessions with etymology, bodies of water, and the scant form of preeminence she believed him to possess, the reader gains a sense of how deeply entrenched Nora is within certain confines of her son’s persona.  Meanwhile, the edgy, sarcastic, deeply loveable young man traverses the confines of grief, abandonment and unwanted responsibility, while unwittingly approximating self examination, resiliency and hope.  Ultimately, Dalli must choose whether or not he will lay to rest his own vulnerabilities, and those closely guarded by his mother.

Marketable to readers who savor the tangible characters and memorable storylines of Jodi Picoult and Amy Tan, this novel has been crafted fastidiously with filmic imagery, workshopped at Desert Nights Rising Stars 2009 Writer’s Conference, and critiqued by several fellow women’s literature writers.

After living in Pittsburgh for six years, I now live in Bozeman, Montana, where I continue to promote my memoir, A Dozen Invisible Pieces and Other Confessions of Motherhood (Cold Tree Press, 2008), raise three children, freelance for Montana Parent magazine and teach childbirth preparation classes.

Seeking a long-term agent-author partnership, I look forward to sending you the partial or complete manuscript of my book upon your request, and discussing other works I have in the wings which include strong female characters navigating familial and societal drama, and facing off against contemporary women’s issues.

Thank you for your time,

Kimmelin M Hull

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Filed under Artists, book promotion, Writing and Publishing

Writers, Listen Up: How to Handle the Rejection Letter

In order to be a writer; to officially be a writer…one has to have thick skin.  One has to anticipate rejection and, some would even say, welcome it.  I’ve read plenty of assertions that suggest, for every one acceptance letter a writer receives, she can expect many more rejection letters to arrive before hand.  I suppose then, we ought to assume rejections are but individual steps that lead us closer and closer to acceptance.  And, if nothing else, the rejection letter that comes from a would-be literary agent or publishing house is a testament to the fact that someone saw your work, took the time to consider it, and extended their time further to write back to you. 

The optimal rejection letter, of course, includes a few tidbits of constructive criticism about your piece of work in question, and ends with a statement such as, “we hope to see more work from you in the future.”

Yesterday, I received one such rejection letter. 

The letter was from Writer’s Digest in regard to my entry for the 16th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards.  My book was not selected as a finalist, runner-up or Grand Prize winner.  But I received some awesome feedback on my book and to me, that was worth the $100 entry fee I paid, and the $1.06 postage fee Writer’s Digest paid to send feedback my way.

The submitted books were ranked, based on three categories:  Structure and Organization, Grammar and Cover Design.  They were assigned numbers, with 1 meaning “poor” and 5 meaning “excellent.”  Here’s how A Dozen Invisible Pieces and Other Confessions of Motherhood fared: 

Structure/Organization:  4
Grammar: 5
Cover Design: 5

The judge’s commentary included comments such as: “The author is a capable and intelligent writer, the prose lucid and polished.  One gets the impression that the words flowed effortlessly from her head [on]to the page.  I also liked her sense of humor.”

There was also a call for a greater sense of plot and gripping narrative arc.  (I suppose, when it comes to writing memoir…if you’re “lucky” enough to have experienced “gripping” life situations, you have that much better of a story to tell.)

So, while I would have been utterly ecstatic to receive a different letter in the mail–one that proclaimed me to be a contest winner–I am pleased to have participated in the competition at all and, you can bet, I’ll be competing again in the future!

In the mean time (and to make myself feel better) I revisited the analytics information for my book’s website . 

Every so often, I check back to see how much traffic is passing through the site, and which pages (author bio, excerpts from book, etc.) are most frequently visited.  Here is the update I found:

Since the release of my book, and the launch of the book’s website in March of this year, I have had thousands of visitors from 24 different countries and 47 out of the 51 United States of America.  While a small percentage of those are repeat visitors, the greater percentage are unique visitors to the site.

When I review this information I am reminded of the success of my overall achievement:  A Dozen Invisible Pieces was written as a cathartic measure for me, and published for women like me.  And whether or not it wins awards and prizes and main stream notoriety…or spreads in a viral, word-of-mouth kinda’ way through the women (and men) of this current child-rearing generation…either outcome is a success in my world.

I have a long way to go before I can call myself a famous, successful, recognized or notable author.  But in the mean time, I love what I’m doing, and those little ol’ rejection letters ain’t taking no wind out of my sails!

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Filed under Writing and Publishing