Progress Forward

Thank you for your interest and support in what's been happening lately with my progress forward! I thought I'd take a moment to catch you up on where I'm at.

I have two current books under consideration. Since the titles are still in limbo, I'll refer to them as Book 1 & Book 2. (I know, not very original, but I'm terrible with titles.)

Rachelle read 50 pages from Book 1 (the one that had been in her slush pile for months). She had a meeting with the other members of Word Serve Literary. They discussed my project and liked it. Rachelle gave me "the call" and offered me representation. (You can read about it here.)

Later in the same day Rachelle read 50 pages from Book 2. She liked that book so much that she called me again to discuss our plan of action for both books.

Here's a condensed list of the things she's encouraged me to work on:

  • Brainstorm titles. Rachelle didn't like my titles--go figure! She told me to study all of the titles used by the publishing house she's planning to target. This might give me a feel for the types of titles that are popular right now.
  • Write a book proposal. She emailed me the specific form Word Serve uses for Fiction Proposals. It is approximately 6 pages long. (I'll share more about the proposal in a future post.)
  • Write synopsis for my next book. When she submits my current books, she would like to do so as a three book proposal. This means that I need to narrow down the topic of my next book and begin the historical research. I also need to have ideas for the next 3-5 books after that.
  • Finish editing both current books. Earlier in the year I hired a freelance editor for Book 2 and loved the feedback. I asked Rachelle if I could send Book 1 (the one that had been in her slush pile) to my editor before we start submitting it. Rachelle has patiently agreed to my wish. So now I'm in the process of shining up Book 1.

Here's how I see it: Our goal should not be to write a book that's just good enough to catch the attention of an agent. Instead, we should strive to produce a book that reflects excellence, something readers will truly love. We need to do whatever it takes to get us to that point whether we have an agent or not.

I'm making steady progress with my to-do list. Once I cross off all of the above, then Rachelle will have to read through everything which will take time. After that, hopefully she'll be able to start working on selling my books. She has a specific publishing house and editor she plans to target first.

Since I've shared my to-do list, I'd love to hear yours. What are you working on these days? And what are you doing to push yourself to excel?


  1. That's quite a to do list! You can do it though! So proud of you, and wow, good for you for wanting to get the first book edited nice and neatly too!

    My to do list is rediculously long, and something that I need to quantify in the next week. Kiddos are going to g-ma'shouse for TWO WEEKS so I might actually have time to work on my writing.EEEEEEee SO excited! Love my kiddos but also love me a "mommy" vacation!

    A few things on my list (in prep for ACFW):
    -finish my edit of book 1, Mission Jack. I'm adding in a subplot or... motiviation... and need to sprinkle it in throughout the book
    -FINISH book 2. THis is a tall order. But I want to try!
    -redo my business cards
    -redo my sell sheet
    -work on the story plot for book 3 so it is firmed up and a synopsis can be written

    Okay, so there is more, but I'm on overload just with that much. *sigh*

  2. I love your comment about not just being good enough - but excelling. I deeply desire that in all areas of my life - and yet I sometimes struggle with the laziness of just squeaking by with the minimum. So this was the reminder I needed. Thank you!

    I'd been doing a good job of writing at least a half hour a day, but then I had a two week stretch where I had family in to visit...and then I was on vacation...and then I had to really target some things in my spiritual life that had been neglected to a frightening degree, so I've not written (other than journaling and blogging) for a few days. Time to get back on track! My goal is to finish (this month) the first of a 3 part Bible study series. I just have one session left to write, and I've even done most of the research. I just need to sit and write. Those take about 5 hours to write, so I need a chunk of time to get the flow going.

  3. Can you see me smiling? I'm so excited for you! Wow! Thanks for sharing all of this great information about what happens after the agent "call."

    This week is critique week for me. I just finished critiquing a good friend's manuscript, which was awesome, and now I'm getting to my critique group pieces. I feel very blessed. I enjoy analyzing other's work.

    After that, I'll be revising my last romantic suspense. I want it as polished as possible before I pitch it at the RWA National conference.

    Good luck with all your developments!

  4. Jody! How exciting! It will be so encouraging to hear what happens in the coming months.I will be praying for the Lord to reveal a perfect name for your books.
    Working on writing a bible study on the book Isaiah. Praying for the Lord to open doors if it is His will to do so. Continuing to write whatever the Lord leads me to write on my blog in hopes that it encourages others to live a surrendered life to the One who holds them in the palm of His hand.

  5. Wow, it sounds like you're going to busy. In a good way! It's wonderful that she wants to do a three book proposal.

    I agree that our goal should not be to simply write something GOOD ENOUGH. It has to excel. I am struggling with this on one of my contracted novels. I was offered representation initially based on one book. Two others were accepted as well. I know one of the three is just not quite where it should be. I am struggling right now with reworking that one and praying it will eventually get to the point I see it at.

    Other than that I am working on making a marketing plan. It's a challenge but also kind of fun. It's making me push myself to try harder and work a bit out of my comfort zone.

  6. Whoa, good for you! How exciting. I'm overwhelmed just reading your checklist.

    Me? Ummmm, I'm winging it. No worries, man. Just having fun. I see my writing as more of a hobby.

  7. Great post. I'm glad to see you are being so successful, even though it obviously involves alot of work. Good luck on getting everything all ready to go, and be sure to let us know once they're out there so we can pick up copies.

  8. Wow, you've got an amazing To-Do List! Exciting and challenging at the same time, for a wonderful payoff. I have a few things out on submission, both with agents and literary journals. As I wait for responses, I continue to develop writing projects at hand. And thanks for giving us an inside glimpse at what happens after "the call." We don't see this in such detail too often, and it is appreciated. The very best wishes for your continued success! Write on ...

  9. Yeah, your to-do list frightens me. But it's inspiring. I'll have to make a to-do list and get on that. Thanks for the kick in the right direction!

  10. My to do list is kinda at a stand still. Having my book out to 25 agents puts me at a halt as I want to see what the feed back is before I continue. I have the overwhelming urge to go back and do some more editing, but I don't want to touch it and make it a mess again IN CASE someone else wants to see it.

    I've started on a second book but all my ideas are incredibly vague and hard to develop upon.

    I'm slightly having an identity crisis over here! LOL

    Congrats on moving forward. You are doing a wonderful job and can't wait till your books are available to purchase!

  11. I've finally stopped making excuses and carved out writing time. My WIP needs polishing, editing, and a few story changes.

    I'm pushing to get ready for the Philly conference in August. I also need to pick up a book suggested as a possible comparison to mine. The book I was originally using no one's ever heard of before. I guess this is the other extreme of choosing a bestseller. LOL!

    Congrats on all your success, Jody. I'd been interested to hear more about that book proposal.


  12. Jody, thanks for the continued glimpse into what happens after you land an agent.

    I'm stepping back to work on developing my characters a bit more. I think that will help with figuring out where the story should go. But I committed to a 50k writing challenge for the month. I probably won't make that, but committing to the challenge has me committed to working on my wip every day this month, a huge improvement so whatever I write will be fine.

  13. Holy cow. What a list! I bet it's keeping you busy!

    I sent out some more queries yesterday and I have a new story idea churning in my brain. Yay!

  14. Thanks for continuing to share your journey with us. I'm living through you at the moment as I try to find time to work on my ms. Things are still really busy with the twins. In the fall, I should have a little more time because they'll be in preschool twice a week (full days).

    Lynnette Labelle

  15. I am so insanely happy for you! You are living the dream Jody! I'll buy everyone of your books written and yet to be imagined. =)

  16. Thank you for sharing this list! It really helps to know and understand what's ahead should we ever get the calll too!

  17. Jody,
    Thank you very much for your update. I find this sort of thing (and your patience in handling it all) very educational. That's quite exciting that you are going for a three book deal!

    I'm getting ready to query my first book. I'm working on a draft of the letter. (I had finished one a few months ago, but I'm trying new things to see if I can improve upon it.) It's quite a scary step to query, which you have already accomplished! And, you're right, once you get an agent, you're not done. Everyone really should strive to put out their best work, not just work that is good enough.

  18. That's some cool stuff! And so very interesting for my curious little ears. LOL

    My to-do list...sigh. Finish revisions on one book, get final responses from agents before ACFW, start revisions on another book (making all these single titles)and possible create some one sheets and book trailers. Oh sigh. I need to make the one-sheets before ACFW, don't I? LOL

    We'll all be busy bees.

  19. That is quite a to-do list! You will have a busy summer for certain :)

    I'm waiting to hear back -- my ms is out on submission to four publishers (my agent said to be patient -- yeah, easier said than done!)

    I'm supposed to be working on my WIP but need to slodge through some plot issues - ick.

    I'm trying to remember that it is summer and my children need to actually interact and have fun with their mom :)

  20. Wow, that is some to-do list there - especially the part about thinking forward to your next several books! On my list is finishing revisions and hopefully by July start sending out query letters.

  21. Wow, thanks for sharing all that, Jody. I'll live vicariously through you and be thankful that it's not me trying to fit that all in in such a tight span of time.

    Currently I'm rewriting the initial chapters of the first novel of a set series. I hope to have it done by the end of the week and then I'll be asking for some beta readers to help me out with it as my crit group has seen me rework this one waaay too many times already. I can't ask them to objectively look at it again.

    And, of course, I'm preparing for conference.

  22. So cool! thanks for sharing your to-do list! I have a lot on mine right now... the top three - finish revising my three books, polish them all up one final time (hopefully) before the conference in Sept!

  23. Awesome stuff, Jody!!! Congrats! I can't imagine how excited you are :)
    Currently I'm taking a writing a synopsis class by Camy Tang. It's amazing and totally worth it!! Gives me a much better idea of how to shape a quality synopsis.

  24. This is so interesting to me. I love that your willing to talk about this part of your writing journey.

    You are definitely going to be busy. I can't wait to hear about your 3 book deal! :)

  25. Jody, I just want to say thank you for keeping us up to date on your progress and experiences with this. It's amazing to see how things work with people's different paths. And I think that is just awesome to have these editors and agents love your work so much that they want to represent so much of it. WOW WOW WOW!

    I know it is much deserved. *HUGS!*

  26. Posting later than usual today...Field Day, you know how it goes. Working on: revising a short story, a new WIP, some ideas as a new online mag. thoughts (not sure this list has an end).

    Keeping at it and pushing myself to excel...while I'm working I focus on one at a time and pour that focus on thick. Trusting God.
    ~ Wendy

  27. How exciting! That's a fun and challenging list to accomplish.

    My goals/to do list for June goes up on the blog tomorrow.

  28. Woah! You are one busy, busy girl! I would be so overwhelmed with a to-do list like that! Are you finished with schooling your kids? Is it summer break for your family? I know with your diligence, you will get those tasks crossed off, one by one, and get those books published! I liked the idea of looking at the titles of the house you are targeting! That's a smart move!

    Tomorrow is my last full day of work, so after a mini-vacation with my family, my to-do list has only 2 items. 1) FINISH MY WIP!!! 2) EDIT MY BOOK!!! LOL...funny, huh?

  29. "She emailed me the specific form Word Serve uses for Fiction Proposals. It is approximately 6 pages long. (I'll share more about the proposal in a future post.)"

    I'll be most interested to hear about this. I know of the non-fiction proposal, but not one for fiction. This is so exciting to follow.

  30. Wow! You are one busy girl. COngratulations on your books! I can't even imagine writing one let alone three fiction books. You go, girl!

    Your list inspires me to add some more bullets to my own writing to-do list.

  31. Jody your post encourage me in my own journey of writing. My last two papers came back with a B+ attached, I rather like A. What I am learning is sometimes you need to lesser to motivate the excelling part of the process. Thanks for your encouragement.


  32. Titles: Check out Blake Synder's book SAVE THE CAT for unusually good advice on how to construct a title.

    Thanks for the update!!! I really getting the inside look on what's going on. It's very interesting to see how they are focused on your career (first three books) rather than just on one book.


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