Sunday, 30 December 2012

Kindle here I come...

So following the receipt of not one, but 6 identical rejection emails from the same agent, I have decided that it is time to try self-publishing.

I may not have exhausted all of my agency options yet, but I have been rejected by all that I applied to. It's not that I find the rejections too demoralising - I know that it's a very subjective industry and that countless authors were rejected many times before being published. I have a great quote by Eva Ibbotson:
"the only thing is to keep on writing and forget about the response"
So I know not to let the rejections upset me too much. 

What I find more frustrating, is the delay between sending my work off and getting the rejection. I know that if I send my opening and synopsis out to any more agents, I would be waiting nearly two months for a response, and - best case scenario - that would be for the complete manuscript. I would then have to wait for feedback on that and, if the agency liked it, I would then have to wait even longer for them to contact publishers...

Maybe I'm just being too impatient, but I've already been sitting on my complete manuscript for a year and I'm really ready to do something with it! 

So I am turning to Amazon...

This way, it gets published immediately, I get 70% royalties, and - with the recent success of books like 'Beautiful Disaster' I know that amazing things can come from self-publishing. Admittedly, I think my goal is 100 sales... 

All I need to do now is give the manuscript a final read through and create a cover...

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Playing with Fire

Exciting (and nerve-racking) news: Hot Key Books have just announced that they will be getting in contact with the 20 long listed writers for the Young Writers Prize next week. It would mean so much to me if Fire was nominated and it's so exciting to think that it could be; I have been working on the story for so long now that I can't wait to share it with the world and see what they think. If it is long listed, I will have a month to perfect the manuscript before sending it off. If it isn't, I will start targeting literary agencies with awesome letters.

I guess my fingers will be crossed for most of next week!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Save the Date

The bridesmaid dresses are sorted (without too much stress!) so I now have a lovely pink colour scheme to plan everything else from.

My eldest bridesmaids will be wearing a beautiful pale pink, wildflower maxi dress from Jane Norman (this one) and I will get something in pink for my sister closer to the time since, at nearly-thirteen, she is quite likely to grow by the wedding.

With my dresses picked, I could then add some colour to my black and white save the dates, giving me these:

I am so, incredibly, pleased with how they look and can't wait to send them out. All three shades of pink look great, so I am going to print them in a mixture of the colours. Not bad for £5 card and a few hours spent on Photoshop and Illustrator. Now I just have to design the invitations themselves. And finalise the guest list...

Busy, busy, busy

The last few days have been really busy.

I spent Sunday baking a cake for my brother's 18th birthday. After watching icing tutorials online and buying some tools I had high hopes for it and it turned out pretty good. Admittedly, I haven't included a side picture because it was pretty wonky, but I did manage to ice all the way round, which is a huge improvement. Plus it tasted even better than it looked, so the recipe will definitely work for the chocolate tier of the wedding cake.

Yesterday, I also finally heard back from interview G. Apparently the interviewer had asked someone to contact me while she was on holiday, but nothing happened. It's a little frustrating that I had to wait so long, especially since it was a second interview and both of my interviews with them were arranged super last minute, so I had to go out of my way to get to them. The 'feedback' was the usual - the job went to someone with more experience. Yawn. That one again. No one has yet given me any hints on how to get said experience, when no one will hire me without it... But I'm going to try and join a temp agency tomorrow in the hope that they can help me out.

I have also started reading the 'Chimp Paradox' a book which I am determined is going to change my life! It's by the psychologist who has been working with the GB cycling team and if he can help them bring home all those golds I'm sure he can help me with my pre-interview anxiety... It's been a really interesting read so far and is making me think a lot about myself and the way I think. Thinking this way is never, ever, going to be helpful, so I'm going to work on trying to stop it. Thinking through the tips from the book also helped me yesterday after I got the confirmation from interview G and I wasn't half as upset as I had been after F which is a very, very good start. Hopefully I will walk into interview H next week with my head held high and I will come out with my first job in the bag.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Wedding Cake: attempt two

I am determined to make my own cake for my wedding next June. Wedding cakes can cost from £300 up and, since baking is one of the few things I am actually quite good at, I might as well make use of it. Besides, I have plenty of time to practice. 

Today, I had a second go at making a lemon sponge cake (recipe from Mary Berry's Baking Bible - the most amazing cookery book in the world). The first time I baked this cake was for a tea party. It tasted superb, but I ended up short of time and had to put the butter cream on while it was still hot. This resulted in a melted, sludgy mess (but a tasty one none the less). 

This time I made myself wait until the cake had cooled completely before icing it - which was difficult when it smelt so good! It looks a little better, but still very 'home made'. Great for a tea party, not so great for a wedding. I'm not sure if the problem is me or the icing. Perhaps butter cream just isn't wedding cake friendly. I think the next step is to experiment with different types of icing, to see what looks the most professional, even if it doesn't taste quite as good as lemon butter cream... 

After that, I need to buy some new tins to work on the recipe for the second, chocolate, tier of the cake. 

I just have to hope I can still fit into my dress in June...