About Shakirah

Owner/Administrator of getWrite! A place where struggling writers can release frustration through quotes, quirky articles and valuable advice. To find out more, go to www.shakirahbourne.com

How I Got My Literary Agent – Part Two

Right…continuing from Part One.

I got my first rejection a few days after I sent that first query…and I was thrilled!!! Someone actually responded to me! This shit was real! Forgive me, but remember I had never gotten a response from the sole agent query I had sent months before. This agency promised to respond to queries within a week, so queried another agent at the same agency, and squealed when the rejection came back the next day. These were real people!

Don’t judge me…

Let’s backtrack a bit…

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How I Got My Literary Agent – Part One

Before I got an agent I used to consume posts like these, so I think it’s only fair that I document my own experience for other persons, especially writers like myself who are based outside of the USA.

WARNING: This is going to be a long post. It’s been a while since I blogged and my rambling has gotten even worse since then. 🙂

Let’s go back to 2010 (what? told you it was going to be long lol). I was mainly a short story writer. My stories rarely went past 3,000 words. I never thought I would be able to write a whole novel. In fact, I didn’t want to! The idea of writing 60,000+ words seemed like a monumental, daunting task.

That same year I did a workshop with a well-known Caribbean author, who introduced me to the term “literary agent”. I was amazed at the idea of a whole person whose job was to sell our stories to publishers. The author taught us how to write a ‘query letter’ but to be honest I paid more attention to the short fiction exercise. Remember, back then, I had no interest in writing a full-length novel.

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Working with Artists 101

When I was in secondary school, I decided to participate in its beauty pageant. As you may know, the formal wear is a key segment, and so in my gusto and excitement, I spent weeks looking through magazines and websites, and in my head, I put together what I thought to be the most perfect dress.

Imagine my excitement when I learned that one of Barbados’ top fashion designers at that time had agreed to sponsor me. I met up with him and gave him all of my specific requirements for the dress – down to amateur sketches.

He listened, nodded, and even took my sketches, and a week before the pageant, finally called me to try on the dress.

I could see that he followed my instructions to the T.

But I was disappointed.

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You Win Some…You Lose Some

Last year, March 2nd 2013, I wrote a satirical post on how to handle a rejection email.  It was meant to be all fun and games, but recently I’ve seen some situations where fellow writers have been faced with some type of literary rejection, and have reacted strongly – some of them actually deciding that their writing is crap and they should give up.

I feel like a bit of a hypocrite when I berate them for their reaction, and say the statements that all writers hear when they’ve been rejected:

“It’s just one person’s opinion at one point of time.”

“It’s their loss.”

“Remember the manuscript for Harry Potter was rejected a dozen times.”

“Keep trying, and don’t give up.”

Statements, that in the moment, really don’t f**king matter and fall on deaf ears.

Because, rejection HURTS. Continue reading

Why I decided to Self-Publish my first book…

Earlier this month I announced that I was going to publish a collection of short stories called “In Time of Need” and I received a lot of private messages asking me if I had found a publisher for my stories.

I had decided not to even approach a traditional publisher for this collection, and I must admit it was a decision that caused a lot of cognitive dissonance for me.

You see, although you read countless stories of successful self-published authors (and I know some personally), I still had that subconscious nagging idea that to be a “real author” you needed to be validated by an authentic publishing house. In fact, it was this nagging ideology that postponed the publishing date of this collection because I have had these stories wasting away on my computer for a very long time. Every now and again I would submit them to competitions and journals, and every now and again they may win a prize or be accepted for publication.

Everyday we fight mental battles of how society tells us something is supposed to be done versus what actually makes sense. Some members of society tell me that in order to publish a book, I am supposed to send multiple query letters to publishers or agents, hope that someone is attracted to my work and makes me an offer, and then wait a year (maybe even two) for my book to become available to the public. For this book of short stories, that simply didn’t make sense.  Continue reading

The Cropper Foundation’s 8th Residential Creative Writers’ Workshop is now open for applications – Deadline Dec 15th

THE CROPPER FOUNDATION’s 8th Residential Creative Writers Workshop is now open for applications.

The Workshop sponsored by The Cropper Foundation, and organised in partnership with the Department of Creative and Festival Arts, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, will take place from June 29th to July 13th 2014 in Trinidad and Tobago. Applications are open to published or unpublished prose fiction writers, as well as poets and playwrights.

Two experienced and published authors — Professor Funso Aiyejina and Dr Merle Hodge from the University of the West Indies will be the residential moderators for the two-week workshop. Since 2000 they have mentored writers from Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Dominica, St. Lucia, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Caribbean Diaspora (Canada, USA, France), many of whom have gone on to publish their original creative writing and won a number of international Literary Awards.
The writers’ workshop is part of The Cropper Foundation’s effort to contribute to the development of the Caribbean on many levels and in different areas of interest.

Participants of the Residential Creative Writers Workshop will also benefit from visits and discussions with published authors and professionals from the publishing industry.
Interested writers are invited to submit five pages of a sample of their prose fiction, plays or their poetry no later than December 15th, 2013 to the following address: Writers Workshop, Department of Creative & Festival Arts, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad. All applicants (above the age of twenty) are responsible for their travel to and from Trinidad, and will be asked to contribute US$500 or TT$3000 each for the two week workshop. For application forms and further information, call Dani Lyndersay or Sherry-Ann Carrington at the UWI Department of the Creative and Festival Arts, telephone:
(1 868) 662-2002 (ext. 83539/83539/83791 ); fax: (1 868) 663 2222; or email:
danielle.lyndersay@sta.uwi.edu; or sherry-ann.carrington @sta.uwi.edu — Subject: Writers’ workshop or visit The Cropper Foundation’s website at http://www.cropperfoundation.org or download the application form HERE.

http://cropperfoundation.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/the-cropper-foundations-8th-residential-creative-writers-workshop-is-now-open-for-applications/