That Time I Poured My Heart Out in a Query Letter and Then Felt Dumb For Doing It So I Had to Blog About It To Make Myself Not Feel Like a Weirdo

Friends, I did a silly thing. Yesterday, all I ate was a yogurt and a piece of pizza with ranch dressing on it and a few fried pickle chips, and then I went out drinking with the girls from work. Now, these saucy minxes can drink me under the table easily, because in my old age (23, thank you), I am a lightweight who drinks less than half of a big Blue Moon and gets mildly tipsy. I blame my empty stomach and the fact that I was on an antibiotic. Everyone else blames me being, well, a lightweight.

So this morning, I wake up, and my head is pounding, my ears are full of liquidy mush, and my body feels heavy and dead because I barely slept last night on account of my anxiety convincing me that though it was only half a beer, I was dying of alcohol poisoning or a deadly interaction of antibiotic and alcohol (there was NO WARNING ON THE BOTTLE!). But despite all of that, I actually found my mind quite alive and alert. And racing, especially after I poured some coffee on top of the booze left in my really upset stomach.

I never drink. Can you tell?

This morning, (and really, all this week), I have been kind of angsty, thinking about how my ultimate dream is to write for a living, and how I want my Eternity series to be the thing that puts me on the map, because I feel like it has that potential. Truly, from an objective standpoint, I feel like it has a lot going for it: genre-bending, so it is appealing to a lot of different tastes; a strong female protagonist (or an antagonist, as she has been rightfully called, as well), who is unlike most other characters, a strong male protagonist who is young and idealistic and appealing to the YA crowd, plus all the action and sex and love and awesomeness. Oh! There’s also the philosophical question of what we would do if we were given a second chance. And then there’s the apocalypse angle, the dystopian angle, the war angle… When I read it, I can picture it being a film or a television series, as I am sure all authors can, in this age of the book-to-film craze. But regardless of how literally every author thinks about it, I have dreamed relentlessly about it since I first began the book three years ago. The funniest part of this is that in my young, 20-year-old mind, I had fully convinced myself that I would be uber-famous within three months, and I would not have to make the anxiety-provoking move to the school I had just been accepted to. I was a homebody with a terrible case of social and general anxiety, so the idea of becoming a mega-celebrity author with a million-plus reader readership was preferable to moving away from home and having to actually like, make friends. I know, it makes perfect sense to me, too.

But I digress. Kind of.

Though I have certainly become a lot more realistic in my ambitions (I have come a long way even from this last summer, when my dreams of fame and fortune were motivated by the fact that I could not, for the life of me and my English degree, get a job, and I was dead broke and really depressed because school was over, and I missed the friends that I had made despite my social anxiety and wah wah wah), I certainly still dream of what I once referred to as Rowlingian and Kingian literary success. So every day that the Eternity series has still not been like Harry Potter or The Shining or, at least in terms of the amount of readers and money, Fifty Shades of Grey, has been rife with me telling myself that there is more I have to do, that I have to spend money that I don’t have to get noticed, and that my work is maybe perhaps kind of not that good.

It is good. It has its flaws. I mean, DUH. I write and edit the books by myself. But I do think (and people who have read them agree, for the most part), that Eternity is pretty cool, and believe me, I appreciate that, and that is what drives me, as I have said before. I love that people dig it as much as I do. Isn’t that all we should want as authors?!? Yes. Yes, it is.

But I got angsty this morning and decided to try, for the millionth time, querying an agent with my self-published book. I have been told that once they hear your work is self-published, agents close out of your query real quick, so instead of abandoning the endeavor like a normal person, I wrote a really honest, kind of weird query letter, and I want to explain myself here.

I talked about why I self-published. It was, first and foremost, because, at 20 years old, I had no idea how to query an agent, or even that I should. Secondly, I come from a family of writers, and they and their friends told me that agents want authors who have built themselves a readership. I did not realize that they meant the book with which you gathered your audience will not be the book that gets you an agent or a publishing deal. I took advice and did not do my homework to see if other people in the industry agreed or disagreed with that advice.

I talked about the modest success that I have had with publishing. I have moved close to 8000 copies of the first two books, and as we know from my previous posts, I have recently published the third book and moved 200 free copies in one day. Though some Indie Authors (and MOSTLY all traditionally published authors) don’t get out of bed for less than 10,000 copies or 20,000 copies, or 50,000 copies or whatever, I am excited that one person downloaded my book, let alone 8000. For me, that’s monumental and super cool, so I talked about that.

I said that I am 150% open to advice from an agent, if I am so fortunate as to find one. I am open to whatever will make the book most marketable, and yes, I am even open to editing (even though the idea makes me sad, but it’s necessary.)

Most importantly, I tried to pitch why representing my self-published title is worth this agent’s time, and on that point, I spoke from the heart,as objectively as I could (and I know that sounds oxymoronic). I said that I feel my work is capable of something big, all while accounting for the fact that every author believes that. I talked about how I love these books, and I am passionate about them.

I mean, I sounded weird, and I was my usual awkward self, and I was way too honest, and I should probably just stick with the normal, boring query letters that I normally send. But I know that agents and publishers are iffy about self-published works, and I wanted to talk about why my self-published work, though it is self-published, is still capable of being successful. So maybe instead of listening to the “abandon all hope, ye who query here” mentality that I have had these past few months (and by “months,” I mean “years”) where I say that every query is going straight to the virtual Trash Bin because my work is self-published, I need to start spinning why my self-published work is worthy of representation, while also making it clear that I am open to negotiating how best to make it marketable outside of the self-publishing mediums.

I know it sounds like I am turning on my Indie Author roots by saying that I am looking for an agent. But I have been told that “self-published authors” and “authors with agents” are not mutually exclusive categories. Therefore, I don’t feel like I am biting the hand that has fed me. But if I am, y’all can let me know.

I am going to go down a liter of water now and watch Gilmore Girls til my eyes don’t work. #HangoverCure.


If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis, and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon! Also, The Irreversible Reckoning, the third book in the series, is available for 99c on Amazon, but for free everywhere else. Brownie points if you report the lower price!

http://www.amazon.com/Irreversible-Reckoning-Eternity-Book-ebook/dp/B00RHVL7DY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422723780&sr=8-1&keywords=the+irreversible+reckoning

The Irreversible Reckoning… IS HERE!!!

So after a rather successful preorder drive, it is with great pride that I share with all of you the news of THE IRREVERSIBLE RECKONING‘s release in the Amazon store today. Right now, it is 99c, but as soon as I upload it to Smashwords tonight, you can procure it for free (and brownie points if you report the lower price to Amazon!)

However, I must issue a disclaimer now, so I can feel like a responsible author: There is a lot in this series, but in this third installment, especially, that can be considered a “trigger,” and I would like everyone coming into this experience to be expectant of that. And also, I can almost guarantee you that the ending to this one is going to rip out your heart. I know it sounds crazy to issue a warning, but one of my favorite professors in college gave us a similar warning before we read one of our books for her class, and I am glad she did, because though I thought it was silly at the time, she was right when she said the book would make us angry, uncomfortable, and sad, and that it would have us thinking in the gray area, not the black and white.

So with that being said, you can head over to Amazon to download your copy or you can download from Smashwords this evening! And if you need to talk after you’re done reading, I am here for all of you. I will give you virtual hugs, be your virtual shoulder on which you can cry, and you can throw virtual objects at me in rage after you read the last few pages.

For both the potential trigger and the potential trauma, I offer my apologies! Happy reading, and again, THANK YOU!!!

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A Country Cannibal Clan That Isn’t A Cliche?! WHAAAAA?! : A Review of “Hell.”

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For the past couple of weeks, I’ve talked about how I am going to review the lesser-known movies that I come across on Netflix. So far, I have reviewed Black Death (well, I ranted about it, and you can read that rant here: https://teerudacille.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/a-rant-about-a-terrible-movie-called-black-death/) and After the Dark (which I loved, and you can read my slobberfest here: https://teerudacille.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/ive-been-thinking-a-review-of-after-the-dark-a-movie-you-have-ignored-on-netflix-but-shouldnt/). I am on this mission a) because it’s fun, and b) because my Dad is constantly complaining that there are no good movies on Netflix.

Now, I am a huge horror fan, and one of the most brutal horror movies I have ever seen was a French film called High Tension, and one of my favorite horror movies I have ever seen was a German film called Dead Snow (it’s kind of a comedy, too, but it’s a classic, watch it on Netflix!). So when I saw that this film was not American, the Hipster in me came to life and demanded that I watch it cuz foreign horror filmmakers are just on a totally different level than American horror filmmakers, man! (No disrespect to American horror filmmakers. Or Ben Affleck.) Also, the writer of post-apocalyptic fiction in me was curious to see how this film would handle a sun-ravaged wasteland where humans can’t even go outside. Because “hell” means “bright” in German; that is where the movie gets its name, though I am sure that having us English-speaking folk think they meant Hell as in the Devil’s Mancave was intentional.

The story goes that it is the not-too-distant future and the Earth has warmed up by several degrees. Survivors search for shelter from the blazing sun and scavenge for food and water all while having to wear masks and sunglasses and various other items of protective gear. Marie (played by Hannah Herzsprung), her little sister, Leonie (played by Lisa Vicari), and this really smarmy looking dude who picked them up along the road named Philip (played by Lars Eidinger) are driving along when they are ambushed by some fellow survivors, their car is wrecked, Phillip is injured, and Leonie is taken. I know what you’re thinking: What a clusterfuck! If it were me, smarmy boy-toy would be on his own (sorry not sorry) and I’d be hunting down my little sister (who, coincidentally, I had a dream about last night that she was being held captive by employees of a local supermarket chain because I had gotten so frustrated with my dyslexia while trying to enter a produce code in one of those self-checkout lines that I had left without paying, and I saved her by stealing a cop car. Weird.) Marie does set off to hunt down her sister, but she drags Phillip along with her. It is while she is on this hunt that she comes to a big ole farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, and what could go wrong, guys? What, dare I ask you silly cynics, could possibly go wrong at this isolated farmhouse in East Jesus Nowhere?

CANNIBALS. That’s what!

Now, at this point, I assumed the movie was going to go into all the typical tropes of the post-apocalyptic and horror genres: they would encounter some backwoods family who are so evil and disgusting that they would be comical if I were not suppressing my gag reflex at how toothless and dirty and incomprehensible they are. There is a backwoods family in this movie, as it turns out, but they are none of the above. They’re cannibals, yes. They are keeping Marie and Leonie in their house and plan to marry Marie to their oldest son so that she can get pregnant and continue the human race, yes. But once you look past those things (ha! As if you could or should), they’re strangely rational. They’re not the larger-than-life stereotypes of backwoodsian insanity that I expected them to be. If this were an American film (and I hate to sound like a hipster here, but I will), they would be “hee-hawin'” and spittin’ and “well, shoot!-in'” for the duration of their screen time. Here, they are soft-spoken and almost kind. It is obvious that they were a normal family who were driven to these means by these harsh and dangerous circumstances, because they had no other choice. As disgusting as it is, it was either “abduct girls to marry to our sons so we can continue the human race” or “we and the rest of the human race die,” and it was either “eat people” (cuz all the animals are dead) or “starve.” It would have been easy to hate this movie and to write it off as totally derivative if these people had come off as typical villainous country-bumpkin cannibals, but they’re not like that at all, and it was the depth of the villains that made me keep watching. Though I was thinking to myself, “I could never do that!” and though I was rooting for Marie and Leonie to get away, I could not write off the villains as just crazy assholes who were killing for fun. I like movies that make me think not in black and white (Marie and Leonie = Good, Cannibal Family = Bad) but in all the shades of gray. That was why I loved After the Dark, because it made me think “what would I do?” and it made me level reason against emotion. Hell made me challenge myself to imagine a world free of the constraints of societal norms, where only the fittest will survive, and what exactly being or becoming the fittest entails. What would we have to sacrifice in order to prolong our lives? By Hell‘s standards, surviving requires a compromising of humanity for the most part but not completely, because though this cannibal family are capturing people on the road and eating them, they are kind to the two protagonists (until the last twenty or so minutes), and they are weirdly rational. I like that it had that depth.

Oh, and also, those last few shots? After all was said and done? They made me feel feelings, and believe me, it’s hard to make me do that.

So if you’re scrolling through that endless list of titles, getting dizzier all the while, and you come across this movie, definitely check it out, because any movie that trades stereotypes in favor of more intricate character depth is worth a watch, in my opinion.

If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, be my friend follower!

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!

What do you even say in a first post? Is there an instruction manual for this?

The Shattered Genesis Cover.

The Shattered Genesis Cover.

The Shattered Genesis Author (aka me)

The Shattered Genesis Author (aka me)


 

Yes, I am keeping that picture. Even though I have aged approximately five years since it was taken. And my tattoo has aged, too.

I don’t know exactly what to write in this first post, so I am just going to ramble a little bit. Since I am literally T-minus 21 days until the end of finals, and twenty eight days from graduation (eek!) I will soon find myself with more free time than I have had for the past five years. I need some form of structured writing to do, or I will go out of my mind completely, so here I am, on WordPress.

Oh! And I want to randomly self-promote my science fiction, romance, thriller, postapocalyptic, space-y, dystopian, epic, sexy, ebook, The Shattered Genesis, which is, of course, 100% free on Amazon, Nook, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, and other places I have never heard of. (Like Oyster! The Netflix of books.) So here I am, on WordPress.

I’ll also talk about other fun things, like movies, books, TV, life anxiety, fandoms, children, boyfriends, writing, cooking, photography, Spongebob, etc, etc. So, if any of that weirdness interests you, follow me!