Maintaining your own backlog…As a computer programmer, some would interpret this statement considerably different than a writer, perhaps. As a computer programmer backlog indicates tasks intended to be completed in an efficient amount of time, specified by a business analyst. This ensures that work needed is completed within the timeframe and budget of a company’s constraints, therein ensuring the wheels of said company keep turning.
How does this apply to a writer? And why is it important to maintain your own “backlog”?
Any writer who has, for example, been associated with, say, RWA for any amount of time, knows that moving forward is key. That perseverance and dogged diligence is what will get you published whether you are aiming for traditional or indie. The act of writing, crafting, pitching, rejection—repeating the process, for as long as it takes—is indeed what will get you published.
I am not saying talent is not involved, but haven’t you read things that made you stop and wonder how they ended up published? Let’s face it, all stories are subjective. Talent is important, but it is not the end all. Talent must be honed and crafted and skilled. And let’s face it, most writers don’t get picked up from their first book, as most of us well know.
You have to keep writing. In other words, you have to build your “backlog.”
This is especially important as you start pitching to editors and agents. Hypothetically speaking, what if the story you’ve written is similar to another author’s they recently signed? But the editor/agent loves your story. So it doesn’t work for them due to current market, or circumstance. The conversation might follow something like this:
Editor: “That sounds very intriguing. I love the twist you managed at the end; however, we are looking for something more along the lines of blah blah blah.”
Of course, all you hear is the: “blah blah blah.” But while the blood in your ears is pounding with the throb of another rejection, something else trickles through.
Editor: “We love your voice. Do you have anything else?”
Now the blood is rushing through your whole head, and you are praying it won’t spill out of your other orifices; i.e., eyes, nose, mouth, etc… because you have been writing for eight years, and submitting for almost as long. So you can answer: “YES.” But of course, you did not mean to yell at her, so you manage a deep breath to calm down, and answer again. “Y-yes, I-I do.” By this time, you are praying she will forgive the stuttering. (Even though you’d been practicing, your pitch for years, you forgot to instill the response to a positive rejection that might lead to an acceptance).
But that’s okay, because said Editor: “Wonderful.” She smiles, happily so, because she knows that you are serious about your career and you are not a One-Time-Wonder. She has all the faith in the world as she slides her card across the table to you. “Please email your other completed manuscripts to me at this address. I’m sure we can work something out.”
Of course, you are so shocked, your trembling fingers cannot seem to get the card off the table. But you recover nicely enough (managing to snatch the card up), hand her a gracious smile, and say, “Thank you, so much. I’ll be in touch.”
And wasn’t it just lucky you had a “backlog” of books in your repertoire ready for that big day?
Kathy L Wheeler writes spicy contemporary to sweet historical and vice versa. She loves the NFL, NBA, musical theater, travel, reading writing and karaoke! She has a BA from the University of Central Oklahoma in Management Information Systems and Vocal Minor. She lives in Edmond Oklahoma with her musically-talented, attorney husband. They have one daughter, who is now a proud mama, and one very demanding cat!
Reckless – Martini Club 4 Series – The 1920s
Downton Abbey meets Sex and the City
Lady Margaret turned Lady Bootlegger…
Singer Margaret (Meggie) Montley needs money…fast. Her friend is in a dire situation with nowhere to turn. While Meggie is on the brink of stardom, it’s not soon enough to save her friend.
Harry Dempsey is out to avenge the deaths of his father and brother at the hands of a ruthless gangster. But trouble spirals out of control when Meggie Montley shows up the night he meets his nemesis to settle the score. Saving the impetuous woman from a crime lord might be easier than saving her from her own reckless behavior.
Meggie leaned forward. The light was too dim to make out the expression behind that deep pitch, but not the sound. Listening to him left her feeling alive, tingling from head to toe. Its timbre coursed through her the same as it had since the first night she’d invited herself to his table and sat down.
From his private corner, he’d watched her each night, sipping on his illegal whiskey, piercing her with eyes that matched his drink. Never having more than one, and always alone except for times she would meander over and tease a smile from those firm lips.
When the music hit her veins, the words that flowed from her mouth were directed to him. No wonder his regular seat was empty. Harry Dempsey must have been the man with whom Butch was speaking.
“Dempsey.” Joey’s tone held an edge of fear. “The…uh…dame took a wrong turn.”
Harry moved in her direction, his gait slow, deliberate, until he stood within touching distance. “Dame?” That single word rang through the abandoned space.
Oh no. Meggie launched herself from her hiding place and threw her arms about Harry’s neck. Locked in his muscular embrace, she rested her chin on his shoulder. His arms tightened around her. “Oh, Harry. I came as fast as I could. Just as we’d planned.” The words, she’d intended to carry, came out breathless.
“Fast, huh?” The whisper was against her ear where no one else could hear, raised goose prickles over her entire body. “Guess I’ll have to do something about that.” He lifted his head.