Saturday, July 11, 2009

View from the Caribbean

Maracas Beach, one of my favorite places

Okay, so I live in paradise. I admit it. Can we get past the sun, surf and sand for a moment and look at how location, and this location specifically, impacts on this writer?

When I started the writing gig years ago there were built-in handicaps. Queries were sent by snail mail and the intervals between sending out and getting a response were epochal - if a response were indeed forthcoming. I used to imagine agents looking askance at my stamps, opening the envelope gingerly and thinking: Trinidad? And what are these? International mailing coupons? How... quaint! just before throwing my stuff into the recycle vat. I didn't send out much and I'm eternally grateful to the editors and authors who responded to my neophyte approaches. Debbie Macomber was one. Karen Thomas another.

A breakthrough came when I signed with a local courier company. They provided a US mailing address and, for a reasonable fee, delivered mail to my door. That first company even took my letters and packages and mailed them from within the US. There was a lag, of course, but it was still a huge improvement. The problem was not the courier but the pace at which anything happens in the publishing industry. Months, sometimes many months, would elapse before I got any response from agents and editors.

Four months after I sent out the first round of queries via my courier, I discovered a website that listed agents who accepted e-queries. I sent out a batch and most agents responded, some within days, others within minutes. Not only did they respond, they were lovely and encouraging. That first week I got five requests for submissions, and two months later received an offer of representation. About twenty minutes into our first telephone conversation I pointed out to the agent that she was calling Trinidad. "Oh, that's all right," she responded cheerfully. "We have clients all over the world!" This, dear reader, was my kind of agent.

Over the past few years my location has been of little consequence. Not only do I conduct most of my business over the Internet, but I also discovered a great network of writers and friends across the globe, a network that I can access with a few clicks and keystrokes. I don't even have to put on makeup and leave the house! Right now, I believe, is the best time ever to be a writer stuck on a little rock thousands of miles away from, well, everything.

Liane Spicer


Farrah Rochon said...

Liane, I cannot be more jealous of that beautiful beach...and I'm not even a beach person! I think you may score some tourist by posting that one.

I agree that this is a great time to be a writer. From establishing those fabulous friendships to your editor and agent being a click of a mouse away. And lets not forget how great it is to interact with fans via blogs like Novel Spaces, email, and social networking sites. It's just a fabulous time for writers.

Okay, going to stare at that beach scene and dream a bit. :)

Phyllis Bourne said...

Sigh. What a wonderful "office" you have!

Stefanie Worth said...

I love living in a time when the world is so accessible. Now, if I could just reach out and snag a little piece of that faraway rock.

Liane Spicer said...

Farrah, it's indeed a wonderful time to be a writer - although the distractions test my discipline which is shaky at best.

Phyllis, it certainly is! When it's not the beach it's the mountains, or the flowering trees...

Stefanie, reach out and snag a piece any time you like. Better still, come visit and get it for real!

Anonymous said...

I hope you devote at least an hour a day to falling asleep on the beach.

I sure would - and I'd say it was for my health! LOL


Liane Spicer said...

Genella, I wish! No, my days are spent rushing to and from work, working, running to the bank, the supermarket, the pharmacy, sitting in traffic... I definitely need to factor in some beach time. :)