Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interview with Elizabeth Prats

Moving was tough and exhausting. Everything is still in boxes and life is hectic. I got behind on my day job from all the packing, behind on my writing for the same reason, and I wasn't even blogging. This week is going to be catch up.  But as promised I'm back with a week on staying motivated as the rejections pile up.

I thought the best way to handle this would be to talk to people who have been writing longer than me and are still unpublished yet motivated. Today Elizabeth Prats is here to be open about the sensitive subject of rejections.

  1. How long have you been writing?
    I've been writing seriously for about 5 years. I started my first novel at the age of 15 so I'm 20 now. It is a YA high fantasy in the vein of Tamora Pierce. Sadly, it was my first novel so it does need some editing and revisions. So far it is on the back burner. 
  1. How many full length manuscripts have you written?
     I have two full length manuscripts written and am currently shopping the second around to agents. It is a MG fantasy. Think Cornelia Funke meets Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I'm also halfway done with a YA urban fantasy romance. Think Sophie Kinsella meets Rick Riordan. (I'm aware none of those are YA, but that is exactly what it reminds me of). 
  1. How many times have you queried? And how many rejections have you received?
    Ah the lovely topic of rejections and queries. I'm still not at the 150 mark, but working towards it ;) Seriously. Between both projects--including the 30 or I sent while being entirely clueless about the industry--probably 60-70 rejections. At the moment I have 13 or 14 queries out. My advice: research the agents like crazy. I feel like a stalker, but I'd rather no too much about an agent then too little. My go-to sites are Absolute rite, Literary Rambles, Mother Write, and Query Tracker.
  1. Do you have an agent?
    I have no agent but I've come close. I have received the helpful feedback and even notes on a full, but I've also gotten the terrible handwritten "no" scrawled on half a piece of paper. It happens to the best of us. I will say that one agent who kept me going in the beginning and got me to really immerse myself in the industry was Natanya Wheeler. I queried her thinking my work of genre fiction was literary. Doh. Dumb move, I know. Yeah. She took the time to write in cute, purple pen, "Wow, only 17. This project was not for me, but keep at it". It was something along those lines. That rejection still hangs in my old bedroom. (I'm in college and surprisingly a rejection like that is too precious to me to move it from dorm to apartment every year).
  1. Do you ever get discouraged with all the rejection we are faced with?
    Do I ever get discouraged with the rejections...? Oh my god yes! But I know what I want. Some people decide to self-publish after a lot of rejections or go with a small press. I think either way is fine as long as it is what you want and you believe you'll be successful at it. I drank the Kool-aid and want to be published through the traditional route. So every time I'm feeling sorry for myself I remind myself that going this route was my choice. That publishing is not the easiest thing in the world. My brother and sister played sports and got scholarships. I watched my brother practice at least 4 times a week and when he didn't have practice he went hitting on the weekends and of course had his regular baseball games. Nothing comes easy. Except maybe to Snooki (but really, who's gunna read herbook?) You just have to pledge through and celebrate the little things. Like the partial and full requests, even just finishing that blasted query.
  1. How do you stay motivated?
    CELEBRATE THE LITTLE THINGS. Just writing a darn good query, getting a request to see more. All of that is a step toward your ultimate goal. Relish in the little things and treat yourself. This is a LONG, arduous process. You have to be in it for the long haul, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy every second of it.
  1. Have you ever considered self publishing and why or why not?
    My dad and just about everyone keeps asking me and sending me random links to successful self- published authors. They ask, "Why won't you self-publish?" Like I said in question 5. I drank the Kool-aid. I know what I want and I know what I have to do to get there. Personally, I want the traditional route. I like the idea of a house backing me. The name would make it easier to get reviews etc. EVEN if I have to do every single bit of promotion on my own. Public Relations is one of my majors. Traditional has always been my goal. No way am I giving it up that easily. But to each their own. There's nothing wrong with self- publishing, but it's just not for me. There's something so gratifying about knowing that an agent, an editor, and many more people actually believe in your book and want it to succeed. I want that.
  1. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
    Don't give up, no matter how hard it gets. Those that keep at it WILL make it. Those that don't, well, how can you make it if you don't try?


  1. Celebrate the little things. I couldn't agree more. Best of luck to Elizabeth. It sounds like she is right on the verge of getting an agent and making those dreams come true.

  2. "Don't give up, no matter how hard it gets. Those that keep at it WILL make it."

    Definitely needed that today. :)

  3. This was wonderful, thanks so much. Keep at it, Elizabeth. You WILL get there!

  4. Very inspiring, ladies. Thank you for the pick-me-up!

  5. Great interview. Best of luck to you, Elizabeth. Soon. Soon.

  6. Thank everyone :) Glad you enjoyed it. And thank Beth for interviewing me :) It was nice to finally let that out.

    Kelly--On the verge? I'm hoping so! :D