How difficult was it to get published? – EJ, New Jersey

Hmm…this is where I have to give one of those “That depends” kind of answers. It took us a while to write our first novel, because we weren’t writing a novel. We were only writing to entertain each ourselves and each other. After ten chapters, which may have taken over five or six months to write, I forget, because my mind is like a colander, we realized we had a novel. We finished it, and then came the task of trying to find a publisher to print it, or a literary agent to represent us. We sent out forty query letters to agents and publishers and received forty rejection letters in return. That probably happened over the course of two or three months. Then an editor wrote back and said he’d work with us to develop our manuscript into a better novel. Then he vanished off the face of the earth. Then ten more rejection letters, and then Becky and I read Andy Schell’s novel, MY BEST MAN. It was similar in style to our manuscript and he was kind enough to thank his agent. We looked up her contact information, wrote to her, and she agreed to represent us. In no time at all she found a publisher for our book, and shortly thereafter we were signing contracts. So while it took some time to find the right agent and publisher, it all happened really fast.

I’m in the process of starting my first fiction book and need some input, advise, ideas, you name it. I’d be happy to work with you, chat, collaborate, whatever. – BC, Missouri

Thanks for asking, BC, but I’m not searching for another co-writer as I’m more than happy not writing with the ones I already have at this point in time. My agent and publishers advise me not to read unpublished material. The only exception to that rule is if I solicit stories for an anthology as an editor, or solicit work in an editorial capacity. I think my time is valuable, so I charge a lot. However, you don’t need me. All you need is one friend who isn’t afraid to give you their honest opinions to read your writing. Remember to listen to this person’s opinions and reread your manuscript with an objective eye, and then make any necessary revisions. Find another friend, and then repeat, until you’re satisfied that your manuscript is as close to perfect as it can possibly be.

do you use entries from your journal or from your friends journal as themes in your books or do you work more from anecdotes from your own life? how long have you been in houston? do you prefer living in houston or would you rather be back in the northeast? do you really not get out? – CC – email address withheld

I can’t speak for my collaborators, but I don’t think I’ve ever used my journal entries for my writing. My journal is more like a diary, or thoughts about writing in general. Although, there is a tag that I use called “random thoughts,” and those entries are sometimes thoughts that I think might be good material to use for my writing at a future time. While I may occasionally find inspiration in real life situations, or conversations with friends, the vast majority of what I write is fiction. I have a vivid imagination. Plus, I’d never force a real life anecdote or situation into my writing if it wasn’t true to the main character I’m writing at that time.

I’ve been in Houston since October of 2001. I like Houston, but I do prefer New England or New York. Maybe one day I’ll move back. The climate in New England is probably better suited for my well being.

I don’t get out much. I’ll put it that way. Although, in May I went to New Orleans and New York City. That was pretty amazing. I lived in NYC for ten years and, during that time, I went out a lot. Now, I’m content with solitude and reflection. I do leave the house from time to time. But when I do, I encounter people and they largely disappoint or annoy me. The only people I see at home are the people with whom I live and, luckily, I really like them.

About timothyjlambert

Timothy J. Lambert is allegedly a writer.
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26 Responses to ask

  1. kozmickris says:

    Thank you sooo much. I got the book on Wednesday. I’m going to spend time reading it this weekend. I look forward to it!
    THanks again,

  2. dogrl says:

    I’m very happy you went to New Orleans in May!

  3. markgharris says:

    Do you remember how much editing they did to It Had To Be You? Was its first sentence always its first sentence? (I love that first sentence.) Glad you guys perservered. : )

    • Most of the notes our editor gave us for IHTBY was to add back story to certain parts of the manuscript. To give Daniel history. And…oh lord…that first sentence. It was revised so many times before it was even submitted. Oddly enough, it changed very little in context. I wonder if Becky has the original? Because I don’t remember what it was anymore.

  4. marikanola says:

    Before I go to sleep every night I hope all of you come to New Orleans again this year.

  5. With your writing, I always what helps you create a character. Is it from past experience, movies, other literature? Or do you completely make up a character without any influence?

    My impression would be that you use real life experience in developing your characters, but sometimes, I wonder because the characters you and your writing partners create are so amazingly good, it’s hard to think that such people actually exist.

    • The only influences from real life I might use for my writing are places, objects, and social situations. I write fiction, so I wouldn’t want to take someone from real life and put them in a novel or short story, because that would be a deliberate fact and not an act of imagination. The only way movies, television, or other literature would ever influence my writing is as a deterrent, as in, That’s been done before, so I’d better not do that.

  6. brentnyc says:

    Great journal. Added you. Add me back if you like. Looking forward to reading more and checking out your books. Brent

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