Wednesday, May 19, 2010

19 WOW Wednesday: Lisa Gail Green on the Difference a Year Makes

Another WOW Wednesday, another guest blog from a wonderful writer about how she achieved success. Today's writer blogs over at Paranormal Point of View where she does a great series on Mondays turning other writers into monsters. She also has a formula for success she's willing to share. Read on! And as always, if you have a success, big or small, you'd be willing to share, please let us know!

Do not try to adjust your monitors. I have, in fact, temporarily taken over Adventures in Children’s Publishing. Mwahahaha! Okay, seriously? I’ve been asked to guest blog - to share with you my story and the surprises I’ve had along the way. So here goes…

My name is Lisa Gail Green and I’ve been writing basically my whole life, starting at age seven. I’ve done many different things since then, always with the idea in the back of my mind that one of these days I’d be a writer. The nice thing is that just about anything you do in the “real world” can help prepare you for a career in writing. Case in point? I was an actress. “Bah! Completely frivolous,” you say? No way. I have a handle on character. I get inside my characters’ heads and not coincidentally, tend to favor first person in my manuscripts. It also helps with natural dialogue.

Just under a year ago (don’t shoot me, please) I joined SCBWI. That was probably the best thing I’d ever done. I took advantage of every board, every conference, every workshop, and quite simply every resource I could. I immersed myself and learned the “business” side of things. I learned all about how I’d been sending out horrifyingly embarrassing query letters before my manuscript was ready. I learned all about the “rules” of writing and when it might be okay to break them. But most importantly, I learned that overwhelmingly, the people in this business, whether agents, editors, or other writers, are kind and supportive and absolutely AMAZING.

So, I started querying (for real this time). I joined my beloved critique group. I took Jill Corcoran’s workshop on the subject. I started publishing in online magazines, which raised my self-esteem and gave me something to put in that dreaded bio paragraph. I also started reading like crazy in my genre.

My agent didn’t pull me from the slushpile – though I beg you not to discount it as impossible. I met Rubin Pfeffer of East-West Literary (sorry guys, he only takes clients by referral, though you can hear him speak at this year’s SCBWI LA conference) through a mutual friend. He even said in the email in which he offered me representation that this is “not the typical outcome of introductions of writers to publishers or agents when made by friends.”

The thing was, I had still done what I was supposed to. I polished my manuscripts (by this time I had two plus a WIP), pumped myself up and braved the world announcing that I am a writer (which led me to my connection with Rubin), and approached him in the professional manner I’d taken the time to learn about. I sent a query letter, as I would have to anyone else. He asked me for quite a bit of info after that – info on me, on my books, my characters, comparison books, and marketing. Finally he asked to see my other work.

Then he offered to represent me. I was at my in-laws at the time and I still think they believe me to be completely unhinged. I was hysterical. See, I’d done my homework and I knew exactly who Rubin was (a former senior VP from Simon and Schuster’s children’s division for starters). After I collected myself off the floor, walls, and ceiling, I went right back to researching what to ask, how to handle other queries I’d had out, etc.

I signed up and met with both Rubin and Deborah Warren, the founder of East West. They are both amazing people. I am truly happy with my choice (or maybe I should say happy that he chose me). Through Rubin’s encouragement I joined the blogosphere. That in turn led me to Twitter and joining groups like Verla Kay’s Blueboards, The Enchanted Inkpot, and The Undead Poets Society. All of these actions allowed me to meet even more wonderful people.

Two months after signing with Rubin and after further revisions (you’re never done, my dears) my babies were out in the world, in the hands of editors whom I would never have been able to reach if I’d sent out my own work. So far, I’ve had a couple of very nice rejections and one editor who is going to send me revision notes in exchange for an exclusive on one of my manuscripts (told you you’re never done). So keep your fingers crossed for me!

Basically, I credit a strange combination of luck and willingness to understand how the publishing industry works for getting me this far. If I’m talented too, maybe I’ll even get a book out there! And how cool would that be? But until then, I’m having a blast and finally thrilled to know where I belong.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!


  1. Thanks so much Lisa! Great post with lots of sound advice for writers with manuscript nearing the submission stage. And SQUEEE again on the revision request. Awesome!


  2. Fantastic, Lisa! I love reading about how writers find their agents. I belong to SCBWI too but I haven't done much with it. You've inspired me to be more active in it. I'm also going to check out the other groups you mentioned, and I just subscribed to your blog. Thanks for guest blogging today. And thanks to Martina and Marissa for WOW Wednesday!

  3. Such a great story! Thanks for posting Lisa

  4. Great post. It's always nice to hear the process other writers go through.
    I'm going to make sure I stay active in the writing community too.:)

  5. Thanks a great story, Lisa. I've heard the editing is never done.

  6. Jaycee - Thanks for visiting my blog and I'm really glad I could inspire!

    Christine - Thank you!

    Lindsay - It's important to stay active for support if nothing else.

    Stina- Well, lets hope it's done if/when the book actually comes out, because after that, what can you do to it really? :)

  7. Hooray, Lisa!! Very encouraging story and wonderful mention of the Undead! mwhahaha!

  8. I love hearing how writers got started. Thanks for sharing your story, Lisa!

  9. Thank you for letting us know how this crazy business can be approached systematically. This post is a keeper — I'm going to refer back to it as I move along in my writing life.

  10. Sandra - The undead are very important people, never underestimate them!

    Laura - glad you liked!

    Laurel - Thank you, I see good things for all of us (I'm a fortune teller too)

  11. Thanks for posting Lisa. What an inspring story. You're inspiring me to move full steam ahead like you did. It's amazing what you accomplished in such a short time. Good luck with the publishers. Hopefully soon you'll be announcing a book deal.

  12. Thanks Natalie! Yes! Full steam ahead! Anything else and you aren't trying hard enough! Okay, a lot of exclamation points, I've had a little too much caffeine today...

  13. Hey Lisa! Great guest blog post, my dear! And I know you'll do a great revision, once you get those notes.

  14. Lisa, thank you for guest blogging! The positive news is celebratory for all of us. Not only are we thrilled for you, it inspires the rest of us to keep working and know that this writing thing isn't some unrealistic dream. Fantastic post!


  15. Julie - thanks! You're awesome.

    Marissa - thank YOU for letting me guest blog! It's been fun. And you are right, I'm living proof that it can work out (at least to the extent I mention) and it isn't all hopeless.

  16. * WHISTLES *

    I LOOOVE these posts where we get to know a lot more about the person behind the name! That was a TRULY fascinating journey...and that's only the beginning....imagine what's still to come Lisa!!!

    I love the fact you learnt all you did and went after your goal!

    VERY INSPIRING - looking forward to part 2!

  17. Thanks Ann Marie. Wow! I'm fascinating and inspiring! This could go to my head..

  18. Lisa - love this post! It's interesting to see where your path has led you. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before your book is out there :)

  19. What a great guest to have on.

    Lisa you know only inspired, but you also let us all know that it can happen. It may take some time, but if you do the things you need to as a writer. . . the will come. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us.

    The Writing Mama


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)