Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday's Stuff and Things

Today on my mind...

Crickets! They're over-running our basement. I remember the same thing happened this time last year, but this is nuts. I've been tripping over the vacuum, which I've kept plugged in so I can just suck 'em up, for five days straight. I stopped counting the stinkers around forty-something, around Day 2, and all I know is I'm probably in need of a fresh (read: empty) vacuum bag. These things are gregarious, by the way. Where there's one, there are five more. And just as quickly as I've rounded up one family, another takes its place. They mock me, too. They crouch, all still-like, beckoning me to come hither. Quiet, like maybe they're already dead. So I sneak up with my squeaky Bissell. And then... rrrrrrrrpeep! And they fly up like a Tiddlywinks chip, forcing me to take chase. There's one--the same one the last three nights, I'd guarantee--that sits in an out-of-reach place in my bedroom (by golly if I didn't try to get my vacuum nozzle in there!), and it sounds like he's brought his own Bose system for high-quality amplification.

Durn pests. I will prevail. Oh yes, I will prevail.

***

What do you do when the contractor who's doing your remodeling hasn't shown up in two weeks? First, you complain about the progress your house isn't getting. You throw in a little whine about how badly you want progress. And then you pray everything's okay, given circumstances in this man's own life, and that it all works out in the end.

***
Okay, who out there is familiar with the Imagination Movers? It's a group of four dads who got together to make music (think Beastie Boys meet They Might Be Giants) for kids; Smitty, Dave, Rich and Scott. Love.these.dudes. While they've done videos and such for years, they finally have their own show on Playhouse Disney. (Here's where I'd imbed a YouTube video of them, if I knew how to do such a thing.) Let's celebrate!

***

A little over a week ago I headed out for an insignificant errand. As I turned a corner, this greeted me.


My first thought was, "How cheesy!" But then... I realized I was smiling. So this neighbor has succeeded in what I guess was their purpose behind the smiley. And now my daughters and I look forward to seeing that sign everyday.

***
Since my last update I've had two rejections, both for my non-fiction narrative. But I've also sent a few queries out. So, keeping the two separate, my stats are:

narrative non-fiction - 2 rejections, 2 out
women's fiction - 13 rejections, 17 out

And that 17 out makes me wonder... After how long with no response do you just understand it's a rejection? How long do I wait before I shift those that have been hanging for weeks from out to rejection? I know some agencies give guidelines for this and, of course, they vary. But what's a good, standard rule of thumb?

19 comments:

Sara Spock said...

Great post! I'm going to look into the Imagination Movers. Finn loves They Might Be Giants kids stuff and it's way better than listening to "Little Bunny Foo Foo" 72 thousand times! Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I LOVE the Imagination Movers and I am so happy they have the own show now. Jayden loves them too. Their songs are so catchy. By the way... I miss you. Feel like we haven't talked in forever.
-Heather AKA Haley's comet

Melissa Marsh said...

Be glad that you only have crickets and not MICE. My cat just caught another one in our century-old house over the weekend.

As far as rejections go...honestly, I've sent some, via email and mail, that I've never heard from again. One was even a request for a FULL. Hmph.

We have our own local kids band (that my good friend is a part of) that I hope can make it big someday.

www.thestringbeans.net

Janna Qualman said...

Sara, you'll have to let me know if Finn likes them!

Heather - I miss you, too. Been thinking about you a lot, and we need to plan our next lunch with Lisa!

Melissa, I feel your pain with the mice. We've had our share of them over the years, and I so hate dealing with them. Kudos to your cat for catching them for you! ...I'll totally check The String Beans out. Thanks!

WendyCinNYC said...

Re: Silence as rejections
Do you use QueryTracker? You can check an agent stats to see how long is normally takes for her to respond, then figure it out from there. More or less.

Janna Qualman said...

I don't. But it sounds like I totally should! Thanks, Wendy.

Travis Erwin said...

After 12 weeks I consider it a rejection though I once heard back from an agent 10 months after the fact.

colbymarshall said...

I checked my own stats just out of curiosity, and it seems that out of 16 req.'s, all but two have come within a week of sending the query (the other two were at 14 days and 17 days). And most of them were in only one or two days. I'm not sure if that's helpful or not, but there you go. My advice, though, is you might want to shake up your query letter. I usually go in batches of 10 and if I don't have any requests by 10 I re-work the letter. I seem to go through a couple drafts before finding one that "works"! :-)

colbymarshall said...

random question: did you ever post your query in the SYW on AW?

Janna Qualman said...

Wow. I've got to see your query, Colby.

Yep, I did. Got some great feedback and made some great changes. May need to tweak some more, though...

Joanne said...

Just before I came over to your blog, I received an email responding to an e-query I sent on June 9! I had already written the agent off as a no, thanks. But just to give you a sampling ... So what do I do? I look at that great smiley-face pic you posted. Love it!

Janna Qualman said...

Joanne, that's great! I'm gonna do a little dance for you, right here, right now. :)

Janna Qualman said...

Although now that I reread your comment, Joanne, it occurs to me the response might not have held the news you wished. So now I hug. :)

Joanne said...

Janna, I think you misunderstood. The email response was a no, just as I'd written it off as. Oh well, the smile comes from your neighbor's sign! :)

Joanne said...

We crossed in cyber-space. Great minds think alike?

Joshua said...

great post, and hang in there...with the contractor and the books :)

love ya cousin

Janna Qualman said...

I'd like to think so. :)

Angie Ledbetter said...

I think after a "decent" amount of time (3 months?), if the agency guidelines say so, there's nothing wrong with emailing to check on progress. Isn't that just the most frustrating thing?? Keep at it though and keep the hunt going. Remember, you're looking for the perfect set of eyeballs!

Love the neighbor's smiley. (I'd be tempted to put a flowery hat or wig or something on it when I drove by just for kicks.) ;)

Melanie Avila said...

Poor you and the crickets. I can just imagine you chasing them all over the house with the vacuum. Much the same way I do with bug spray.