Last Wednesday -- that would be October 26 -- I sent a well prepared "query letter" via snail mail to Pelican Publishing in Gretna, Louisiana. Located just across the Mississippi River from New Orleans, Pelican is a regional publisher that specializes in fictional history. Sounds like a perfect fit for Fort Desperate
, right ? That's what I thought.
Still do think so, but judging from the editor's tepid reaction to my phone call I am having second thoughts about that now. I phoned this Tuesday -- that would be 4 business days since I mailed the package -- to see if they had received it . Spoke with the editor directly, and she told me they had not logged it in yet, and seemed quite disinterested in learning anything about me or Fort Desperate
. I didn't push it, but this fits in the category of inauspicious beginning.
The package contains a cover letter, a three page synopsis, an outline, two sample chapters, and a 9 state marketing plan.
Pelican's web site says they will take 30 days to respond to a "query letter". If they ask for a complete manuscript submission after they have reviewed the "query letter", they require an additional 3 months of exclusive review before they make a publish/reject decision.
This timing works fine for me.
I finished the first draft on July 31.
The second draft is almost done now, will be completely finished by November 30.
That will give me until March 1 to finish the third draft.
The first draft was reviewed by three Civil War scholars, who have provided excellent comments to me. Based on those comments, I have changed the structure of the book, adding some elements to the plot, subtracting others. The major addition has been to develop a more authentic "Afro-Creole" voice for the Andre Cailloux character.
With the story line complete with the second draft, I will turn my attention in the third draft to making the characters more compelling. Focus on "showing" not "telling." The biggest criticism of my writing style so far is that I over explain.
And, I buy that criticism.
So, draft three will "show" not "tell." At least more than draft two does.