Frank Landis' Blog


Thornmints!
May 11, 2010, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Once a month? I’d rather blog more often than that, but I’ve gotten seduced by a beautiful little plant, the San Diego thornmint.

Actually, that’s not quite the true story. Back in the winter, I got persuaded to take on the rare plant committee for my local CNPS chapter, and so I naively volunteered to run a survey for this cute little endangered thornmint that I didn’t even know. A hundred hours or so later, I’m supervising a crew of thirty-two wonderful volunteers who are out all over San Diego County looking at historical populations of this little annual and sending the information to me so that I can collate it.

The fun really started when the thornmints communally decided (possibly through telepathy, though more likely through physiology) to bloom a month late. My carefully crafted plan to survey them in April shattered, because non-blooming thornmints are darlings things about an inch across, and they’re *hard* to spot. Fortunately, the volunteers have been great about re-aligning their weekend schedules around their childrens’ finals so that we can go out and find them. They’re out there. We’ve found thousands of the little cuties, which is good news.

But I’m not sure that the thornmints are to blame for me blogging once per month.

I’ve got a 140,000 word novel manuscript that I’m polishing to submit for publication, and I’ve been spending a lot of time learning about the ins and outs of the publishing industry. It’s a different world out there, and I’ll see how it goes. The process has similarities to publishing an academic paper or writing a grant proposal. Every publisher wants to see something different, and they may want a query letter, a pitch, a proposal including a synopsis (short, medium, or long), sample chapters or the first 10 or 50 pages, and/or an outline (which is a chapter-by-chapter synopsis up to 10 pages long). Many publishers say that they want submissions only from agents, while there are several blogs that say that following these rules doesn’t work. It’s the granting process run by English majors.

So guess what I’m writing? All of the above. That’s what’s taking the time. It’s certainly a learning experience.

Happy May!

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