There's A Forum For That - Guest Post by AM Supinger

I'm madly writing the sequel to NOT A DROP TO DRINK, so some of my ultra-helpful talented e-friends over at AgentQuery took me up on an invitation to guest post here on the blog.  My guest today is Ashlee Supinger (A.M.Supinger to AQ'ers), who runs an adorable blog over at Inner Owlet and tweets from @AMSupinger.  You should follow her.  She RT's me. :)  Ashlee debated about topics for her guest post, and asked me what I thought.  I know I push AQ a LOT - I'm a veteran, plus a Mod over there.  So I asked her to write about being a "guppy" at AQ (a new fish in the pond), in the hopes that my readers will understand the awesome feeling of community over there extends to all.

I’m a guppy. If you’ve never been to the site AgentQuery Connect that probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but it’s a title I claim proudly.

It takes courage to write. I’ve never been lion-hearted, but I accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge last year and ended up with a 50,000 word manuscript and no idea what to do next. My attempts at editing were well-intentioned and heartfelt, but my first draft was a disaster. Still, I hoped to polish my novel and get published – and I recognized that I needed help.

I searched for weeks and found several cut-throat forums for writers, but I always left them feeling like a naïve idiot. Every critique was a stab at my talent, a crushing blow to my inky ego. In despair, on the brink of tossing out everything I’d ever written, I went back to the NaNoWriMo website. I browsed and felt my hopeful heart sink when I found a page devoted to published WriMos. That will never be me, I thought.

That depressing thought led to a dumb idea and one of those lucky instances when a dumb idea turns out to be inspired. I arbitrarily picked a name and emailed the former WriMo (I really did! Me, an unrepentant chicken!). Against all odds, a day later I actually got an email back. In that email, bless this woman’s kind heart, were links to Miss Snark, Query Shark, and AgentQuery Connect. My sheer good fortune is almost unbelievable in retrospect.

I spent a whole night – from three in the afternoon until five the next morning – on Miss Snark’s blog. It was funny, scary, and completely overwhelming. Query Shark was the same. It was AgentQuery Connect that kept me from falling to pieces. I went to the site and peered into the forums, looking for a hint of the mean-spiritedness found on other websites…but nothing punched me, bit me, or asked for a credit card number. I created a free account, made up a username, and (figuratively) dove in.

I’m a lucky guppy. Not only is AQC a nice place for newbies like me, but they have agented writers willing to answer questions, critique groups for all genres, and forums that I’ve yet to fully explore. Oh, and weekly chats discussing everything an inexperienced guppy needs to know about the business side of writing.

It sounded too good to be true at first. My novel had almost been garbage-fodder and because of this one website I had hope again. I may have wept ink; I know I did cry. After a week of no hidden charges and no rude, snide, or degrading comments, I settled in. With my natural optimism bubbling, I found critique partners for my novel, wrote several terrible queries, and entered the forums with my humble opinions.

To be honest, the only problem I had with AQC was that I felt so welcomed I didn’t write for a week. I just lurked in forums and chatted. Fortunately, AQC moderators are omniscient. ‘The Odometer’ is a new forum where daily, weekly, or long-term writing goals are posted – a place where your word count is scrutinized by friendly AQCers.

I’m not agented or published – I may never be – but I am a writer. AgentQuery Connect helped me recognize the value of my words, and, in honor of their awesomeness, the tattoo GUPPY is forever emblazoned on my forehead (ha, ha-ha. Not really, but I dreamed about doing it).