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Posts Tagged ‘donnanewton’


This week’s competitions that have caught my eye:

Up to 6000 words of engaging and unique fantasy/medieval adventure, written in english. The short story must trap the audience, leaving them begging for more. The standard dungeon crawlers are ok, but winners bring out the emotions of the readers as they escape reality and explore your world. Grammar and punctuation must be epic.

http://www.tavernsvault.com/

To win this competition, all you have to do is to create a story surrounding the woman in the photo published on the website and write a summary about your story. Make your summary as informative and concise as possible as you only have 300 words to make your entry stand out.

http://creativecompetitor.com/competitions/new-competitions/free-writing-competition/

Using the picture for inspiration, write a one page entry in a journal. Remember this is fiction so it can be written from any character viewpoint and be about any subject or written in any tone i.e. confidential, angry, revealing, reflective etc. Must be written in the first person style.

http://creativecompetitor.com/2011/08/27/the-journal-fiction-competition/

RWA

2011 Heart to Heart

Sponsor: San Francisco Area RWA
Fee: $15.00
Deadline: August 31, 2011 midnight *extended*
Eligibility: unpublished
Entry: the first 15 pages where your hero and heroine meet for the first time. All electronic entries – no paper submissions. No synopsis required.
Categories: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Erotic, Young Adult
Judges: PAN and PRO members, trained and unpublished members.
Final Judges:
Laura Bradford, agent from Bradford Literary Agency
Leis Pederson, editor from Berkeley
Jay Austin, ePub editor from eXtasy Books and Devine Destinies
Kimberly Myers, ePub editor from Omnific Publishing
Tera Kleinfelter, ePub editor from Samhain Publishing
More to be announced
Top Prize: Certificate
FMI, contact contest coordinator at 2011heart2heart@gmail.com or check for submission guidelines on www.sfarwa.com.

2011 Unpublished Beacon Contest

Sponsor: First Coast Romance Writers
Postmark Deadline: August 31, 2011
Eligibility: Not published in last three years.
Entry: First thirty pages, including optional synopsis.
Judges: Experienced, published, unpublished. We offer detailed feedback.
Final Judge: We’re lining up excellent judges, check out http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com/ for more details.
Top prize: Lapel pin, all finalists receive certificate.
FMI, visit our website at: http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com/. Email questions to contest coordinator at beaconunpub@firstcoastromancewriters.com.

2011 Melody of Love Contest

Sponsor: Music City Romance Writers
Fee: $27.00 (PayPal accepted)
Electronic Deadline: September 1, 2011
Eligibility requirements: Not published or contracted in category entered. Email or check website for specifics.
Entry: Electronic. First chapter (up to 25 pages) of unpublished novel-length manuscript (40k+) including prologue, if applicable. See website for tips.
Judges: trained, experienced, published.
Categories/Final Judges: Contemporary – Latoya C. Smith, Grand Central Publishing; Paranormal – Angela James, Carina Publishing; Historical – Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency; YA – Leah Hultenschmidt, Sourcebooks Fire.
Top prize: $50, certificate.
FMI, e-mail Jody Wallace at contest@mcrw.com or visit our website at www.mcrw.com.

2011 Reveal Your Inner Vixen Contest 

Sponsor: Maryland Romance Writers
Fee: $20 MRW members, $25 non-members
Opens: July 1, 2011
Deadline: September 1, 2011
Eligibility: Published and Non-Published writers
Entry: Up to 20 pages that showcase sexual tension between hero and heroine, plus unjudged 1-page set-up (optional).
Categories: Series Contemporary, Single Title, Historical, Alternative, Erotic Romance: Young Adult.
Final Judges: Editors, to be announced on http://www.marylandromancwriters.com
Top Prize: $50 and gold Vixen pin
FMI, visit www.marylandromancewriters.com or contact Jackie Gray, contest coordinator, at mrwvixen@live.com.

21st Annual Hold Me, Thrill Me! Contest

Sponsor: Southwest Florida Romance Writers
Fee: $25.00
Deadline: September 1, 2011
Entry: First 20 pages. New This Year – All Electronic. Five Separate Categories Judged.
Categories and Final Judges: Contemporary – Amanda Bergeron, Avon; Historical – Elizabeth Bistrow, NAL; Paranormal – Meredith Giordan, Berkley; Romantic Suspense – Alex Logan, Grand Central; YA – Kristin Rens, Balzer & Bray, Harper Collins.
FMI, visit our website at www.swfrw.org or email contest@swfrw.org.

Hot Prospects Contest

Sponsor: Valley of the Sun RW
Fee: $30.00 US
Deadline: September 1, 2011
Eligibility: Any RWA member in good standing.
Entry: First 25 pages of any uncontracted work and 5-page synopsis (not to exceed 30 pages total).
Judges: Trained judges, both published and unpublished.
Categories and Final Judges: Historical/Regency – Editor Katherine N. Pelz, The Berkley Publishing Group, Agent TBA; Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal – Editor Deborah Werksman, Sourcebooks, Inc., Agent Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency; Romantic Suspense – Editor Amy Pierpont, Editorial Director, Grand Central Publishing, Agent Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Management; Contemporary Long/Single Title – Editor Jennifer Enderlin, St. Martins, Agent Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency; Series Contemporary – Editor Johanna Raisanen, Associate Editor, Harlequin, Editor Leanne Morgena, Senior Editor, Sweetheart Rose, The Wild Rose Press
Top Prize: The winner can choose between a book trailer, static banner and active banner from Firebird Web Designs for the book of their choice (a $300.00 value) or $100.00 USD.
FMI, http://www.valleyofthesunrw.com/vos-hot-prospects.htm.  

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin

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There are different types of writers, and I would hazard a guess that you are one, too.

Am I right?

So, what do I mean when I say ‘absent author’?

Well, clearly I mean an author who is not present during the writing of their book.

What? How can you write a book if you are not present? It’s damn right impossible. Trust me, I’ve tried. One night, I told my computer to finish chapter four and when I checked it in the morning, nothing had been done. I know. It’s unforgivable. I spend hours sitting at my computer and it couldn’t even manage a measly few paragraphs for me. I promptly sent it to the naughty step and left it there to stew for a full sixty minutes.

As writers, whether you write fiction or non-fiction, we spend hours and hours researching, plotting, crafting, devising arc’s, editing, character backgrounds, re-writes……well, you get the idea. We work damn hard.

But, what is the absent author?

Hold on, I’m getting to it.

Let me throw a few names at you. Actually I think it’s easier to show and not tell 🙂

Left to right - Kardashian, Snooki, Loren Conrad

Okay, are we on the same page? For those of you still scratching your heads, I’m talking about ghostwriters – and not the supernatural kind.

Jordan (aka Katie Price), Hilary Duff, Nicole Richie, Lauren Conrad, and Snooki have all produced novels with the aid of ghostwriters.

They market the book via press and television, leading their young fans to believe they have in fact either picked up a pen, or tapped endlessly at their keyboard and written every word themselves. And, guess what? They get angry if questioned about it.

According to website ‘Jezebel’:

“Ms. (Nicole) Richie promoted her second novel, “Priceless,” in an interview last year with USA Today, describing her writing routine: write early in the morning, before the rest of her family wakes up. “I write all my own stories,” she said.

But Ms. Richie’s publisher, Judith Curr of Atria Books, indicated otherwise, saying that a ghostwriter did most of the writing of Ms. Richie’s book. (Ms. Richie did not respond to a request for comment.)”

Hilary Duff, who when quizzed as to why she didn’t credit her co-writer, basically replied with a ‘why should I? It’s my idea.’ (That is my edited version)

But is this right?

Agents and publishers know there is money to be earned off the back of the celebrity’s name. They also know if they market the product correctly, they can often secure the sale to the movie/TV rights as well. The publishers earn a stack of cash, and the substantially wealthy celebrity extends their ‘brand’….everyone’s happy. Or are they?

What about the writers who ACTUALLY wrote these books.

It is almost non-existent they are ever mentioned on the cover. Doesn’t the publishing industry owe the ghostwriter a little more credit?

Doesn’t the publisher have an obligation to let the reader know their beloved celebrity had (a lot of) help with writing the book they are about to read?

Shouldn’t the publisher have a conscious and clear their desks of celebrity endorsed stories? Maybe make a little room for the talent of up and coming novelists?

Then again, publishers and agents are in this game to make money. It’s probably the main reason they get up in the morning. They’d be nuts if, for instance, they were to choose first time and unknown novelist Sissy Smith from Ramsbottom, Kent over, say, Cameron Diaz.

If you read Kristen Lamb’s blog, you’ll see that social media plays a massive part in a novelist’s road to sales. However, you’d have to be dancing with the fairies and sprinkling magic dust to think you’ll ever create a name bigger than an A-list celebrity. Not even marketing 25 hours day will get you that kind of notoriety.

So, as always, I would like your comments.

Do you think publishers have a moral right to print the co-writer or ghost writers name on the cover of a novel? Should readers know whose writing they are reading? Or is it just a business and they are right to earn their money anyway they choose? Are you a ghostwriter? Would you want to be one?

You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin

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I want to ask a question. 

You’ve written a book. What direction should you take? Should you concentrate all your energy into querying literary agents and wait for months with bated breath in the hope one asks for a nibble? Or should you take the plunge and go it alone down the e-book road?

I am a book lover. I love holding a book in my hands, to feel the paper rough between my fingers. I love my book case. I love dust jackets….oh God, I love books full stop. Doesn’t everyone?

Up until now, I’d never considered owning a Kindle or Nook and, as an author, I couldn’t imagine my books being in any other format other than paper. I never thought the Kindle would ever take off. After all, how do you ask an author to sign a computer screen?

But, am I behind the times?

A couple of days ago I read a story in the Evening Standard newspaper which kind of got me thinking. I reiterate ‘kind of’. I’m not totally convinced, yet.

Most of you have probably already heard of Louise Voss. She was a struggling UK writer who couldn’t find an agent, took matters into her own hands, and published her novel on Amazon’s Kindle. She is now selling 50,000 books per month and has been offered a six-figure, four-book deal by publishers HarperFiction.

This also seems the case with writing duo Sarah Griffiths and Mark Williams, who write under the pen name Saffina Desforges. Their success on Kindle has led to discussions with a top New York agent.

We, as writers, already enter our stories into competitions and dedicate hours a week to social media so we can proudly boast our conquests to agents. Being able to brag at e-book sales is just another plus point, isn’t it? As author Linda Regan told me last year, “Agents have to sell you as well as the book. You have to be interesting.”

This all sounds super cool and easy, but is it? Going it alone sounds a mighty bit scary if you ask me. But, as I am the curious sort – and probably the only writer on planet earth that hasn’t looked at e-book (or indie) publishing – I had a nose around the Amazon web site.

So, let’s look at what I found.

Marketing.

If I was considering the e-book route, and let’s just use Amazon for this example as it’s the only site I looked at, I’d have to market the book myself. Okay, this I don’t find scary. It’s 2011 and I have Twitter and Facebook. Oh, and my good friend Kristen Lamb’s social media book ‘We Are Not Alone’ to guide me through – it should be a doddle. Plus, I have Kristen’s phone number and I know where she lives. She also taught me how to shoot a gun. There is nowhere she can hide 🙂

A big fat tick can go next to marketing.

What’s next?

Formatting.

Huh? I saw something about an rtf file and as I save all my work that way, I think I can tick that one too. Moving on swiftly.

Cost.

Books sell for as little as 96p on Amazon. How can anyone make any money from that?

Well, from what I can see, Amazon’s cut is 30%. I’ll round my book off at a £1 to make things easy, and because it’s late and I can’t be bothered to go fetch my calculator. I’ll earn 70p from each sale. Hmmm, that’s about the price of a chocolate Snicker bar these days, isn’t it?

Right, so unless I sell a hundred thousand copies, I’ll never be rich. Then again, writers don’t write for money. They write for the love of it, so that doesn’t matter.

(N.B. There is another plus point to this 96p Kindle e-book downloading, which is – I’d have saved a fortune on the rubbish Vampire Diary books).

Another tick.

Other bits worthy of a mention.

I retain the rights to my novel and, as the author, I’ll have full control of the book cover, pricing, and well, absolutely everything.

Tick, tick, tick.

I’ve tried to find some horror stories on the web regarding e-publishing on Kindle, but there really aren’t any out there.

So, that is why I am turning to my trusty followers. Have I missed something?

What do you think of e-publishing? Do you know anyone who has published on Kindle? Would you consider publishing your novel on Kindle? Have you already published on Kindle? What are your experiences? Do you know of any successes or, more importantly, have you heard any horror stories? Let me know.

You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin

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urbanhomeblog.wordpress.com

I’ve just been for a bike ride. Wow, you’re so jealous, aren’t you? Go on admit it. I really know how to live, don’t I?

But, what’s so exciting about this particular ride that I had to grab my laptop and blog as soon as I ran through the front door?

Well, I have a numb bum for a start. And believe me when I tell you I could write a thousand words minimum on that, and the need for a more spongy saddle alone. Don’t worry, though. I’ll spare you the image (if it’s not too late). It’s not my bum I’m writing about today.

So, what could I have possibly seen which would prompt me to write this post?

As writers, we know ideas can pop up from anywhere. We look for them in newspaper headlines, photographs, idle chatter listened in on while standing in the cinema queue. Ideas are everywhere. We just need to keep an eye (or ear) out for them.

And I found a massive one right on my own doorstep? I’m not talking about autobiographies either. I’m talking about good old fashioned fiction, with good old fashioned settings.

I live in a little village. It’s a good village, if you’re into weird crap or, er, happen to be a writer. The village is situated on the historically creepy lay-lines, has ghost sightings in nearly every house, has a disused Abbey where the last burning of a witch was supposed to have taken place, and my son was christened in a gatehouse turned cattle shed turned chapel which was once owned by Henry VIII. I mean, I have my fare share of history and story ideas.

Rivenhall Airfield

Today, though, I stumbled upon a World War Two airfield not a mile from my house.

How the hell could I have missed that! I mean, I’ve lived here for over eight years and an airfield, complete with runway, control tower and satellite dish isn’t exactly small and camouflaged with overgrown grass. And even if the grass could grow fifty feet tall, nothing could disguise hanger No.6 from view. It’s gigantic. My son shouted ‘hello’ inside, and it’ll probably still be echoing the vibrations until midnight tonight.

Hanger No.6

Needless to say, my mind went into overdrive. Little out houses buried in among overgrown trees and bushes looked like somewhere Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th would hide out. I was in imagination heaven.
If I’d were still a kid, I would have spent every hour there with my friends, building camps and living in a world where the Bogeyman and his friends were hunting us down and we had to fight for survival. Now, as an adult, I can just sit back and write about it. 🙂


So, where do you live? What’s on your doorstep? Have you discovered something you never knew was there? Is your home town steeped in history?

You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin

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I didn’t have to think hard about what to blog about this week. If anyone has had access to a television or newspaper over the last couple of days, you will have seen the horrific images of London in turmoil.

So, what kicked it off?

Well, originally it was linked to an incident which occurred on Saturday in Tottenham, when police shot and killed an armed drug dealer. A quiet protest was held by the victim’s family….and then all hell broke loose.

By Saturday evening, shops in Tottenham were being looted with one newspaper reporting, “Youths broke into MacDonald’s and started cooking their own hamburgers.” I think this statement sums up the intelligence of the Neanderthal’s involved.

The first I heard about the trouble was on Sunday when my hubby saw the news feed on his phone. And, if I am completely honest, the only reason we were remotely interested in reading more was because my hubby grew up in Walthamstow, which is only miles from Tottenham. It isn’t the first time youths have caused trouble in this area and I’m sure it won’t be the last. By Sunday night, we were aware the trouble had reached Walthamstow, but were unprepared for what happened the following evening.

The BBC reported that Monday’s violence began when police stopped and searched a man in Hackney. Nothing was found and the man was allowed on his way. Then, later in the afternoon, groups of people started throwing stones, and a bin, at police officers.

I returned home Monday evening after an meal out with friends. We began discussing the trouble Tottenham and Walthamstow had seen over the weekend and decided to see if there were any new updates. We switched on the television……..and sat in stunned silence. Buildings were ablaze, shops were being looted. Rioters were fighting with police. It looked like a war zone. The only time we spoke was when police steamed after the gangs – for that we cheered…loudly.

Throughout the evening, the trouble escalated to Clapham, Hackney, Lewisham, Ealing…..Everywhere. It even reached Ilford and Romford, which was way too close for my liking; My Dad and sister live nearby.

In front of my eyes, a building burned until it was nothing but a shell. Shop owners where robbed, and our under staffed police force could do nothing to help them. Teenagers picked up metal fencing and lobbed it at security shutters that protected the shops inventory inside. Police cars and fire engines had windscreens smashed. How could this happen?

I was at my friends, in Romford, early the following morning. Her house overlooks the London sky line, and unfortunately the eerie reminder of  the buildings and cars destroyed by fire.   

Last night saw local residents take a stand against crime and the trouble makers thinking they had a right to commit it. Walking the streets, these remarkable people protected their friends and family, properties, and businesses. The result saw hardly any trouble in London. However, the rioting escalated further north of the country in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Unfortunately, three people died when they were purposely mowed down. One man arrived on the scene and instinctively tried to help the victims. Someone then told him his own son was lying behind him. Covered in blood, this father immediately started CPR. His son unfortunately died. These three men were just trying to protect what was theirs and our thoughts and prayers are with their families today.

But why are people doing this?

There have been many comments from the youths and rioters – none of which I feel remotely sorry for. One youth, his face covered by a bandana, said: “I’m here for money and cause the police nick you for stupid things. This is payback. They (police) can’t do nothing.” And this is a spokesman? Doesn’t really put forward a very good case, does he?

One youth who, while expressing he in no way condoned what had been going on, tried to rationalise it. “It is wrong, but they (rioters) are trying to make money cause they can’t get to college. It’s showing everyone’s frustration. No one has a future.”

What amazes me is that this barbaric behaviour is being put down to the economic status of this country. ‘Youths don’t have a voice’ and ‘People want money and are frustrated.’ It makes me sick. We’ve all been down on our luck at times, and all felt the depression and stress that brings….but not once have I ever considered going out, robbing a shop, burning down an entire building, and throwing a brick at a copper. There is absolutely no excuse for this!

The public are screaming for the rioters parents to be brought to account. Well, I hate to break it to you but, knowing some of the areas these youths derive from, the parents probably sent their children out armed with a crowbar and an list of things to steal.

And to add insult to injury, we now have Germany taking advantage of the situation by comparing London to the Capital of Samalia. And many other nations, including Australia are saying we shouldn’t be holding the 2012 Olympics. Hey, why not just stick a barb wire fence around our shorelines and be done with it?

And today?

So far, over 400 people have been arrested and today saw some very busy courts. It makes my blood boil when ‘youths’ cannot be named due to their age, but one 17 year old has been charged with burglary. His lawyer described him as ‘someone with promise and who was studying to be a sound engineer. This was a moment of madness.’ A moment of madness? Really? Because, from where I’m standing, it was more like twelve hours of madness.

The most stupid so far?

The man who was arrested for stealing a bottle of wine from Somerfields Supermarket with a street value of probably no more than £3.99! And two sisters for stealing bubble gum from a newsagents.

I think David Cameron, who returned home from his holiday yesterday, said it best. “For too long there has been a lack of focus on the complete lack of respect shown by these thugs. I’m clear they are no way representative of the vast majority of young people who despise them as much as the rest of us do. But there are pockets of our society that are not just broken – they are sick. When you see children as young as 12 and 13 looting and laughing, and when we see the disgusting sight of an injured young man with people pretending to help him while they are in fact robbing him, it is clear there are things that are badly wrong in our society.”

So, have you seen the images? Have you watched the news reports? What do you think of what’s been happening in London and England in the past few days? Do you agree with what some of the rioters argue? Let me know.

You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin

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Some people read the book first, others saw the movie first. I belong to the latter club.

Some people are Team Edward, some are Team Jacob. I am Team Bella’s Dad.

The phenomenon surrounding this story is almost as big as Harry Potter….almost.

So, why is this? The movie adaptation clearly helped Meyer buy herself an extra house or two. But, is the story really strong enough to warrant my mate getting herself an Edward Cullen lunch box?

I have already admitted to watching the movie first. And for the first half (and majority of the second), I wondered when the story was going to get a much needed shot of adrenaline. Where was the excitement? This was a vampire film after all. But, even after saying all this, I still sort of enjoyed it. Once I knew it wasn’t an ‘action’ type film, I watched it a second time for what it was….Basically, a bad romance.

Still, is it romantic enough to be one of the biggest hits of 2005 and then again in 2008? It’s not exactly Pride and Prejudice or Brief Encounter.

Is it that women (I wish I could say teenagers, but seeing as most my friends are lusting after these characters, I really can’t), are obsessed with the idea that loving a vampire is sexy? Or, is it just an unhealthy obsession with Taylor Lautner’s six pack and Robert Pattison’s…..er, what does he have?

So, armed with all this information, and while waiting for my flight at LAX, I took the plunge and purchased the paperback version. I’m ashamed to admit, I’d read half of it by the time I touched down at Heathrow, and finished it the following day.

Now, I am not a reader of young adult. I am 40 years old and prefer characters my own age – or a least a little closer to it. That’s not to say I don’t like young adult stories. I just sometimes think writers forget the kids are supposed to be teens, and as such let them run around like adults (not mentioning any names **cough cough** Vampire Diaries).

So, what’s this book about?

if you didn’t already know. Even my mum knows what this story is about. But, for the one person who’s been stranded inEureka for the past eight years, let me explain.

Twilight is a romance about a ‘human’ girl called Bella, who falls in love with a, more white than sparkly, vampire called Edward. And, wouldn’t you just know it? Her life becomes endangered; although it takes until the end of the film to get to this issue.

So, what kept me interested?

Honestly? I am still trying to figure that out. This story has been done a thousand times before, and much, much better. Let’s see, for one there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Angel sent hearts fluttering across the nation. Mine, though, belonged to Spike, and, umm, Giles 🙂

And, I don’t believe for one minute Stephanie Meyer’s inspirational story of I dreamt of two people one night and when I woke up I just had to start writing to see who they were. If there is any truth to that statement, you can paint me blue and call me Smurfette.

And……., even though I am NOT a fan of the Vampire Diary books, I do feel sorry for their author L J Smith. Twilight is a complete rip off!

And……., Stephanie is so repetitive; I kept thinking she’d started the novel again.

And……., Bella is horrid! What kind of protagonist is she? There is nothing endearing about her at all. She is the biggest wimp ever! I mean, how many times can a girl faint for crying out loud? No wonder Hollywood toughened her up a little for the movie….albeit into the nastiest bitch going. Still, anything has to be an improvement, right?

Would I read another Stephanie Meyer book?

After much deliberation, which took all of a split second, I would have to say ‘no’. After I finished the Twilight novel it was ‘yes’, as I read the whole series. However, now it is ‘no’. In fact it is ‘HELL NO!’ I’ve only read the book once and have no desire to read it again. I’d rather watch the film for a couple of hours and then get on with life again. And, I’d only watch the film again if I’d already finished polishing the coal in my fireplace.

I don’t actually think Meyer is a particularly strong writer. When I reflect on Twilight, I don’t see the characters as very strong. The Twilight franchise went on two books too long, three if you count the Edward version. There was an Edward version, wasn’t there? I didn’t dream that. Or did I? And, I’m certain that if you cut all the repetition, you’d have a novel three quarters the size.

Rant over!

Now, I know I’m going to be hung, drawn, and quartered, but I have to ask….

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Have you read any other Stephanie Meyer novels? Have you seen the movie version? Let me know.

You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin

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I remember years ago having someone say to me, “As long has you have a good story, it doesn’t matter what your writing is like. That’s what editors are for.”

I can just hear the gasps echoing throughout the writing community as the murmur or a witch hunt is organised.

I research a lot. I like research. Very lucky thing considering I’m a writer. And, like most writers, I have read much on the subject of writing. From all that advice, and I am talking tons of it, one main point consistently raised its ugly head….The advice was contradicting.

“Agents want first three chapters. Never send agents the first three chapters. Send to a publisher. Don’t send to a publisher.”

It’s enough to drive a writer even more insane than they already are. And yet, here I am; about to add yet another blog post and more advice onto a mound higher than the slush pile at Harper and Collins.

Hang on. Did I say advice? I don’t do advice. I merely try to enlighten. Phew! Untie the nooses – You can breathe again.

Finish Or Not To Finish?

“Start sending off your book as soon as you’ve finished the first few chapters. After all, what is the point in finishing it if no one wants it?”

Now this does seem like its common sense but I’ll say it (type it) anyway. You need to complete your novel before you submit. If an agent likes it and requests a full manuscript  to read, he isn’t going to wait half a year while you finish it.

Check it and double check it. Let your friends read it and critique it. Polish it until it’s beaming brighter than the diamond tennis bracelet I’m begging my hubby for. Then, and only then, can you submit it.

Publisher Or Agent?

“Send you book to everyone and their friends. The more the merrier.”

It seems that, in today’s market, publishers are frequently turning to agents for submissions. The idea behind their madness being, why should they spend time and money sorting through manuscripts when an agent can do it for them?

Decide on an agent, and please find one that deals with your genre. Check out their website and most importantly, follow their submission guideline rules. Every agent is different. Some want a query letter, while others are happy to look at a synopsis too. Some, the wonderful few, will even read a couple of chapters.

One Agent Or Two?

“Send your book to as many agents as you can. Why wait for one to answer first?”

Oh, now this I am 50/50 on. Usually, this would be seen as a massive ‘no-no’. But nobody likes to wait six months for a reply before they can submit to their second choice agent. We’d all like to get a book represented during this lifetime 😀

Who Goes There – Friend or Foe?

“I’ve sent this book to many other agents so, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll get in quick .”

Er, do you like prison food? No mild threats! Enough said.

“I’ve enclosed a picture of my dog, and a woolly scarf for those cold New York winters.”

This is a stranger! While grocery shopping in the frozen food aisle at Asda, would you go up to a person you’ve never met before and give them a present? Of course you wouldn’t. (And shame on you if you say ‘yes, but only if they were gorgeous’).

One mistake many new writers make is they address the agents like they are their friends. They’re not. There should be no first names, no information about the last holiday you took. Just as there shouldn’t be any mild attempt to scare your agent into representing you.

Now, I want you to tell me about the horror stories you’ve read, not including this one :). What’s the worst advice you’ve been given? Again, this post is excluded :). What’s the most cringe worthy mistake you’ve ever made while submitting to an agent? Do you agree with the above? Do you submit direct to a publisher? 

I also talk on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Some other excellent websites for writers are Kristen Lamb, Nathan Bransford, Jennifer Holbrook-~Talty

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