Agents. Qualified literary gatekeepers?

….and that’s how you do it.

Indie Hero

A few years ago, Samuel Moffie submitted The Perfect Martini to 100 literary agents. Actually, he submitted 90% of the first twenty pages of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions disguised as The Perfect Martini. Any guesses on his success rate? 100 out of 100, right? No. Only one agent responded positively, but that’s because the agent recognized the original author. 99 agents declined. Just to be clear, yes, the critically acclaimed, award-winning, nationally revered Kurt Vonnegut. Rejected.

Agents are concerned with commercial viability, that’s first and foremost. Period. Literary quality is a secondary bonus, if present. Now, if Vonnegut wrote a novel where a dominant vampire becomes master to a naive, submissive, shape-shifting werewolf, I’m sure he would have fared better.

Here’s the point. Why spend months, or even years, writing and submitting queries to agents who are clearly looking the other way? If they passed on Kurt Vonnegut, what chance…

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Hunting for the Muse

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday morning and I have been chasing the Muse around my head for at least an hour. Whenever I did manage to catch up with it, I squeezed another few sentences out before it disappeared. So, after an hour of being as disciplined as I can, I finally put the last word to my latest chapter of Finding Henry Brubaker. I am on a deadline with this book so I really do have to sit down most every day and write something. Thank goodness for editing. Imagine if whatever we wrote could not be erased or changed.

So today I have written about three hundred words. Tomorrow I hope to write a lot more. The trouble is, I have to go to work in an hour and by the time I get home, the Muse will have gone. I am at my most creative in the mornings. I know what you’re thinking – 300 words, call that creative? Well some days I am more creative than others. When I began writing my first book, I tried to follow the advice of more experienced authors. Most will say to write every day, even if the Muse does not grab you. Sometimes, like this morning, it’s me that is grabbing the Muse and beating the inspiration out of it.

Having written and published three books, I think I have found what works best for me. There are lots of days when the inspiration is there and thousands of words just flow from my fingertips and I cannot type fast enough to keep up with the ideas filling my head. Just about every book I have read on the subject of writing says that a writer must be disciplined. Write every day, even on those days when you have to go to work (if you are not fortunate enough to earn a living from writing – yet). READ MORE HERE

Writer/Blogger? You May Need a Contact Page Intervention

Great advice about adding a contact page.

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD

It may be news to you but for the last year and a half or so, I’ve been doing some freelance social media work for a publishing house, helping promote other authors’ books online. As my goal is essentially to connect readers with books I believe they’ll like, a lot of my time is spent trawling through the magical interweb looking for book blogs. They’re easy enough to find. But it’s not always easy to find what I need when I get there: a way to contact the blogger in private.

It’s a particularly bad day when the coffee machine is still brewing and the contact page of a book blogger who (a) professes to love the exact kind of book I have to offer her and (b) says on her ‘Review Policy’ or ‘About Me’ page that what she loves more than anything else in the world is…

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Still Life Promo Campaign

This is a beautiful production that highlights something many families have been affected by – dementia.

“Still Life” is a short drama about a turning point in the lives of a father and daughter, as they cope with dementia. One struggles to maintain civility in the household, as time runs out for the other. Their relationship is put to the test one last time. Their journey results in them seeing, understanding, and appreciating, for the first time, the role they play in each other’s life. Find out more about the project here Still Life Promo Campaign

 

Why You Shouldn’t Format Your Word Docs

More on Ebook fromatting.

QA Productions

Dungeon baby There’s a reason my ebooks are superior–two reasons, actually–and neither has anything to do with my technical prowess (I don’t have much) or talent (anyone can do what I’m about to tell you).

Reason Number One: Pre-production, I clean the text. As soon as a document comes up in the queue, I open it and start stripping it of everything that can mess up an ebook: extraneous paragraph returns, extra spaces, and tabs. I tidy up punctuation, tag areas that require special coding, neaten italics and check for special characters that won’t translate. As a writer and editor myself, I know most of the writer tricks and have a rather lengthy list of things to look for. By the time I’m ready to start coding, the text is so clean it squeaks.

Reason Number Two: Post-production, the ebook is proofread. I don’t care who proofreads the ebook. I can…

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Creating a Professional Look for Ebooks

Good info in this post for Ebook formatting.

QA Productions

Can you spot an ebook produced by an amateur? I’m not talking about the writing–I’m talking about the interior production. Take a look at these side by side screenshots:

AmPro2 What about these?

AmPro1Take a good look and see if you can spot what I see.

Screenshot 1, upper left, self-published, amateur. I’m fairly certain the publisher converted a Word format. The story sounded interesting so I downloaded a sample. It looks like a manuscript and I knew it would trigger my Inner Editor and seriously affect my reading enjoyment, so I passed on buying the book.

Screenshot 2, upper right, trad-published, professional. The overall ebook is visually interesting, designed with the reader in mind. Purchased, read and enjoyed.

Screenshot 3, lower left, self-published, professional. One of my productions.

Screenshot 4, lower right, trad-published, amateur. Ugly and distracting. Purchased without sampling because this is one of my favorite authors, but I…

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