Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Adventures in Publishing

Adventures in Publishing

+ Self-publishing
                - Currently 10,000 books are self-published each day
                - Many con artists are trying to capitalize on the self-publishing trend, and offer ridiculous                            deals... for a fee.  Don't EVER pay to get published.  A publisher should be paying YOU
                - A great example is "Atlanta Nights" by "Travis Tea" - read the story here:                               http://www.sfwa.org/members/travistea/backstory.htm
                - Check the Writer Beware website for daily updates on scams aimed at writers:                 http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/
                - Make sure your book stands out: title, cover, and story must be professional and captivating
                - Revise, revise, revise.  Even the greatest writers in the world make mistakes (Shakespeare's   "Othello, The Moor of Venice" when Desdemona is killed).  Try reading the book aloud to see if        it makes sense; play the story as a movie in your head.         
                - KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE.  Make sure you define a target audience before you set out                to write.  "I'm writing for myself" is no excuse to create a book or story that is no good unless it    really is just for you.
                - Act like a writer; introduce yourself a writer or author, get business cards         

+ Traditional publishing
                - Although things are changing, you will usually need a literary agent to get your foot in the door               of a traditional publisher.  Getting an agent is often more difficult and tedious than getting a               book deal.  Be sure you have a query letter that stands out.  For general tips on writing a query                 letter in all genres, go here: http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx
                - The best way to land a literary agent is to find NEW agents who need to fill their portfolios        quickly.  Magazines like Writer's Digest are great with this.  Check their website         (http://www.writersdigest.com/) for a blog on new agents, updated daily.  If you wait until it's in      print, it's probably too late.

+ Rejection
                - If someone negatively criticizes your work, THEY'RE WRONG!  Do not waste your time arguing                 with the person as I've seen many self-published authors do on Amazon.com.  Remember that your reputation is your greatest asset!
                - Many great writers (Steven King was one) have three, four, five or more books rejected before            they get published.
                - Once you query an agent, wait one month before following up with a quick note or email.  Do                 not contact an agent more than once after you query them, and don't wait more than 6 weeks.        Most agents read EVERY SINGLE query they receive - this is how they make money, by   representing writers.  If they do not respond, they're not interested at that time, but they may     be for a different book.

+ Marketing
                - Create a website and Facebook page
                - Tweet often.  Join Tweeting groups/ websites: Blurb.com, Triberr, HootSuite, and the like
                - SEO - Search Engine Optimization.  VERY IMPORTANT!  Find someone who knows about            computers (http://www.abcwebservice.com/) to help if you don't know how to do this     
                - Create a book trailer.  This is the new trend in marketing books.  Search on Youtube.com for    book trailers to see some examples.

Elevator Pitches (My examples):

The Wistful Heads

Children are turning up dead around Staten Island, and a new dwarf detective is assigned to solve the mystery and stop a madman.  Needless to say, things get really crazy.

 Killer On The Noose

When serial killers are found hanged to death in New England, FBI Special Agent Tim Marrow, a little person, must make the toughest decision of his life: let a killer run loose, or hunt down his greatest ally.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Writing Roadblocks

So I'm planning a discussion in one of my writing groups about "Writing Roadblocks".  I got stuck for a couple of days wondering what types of roadblocks most writers encounter when setting out to write, and how these can be overcome, but I kept running into the same ones: 1. Family distractions and  2. Internal editor.   After some sleep (and a nice long chat with my kids Malakai and Tobi about their never-ending neediness) I came up with about six.  So here they are:

1.  "The Fam" - this is a Supervillain Team that constantly threatens to derail my writing efforts.  Even when I lock myself in the garage (my Superhero Headquarters!) this pestering posse of dutiful distractors manages to find a way to foil my plans to greatness.

2.  "The Editor" - this guy acts like my friend, but is actually the most evil of all.  He takes what I create and shreds it down to a single word: "rewrite".

3.  "The Riddler" - cousin to the editor, the Riddler stands beside me in battle, but distracts me with incessant, irrelevant questions such as, "Should I start this chapter with 'My name is' or 'People know me as'?" or "Should I make them the Doublemint Twins or the Tripleberry Bunch?"  or "Should Mr. Dopleby be wearing a green jacket or a red one?"

4.  "The Jock" - much like the one I knew in high school, this archetype of anti-typing likes to spend his time (and MY time) thinking about how great he is.  He revels in his own imagined greatness, and forces me to do the same as distracts me from working on new material so he can look back on his previous work and gloat about his genius.

5.  "Fats" - once a skilled and popular pool player, this guy now spends his time getting up from his workdesk to have a snack.  His usual line: "Ah!  We just finished putting those two words together beautifully!  Look at how 'one' and 'day' hug each other like Jack and Jill!  Let's reward this awesome accomplishment with a quick snack break."

6.  "Mr. Tudu" - ah, Mr. Tudu; so helpful.  I was introduced to him by my parents and then my teachers.  He constantly distracts me with reminders of other tasks I need to complete while I am trying to write, and whispers the list to me repeatedly until I close my laptop and wave to it; "toodaloo".

And there you have 'em.  My worst enemies when it comes to writing.  I still need to figure out how I'm going to fill an entire two hours at the meeting, so I would LOVE to hear your comments, and your own lists of "Antityping Archetypes".