Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary to AuthorCulture!

Break out the Champagne (or sparkling grape juice)! AuthorCulture is celebrating its second anniversary today! That's 52 weeks per year times three posts per week times two years equals . . . more than I can calculate in my head. (I'm a writer, not a mathematician.)

To celebrate, each of us is contributing to a gift basket for some lucky winner of the giveaway! (You'll see what all's included at the end of the post.) Drawing is Monday, June 6, so leave your comment to be entered!

For our next year, we're introducing a new post category, Genre Talk. These posts will hold genre-specific tips, news, interviews, and ideas. We're also adding a new team member!

Meet John Robinson~~~

John is the author of the popular Joe Box suspense series, and is a much-in-demand speaker and teacher, having taught fiction tracks for three years at a nationally-ranked writers conference just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The first title in his Joe Box series, Until the Last Dog Dies, was published by RiverOak Publishing in a three-book deal, which also included the hard-hitting When Skylarks Fall, and To Skin a Cat. All three works received outstanding reviews. With the release of his apocalypse-with-a-twist thriller Heading Home, his upcoming mind-bending science fiction novel The Radiance, and the first of his new soldier of fortune Mac Ryan series, Relentless, John stands ready to continue to deliver more nail-biting, heart-stopping suspense.

John is talented and knowledgeable, and will be a wonderful asset to us here at AuthorCulture. We're thrilled to add him to our list of contributors. You'll be learning more about him June 6, and his first official post is an article on marketing, scheduled for June 8.

Now, for the giveaways!

John Robinson offers his thriller Heading Home:

K.M. Weiland presents her CD Conquering Writer's Block and Summoning Inspiration:

Linda Yezak is tossing in her contemporary Christian romance, Give the Lady a Ride:

Lynnette Bonner will include her debut novel Rocky Mountain Oasis in the basket:

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Joseph Finder's Odd Dog

Joseph Finder's Buried Secrets releases June 21, but I'm one of the lucky few who won a pre-release copy on Goodreads. My first Finder book was Company Man, a novel I not only enjoyed reading, but also learned from, so you can imagine how excited I was to win this one.

Joe does his research, something I've harped about a few times on this site. In Buried Secrets, he went above and beyond when it came to prepping for this novel (something I'll discuss with him in interview on June 22), but he also did some of the little piddlin' stuff to provide some novelty--like a dog he mentions only once (at least so far--I'm not through with the book yet).

Get this: He wanted a homely dog, so he cruised the net and found a crossbred Shar-Pei/English Mastiff. Just so you can get an idea~~~


English Mastiff

Plus This:

Chinese Shar-Pei

Equals That:

Shar-Pei-English Mastiff

Oh, my!!!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Power of Words

Samuel Clemens once said, "The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." How right he was.

There are many authors I admire who have such a talent for creating powerful scenes and scenarios. Ones that speak to the inner person and can bring about change. And isn't that what we are all about as writers? Don't we want to get our world view out there? Convince others to see things the way we see them? Why would we write, otherwise?

We need to take time then, to study our craft, learn as much as we can about it, immerse ourself in education and application. And then be willing educators of those who come behind.

That's what we here at AuthorCulture are all about. We're still learning, still growing, still studying, but in the mean time we're passing on what we know to our faithful blog readers. We hope you are blessed, even as many of you have blessed us through the power of your words in your books or on your blogs. God bless you all. As we wind down another year here at AuthorCulture and I look back on the road we've traveled, I see how much I've learned in the two years, since we started. Much of that learning came from my fellow bloggers, Katie, Linda and Johne, but a lot of it also came from our readers, so thank you!

I hope you and I will never become weary of growing into better writers! And as we grow, may we then be a blessing in the lives of others.

Happy Memorial Day, Everyone!

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Resource Roundup: Advanced Evernote Tips

I have a deep and abiding love for Evernote, the free (up to 2GB / month) cloud-based cross-platform storage tool. This installment of the Resource Roundup looks at the some of the coolest things Evernote can do as described by Michael Hyatt, Chairman and past CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He's an Evernote disciple and uses the power of Evernote to keep his life disciplined (see what I did there?).

Let's dive in. First, what is Evernote?
Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A "note" can be a piece of formattable text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten "ink" note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can then be sorted into folders, tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, and searched. Evernote supports a number of operating system platforms (including Android, Mac OS X, iOS, Microsoft Windows and WebOS), and also offers online synchronization and backup services.
Hyatt has written a number of posts that detail how he uses Evernote to keep his very busy life orderly and productive. In his first post, he notes How to Organize Evernote for Maximum Efficiency.

It all begins by establishing a solid organizational structure. Evernote doesn’t require one, but, based on my personal experience you won’t realize the full power of this tool without one. You need to give some thought to how you want to structure your notebooks, “stacks,” and tags.

First, let’s define some terms:
  • Notebooks: These are collections of individual notes. Theoretically, you could just have one notebook and dump everything into it. But most people will want to establish different notebooks for different “areas of focus.”
  • Stacks: These are collections of notebooks. For example, you could have a stack called “Work” that has separate notebooks for each client, project, or area of responsibility.
  • Tags: These are attributes that you can apply to any individual note. You can then view all notes with a specific tag, regardless of which notebook it resides in. This provides for the ultimate in filing flexibility, though it can be confusing at times. (I still get confused about whether something should be a notebook or a tag.)
I have an Evernote web clipper that allows me to highlight anything on a web page (including links and images) and pressing Windows+A to automatically add the item to my Evernote and automatically sync my account on my two Windows machines (work and home), my Macbook laptop, and my Android phone. I keep my AuthorCulture notes this way, using the tag AC(for AuthorCulture) and FFF (for Fabulously Funny Fridays).

The next post I'd like to cover is How to Use Evernote If You Are a Speaker or Writer. He talks about adding various things to his Evernote account for easy access, including the following:
  • Blog posts. I am going back through my 900-plus blog posts and extracting the various components. When I find a personal illustration or a historical anecdote, I copy and paste it into my Illustrations notebook. The same is true for quotes and jokes.
  • Web articles. When I am reading on the Web, I do the same. If I stumble across something I think I might want to use later, I copy and paste it into the appropriate notebook. This can include everything from other bloggers’ posts to news articles.
  • Digital books. This is also a big advantage of using Kindle for my reading. Anything I highlight in a Kindle book is automatically extracted to my personal Highlights page on Amazon. I can copy and paste these directly into Evernote from there. This is a huge productivity boost.
Finally, a cool tip that I haven't yet taken the time to embrace but want to Real Soon Now, How to Email Your Documents Directly to Evernote
Now it is time to start filing your documents into Evernote’s digital repository. There are a number of tools for doing this. However, I find that I use the email-to-Evernote function more than almost any other method.

Yet, surprisingly, I have met many Evernote users who don’t even know this capability exists. Once you get the hang of it, this input method transforms Evernote from an interesting software application to an indispensable one.
So, I highly recommend Evernote for your writing / organizing / where-did-I-put-that-thing use, and I also highly recommend following Michael Hyatt. I keep track of him on Facebook, Twitter, and follow him via email.
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Graphing the Writing Process

British science writer Ed Yong graphed his experience during the course of the writing process. Fiction writers will find this very familiar. (Literary writers won't admit to anything as mundane as this, but we all know better.) ;)

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lessons From the Pros ~ Creating a Good Hook

Does your manuscript have a good hook? 

Today I have a blog post over on my agent, Don Jacobson's, blog. The post is on creating a good hook for your story.

Honest truth? I got behind this week and didn't get my Lesson's from the Pros post written for AuthorCulture. But, it just happened to work out that the post I wrote for the DCJA blog went live today and since it is very applicable, I will simply direct you lovely readers over there.

Ah, confession IS good for the soul! :)

Feel free to comment here or there with any thoughts or questions.

Here is the link: Does Your Manuscript Have a Good Hook?

So what about you? What’s your favorite opening line? What about it made you want to keep reading? Anyone want to share the opening line from their current work in progress?

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Monday, May 16, 2011

The Two Most Important Things to Know Before Hiring a Freelance Editor - Interview With Roz Morris

The fabulous Roz Morris—ghost writer, book consultant, and human being extraordinaire—is the author of the marvelous writing book Nail Your Novel, which I had the joy of reading and reviewing here on AC last year. Roz can be found on her site, her writing blog, and Twitter. Today, Roz was kind enough to stop by and share her experiences as a ghost writer and freelance editor and her views on the rapid changes in the book industry.

What’s your background in writing?

I was originally a journalist and editor but found that inventing events and characters led to more satisfying stories! What I do now is a mixture of ghostwriting, editing, consultancy and writing my own books.

How did you get into the ghostwriting business? What are its challenges compared to writing your own stories?

It started with a lucky break. I’d been writing a novel of my own and had several near misses with agents. My husband is also a writer, and he was working on a novel for a series when the publisher changed the brief. It meant writing a completely new book, but he had other commitments. So I wrote the novel for them and they liked it, and after that I was on editors’ radar. One day I was contacted by an editor who needed a ghostwriter for a high-profile author. And the rest is (very secret) history.

Ghostwriting is a collaboration. When I ghost, I’m writing a book that is someone else’s idea, to please their readers—not the readers who would like my own work. I can’t use my own voice—I have to develop a style that is appropriate for the author I am ghosting. Also, although I develop the story, I can’t always take it in the direction I want it to go. Also, if the “author” (the person whose name is on the cover) doesn’t like what I’ve done, I have to rewrite until they’re happy. That’s not to say I can’t put something of myself into the book, but I must remember the book is not mine.

So, artistically, those are challenges. However, it can also be great fun. Not only do I have an editor to bounce ideas off, I have the “author” themselves. When I get stuck on a plot problem, I ring my “author,” and we chat about ways to solve it. Writing on your own, you don’t get that.

I also find it liberating to work on something where I don’t have to be me. I have to research subjects I would not otherwise have been led to. I return to my own work with my horizons broadened and the satisfaction of knowing that another book I’ve written is coming out for a new audience to enjoy.

Once I hand over the book, I’ve finished with it. I don’t have to do any publicity—that’s the author’s responsibility. Although it’s hard to see someone else taking the credit for my efforts! And surreal to see huge posters at bus stops featuring my book with someone else’s name! I console myself by taking a sneaky photo for posterity…

Tell us about Nail Your Novel. Why did you decide to write a book about the writing craft?

A lot of the writers who come to me for editing help struggle with revising a novel and spotting where the problems are. Because of this, they also can’t assess their novel’s structure—which is essential to whether it works or not. When I suggest they need to make major changes they don’t dare to because it looks too complicated. I disembowel my drafts quite blithely because I’ve developed ways to take control of my manuscripts. So I thought the most helpful thing I could do was to write a book about how I do that. And it’s not just about revising—it’s about planning a story so that it reads well. Its full title is Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence.

In your capacity as a book consultant, what is the most common mistake you see authors making?

Everyone has his different weaknesses and strengths because writing is a self-taught process. But if I had to pick one recurring flaw, it would be problems with handling a story on a big scale. Novice writers concentrate too much on the small scale, such as prose and beautiful observation, but they don’t understand how much of the novel’s effect is in the scaffolding—such as the way the events lock together, the way revelations are deployed, the way themes are used, the way the characters change and develop. And then I tell them this, and they get in a panic about how they’re going to sift through the forest of words to sort it all out!

What are some important things for authors to keep in mind when hiring a freelance editor?

Two things.

Make sure they are worth paying for their advice. There are a lot of people who set themselves up offering editorial advice and they don’t have the experience. Check out very carefully what their background is and why they feel able to charge for their services. Go for someone who is not just a published writer, but an experienced fiction editor or a literary agent. Not only have they earned their spurs in the market, they understand writing from the inside, and how to guide you to a fully functioning manuscript.

Also, not every editor will be suitable for every writer. We all have our different genres, age groups and styles we can advise on—and ones we are not confident to work with. A good editor will ask you questions about your book to see if they are a good fit for what you write. They will also ask what you want from an editor—whether it’s a straightforward line edit to add a professional polish or more nurturing in-depth conversations. I’ve written more about it here.

What’s your take on the upheaval in the publishing industry, the closure of Borders, and the rise of the “99 cent millionaires”?

Good questions. I could go on about this for pages. First—Borders. I’ll probably be skinned for saying this, but I was an Amazon convert early on and hardly buy from bookshops. In a “real” bookshop, I can’t find anything, compared with the search facilities available on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, and LibraryThing. Also, I don’t have the huge range that I have available online. So I can’t see that the closure of shops is going to have much of an effect on me as a customer. However, for the publishing industry it’s different. Big retailers like Borders, and in this country Waterstones and WH Smith, are promotional opportunities for books—all those special tables, window displays, and dump bins are chances to advertise to readers.

Next—the general upheaval in publishing. A lot of interesting books aren’t being published because marketing departments now have the final say and they are catering for chain retailers. Original, groundbreaking authors aren’t being taken on—although they would have been publishing sensations just a few years ago. My agent says he’s had plenty of novels that have been adored by editors and rejected by the marketing department. So if brick-and-mortar bookshops are disappearing, who will marketing departments market to? Supermarkets? Will that drive quality down even more? Where will readers find new, interesting, worthwhile authors? Where will influential reviewers find them, come to that? Perhaps agents will bypass publishers and become the new imprints.

As for the 99-cent millionaires—best of luck to them. The successful ones have been kicked in the teeth of mainstream publishing and have taken control. Have they opened doors for other self-publishers? It’s hard to know. Everyone has always known there is undiscovered talent lurking in slush piles. And if a book looks professional, the buying public doesn’t care whether a book has earned its stripes by getting an agent and an editor. What matters is whether they heard about it from sources whose taste they trust.

Pricing is another issue. Conventional publishers won’t offer e-books for 99 cents because their overheads are huge, but many people feel mainstream e-books are overpriced. The 99-cent millionaires are suggesting a new benchmark for what consumers will pay. But That’s too low. Some self-publishers can’t afford to produce full-length books for 99 cents. However much the buying public has got used to the culture of “free,” producing good creative content costs time and money. I guess each book will find its natural price.
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Fabulously Fun Friday: Poetry, or How Much Is Your Life Worth?

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Transport Your Reader

Fans of fiction love to be carried away to another place and time. A good novel drops them head-first into the story world and makes them reluctant to leave. How do writers accomplish this from the very beginning of their novels?

I have four books in front of me, all opened to their first chapter; different genres, different authors, chosen because they're the only ones available to me at the moment. In almost all of these books, the authors:
  • have a hook to draw the reader in,
  • introduce their main characters early and by name, and
  • make the characters active in the setting.
In Buried Secrets (due for release in June), Joseph Finder delivers the hook and introduces his character in the opening line:

If this was what a prison was like, Alexa Marcus thought, I could live here. Like, forever.

Finder tells the character's full name and immediately gives an indication of her age by his word choices--"Like, forever." At the start of the scene, Alexa is standing in line for Slammer, the “hottest bar in Boston,” and looking at a "line of frat boys trying too hard to be cool." We’re not talking hot, fast action here, but in having his character look around, he introduces his reader to the story world. Finder doesn't devote a lot of time to setting description, but within the first few paragraphs, we develop a mental image of where Alexa is, and we learn what she thinks of the place and those around her, and what she thinks of herself ("I'm so not suburban."). That's a lot to accomplish on the first page.

James Rubart in his novel, Rooms, gets right to the point with his opening line:
Why would a man he never knew build him a home on one of the most spectacular beaches on the West Coast?
From there, Rubart names his character, "Micah Taylor," and puts him in the preliminary setting, his office. A corner office, to be exact, overlooking Puget Sound. From this, we learn his character is wealthy and successful, and he's at work, probably in a suit and tie. Rubart could have given us a detailed description of the office, but unlike Finder's "Slammer," most people can picture an office. What's important is, Micah has a letter, the edge of which he taps against his palm as he reflects upon its contents. Again, not hot action, but we have the hook, the character's name, and enough action that the scene isn't stagnant.

Historical novels are different in that the reader knows what era she's entering when she picks up the book. She already has a picture in her head of what to expect. Still, it's necessary to bring that setting to life.

In the opening paragraphs of To Win Her Heart, Karen Witemeyer did exactly what the other authors did: She hooked the reader with an intriguing line: “After two years, they'd finally cut him loose.” From there, she introduced Levi Grant, her hero in this historical romance, and hinted of his conflict (as an ex-convict, his future hinged on making a good impression in a new town).

All along, she sets the scene, not through description, but with props. Levi caught a ride in a “wagon bed.” He had a Bible and a letter of recommendation in his “knapsack.” He ducked under “a barren rose trellis” at "the parson's small, box-shaped house." Nothing elaborate, just snippets of period props to settle the reader into the setting.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and Lisa Gardner's The Survivors Club blows a lot of rules out of the water primarily because she wants to remain as obscure as possible about the people she refers to in her opening pages. The authors of mystery and suspense novels aren't always as interested in plopping their readers into the setting as they are clamping a hand around their wrists and dragging them into the tension.

Lisa does begin her prologue with a hook:

It all started as a conversation:
"The scientists are the problem--not the cops. Cops are just cops..."

But after the hook, her format is entirely different. For the duration of the prologue, we don't know who the characters are, other than through the prologue's title, "Eddie." We don't even learn which of the two characters engaged in this dialogue is Eddie. The only action occurring is the conversation between two unknowns, but the reader can derive quite a bit of information from the vile language these two use and the topic of discussion.

In the first chapter, we learn the setting is in Providence, Rhode Island, but we don't meet the main characters until chapters two and three. For Lisa's purposes, though, the conversation is all that's needed to bring the reader into the story, because she wants to develop tension first. She drops us into the story world using props, as Witemeyer does, but she reveals things in her own time.

All the books above were quick to reveal tension--this ingredient doesn't belong only in thrillers. And regardless of the differences or similarities of these authors' techniques for introducing their story worlds, what we don't see are long, drawn-out descriptions or elaborate backstories. The hook and an active character can transport your reader into your world quicker. Tension and conflict keep them there. Sympathetic characters--a topic for another time--make them bring their hearts along for the ride.
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Get Your Writing Edited

It’s no secret the independent publishing revolution is making tidal waves in the book industry. Thanks to the ease and low expense of e-book publishing, millions of authors are offering their books for sale without the intermediary services of traditional publishing houses. The result has offered unprecedented opportunities for young authors to express themselves and share their work with a wide audience—but it has also brought its share of downfalls. Chief among those downfalls is the surge of poorly written and poorly edited books glutting the market. Today, AC would like to share a guest post from author Rob Kennedy, who offers a compelling plea for indie authors to present quality work.

Every author, no matter how he’s published, owes it to himself, his readers, and his fellow authors to offer stylistically correct, professionally edited material. Indie authors should consider this: Every poorly edited indie book on the market has the potential to alienate hundreds of readers from the entire independent community. Before you hit “publish” on that brand spanking new manuscript, take a moment to read Rob’s thoughts, below, and consider the damage you may be doing, not only to your own writing career, but also to your fellow indies.

“Words are all I have to take your heart away.” – The Bee Gees

As an enthusiastic indie reader and writer, I have purchased and read twelve indie novels this year, all bought on Amazon, direct to Kindle. What I’ve found is that all twelve suffer with similar problems: poor editing—mostly copyediting issues.

Copyediting is a process of technical correction done by freelance professionals with an obsessions for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formal style. – Alana Rinzler, The Art of Freelance Editing
These twelve books came from Australian and international writers. The writers varied in age from early twenties to late sixties, male and female. Some have many books self-published; for some, it was their debut novel.

The reason I included the Bee Gees quote above is to highlight the point that as writers, words are all we have; we create stories made of words, and when those words are not right, or not at their best, we’re doing our readers and ourselves a disservice.

The first step for new writers to use in improving their writing is to turn on every spelling, grammar, and auto correct options Word offers. The suggestions offered by these programs won’t always be correct, but they can be invaluable in helping you learn and implement basic spelling and grammar rules. When you get to know your writing better, and when you have built your writing skills, style and structure base, only then turn them off, if you can prove you know your writing inside-out. I can’t see myself turning off my checkers for some time.

Online writing checkers can also be useful. Use them. They will help, and most are free. I use EditMinion, which picks up things that Word can’t.

The second step is to get an editor. No writer can pick out, see, or decipher his or her writing problems. My writing now reads clearer and my words more effectively, since I took on an editor. A good editor will turn your writing (and possibly your life) around. A good editor will push you along the path to becoming a read and sought-after writer.

Don’t let your unique and interesting stories go to waste through bad editing. If you’ve devoted your life to writing, as I have, you will increase your chances of making your writing loved and admired if you begin by self-editing, then get another to read your work, then, send it to an editor.

Remember, words are all we have. Your readers can’t read your mind.
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Friday, May 6, 2011

The Writer's Life

Check out the author who created this great video here. I read the first chapter from one of his books, The City Within. Intriguing!

Happy Friday, everyone!
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review of Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell

I’ve long been a fan of bestselling legal suspense author’s James Scott Bell’s frequent articles in the Writer’s Digest magazine. He has a friendly and pithy way of simplifying the craft and presenting usable and realistic solutions. I’ve clipped dozens of his articles and filed them for rereading. When someone gave me Revision and Self-Editing as a Christmas gift, I anticipated more of the same: hands-on instruction on a subject that befuddles all writers at one time or another. And that’s what I got—I just expected it to be new information, rather than a word-for-word reprint of all those great articles I read (and, although I haven’t read his companion book Plot and Structure, I’ve heard that much of Revision and Self-Editing is also a repeat its information). I don’t hold the reiteration of info against Bell (I’ve done it myself in diversifying media), but the lack of new information diminished the book’s usefulness for me.

Plus, very little in this book focuses on editing. The first three quarters discuss the basics of a good story, before finally delving into Bell’s in-depth editing checklist. It’s true enough that solidifying the basics of story is at the heart of any editing project, but readers can find this information in dozens of other books on the craft. In a book titled Revision and Self-Editing, I was hoping to find tips and tricks focused on the revision process in particular.

That said, the checklist at the end is a great tool. It offers exactly the kind of specificity and experience writers need to bring to the table when the red ink starts flowing. Bell covers twelve facets of story and the nuances we need to double-check while revising—everything from correctly structuring our beginnings, middles, and ends to polishing our characters and dialogue. In summary, I would recommend this book if you’re unfamiliar with his Writer’s Digest articles and haven’t read Plot and Structure. Otherwise, you can probably find all this information elsewhere, without shelling out an extra $17.
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Monday, May 2, 2011

May I Interest You In A Nice Query?

Let's say you've written out your first million words of dreck, and can actually write salable ficton. Let's say you applied your craft and wrote an 800 page epic fantasy with a specific market in mind. Let's say it took you four years to construct this tome. Let's say the day came and you fired this masterpiece off to the publisher you had in mind. And for the purpose of this discussion, let's say they got back to you the following day with a very kind, but very firm message, something alone the lines that they'd just published a mammoth epic fantasy and didn't have the need for one at the moment, would you possibly have something in a nice Mystery Romance, like the old tv show Moonlighting?

If you really loved that publisher and had your heart set on being published with them, it's not entirely unlikely that among the many thoughts going through your head at the moment, one of them might be "I wish I'd known that before I invested four years going in the wrong direction."This is one of many reasons why now is a great time to start investigating the art of the query. (One imagines that as the speed of publishing escalates in a digital age, having such conversations with publishers up front will become even more valuable.) If you've spent your time up to this point honing your writing chops, now's the perfect time to start sharpening your marketing chops, and the query is one of the primary tools that should be in your bag of tricks.

Author and speaker Mary DeMuth knows about queries. She's written a free guide called Queries Now to help you navigate the next step of your journey to publication. You can grab it from her store on her page of free resources.

In the dictionary, a query is a question, an inquiry. In marketing, a query is a business message sent to a publisher that pitches your idea to an agent or editor. I think of a query as a ping, an expression of interest in a mutually-beneficial project.

Of course, it's not as a simple as all that. You have to know what you're doing. That's where Queries Now helps you with the heavy lifting.

Mary explains what a query is, why one should consider crafting a query, when not to query, and gives examples of what the format of successful queries is and step-by-step directions on how to craft one. Mary also provides detailed examples of targeted fiction, magazines, and non-fiction queries.

She even provides an example of an author who writes the piece first and then queried afterward, which may give you hope for that 800 page epic fantasy after all.
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