sallyhanan’s blog

A writer’s blog

What happens to my book proposal? April 8, 2010

Filed under: Business advice,Writing — sallyhanan @ 10:51 pm
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Chip McGregor is one of those guys who seems to do it all—blogging, speaking, writing, finding future best-selling authors, securing over 1,000 book deals . . . blah, blah, blah. It’s enough to make the lesser gods sick, but you can temper your loserville/lessergod pain quickly when you read all of the great advice Chip gives you in his blog.

Chip’s latest post is about the journey your proposal takes once an agent asks for it. Many times your novel/non-fiction opus might not pass through the golden doors of publishing for reasons you’ve never thought of.

Read more here.
                                                                 
And for some other insights on what happens to your blood, sweat and tears:

From proposal to published book.

The parts of the proposal agents focus on.

Thoughts from author/editor Diane Eble.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

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A novel process—getting your novel published February 21, 2010

Filed under: Editing,Writing — sallyhanan @ 12:03 am
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A novel is written. So many hours over coffee and chocolate and excuses to not do housework. It’s quite the deal, really. I should write another one. 🙂 But then . . .

First edit
Storyline—Does it make sense? Does it flow?
Characters—Are they believable? Are they likeable?
Length—Is it the required length for the genre?
Plot—Does the suspense/tension build?

Second edit
Drivel—Are there sections of pointless rambling?
Writing—Is every word necessary?
Chapters—Does every chapter end with a hook?

Third edit
Spelling—Is everything spelled correctly?
Punctuation/grammar—Are all my sentences complete, my apostrophes in the right places, and my periods frequent enough?

Fourth edit
Find a few friends who
a) are not close enough to me to care about disappointing me?
b) are kind enough to read the manuscript at all?

Fifth edit
Make almost all the changes my knowledgeable friends suggested without muttering some Hogwarts, um . . . blessing over them.

Query
Come up with a stunning paragraph that forces the agent/editor my manuscript will be sent to to stop popping caffeine pills and gasp in excitement.

Proposal
Make every word about my manuscript dazzle like a disco ball.
                                                                 
Mail
Send in the darn thing.

Wait
And wait
And wait

Get mail
Receive a form rejection letter
or a really nice and encouraging, but still a rejection, message.

And that’s when it’s time to rewrite my novel or start another one.

Personally, I think that’s how Amy Tan came up with the title The Joy Luck Club. It describes the writer’s life to perfection.

P.S. I wanted to insert this photo so badly but couldn’t do it in a hurry. Check out the disco ball lady here!

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

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Research resources February 4, 2010

Filed under: Writing — sallyhanan @ 1:43 pm
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I’m currently writing an article on how to get teenage boys to work when all they want to do is play video games and ignore their mothers. Because this epidemic is viral, perhaps I should charge for the advice. . . . 😀

So where does a girl go to get the information she needs for such an article?
The local bookstore
Personal experience
Friends
Forums
HARO
The local library

I went to the bookstore rather than the library this time, because I had to kill time and I wanted the most up-to-date books on the subject. I had my notebook, I had extra shots in my fancy coffee (that I deserved because I was working), I had half a shelf of parenting books; and I folded myself into a corner of the coffee area to take notes.

When it comes to personal experience, all most people want to know is a) that you can identify with their pain, and b) what you did to fix the problem. The same goes for stories from friends. If you can tell the story with humor, all the better. People need to laugh at themselves or they might cry.

I posted a question on a forum I enjoy—one that has a high level of interaction—and within hours I had many responses on what other moms do with their sons. While I won’t quote these in my article unless I have express permission from the women who wrote them, it’s always good to have a variety of opinions and suggestions. I never put last names in articles, especially, in this case, when moms are bemoaning the laziness of their children.

HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is something I am relatively new to, but it is a wonderful place for reporters and writers to glean from the savviness of experts. HARO sends out an e-mail 2-3 times a day to their 80,000 subscribers with a list of questions needing input. So let’s say I want to break open the story of a politician’s illegitimate child—I could post a query that looks something like this:

Seeking news on personal life of politicians. (Anonymous)

Reporter is looking for the low and dirty on politicians in the city of Washington D.C. All sourced will remain anonymous.

Ok, I am seriously just kidding about this one, because I hate people exposing others when they aren’t exactly shining angels themselves; nevertheless, I think you get the idea.

The library is also a fabulous place to find info. on just about everything. You have current magazines, books, reference books, etc. all waiting for you to delve into them. The librarians usually love being asked for help, too.

Perhaps you have loads of ideas for articles but you have no idea how to go about getting your writing into magazines. That’s another topic, but basically you find the magazines you’d like to write for (start small), and query the editors with your ideas. Here is some help on how to write those queries:
How to write a query letter.
How to write a successful query.
Writing a bulletproof article query.

Good luck!

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

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Writers’ market guides—which one should you buy? January 2, 2010

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Writer’s Market, one of the standard submission guides writers use, seems to have taken its 2010 edition down a rocky path. Amazon reviewers are not impressed.

“This edition missed the boat completely.”

“This edition is substandard.”

“This 2010 Writer’s Market is the last edition of this book that I’ll be buying.”

“Somebody needed to proof the manuscript before publication.”

Other online book sellers seem to copy the reviews from Amazon, so I am limited in my resources; nevertheless, my thought is that the researchers and editors for Writer’s Market may have taken to resting on their laurels rather than upgrading (or even maintaining) the quality and content of the 2009 guide.

Needless to say, I won’t be buying this year’s Writer’s Market. My choice would be Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2010.

Amazon reviewers, so far, have given it four and a half out of five stars, and to top that,

“the twentieth edition has been has been completely revised. The updated layout includes new symbols and callouts designed to give readers the information they need most in a quick and accessible format.”

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Submit to writing contests December 28, 2009

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Stephie Smith’s site is a combination of writers’ resources, photos, novel excerpts, and PC help; but one of her most helpful pages is an ongoing list of writing contests. She has arranged all the information in easy-to-read columns, a visual dessert for writers.


Stephie’s historical romance, “The Masquerade,” has garnered 1st- 4th placements in various contests in 2008, and the awards helped her win an agent’s attention—she is now represented by Helen Breitwieser.

Read more about Stephie.

Stephie’s experiences prove that entering contests is a great way to:
—gain invaluable critique
—improve writing
—get attention from agents/publishers

There are many scams when it comes to contests and entry fees, so here are some tips and warnings when entering writing contests (from Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America).

More writing contests
List from Manuscript Editing
List from Freelance Writing
List from Writers-Editors
List from Tectonic Designs

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

The 2009/2010 top blogs on writing November 30, 2009

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Michael Stelzner posts a yearly list of the top ten blogs for freelance writers. This year’s list is compiled from hundreds of votes, and here’s where you can find it.

Michael is the author of the very popular “Writing White Papers” blog. He has a book out—Writing White Papers—which tells writers how to write white papers or grow in their skill level. He’s also one of the big dogs when it comes to writing for major clients like Microsoft and Motorola, and he currently has 20,00 subscribers to his blog, so don’t limit yourself to following the top ten list; follow his blog, too.

More about Michael and how he can help you write and market your white paper writing skills.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

You can buy Joy in a Box November 24, 2009

Filed under: Writing — sallyhanan @ 12:40 am
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I am delighted to announce that
My collection of flash fiction, Joy in a Box, is now available in print. This is the perfect book to give as a gift to someone who likes to read stories that are short and sweet, because each story only takes two to three minutes to read. Put it in the downstairs restroom, beside the coffeemaker, or on the coffee table.

The sun pulled the daylight down with it, the silky nuances of dusk wrapping themselves around the strange couple, and Penny’s thoughts hovered in their folds. (Note Attached)

Genres
I’ve added as many genres as possible in the book in order to appeal to all tastes, and the stories are even clean enough for teenagers to read. Many of the stories have won placement positions in writing challenges, and others have caused readers to think, ponder, believe, imagine, reflect, feel, consider, suppose, assume, sense . . . (thesaurus, anyone?).

On went the motor of the walking machine; flip flap went the fat on the insides of Dorothy’s thighs. Dust flew abundantly in all directions. (Absolutely Fabulous!)


Reviews
“Her poignant crystal clarity of truth and honest point of view gather together in the smallest set of words for each short story. The antagonist—generally a normal aspect of any written story—isn’t entirely concrete, malleable, even visible. We’re not talking about a villain dressed in black here, or a mean old lady out to skin 101 dalmations for their fur to make coats. The conflict is something inside rather than outside. The plot is more based on thought than on action. The story moves more on the concept of memories than on events, sort of like . . . Haiku.” ~ Pierre Dominique Roustan, author of The Cain Letters

“It takes a special talent to write a complete story in a few words. Sally Hanan has that talent, and most of her stories have an interesting twist ending.” ~ Lena Nelson Dooley, award-winning author of Wild West Christmas, Christmas Love at Lake Tahoe, and Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico

“A well-written and thought-provoking book of inspiring stories. Each story was so different. This book is about more than JOY; it stands for HOPE!” ~ Fran Lewis, author of My Name is Bertha, Bertha Speaks Out, and Bertha Fights Back


Where to buy this work of genius 🙂
You can buy Joy in a Box for $11.99, with shippping by UPS, here. I haven’t got it available on other online stores yet, as I need to come up with $99 to cover the ISBN and channel distribution costs. Yes, that’s what it costs.

She smiled—one of those fizzy drink kind of smiles that pops tiny bubbles of air to the lips over seconds of time. Then she went back to reading. (In The Orange-Sherbet Light)

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

 
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