As you know, I’m traditionally published with my historical romance novels. Book Three is completed, and I’m working on Book Four in the series, and I have a bundle of women’s fiction novels waiting for their moment in the limelight. Stymied by the broken trail of promises of traditional publishing, I’ve been giving careful consideration to self-publishing, but a CP reminded me of the dismal outlook for self-pub: the average self-pub author sells 57 books! Well, that may have been true 5 years ago, but take a look at this survey! Self-pub success story author Marie Force just released her ground-breaking survey just yesterday. It’s eye-popping, and has the potential to drastically change the way we think about self-publishing. Take a look, post-haste, at http://e-bookformattingfairies.blogspot.com/ …. then come back and let me know what you think! Does reading this survey change your mind about self-publishing *your* novel?
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This blog is a continuation of the previous blog about conference preparation.
7. Bring an idea collection kit. Yes, it’s nice to have an emergency sewing kit, but not that kind of resource. At conference, you learn important information about craft, marketing, story ideas, etc. This kit helps you FIND that information later. My kit is in a zipping plastic bag, about 8 inches by four inches, see-through so you can quickly find emergency supplies like paper clips, scissors, highlighters, rubber bands, post-it notes, stick-em ‘flags’ so you can quickly flag important pages and not lose vital business cards; Sharpies so you can post or add info on bulletin boards. Drop this kit into your conference bag and you’ll be ready to gather important info.
8. Bring a thumb/travel drive of your writing. No, don’t wave a 400-page completed manuscript at a passing editor or agent. Travel drives (portable memory drives) are small and can hold query letters, synopses, first chapters, partials and such of every novel you’ve written. Should you connect in a meaningful way with an editor or agent who asks for a partial of your pitch story, or another story you’ve written, you can easily take that travel drive to the business office of your hotel and print it out. It never hurts to be ready when opportunity knocks.
9. Defeat self-defeating behavior and denial. Avoid disaster thinking such as,
“I don’t need to practice my pitch. It will all come to me when I sit down.” Practice at home. Prop a doll, a stuffed animal or even a potted plant on the owner side of your desk and take a seat on the public side. Pretend you’re talking to the agent or editor, and be able to say, smoothly and enthusiastically,
“Thank you for coming the conference. I’m (your name) and I write (your genre). My completed novel is about (protagonist’s name). S/he (describe the inciting incident that starts your protagonist’s story) and must (whatever s/he must do to get what s/he wants), but (describe the antagonist/villain and what makes her goal seemingly impossible), only to realize (describe the growth your protagonist experiences through the course of the novel.”
If you can deliver this information succinctly and comfortably, you’re home free. The agent or editor may ask questions to learn more–questions like length, where the story is set, particulars about the story, but if you can deliver this small pitch, the publishing pro knows that you have completed the novel, and most importantly s/he knows that you know what your story is about. You may want to elaborate. If so, go for it, but not until you accomplish the short pitch above and can deliver it in your sleep because you’re so familiar with it.
This familiarity will give you confidence, and once you have that, your appointment will be pleasant, not agonizing.
Final tip on the pitch: save at least ninety seconds to ask a question, something you want to know about your story, the market for your story, whatever. Allow the publishing pro to talk! You have endured the many challenges of completing your story, and you have suffered anxiety over this appointment. The least you can do is be prepared for the meeting, ask a pertinent question, and really listen to his or her answer so you can walk away with a kernel of information that will be helpful to you.
10. Go forth and mingle! Conference is time to re-charge your creative battery. Do that by attending as many workshops as you can. Conference Goddess Pam Nowak and her team have worked hard to assemble a fantastic assortment of workshops and panels just for you. Be there! If you’re shy, work past that. Sit down at a table where you know only one person, or no one at all, and introduce yourself to the person to the right of you and to the left of you. Be genuinely interested in them and what they can share about their writing and the industry.
Wishing you a terrific conference, and be sure to stop me and say Hi! I look forward to this all year long!
By Janet Lane. If you share portions or all of this article, please credit me janetlane.wordpress.com. Thank you!
Look at the calendar and rejoice. We’re in that deliciously leisurely time of the year, the time to recharge our batteries.
We floated (or collided, crashed and survived, however it might have been for you) through the holidays, the hymns and carols and candles and celebrations. We sipped egg nog (innocent or otherwise), licked candy canes and finalized our gift lists. We stuffed the stockings, survived the card flurries and last-minute gift wrapping, and the unexpected relatives who showed up at less than opportune times.
Now the house is back to normal and we’re well into the new year.
Past the resolutions. Tape measures have circled our bodies, those irreverent little scraps of numbers that ruthlessly count the rungs of our self-indulgence, how far we have veered from “ideal.” Weight scales have been challenged with the bulk of our holiday merriment, motivating January contracts with the fitness club and making us don new armors of guilt. We’ve set ambitious new goals for our writing, too, and we’re on our way.
But it’s the lull we feel now. A welcome hush has fallen over our world. No parties to attend, no packages to ship, no relatives to visit, no traditions to rekindle or keep alive.
February is ours.
Winter has toyed with us, giving us balmy weather, then plummeting us into subzero temperatures. We know it won’t release its hold for several more weeks .
We can choose to continue revving our motors, idling our engines high, spinning our wheels and creating additiona goals — or we can seize the moment and opt for bliss.
I vote for bliss. The luxury of self-love, a Valentine to ourselves because we care about us. We appreciate our considerable talents, our secret dreams, and the joy we experience when we write.
Think for a moment about someone you have loved deeply. A parent, a sibling, a pet. Doubtless you rejoiced in their joy, smiled at their pleasure, encouraged their delight. Can you light your own fire during this gift of winter, this February, the month of love? Can you cease trying to make each moment “useful,” each goal “acceptable,” and nurture your inner child, and your precious talents?
Sooner than we can imagine, the season will arrive of planting and weeding and watering the hungry lawns and gardens, made dry by summer’s baking sun. Schedules will be interrupted by births and weddings and vacations.
But February, quiet February, wearing her lace and Valentines, offers love and affection.
Don’t force her to rush like the other seasons. She is quiet, she is soft and supporting. For a change, give to yourself. Allow yourself to be lulled and nourished.
Before the month has passed, accept three of the following gifts to yourself.
/__/ Fill your creative reservoir by watching a movie marathon. By reading new books, by sitting b y the fire and watching the flames dance and tickle your fancy in a warm, golden way.
/__/ Visit your photo albums, and re-live your moments of passion and pleasure. Find a photo that stirs your heart, and enlarge it to an 8 x 10, or hey! Get wild and make it a 14 x 20, and put it where it makes you smile, again and again, like the soft lapping of waves against the shore of your soul
February can do that.
/__/ Peruse your cookbooks, and find three recipes that sound fabulous, and try them, for you and another, or spoil yourself and do it just for you. It’s February. You’re allowed this special time.
/__/ Write a rich, meaningful letter to your brother/mother/daughter/best friend. Think of ways s/he has enriched your life, and share at least three of those ways with her or him, what they did, and how it affected you. Then smile at the happiness that thinking about his or her gifts to you has brought you, just realizing them.
What do you love most about yourself, about your writing? Please share, and make me smile. :-)
With less than two weeks before Mother’s Day, I thought it would be fun to share some of my Mother’s Day gift ideas. As you know, I love words and the sweet expressions they can share. Here are ways you can use your own poems, or poems from my new eBook release, Mothers Day Do-it-yourself Poem Kit.
A simple way to share a sentiment is to print it on a heavier stock paper, trim the edges with one of those fancy memory book scissors, and tie to a bunch of spring flowers or jar of candy. Regarding paper stock, standard typing paper is 20-pound. I use as high as 80-pound paper in my HP 6110 all-in-one Officejet, and it works great.
Photos can elevate your gift to one of year-round pleasure. Use your mother’s favorite photo of her own flowers, or find a photo of her favorite flowers. If you use Photoshop, you can scan it and layer your poem on the photo. If you don’t have such special software, just take the poem printed on heavy stock paper and fancy-cut edges and paste it on the print of the photo, and scan that. (If you don’t have a scanner, Kinko’s or Copy Max can scan it for you and give you a disk.) Then the fun begins.
Print that photo on a coffee mug, so she can remember your thoughtful gift with her morning coffee or tea. Mugs are great for printing photos of pets, too. Poems and photos look great on a mouse pad so she can think of you when she’s at her computer. If you mother uses earth-friendly grocery shopping bags, those can be personalized, as well, at such stores as Walgreen’s, K-Mart, Wal-mart. If you’re in a hurry, you can order these on-line, as well.
Another idea is a personalized shirt or T-shirt, and your mother can wear your love for her! Amazon, L L Bean, Golfsmith and many other stores carry these personalized items, and you can Google for more by searching “personalized golf shirt” and “personalized tennis or t-shirts.”
Wishing you and your family many good gifts and memories!
I’m glad you found my list from last year useful. I’m back from my on-line shopping trip with some old favorites and some new gift giving ideas for that creatively aging person in your life. Be sure to select the shipping method that offers the most value. As we get nearer to Christmas, that may mean upgrading to a faster delivery service. Happy holidays!
HappyLite Mini Ultra Sunshine Supplement Light – - HappyLite Mini Ultra sunshine supplement light system helps fight SAD seasonal affective disorder and winter blues. Available through http://www.comforthouse.com/healsmarairc.html
The Sonic Boom Alarm Clock and Bed Shaker. The Sonic Boom, designed for heavy sleepers or people with hearing loss, wakes you with a loud alarm, bed shaker, or flashing lights. The Sonic Boom can be placed under a pillow, or you can plug a lamp into te back of the clock so the light flashes when the alarm goes off. http://tinyurl.com/yc6wqpc
$50 and up
Jewelry for Seniors – a marvelous web site with a category of gifts for senior men and senior women. Nice, tasteful, clever ideas make for fun gift-giving. http://tinyurl.com/yber8z3
|Under $50The Handybar Vehicle Exit Device. Spare your loved one the embarrassment of those slipping disks. This discreet bar does not require permanent installation so it can be used on multiple cars, on both driver and passenger doors, and front and back seats. Also features an emergency seatbelt cutter and window breaker. http://www.wellhaven.com/Handybar?sc=12&category=199
The Easi Grip Arm Support Cuff and Set of Garden Tools. For the gardener in your life. The garden tools and support cuff work together to assist avid gardeners whose grip has slipped a little due to time, injury or arthritis. Cuff easily plugs into the rear of any Easi Grip tool. http://www.wrightstuff.biz/eagrarmsucu.html
Dr. Scholl’s Shoes – ah yes, those ugly but practical shoes, right? Very wrong! I visited their site and was most surprised with theselection. Cute boots! Cute sandals! Click on the link below and see some of the fun, smart styles. A gift certificate sure to please. Monalo Blaniks are fine for the twenty- and thirty-somethings, but feet wizened by a few more years seek comfort in addition to style. Nice selection of shoes designed for style as well as comfort. http://www.drschollsshoes.com/Shopping/Results.aspx
UN-SKRU Jar and Bottle Opener – S/he will think of you every time they effortlessly open screw top lids. The UN-SKRU’s been around for three decades –– a simple design that works better than any other for opening all sizes of screw-top lids, from tiny nail polish lids all the way up to the big car wax, peanut butter and warehouse-sized wood glue and pickle jars. Eco-friendly, too –– no batteries to wear out and dispose of, and it’s under the cabinet, not junking up her kitchen drawer
This easy to install and use opener opens all sizes of lids, from ½” to 5″ in diameter. It’s so effective that Good Housekeeping kitchens tested it and deemed it “best we’ve used.” Company also offers the UN-SKRU in a festive gift basket with other hand-helping products. http://unskru.com
Hand Key-per 8-way Household Opener – Clever opener has internal keys for easier turning of car ignition or home locks. Internally stored bag slitter is handy for envelopes, stubborn plastic bags, and numerous tasks where you “wish I could cut that.” Also features a small jar opener, an emery board and a magnet so your keys can be stored on fridge or dash board – in easy sight so you won’t lose your keys. Available on-line http://tinyurl.com/y8blnwz
DOORNUTS Door knob and Faucet Turners. These simple little polymer O’s install over door knobs in about two seconds and allow folks with limited or no finger grip to open doors. They also fit over water faucets, and come with free DOORNUT HOLES that fit over pens, crochet hooks or art brushes. Go to http://tinyurl.com/y8blnwz
#1 Gift Idea! The best gift you can give is one that involves you. This from Dear Abby, and too good not to repeat. Visit your loved one and help them set up their tree and decorations. Clean up after yourself, and remember to *complete* the gift after the holidays by returning to take *down* all the decorations and neatly pack them for storage until next year. Isn’’t this a great idea! Happy holidays to all! -Janet
MWA’s (Mystery Writers of America) response to Harlequin’s new line …
Excellent points from Ashley Grayson …
Nora Roberts shares her thoughts on it ..
Harlequin Enterprises’ new venture, Harlequin Horizons, steps over the line and makes them ineligible as an RWA-approved publisher.
RWA bases this on the fact that the new Horizons line requires hopeful authors to pay for commonly provided publisher services.
Here are some interesting links where you can learn more.
Agents are also watching this closely — see http://pubrants.blogspot.com/
I love my critique group. We’ve been together for over a decade, and respect each other’s writing and comments on our own writing. Our session fell on Halloween this year, and since all of us possess a playful side, we decided to critique in costume. By the looks of the dagger poised over my head, it appears I might not survive this session, LOL.
It’s snowing this morning. Under a grey sky, the snow coats the bright colors of autumn like white icing. I’m safe and warm inside, though, sipping my coffee, enjoying my Halloween display.
It’s a collection of memories that pleasantly “haunt” me. I wore the witch’s hat many years ago when I greeted the trick-or-treaters. There are four mini-pumpkins in the display, representing my husband, me and our two daughters.
Those little floating creatures are memorabilia from my Girl Scout troop’s last camping trip. I had been a Girl Scout leader for eight years for my two daughters. My older daughter had left years before, and the girls from my younger daughter’s troop had reached middle school, thrilled to enter that new chapter of their lives and not so thrilled to continue with scouting. They moved on and grew up, and I took the path of pursuing publication in the fiction market.
Each troop made a Halloween-related item to give to other troops. Our troop made the little ghosts. Other troops were clever and made “ghost” puzzle pieces, or tiny witch’s brooms, or scary trees.
We are far from the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). We have also come far since the fifteenth century, when Tabor and Stephen and my other characters joined in the Druid celebrations of “All Hallow’s Eve”(Hallow Evening, Hallow Even, Hallow E’en, Halloween).
New traditions have evolved– seductive costumes in addition to frightening ones, trick or treating for “children” of all ages, and elaborate haunted houses. It’s a riot of creativity that inspires me, and several billion more people.
Have fun with your little ghosts and goblins, and have a safe and Happy Halloween!
I’m running on two few cylinders today. It could be I’m just recovering from an ear and throat infection. It could also be my hectic schedule, all the hustle and bustle of our annual conference, then relatives visiting from out of town, a big chunk of positive stress as we try to force 30 hours of fun into 24. Whatever the reasons, I’m dragging.
I have two safety nets against “drag.” One is my weekly soup writing session, which keeps me in position to write new material. The other is my bi-monthly goal group. Two times a month, we agree to “meet” daily for ten days in a row. We set Winner Goals, based on Margie Lawson’s Defeating Self-Defeating Behavior course material.
The key to success is consistency. Cecil B. DeMille said this:
“Most of us serve our ideals by fits and starts. The person who makes a success of living is one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That’s dedication.”
This message reminds me of Alice, a tennis player I know. She’s a level above me in skill, and it’s always fun to play with her, on HER side of the net, LOL. Her mantra when she’s getting behind in the score: she chants, “Steady Eddy. Steady Eddy.” To her, that means not whaling on the ball, trying to force a point by winning on brilliance, because she’s currently not connecting with those shots and is instead losing the point by trying for too much. Her “Steady Eddy” chant tells her to calm down, get the ball in, and play consistently, instead of fitfully.
I think Alice and Cecil are saying the same thing.
What helps you stay consistent with your writing? What strategy/ies work best for you?