Novel Submission: The Query Package

Untitled-2After many years, my novel is finally done, now comes the hardest part yet… it’s time to submit it. I have to admit, I’d rather write another entire novel from scratch then do what comes next, but paraphrasing Theodore Roosevelt, “anything worthwhile never comes easy.”

This summer I’ve been taking the first steps in getting my novel ready for submission by writing a kicks cover letter (or sometimes called a query letter) and a handful of synopses (because it’s not good enough to have just one synopsis, but that’s another post!).

The first step I took in writing the cover letter and synopsis was to do research and see how the professionals were doing it. And I was also lucky enough to take a workshop about cover letters and synopses from science fiction author Gray A. Braunbeck last September. After a frustrating search, I finally managed to find my notes from his workshop. Yay!

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Why Word Count Doesn’t Matter

It’s like “the thing” every writer talks about in reference to writing… word count. Have you ever had a conversation about a project you are working on or another writer is working on without asking or telling about the word count? Impossible, right?

It’s always about the word count whether it is self-imposed or a count the publisher set. And it’s sad, because there is so much emphasis put on word count, a writer can be fooled into thinking it matters, when really it doesn’t.

Oh boy. I know I pissed off people with that statement. lol… Good, because what I have to say next is important, so listen up.

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Publication: Why the rush?

There are two kinds of writers; the ones who are published and the ones who are not. The ones that are published are constantly looking for new things to write about and launch into the world (they make it look so easy). Then you have the writers who aren’t published, looking at the published authors and saying, “that’s what I want.” So these unpublished or newly published writers race to break into the field, because it’s what’s expected of them. 

What is the first thing that people say when you tell them you’re a writer? I usually get, “Make sure to remember me when you become the next Steven King (or whoever)?” Or if you talk to a friend or family member you haven’t seen in awhile, “So when’s that big novel coming out? Did you get it published yet?” It’s all about the rush to be published to get your name out there, because if you can’t justify your writing by publication, then are you really a writer at all?
Interesting that writing has such a push to get results when other pastimes don’t (usually) get that sort of attention. Do your friends ask when you’ll be the next Emerald or Michael Jordon? Do they wonder when you’ll try out for an Olympic team or become the next Picasso? Why the rush?
Why can’t you take the time to make your writing better? What’s the big rush? Do you really want to look back five years from now and say, “What the hell was I thinking publishing that?” Wouldn’t it be better to slow down and make sure you get it right? Good writing cannot be rushed and great writing can only happen when you let it. Just because the piece is “okay” doesn’t mean it should be rushed to the presses for the world to see. Do you really want to be known as an author with just okay stories- or worse?
There are some people (and I know this from experience) that have stories they’re just tired of writing on. A burning desire deep within to get something published makes the rash decision that the piece is “good enough” and sends it out knowing the story could be better- much better. Why the rush?
I have come to the belief that all good things come to those who wait. Those who take the time to make themselves great instead of putting stuff out there and then regretting it. Once a piece of writing is published, it’s out there- forever. There is no going back, no do overs. It’s immortalized in black and white, so why run the risk of having a black mark on your writing resume when you can take your time. Why the rush?

You might be thinking, “Yeah, everyone thinks that way about their work.” Maybe, but wouldn’t it be better knowing that your best foot was put forward, instead of a hurried rush to get to the finish line? I have certainly felt that way about some of my work and have decided that my time means more to me than that and I want do something more worthwhile.

Then you’re thinking, “But if you wait until that happens, you’ll never get anything published.” Maybe, maybe not, but again do you really want something that you aren’t that proud of immortalized in print when you know deep down that you can do better? Why the rush?
Why is it so important to be published right now? Unlike many things in life, writing is one of the areas that you have complete control over. You control when you writer, what you write and what you let the world see. Next time that burning desire comes over pushing to send a story out before it’s really ready, just ask yourself… Why the rush? Why not spend a little extra time getting it right?

Daily Flash 2012: 366 Days of Flash Fiction

It’s here! The publication of Daily Flash 2012: 366 Days of Flash Fiction, which holds my short story Gloria. It’s a quick 500 word story and marks my debut as an actual published author, so it’s a little exciting for me. I, of course, would like to continue to publish more of my stories, but right now my main focus is building up my craft of writing. My career as a published author will come in time if it is meant to be. 

If you want to support my first publication and have some great stories to read everyday next year, check out Daily Flash 2012: 366 Days of Flash Fiction. You’ll find my story under the date July 3rd. I also had the great pleasure of being published in the same book with two great writing friends Denise Wyant and Lesley Conner, so keep a look out for their stories as well! Thanks in advance for your support!

The Art, Craft and Business of Writing Fiction

Here are some notes I took from a workshop I did by Linnea Sinclair when I went to Context a few weeks ago. I found them helpful and thought I would share. 


Are you a writer or author?
Writer= isn’t serious about being published
Author=  has published works
Writing is an art and craft, but it is also a BUSINESS!
 

All About the Art and Craft


  • You have to couple good writing with original thought.
  • Read as much as you can of what is available in the genre that you write and other genres as well.
  • Too many writers stop at the art, at the muse. Move past this and get into the craft of writing.
  • Craft is the only way to tame the muse.
  • Art lives in the emotions, but only craft can give your words life.
  • Craft allows you to refine your words.
  • Decent craft has good plot, logic, characterization and conflict.
  • It is the author’s job to manipulate the emotions of the reader.

All About the Business

  • Network! Meet and greet as many as people you can that will help you move forward as an author this includes other writers, editors, agents and publishers.
  • Do your homework! A subscription to Publisher’s Lunch is essential in this endeavor. It is a bible of information for finding agents and publishers. If you know what’s being published you can find how published it and what agents are looking for.
  • Build up your resume
  • Beware of the trend in New York. If you want to be picked up by big name publishers use New York as your source of information for what’s wanted on the market.
  • Have an elevator pitch ready to sell yourself. An elevator pitch is being able to pitch your story in the time it would take to ride an elevator.
  • Know your read-a-like.What current author do you write like? You should know this to give as a pitch to potential agents and publishers.
  • Analyze your own writing to discover where it fits and makes sure it’s in your query letter.
  • Be prepared to market your own work. In fact when submitting a novel manuscript, you should have a marketing plan already written up.

Sites to Check Out!

Must have books!

I also highly recommend her online classes as well. You can check them out at linneasinclair.com/news.html