Month: November 2013

“Where I’m at” Wednesday!

Posted on Updated on

You wouldn’t believe it! I had so much stuff to do, parties to attend, and embrace for a holiday, but I still managed to find time to write. I am almost done with chapter 16. Our heroes are conversing with the Xenon. Btw, if you don’t know who/what they are—skip it or read the first book The Sphere of Archimedes.
I am trying to weave more of a “life story” around established characters. In the first book, Donovan touched on a brief moment in his childhood. In this book, I’m hoping to elaborate more about the Professor’s private life, before he got involved with the Omphalos.  Recently, I asked myself: “Would someone be looking for the Abernathys”? In this chapter, the Xenon answer some of those mysterious questions that pertain to family.
People are fun to write about, but I’m developing a fondness for fictional creatures. In a way, you have more room to do whatever you want. It’s my monster. He/she can be anything I can imagine. Fictional places, however, are more difficult for me. I’m am not sure, but being that I love details; fictional places rely strictly on my descriptions. It can get tiresome.
Like, follow, or comment on my blog. I will post weekly “where I’m at” in The Omphalos of Delphi every Wednesday.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and be safe.THANKSGIVING
Take care, my friends.

*

Publishing—continued—

I’m gonna pick up from where I left off from last week. If you don’t have the faintest inclination on what I’m talking about, but are interested –scroll down to last week’s message.

2. Self Publishing can actually be broken into three parts:

Strictly Self publishing—you hire individuals to help publish your book.
Authors front the cost & work of EVERYTHING by hiring an editor, publisher, cover designer, formatting professional. They pay for an ISBN number, printing, and marketing.
It can be done. But, if you don’t have a clear understanding on the time, money, or requirements, then I would suggest doing lots of research first. You essentially do all the work, or hire other individuals for the job. I DO know someone who chose this route, and she did a lot work to become successful.
Alternative Self publishing—is a publisher with staff already provided.
I’ve noticed more of these types of publishing houses are popping up. They usually offer: an editor, cover design, professional formatting for paperback, hardcopies, and/or eBooks. They’ll apply for an ISBN number. And, some packages even include marketing.
In all self-publishing, you will have to pay for printed paperback or hardcopies.
The difference—the Alternative provides an already “in-place” staff, publishing, and an ISBN number.
Personally, I went the alternative route, with a few moderations of my own. But, before you jump on the bandwagon, I would suggest you do some research.
 1st:  Check the publishing company’s credentials. I read the BBB’s feedback from one company, and they listed many customers’ complaints.
2nd: Attend a seminar. A lot of these Alternative Publishers have seminars. They are very informative. Usually, you can observe the speaker(s) or other clients—which brings me to the third part.
3rd:  Speak with other clients. It is very helpful to learn how they were treated during the publishing process. Are they satisfied with their product(s)?  Did they have any problems? If so, were they resolved? Would they recommend this publisher to you?
Also, take a look at their book(s). Do the covers look professional, and appeasing to the eye? Does the back cover blurb sound enticing? Check the font on the inside, and the formatting. Does it look professional?
 4th: Compare shopping. We live in an age of many choices. Check out the competition prices, and what their packages entail. There is nothing wrong with saving a dollar or two, but do so with my first suggestion in mind. Sure, it’s cheaper than the first choice, but they’ve had many complaints with the BBB or other sites. Is it worth the risk?
            These are just some examples to take into consideration.
P.O.D PublishingPrint On Demand publishing is strictly DIY.
YOU create the cover, formatting, and editing. Then upload the manuscript to a printing company. Sound simple? Yeah, but keep in mind that a lot of P.O.D authors take it upon themselves to do the editing, cover, and formatting. Some have NO idea what they are doing, so professionalism evades them. I’m not being a critic of anyone’s work, so don’t take it that way. But, in everything we [humans] do, bad examples can ruin it for everyone. If this is the route you have taken, then I deeply admire your courage and creativeness.

*

I hope this gives you some insight about publishing. Even though I’m not a professional on the exact INS & OUTS of publishing, I have been researching for almost 10 years on the subject.
After I finished my first novel in 2005, I was eager to learn how to publish. My first desire, of course, was traditional. But, when I started researching statistics of “getting an agent” and then the rejection letters came in, realism hit me in the face. The neat thing about being self published is I can still try to hook an agent. It has worked for many authors who normally couldn’t get their foot in the door. Take, for example: 50 Shades of Grey (no I didn’t read it, but I am interested in the author’s struggles) was originally an eBook & POD. Success stories like that give many authors hope to get recognized by an agent and major publishing house.
Next week, I’ll discuss editing & when to hire an editor.
Take care
Advertisements

Publishing Part 1

Posted on Updated on

Have you ever had one of those weeks that are a whirlwind of things to do, and when it finally stops you’re totally lost? Yeah, me too. I really haven’t had much time to write. No worries, because every Wednesday is like a personal deadline to me.
I am still on chapter 16. Our heroes are traveling, and conversing. How much dialogue is too much? Do you like reading life stories, or do they bore you? Personally, I prefer some interaction between characters, so they’ll open-up the secrets of their fictional lives –as long as it’s done convincingly. I loathe flat dialogue, with no emotion or realism. But, I’m trying to keep it genuine.
Hopefully by next week, I’ll have my act together. But don’t hold your breath, it’s a holiday week.
Join, follow, and/or like my blog. I’ll keep you posted “Where I’m at” each Wednesday on The Omphalos of Delphi.
Take care my friends!

*

This week’s discussion:

Publishing

Do you have a finished manuscript? Is it edited to the best of your abilities? If so, then you might want to consider the four types of publishing. But first, I will advise you to hire a professional editor to check, rework, and polish your manuscript. It will save you from embarrassment or multitudes of rejection letters.

1. Traditional Publishing

The traditional publishing route is the most popular, and most difficult to achieve. You start by researching, and querying an agent. No longer can you simply go to a reputable publishing house, and offer them your manuscript; instead, you’ve got to go through the rigors of catching an agent’s eye.

*

A. First of all, you need to find your genre.

Is your book fiction or non-fiction? Is it geared to an adult, teen, or child audience? Is it fantasy, science fiction, adventure, thriller, mystery, dystopian, romance, historical, etc. etc. etc.?

*

B. Second, you will need to write a query letter (fiction), or    proposal (non-fiction).

“Whaattt?”

Minion

How to write a query/proposal letter. Helpful websites: www.Agentquery.com, www.blog.nathanbransford.com,
A query pretty much consists of three paragraphs–the hook, mini synopsis, and bio.

*

                     Write a catchy one sentence line called a HOOK:
The Kite Runner
An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present.
The Da Vinci Code
A murder in the silent after-hour halls of the Louvre museum reveals a sinister plot to uncover a secret that has been protected by a clandestine society since the days of Christ.
Everything Is Illuminated
With only a yellowing photograph in hand, Jonathan Safran Foer—both author and meta fictional protagonist—sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis.

*

                     Write a Mini Synopsis.
Sound fun? NOT! There is nothing more frustrating, or torturous than summarizing your entire 100,000 word novel into one paragraph. Good luck!

*

         Write an Author’s Bio.
Make sure it’s relevant to your novel. Don’t talk about your spouse, kids, pets, daytime job –unless it is useful. For example: If you wrote a book about a devastating virus sweeping across the country. Then it is applicable to mention that you’re a doctor. But, if you wrote a book about car repairs, and you’re a telemarketer –it’s not important to mention.
Also, don’t fret too much if you have no credentials, no previously published works to brag about, or lavish schooling in English Literature. Even though they sound nice, let your writing speak for itself. You can skip the author’s bio, if you don’t have any previous works to mention. NO BIGGY!
With enough practice, you’ll have a query letter.

*

C. Start researching agents who:

            1. Are accepting new “unsolicited” clients
2. Represent the genre your manuscript is about. For example, you don’t want to send your query letter, regarding a sci-fi novel, to an agent who represents romance.
3. May have a preferred method of accepting query letters –email, snail-mail, or website form.
4. Prefer a cover sheet, query, and/or 1-2 page chapter-by-chaper summary. Nowadays, I have noticed more agents wanting these additions. 
5. May desire an “exclusive” submission. After you have done your homework and found a few agents to submit to, you need to keep in mind that some agents want exclusive queries, or would like to be told if you have submitted the same letter to other agents. Typing “Multiple submissions” or “Exclusive submission” near the closing will suffice. It isn’t necessary if they don’t mention it.
6. Oh, oh, oh…I must let you in on something important. Don’t send out a “Dear Agent” letter—be more personable than that! Agents are people too. Address them as “Mr., or Ms.” including their last name.  View your query letter as an application for a job you REALLY want. Be professional, concise, and polite.

*

D. Be Patient

You must keep in mind the time it takes to receive your letter, along with up to 100 other letters in a week, and review each one. Agents take query letters very seriously, so most of the time they have staff help sift through the piles of emails, snail-mail, and/or online forms. It can take a long while. The usual time is 6-8 weeks. But I’ve gotten a very kind rejection letter a year later. Another thing to mention about being patient is IF you do get an agent, it can take up to TWO years before your novel hits bookstore shelves. Breath-breath—you can do this!

*

E. Grow thick skin[period]

Everybody gets the dreaded “Rejection Letter(s)”. Do not let it eat at you. Don’t! It doesn’t mean you are a terrible writer, with no hope of becoming an author. I will give you some examples to make you feel better:

The Christopher Little Literary Agency receives 12 publishing rejections in a row for their new client, until the eight-year-old daughter of a Bloomsbury editor demands to read the rest of the book. The editor agrees to publish but advises the writer to get a day job since she has little chance of making money in children’s books. Yet Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling spawns a series where the last four novels consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history, on both sides of the Atlantic, with combined sales of 450 million.

Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.” A rejection letter sent to Dr Seuss. 300 million sales and the 9th best-selling fiction author of all time.

The years of rejection do not break his spirit. He only becomes more determined to succeed. When he eventually lands a publishing deal, such is the demand for his fiction that it is translated into over 47 languages, as The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis goes on to sell over 100 million copies.

It is so badly written. The author tries Doubleday instead and his little book makes an impression. The Da Vinci Code sells 80 million.

We feel that we don’t know the central character well enough.” The author does a rewrite and his protagonist becomes an icon for a generation as The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger sells 65 million.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter was rejected so many times she decided to self-publish 250 copies. It has now sold 45 million.

An endless nightmare. I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book.” Publisher rejects The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells. It is soon published in 1898, and has been in print ever since.

We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.” Stephen King’s Carrie sells 1 million in the first year alone.

              

  The list, my friends, goes on and on…

Next week I’ll talk about the three other ways to publish!

Where I’m at Wednesday

Posted on Updated on

So far, I’ve finished chapter 15, and I am well into chapter 16. This is going slower than anticipated. But, the important thing is I’m writing. Even though it’s VERY tempting to set it down and runaway, I would physically be hunted by the fans who demand to find out “what happens next”. I reassure –I am not that cruel or irresponsible, so I continue to plod-along.
Okay, this is where I’m at: The characters [won’t say who] are RUNNING! The bad people are coming to get them. Although things look grim, our heroes aren’t alone. They do have unnatural helpers that the bad guys won’t expect. My dilemma is—getting my “good” characters from point A to point B. Things are a little sticky, and transportation is limited. Ugh! More research. I juggled some ideas, but I need to refine the details.
A lot of the times when I write, I insert plot ideas only to revise or take out of the story altogether. What I DO love about writing—the creativeness along the journey. Usually I write with a planned direction I need to go. But, I cannot predict the changes along the way. For example: In the first book, The Sphere of Archimedes, I knew my characters needed to be driven to The Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. If you have ever taken a road trip, you know how boring they can be—hours and hours watching scenery pass-by. I didn’t want my readers to get bored, because if it’s boring to the writer, than it is ten-times boring to the reader. I had to make things exciting during the long drive from Arizona to Wyoming.
In the second book, there are several [separate] action scenes going on simultaneously. Everyone you met from the first book is doing something exciting and different. Also, you’re introduced to new, evil characters that intertwine with established persons.  I will admit, with the progression of each book, the intensity amplifies. The last book (#4) will be the most difficult to write –so many obstacles for our protagonists.
Stay tuned every Wednesday for updates on “where I’m at” in The Omphalos of Delphi.

*

Last week, I gave advice to novice writers. This week I’ll give you some helpful resources:
Writer’s digest is chalked full of helpful tips, webinars, and classes. Even though some of the classes and webinars cost, this site offers many freebies.
 Writer’s diet—a website that helps tidy your project. As a writer, I know I can get too wordy or the opposite –not enough. Sometimes we have a habit of over-using verbs/nouns, adverbs/adjectives, or prepositions. I am guilty of it too. All you do is copy/paste a writing sample of 100-1000 words into the box, choose “Basic or Advanced”, and then click “Run the test”. You will see a detailed chart stating your strengths and weaknesses. Obviously, you want to shoot for “Fit & Trim”.
Author Nathan Bransford has very helpful tips for writing a variety of things. I often refer to his blogs.
     Wikipedia —I can’t live without this one! Most of my research is done online through Wikipedia or my own encyclopedia set.
Dictionary.com—Not only is this site useful for spelling, thesaurus, but also the enunciation of words.
These are just a few resources I could think of off the top of my head. Check out my editor’s website! She has many more helpful sites listed under “Grammar Suppliers”.
Editing Addict
 
Next Wednesday, I’ll talk about writing query letters and proposals. Plus, I’ll  list helpful websites.

Yup! It’s “Where I’m at” Wednesday again.

Posted on Updated on

Last week, I finished chapter 14, and started researching for the next chapter. Research becomes so time-consuming, considering all that is entailed.
I did manage to start chapter 15 with a BANG –not literary, but it’s coming along. I’m eager to introduce you to a new character- a funny, Irish bloke. Although, I’m not quite sure if he’ll come along for the journey. At first, he isn’t a willing participant, however, under the circumstances what else can he do?
In this chapter, there are a lot of sights to see, people to meet (Jenene- contest winner), and proceed to the next doorway. I don’t know how long the book will be; I’ve never written anything with a set chapter count, or page number in mind. I write until I don’t have any more to say on the subject. At this point, I know it’ll be longer than the first- 26 chapters, 190pgs, and 45,000+words. I’m not a wordy writer, but a details person.
Stay tuned for more insight into The Omphalos of Delphi. I have included encouraging words for aspiring writers.
 
If you’ve never written a novel, and are considering the task. I will inform you of the INS & OUTS of doing so:
 
1st Write: You know that short story, blog, or novel in your head waiting to come out? Well, it isn’t going to write itself. Do it!
 
2nd Find time to write: In my writers group, we have a “9 Minutes per Day” calendar. You can always find just nine minutes in each day: early in the morning before work/school, at lunch, or after putting the kids to bed. Whenever you write those nine minutes put an X on that day. The longer you go without breaking the pattern; you’ll have established a habit.
 
3rd Join a writing group: Believe it or not, there are SO many resources on the internet, and in your city. If you Google “writing [writers] groups” in your area, I can guarantee something will pop up, (unless you live in a tiny-fly-speck-town or in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere). You are bound to find people –like you –who enjoy writing.
My first advice to new-writers is: “get it on paper”. Too many people [writers] I know try to edit as they write. You have all the time in the world, (or so people think) to go back insert more details, edit, and reread over, and over, and over. Believe me, by the time it is ready to print; you are SO sick of looking at the manuscript.
Don’t get discouraged. I had a difficult time finding anyone willing to read my work. I almost gave up a few times along the way. Finally, I decided to join a group, and found encouraging people who desired to read and share stories. We thrived off each other! Also, –just to let you know, people will come along and try knocking you down. This is because of several things going on in their own personal lives, jealously, or they have nothing better to do. Please don’t let that hinder your passion. Eventually, they will stop, get a life, and leave you alone.
Lastly, don’t dream about the sales and movie rights yet. Even though it is encouraging, you still have a long way to go before getting carried away. Sometimes, the “Dream Big” fantasy can become distracting. Stay focused on your story, plot, character developments, research, descriptions, beginnings and endings. Don’t get sidetracked too soon; a lot of writers abandon their work and never complete anything.
Good luck!
Questions/comments? Feel free to post –I will respond in a timely manner. Or, email me: hsquires9597@yahoo.com