Monday, June 29, 2015

Quotable Mondays

In college I could, and would, spend hours searching online and in books for the perfect quote to put up in my AIM profile.  Oh how I wished we had Pinterest back then!  It would have freed up some of my time for studying, ha.

So this week I took to my 'Lovely Words' boards for inspiration and chose this for the week:

"If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try" - Seth Godin

For about a year, this is something I've been trying to live my life by!

Make sure to come follow me on Pinterest to see more of my favorite quotes!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

What I'm Reading and Goodreads

Back in January I signed up with Goodreads after hearing fabulous things about it.  And the first thing I did was put together a reading challenge for myself.  As I learned from running, I push myself further when I'm in a challenge.  I have a lot on my plate these days though, so aimed low with 50 books.  I'm proud to say that I have already finished 26 books this year!!  I mentioned a few of them in my last 'What I'm Reading' post.  Here are some of the other books I've finished:

all 11 books by J. Sterling {you can tell she's one of my new favorite authors}

Fearless: The Heroic Story of One Navy SEAL's Sacrifice in the Hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the Unwavering Devotion of the Woman Who Loved Him by Eric Blehm

American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal by Taya Kyle

The entire Selection series by Kiera Cass

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Love Letters by Debbie Macomber 

We headed to the library tonight and I happily added the Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty and return to me by Kelly Moran

What are you reading this summer?  And make sure to add me on Goodreads!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What is a query?

I feel like I've jumped ahead a little bit with this blog.  Part of why I started it, is to share information.  When I first embarked on this journey of writing a book and trying to get published, I knew very little.  Through my research I found very few blogs that explain a lot of the ins and outs of the process.  I'm hoping to share my continuing journey and hopefully give some instruction to others that follow in this path.

So I should probably backtrack a little, and discuss some of the basics.  First off, when I am discussing publishing, I'm talking about the traditional route for a fiction novel.  Self-publishing and non-fiction have very different processes.

Okay, so your book is done.  You've written it, edited it about a million times, had friends and family give you critiques, edited a little more, cried and bled over it.  And no it's done.  You're ready to send it out into the world to an agent.

Wait one second.

Before you do that, you need a query letter.  So what is a query letter?  According to the 2015 Writer's Market, "A query letter is a brief, one-page letter used as a tool to hook an editor and get him interested in your idea."  It is a way to entice interest in your book.  When constructing your query, you want to keep it to one page, and divide it into specific paragraphs.

{paragraph one} The first is the 'hook' of your story.  Think of it as the tag line you would give it, if your book was made into a movie.  This should be around three sentences.

{paragraph two} This is where you give the synopsis of the story.  You want to garner interest, but not ruin the ending.  Try to keep it to one paragraph.

{paragraph three} This is where you list your credentials, any awards or previously published work you have, or if you have something in your life that adds to the book.  The male lead in my first book is in the Marines, so here I wrote that due to my experience as the wife of a combat veteran, I was able to give deeply personal insight into what it means to love a man in uniform.  However, this is not the place to highlight your inexperience.  If you don't have any, just don't put it.

{paragraph four} Say why you have chosen this specific agent to query.  Do some research for this section.  Does she have clients you love?  Did you both go to the same college?  Try to add something in there that will show her that you've really down your research.

Bonus advice:
- Always, always, always, make sure to spell the agents name right.
- Make sure to look up what they want sent to them.  Is it just a query?  Do they want a query, synopsis, and the first three chapters?  Look on their website and ONLY send them what they want.
- Have some people read the query to give you some feedback and make sure it reads well.
- Spellcheck!  Make sure every I is dotted and every T crossed {so to speak}.

Good luck!  And feel free to share your querying tips below!

Now obviously I haven't gotten an agent yet, so feel free to take my advice with a grain of salt.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Things not to do when you get rejected...

Writers get rejected, it's just a fact.  {unless you self-publish of course.  It would be a little sad if you rejected yourself.}  It is hard, don't get me wrong, but all part of the process.  I mean, even Harry Potter was passed over a few times.

Now, I don't claim to be a writing expert, but I am beginning to get a firm grasp on rejection.  So I thought I'd share with you a few of my tips of what NOT to do when you get rejected.

{one} Drown your sorrows in chocolate.  Eating a handful of M&Ms or a brownie may seem like a good idea at the time.  But then you'll gain 5 lbs in a month....not that I know anything about that.

{two} Fire off a nasty email to the person that rejected you.  From what I hear, the publishing world is a lot smaller than you think and that will probably come back to bite you.  Also, they definitely won't want to publish your work then.  Instead, I send off a nice thank you to them for taking the time to read my work.  I'm hoping that pays off somewhere down the line.

{three} Buy something for yourself to ease the pain.  Unless you're one of the lucky few who can skate by with one rejection before landing an agent {and if you are, give me tips} you're going to face a decent amount of rejection.  No reason to go into debt because of it.  Take a deep breath, and move on.

{four} Blast the person on social media.  This goes back to #2.  You want to deal with the whole process as professional as possible.

{five} Burn your book.  This would probably make a big mess {and light your house on fire if you're not careful} Plus, you'll probably regret it in the morning.

{six} Cry, scream, wallow.  Okay, it's fine if you want to do these things at first, but eventually you need to move forward and on to the next agent.

{seven} Give up.  There are thousands of agents out there.  It will only take one to fall in love with your just might take some time to find that person.  This is definitely something I struggle with, but I love my book so much I refuse to give up on it!

What are your tips for how not to deal with rejection?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Quotable Monday

"This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and put one word after another until its done, it's that easy, and that hard." 
- Neil Gaiman

I absolutely love this quote....though for me it's more, putting pen to paper and writing one word after another.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Quotable Monday

I have a mild obsession with quotes.  I would literally spend hours in college looking up quotes and lyrics that fit whatever mood I was in. {and of course posting them on Instant Messenger for my away message because I'm just that old}  Well, I'd like to start a new blog tradition here of sharing some of my favorite quotes with you each Monday.  It'll be a nice way to start off the week.  Enjoy!

"I want to do something splendid...something heroic or wonderful, that won't be forgotten after I'm dead...I think I shall write books."
 ~Louisa May Alcott

Appropriate for this time in my life and this blog, huh?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Writing and Publishing Resources

Once I had finished my novel, I knew the real work was just beginning.  Not only did I have to start editing, I also knew I had a lot of research to do on the process of getting published.  I decided early on that I wanted to go the traditional route of obtaining and agent and hopefully being picked up by a publishing house.  I just didn't know the first thing of how to go about that.

I took to the library first, taking out every book I could find.  I researched on the Internet, and even took a class that was offered at a local high school on getting published.  I read and took notes.  Obviously I still have a lot to learn, and am still constantly reading, but I feel like I know so much more than I did a year ago.  I'm here to share some of the books and websites that have helped me the most.

Getting Your Book Published for Dummies by Sarah Parsons Zackheim and Adrian Zackheim.  This is a great first book to read to give a general overview of the whole process.

The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It....Successfully! by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry.  I first got this book from the library, but loved it so much I had to buy it for myself.  It gives details on each step of the process and truly has been invaluable to me. 

2015 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition.  This is the book if you're trying to get published.  It gives a few tips and tricks, but mainly lists and organizes literary agents, book publishers, consumer magazines, and trade journals.  It even has a section on contests and awards.  I could have done all this research separately online {and have a bit as well} but this made it so much easier for me. 

Writer's Digest.  I subscribed to the magazine and am on the website constantly.  It has everything you could ever need as a writer.

Nicholas Sparks.  I am a huge fan of his, having read every single one of his books.  But he also gives some great tips and experiences on his website.  He even includes the query letter he used for The Notebook.  Such a huge help!

Romance Writers of America.  This is obviously genre specific to me.  But if you are writing romance, this is an extremely helpful website

Pinterest has been a wonderful resource for me.  I have a separate board just for all my writing pins.  Come check it out!

I will also be attending my first writing conference in August.  I have never been to something like this before, but am excited to learn as much as possible while I'm there.  I'll be attending the Unicorn Writer's Conference and have heard some really wonderful things about it.

What are your favorite resources for learning about the publishing process?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Out with the Old

In order to make sure I don't drive myself crazy while waiting to hear back from all the agents I queried, I'm knee-deep in novel #2.  It's probably not the best idea, because unless an agent wants to take me on, my writing career might be over before it even begins.  But at least it's keeping me busy.

I have a special cabinet in my office dining room where I keep all my writing supplies and whatnot.  I work much better when I have actual pen and paper in my hands.  I handwrite my novels first in notebooks, before typing them up later on the computer.  Then when I'm doing my edits, I need to print out each chapter and mark up all the changes I want to make.  Needless to say, my novel writing process comes with a lot of paper. 

Thankfully my husband is understanding, and I managed to contain it all well enough.  But since I'm 'done' with my first novel until I hear back from an agent, I felt it was time to store everything away and make room for the mountains of paper I'll accumulate with novel #2. 

Out with the old, and in with the new!  Are you more of a computer writer, or do you need to hold it in your hands like me?  Do you throw out all drafts, or do you hold onto them tightly like the garbage man is going to steal all your ideas?