Friday, May 3, 2013
I've recently came in contact with an amazing 16 year-old writer named, Lilly Maison. I found her on Jessica (another amazing writer) Brody's blog HERE. Her super short story won 3rd place at “A Chance to Unremember” hosted by Figment.com.
And that's not all; Lily was recently recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing awards for one of her short stories and received a gold medal. Did I mention she's only sixteen? Wow! Ah-mazing!!
Lilly is working on editing her novel and preparing it for submission to literary agents. She asked if I had any advice for her about the process? Oh, do I?!
BTW All you seasoned writers, please feel free to direct a comment to her below. I know there are probably some things I missed. And I know a lot of you have got some great things to share.
Advice about the submission process? Hmmmmm…let's see now, before you hit the Send button make sure you've already sent your ms (manuscript) to several trusted CPs aka critique partners. Don't have any? Join a writing group. There are some free ones online such as YALITCHAT. Ask around, referrals are priceless.
The professional ones are obviously not free but well worth it as you are in the midst of seasoned writers (lots on bestselling authors too) and some even offer free classes. SCBWI, RWA, ACFW, ITW to name a few popular ones.
Follow your dream agents on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Learn more about them. Sometimes they even send out tweets regarding what's on their submission wish list. You can also create a list of them on Twitter or star or group them on Facebook so they all can come up on one feed. Nobody will ever know you're stalking them
On Twitter you may list them publically or privately. All you have to do is go to the person's page and click on the person icon next to the Follow button. Click on 'Add or Remove From Lists.'
And don't forget to personalize the query. Mention one of your favorite authors they represent, if they do. Or if you follow their blog and enjoy reading, don't be shy to let them know.
Always keep track of who you query (also the agency they work for) and the date you sent it out. When they respond, jot down the date and the status i.e. rejection or request-full/partial. I also save my sent emails of the requests I send out, organizing them in an email folder for reference. I don't know how many times I went back when in need. It really saved me.
I'm sure you know this but just in case, remember you NEVER EVER pay for an agent. Ever. Let me repeat that, you NEVER EVER PAY FOR AN AGENT OR A PUBLISHER. If they ask for any kind of reading fees or any fees at all, run the other way. This includes any editing system they feel you can benefit from. Chances are they are getting commission on your referral. Under no circumstances should you pay anything. Real publishers and real literary agents do not charge a penny.
If you can, not crucial but definitely useful, establish a platform. Get your name out there and interact. Agents and publishers like to see potential authors working hard and building a fan base. Blog, participate in social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, even Pinterest.
If you're querying, your goal is to get published—might as well start with the platforming and building now. I've met some pretty amazing people just by interacting with them on blogs and social networks. So it really isn't just all work. It's very much worth it.
When sending out subs, query batches of maybe six to eight at a time. It's best to get feedback and see how it goes rather than ruining all your chances at once. And besides if everyone is noting the same thing, i.e. "I didn't connect with the protagonist/didn't click with the characters" or "The voice wasn't strong enough for me/GMCs weren't clear enough" maybe it's time to reevaluate their feedback. Professional criticism is gold!
Here are some of my favorite sites to research agents:
Casey McCormick Literary Rambles blog
Lastly, EXPECT REJECTIONS.
Even the best of the best have to endure those heart stinging oh, so lovely rejections. I know, I know but why? Why can't it be easy? For some a streak of luck surpasses those dagger disses. But keep in mind some of the most well-known work of all time have gotten the boot too.
And if good fortune is on your side, you might not have to endure many but for the most part rejections are definitely inevitable. It's why I created an Encouragement page. If you ever need a little pick me up click HERE. Hope it helps. But don't let it get you down. Take what you can and learn from each and every one (if it's not a form rejection) and grow, grow, grow. It does a writer's mind good.
Keep in mind each rejection is closer to that YES and THE CALL! Whoop whoop! Be like Stephen King and hang them on your wall with a railroad spike. (Or not. If you live with your mom. I'm sure she'd freak. I'm not responsible J.) He had so many but it didn't falter him. Be like Steph.
In the process don't forget patience is a virtue. Without it every writer would be shipped to the loony bin. Send your work off and dive into another project. Always strive to grow in your craft. The publishing industry is a lot like turtle racing. Most of the time, it's gonna take weeks, sometimes months depending on the agent and/or publisher.
And if they happen to ask if you have anything else, bam, now you have a great answer in return. <Why yes, I do (or will, depending on your time frame with ms) Ms. Such & Such, thank you for asking. >
Don't be shy. Leave them in a comment below!
And here's my For Writers link for more help. Best of luck and let us all know when you get that call so we can celebrate with you!
How To Get A Literary Agent: A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding Representation For Your Novel Or Nonfiction Book
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
A special friend of mine by the name of Cheri Whittaker mentioned she made herself a little sign that said, “Enjoy the Journey." I thought this was an AWESOME idea and had to share it.
Whether you are going through a tough time or just need a little kick of encouragement, I think this is a great idea. Making my sign right now! Here's a pic of mine below (click on pic to enlarge).
Please feel free to use the image above for your sign if you like and/or share it with all your friends.
Thank you, Cheri!
Monday, March 18, 2013
Please welcome my guest, Dianna Benson. It's a pleasure to have you Dianna!
Dianna is not only an awesome writer she is an EMT, a Haz-Mat and FEMA Operative in EMS. I can’t thank her enough for all the invaluable feedback she has given me throughout the years. You rock!
So let's get started here…
The quick answer: It took seven years (2000-2007) from the time I first started querying agents to landing an agent.
In 1993, I started writing my first suspense novel. After completing three novels, I started querying agents in 2000; all of them requested a partial. After I completed my fourth novel, I queried agents again, and this time all of them requested a full after reading a partial.
After I completed five novels, I signed with my agent in 2007. Six agents offered me representation that spring; it was difficult to turn down the other five since all of them are top-notch agents. In the fall of 2007, a film agent requested a screenplay of The Hidden Son after reading the book. Just days before I completed the script, I learned the film agent suddenly and recently retired due to health issues. I never pursued anything further with the script.
What is the first thing you like to do when planning a new project?
To be honest, opening scenes in all my books just simply develop in my mind and I write them down for future use since I’m always in the midst of writing my current book at any given time. I’m a panster (not a plotter), so when it comes time for me to turn an opening scene I’ve jotted down into a completed novel, I just allow my writer brain free rein.
Can you share a little of your newest release with us?
The Hidden Son
When U.S. DEA Special Agent Lelisa Desmond refuses to follow an order to bury evidence in a high profile case, her superior hires a hit man to kill her deep in the ocean off Grand Cayman Island. Lelisa survives the first attempt on her life, but someone close to her is mistakenly murdered in her place.
With no one to trust, Lelisa enlists Inspector Alec Dyer for help but learns she's his number one suspect in the scuba diving homicide. She sets off on a daring mission to bring down the man who ordered her execution. A man in a high position, with power friends. A man who will stop at nothing to silence her forever in order to hide his son’s crimes.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t focus on the “rules” you hear about and ignore any negativity about the publishing industry. Just write from your heart, and God will lead you on the correct path for you and your writing. Every person is different; every writer is different. Find your way.
Even if you’ve spent years submitting with no offers of agent representation and no publishing contract offers, don’t ever give-up. Always believe in yourself as a writer. Above all, if you love to write, then never stop writing. God gave you a passion to write, so spend time on your passion and enjoy yourself, even if your writing is for your eyes only.
For further advice and information, see the On Writing page on my website.
Where can we find out more about you?
Dianna T. Benson website: www.diannatbenson.com
The Hidden Son is available all over, including these major booksellers:
2) Google Books
6) Indie Bound
Thank you so much for being a guest! Wishing you much success, Dianna!
Thank you, Mart, for hosting me on your blog.
Dianna T. Benson
Dianna T. Benson is a 2011 Genesis Winner, a 2011 Genesis double Semi-Finalist, a 2010 Daphne de Maurier Finalist, and a 2007 Golden Palm Finalist. In 2012, she signed a nine-book contract with Ellechor Publishing House. Her first book, The Hidden Son, released in print world-wide March 1, 2013.
After majoring in communications and a ten-year career as a travel agent, Dianna left the travel industry to earn her EMS degree. An EMT and a Haz-Mat and FEMA Operative since 2005, she loves the adrenaline rush of responding to medical emergencies and helping people in need. Her suspense novels about adventurous characters thrown into tremendous circumstances provide readers with a similar kind of rush.
Dianna lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three athletic children.