Archive for May, 2010

Writing Contest: The Golden Claddagh (Romance Fiction)

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Forwarded with permission:

Enter Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Chapter contest The Golden Claddagh! Don’t let our chapter name dissuade you, your entry does not have to be Celtic based to enter, unless you enter our Celtic Category. We have six categories, Historical, FF & P, Romantic Suspense, Celtic, Contemporary & Erotic Romance.

Final Round Judges
FF&P: Leis Pederson – Berkley/Jove
Contemporary: Lois Winston – Ashley Grayson Literary Agency
Romantic Suspense: Laura Bradford – Bradford Literary Agency
Historical: Barbara Poelle – Irene Goodman Agency
Celtic: Deb Werksman – Sourcebooks
Erotic: Kate Seaver – Berkley

Our contest due date has been extended to June 1, 2010. Finalists will be notified by July 1, 2010 and winners notified by September 1, 2010.

Visit: www.celtichearts.org to register!
Or Email our Chair, Eliza Knight for information: writer@elizaknight. com

25 Ways to NOT Get Published: Post 2

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Happy Wednesday! I thought I’d go ahead and post the second way to not get published today. To remind you, the first was: Demand no less than a six-figure advance in your query letter. Your book is brilliant and if Big Publishing House isn’t willing to pay, then there’s no need to submit a single page.

The second way to not get published:

Ask friends/critique partners or fellow authors for feedback on your project, and then dismiss their concerns. Everyone is wrong! Head-hopping is okay. Plenty of authors do it. And who cares if you start every paragraph with the same word (“Then…”)? That’s the way you want it. Your baby is perfect and if they can’t see that, then they’re blind.

Repeat after me–No one’s work is perfect. You can expect people to be pointing out imperfections from the beginning. Critique partners. Agents. Editors. Copy editors. Reviewers. Readers. Believe me, having a book published can be a very humbling experience. Do yourself a favor, if you can’t handle criticism, keep your writing locked up on your computer, in a desk drawer, wherever. Don’t show it to another human being until you’re prepared to hear it isn’t perfect.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Authors: Habit Two

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Before we dig into the second habit of Highly Effective Authors, I thought I’d remind you that last week we talked about Habit 1: Writing Daily.

Habit 2. Published authors learn about/understand the business side of publishing.

Highly effective authors aren’t shocked when they get their first (or their tenth) rejection. They realize publishing is highly subjective. They have realistic expectations regarding submissions and rejections (unlike me when I first started). And they are determined to keep trying, even when they have collected enough “Dear Author” rejection letters to wallpaper their entire home.

Highly effective authors know how to professionally submit their work. They are able to generate a well-written query letter and synopsis. They use correct manuscript formatting and are well aware of both the do’s and don’ts of submitting. (Side note, for a humorous look at the do’s and don’ts read my How to Not Get Published).

Highly effective authors not only know why they must research publishers and agents (identifying scams, locating submission guidelines, etc.), but how to find what they need on the internet. When they need information, they turn to accurate and reliable sources, such as Writer Beware, Piers Anthony and Predators and Editors, rather than gossip blogs.

And finally, highly effective authors know how publishing works. They know and respect the differences between epublishing and print. They have some understanding of print runs and marketing. Branding and creating buzz. Google Ranking. They understand that writing is a craft but publishing is a business, and they realize that in today’s market they have to be both craftsman (craftswoman) and entrepreneur.

Overwhelmed yet? I hope not.

Yes, all this stuff requires reading, research…and yes, time. But again, time spent learning about the industry never interferes with Habit Number One–writing.

Next time, a habit that’s painful to a lot of writers…

Editor Pitch: Harlequin American

Monday, May 24th, 2010

From eharlequin.com

We’re at it again! And this time, we’ve got another of your favorite lines for you to send your heartwarming romances with strong family elements too! Harlequin American Romance is looking for YOUR manuscript and Senior Editor, Kathleen Scheibling will be on hand to take your pitch!

To enter, send a logline AND a one-page synopsis of your manuscript ( in the body of the email ) to Hosty Rae by June 28th

Five entries will be chosen by Kathleen Scheibling and those will be announced no later than July 5th.

Pitches will happen July 8th, at 2 pm edt. But read the rules below to ensure your entry can be accepted.

There will also be a one-hour editor Q & A prior to the pitch.

•NO currently published works to include self-publishing. Original, non-published works ONLY please!

• You MUST be able to enter and post inside the eHarlequin.com chat room. If you are unable to use the chat room and your submission is chosen, we will be unable to offer you another venue option and it will be unfair to an entrant who is able.

• You MUST have a completed manuscript that is targeted to Harlequin American Romance. Editors have the option to request partials or fulls.

• You MUST be available at the given chat time. As stated above, we will be unable to offer another venue or time option.

• Please include your member name, your full name along with your submission.

Harlequin American Guidelines
Editor Pitch FAQs

Harlequin Coupon Codes

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Many thanks to Smart Bitches for posting the discount codes for HQN’s latest sale. I can never have too many Harlequin Presents. Fast, fun reads!

For every print book you buy, you’ll get a 2nd print book FREE with coupon code BOGO43D.

This offer is good through 31 May – so buy early buy often!

And as I hunt through the big ol email o’coupons from HQN HQ, there’s also one for free shipping – I don’t know if you can combine it with the BOGO offer, but you might as well give it a whirl, right? Use code SHIP79WR Expires June 30, 2010, 11:59 p.m. EDT. One-time use only.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Authors: Habit One

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Before I sold my first book, I was desperately searching for the magic formula that would catapult me from unpublished wannabe to published author status. Yes, I was one of those writers, the kind who wanted to be published so bad I could taste it. And I admit I was looking for shortcuts.

Did I find any shortcuts? Sorry, nope. But I did find some things that could help move me in the right direction. Ready? I think I’ll post one “habit” a week, for seven weeks. That way, I won’t have this uber-long treatise that no one wants to read, lol.

So what’s today’s habit?

1. Published authors spend their time writing. Books. Not blogs. Not emails. Not chit-chatty messages on forums or yahoo groups.

They write every day (well, except for holidays and maybe weekends if writing is your full time job).

I can’t tell you how many writers I see waste valuable time playing on forums, blogs and yahoo groups. Yes, this kind of activity could be seen as networking, developing a market for future books (a readership) and researching the industry. But the time should be limited and never interfere with time spent actually writing.

In order to keep priorities straight, I recommend a writer set a specific word count/page count goal for every day.

What’s a realistic goal? That depends upon your situation. Do you have small children at home? Do you work a full time job? Do you have other time consuming daily obligations? Then maybe your goal will be to write one page a day. That’ll get you a book a year.

If you’re writing full time, you might be able to tackle a much more aggressive goal. Ten to twenty pages a day is common for some authors, particularly epublished who rely upon frequent ebook releases to generate buzz and steady income.

Whatever that goal might be–one page or twenty–be tough on yourself. No “play time” allowed until your daily goal is met. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with some fun time on Romance Divas, Facebook or Twitter AFTER your pages are done 🙂

Do this, and before long it’ll become routine and you’ll be cranky if you don’t get your pages done for the day.

Okay, so that’s it. Habit number one. I’ll give you a little hint about next week’s habit…it has to do with something that most authors don’t want to know about.

(this series was previously published on www.tawnytaylor.blogspot.com)

25 Ways to NOT Get Published: Post 1

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

New authors are often looking for that “magic formula”, a surefire way to land that first deal. The bad news: I haven’t discovered that yet. But I do have a little bit of good news. I have discovered a few surefire ways to NOT get published. I thought I’d share them in descending order, posting one at a time. I hope this series will provide you with a few chuckles,and some thought-provoking truths.

Okay, so here we go. The twenty-fifth way to NOT get published, and the lesson you can learn from it:

25. Demand no less than a six-figure advance in your query letter. Your book is brilliant and if the Big Publishing House isn’t willing to pay, then there’s no need to submit a single page.

The reality:

There’s no need to talk about advances until after an editor has made an offer. Any talk of money in the query stage is like slapping a big, ugly sign on your forehead that says IGNORANT NEWBIE. That’s not to say your query is guaranteed to immediately go in the circular file if you mention money in a query letter, but there’s a good chance it will. Why stack the odds against you–which are already towering–even higher?

(This series was previously published on www.tawnytaylor.blogspot.com)

Sharing the info: A grant for young unpublished writers

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Grant For Talented Youth

We would like to announce the official launch of the C.A.Milson Award For Talented Youth.

The first Grant by C.A.Milson will see three talented youth receive funding which can be used to help with research costs, purchase equipment or help with financial aid.

“I see people who have real talent never get a break, whether it is in writing, music, or acting.” C.A. Milson stated, “In the last year I have seen several people almost give up on their dreams because they lack the resources or funding to get to the next level. I know how much of a challenge it can be to get a break. So this is just one way I can give back to those who have supported me.”

The Grant is open to individuals up to the age of 25 who are pursuing a career in the Arts, Literature or Entertainment Industries.

HOW TO APPLY: Application is made by Email and attach documents as requested.
Please include the following:

Brief information about yourself including photo;
Outline of your financial position, specifying the sum needed, and what funds will be used for;
Details of any grants you have received in the last three years;
For Authors: Copies of a few reviews of your work if available.
For Musicians: Demos of your work in Mpeg format.
For Actors: Demo reel of your work or online portfolio

Deadline for the first Grant close 31st January 2011.

There will be three grant levels.
A: First Place Grant of $700 USD
B: Second Place Grant of $200 USD
C: Third Place Grant of $100 USD

Terms:
* If first place is awarded to an Author, he/she will have their work critiqued by C.A.Milson’s Literary Agent, Grammar Chic Inc.
* All entrants must not have any work previously published either by a publisher, self-published, or paid magazine article.

Applications can be emailed to: Grants@authorcamilson.com. Include in Subject line: “Grant 2011”

Details: http://www.authorcamilson.com/Grants.php

Looking into my crystal ball

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

What will the future of publishing look like? Some folks have theorized that the end of an era is upon us. There’s talk of publishing’s evolution, from a world dominated by a handful of large publishing houses to one in which smaller houses are able to compete. Much of the change is due to the Kindle and to the growing demand for ebooks.

Things were looking pretty darn good in my crystal ball. As an author, I saw opportunities opening to me, opportunities that I–as an epublished author–have been waiting, hoping for.

And then something happens, like JA Konrath signing with AmazonEncore, to make me second-guess my rosy vision for the future. Could Amazon become a powerful super-corporation, a monopoly, handling all aspects of book publishing, from concept to distribution? It seems it’s already on its way to doing just that. I’m sure this is why publishers fought so hard for control of product pricing. But they may be fighting a losing battle. As more authors go to Kindle and AmazonEncore, and the average ebook price drops, traditional publishers’ products will be priced out of the market. They’ll be forced to make painful decisions. And I’m not familiar enough with publishing to know what the potential fallout of those decisions might be, but I have a vague feeling it won’t be pretty.

I’m not going to pull a Chicken Little and start shrieking, “The sky is falling!” But I will say, it’s an interesting time to be part of the publishing world right now.Things are changing, and quickly.

So, what’s an author–who has absolutely no control over the changes taking place–supposed to do, as the world beneath her feet shifts and tips?

Stay informed. Listen closely. Make decisions carefully, based upon facts, not rumors.

A few publishing industry blogs to help you do just that:

PubRants

Nathan Bransford

Business Exchange

Mediabistro/Galleycat

Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog

Sasha White’s Show Me The Money

Monday, May 17th, 2010

If you aren’t aware, there are a couple authors over on the GenReality blog who are foolish brave enough to share their actual sales figures for their books. Despite my seeming little dig, which is more an indication of how I think publishing folks will respond to this practice than the value I see in sharing the data, I have great respect for these authors and what they’re trying to accomplish. In the spring of 2009, Lynn Viehl posted an actual scanned copy of the royalty statement for her NYT top twenty bestseller, Twilight Fall. Why would she do such a thing, exposing herself to the potential backlash from her publisher, her agent, and anyone else who didn’t like the idea? Because she felt it was important to let hopeful future-NYT bestsellers know what the real numbers were. My hat’s off to Lynn. This month, Sasha White posted her sales figures for a short novella published by one of the leading epublishers in the current market, Samhain Publishing. The book sat in the top ten bestselling list on mybookstoreandmore.com for three weeks. What does that mean in dollars and cents? I’ll leave it to you to read her well-written blog post HERE.

Again, my hat’s off to Sasha for having the guts to share her numbers. Most authors are very tight-lipped about their sales, for a variety of reasons. I haven’t shared any numbers, outside of reporting anonymously to Brenda Hiatt’s Show Me the Money, and I can’t really give you a reason, outside of a personal insecurity, fearing I’ll lose my readers’ respect if my sales aren’t as high as they might have expected. Perhaps it would do the opposite, I don’t know. What I will say is that there are a great many factors–which Sasha didn’t really get into–that impact an ebook’s initial sales. I thought I’d say something about those.

The  factors that will impact an ebook’s potential first-month sales include:

Current trends: Ebook trends seem a little more fluid, moving more rapidly than trends in the print market. This is based purely on my speculation, not concrete data. At any rate, books that fall within the current popular trend sell better.

The publisher: Not all ebook publishers are created equal. Some have established readers, others do not, and as an author, there are only so many readers you’re going to bring from one publisher to another if you switch.

Timing of release: Because many epubs pay monthly, that vital first month’s sales may all appear in the first check, may be split half and half between two months or may fall heavily into the second royalty check, depending upon how early/late the book released within the month. Also, having an ebook release on a holiday, or very close to one, can also impact sales.

The author’s name: To a lesser degree than the other factors above.

Direct sales vs distributors: If the bulk of the publisher’s sales come from second-tier distributors, like Fictionwise, the author will earn significantly less money from his/her book. There’s no way around it.

Blurb/cover/packaging: Sometimes a book is packaged so well, or the concept is so fresh, it sticks out from the crowd.

If the book is part of a series (first books tend to sell better than sequels, but sequels will cause a spike in backlist sales)

What doesn’t seem to impact sales to any significant degree (I’ve tried them all and seen virtually no results)

Advertising in print media

Online marketing via blog interviews, chats, yahoo group posting, etc.

Contests

There you go, some of the factors I personally know that  will (and will not) impact ebook sales. Do you have any more to add to the list?