Tuesday, December 30, 2014
With the new year upon us I thought it would be appropriate to post some helpful hints to getting that book published this year. Let 2015 be the year you decide to finish your book and submit it to publishers.
The Road to Publishing
1. Finish That Novel: Finish the book. Publishers are not really interested in ideas. They want to see that a would-be author has the skill, the stamina and the discipline to finish the job. After finishing your book set it aside for a couple of weeks then go back to it and start editing. Hire an editor if necessary. Two books I’ve found invaluable for my writing:
“Write in Style” by Bobbie Christmas and “Goal, Motivation and Conflict” by Debra Dixon.
2. Researching Publishers And Agents: Study books that are the same genre as your book and see who their agent/publisher is. It is usually listed in the front of their book. Look for publishers on-line and study their guidelines for submissions. Find out what they are looking for. There are also books that are helpful to find publishers such as: “Christian Writer’s Market Guide” by Sally Stuart and “2012 Writer’s Market” by Robert Lee Brewer. Note: It is necessary to have an agent for big name publishers. If you do not want to go this route please do not forget the small presses. Please do your homework and check out small publishers or self-publishing companies. If you go this route a book you will want to read is: “Stress-Free Marketing” by Renea Winchester.
3. Write A Synopsis And Query Letter: According to Kaye Dacus at www.kayedacus.com you should first and foremost familiarize yourself with the kind of synopsis your targeted publishing house requests. Most will want a “normal” synopsis (about one doubled-spaced synopsis per 10,000 words of your novel.) - Your query letter is your introduction to an editor/agent. You do not want to immediately label yourself as a “newbie” or an amateur when they open the envelope. Spend time learning the correct way to write a query.
4. Prepare Your Proposal: The proposal is where you really brand yourself as a writer. It’s where you show the agent/editor that you’re so much more than just 100,000 words of a story written down on paper. It’s where you show them you understand the industry, you understand what they’re looking for, you know who your competitors are, and you realize that 80% + of the marketing for a published author is done by the author.
5. Send Out Queries: Be sure and follow the guidelines of the publishers you’ve researched. Send only what they’ve ask for – do not add anything unless they’ve requested it. It is important to not send any photographs or illustrations. Do not use fancy paper or elaborate fonts. These are the marks of an amateur, and will only hurt your chances. (www.mythicscribes.com)
6. Be Prepared For Rejections: You will receive them. Most of the rejection letters will be in form letter style. Do not let this get you down. Keep sending out the queries. Every author has a story to tell about the rejections letters they accumulated before being published. Consider a rejection letter as a sign you are writing. How many people can say they've even received a rejection letter? Keep writing and persevere. The writers who persevered are the ones who are now published.
7. Continue Writing: Don’t stop writing. The more you write the more you improve in the craft of writing. It will help you find out if you are able to write more than the “one hit wonder.” It might be that it will be your second or third book that gets published so don’t sit idle while waiting to hear from those publishers.
THINGS YOU CAN DO WHILE WAITING FOR PUBLICATION
1. Establish A Website: Once your book is contracted and by the time it shows up in online bookstores, you should have a website – preferably one with your author name as the URL,(www.deborah-malone.com) so that readers can easily find you. Use Google blogspot for free and pay only for the URL.
2. Start A Blog: I’ve discovered blogging and reviewing books is a great way to get your name out in the world of writing. You can build a following before you have your book published. If possible use your author name as your URL. Interviews and book giveaways are a great way to draw traffic to your blog. You can use Google or Wordpress for free
3. Start An Author Facebook Page: If you start an author page as opposed to a personal page it allows followers to connect with you without having to wait for a friend approval. You can post book news, awards, and book signings.
4. Get An Updated Author Photo: This doesn’t have to be a high-priced photograph, but make sure it is updated and of good quality. It won’t hurt to have a couple of different shots.
5. Set Up Accounts On Reader Sites: There is a great opportunity in this area. You can sign up at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Shelfari. Then when your book is published you can set up author pages and list your book and your information.
6. Get Business Cards, Postcards and Bookmarks: Vista Print offers great prices on these items. You can get your business cards before your book comes out – be sure and put your picture on your card. Someone might not remember your name, but they will remember your face. If you place a small order with Vista Print they will send you discount cards with that order then you can place future orders at a greatly reduced price.
I made my own bookmarks out of heavy duty paper and saved a lot of money. Don’t forget the book I mentioned earlier “Stress Fee Marketing” by Renea Winchester, it includes a lot of detailed information on these marketing strategies.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Tell us a little about yourself.I enjoy spinning heart-stirring stories of God's life-changing grace. So far, all my books are set in the fictional town of Miller's Creek, Texas, where the folks are friendly, the iced tea is sweet, and Mama Beth's front porch beckons. When I'm not writing, you'll find me rummaging through thrift stores or up to my elbows in yet another home improvement project in the mountain cabin I share with my minister husband of over thirty years.
- Tell us about your most recent book/or the book we are focusing on.A Bridge Unbroken, the fifth stand-alone book in the Miller's Creek novels, tells the story of a frightened runaway who wants her painful past to disappear. Her plan to start afresh is derailed when she co-inherits her late grandfather’s farm with the man responsible for the scars on her heart. But he isn’t the only ghost from the past. Someone else is out to get her and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Chance and Dakota must learn to lay aside their grudges to restore the old farmhouse and to build a bridge of forgiveness. If you'd like to read a sample chapter, click HERE. To watch the book trailer, click HERE.)The book's blog tour runs from May 1-22, with book giveaways at almost every stop. You can see all the tour stops HERE, or visit the blog tour/launch party Facebook group for details. If you'd like to attend the Launch Party on May 22, from 7-8 p.m. CST, RSVP here. I'll be giving away a $100 Visa Card; an Amazon gift card; a t-shirt, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks; as well as ebook copies of the Miller's Creek novels and print copies of A Bridge Unbroken. You can enter the drawing for the $100 Visa Card at my website or my Facebook author page (click the blue giveaway tab).
- Why did you choose this particular genre?I've always been a big fan of Jan Karon's Mitford series and Lillian Jackson Braun's Cat Who... books. Both of these have a home-town feel, with a cast of quirky, but lovable characters. I wanted to create that same feel in the Miller's Creek novels. Readers have commented that Miller's Creek reminds them of Mayberry, but with Texas style. In addition, I enjoy love stories and suspense. Texas Roads and A Path Less Traveled, the first two stand-alone books in the series, are romance. The Way of Grace (book 3) and the new book, A Bridge Unbroken, are both romantic suspense. Pilgrimage of Promise (a 2013 Grace Award nominee) is the odd duck. One reviewer said it reminded her of "...Karen Kingsbury meets Nicholas Sparks." It's really a love story with historical elements, since it spans from the 1960s to contemporary times. So as you can see, I haven't done too well about sticking to just one genre, though romance and/or love is a common theme in my stories.
- What was your journey to publication like?My first completed novel, Texas Roads, had just been recognized as a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist, when I felt led down the path of indie publishing. While that route has presented several challenges, I feel confident that it was what I was supposed to do. That's not to say that I have anything against traditional publishing. If the Lord so leads, I hope to someday have a few books published traditionally.
- What is a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now?First, of course, is the Bible. What other book gives you romance, intrigue, action, drama, and the best love story of all time in one book? My next favorite would be Francine Rivers' Redeeming Love. The story was a huge influence in my life as a writer. This will probably sound boring to most readers, but the book I'm currently reading is on learning HTML code for building websites. Yeah, I know...major yawn! :)
- What are you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside it?I actually have a couple of writing projects in the worse. The first is non-fiction, a first for me in the book publishing arena. It's a companion Bible study on the topic of forgiveness, the spiritual theme of A Bridge Unbroken. It will hopefully be part of a series of Bible studies, and is entitled: All That Is Ours: Forgiveness. I've also started harvesting ideas for the next Miller's Creek novel, Crossroads. Here's the book blurb as it stands right now: A bitter prodigal denies God's existence until faced with her own mortality. Can a struggling veteran, with his own demons to overcome, help her find the road back home?
- What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?First of all, pray hard. Writing and publishing (and the marketing that comes with it) is by far the most difficult work I've ever done, with the exception of motherhood. I work from early in the morning to late at night, and many other things get put on the back burner. That being said, I enjoy my job.
- Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share with us?My favorite book on writing is Brandilyn Collins' Getting Into Character. I highly recommend it!
- Is there anything you’d like to tell us we haven’t covered?I would like to say thank you for the opportunity to join you and your readers here today in this interview. I'd be happy to answer questions in the comments.
- Please let us know where we can find you on the web.My website, where I share devotional posts, book-related posts, and interviews with everyday heroes I meet, is www.CatBryant.com. You can also find me at the following spots in cyberspace:
Reader friends on Facebook may want to visit the following groups, the first for book bargains and the second to discuss all things Miller’s Creek.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Please help me welcome three authors of "A Dozen Apologies" to Butterfly Journey. Jennifer Hallmark, Pat Dyer, and Phee Paradise have graciously answered some questions so we can learn more about them. I've not been able to post pictures on my blog so I'm sorry we won't have pictures to go with the interview.
1. Tell us about your most recent book/or the book we are focusing on.
1. Tell us about your most recent book/or the book we are focusing on.
Pat: A Dozen Apologies is the first book to which I have contributed, so it’s really exciting for me. It’s a collaborative effort of twelve authors and an awesome publisher, Tracy Ruckman, owner of Write Integrity Press. The previous offerings of these group authors have had great reviews and I’m looking forward to seeing this one hit the top of the charts as well.
Jennifer: I love Write Integrity Press’s latest release, A Dozen Apologies. The storyline showcases forgiveness and the touching scenes mingled with comic relief make it a fun read.
Phee: I’m really excited about A Dozen Apologies. It’s not a standard romance in so many ways. Mara, the main character goes on a journey to ask forgiveness from twelve guys she hurt when she was in college. Some are more forgiving than others, but in the process she learns a lot about what it really means to be sorry. She also discovers she’s not the suave, sophisticated woman she thought she was. Because she has lost her job in the fashion world, she takes any job she can find and keeps losing them because of her own ineptness. Her experiences are funny, touching and inspiring. And of course, since it’s a romance, in the end she gets the guy.
2. What was your journey to publication like?
Pat: My journey has been quite different so far than those of other writers. In this case, I won a contest in which the prize is having my chapter published in the book. I’ve been writing a relatively short time compared to most of the people I know, and have yet to write my first book proposal, though I do have a work-in-progress that I’m excited about and hope to finish this year.
Jennifer: I’ve been studying and writing seriously since 2006. I’ve had short stories and articles published, but this is my first publication of a longer work. I actually met Tracy Ruckman at the third writer’s conference I attended and a few weeks later she asked me to be a part of this book project.
Phee: This book was one of those blessings that all authors dream about. I was asked to participate by the editor. So I didn’t have to send out manuscripts. Instead, I was given the back story and asked to write my own scenario that would combined with ten others. I have to say, the other writers are so good, I was surprised at how little editing I had to do. But, oh my, the promotion was scary. Writing is fun, finding a publisher was not an issue, but promoting the book is a lot more work than I ever imagined.
3. What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?
Pat: The best piece of advice I’ve been given is “never quit.” I would also say read as many books as you can possibly consume, particularly in your preferred genre, study, accept all the constructive criticism you can get, become a grammar geek (very important, though I miss the mark more than I like), and keep on writing, writing, writing.
My own maxim is “if you want to grow, align yourself with people who are smarter than you are and learn from them.”
Jennifer: Don’t stop learning. I kept reaching plateaus where I thought maybe I had arrived. Then I would discover a wide valley in front of me of undiscovered knowledge and wisdom. I’ve decided you never really arrive. Stay open to change. It will come.
Phee: Get to know other writers, editors and publishers. Join writer’s groups, go to conferences, follow and comment on blogs, communicate in any way you can with others. The writing world is a community and the best way to reach your goals is to be part of it.
4. Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share with us?
Pat: Well, I must say, I do love the “Idiot” books, so one of my favorites is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction by Ron Benry. I also like The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, and three books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi: The Positive Trait Thesaurus, the Negative Trait Thesaurus, and The Emotion Thesaurus.
Jennifer: I love all the writing books by James Scott Bell. Plot and Structure, Writing Fiction for All You’re Worth, Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, and my favorite, The Art of War for Writers.
Phee: I haven’t read as many books as I should have, but I love Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. I highly recommend Faithwriters.com where I really learned how to polish my craft and I follow several Facebook pages, including The Tactical Editor and Superior Editing Services.
5. Please let us know where we can find you on the web.
Pat: You can find me on my blog, “Ramblings of a Crowded Mind,” at www.patsydyer.com, on Facebook as Patricia Mezick Dyer, on Twitter via www.twitter.com/@patsydyer3.
Jennifer: My website is http://www.jenniferhallmark.com and my personal blog is http://jenniferhallmark.wordpress.com. I help with a writer’s blog, http://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com. Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/authorjenniferhallmark and twitter, https://twitter.com/JenHwrites.
Phee: I have a devotional blog called Delighted Meditations, http://www.delightedmeditations.blogspot.com I also have an account on Faithwriters where my short stories and essays can be found. http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=42864
In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.
Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job that she ever thought possible.
Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.
Pat Dyer was transplanted from upstate New York to Florida at the tender age of five. Now married to a Georgia cracker for almost fifty years and retired from a public service job, she enjoys writing and spending time with her children, grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.
A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and ACFW Central Florida Chapter, Pat has served as past secretary and publicity chairperson. Writing inspirational stories from the heart, she strives to provide encouragement and light through Jesus to those who read them.
Jennifer Hallmark: writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with her two precious granddaughters. At times, she writes.
Her website is Alabama-Inspired Fiction and she shares a writer’s reference blog, Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My! with friends, Christina, John, Ginger, Dicky, and Betty. She and Christina Rich share an encouraging blog for readers called The Most Important Thing.
Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max.
Phee Paradise is a freelance writer with diverse writing experience, including book reviews, newspaper articles and short stories, and she writes devotionals for her blog, Delighted Meditations. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including the recently published A Ruby Christmas. She also teaches public speaking at a community college and teaches Sunday School at her church. You can see some of her work on Faithwriters.com.