Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wall Street Journal Article "Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-Books"


The continuation of the series the Wall Street Journal is publishing on E-Books.

This is important information for us who are thinking of going this route AND those who wish to continue the traditional publishing route.





Credit: Matt Wright-Steel for the Wall Street Journal





Author John Pipkin worries about the e-book business model: 'I've had to
rethink my plans in terms of supporting my family full time as a writer.








Please click on link to read entire article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703369704575461542987870022.html






So after reading the article, what do YOU think?







And to read more:
The Journal explores how digital technology is remaking the book industry.

The ABCs of E-Reading  - 08/25/2010 

'Vanity' Press Shakes Up Book Industry  -  06/03/2010

E-Books Rewrite Bookselling  -  05/21/2010

E-Book Pricing Put Into Turmoil  - 02/02/2010

WSJ Topics: E-Books


~LA


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The emotions that go along with self-publishing



When Donnell asked me to guest blog, she asked if I could "talk about the joys, the sorrows, the pitfalls, and finally the absolute thrill of taking the initiative to seize an opportunity within a changing industry."

How could I say no to that? First, I love her phrasing. (You can tell she's a writer.) Tomorrow it will be four weeks since my debut party at my joint blog, Magical Musings www.magicalmusings.com/.

Sorrow: So far I don't have any sorrow in this choice. I don't see how I will have sorrow down the road either. Not on this road.

What gave me sorrow was the old road I was traveling. I've been published in short fiction (print magazines in the '90s), nonfiction, and even greeting cards. I've won contests and I've finaled in a major contest. I've had four agents. I've had close brushes with selling, and it was becoming apparent to me that "the Call" from a major NY publishing house wasn't going to happen.

What frustrated me was that it wasn't the quality of my work, but the fact that NY editors are looking for certain types of books. My books don't fit their parameters. (Although I do have a couple of books with editors. I nearly forgot.)

Joy: Let me count the ways. The same day I announced on the GIAM site that I was going indie, I received an email from a newer member who I didn't know well, and she offered to do my cover. For free. I thanked her and said yes. I didn't ask to see her work. It felt like I'd be questioning a gift. And just look at the fabulous cover! For more information on this fabulous author, check out Laura Morrigan www.lauramorrigan.com.

Two different people asked to format my books for me for Smashwords and Amazon. More joy.

I wanted to put out the best book I could, and six writers read it for me. My joy bubbled over.

I told my CPs, one of whom was Michelle Diener, www.michellediener.com/ that I needed a new website. My old designer had quit the business. I wanted one that was in WordPress so I could update it myself. I got referrals for designers and had contacted one when Michelle emailed me and said she'd design it for me. Amazing joy!

And then Amy Atwell www.amyatwell.com was about to teach a networking class on GIAM. She suggested writing a debut party event invite on the GIAM Facebook to show how it should be done. Swoon. Fabulous Joy!

She got me off to a wonderful start. The first two weeks, I sold a small rush of books, and then there came a lull. But I never thought Cattitude would be a instant bestseller. I'm in this for the long run. I'm revising my next book, and I've been told that's the best thing I can do. Once that's done, I'll work on promo.

I can't forget Zoe Winters www.zoewinters.org, who saw the advantages of self-publishing more than two years before I did, and was doing well with just three novellas. She freely shared her knowledge with me. Fantabulous joy!

Pitfalls: I know the promo will be an ongoing thing, and I'd much rather write than promote. But most print writers I know are doing a lot of their own promotion. And the great thing about self-publishing is that no one is going to take Cattitude off the shelves in a month or two and replace it with another book. I have time to build my career and let word of mouth sell my book.

A couple times these past weeks, there have been announcements that agents/editors were taking pitches on blogs. Do you remember the scene in "When Harry Met Sally" when Sally (Meg Ryan) calls her best friend, Marie (Carrie Fisher), confused and distressed because she'd slept with Harry, and he couldn't wait to leave? Meanwhile, Harry is telling his side to his best friend, Jess (Bruno Kirby) who's Marie's fianće and is in the bed next to her? When they hang up, Marie tuns to Jess and says:


"Tell me I'll never have to be out there again."

He replies, "You'll never have to be out there again."



That's how I feel, a huge relief. I'll never have to be out there again. Not because I've found a husband, er, an agent or an editor. But because I've taken control of my own publishing career. I don't need that agent or that editor. Sure, I'll make mistakes--the pitfalls that Donnell mentioned--but I've also heard horror stories from friends who are published in print.

I won't repeat them, but if you want to know more about that end, go to Dean Wesley Smith's www.deanwesleysmith.com/ or J.A. Konrath's www.jakonrath.com/ blogs.

I'm empowered by my decision. Not all of it is a joy, but having wonderful friends and a way to take control of my own destiny... No question. It's absolute, amazing, fantastic, fantabulous joy.

Edie Ramer
Proud Indie Author of CATTITUDE
http://edieramer.com

Monday, September 27, 2010

Calling all Mothers With Daughters

I stepped outside my comfort zone of usually reading only fiction and read this terrific non-fiction book called, Last One Down The Aisle Wins: 10 Keyes to a Fabulous Single Life Now And an Even Better Marriage Later, by Shannon Fox and Celeste Liversidge.


I dated my husband for five years before marrying him at the ripe old age of 21. We’ve been happily married, for the most part—if anybody tells you they’ve been married a number of years and never had any bumps in their marriage I’d have to think they are fooling themselves-- for 27 years. As the woman who choose the “other” path, I feel well qualified to speak to the issues / advice brought up in this book.

I LOVED this book. Loved it.

Before I’d even finished it I ordered copies for my 3 girls (age 17-24) and my 20-year-old niece. I wish I’d read this book when I was a late teen—even though I’d already have fallen in love by then, however, I still like to think I might have postponed getting married until I’d grown up and learned about me.


The National Center for Health Statistics have noted that your chances of staying married more than double if you get married after the age of 25. These authors espouse the theory that before rushing off to become someone’s better half, girls should take the time to be the best, strongest person they can be. And they have tons of sage advice on how.


The premise is that, if girls take the time in their early twenties to grow up—get to know themselves, learn how to forge solid, healthy friendships, make peace with difficult family dynamics, learn to manage money and emotions, grow independent from parents, learn to honor and respect their bodies and embrace their sexuality, and open their minds and hearts to spiritual beliefs, then they will have spent time giving themselves valuable tools that will help set them up for a mature, successful partnership with a spouse.


Hopefully all that experience will help our girls choose a husband who will not only make their hearts race and stomachs flip flop at his sexy smile, but also a guy who is her best friend. A guy who compliments her strengths, respects her and supports her. A man who will make a truly great match for her. For life.

It’s SO true. I did most of this maturing while married. Some of it I even did while mothering my four children. While I have nothing to really compare it to, I imagine it would have been much easier to do all this growing up before I was a wife and mother. I’m NOT going to even ask my husband and kids their thoughts about living through my learning curve! I do not want to know. We all survived.


However . . . knowing what I know now, and having the advice I've read in this book . . . I can't help wondering how things might have been different had I taken the time in my early twenties to grow up instead of growing up while being a mom and wife. I've always been a great multitasker, but . . . what if . . .


Shannon and Celeste’s path is the one I choose for my girls—for every girl. It’s a gift to each young woman and her future husband. Check it out. Do you agree?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The challenges and fun of writing a series

Hello, everyone. I'd like you to meet my friend, the prolific Melanie Atkins. When I found out how many series she'd written, I asked her to share her process. What she doesn't mention is that she's a finalist in Lee Lofland's Writer's Police Academy's Don Knott's Silver Bullet Writing competition. Please welcome guest blogger, Melanie Atkins to the Five Scribes.

Hi, everyone! My name is Melanie Atkins, and I write romantic suspense and thrillers for Desert Breeze Publishing, The Wild Rose Press, and Whiskey Creek Press. I'm excited about blogging here today. Thank you, Donnell, for the invitation to blog about writing a series.

Some of my books are single titles (SKELETON BAYOU, The Wild Rose Press, and FLASH BANG, coming soon from Whiskey Creek), but others are series titles -- my own series (New Orleans Detectives and Keller County Cops, Desert Breeze Publishing) and not ones designated by my publisher. My first series came about totally by accident. Or maybe I should say, because of one very sexy character: Detective Slade Montgomery.

I wrote the first book in the N.O. Detective series, CHERISHED WITNESS, as a stand-alone title, but Slade, the hero's former partner at NOPD, captured my heart right away and demanded his own book. So I wrote PRIME SUSPECT just for him.

A series was born. The books are loosely connected via District Six Homicide. I set up a new detective character in each book to be either the hero or heroine in the next one, and I bring back characters from previous stories throughout the six-book series. It's so much fun to revisit them and let the reader know what has transpired in their lives. They've married, had babies, and in one case, gotten a new job. It's like writing an epilogue long after the book has ended.

At first, I had trouble keeping up with all of the characters, which is a major challenge, so I set up an Excel spreadsheet with all of the names so I wouldn't get mixed up. I fell in love with all of them...and I have just as much of a blast figuring out what's happened to them later as I did when writing each of their stories. I haven't yet tried entwining plots much yet, but I do bring up plots from earlier books when old characters return. Readers seem to like it.

I recommend writing a series not only because I like revisiting my characters [but because] series books sell so well. Each time a new ebook comes out, I see a bump in all of my titles... and that bump just gets better with each one. So, hell, yeah, I'm all for writing series. That's why I've started another one. The first book in my new Keller County Cops series, MARKED FOR MURDER, comes out in April 2011. So far this series contains four titles, but I hope to up it to six at some point as well.

For more info on all of my books, check out my website and my blog, and follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to e-mail me as well. The address is on my website.

My New Orleans Detective Series:

CHERISHED WITNESS, available now!

PRIME SUSPECT, available now!

CHOSEN TARGET, available now!

BELOVED CAPTIVE, October 2010

UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE, February 2011

PERFECT PARTNER, June 2011


My Keller County Cops Series:

MARKED FOR MURDER, April 2011

SHIELD OF VALOR, September 2011

QUEST FOR JUSTICE, January 2012

DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL, June 2012

Website: http://www.melanieatkins.com
Blog:
http://melanieatkins.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.face-book.com/melanie.atkins
Twitter:
http://twitter.com/melanie_atkins


Saturday, September 18, 2010

More ACFW ...

Hi Everyone! The weather is sunny and bright here in Indianapolis where I’m attending the 2010 ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. Well, I think it’s sunny…I haven’t really left the hotel complex since noon yesterday.

To be honest, a hurricane could be barreling our way and I’d never know….

The conference kicked off at 3:00pm on Friday with an opening and general session of all the attendees. This year’s conference is hosting 620 attendees -- the total number more if you count friends and spouses who join us for meals. It’s fun to see and meet all my Internet friends who are just as delightful in person as their words are scrolling across my screen.

Our keynote speaker this year is Tim Downs. An incredible man whose interests are as diversified as his writing. I look forward to hearing him speak again.

Also of note, James Scott Bell hosted an early bird session before the conference kicked off. Unfortunately, this was not in my budget and I was unable to attend, but those who did came away with pages of notes and almost all his Plot and Structure books are gone from the bookstore.

On a personal high, I attended the Steeple Hill editor meet and greet last night. Okay, I’ll admit it, I had newbie written all over my face as I participated in an event hosted for their authors only. Wow. Tina James and Emily Rodmell gave us an overview of the changes and new ideas for the lines. Love Inspired (my line!) releases 6 books a month, Love Inspired Suspense offers 4, and in January 2011, Love Inspired Historical will increase their monthly offering to 4.

If you have an inspirational concept with romance the primary plot point, send your query in to Steeple Hill! They are actively acquiring for all three lines and you don’t need an agent to submit to them.

Late night activities included the Seekerville (another blog I belong to) tradition of hosting our informal gathering each night in the lounge area. 12 of our 15 Seekers are in attendance this year and we welcome all to come and enjoy with us. Our mission? NO ONE is to feel left out. You’re always among friends in Seekerville.

I think the Five Scribes need to pick a conference we can all attend … what do you think??

Okay, have to get back to workshops. More updates come soon!
-audra

Friday, September 17, 2010

Allison Pang: Author. Artist. Awesomesauce.

Last time we checked in with Allison Pang, first-time author, she'd just recently sold her book to Pocket. Since then, it's been retitled, reworked, and given some pretty mighty cover art.

I asked Allison to share with us her impressions of authorhood now that she's had the chance to see publishing from the other side.

  1. What did you think of the editing process? Is it what you expected?

    I’m not sure what I expected, honestly. I’d heard a fair number of horror stories, but the truth of it is that so much of the “sting” of having to make changes can be alleviated by a good relationship with your editor. (Who sent me chocolate with my edits, btw. You just can’t beat that.)
    Now, I did have some fairly extensive edits. The publisher wanted to market the book as an Urban Fantasy instead of a Paranormal Romance – but I’d written it as a PR, so there were a number of places where I needed to rework entire sections of the plot. This means I really had to trust in my editor and her suggestions – and she needed to trust that I could swing what needed to be done, and in my own way.
  2. How was your first conference as a new author? Was it different than conferences prior to your sale?

    Yeah, it was. There was a little bit of relief on my part at not having to worry about pitching this time around. I also felt as though I knew the “conference ropes” a bit better, so I was able to enjoy it more. Because I was at RWA National, I did get to wear my First Sale ribbon and the sheer number of congratulations that came my way was wonderful. If nothing else, it was a great icebreaker and people seemed genuinely interested in getting all the details and wishing me well.
  3. Have you found yourself changing how you represent yourself to the world? Do you regret that things like fan fiction or snark might be floating around the Interwebs with your name on it...from before? :dun dun dunnnnn:

    Eh. Maybe a little bit. I have two blogs – the “official” one where I try to keep the topics a bit more professionally focused (although I tend to cross-post to my unofficial blog anyway). The unofficial blog is probably more “me”, but I’m starting to get a bit more wary about what I post, particularly about my family.

    The blogs feed into Twitter and Facebook, for example – and my day-job employer does see it from time to time, so even though I post things like Man-Candy sometimes, I tend to stick to fairly tame stuff, just for that reason.
    Regrets? I don’t actually have any fan-fic out there, but I do still play in PbP games (mostly on my gaming forum). Don’t have any shame for those, even if the writing may not always be of the best quality – it’s where I got my most recent start in writing again, so that’s good enough for me.

    Snark? Yeah. There has been some, mostly from before I decided to try to become an author. Some things I have removed, as best I can, although it’s still probably floating out there in cached form somewhere. I don’t think anything was particularly bad, but I decided it wasn’t something I really wanted as representative of me at this point.
  4. Are your family and friends treating you the same? Still expected to be Allison only with extra awesomesauce thrown in?

    They ask me how the book is coming along, and they are genuinely happy about it, but that’s about the extent. Which is fine with me, actually. It’s a bit hard to play the part of “diva author” when I’m cleaning the poop from the hedgehog wheel.
  5. Have you seen your cover art yet? Do you know when it’ll be ready to share?

    Ta Daaaa!
    It’s out now, so yes! Of course, I’ve been sitting on it for months, so it’s nice that I can share it now.
  6. What plans have you made so far to pimp yourself prior to your release date?

    I’m still waiting to see what my publicist has in mind, but aside from that I do have additional blog interviews and guest posts scheduled. I’ve probably got a few contests up my sleeve as well, but I’m still trying to figure out the details.
  7. What nuggets of wisdom have you received that you wouldn’t mind passing along?

    Hmmm.
    1. Patience is key. Publishing moves slowly (at least print, anyway), and there’s no use getting worked up over things I can’t change or hurry along.
    2. There is no writing so perfect that it can’t be improved on. Edits and revisions can hurt, but it can be a good hurt. Even if you don’t agree with everything your editor or agent suggests, at least look at what they have issues with and see if a middle ground can be found.
Allison Pang's urban fantasy novel A Brush of Darkness will be released February 2011 from Pocket Books.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Follow the ACFW Conference!

Good morning everyone, Audra here.

Way out of my element here. I'm sitting in a Panera Bread in Indianapolis, IN using their free WiFi because my netbook isn't equiped with an ethernet card allowing me to blog about the conference from the comfort of my hotel room. Serious bummer. Do you have any idea how many calories there are in one of their bagels let alone the bear claws, muffins, and cream cheese? I keep reminding myself I didn't bring any elastic waists with me. Better hit the workout facility before the conference begins : )

ACFW - American Christian Fiction Writers - hosts their annual conference in rotating locations with this year being in Indy. It's so green out here! Coming from Colorado, the Boulder area specifically where the wildfires have been raging, I'm used to seeing arid green, not lush green. Of course, the hotel/conference center is smack in the middle of the city, but hey the view from the flight made me go *wow!*

The conference hasn't started yet. I arrived a day early to party with my Seeker buddies as has become custom at this conferences. Last year, the conference was in Denver where Tina Russo and I played tour guides. This year, Janet Dean has kindly offered her daughter's home for our get together -- heaven help my daughter if she ever offers our house to 30 strangers -- I'd be cleaning for a month!!!

Anyway, the conference runs from Sept 17 - 20 and keynote speaker this year is bestselling author Tim Downs, known best for his Bug Man series. Gotta get my hands on a copy of that book. Sounds great, from an entomologist point of view, LOL. James Scott Bell is hosting an early bird workshop all day Friday before the conference kicks off at 4:00 pm.

Just giving you a teaser of things to come since the festivities haven't started yet. If you aren't familir with ACFW and are a reader or writer of Inspirational fiction, check them out!

Stay tuned for more info to come!!

Blessings!
-audra

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Angi Morgan's epic journey to receiving The Call


Thanks for having me on The Five Scribes today. It’s awesome to be here and I can’t wait to see the “cute” picture Donnell says she has of me. I’ll list some contests at the end...so keep reading.

Donnell asked if I wanted to talk about receiving “THE Call.” I’ve been asked several times how it compared to winning the RWA Golden Heart®. Each--at the time--caused me to soar higher than I’ve ever been before in my writing career. Everything you can imagine...well, it’s better. My road to publication this year has been fast & furious. I got The Call on November 12th and my book is now available. But that’s not the entire journey.


Fellow chaptermate and friend, Catherine Spangler, has constantly reminded me this past year that I worked long and hard for this whirlwind trip. Over ten years of preparation. Some people call me an inspiration or say that I’ve given them hope. I just call myself stubborn.


In 1997 my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He died before his 62nd birthday. He worked very hard his entire life--one of the smartest men I’ve ever known, a self-educated man who read encyclopedias. He’d just found a wealth of friends and was happy to start slowing down and having fun. Driving back from one of our visits with my father, my husband told me that I was a writer. “Life is too short and we never know how long we’ll be here.” He didn’t want me to wait to pursue my dream of publication. We decided together that I’d stay home with our kids, I’d volunteer...I’d write.


So in 1999 I joined RWA, getting involved with local chapters in 2000. I volunteered, I learned, I soaked up everything anyone would let me overhear. And here’s the part of the story most people don’t remember. My manuscripts were requested and asked for revisions several times. I was close...so close I could... Well, you know. Not once, but several times I’d send revisions before an assistant editor moved on (changed lines, publisher, even fired). I had an agent. I was a 2004 GH finalist.


I didn’t sell.


I received multiple rejections every year. I lost several of my critique partners and association friends--many had stopped writing and drifted away. I lost heart and couldn’t finish a manuscript. Then I lost my agent. (She couldn’t represent someone who didn’t have anything to submit.)


I took two years off from writing with a good reason. We had a foster daughter and she and my youngest both graduated (’07 & ’08). I deliberately didn’t try to write. I volunteered, stayed active in my local chapters. I’d found a best friend, Amy Atwell, in 2004. She encouraged me, kept prodding me to write something new. I made a friend with Christie Craig who had been trying to publish again for much longer then me. Her encouragement never ceased. And then a revelation--Amy and I knew what was wrong with my finished work See Jane Run.


Many have heard that I claimed 2009 as my year. Well...it was MY TIME. I was determined to do everything in my power to sell. I put my revision cap on and wrote a column for my chapter newsletter, documenting what I did each month on my road to publication. From January to December, I never let my doubting mind have control. It was MY YEAR.


A new journey is beginning for me. My “sophomore” book has been written, sold, and scheduled for a February 2011 release. .38 Caliber Cover-Up is my second book for Harlequin Intrigue®. I have a fantastic editor, a wonderful agent who’s interested in my career, and great critique partners. My family’s so excited they’re busting with pride.


And I have the support of everyone in RWA that taught me, mentored me, and helped me along this long road. Honest truth, cross my heart...I wouldn’t have gotten here if I hadn’t been encouraged and nurtured along the way. A very sincere thank you.

~~Angi


CONTESTS: The details for my contests are on my website. Hold Up the Cover will run the entire month HCH is on bookshelves--I have several prizes to be drawn for those sending me a picture of themselves with the cover (and signing up for my newsletter). And there’s one more contest for debut week: I’m blog hopping and if you leave five comments on five blogs this week, then send me an email, you’ll be entered in a drawing for more books and prizes. (You can even go back to blogs from 9-13 and 9-14.)

Visit her website www.AngiMorgan.com or become a friend on Facebook.

As promised, here's the cutest little picture of Angi, with a little help from her friends....


And here's Angi's QUESTION FOR YOU: How long have you been striving to reach a goal...any goal? What kept you going?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Words of Wisdom and MORE from Creative Screenwriting


Words of Wisdom from Creative Screenwriting.

"The writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master - something that at times strangely wills and works for itself." 
~ Charlotte Bronte

"Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense."
~ Mark Twain

New Creative Screenwriting Podcast!


We've got another great new podcast for you this week! James Cameron speaks with Senior Editor Jeff Goldsmith about last year's blockbuster, Avatar!

Please remember to click the subscribe button in iTunes so that these episodes download automatically to your computer.

And if you enjoy our podcast, don't forget to leave us positive feedback in the iTunes music store or at http://podcastalley.com/


New to podcasting? You don't need an iPod to listen -- click here for easy instructions on how to tune in!

GOING GREEN NEWS: Want to get all the usual CS goodness in electronic form? Creative Screenwriting has gone digital! Click here for all the details!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dr. Seuss says it best....

Lately I've seen some vitriolic posts on all sides of the digital publishing evolution. My position is you have to do what's right for you, and not let fear guide you or destroy some very valuable relationships. I've found if you just step back and take a deep breath, or blink, the issues will resolve themselves.

For that matter, Dr. Seuss says it best ...

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the one who'll decide where you'll go."

"OH, THE THINGS YOU CAN FIND, IF YOU DON'T STAY BEHIND!"
From: On Beyond Zebra



Happy Writing! & Peace!


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dream Analysis: What do yours say?

My mother used to say, "Never share your dreams before breakfast, they might come true." And if that's the case, I should have kept quiet about this one. I woke up exhausted because this particular dream was so vivid, so real, I looked at my hand when I woke up.

In the dream, I'm hosting some kind of party at my home. As many know we underwent a recent remodel, and I'm guarding my pecan flooring like it's gold and belongs at Fort Knox. In the dream, however, there's water everywhere. My guests are standing around, chatting, and I'm seeing all this water spread, and saying, "Where's it coming from?" I pick up a mop and start trying to save my buckling floor, while the people around me scratch their heads and say, "Gee, maybe it's coming from the fridge."

I'm on my way to the refrigerator when I see a baby black widow spider and I smash it, and think what next. Be careful what you ask for, because what happens next is my contractor is standing beside me, holding a stick with a larger black widow hanging on a thread, saying maybe I should hire an exterminator. Alarmed I reach out and I crush it in my fist.

Naturally he's shocked and says, "Maybe we should get you to the hospital," but my reply is, "I don't think it had time to bite me."

And that's when I wake up.

Now, this might seem like a silly blog post, but I often record my dreams. This one was so weird, though, I'm not sure what to do with it, or what it's even trying to tell me. I've been in a state of upheaval lately, not in my personal life, but my professional one. I'm giving up a contest I love to devote more time to my writing, teary eyed over leaving something I'm infinitely familiar with for the unknown--e.g. the rapid changes in publishing.

I wonder if that has something to do with visualizing floods and spiders. What do you think? And have you ever analyzed your dreams? Do you have one that stands out that made you think, "Whoa! Where did that come from?"

Here's to happy writing and, please, more pleasant dreams.

Friday, September 3, 2010

We're at it again!

Last year, my RWA chapter (Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal) held a wonderful event called 60 Days to PRO. As the PRO Liaison, I wanted to get as many of our members to PRO status...or better! We opened it to anyone to participate, and the results were fabulous.

We just started a new incarnation of the now-annual event. This time we're calling it 60 Days to Success. While brainstorming with my co-liaison this year, we kept tiptoeing around the idea that 60 days is great for doing a huge push toward a goal, but why should the end of that period signal the end of the work? Why not use that two month period to set up new habits that would help us not only achieve our immediate goals but also guide us to accomplish our long-term goals?

And that's what we've done. The format is similar to last year but with less Fire! And Dazzle! And Glitter! And this time, more habit-forming (ahem, addictive?) activities. We still have writing sprints in our water cooler, and we'll offer free workshops and study groups. We will also continue with the hugely popular online pitch sessions. So far, we've scored Megan Records and Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, but we're also cementing plans with a few others.

It's going to be a great few months once we get over some of these initial hiccups in the technology department. I can't wait to see our members score that next level in their careers, and I can't wait to boot some folks out of PRO because they've sold their latest novel.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Publisher's Marketplace

How many of you subscribe to Publishers Marketplace?

It's $20/month. That is NOT inexpensive. But is it worth it to the seasoned author?

Frustrated at spending weeks worth of hours researching agents and finding precious little, I decided to take the plunge and sign on today. I also rationalized it as I hadn't been able to prepare for my annual stint at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's conference--which I will miss mightily this month, so spending the money on this subscription is another way of aiding my career.

For those of you reveling in instant gratification . . . it was seconds. Seconds from signing up on-line and giving my credit card number to having my password enabled and opening the hallowed Publisher's Weekly information doors through which I bolted through like a kid bursting into an amusement park.

Though this is a fluid data base--statistics keep moving daily as deals are reported, I was thrilled to see that I could ferret out TONS of information on Literary agents (and other things, however literary agents is my main priority).

I can look up which literary agencies are the top 50 (or more if interested) selling agencies--today. I can categorize them by genre, debut, or overall. I haven't fully explored all the cool things my membership affords me yet 'cause I had to eat lunch and take care of another few essential chores, however, sigh, how cool!

I used the data base to point me towards further research resulting in my sending out 4 more queries for THE ROAD BETWEEN. Stubborn lady that I am, I will not give up on that book!

Now, I'm getting a little anxious 'cause I've been away from my new toy too long in writing this blog post, but I just wanted to share with your guys my newest find and see what other authors discovered this long ago and didn't share with me and what else have they discovered about the site that I should be investigating.

Panting here. How am I ever supposed step away from the computer long enough to sleep tonight???