"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Friday, June 29, 2012

7 Tips for Pitching to an Agent or Editor at a Conference

The 2012 BWG Conference will host both an agent and editor who will be accepting pitches. The conference costs $50 at the door and is cheaper if you preregister. Agent and Editor pitches are free. For more information: http://www.bayouwritersgroup.blogspot.com/p/2012-bridge-to-publication.html
So, what is the best way to pitch?
1.)    Research the agent or editor – Be aware of what they are seeking. DO NOT pitch a genre they are not seeking. Take time to review their guidelines and wishes. Look to see who and what genres they represent.
2.)    Be aware of time constraints – Some agents and editors offer 20 minute pitch sessions while others only give you five minutes. It’s important to stick to your allotted time so practice and time your pitch before the real session. This will also help with nervousness.
3.)    Begin with background – Introduce yourself. “My name is…and I wanted to meet with you because…I’m writing (genre)…My publishing history includes…”
4.)    Then begin your pitch – “Today I want to tell you about…” This should only be a few sentences that introduce the title, word count, main characters, setting, theme, plot and conclusion. Be sure to focus on the plot catalyst and major conflicts the characters will encounter. Try a basic format such as: [Heroine] wants [goal] in order to [motivation] but she can’t have it because [conflict]. [Hero] wants [goal] in order to [motivation] but he can’t have it because [conflict]. This approach focuses on goal, motivation, and conflict. Remember, you don’t want to summarize the whole story, just the highlights. Be sure to specify if it is complete and if it is a standalone piece or a part of a series. This should only take two or three minutes because you want to:
5.)    Leave time for questions – You may have questions for them based on comments they make. Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are you. An agent or editor will have questions for you based on the interest you were able to arouse and their current publishing needs and wishes. They may ask you:
a.      What published author’s style would you compare your writing to?
b.      Who are your favorite authors in your genre?
c.       Have you worked with a critique group or professional editor?
d.      Have you pitched this idea before? If so, what was the response?
6.)    Accept Criticism – Remember they are making a decision and commenting based upon the information you are giving them in a small amount of time as well as their current marketing needs. DO NOT take it personally. The publishing world is smaller than you think. Editors and agents talk and if you come off as belligerent and ungrateful, you can ruin any future possibilities as well.
7.)    End on a high note – When your time is up, end by thanking the agent or editor for their time (even if you are unhappy with the outcome). Professionalism will be remembered. If the editor/agent invites you to submit material, ensure you know what they’re asking for. Do they want a synopsis, chapters, a full manuscript? How much, how long? Should it be sent by mail or email? Be sure to get their business card. After you leave the meeting room, immediately jot down a summary of the consultation. Include important points like advice, requests, referrals, and preferences. If you've scheduled multiple consultations over the course of the conference, the rapid pace will soon blur everyone and everything. Get it down on paper while it's still fresh in your mind.

What suggestions do you have for pitching? Please share your tips and horror stories below. We'd love to hear them. BEST OF LUCK AND HAPPY WRITING!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

20 Quotes of Inspiration

Several of my friends are struggling with self-doubt and depression. This is something we all deal with occasionally and need inspiration. Writers need inspiration and encouragement to keep us writing. We ALL need inspiration to keep on trying. Below are 20 quotes of inspiration, friendship and encouragement.

1. "Trust your hopes not your fear."-Marion Harper Jr.
2. "Try. If you don't come to bat, you can't get a hit"- Robert Ulrich
3. "Nothing important was ever achieved without somebody taking a chance."- Author Unknown
4. "Failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts"- George F. Tilton
5. "We all have more powers and abilities than we think we have. Use them, for the good"- From "Better Living"
6. "The will to keep trying is often the difference between success ad failure"-Davie Sarnoff
7. "Rejection is not Fatal"- Author Unknown
8. "A writer needs the industry of an ant, the creativity of a kitten and the hide of an armadillo."- Author Unknown
9. "Life is a poem keep it in the present tense."-Sherrel Wigal
10. "Women with clean houses do not have finished books."-Joy Held
11. "Perseverance succeeds long after talent recedes." -Author Unknown
12. "No Writer's Block!!" -Author Unknown
13. "If you can dream it, you can achieve it." Author Unknown
14. "Dreams become reality when intentions become action." -Author Unknown
15. "It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous."-Robert Benchley
16. "Writing can teach us the dignity of speaking the truth."-Natalie Goldberg
17. "The most improbable tales can be made believable, if your reader through his sense, feels certain that he stands at the middle of events." -Robert Benchley
18. "All writing comes by the grace of God."-Ralph Waldo Emerson
19. " Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."- Gene Fowler
20. "The six golden rules of writing: Read, Read, Read, and write, write, write, write."-Ernest Gaines

What quotes inspire you? I'd like to hear them.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

Ok, it’s been nearly a month, but here we go… Thank you to Beth and Amy who both graced me with the Kreativ Blogger Award.


1. Thank and link back to the awarding blog(s).
2. Answer the ten questions
3. Provide ten random facts about yourself.
4. Last, but not at all least, hand this on to seven deserving others.

 Ten Questions (that only scratch the surface):

1.  What is my favorite song? It's impossible to pick just one. The genre I listen to depends on my mood and who else is around. My kids love Disney and other silly songs. When alone, I listen to everything from classical to rap.
2.  What is my favorite dessert? Almost anything chocolate, but M&M’s are my staple.
3. What ticks me off? Cruelty to children or animals.
4.  What do I do when I'm upset? Pray, talk with my husband and/or cry.
5.   What is or has been my favorite pet?  My miniature dachshund Dulcinea (Dulci). She is playful and cuddly – the perfect lap dog. She is also wonderfully patient and loving with my girls.
6.  Which do I prefer: white or wheat? This is another decision based on my mood.
7.  What is my biggest fear? Causing someone pain that cannot be forgiven.
8.  What is my attitude mostly? Have confidence in myself and care about others.
9. What is perfection? God
10. What is your guilty pleasure? A couple of hours to myself with a pound of M&M’s, a diet Root Beer and a wonderful Romance book or movie.

Ten Random Facts about me.....
1. I’m listening to Norah Jones while I type this.
2. I read multiple books at a time without confusion.
3. My friends have gotten me addicted to Scramble (Look me up if you play ;-).
4. I enjoy playing games and coloring with my kids – why else would I be a stay-at-home mom?
5. I love to travel.
6. I'm a hopeless romantic.
7. I was born with Gastroschisis.
8. Disneyland and Disney World will always be happy places for me.
9. I love to decorate.
10. I would love to ride in a hot air balloon.

It's so hard to pick just seven as there are so many incredible places out in cyberspace, but here ya go:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Self Publishing Attack!

My newest purchase: Self Publishing Attack! The 5 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws for Creating Steady Income Publishing Your Own Books

#1 bestselling writing coach James Scott Bell is the author of Plot & Structure, and numerous thrillers, including Deceived, Try Dying, One More Lie and Watch Your Back. He was the first winner of the Christy Award for Suspense and has been a finalist two other times. Under the pen name K. Bennett, he is also the author of the Mallory Caine zombie legal thriller series, which begins with Pay Me in Flesh. He served as the fiction columnist for Writer's Digest magazine and has written highly popular craft books for Writer’s Digest Books, including : Revision & Self-Editing, The Art of War for Writers and Conflict & Suspense.
He talks about writing this book in his blog post If You Seriously Want to Make Money.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Creative Writing 101

by Angelita Williams

When I was in college, my first creative writing teacher told me, “You show me horse thieves, and I’ll tell you if they’re good or not.”

He was a young graduate student, a writer of short stories, with a name I’ve long forgotten. Each story I submitted came back with some of my words slashed and some of his own scribbled in the margins. It was a good relationship, a give and take of personal style for sound advice.


“Great description.”


And of course, the ultimate lesson, the dead horse that he considered worth beating: “Show, don’t tell.”

He assigned each of us books, individually, based on our style. His praise was appreciated because within it, we found guidance.

But for all of his effort and encouragement, I can’t remember his face and can’t recall his name.

I remember being hungry in that classroom, ravenous for an audience, for feedback and for the chance to start my illustrious writing career. I had the deluded confidence of a diary keeper who thought her life was a novel.

I would have carried that arrogance with me, throughout college and perhaps throughout my life, if it hadn’t been for Evelyn.

I think she’s still at the university, though she was in her early seventies when I graduated. She was a prolific writer, petite and constantly smiling. She had a knack for being condescending without being rude – a true virtue of a southern belle – but she had an easy manner that seduced you into her confidence and a voice you wanted to listen to.

I don’t think there were a lot of things she took seriously, and I think she spent a lot of time laughing at the world.

And there I was, a self-important girl with a sprinkling of raw talent, sitting on a high horse so no one could hurt me, tell me I was wrong or tell me I was bad.

And no one could have knocked me off that high horse but Evelyn because what Evelyn did was just unthinkable.

She ignored my work. Overlooked it completely.

When it would come my turn to read aloud, she would usually stop me, about halfway through. Everyone around the table would take a turn to comment, and then Evelyn herself would ask some trite question or abstain completely by slyly changing the subject or moving on to the next student.

I wanted to impress her, so I kept taking her classes; but the result was always the same. My work did not appeal to her.

Evelyn taught me the lesson of accepting rejection, which is possibly the hardest lesson we learn as writers. There’s a fine line between searching for acceptance and soliciting edits, and it’s easy for ego to get in the way of artistic evolution.

When was the first time you dealt with rejection as a writer?

Angelita Williams is an education blogger who loves writing about all the latest online learning trends in the industry. When she's not writing articles, Angelita is probably trying a recipe from her library of cookbooks. You can reach her at angelita.williams7@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends...

Five years ago, after the birth of my first daughter, I began an historical romance manuscript with the title Stone of Destiny. Like every great pantser, I just started writing until I hit a wall at about 25,000 words. I left it sitting in a drawer.
Two years later, after the birth of my second child, I picked it up again. This time I wrote a partial outline and picked up the story where it left off. I finished the manuscript at about 70,000 words. Not long, but an adequate length…or so I thought. (See Word Count Woes for why).
Not wanting to wait for the birth of a third child to finish it, I pulled it out again in November. This is the first story I ever pitched to an agent.  In November 2011 I pitched the manuscript to an agent at a writer’s conference. She requested the first three chapters and a synopsis. I sent her both and a few weeks later I received my first rejection. She said they had too many historical under contract at the time and she gave me some helpful comments and advice. I stuck those in the drawer with the MS.
Two months ago, I pitched the same story to an agent at another writer’s conference. After my initial pitch, we discussed my project for a while and she asked a lot of questions. In just twenty minutes, she was able to give me some excellent advice about the story. Some things I couldn’t believe I had not caught myself. Her final advice “Take a few months away from it. Return, fix the mistakes, add about 30,000 words and send it to me.”
So, now I’ve taken a few months away. My first day rewriting and editing?  I’ve just trashed half of chapter two and may eliminate it altogether. I’m revisiting my outline.  I still feel the story ends just where it should, but I can see some holes leading up to the climax, actually the climax itself has a big hole.
So, here I go. Once more unto the breach, dear friends...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Short on Time

“I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
  - Mark Twain

I've been short on time this week. Both of my girls have been in dance recital rehearsals (six hours yesterday and five today). That's a lot for ages three and five. The recitals are tomorrow and Sunday afternoon so I will not get much done this weekend either. They are so adorable in their costumes and up on stage though, it's definitely worth it. They have so much fun when they aren't exhausted.

Have a great weekend and Happy Writing!

What are you doing this weekend? Where do you steal time from when you are short on it?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Free Reads to Download

If you own a Kindle, Nook or other ereader, here are a few summer reads now available for free download:

If you like Paranormal, Anya Bast has three titles for free and several others at reduced prices. Happy Reading!

Have you found any free reads worth your time?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Writer's Block?

I don't really have writer's block, but I just love this poster! I'm enjoying some time with family that came into town last week so I haven't done as much writing the last few days. How about you? What are you working to complete?