Be careful with your cell phone in church. This could happen to you!
Have you ever received an unhelpful rejection letter that says, “Sorry, but this just isn’t a fit for us.”? I have. And I’ve also written more of these rejections than I’d like to admit. In fact, after I write this post, I may just have to send out twenty more.
Some authors write back to say, “Can’t you tell me what I can do better? What suggestions do you have?” I’m sure I frustrate writers when I tell them I can’t comment further. As a published author in my own right, I understand why writers want feedback. So now let me tell you why I don’t feel it’s in your best interest for me to offer feedback when the answer is a firm no.
Lead Me On
When you were in high school, you kept from encouraging people you didn’t want to date, right? Sometimes those people were nice and would make a great match for someone else. Just not you. You hated the fact you couldn’t, in your heart of hearts, be passionate enough about spending time with them to accept invitations for dinner. But how to tell them without gaining an enemy forever? Ouch!
I don’t want make writers, especially my lovely friends, think I’m going to introduce their work to editors if I have no intention of doing so. If I tell you, “Well, I’d like this better if the heroine’s eyes were blue and her name was Sally,” and you changed both factors and sent it back to me, you’d expect me to pursue your work. Now, in truth, I might think your book would be better with blue-eyed Sally instead of green-eyed Sarah, but another agent might disagree. Unless I’m serious about pursuit, it’s better for me to keep my opinion to myself.[ Read More → ]
Your Average Facebook Post Only Reaches 12% of Your Friends – Exposing yet another challenge to the world of marketing, either through traditional means or through social media.
New French Law Seizes Digital Rights – “Any book published in France–which would include translated foreign-language books–that went out of print in France–not necessarily elsewhere–before 2001, can be scanned into a database.” And then be made available without compensation.
It Has Come to This in Hollywood – GCB. Fire up the TiVo for that one… Good grief.
From Idea to Store Shelf – I love these kind of stories. Shows the incredible “curation” it takes for a good idea to become great and then what it takes to bring it to market. There are many parallels to the writing and publishing industry here.
Give it Five Minutes, Then React to an Idea – A good reason why appointments at a conference are 15 minutes long.
Free Mac Tools That Make Writing Easier - Agree or disagree? What tools do you use? And if you are on a PC, what do you use?
Anatomy of a Successful Press Release – Try writing one for your own book. Discover that is ain’t easy.
Eight Basic Don’ts for the Beginning Novelist – Steve Moore provides some great stuff. Good reminders for those who think they know this already.
This is a very clever ad for the British newspaper, “The Guardian.”
Click to view “The Three Little Pigs.”
One of our readers asked this via the green “Ask us a question” button.
What happens if you get a book contract before you have an agent? What if, by some miracle, an editor sees your work and wants to publish it? (1) would having a publisher interested in my work make an agent much more likely to represent me, and (2) would it be appropriate to try to find an agent at that point (when a publisher says it wants to publish you)? My fear is that querying an agent and receiving a response could take several months, but I’d need to accept a potential contract with a book publisher right away (I would think). Is it appropriate to ask the editor to speak with an agent on your behalf to speed the process?
This is a great topic but there are a few questions within the question. Let me try to break it down.
Many times have had authors approach us with contracts in hand and seeking representation (happened just last week). Of course this will get an agent’s attention immediately. But there are caveats:
a) Who is the publisher? There is a big difference between a major company and your local independent publisher. Not all publishers are created equal (see the Preditors & Editors warnings).[ Read More → ]
A cute remake of a famous commercial:
The original commercial in case you haven’t seen it for a while:[ Read More → ]
As Steve Laube pointed out the other day in his post “The Stages of Editorial Grief” receiving a tough edit can make a writer feel off-kilter, angry, unworthy, and summon other negative emotions. Of course it’s okay to experience negative emotions. You can’t control how you feel, though you can control how you manage your feelings. As he wisely points out, the key is to overcome emotions and get to work.
I’ve edited and been edited, but I can’t say I have ever gotten such a tough edit that I wanted to throw a Waterford vase across the room. One advantage may have been majoring in Journalism in college which groomed me never to become attached to my words. News articles are no place for waxing eloquent, opining, or philosophizing. And with loads of information available today from so many sources, readers rarely indulge fluff from any but their most beloved authors. This is why it’s best not to become attached to your words. Any of them. Don’t become too fond of your title, which will most likely be changed in the Titling meeting. Don’t treat finding new names for your characters as though the courts are petitioning you to change your child’s name. And speaking of characters, don’t develop your own love affair with any secondary characters. They may get the boot in editing. Be willing to let go of your fondest habits and pet phrases. They may seem distinctive to you, but if they annoy an editor, it’s best to listen.[ Read More → ]
One of the best-loved conferences is the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. This year the conference will be held from March 30th to April 3rd. I first went to this conference in the late 90s, and have returned every year since. I love the heart of this conference, which is all about uplifting and encouraging, and about honoring the One who has called us to this amazing task. So, as promised last week, I’m delighted to have conference director Rachel Williams join me today to talk about this year’s conference.
KB: Welcome, Rachel! In only a little over a month hundreds of writers of all abilities, shapes, and sizes will descend on the campus of Mount Hermon Christian Conference in the Santa Cruz Mountains of northern California! Are you going totally crazy?
RW: Actually, this IS the time of hundreds of details for the conference! But it’s what I love doing, so it’s fun for me. I’m eager for everyone to get here and to have the conference in full swing. It energizes me like nothing else.
KB: Tell us about the conference. How long have you guys been helping writers?
RW: We’ve been “doing” writers conference for 43 years! It’s been such an honor to encourage, motivate, and grow hundreds of writers, many of whom are now professional authors because of the training they received here. There are many you’d recognize including, Jerry Jenkins, Sarah Sundin, Ginny Yttrup, Mary DeMuth, to name only a few.[ Read More → ]
Why Authors Need Agents – Four professionals weigh in on the discussion.
How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing – Read this when you have the time.
Questions an Agent Might Ask You – Be prepared if an agent calls you with these questions. It might happen today.
E-b00ks: The Giant Disruption – another breathless evaluation and ominous prediction about publishers. From the UK.
Why I Hope Real Books Never Die – Kevin DeYoung writes this wonderful salute to the printed book.
The Death of Chick-Lit – The Salon just got the memo? Publishers (and readers) made this decision a long time ago.
Here are some staggering statistics from the infographic below.
Before I became a literary agent I had no idea how much energy this profession spent being a “collections agent.” Recently someone asked us the following questions (use the green button to the right to ask your question!):
What do you do, as an agent, when a publisher does not pay advances on royalties on time as per their legal contract?
What if a publisher is consistently late (months) saying they have cash flow problems and will pay when they can? Shouldn’t authors be able to count on getting paid the amount and on the date stated in their contract?
Is this common and is there anything that can be done or said regarding what seems to be a breach of contract?
This is an excellent series of questions. The full non-answer is “It depends.” Generally publishers are very good about making the payments according to contracted schedules. The above situation is much more dire and is a good reason to have an agent who know who to talk to inside the publishing house. There are ways to approach the situation that gets results, just remember, “Don’t Burn a Bridge.”
However, there are a few possible reasons that authors should keep in mind before getting impatient with a tardy paycheck.[ Read More → ]
The Joke of the Year Award goes to Tim Vine in London at the Lafta Awards banquet. Award is given to the year’s best one-liner jokes or puns. Below is the winner and then five more from Tim Vine. Can you top these?
Conjunctivitis.com – that’s a site for sore eyes
Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many different levels.
Eric Bristow asked me why I put superglue on one of his darts. I said you just can’t let it go can you?
I saw this advert in a window that said: “Television for sale, £1, volume stuck on full.” I thought, “I can’t turn that down.”
I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.
Do you ever get that when you’re half way through eating a horse and you think to yourself, “I’m not as hungry as I thought I was.”