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To help the author develop and create the best book possible. Material that has both commercial appeal and long-term value.

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To help the author determine the next best step in their writing career. Giving counsel regarding the subtleties of the marketplace as well as the realities of the publishing community.

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To help the author secure the best possible contract. One that partners with the best strategic publisher and one that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved.

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Let Creativity Flow (Part Five)

As promised last week, when all else fails to spark your creativity, give one of these a try. They almost always work!

1. Do something relaxing. Take a pad and pencil or a mini-recorder along to capture ideas when they spark. Some relaxation ideas:

  • A nice, long bath
  • Play with your pet. If you don’t have one, go to the dog park and borrow one!
  • Go to a movie
  • Cook something you love
  • garden
  • look through old family photo albums
  • take a nap

2. Rewrite a well-known story to make it a different genre. For example, turn the opening chapter of Tale of Two Cities into a thrilling car chase. [It was the best of cars, it was the worst of cars…]

3. Gather together some toys (yours from childhood or your child’s), sit on the floor, and think up a character and history for each one.

4. Exercise can be adult play. Rollerblade, racquetball, tennis, swimming, running, biking, whatever works for you.

5. Draw. Don’t worry if your horse looks like a dog, just draw whatever comes to mind. Use as many or as few colors as you want. Try different mediums: charcoal, pencil, crayons, chalks, paint, etc.

6. Play with words. Try:

  • Work with words.
  • crossword puzzles
  • word games
  • Scan the dictionary, looking for words that strike you. Come up with definitions for them, then see if you were right. Keep a list of these words and use them when you write.
  • play Outburst, Scrabble, anything with words.

7. Do the Dewey Dance. Walk through the library, pulling books at random from the shelves. Start out with a couple from each numerical section (000-099, 100s, 200s, etc.). Sit and skim through your stack, jotting down whatever is triggered.

8. Make a list of topics you want to write about some day. Give it an upbeat title: Brilliant Writing Ideas, Masterpieces I’d Love to Write. Keep the list for a time when you’re wondering what to do next. Pull it out. Flesh it out. Have fun.

9. Work with your hands. Sometimes the best thing you can do is physical work with your hands. Try:

Painting a room

Baking bread, even if you’ve never done it before. There’s nothing like kneading bread to work out frustrations!

Building something, whether with PlayDoh, Legos, or wood. There are great, simple plans online for all kinds of things.

Making a flower arrangement

Grooming your pet

Organizing something

Doing laundry

Whatever you try, do it with an attitude of just immersing yourself in that activity. Don’t try to chase creativity. Instead, let it go and focus on something else. Usually the best way to bring it back to life is to stop trying!

Blessings to you, and here’s to a year FULL of creativity!

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News You Can Use – Feb. 7, 2012

Author Says McGraw-Hill Cheats on Royalties – Details of a pending lawsuit.

What is Pinterest? –  The latest craze in Social Media Networks. AuthorMedia shows you the simple steps to sign up and tips on how to use it in the next article below.

Three Ways an Author Can Use Pinterest – Last week an editor told me how she was following a couple of her authors on Pinterest and how much she liked it.

5 Ways to Break Out of the Social Media Doldrums – Well said by Aubre Andrus.

10 Ways to Ensure No One Will Read Your Blog Post – Ali Luke give great insight

How Hard Can it Be to Write a Kids Book? – Sally Lloyd-Jones helps dispel a common myth.

A very cool six minute video envisioning a future technology. Imagine computing being done on glass walls, desks, and even National Parks. From Corning. By the way, Corning makes the “Gorilla Glass” that you find on the iPad2.

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The Editorial Process

It is important to understand the process through which a book takes under the umbrella called “The Edit.” I meet many first timers who think it is just a one-time pass over their words and that is all that will ever happen. And many who self-publish think that hiring a high school English teacher to check for grammar is enough of an edit.

There are four major stages to the Editorial Process. Unfortunately they are called by various names depending on which publisher you are working with, which can create confusion. I will try to list the various terms but keep them under the four categories.

Rewrites / Revisions/Substantive Edit

These can happen multiple times. You could get input from your agent or an editor who suggests you rewrite or revise those sample chapters of the full manuscript. Last year I suggest that one of my non-fiction clients cut the book in half and change its focus. We sold this first time author. But the writer had to do a lot of work to get it ready for the proposal stage.

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Fresh Formulas

Some have a hard time appreciating the talent involved in writing genre fiction. By genre fiction, I mean novels that fall into a defined category such as contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, or cozy mystery. Many of these novels are published by mass market publishers (like Harlequin) and fit in lines they have formed for the sole purpose of selling the genre.

These are distinguished from Trade fiction where there isn’t necessarily a specific line that has been formed to sell a genre, although there are exceptions to that “rule” like the “Love Finds You” series from Summerside Press. In publisher’s lingo “trade” means a 5 1/2″ by 8 1/2″ trim size and is probably between 80,000 and 100,000 words in length. “Genre” or “category” fiction can mean the 4″ by 6″ trim size (also known as mass market) and between 50,000 words and 70,000 words.

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