Pitching a book to editors and publishers is an interesting exercise. It is kind of like the first time you send your kid to kindergarten. You know they need to go, you think they will be OK and that the teacher will be nice to them, but you still go back to your car and cry. I think for a lot of us that is what pitching a book is like. We are hoping that agent, editor, or publisher will be gentle with our little baby of a new born book and we know we cannot get it out into the world without doing it but we still go out to the car and cry.
If you only self-publish, maybe you get to skip this step. Obviously, there are other challenges; I just have the exercise of pitching on my mind because I am involved in a Twitter pitch event right now. (Please go support me at #Adpit if you are reading this today. You can click on my Twitter feed below. *Shameless Plug*)
I have done one pitch in person. It was one of the most frightening things I have ever done. I had a presentation prepared. I had watched YouTube videos on what to do and what to avoid. A publisher friend of mine had helped me write my pitch. I had a folder with me with my cover page and my first chapter just in case. But when I sat down in front of the editor, all of that planning went out the window. The speech I memorized flew out of my head. Luckily, the woman was very kind. She told me just to tell her about the story and not to worry about a formal presentation. We just had a conversation about my book. She asked some questions to clarify some things I didn’t explain clearly enough and then she asked me to submit it. I got very lucky that she helped me through the process.
Today is my first Twitter pitch session. My mother does these all the time. You pitch your book in 140 characters or less. You get to pitch every hour, and different publishers and agents are watching the feed. If they like it, they “like” it, and then you contact them about submitting the manuscript. It is a very interesting way to try to sum up a 50,000+ word story in 140 characters.
We’ll see how it goes. I’ll post it here.
I don't understand how people can mistreat their pets. The love we have for our pets is amazing and complete. Most of the pets I have ever had in my life have been rescues. I want to take as many animals as I can away from dangerous situations.
The most recent addition to our family is Logan, a 10-year-old Australian Shepard mix. We have no history of his background, but it is obvious that he came from a harsh environment. I don't know if a dog can be diagnosed with PTSD, but if they can, Logan would be first in line. He has been put on an all-natural anti-anxiety medication because the prescription ones made him aggressive. But when he gets startled outside, he ducks and runs like he is afraid something will get him. If he is inside and there is a noise, he barks until we show him there is nothing to fear.
During his senior wellness check, they found that his liver enzymes were elevated. They put him on a medication and scheduled a re-check for when the medication ran out. At the testing time, we also planned to have his teeth cleaned and one extracted. But he had been vomiting blood in the days before, so they did some blood work and discovered that his liver enzymes were even higher and they suspected he had a bleeding ulcer. They started him on several more medications.
After a few days, he stopped vomiting blood though he continued to throw up. They put him on an antibiotic for possible hepatitis. He is also now on a special prescription food for sensitive stomachs. He is on a schedule that has either food or medicine at 8 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm, 7 pm, and 9 pm.
He had a recheck this morning, and he is doing better. They are going to keep him on this schedule for the next two weeks.
It is always hard to think about a pet's care in financial terms. I had budgeted $500 for Logan's dental care. All of this has already been over $1000. We have had to dip into our vacation savings. But he is family. We would do it if one of us got sick. It is no different for one of our animals.
Seven days until I go to summer camp! OK, maybe until I try to make even more of a conscious effort to sit down and write every day. Many of you have probably heard of NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. That takes place in November, and it challenges us to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. I've been participating in that since 2007 and my novel, A Massage to Die For, that is currently with an editor was my 2016 NaNo book.
Camp NaNoWriMo is a bit different. We do camp in April and July (there is another one for screenplays I think, but I'm not sure when that is). Here's the description from the website:
So, Camp is a lot more flexible and therefore, less stressful in many ways. I am going to be working on my new novel, Whitewater. I will keep you posted.
What will you be writing? Let me know in the comments.
1. Do your homework. Find out who the editor is. Know what types of works or genres they do/do not publish. Know what they want and how they want it. Read some things they've published before. You are pursing them, not the other way around, so you need to be prepared.
2. Read their submission guidelines. Read their submission guidelines multiple times until you know them. If they say to query before submitting, then that is what you do. If they say they want the piece formatted a certain way, then that is what you do. If you can't follow simple directions, it doesn't matter how brilliant or well-written your piece is. They'll most likely not spend more than a few seconds on it before they decline it.
3. If you have any doubts whether your work is suitable for the publisher, send them a query. They'll most likely respond because you haven't wasted their time submitting an action-adventure novel when they only publish Amish romance novellas. If you have any doubts about the suitability, ask. Don't just submit and hope for the best. That doesn't make you any friends in the publishing business.
4. Anything I haven't covered can probably be resolved by following instructions 1, 2, 3, or a combination of them.
If you wonder why I've spent time talking about things that should be common sense, join me in a hearty laugh that will most likely produce tears... of despair.
Shared with permission from my friend Shannon Iwanski. Check out his work here.
I'm not all that great at flash fiction but I used it as an exercise. So be gentle:
Angie sat up and stretched. Laying out to get a tan on the hard rocks of the Arizona desert was not near as much fun as it was on the beach at home, but she would not start school without a dark tan like all the other cheerleaders. So, she turned over on her stomach, untied her bikini top, and closed her eyes. Angie decided that if she pretended that the heat was on a tanning bed, the hard surface would not be as uncomfortable in her mind.
She was almost asleep when a shadow blocked her sun. Angie started to sit up in anger but then realized that she was topless and quickly grabbed her towel. But when she looked around all she saw a black crow staring at her.
“Go away!” she screamed at the bird and threw a rock at it.
“Many believe the crow is a very intelligent and wise animal, girl. You would do well not to disrespect that.”
Angie looked around but saw no one, “Who said that?”
“You are poisoning your body and threatening Mother Earth’s creations. You are mean to other people and respect for no one. Take this warning to change your situation.”
Angie was visibly shaken. But she still couldn’t see anyone. There were no trees or large rocks for anyone to hide behind. She had come a little ways from any of the houses so there would be no shadows for her sunning. So where was this voice coming from? She couldn’t accept that it was the crow speaking to her.
“Ok, let’s say I accept that you are speaking to me though I don’t know how. What do you want from me?” Angie asked.
“We have a message.”
“Now there are more than one of you?” Angie asked in alarm.
The voice ignored the question. “Your ancestors are concerned. You are not following the traditional ways?”
“What traditional ways?” Angie asked. “I’m from Galveston.”
“No, your mother Anglicized your Cherokee name of Agasga into Angie. You are a half-blood Cherokee. You need to reclaim your traditions and your Cherokee life.”
“But I don’t want to be a Cherokee. I just want to be Angie from Galveston and go back to school, make the cheerleading squad, and graduate this year.”
“There are more important things than cheerleading, Agasga. I can teach you to fly.”
For once in her life, Angie, or Agasga, was completely speechless. She had had a recurring dream every night since childhood. She had turned into a bird and flew away. She thought it was one of those dreams everyone has that if she told to a shrink, they would say it meant she was looking for her freedom or something. But what if she could actually fly?
“Do you mean it?” she asked breathlessly. “I could fly?”
“Do you think I’m actually a talking bird?” There was a sound like if a bird could laugh. “Come along child, let me take you to the rest of our family.”
Agasga tied her bikini top back together and stood and touched what she somehow now knew what was her grandmother’s hand. Suddenly, she was flying. Together they flew off into the sky.
Thanks for reading! Click here to leave comments and to read more stories!
I am going to participate in the current Short Story Challenge hosted by CleverFiction.com. The rules are simple:
EASY SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS:
1. Write your story and be sure to include the challenge words.
2. Story Length: 500 - 1500 words
3. Post your story to your website, blog or wherever you want people to read it. Click Here if you need a website or blog.
4. SUBMIT STORIES HERE. DO NOT send us your story.
5. Include a link back to this page at the end of the story for readers to leave comments. For example: Thanks for reading! Click Here to share your comments and see more stories. (To Cleaverfiction.com)
5. All submissions must be received by 6:00 AM PST on Wed, June 15th, 2016
6. Please proofread your work
7. Write your heart out and good luck!
I'd like to add another request and for you to create a link back to this page as well. It would be great to see what everyone else has done.
Be on the look out for my entry. The three words are WISE - HEAT - ROCK.
It's Friday night, my friends. What are you are up doing tonight? Do you have plans for the weekend? My daughter has the SAT tomorrow morning, and I am planning to go to my first workout group through Meetup.com while she is there. As she takes the SAT and ACT and plans college visits, it causes me to reflect on where I am in my life. She is just starting out and is looking at all the opportunities in front of her, and although that is exciting, she is a bit overwhelmed. I have to admit; I am a bit jealous.
I saw a thing the other day about how J.K. Rowlings had it pretty rough before she wrote Harry Potter. She dropped out of college, had a miscarriage, was in an abusive marriage, was a single mother on welfare, considered suicide, and several publishers rejected her book (don't they feel stupid now). She was 31 when she published Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Still younger than I am now but it is a story that gives me hope that you don't have to be young to have your dreams come true.
Jane Lynch didn't make it until she was 43. Alan Rickman wasn't cast as the villain in Die Hard until he was 46 (and without him, we wouldn't have Snape. Harrison Ford was in his 30's when he became Han Solo. Sylvester Stallone was shooting porn to get by up until the age of 30 when he was cast as Rocky and got an Oscar nomination. Samuel L. Jackson was a social worker before becoming an actor at the age of 45. Morgan Freeman didn't have his breakout role until he was 52.
I have wanted to be an author for my whole life. I have so many stories that have been started but never completed that are currently in the slush pile. Life kept getting in the way. But now, I am going to be an author. When someone asks me what I do though, I don't know what to answer. I haven't gotten paid for anything, so I can't say that is what I do for a living. But that is what I do for my job. So, to me, I am an author.
I know I rambled tonight. It's one of those introspective Friday nights. But as my daughter makes plans to pursue her dreams, I am making plans to chase mine as well.
I love summer. My daughter and I get season passes to White Water and Frontier City. We have not used them as much the past few years since she works during the day and I try to keep on a working schedule, but I sometimes sneak off to sit in the sun for a few hours. I like to go in early on a weekday when there aren't as many people. I just sit near the wave pool and read, and people watch. Sometimes we go to the movie nights where we can float in inner tubes and watch last year's movies.
We mostly use the Frontier City passes for concerts and Fright Fest. I am so lucky to have a teenage daughter who still wanted to hang out with me.
Later in the year, we are going on a cruise, so I will get kind of an extended summer. I have meant to get out and exercise, so I will look better in a bathing suit but, as usual, that didn't happen. Maybe I can still do that before the cruise.
So, raise a glass of lemonade and enjoy your summer with me!
All the glamour magazines and diet books will say, don't eat late at night. Sleep doctors warn that eating late can disturb sleep. Gastroenterologists will say that eating before bed increases the chances for heartburn and acid reflux. But does any of that stop me? I'm fine if I finish eating, brush my teeth, and go to bed before midnight. But there is something about being up late that makes me act like a Gremlin. I was waiting up for my teen daughter last night, and it was like a little bell went off in my head. I wasn't hungry at all. But after she got home and I was going through my routine of shutting down the house all of these irrational thoughts seemed very logical in the darkness.
"That donut is going to be stale soon if someone doesn't eat it so, I might as well eat it." I make a pass down the hallway.
"You know, last time we had fruit we threw a bunch away because it didn't get eaten. I should really eat some." The fact that we only bought it that day didn't enter this non-logic.
I managed to stop before the damage was too bad. So, my instructions are simpler than with the Mogwai. I can be in bright light. I like the water. But no matter how much I cry, no matter how much I beg. Never feed me after midnight.
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