Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Educate Yourself: Know Your Target Publishers & Editors

Yesterday's Word Count: 501

As an aspiring author, I've heard time and time again from industry professionals that newbies should not only just “write the damn book” but that I should also keep up with what's happening in the industry and research and know as much as possible about the publishing house I'm targeting.

Now, I know for a fact from all the blogs, forums and tweets that there are TONS of writers out there writing away with no thought whatsoever as to which publisher they are targeting. It's almost like it's an afterthought and that they'll just sent out masses of queries without regard to if they are even targeting the right house for their work.

There are so many things wrong with this haphazard Russian roulette way of kicking off your writing career.

Although I think a writer should be true to their story, shouldn't they have at least a passing idea of if their idea has an audience and if so, what publisher is the best one to present it to that audience.

Most people wouldn't accept a job with a company without trying to get a feel for what the job entailed, who your boss would be, what the expectations are and finally, do you meet the qualifications of the job?

I know there are so many out there saying, “But you must write the book of your heart without caring about audience and who you are pitching.” This isn't the post to get into that whole book of your heart convo, but I wanted to point out that you CAN do both. There's no reason why knowing you want to sell to Harlequin Blaze and that they want stories at 55k words has anything to do with if the story you write is an emotional one for you.

Please authors, educate yourself! Treat this like the business it should be to you if you want to make a go at this being a full time career for you.

Follow any and all romance editors on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. You'll see them write about books they love, what they've acquired or are editing and you'll get an idea of what type of stories they are looking for. It's an easy way to get an idea of who might be your ideal target.

Oh and for goodness sake go to the websites of the publishers and look at their submission guidelines! I don't know of a single publisher that doesn't list them plainly online. I can't tell you how irritating it is to sit in on an editor chat and have question after question be about what the margins should be or if they take e-submissions. Do your homework!

Present your best face to an editor by knowing your business – the writing business!

Now get out there and learn all you can so you can make sure you have the best chance at not only finding the right editor and publisher, but also the one that will help you be the most successful.

OTF - (Off to Write)
Sabrina Shields

Monday, April 11, 2011

No Words But Still Productive!

So no words written on the WIP this weekend. But I do have my reasons, although some might call them excuses, I'm giving myself a pass.

Saturday was my 32nd birthday and I had a fantastic lunch at one of my favorite resturants. Amazing food and with the hubby there to offer his generally witty conversation topics it was a great time.

After lunch, we headed over to my appointment to get LASIK eye surgery. Yep. On my birthday. I didn't intentially plan it this way, it just so happened it was the best day for me to do it. Happy Birthday To Me!

What this meant though was that my vision wouldn't allow me to work on the computer or read. In fact, today is the first day I can spend anytime online. So you would think it was a total waste of a weekend for writing right?

No way! I totally let my imagination take over and walk me through the rest of the story I have to write, and I even brainstormed a little on a story idea I have for a novella. Somehow, I even managed to write down some notes on each but we'll see how readable those are later this week!

Do you brainstorm when you can't actually sit and do your writing? Is what you come up with useful later or do you find that you really needed to have your computer with you to really get down the right notes?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Staying Focused On The Goal

Yesterday's Word Count: 205 New Words
My writing friends will tell you that I get caught up in the organizing, planning and plotting of a book so much so that the damn book itself doesn't get written. This is 100% true. So I've been thinking lately on how to keep myself focused on the actual goal - putting words on paper. That's not to say that organizing, planning and plotting aren't about getting the book written. It would be stupid of me to remove those aspects of my personality from writing. I need the process, but I have to make sure the process doesn't take over.

So, the first step I'm taking is right here on this blog. I'm going to post my daily word count and any other writing efforts here every day for the previous day's activities. Check out my first report at the top of this blog post. Not only will I be tracking this for myself, but the feeling of publicly posting my progress should help me stay more focused on the actual words on paper. I mean you can't fix a blank page is a common (and sort of annoying) phrase for a reason.

Secondly, I've committed myself to an April Writing Madness Month. Again, I did this publicly with my fellow writers over at The Romance Writer's Revenge. See a pattern here? I know myself. Something about feeling like I owe it to other writers not to drop the ball on this thing really helps me focus. Yes, I know I'm not writing for them and shouldn't feel like I have to prove something to anyone, but I'm not stupid enough not to know that if something pyscological will work to push me along then I should totally use it! And it's not really about proving anything, but instead feeling like others are going through this same process with me.

Those are my first two steps toward hitting my goal of finishing this first book. You'll see more as the weeks go by, although I hope this book gets done and I can move forward with editing goals.

What about you? What do you do to stay focused on putting words on paper? Not just the process, but the actual butt in chair words on paper goal?