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If you have read my previous posts about self-publishing than you can see that I have always been torn about it. No longer now. I am in the last stages of finishing up an MG manuscript that I have worked on for more than eight years! Imagine eight years of seeing rejections from publishers and literary agents. Eight years of rigorous editing by paid editors. Eight years of agonizing that I did not write a good story. Eight years of work behind me now.

My last step is to self-publish on Amazon Kindle. I have a friend designing the artwork for the cover then it will all be left in the readers’ hands.

Friends and relatives have been waiting for this day forever.  It feels like sending your first child off to kindergarten. You want them to be the best kid ever and to make lots of friends. Same thing with my book. I want good reviews and make lots of friendly fans.

Feelings of excitement and trepidation are waging war inside of me. In the end, I think I will be satisfied to see my book out there on a digital shelf.  Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and just do it.

To all my loyal readers, I will keep you updated when my book hits the shelf and I will post a copy of the link soon.

Thanks, everyone!

 

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How many writers do you know who do freelance work? 1? 2? Or none?  Well if your like me most writers do their writing as a second job and don’t get paid. So to any untrained eye this would appear to be a hobby. What? No way! I work too hard and long for my writing career to be considered a hobby.

So how to break the mold and make a career out of writing? Easy… get published! Well okay enough with the sarcasm. It is not easy to get published, let alone get an agent to even LOOK at your work. So the alternative is to become a freelance writer.

The website Freelance Writing Jobs at http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/ is a good place to begin.

This website can help you locate the job that is right for you. Everyone has to start somewhere, because we can’t all become famous authors with our first book.

Build up your skills writing for different companies. Learn new talents and make connections and get a great looking resume. Every literary agent and publisher wants to see a little writing experience behind newbies. Then when your book is published you can give credit to your experience as a freelance writer.

Not every path to glory is set in stone. Take the road less traveled and become richer for it.

Happy writing!download

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A book that uses the shoulders and backs of other hard working novels to become a bestseller tends to get some attention. When I read a book I look for the audience it is written for: like Children, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult. Then I see what the genre it is: Comedy, History, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Is it Fiction or Non-fiction? Does it have a huge following? Is the author well known? Has the book won an award? Or has the author won any awards? These questions are used for the selection of book I will read to fill my brain with.  image_preview

There is a little bit of space in my brain and unlike a computer I cannot add an external hard drive to store more information. So I am pretty selective about what I read. I have a degree in English literature and have had to read books that were not of my choosing. These books were chosen because they are in the literature canon. Not every book that makes it into this collegiate masterpiece of literature is likable. I did not like reading “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Garcia Marquez Gabriel, nor did I understand how this book became a classic. But other books I was glad to have read.

I have read so many books over the years that I have to have a log of what I read or I would forget them all. My genre of choice is Middle Grade fantasy. Why? Because this is what I write. When a writer is told by other authors to “write what you know”, that means to write what you read or experienced.  Now this does not mean I do not read adult or young adult books, because there are occasions in which I flit over to the other shelves tempted because of an attractive cover. Which brings me to my point.

 

I just finished reading a novel (more like a novella) called “A Shade of Vampire” by Bella Forrest. The authors name alone told me she was a fan of “Twilight”, but I should have noticed by the title that she was a fan of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, too. This book is what makes other writers cringe. Too many cliches. Too predictable. And the writing was high school level. When I say she wrote what she knew it is evident when you read the first few pages. This is not classic literature with beautifully written prose. Nor is it written by someone with a large vocabulary. When did romance/fantasy novels become sub par on their writing? There are adult books written by Mary Higgins Clark or Nicholas Sparks that are smarter than what I read. Books should be enjoyed and pondered over. Young adults should not be reading something that needs to belong in the Adult section of the bookstore. The only thing stopping me from giving this book a negative review on Goodreads was that I know what happens to books like this. The book everyone hates turns into a best seller because everyone wants to know what the big deal is, then they go buy the book. So I gave it an average rating and made no comments. Readers beware of the trap of making a new writer into a hit. Instead read the cover for yourself and decide if you want to read some drivel about a guy and a girl and you know how it ends. The books are all the same. In fact new writers spit out so many books at readers that they all blend into one massive collection of phlegm. Gross!

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Please save a reader! Write good works.

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After months of waiting I finally received my manuscript back from an editor in California.  He was really nice but direct.  I loved it.  He gave me the highlights of the book and told me what I needed to work on.  Which is everything, more or less.  So, I have a lot to work on.  But that’s okay because summer break is right around the corner and I can’t wait to have the time to just revise the manuscript.  There will be revisions with plot, characters and writing style.  The whole process could take months.  But will be worth it in the end.  “Good things come to those who wait.”

Writing by a beach somewhere might be the one thing to inspire me for great works.  Or it might be the biggest distraction in my writing process.

 

crw-beach

 

 

Next on the list, after this huge undertaking of revising, is to look for a new literary agent.  It’s a daunting task.  And one I feel that I have tackled so many times before in the past.  Acquiring the right agent is such a tricky business that I feel I might just reach out to some friends to see who is hunting for their next dream author.  I recently saw a fellow author post on Facebook that she finally signed with an agent.  It only took ELEVEN years!  Yikes!  This is a little too long for me to wait.  But I’m glad for her.

Maybe I should just make it to one of the big writers conferences held by Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators in L.A.  There would be a lot of opportunity to meet-and-greet lots of potential agents and publishers there.  We will see.

Have a great summer fellow writers!

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If you are unpublished.  Looking into different magazines that try to help new writers become noticed is Glimmer Train Press and The New Yorker magazine.  I have a subscription to The New Yorker magazine and the stories published are slick.  Meaning they are contemporary writings.  There are realism stories along with the contemporary.  Throughout the magazine you can read about the major events happening around NYC.  It covers theater productions, musical productions and art exhibits.

I have submitted a couple of short stories to Glimmer Train Press.  They have many contests throughout the year for unpublished writers to enter.  There are several categories to choose from, and different deadlines.  For example the short-short story contest deadline is April 30.  Their website http://www.glimmertrain.com/ provides information on costs for entering and the guidelines for your writing submission.

Besides these two magazines there are many more writing contests to be found just using Google.  So good luck!images (3)

 

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Cover of "The Awakening: And Other Storie...

Cover via Amazon

Nathan Bransford, Author.

I agree with this article but there is a big misconception about authors.  There are good authors who are not recognized because their work is not mainstream popular reading.  The decisions to read and study certain literature in a canon is determined, in my opinion, by political and cultural preferences.  Whatever is popular now is what people want to read about.  There were books held back from the public (like Kate Chopin‘s The Awakening) because of people in power found their work offensive.  Literature is a fickle thing.  I don’t know a lot of people that can actually agree about what should be studied in college literature classes or read as entertainment.  As a society we are like a leaf apt to go where the wind blows us.

The new writers and authors are flooding the market with self-published books and e-books.  There are all kinds of writers.    Sure we don’t have a lot of Mark Twains or Edgar Allen Poes’ anymore.  But shouldn’t we find some that are still worthy to quote?  Obviously the Noble Prize in Literature is still finding candidates to hand out the award to.  Even the Newberry Award is given out every year.  So there is still some talent out there.

Mark Twain statue

Mark Twain statue (Photo credit: stevebkennedy)

People will read what they want to read.  As writers we just need to write what we feel.  Whether it will make it into a canon or not is up to those who select it.

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I have just returned from a great empowering writer’s conference.  Every author new to the craft or veterans wanting new information should attend conferences.  The publishing industry is changing and the news sounds grim for traditional publishing.  There are a lot of great new doors open for writers in this technological age.  We can self-publish with  Createspace ( https://www.createspace.com/ ), which is a part of Amazon.  Selling ebooks online with the biggest book seller would be a smart thing to do.  But there are other companies to consider.  There’s Lulu (http://www.lulu.com/) and Apple’s iBookstore (http://www.apple.com/ibooks-author/ ) that offer a great way to self publish.  But wait there’s more!  You have Barnes & Noble, Pubit! (http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home ).  And then there’s Google where you can submit your book with the biggest search engine and have millions of views from consumers.

Are you overwhelmed yet?  I know I was today.  Everyone is self-publishing.  And what does that mean for readers?  There are a lot more good and bad choices now.  Not all indie books are edited.  Which could mean for some tough reading.

So I listened to David Harrison (who has sold millions of books) talk about writing what you know or have experienced.  I kind of already knew that.  I heard Terry Miller (who is a fantastic illustrator) talk about the new age of eReaders and where our publishing world is heading.  I had a clue a couple of years ago when the first iPad hit the country with all it’s cool apps that people everywhere would want one.  And then I was privileged to hear Ellen Hopkins talk about her books like her best-seller CRANK.  Everyone on the panel had lots of information and good advice.  There was a panel of authors of YA.  And editor, who I am sure everyone knows, Emma Dryden (www.drydenbks.com) .  Hearing from professionals is always uplifting.  I can’t praise SCBWI enough for all the work they do for their members.

So what am I telling you?

What I am saying is that even though you feel like you know everything.  It is always good to attend a conference and get information and also to network.  Someone there might just have the right information to help you out.  If you need it.  I know I came away from this conference with some critiques that are pushing me to revise my own stories.  I knew my manuscripts needed work.  I just didn’t know where.  It was great to hear from professional editors what they thought of my work.  I am glad I have some fresh new opinions from the conference.  Adding a few new friends was just the icing on the cake.

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