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I recently read an article about how writers need to connect more with the wants of readers.  The idea is to help writers.  The only way to get these answers though is to do a survey or ask people in a blog what they want to read.

I love to read children’s books and some adult fantasy and mystery books. I have also been reading some fantasy young adult. Please comment below what you like to read?

The reason I read these genres is because this is what I like to write. In the book store or library, my head will be bobbing up and down in the children book sections examining all the new or old titles, looking for the next big hit. I love to explore new authors works. I also like to read what is at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. This keeps me up to date on what the market is selling, or publishers pushing, and also what readers are hungry for.

Readers are an important part of the writing process. They keep authors writing more to please them.  When a book review comes up on Goodreads or Amazon about a book you wrote, then you want to read it no matter if it is good or bad. Authors are starving for feedback. What is working and what is killing a book?

I love readers and I feel happy when I see someone curled up in a chair with their nose in a book.

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To read the article click here: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/advice-for-writers-3-keys-to-connecting-with-young-readers-online

 

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.

Recently I participated in the #Pitmad in September.  If you do not know what it is here is a brief explanation.  You have the great opportunity to pitch your manuscript to editors and agents on Twitter with just 135 characters.  This also means that for those next eight hours on Twitter you are watching the feed like a mad person, hence the Pitmad.  I tweeted about two of my manuscripts every hour and knew that more than three of the pitches had more than 400 engagements.  I had four agents favorite my tweets and I was very excited.

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This meant that they were interested in my pitch and wanted me to query them.  Out of the four agents I have heard back from three and one of them sent me this very personable rejection letter:

 

Hi Jessica,
Happy Sunday. I hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far. I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I know waiting is the hardest part. I finally had a chance to read over some of the requested material for AN OCEAN OF SECRETS. I’m a lover of mermaids, and I loved the premise of this story. However, after reading, I didn’t feel a real connection to the main characters. In the first six pages we’re introduced to an underwater magical kingdom, but we have no idea who are characters really are. Getting to the action quickly is so important and I feel like you’ve done just that. But doing so while introducing our character’s personalities is important as well. 
I’m so sorry I don’t come with better news. I do encourage you to pursue other agents because their views may differ from my own. I wish you the best of luck with your writing/publishing journey. 
Good luck. Keep writing, you’re good at it! 
Warm Regards,
A really nice agent
Give me a Break!
I took this letter to heart and I am now revamping this manuscript to this person’s specifications.  After I cried for like hours.
Some writers would say that I shouldn’t rewrite anything and just try another agent, but what if she was right. Either way I was very impressed with the time this agent took in sending  me such a detailed letter about her likes and dislikes.
I can say I have close to a hundred rejection letters and out of those hundred there are probably ten or so that were personable like the one above.  When you have been working on your craft as long as I have (which is going on eight years) you can start to see what really works and what doesn’t.  I know some writers get discouraged by the time they hit year three of querying but truly it takes as long as it does because of the wait time.  One author I am friends with has an agent after eleven years of trying. Read about her story : http://theitsybitsywriter.blogspot.com/2015/05/how-i-got-my-agent-steven-chudney.html
Share your success stories.  Everyone can learn from each other.
Have a great writing day!

BookEditing

 

 

Earlier this year I hired an editor from My Two Cents Editing to help me with my middle grade manuscript.  There were months of waiting and biting fingernails.  When I did receive my manuscript back with the editorial comments and revision suggestions, I saw that this was the best thing to help my manuscript move into the final stages.  I know some writers feel that critique groups are where we can get help for free.  But in my experience the saying “you get what you paid for” is exactly what I got with critique groups.  Now there are good critiques too.  But an editor will see more than just the writing style and voice.  They see the plot, character development, dialogue, pacing and structure of the manuscript. Other writers are not paid to see all of these things.  They are critiquing your work for free.  Plus other writers are more interested in what their work sounds like to everyone else.

For the last few months I have gone through the critique I received from the editor and I have been revising like crazy.  The final process to any manuscript is to check grammar and punctuation. After this the manuscript is polished into a beautiful piece of work.  Then it is time again to have friends to read this new masterpiece and hope they are as excited about reading it again as you are. Now I am revising my query letters and plan to participate in #Pitchwars.

If anyone is at the stage where they cannot decide if their critique group is working for them then branch out and try something new.  For me it was getting an editor. You can find editors on http://www.the-efa.org .  Also look for editors through Writers Digest publications.  There are great people who want to help writers take their work to the next level. Don’t you think it’s time your work shined?

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I have made these mistakes listed in this article below.  As a woman writer we just do everything differently than men writers do.  Women let’s not keep making the same mistakes.

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Submit Like A Man: How Women Writers Can Become More Successful — Medium.

I was doing some reading and found this article to help my writing.  Hopefully it will help anyone else out there in the revision stages.

 

WFMAD Day 18 – Revision Roadmap.

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.

 

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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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