Friday, December 30, 2011

The Cover Letter: Getting Your Foot in the Door

 The Cover Letter: Getting Your Foot in the Door

What do you imagine as a bad cover letter? Poor spelling and incoherent rambling are absolutely two big ones but there are by far more small and just as important mistakes to take note of.

Some basic things to remember are:
List your contact information; Name, Address, Email, Phone, Website. Trust me you won’t believe the letters people send out (I know, I'm giving myself a side-eye too)
“ We have gotten hand scribbled letters on torn, reused printer paper. Those are never read, presentation is vital in order to be taken seriously in this business.”
A typed, well-worded and neat cover letter to introduce your manuscript and yourself is the single most important facet besides the quality of your manuscript. Moreover, a personal introduction is very necessary. Do not send out form letters to publishers or agents (yes I know how much work that is, but then you should have trained your dog to type), it will not help your case. Write who you are addressing, include a quick note about what they publish so they know you've read their publication or their website.

Don’t bring your ego to the game. This letter is all about making a great first impression (free candy anyone), telling them about how great you are and how your book will be the next “BIG THING!!!” will not help you in selling your story or manuscript.

Don’t make your manuscript’s description into some mystery to be solved only through reading the whole thing. This is the first stage of elimination; if you can’t tell them what the story is here there is a very high chance (try 99.9%) that your manuscript will go in the waste bin (recycle goddarnit). Explaining the gist of your story in a short, engaging paragraph is the whole reason you are sending your letter (unless your writers-block has joined with insomnia and then you can't really be held responsible for what you're doing).

What genre does your story fall into? Pick a few words that elect the genre’s general tone in describing your story. For example, don’t use dreaded if you are trying to explain a comedy. Don't worry, you're only trying to sell your soul so no need to stress.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Picking The Right Genre Pt. 1: Fantasy and Horror

Picking The Right Genre Pt. 1 

I think it’s key to remember that you don’t have to try and be unique, just write something you feel deeply about and it will read much better than if you’re trying to be the next Hemingway.  

Fantasy Writing or what's that you dropped your light sword thingy

Developing strong characters:
The five key areas for building depth in your characters;
Create an untold background for each character, which can be alluded to throughout the story. Is your hero really scared of the mystery he faces? Is the world about to be destroyed and only small signs within the tale can help the characters survive?

Learn to give each character unique words and manners. Holly Jesus, is that a nervous tick or are you about to shoot me?

Give your readers a good visual impression of what your characters look like, the reader will identify with them more. I know, it sounds simple but so many stories don't ever give you a solid image of the people within the novel's world.

Learn to intertwine the characters’ back-stories into the whole book; exposing the important background points for a deeper and more personal story. Make your readers understand why the characters are doing what they do.
Is your character coming from pain, joy or confusion? Where they have been will help make it easier for you to write where they are going.

Learn how what other characters say and don’t say can shine light on your main character.
Creating a believable word:
Draw an image of the world and its rules with your words.
The difference between:
Sam walked into the building
and Sam, in his regulated outfit of grey and green, walked softly up the silver metallic stairs and into the section 5 Concord building.
See, looks easy but you have to know what the world is made of before you can write about it. 

Oh no, did you hear that? It sounds like an awesome horror novel just out of reach. 
Watch horror films, read good short horror stories. Begin to let the pacing and sense of terror seep into your skin. What makes something scary? If I had to pick one thing it is the deeply disturbing idea of something not quite within reach or sight; the almost heard and half seen creatures of true terror.
If you're just starting out on writing a horror piece try picking a location and then build around that. You can read a review of perhaps the best horror writer of all time here

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ebooks = E-Publishing: How to get published in this growing format

Ebooks E-Publishing: How to get published in this growing format

More and more people with simply a passion for writing believe they should get published. Do you firmly believe you'll be the next great novelist? Yes, well we all have goals now don't we. However, as vanity publishing and blogging have begun to dilute literature’s impact and respect it is very important to take a hard look at your writing and decide if it is going to find an audience. I suggest having several impartial people review anything you write before you submit it to an outside source.
Once you have firmly considered your work’s integrity (after all that romancing werewolf had better be believable) and appeal finding a publisher or agent can still be very, very tricky; much like that summer I got stuck to some fly tape on the deck.

Below are suggestions for getting your work published in a digital format.
Self-love means self-editing your work before submission:
I suggest having a professional editing service work with you; a poorly edited book, no matter how good the story, will very rarely even be read.
Do not overuse !, ALL CAPS, or odd punctuation. Also, I would recommend not writing purely conversational sections in your manuscript, add details to conversations; no one wants to read 20 pages of “Mary said”, “Bob replied”.
Ways to get noticed:
To blog or not to blog? OK, everyone and their sister firmly believes they will be the next greatest contribution to the blogsphere; shall I cook for a whole year with only white food? Yes you say and just wait till I make it then. However, remember to write about subjects other people actually want to read, your collection of 19th century dolls is most likely a topic only you will read about. Okay, I do know a few others who'll read that blog, why does that make me feel a little wrong?

If you work in a particular genre of writing, such as fantasy or romance, understand your market. Find the right publishers, often there are unique
small publishing houses who are interested in specific genre manuscripts.

Networking is very important and a good way get your name and information to publishers and agents is by joining groups and attending writer’s conferences where agents and publishers will be actively looking for authors.
Get your name and your work to as many people as often as you can. Be seen, be heard and be read. 
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