30 January 2011
The man with burning red eyes rocked back on his heels. “You argue with me?”
She did, but she couldn’t admit it, not to this being who stalked like a wounded skiff, all muscle and anger. He may not be the Fire God, but he held more power in his palm than every witch who had ever lived. She shivered at the memory of the flames tickling her skin with kisses that didn’t burn but that melted something inside her. Her tongue swept over her lip as she composed a reply.
You can read more here: Samhain Publishing
For more Six Sentence Sunday go here: http://sixsunday.blogspot.com/
23 January 2011
I hope there's something there to answer a question you've always wanted to ask an agent.
Q: When do you know if it's the concept or the query?
A: If you are sending out queries and getting no requests for sample pages, it’s likely the query. If your query is resulting in requests for sample pages, but no requests for full manuscripts or offers, likely it’s the book itself. As for the concept itself – that’s a hard call. Most any concept can sell if the writing is superior – a generic concept is a red flag, but even vampires will still sell if the writing is amazing.
Q: Why do you only ask for the first 3 pages? Why not the first 10? Or the first chapter? My novel doesn't waste time hooking the reader, but, even so, I find it hard to believe that anyone could be truly hooked in such a short space...
A: I know – it’s hard for me to believe sometimes too, but that’s the way it works. The editors will only read the first page or two before they pass too, which is why I make my decision so quickly. If I like the first pages, I will keep reading and may still pass. But, if I don’t like the first pages (or an editor doesn’t like the first pages), then it’s an auto no.
Q: I've been told not to start off with dialogue on the first page. Is this true?
A: The trick is not to start out with too MUCH dialogue. Yes, I agree – be super careful about that as it can make the opening sequence feel like a beginners’ novel if you rely on dialogue too much in order to “tell” the reader what’s going on.
Q: How much does the writer's ability to market their own book play into your decision of whether or not to accept a writer?
A: As of right now, I can honestly say that I consider a writer’s online presence VERY heavily before considering offering representation. It’s not a deal breaker, but I do consider it. I would recommend having a professional author website up and running before starting the submission process.
Q: what is the difference between exterior conflict and interior conflict? Which one must the writer identify near page one or should both be identified up front?
A: External conflict is a flood that threatens to drown a character
Internal conflict is a character’s fear of water
Right up front I want to know the inciting incident (external conflict) and read compelling characterization (internal) – so both right up front.
Q: Corrected question: If you send queries but have NO responses, then totally re-do the query, can you send the new query to the same agents that received the original query?
A: Only if you have totally (TOTALLY) redone the novel itself.
Q: What do you like to hear in a live pitch?
A: The same thing that I like to see in a query letter – a clear inciting incident, compelling characters and a unique and interesting world.
Q: If a novelist doesn’t get three out of ten requests for more from a query, that's a larger percentage than Nelson uses according to your stats. Thanks. What percentage of queries should come back with a request for more pages?
A: Roughly 3 because you wouldn’t be submitting to us 10 times. ;) It’s a guideline. If you don’t get “any” requests for sample pages based on your query, redo the query. If you get 100% requests for sample pages from your query – AWESOME! If you get even 1 or 2, that’s great. If you are turning in sample pages left and right but not getting offers of representation, then rework your novel. It’s not a perfect science, but that’s the general idea.
Thanks for reading.
18 January 2011
15 January 2011
Writing the book and submitting it is actually the easy part of the process—you’ve edited the manuscript, and its perfect right?
First there are content edits, things like more world building, strengthen relationship and…er more ‘heat’ for my Ellora’s Cave release Kissing Phoenix.
Then there are the more detailed edits. My favourite being …'I don’t what you’re trying to say' (Neither do I. I wrote it over a year ago. Scratch that line and come up with something fresh.) These also include finding more typos—who knew so many could slip past the multiple edits/read throughs?
Those funny little warnings on the Samhain books take forever to think up (that could just be me).
Revision emails are best read (peeking through your fingers is allowed) and then closed. Review the next day while armed with the poison of your choice (mine is chocolate). Makes notes. Is there a common theme? Any ideas about how to incorporate the changes?
Seeing my name on cover art is really cool.
Getting the call is still exciting...but it’s followed by “holy cow now I have to get back into the story and edit it.”
Deadlines. Those cute little numbers that start out as really distant totally doable things grow up really fast if you blink.
Since Tuesday is release day for How To Breathe Fire I’ll give away a copy to one lucky reader. Simply read the blurb and tell me where Matai and Camea live. Send your answers to shona(@)shonahusk(dot) com. Winner will be drawn on Tuesday 18 January, and posted here.
How To Breathe Fire
For as long as she can remember, Camea has longed to explore the world beyond the island kingdom of Adar. It is an impossible dream, especially if she follows tradition and marries the farmer her parents have selected for her. But then, Camea has never been one to follow expectations.
When the village witch announces she has been selected to be the Fire God’s next bride, Camea has no intention of sacrificing her life to appease the volcano. She plans to escape and follow the Stars to her dream.
Matai, once a prince of Adar, now pays a fiery penance for seducing one of the Fire God’s witches. He must take a new bride each year, then kill her—or condemn Adar to the lava. Unlike his past brides Camea doesn’t shed one tear for her fate, nor does she beg for her life.
In the face of death she sees the remnants of the man he used to be—and a way to save them both from the Fire God’s never-ending cycle of wrath. If Matai has the courage to trust his heart.
Read the except here
11 January 2011
There are pros and cons for all the other points I mentioned. Starting something new is always exciting, if not a bit daunting. That moment you delve into your idea notebook or box or even better inspiration hits you and you sit down and after an hour you have a very rough idea of what you want to do. Nothing like the creative process!
Editing, well that's when you have to, using a favourite term of lots of people, put on your big girl panties, put on the armour and take a REAL good look at your work. Be objective with your work. A scene may be beautifully written and you just love it, but if it slows the pace, cut it baby or move it some place else. You have to detach yourself from your writing at some stage and the early editing stage is the time to do it.
Ahh entering a contest. Now that's scary. That's putting your baby out in the world for others to see and comment on. Some are going to say they love it. Others may say, it's good but needs tweaking and you may even get the I hate it and couldn't relate comment. Harsh as it is, it's the reality of writing. Even when you have a book published and your editor gushes over it, there may still be the odd person that hates it. Again, put on your big girl panties and armour. Take the hit because it's only going to make you stronger!!! Never ignore the comments, let them sit for a month or six and then go back and maybe the points they mentioned are valid.
Searching for an agent is just as hard as getting the book published. You can trail through lists and lists of agents but, as was mentioned to me by a published author. Agents generally will take a better look if you have a history in your writing. I'm not necessarily talking about being published, but that you've submitted regularly, you've had revision requests. You've consistently entered contests and you've finaled regularly and you've even won a couple. Or maybe when you get that offer from a publisher and you want someone else to handle things, then go to an Agent and say I've got this offer - will you represent me. Agents in the early stages of your careers may not be the be all and end all. There are plenty of publishers you can submit to, e-publisher and print, that don't need agents.
In the end whether it's starting something new, editing, entering a contest, searching for an agent or even submitting what you have to do is take a deep breath, cross fingers and take that leap of faith. You are really only short changing yourself if you don't.
06 January 2011
Nicki: To finish the two manuscripts I’m working on and start another two new books :)
Cath: Get a website, and get Silk (my current WIP) finished.
Lesley: Finish first draft of second novel and have another short story published.
Kym: My NY’s resolution is, of course, to be published. That being somewhat out of my control, I want to edit the last book I’ve written to totally shine and be, in Maas terms, a breakout novel.
Heather: Enter all RWAus competitions relevant to my writing, and as many other comps as I can manage.
Shona: To edit the 5 novellas I have sitting on my desk waiting to be cleaned up and submitted. And to finish writing the proposal for my next novel.
Did you achieve your goals in 2010? And what goals have you set for 2011?