Part 3 of Manuscript Packaging: Final Steps

Final Steps To Take Before Sending Out Your Manuscript:

I. Hire an editor or a ruthless friend with sharp editing skills. Have him or her attack your manuscript like a rampaging wild boar. Encourage them to uproot redundant and clunky sentences with the tenaciousness of a truffle hunting hog.

II. Read you manuscript aloud one more time.  Invite the critic to pull up a chair. Allow that beast to expose any lumps. Feel the words. Do they flow? Is there a rhythm  between the lines? Let your brain pick a the tip of each plot point. Do they smoothly connect?

III. Okay, lock up the critic. Grab some caffeine and correct glitches.

***The moment has arrived. Hit send!*********



Part 2 of Manuscript Packaging: Conquering The Query Beast

There are soul quaking fears, ones that tie our stomachs in knots: public speaking, cover and query letters, etc.

Come out, I see you hiding behind the chair.  We will step carefully up to the query letter beast and gently examine the one known as the cover letter. Push back your shoulders and ease up to the keyboard.

You may wonder why the query beast lives and why you have to tackle it. The short answer, it’s your introduction to the publishing industry. The beast is the agent’s first view of you skills and a chance to meet your character.

Let’s peal back the skin of query and cover letters. Beneath the fur of the cover letter: is a brief correspondence. It tells the agent why they are being contacted, contains two sentences summarizing the plot and states what you are sending ( genre, title, word count). Close by letting the agent know that the full manuscript is included and thank them for their time.

Let’s skin the query letter. The opening paragraph tells the agent what you are sending and why you are sending it.

Second paragraph: shares the heart of the story. This is also the space to let the agent get to know your main character.

Third through fifth paragraphs: Show the agent the character’s dilemma and gives a hint to the resolution.

Final two paragraphs: A) Title, word count and comp titles. B) Write a brief bio. Be sure to include any connection between you and the story. I.E. like the characters, you were grew up in Los Angeles or used to be a bounty hunter.

Attach the first chapter or the number of pages the agent listed as  preference on their website.

Close by thanking the agent for reading your work . You can let them know that you look forward to hearing from them.

Ready to send it? **Stop!*** Save this as a draft and read part three of Manuscript Packaging.

Part 1 of Manuscript Packaging~Time To Be Picky

You may feel ready to grab an agent, sign a contract and officially join the realm of publication. Stop! It’s homework time.

  1. Grab several of your favorite books as well as books that may be similar to yours (these are often called comp titles) and Writers’ Market 2019.
  2. Power of your laptop or tablet.
  3. Research the agents who sold the books in step one. These are people who may appreciate your writing style. Review the agents section of Writers Market.
  4. Check out blog posts and articles about your preferred agent. This will paint a clear picture of their current interest.
  5. Take a look at their agency’s website. This site will present a list of the kind of books the agent represents as well as giving you information on the others who work there.
  6. Take notes and create a list of your ideal agents. Save that file and check out part two ( coming soon) of this post.

*Next blog post will address  cover letters and queries. The third part of this blog series will address how to best refine manuscript and send it out in the best possible shape.)


Three Month Push

The year is winding down. It is the ideal time to push forward and finish 2018 strong. Over the next couple of days, go dive deeper into the writing process.

  1. Tighten your outline and reread the first couple of chapters.
  2. Mark any section that doesn’t flow.
  3. Shake off  writers’ block by writing a scene from the POV of  a sidekick.
  4. Up the tension level by increasing inner conflict of the main characters.

Stay tuned for more ways to finish 2018 strong. Now go write!

You Danced Down The Writers’ Conference Road

You showed up at the conference armed with enthusiasm, pens, paper and your tablet. You soaked up the energy generated by other writers and keynote speakers. Their brilliance sparked your creative zone. Midday, the workshops began.

Your world began to shift with each note  taken and every nugget of information gained. Who knew there were so many ways to outline? The reason for including comp titles in a query or cover letter came as a surprise. The process of researching an agent or a publisher to find  a good match seems a bit more challenging than imagined.

Days two and three of the conference are similar. The event draws to a close. You leave with list of contacts to fellow writers to keep in touch with and a brain stuffed full of new knowledge.

Allow yourself a week or two to decompress.  Once you have regrouped, it’s time to move into the post conference mode. Reach out to your contacts. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them, mention the genre you write and express your interest in keeping in touch.  Next, open your notes. Review the ideas and tips. Keep in mind that although some ideas will help strengthen your work, not everyone of them is earth shattering.

Finally, celebrate the steps taken to grow in your craft. You reached out to your peers,  immersed yourself in knowledge and began fine tuning your work. Keep writing, keep growing.



Writing Conference Prep

The two most important parts of any writing conference are the people and the knowledge that can be gained.

You are going to a conference. Registeration has been handled and you are ready to pack your bag. Freeze! It’s time to put on networking hat. Hop on social media and follow the conference hastag. Say hello to other first time attendees. This basic move contects you to fellow wordsmiths and may provide you with someone to have lunch with.

Okay, go pack and remember to keep an open mind. The conference will be loaded with info.

Remember to let your inner child out. She/he will play well with others, be open to knowledge and will enjoy every moment.

Sand, Sun & Fuel

It’s summer and the ideal time to spend hot, sleepless nights writing. Or you can ignore the pen and laptop. Yes, you read the last line correctly. If friends, family and fun beckon, answer the call.

Stepping back from writing projects, relaxing and socializing recharge the creative battery.

Take the time to embrace summer fun. A few days or even a couple of weeks may do the Muse good. She will miss you and will be waiting with fresh perspective.

Navigating The Wilds Of Writing Conferences

It’s the most wonderful time of the year,  conference season.  With this in mind, how do navigate through the massive selections? How do  you select the best ones for your writing journey?

Tips To Successfully  Natigate The Conference World:

  1. The Hunt: Start with research. Google, check out, Writers Market and talk to fellow writers about their preferences of conferences.
  2. Preparing For The Wild:  Narrow the list. Select the conferences that best match your writing goals. Realistically, no matter how wonderful the list seems, you can’t attend every conference. Even if you have a magical money tree in your yard, you don’t have unlimited time.
  3. Double Check For Sightings: Tighten up your current writing projects. At  conferences you may encounter opportunities to pitch your novel.  Be ready!
  4. Step Boldly Into The Woods: Pick, Pay & Attend The Conference. Be friendly, you are among your peeps (editors, authors, agents and fellow writers) and you share the love  of  craft.



The Power Of Frost

Your book begins with a couple verbally ripping each other apart or the villain  beating the hero,  it sounds exciting. Presenting an emotion fueled scene does grab the reader but every so often try the power of Frost. A cold anger can cut threw bone and slice through soul. Imagine a spouse finding their beloved in bed with some else. The reader is expecting a heartbroken character to rage or wail in pain. What if the cheating was the one unforgivable act, the one that wilts the love? Instead of  being wounded, he or she is numb and calm. How devastated would the cheating spouse be? No explanation or apology is accepted. The result is  the guilty character in desperate mode and in greater agony than the innocent one.

A killer without emotions chills the readers’ soul. The lack feeling suggest that either the man/woman is a monster unable to express feelings or that he holds the victim in massive disregard. The power of the Frost transform heated motive to scary calm.

Play with Frost next time you want to add emotion to a section.

It’s More Than Pimples & Pizza

A thousand years ago we were teens. Time moved to slow and many of us just hoped to survive hormones. Our world was limited to the scope of school, parents and friends. Some of us faced the challenges of dysfunctional families or battled weight issues. Fast forward to present day, teens are far more complex and so is their literature.

It’s time to dive into the realm of young adult literature. Okay, you may be horrified by the prospect writing it. Be bold enough to read it. Start with the award winning Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. The book is set in the inner city, reflects on race relations and has banned by Texas school districts. Open the pages of  Gayle Forman’s I was Here. See the battle fought by people with mental illness and the devastation felt by their loved ones. Journey back in time to the flapper period in New York with Libba Bray’s Diviner series.  Allow her added theme of paranormal to give you goosebumps.

Young adult literature today is often brilliant, complex, gut wrenching and inspiring. It offers an enriching experience for not only the reader but also for writers. Dive in and learn why this is an expansive market. Discover the ways society has changed for youth and how they are trying to shift the negative tide.