Category Archives: Writing

Keep Clear of The Noise and Things May Just Happen

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There is a lot of noise we have to cut through in life.  I’ve learned that the hard way as a writer who spends hours questioning the way, doubting the self. Reading into the noise, the silence, the everything.

Yet, there’s little more fulfilling than seeing one’s creation — be it a song, a painting, a book — completed and out in the world. Still, remember the noise? It makes going back to a life we know much safer. But is it safer?

I’ve been submitting to publishing houses for over a year, with some breaks in between, and have gotten enough rejections to frame and decorate my house and the houses of a few family members. I’ve gotten some interest along the way, but nothing came to fruition.

Until last month, when the editor at Solstice Publishing said she found my mystery novel compelling and would be interested in discussing a contract.

I read said email twice, asked my husband to read it. Did it really say what I thought it said? Yes, the final consensus was, it did.

The contract arrived a few days later. And so the process began — reading the contract, researching the publisher a little more (as if the previous ten hours put into research weren’t enough), running said contract by a friend of a friend of a friend (working in a law office comes with certain perks — one knows enough lawyers), and finally signing the contract.

Now, I’ve been assigned a copy editor, while the editor-in-chief and I are discussing cover art, website, and all that comes with publication. And my head is still spinning.

This is a very first and shaky step. Sure, a step in the right direction, but still a very, very first step.

As you probably know, the publishing industry has changed a lot over the years, and making it out there, having your book read, is extremely hard. One has to cut through the noise I’ve mentioned earlier, multiplied by one million. But I’ll worry about that a tad later.  Have to see about copy-edits now.

On a different note, sorry I’ve been absent from blogging. Can’t wait to make my way to your blogs, and read, hopefully, that 2015 is treating you well thus far.

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Photo courtesy: mommasunshine.wordpress.com

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Book Trailer — Yakimali’s Gift by Linda Covella

A good movie trailer makes us want to see the movie. The same is true for a good book trailer — somewhat of a new medium for me, but certainly not a new publishing tool.

For that reason, I was excited to see the trailer for Yakimali’s Gift, a YA novel written by my friend Linda Covella.  (In 1775 Mexico, New Spain, Fernanda can’t seem to live up to her mother’s expectations. Half Spanish and half Pima Indian, she feels confined by the limited female roles of her culture…)

I came to know how talented a writer Linda is years ago, when we took a writing workshop together. Here is a quick look at her book through the trailer created by Tanya Watt.

For more, visit lindacovella.com

Breaking Into the Creative World

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So you’re really creative and looking to break into the creative/publishing world. Except everyone else is creative too, and they’re also working hard to build interest for their novels.

No question competition in any creative field is fierce. To make it more so, established writers lose their contracts time and again and go back searching for representation. Unlike doctors or lawyers, we’re not what the world calls proven commodities. We depend on our creativity, hard work, networking, and a lot of … luck. 

Yet, judging by articles penned by agents/editors, demand for extraordinary talent is higher than ever, and therein lies the paradox.

From agents’ perspectives (again, according to their blogs), there is a lot of mediocrity out there. It’s hard to find good writers, they say. Editors and agents send armies of interns into screening rooms, demanding they find the next Amazing Manuscript by the next Big Author. With thousands of queries sent out daily, that shouldn’t be hard to find, right? But it is.

Is lack of excellence the big problem? I can almost hear you say: if only it were that simple. But no, dear friends, the issue before us is more complicated.

For one, the agenting world depends on a lot of other things, such as: 1) connections at publishing houses, 2) the trending market, and 3) the business aspect of it all.

But the cited articles, you remind me, are about talent. So, then, absent name recognition is amazing talent the sole ingredient for success?

Maybe, and how does one define talent? Look at Fifty Shades of Grey — is it the product of exceptional talent? Whatever our take on FSG, the book is a huge success. Same with Twilight. What made those books attractive to agents and later colossal successes?

I wouldn’t know the answer to the first point, but here’s my guess as to the colossal-success point: word of mouth, or something, created immediate buzz, leading to sales. Maybe the agent anticipated it all, maybe not.  Irrespective of plans and expectations, something triggered that first important spark.

How in the world does one create buzz? This goes for self-published authors as well, because the major complaint I hear there is about dismal sales. Aside from talent, what does one do to stand out? I don’t know.

Of course, we can be creative for our enjoyment and not worry about this — which is what I’m doing now, just writing and editing, although plans change all the time. And when they will change, I’m sure the same questions will cross my mind.

What do you think? About any of it. (Rushing to my son’s open house at school, then back to chat with you and read you).

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Image courtesy: Breaking the Icewww.flickr.com

 

 

Too Beautiful To Work Here

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Where do writers get their ideas from? The popular answer seems to be “from everywhere.” How is that for clarity?

Neil Gaiman has an article on this topic, in which he says, “You get ideas from daydreaming. … from conversation. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”

What about the office, and ideas popping out of every conversation, meeting, happening? I think that’s what happened recently at my workplace.

A young, beautiful woman, came into our office for an interview and was rejected for being too good-looking.

Apparently, she met with two male partners, but after having encountered several female employees, after having been deemed too beautiful by said women — she’d be a distraction walking the hallways, exchanging meteorological information by the water cooler, and we don’t need disruptions, really — her resume didn’t make it to the right folder.

What about brainpower, you ask? In a law office aptitude is/should be the driving force behind hiring decisions.

Well, once she was called egregiously beautiful, once the hallways erupted with: She’d have all the men (or maybe it was said everyone) distracted from their work, the consideration stopped there. No male partner wished to hire or discuss this beautiful creature whom, even if good for the job, would damage the office psyche with all her … beauty.

Case closed.

Although the talk stopped almost after it started, for a little while the office was taken over by the one person who took the elevator to our floor, walked into our lobby, exchanged pleasantries with people in the waiting room, made her way down the hall to her interview, and created all the hoopla.

I couldn’t stop thinking: this would make a great story. Depending on the viewpoint, the hero may become the villain, or the anti-hero may take on the villain only to have the hero (heroine) come to the rescue, but wait … that’s all been planned by the hero and anti-hero to bring down the villain. Aha!

Okay, I haven’t considered the fine points, only looked at it as an intriguing story idea, especially since beauty is usually an asset, or at least not a drawback, in such a situation.

Feel free to brainstorm with me, tell me this is a bad idea, or share your experience.

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Image courtesy: kayfairey.com