Friday, October 21, 2011
Giveaway and Guest Blog by Author Devyn Dawson
Hi Aubrey! Thank you so much for having me guest post today.
Every time I’m invited to do a guest post, I always wonder to myself what to talk about. Should I talk about my book? I could talk about me, but you’d die of boredom. I can tell you my writing process, it isn’t all that interesting. Should I be funny? Should I be serious? The answer to that is h to the e to the double l no. How about every single mistake I made after I finished my book? I think that shall be our subject - how Devyn screwed up. Grab a cup of coffee, pen, and paper and doodle….no don’t doodle, learn from my mistakes.
1. You’ve finished your manuscript of 130K words (mine was 98K) and you want to send query letters. No, no, no little love….now is the time to go through it and edit it down. Honestly if you have intentions of going the agent route, they pretty much hate anything over 100K . Yes, I know, every single word came from your imagination and you love those scenes. That is wonderful if you’re JK Rowling but as no-name wet behind the ears writer they will put you in the dreaded slush pile. Trust me, your editor won’t fix all those mistakes and we all make mistakes. Make sure your tense is correct. Are you writing from first person? Make sure you keep it that way throughout the story. Tense is my enemy, we all have something that is our nemesis….recognize it and conquer it.
2. If you haven’t let people read it, you are asking for trouble. I have a group of people that I call my Lovies. The group started out with closest friends, it expanded to a couple of people online. And yes, we all are worried someone will steal our MS - honestly, yes there are crooked people out there. Ask other writers if their critique group would be interested in looking over a few chapters. I was in Petsmart talking with the manager and she loves Twilight, I asked her if she would be interested in reading my story. She did! I made a new friend and got great feedback. Don’t query without testing out your genre. If your book is YA supernatural, don’t give it to grandma that reads Amish fiction. My son is 17 and his friends that are girls read my story - they loved it. You can’t trust that though, some are overly excited to read a MS that may one day be a book. Ask them about the plot, did they get it? Facebook has a lot of groups for writers - join them. I did not use FB as a tool - I should have. I would have had a greater understanding.
3. Social Network - SOCIAL NETWORK. I did not do as much as I should have. Get on Goodreads and join some groups - see what people are saying about the market. I only have experience with YA books so they are my go to genre. I had a Twitter account but found it stupid. I didn’t have guidance from another writer at the time, which was dumb on my part. Find a new author that recently got published in your genre, now follow them on Twitter. If they don’t have a lot of followers, find another author to follow. Now go follow their people. Yes, a little stalker-ish, but that is the way to learn what is going on. Look at their profile before you follow - if you’re writing a nice sweet Christian fiction story you want to find people that say things like - Love church with my kids - or their favorite books are in your genre. You might not get too far if you’re following IhateLifeandallthingsgood . Twitter has a jail though, if you add too many people (google the amount you can friend in a day) - I think 300 people a day, you go to Twitter Jail for a few days. I didn’t know the rule and went to jail for 24 hours. Boo hiss!
4. Your story is finished, your friends and critique group has read it and think it is good…now it is time to seriously edit it. Edit - Edit - Edit. Revisions are necessary. Hire an editor - there are a lot of freelance editors. Ask to see a sample of their work. When you get it back - time to edit some more.
5. Time to write a query letter. I was very lucky that a brand new author that just got picked up and her book came out this summer; she sent me a copy of hers. She also sent me the most important tool anyone could ask for. She made a spreadsheet with the following information.
AGENT AGENCY EMAIL SAMPLE YES OR NO RESPONSE TIME REQUIREMENT MAILED OR EMAILED DATE ACCEPT OR REQUEST FULL OR PARTIAL REJECT
She had done all of the hard work, luckily for me, she wrote the same genre as I do and the query information would be the same. Some agents require a synopsis, which was incredibly hard for me. Before you query an agent - study them. What books do they rep? Do they hate supernatural? Are they burned out on a certain subject. Do they require you to do 17 cartwheels first? Do they have a ‘tips’ tab on their site? If they do, I highly recommend you to check it out BEFORE sending a query. I was rejected, my MS was requested either a partial or full MS 5 times.
6. How I ended up going Indie. My rejections that were personalized, told me that it wasn’t the quality of my work, it was the market is overwhelmed with werewolf stories. I agree. I also know that teen books about supernatural beings are in high demand (I work in a bookstore). I felt my book was relevant right now. I researched E-books until I decided to publish it myself. Honestly, I’ve never been so scared in my life. What if everyone hates it? What if my story sucks and no one wants to hurt my feelings. I bit the bullet and I’m astonishingly humbled by the reviews and response.
7. Before I hock my book to you, I need to give you one more piece of advice. If you decide to go Indie, make sure your cover is relevant. Go to bookstores and take a look at what books catch your eyes. If you’re writing a book about ice-skating, you might want to avoid a bloody massacre on the cover. People DO JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER! Sorry, it is true. My first cover, though gorgeous with tons of talent, it wasn’t quite right. I changed the cover and sales sky rocketed. So I don’t have to do a number 8, here are some more pointers. Make friends with book bloggers - they are the root of Indie books. Without people blogging and telling their followers about your book and writing reviews it is a tough market. Don’t even begin to think you put it online and it magically sells - it doesn’t. Make a book trailer and tweet about it. Do blog tours, get followers and most of all - be thankful for their time. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to be able to share with you my walk to the Indie side.
If you are interested in my spreadsheet with all the agent information - email me devyndawson (at) yahoo (dot) com and I’ll email it to you.
And now for Devyn's awesome book:
Hock my book time.
If you’d like to hear more about The Legacy of Kilkenny, please visit www.devyndawson.com and like me of Facebook
The Legacy of Kilkenny book trailer
GIVEAWAY TIME!! WOO HOO!
1st place The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe & 1 e-copy of The Legacy of Kilkenny
2nd place 1 e-copy of The Legacy of Kilkenny
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