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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

WRITING WISDOM for All Seasons

What is a Memoir?

What do YOU think?

Are they 
True Life Stories- Minus the Boring Parts!

A memoir is a narrative written from the author's perspective about particular facets of their own life. Nothing more complicated than that — so you can stop reading now if you like. But if you stick around, we’ll dive a little deeper.

Read the full nitty-gritty on  REEDSY




Scroll Down to read these 4 articles.

1- The Pathway to Writing Success.
From Published Writers.

2- Online Query Letter Information.

3- Hard-Earned Writing Wisdom


Some Agents and Publishers are Scammers!


The Pathway to Writing Success

Comments on how some writers found
their way to publication.

*Jane Yolen -
Some talent, a lot of perseverance, and a healthy dollop of luck.

*NancyCoffelt - 
I have taken classes, read books, visited websites and attended (and taught) my fair share of workshops. All of these things helped me be better informed but they weren't what made me a published author. Writing, writing often and writing about things that made me laugh, cry, and horribly irritable made me a published author. I didn't stick my big toe into the cold waters of the children's book world, I did a big old cannonball off the diving board.

The writing that I do is my commitment to myself. I know very well that everything that flies off my fingertips is not going to be published. Sometimes it's just practice but it is never a waste of time to spend energy mastering what you love. My 7th and 8th books will be out in 2006. I just sold another manuscript last week but I still receive rejection letters on a regular basis. These letters don't get me down at all. They are simply reminders that I am WORKING. Rejection isn't failure, quitting is. And that is the only no-no in writing that I can think of.
Happy perseverance!

*Cynthia Leitich Smith -
My background in journalism and law, the support of my author/husband and writing community, my "national" mentor Jane Kurtz, and a week-long class taught by author Kathi Appelt were the ingredients that led to my success.
I had always loved to write, but to me, "fiction writer" seemed like the job of a rich dead white guy from England. So as a first-generation college student, I majored in journalism, which taught me to write every day. Law school followed, and it nurtured both my confidence and my critical thinking skills. While these may have given me the necessary practical preparation, writing is still 90+% psychological. So, it was Greg and my writing buddies (locally, nationally, and online) who gave me constant encouragement each step of the way. Author Jane Kurtz "adopted" me early on, and introduced me to many more people, including a list serv of professional writers on which I met my dedicated agent. But the one experience I can set a finger on was a workshop led by Kathi Appelt at her father-in-law's ranch in Texas. I don't know exactly what it was--juggling scarves, writing to music, drinking margaritas on the back porch, but some time that week, I found my voice and a vision for my work. I hope this helps!

*Jackie Hosking -
Even though I would not consider myself to be an established children's writer, I am published. And the elements that I would consider to be most vital in my publishing success are networking; I write a monthly column on the subject for Marg McAlisters's I have also found that as a new writer I can trade my time for advice. A couple of years ago I offered my time to a very busy author. I helped her to research a project she was working on and in return, she helped me to cut through all the 'crap' (excuse the language)I cannot stress enough the importance of giving in order to receive. The more I gave, the more I received in return. New writers often think that they have nothing to offer. Not true. Market research is also extremely important and this is where networking is invaluable but again new writers cannot expect to be given such information for free. I think what separates a true professional from a hobbyist is their willingness to do the homework and to share what they learn with those who they hope will help them. The world of writing and publishing is enormous. We need to help each other. Networking and sharing are the key. I also edit a free online networking newsletter for Australian children's authors/illustrators. My mentor started it and I took it over when she became too busy. 
These are my thoughts on what helped me get published.

*Ann Herric - In writing, the number one rule for me has been perseverance. It takes perseverance to sit at a desk and write on a regular schedule until one day, lo and behold, there's a complete manuscript. It takes perseverance to rewrite and rewrite until that manuscript is polished to as close to perfection as possible. It takes perserverance to search for the right publisher. Too many writers, with good manuscripts, give up after submitting their work once or twice. Scour Writer's Market. Read The Writer and Writer's Digest for marketing news.

I sold my first two books to publishers who listed their current needs in the marketing news in Writer's Digest. I sold my next two books to a market I read about in a newsletter for writers of young adult books. I've joined several writing lists on the internet to keep in touch with current market needs. Currently, I have an editor interested in a manuscript. I'll keep my fingers crossed that she'll want to buy it, but meanwhile I will write and network and do market research. I will continue to persevere.

*Linda Singleton - My first sale was the result of hearing an author speak at a local writing workshop about her small publisher who was seeking light-hearted fiction. It took many submissions to this publisher and rewriting per editorial requests to make that sale. Nearly three years later I held my first book in my hands.
Selling that first book is hard. Continuing to sell can be harder. The key to staying published when editors changes, publishers fold and books go out of print is perseverance. Also, networking with other authors, joining writing groups and reading many books. Through tears, through smiles, you just keep trying. Never give up.

*Elizabeth O. Dulemba - It takes an unbudgeable determination to become a successful published writer. Motivational speakers say, "You have to believe in your dreams." It never occurred to me that some people don't, or that if I worked hard enough, I still might not succeed. I don't know how you achieve this mind-set, the mentality of a dog with a sock, but it is essential. For me, writing well is incredibly hard. Sure, I have lots of ideas, which I write down and then declare, "I have hung the moon!" But when it comes to prose others want to read, I have to knead, shape, and cut my words - my precious babies. It's a game. I take my idea, imagine it as a Rubix cube, turning it every which way until it comes out right. If you were as horrible as I was at Rubix cubes, you can relate to my frustration while making my words work. My husband has also been invaluable. He is not only supportive, but has the brain of an editor - a bonus discovered after I said, "I do."
He, above all else, has helped make my writing readable. My determination makes me take his advice, rework and revise, rather than quit.

*Susanna Reich - I was always a good writer but it took many years of just living my life before I felt I had something to say. I had two careers and a marriage and a child before I started to write. At first, I wrote to promote my business, but gradually I became more interested in writing for its own sake. I didn't care so much what I wrote--fiction or nonfiction, for adults or children--as long as I was writing. I joined SCBWI and started going to conferences and networking. I asked my local children's librarian what kind of books she needed. She said "biographies of women," so I wrote Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso. It sold within a year or two.

When I started working on my second book, a biography of the dancer and choreographer Jose Limon, I joined Margaret (Bunny) Gable's workshop at the New School in New York. For six years I went to that class every week and heard people's work read aloud. I found out what worked and what didn't work. I learned to listen for clarity of meaning, the right choice of words, strong characters, narrative tension. That's where I honed my craft.
Success is a tricky word. So many people define success as getting published. Getting published is thrilling, but more important is your commitment to writing. You have to see yourself as a professional. I sit down at my desk every morning and I stay there, whether I feel like it or not.

*Lea Wait -
By far the most important preparation I did for writing for children was focusing myself on what I wanted to do. First, I read books aimed at the level (middle readers) I wanted to write for. I read every Newbery winner, and a large assortment of other praised and valued books. Hundreds of books. I read books now considered classics; I read books that the Horn Book or Bank Street College's Children's Book Committee gave starred reviews. I found my own personal role models among those writers.
And then I wrote. And wrote again. And again. I edited on the computer and
on hard copies. I read chapters aloud -- many times. I thought back to the
books I'd most admired and asked what it was that made them special. I asked
the same of my own books. And then I shared my work with a small but professional critique group. Everyone else in my critique group wrote for adults; not children. But I firmly believe that the best writing for children can be enjoyed by adults,
too. My critique group helped. (And my books are now used in schools ...
and in adult literacy classes!) 
Basically, I studied and I analyzed, and I wrote until I'd found my own voice. And my 4th historical middle reader will be published by Margaret K.McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster) next year.

*Max Elliot Anderson - I didn't start out wanting to be a children's author. In fact, I fought hard not to. I had grown up as a reluctant reader, had a famous author father, and a number of other reasons not to try. Then some serious business reverses, due to 9/11 and its effect on my clients, made it clear that I had to do something. That was when I decided to do a little research into why I didn't like to read. I found some striking reasons. Then, in a sort of - find a need in the market and fill it - response, I began writing for other reluctant readers. I tried for several months to interest publishers but received mounds of rejections. Then two men, with twenty-five years of publishing experience between them, approached me. As a result, they formed a company specifically for the purpose of publishing my books.

But no matter how the process happens for each of us, there is no denying the importance of hard work, persistence, and turning out the best-finished product you possibly can. Even with all the rejections, I continued turning out manuscripts. Now, with 32 completed manuscripts, and 7 published books (in 18 months), the "real" work is in marketing, publicity, and getting the word out.


Query Letter Information

WRITING for Children's Book Fiction - "Musings" Archive for April 2003, by Margot Finke. Offers sample letter, great advice, plus links to other query information. - Cover and Query Letters, by Linda Arms White. Excerpts from her book. - Bud Thaler. One sample query letter.
DOS and DON'TS: How to Write the Perfect Query Letter, by Gail Eastwood. A short list, succinct and to the point.
Writers Write - "Writing a Query Letter That Sells," by Alex Keegan. Lots of pre and post query advice and personal thoughts. Also, a great sample query letter.
Charlotte Dillon's Author Page. This writer offers fine query insights, an excellent query sample, PLUS many links to sites and articles where you can learn more about the "Art of the Query Letter."

Great Books on Queries:
Bev Cooke recommends Stephen King's "On Writing" - it has a dynamite agent letter in the craft section of the book.

Galina recommends 1-"The Publishing Game: Find an Agent in 30 Days" by
Fern Reiss (website is
 ) 2 -"How to Write Irresistible Query Letters" by Lisa Collier Cool


Writing WISDOM

If a company is restricting what the author charges, then that author has picked a bad company and is giving up his right to decide on what he charges."

Also, POD means Print On Demand. It does NOT mean self-publishing. Education is needed for this growing industry. A self-published book might or might not be POD. Many authors go the self-publishing route with a small to medium print run of about 100 to 15,000 - yes, you got those numbers, one hundred to fifteen thousand. They can also do a short run of 20 or a large run of 30,000.

Writers must do their homework:
#1 - Research how to market.
#2 - Have your book edited professionally (not all self-publishing companies have good editors, though they might offer the service -- some do!).
#3 - Pay for a professional cover and interior design (which is available through these companies) that makes your book look great.

The bottom line: find the quality offers. There is dross in every field, but there are gems, too. In a developing industry like this one, it takes effort on your part.

#3 - Pay for a professional cover and interior design (which is available through these companies) that makes your book look great.

The bottom line: find the quality offers. There is dross in every field, but there are gems, too. In a developing industry like this one, it takes effort on your part.


Some Agents and publishers are Scammers!

Some Publishers and Agents are Crooks!
* Remember, Publishers and Agents are Supposed to PAY YOU!

There are a lot of so-called Literary Agents and Publishers out there panting to take your money. Does this sound familiar? They love your book, but it needs some editing, and they have just the editor for you - for an added fee. They quote you a publishing fee that makes your credit card cringe - yet every little thing they say your book needs adds on extra fees. They promise to make your book available in bookstores, Amazon, and large stores like K-Mart, etc - but no one can ever find them there.
When a publisher or an agent wants to charge you reading fees, or sends you to an editor they recommend, for a big-fee-edit, RED FLAG them. Do some serious research on the publisher or agent. This could save you a bunch of grief - not to mention money.
For Newcomers to Writing, it pays to understand that there is no fast and easy way to become a published author. Like any other profession, you have to spend time and effort in learning the craft of writing. Once you've mastered the basics, and had lots of writing practice, a little talent and luck can be helpful. The tools of the writing trade are not bestowed by a higher power, they are earned over a period of time by hard work. These scammers want you to think that they will publish anything you write and get national book chains to sell it. They prey on the dollar signs in a writers' eyes (false!), and their yearning to be published writers. 

DON'T fall for these smooth and smarmy promotions. Be a smart and savvy writer. Take a writing class if your grammar is wobbly, or it's been a long time since you took Miss Writerly's English class. Join a critique group that supports and encourages your desire to become published. Rewrite those stories and polish them until they are perfect. Then, buy the latest edition of Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market (CWIM), and SAFELY pick and choose from the many legitimate children's publishers and agents they list.

*PUBLISHERS: There are many honest vanity publishers and subsidy presses out there who will give you good value for your money. As long as you realize that YOU have to promote and sell your book, Print on Demand (POD), and other self-publishing methods ( Vanity Presses and Subsidy Presses) can work well for some people: but only if you do your homework, and choose honest and legitimate companies.

*AGENTS: Many agents are honest and dedicated to helping writers find good publishers. But an agent who wants a reading or an editing fee should raise an immediate RED FLAG. However, it is often difficult to tell the scam artists from the genuine thing. A fancy webpage, full of smooth and encouraging words, is a scammer's way of conning you into giving them your money. And don't let the words Christian Publisher fool you. Their websites will say whatever it takes to make you think they will publish your book, and live up to whatever is in the contract you signed. These contracts are worded in a skillful manner, so they are legal - barely! However, once you've handed over your money, you can whistle for their grand promises.

BELOW is a list of websites that explain the difference between a traditional publisher, a vanity press, POD, and a subsidy press. They offer insights on how to spot a scam and red flag it.

Victoria Strauss runs Writer Beware - Check her site for publishers and agents who are not legitimate. Read her articles: they are an eye-opener!
Predators and Editors Lists agents and publishers with recommendations.
THIS LINK explains the difference between the various types of publishers and how to spot the crooked ones.
Fiction Factor - Another article that tells a tale. . .
Making Light - Linguistics: How scammers use phrases that resonate


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