Tag Archives: publishing

Time Again

Time again for the Author’s Help Line. Yes, this Saturday at 11 o’clock a.m. Central Time, rain or shine, we are holding again the Author’s Help Line. It is a free conference call for any level of author to call in and pick our brains. (What little is left of them!) Any question big or small. Or if you are trying to get published and would like to pitch to us, come join us. We are always on the look out for new authors. If this is your first time pitching or even talking to us, don’t worry, we don’t bite. Besides it’s a phone call and we can’t reach you.

So join us. Here are the numbers to reach the conference call:
409-7seven7-nine thousand or if that won’t let you in, call
916-2 zero 9-4534
The access pin # is 2184987

Come join us for an hour of questions and answers. No questions is stupid, just unanswered.

Angela Abderhalden
Acquiring Editor, Seventh Wave Books, LLC
Author, Mel Addison Mystery Series
http://www.seventhwavebooks.com
seventhwavebooks@gmail.com

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Pitching (and I’m not talking a ball)

In my last blog I mentioned pitching to an editor/publisher. I also mentioned it during the Author’s Help Line. So here is a short take on pitching. I say short because there are books and whole conference sessions devoted to this. But this should at least wet your whistle on the topic.

Pitching is when you meet up with an editor/publisher and ‘pitch’ your book to them. In other words, you are telling them about your book. Here’s what a pitch is not… It is not giving them detailed, chapter by chapter action and twists. It is not detailing what lead you to write the manuscript. It is not rambling on about a minor or even major plot arc or character.

Your pitch should be short. Think of riding in an elevator and you find out that the person riding with you is an editor/publisher. He/she asks you what you book is about. You have just enough time for say two floors worth of summary. That is a pitch. For instance, here is the pitch for my next book coming out.

General fiction. It is a coming of age story set in WWII. When a German soldier finds his American cousin on the battlefield, what will happen?

What’s the old saying… leave them wanting more? I included the category since I wasn’t sure if we (the fictional editor/agent and I) had discussed genre. Does more happen in the story? Absolutely! But you have to boil the story down to one or two things. Some times it’s also called a tag line. Tag line? Think a movie poster. The most famous that I can think of is the movie Jaws. The original Jaws movie tag line was “Don’t go in the water”.

Now of course you want a range of pitches. If you can get our manuscript down to a one line, less than 25 words, a tag line… excellent. But getting it down to one or two sentences is usually short enough. Now you also need a longer pitch maybe a short, emphasis on short, paragraph. Then you want to develop a slightly longer pitch of maybe a couple of paragraphs.

And practice, practice, practice! You want this to be so second nature that you could do it in your sleep. Because when that time comes, it may be at the most unexpected time. Be a boy scout. Always be prepared. And if you are going to a writing conference where you know there will be editors/agents/publishers, you need to be gold on your pitch.

Now when you get into that situation when you gave your one/two line pitch and the editor/agent is intrigued and asks for more… Jackpot! Congratulations you are more than half way there!

Now is the time to give more details… but do not bore them with too many. If you see their eyes glaze over, you’ve lost them. Don’t get caught up in the minutia. Keep the story to the main character and main plot… oh and yes, you must tell them the ending.

Lastly, let your enthusiasm for your story show through when you pitch. Remember the editor/agent/publisher is not just publishing your manuscript, they are entering into a business deal with you! They have to see that you are excited by your own book and love your own book. Make them catch onto your excitement.

If you’re at this stage and want to learn more about pitching… go to your local library or visit your local bookstore and pick up one of the many books on the topic. They will go into so must more detail than I have space for here.

Stay tuned.

Angela Abderhalden
Acquiring Editor, Seventh Wave Books, LLC
Author of the Mel Addison Mystery Series
http://www.seventhwavebooks.com
seventhwavebooks@gmail.com

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Got Questions?

Got questions about writing?
Got questions about editing?
Got questions about the publishing world?
Wanna pitch your book to a publisher looking for new authors?
Do you have questions about book covers?
Ebooks and e-publishing?
A fan of our books?
Bored and have an hour to waste?
Just enjoy talking on your phone?

Well, come join us this Saturday (tomorrow), for a question and answer period of about one hour. It’s a free conference call to ask us here at Seventh Wave Books any questions you might have. We might just have the answer.

We’ll start at 11 am central time. Here is the number to call – 4 zero nine- 777- nine thousand or the alternate number at 916- two zero nine- 4534. It will ask for a pin number and here it is… 218 four 987 That’s all you need.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Stay tuned….

Angela Abderhalden
Acquiring Editor, Seventh Wave Books, LLC
Author of the Mel Addison Mystery Series
http://www.seventhwavebooks.com
seventhwavebooks@gmail.com

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Question?

Do you have a burning question about writing but were afraid to ask or didn’t know anyone to ask? This Saturday, the fourth Saturday of every month, Seventh Wave Books sponsors the Author Help Line for this very reason. We are there to answer any of your questions about writing , publishing, and the answer to life itself. Yeah, the last one we’re a little shaky on.

Free. All you need to do is to email me at seventhwavebooks@gmail.com and I’ll send you the phone number to the conference call and the access pin to get join us. Again it’s free. How many truly free things are there left in the world?

Ask any question. There are no dumb questions. Seriously. And if you are looking for a publisher, join us and pitch to us over the phone. You never know what will happen. We are needing new authors and love working with first time ones. Ask Guy Gertsch and soon to be published Alicia Sheehy, both first time authors. We love first time authors.

And just to round out this blog… From the Business Insider via Publisher’s Weekly… Some interesting facts about Amazon.com you might not know….
1. Amazon.com was almost called Cadabra as in Abracadabra.
2. The name was chosen for two reasons… one the suggest scale- Earth’s biggest bookstore and back then websites were listed alphabetically.
3. Amazon’s warehouses have more square footage than 700 Madison Square Gardens and could hold more water than 10,000 Olympic pools.
4. The first book sold by Amazon.com was Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought.
5. Amazon’s current logo was designed to depict a smile that goes from A to Z. “This signifies that the company is willing to deliver everything to everyone anywhere in the world.”
6. Amazon.com employees spend two days every two years working at the customer service desk, even the CEO.
7. Last year when Amazon website went down for 49 minutes, the company missed sales of nearly 5.7 million dollars.

Wow. Who knew? Anyway, join us at the Author’s Help Line this coming Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 11:00 am Central Time. All you need to do is email me at the above address and get the number and access pin. Free. Ask your questions. Bring it on.

Stay tuned.

Angela Abderhalden
Acquiring Editor, Seventh Wave Books, LLC
Author of the Mel Addison Mystery Series
http://www.seventhwavebooks.com
seventhwavebooks@gmail.com

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Confession on Exposition

I have to confess to the world the hardest part of writing to me… exposition. Description of places, buildings, areas, anything that doesn’t deal directly with the plot of characters. I just don’t like doing it. Why? I have no idea. I understand that it has to be there. I’ve read tons of books and sat in on lots of lectures at conferences about it. It just doesn’t come easy for me.

I don’t even like to read a lot of description. I remember the first time I actually recognized my ‘non-love’ of exposition. I was already several years in to being a beginning writer and my inner editor was occasionally appearing when I would read other author’s books. I was reading a Sue Grafton book, one of her alphabet series murder mysteries. Kinsey was travelling through the desert in her VW. For two pages or more, Grafton described the desert. I was so bored and wondered why she had spent so much time on this description. I skimmed the pages and later wondered why. So I reread it. To me, it was over kill. Tell me she is in the desert. Give me a short description of it if necessary or if anything is needed for the plot or will make a statement on the character. Tell me it’s hot. I know what the desert is… and move on.

I realize that in some genres, the setting is a character itself. Like paranormal. Using description sets the stage and gets the reader in the spooky mood. Horror and science fiction are the same way. I get it. But in other genre’s, like murder mysteries, some of the descriptions of places are not as necessary to draw out, for instance an interrogation room in a police station. Everyone knows what they look like from watching TV. And yes, usually TV doesn’t get it right. (That’s true for a lot of things in Law and Order type shows… and the cops are happy about it too. Makes the criminals make stupid mistakes!) Anyway, a few sentences is all it takes to describe the room. Boom. Done. Move on.

Is description necessary? Absolutely! Of course it is necessary. Stories would be really stupid without it. But too much is … well, just too much. Here is how I write it. (And again, remember this is not my favorite thing to write.)

My first draft contains very little description. Maybe a line that says … they walked into an interrogation room. I move on. The second draft I will add a little more but I am still concentrating on plot, character development, red herrings (murder mysteries, remember), etc. On the third or later drafts I actually begin thinking of how my description needs to fit into the story. This is where I do the work of fleshing out the description. After that I usually hear from my editor that I need to add more. So I do so then. Finally it’s done.

Now this is how it goes for me. You may be the complete opposite. I have a writer friend that writes excellent exposition. I mean awesome description. She writers paranormal and we usually have to pare her stuff down a little bit (not much but some). The bottom line here is you need to find the best way to write for you. Each and every writer writes differently. Just remember to not use so much description that it pulls the reader away from the story. It’s a balancing act and that is what makes writing an art!

Stay tuned.

Check out our newest author—Guy Gertsch and his book A Mississippi Immortal in Europe. When the Grouch, who lives in a cottage behind his daughter’s house, wakes up one morning, he believes he’s Tom Sawyer. There is a renewed excitement in his life as he discovers Europe through Mark Twain’s eyes, following in the same path that Twain took while writing The Innocents Abroad. Each step is one of self discovery and adventure believing those he runs into are straight out of the fun filled characters like Becky, Huck, Aunt Polly and more. On his travels, he begins to question his ‘immortality’ as a story book character. Can ‘Tom’ remain immortal? Or will ‘Tom’ find something during his adventures that will allow him to return to his normal life, now happy and content?

Angela Abderhalden
Author of the Mel Addison Mystery Series
Acquiring Editor, Seventh Wave Books, LLC
http://www.seventhwavebooks.com
seventhwavebooks@gmail.com

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Read It!

I recently was editing a manuscript and came across some dialog that just didn’t work. It was written well and correct but something was nagging at me that it felt wrong. So what I did was to print it out on paper. I try to always edit everything in at least two different formats. I’ll see things on paper that I didn’t see when I was editing on the computer. Yes, I run through a lot of paper that way, but I find it the best way to edit. (And I get a lot of scrap paper that way too. Come to think of it… way too much scrap paper. But that is another topic.)

After letting it sit a day or two, I went back to the piece of dialog and read it again. Something was still bothering me about this part of the manuscript. So I next did something that I would suggest all beginning writers do. I read it out loud.

The written word and the spoken word are two whole different monsters. But in this instance the spoken word, simulated dialog in the manuscript, was the best way to edit the scene. You see in my mind’s eye, and in that of the reader’s, the dialog has to be real. After I read the dialog out loud, it was very obvious what was wrong. In this case it was just two words. When I re-read the part out loud with the fix it sounded smoother… more normal. Real.

I actually read a lot of my manuscripts out loud. It seems weird to sit in a room by yourself reading out loud, but it works. My family has gotten so used to it that they ignore me now, but it wasn’t that way a long time ago. So you might have to warn the people in your family or even better yet, make it a fun family event. Read the whole story to them. As you read if you find places that don’t read well or have issues mark them as you read. Then come back to them later and fix them. Not only will your writing improve but it will bring the family together.

Oh, and don’t forget the free conference call we do the last Saturday of each month. It last around an hour. We do a short presentation of about ten minutes, then we answer questions. This month we’ll have two editors, three authors and our cover artist. Come join us and pick our brains, what little of them is left! Just email at the address below for the phone # and access pin #.

Stay tuned…

Angela Abderhalden
Author of the Mel Addison Mystery Series
Acquiring Editor, Seventh Wave Books, LLC
http://www.seventhwavebooks.com
seventhwavebooks@gmail.com

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Best and Better

This blog’s topic is one that I’ve touched on before but it is so important that I want to address is again. In my mundane job, you know the one that I have to work to pay the rent and put food on the table, we have a saying or motto… Today I did my best, but tomorrow I will do better.

I was thinking about that as I waited for another call (yes, I work in a call center), and I thought how appropriate that is for writers too. When I write today I do the best I can, but I always need to improve myself. Always. Learning is so important in this business.

Although the ‘art’ of writing hasn’t changed in centuries, after all we’ve been putting words on paper for years, the way that we form words, sentences, paragraphs, and manuscripts have change and continue to change. We no longer write like we did in the 1800’s, nor in the 1960’s. We write faster, meaning the action moves faster. Competing with all the other media in our life is the main cause of that.

But the bigger aspect of this topic is the major changes going on in the industry. Who would have thought twenty years ago that you could walk around with one device that holds more than 250 books! Who would have thought 10 years ago the explosion of the digital/ebook era would have been possible.

I recently went to a workshop for writers in my hometown, when the presenter was an older gentleman. While very knowledgeable about the craft, he was totally off about submitting to agents/editors. I hated continually correcting him but he was talking to a bunch of new writers and they needed to know the truth. He was very uncomfortable with ebooks and e-publishing.

I’m not saying that you have to be the expert in all things happening but you at least need to stay on top of the trends. For instance, he also talked about marketing your book after publication. He was literally stuck in the 70’s for that. When I mentioned social media, he again didn’t really know what I was talking about.

So again I’m not saying you have to be a social media busy bee, but at least know of the changes. To this day I have not gotten into Twitter. I know I should, I just haven’t. Maybe tomorrow. So the idea behind this blog, is don’t hide in your writing room and only write. You also need to stay abreast of the world and technology. Because when you do get published, you’re going to need to market your work. And what worked ten years ago, will not work today. For that matter, as fast as things are moving today… what worked today, may not work tomorrow!

Stay tuned….

Angela Abderhalden
Acquiring Editor
Seventh Wave Books, LLC
http://www.seventhwavebooks.com
seventhwavebooks@gmail.com

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