Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm Holding It in My Hands!

A nice surprise came in the mail today---the anthology of first-year-teacher stories, one of which is mine! (My First Year in the Classroom: 50 Stories That Celebrate the Good, the Bad, and Most Unforgettable Moments, edited by Stephen D. Rogers, published by Adams Media) I had received my check several weeks ago, but there had been no mention of a complimentary copy, so I was especially delighted!

The accompanying letter said that I could order "author" copies at a 50% discount, so I'll be placing an order tomorrow!

And the next time I'm in town, you can bet I'll be trolling the bookstores to see if it's on the shelf yet!

:D (I think that's supposed to be a BIG smile, though slightly skewed!)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Helping Hand

A great deal of research went into writing Finding Papa's Shining Star, and as I began edits, I wanted to be sure that I hadn't misinterpreted or misstated anything. So I began to look for someone who would share their first-hand knowledge of the Jewish faith/tradition/history. As my history professors stressed, primary sources are always the best.

After hitting a dead end with the first couple of attempts, another WRP author gave me the name of author Tarah Scott, who graciously agreed to answer my questions. I emailed them to her and told her to respond at HER convenience. Her thorough answers were back in my inbox the next morning! Not only did she answer my questions, but she to the time to expand on several points. Basically, my research was validated (a huge relief), and I also learned a great deal more.

So I wanted to say a public "thank you" on my blog this morning and encourage you to check out her website.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Published or Not?

Lately I've become aware of a disturbing debate: Is a piece of writing placed on one's blog, website, or in an online forum considered published and therefore ineligible for submission to a contest or a publisher whose guidelines clearly state, "No previously published work"? If an author retains copyright to the piece, must it then be submitted ever after only as a reprint?

Now, I have no basis for an opinion on the topic, being a newbie to publishing, but it does concern me. One opinion I've read says that what is published on a forum could be considered a draft, which could then be revised and submitted for publication. I've had two short stories published online in two separate ezines, and I do consider those published since they were intended for the general public. "The Kate Chronicles" are currently being serialized in one of these ezines. I'm good with submitting all those elsewhere (maybe) as reprints.

There are, however, many writing forums out there which offer the opportunity to upload material for critiques. I was on the point of joining one when I received my first contract from TWRP, and I decided against it. However, I wonder if the writers who do join this type of forum consider that it might be detrimental to future (print) publication?

I don't think it's a legal issue except in the sense that anyone submitting work would need to be up-front about the fact that it's previously been online. But it's something to think about for anyone considering any type of publication for pay or for the "clip".

Is published published? Or are there exceptions in the writing world? It's something to think seriously about before hitting send.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Edits

Today I finished the edits on Finding Papa's Shining Star. But it is NOT celebration time. No, I just finished going through the entire ms ONE time, taking note of editorial comments, making changes where requested, etc. It is not over. No, I must start over again with page one and go through it yet again. And when that is done, I'll do it at least one more time. Only then will it go back to the editor.

Then, of course, it will come back to me for the second round of edits and then again in galley form. I wonder if Charlotte Bronte or Jane Austen or Charles Dickens ever wondered WHY they chose to write. . .

I'm joking, of course. The reasons for writing are as varied as the world's authors. The common thread is that we write first and foremost because we want to do it.

So, am I a writer or just someone playing at being one? If the amount of time and work count at all, then I've paid my dues. . .I think. Actually, I'm of the school that says anyone who writes IS a writer!

And this is only the beginning. Developing a workable (and hopefully profitable) marketing plan looms on the horizon. I look at it this way: it's all a learning process, and when we stop learning, we stop living.

I think I'll hang around a bit longer.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Edits

Can I just say that edits are hard work, back-breaking toil, relentless labor. . .?

Um, yes, I'm deep into edits for Finding Papa's Shining Star. Fortunately, my excellent editor's comments and corrections are, as usual, right on the mark. That does not, however, absolve me from the necessity to explain, expand, rewrite, and generally tidy up.

They're going slow, these abhorrent edits. I learned the hard way with the edits for Where Is Papa's Shining Star? that they are not to be rushed--else the galleys will be one's worst nightmare (and they were).

So, I plod on, chapter by chapter. By the time I have finished, re-read, re-edited, re-read. . .well, you get the picture. . .I will be so bored with the story that I will feel that surely, surely no one will ever want to buy it and read it!

Did I REALLY want to do this?

You betcha!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ya Gotta Keep on Learning!

First-round edits are in for Finding Papa's Shining Star. So far, I've read through all of the editor's comments and found them, as usual, right on the mark, and I've done two chapters of actual edits.

One of the things I learned from the first book was that I did the edits too quickly, so when the galleys came back, I had a lot of corrections to make! This time, with the editor's encouragement and permission, I'm taking things very slowly!

Writing, like anything else, is a learning process. I suppose no one every learns/knows it all. It is also an exciting process for someone who likes to learn new things and see something bad show improvement---and something good get even better!

I've also learned that first drafts are only a way to get the story on paper (computer!). The real writing comes after that. Dancing with Velvet has been revised at least three times, but it is still sitting in my computer, "ripening" like cheese, and "aging" like wine. After another revision or two, it might be ready to submit!

Still waiting to hear about Miss Fanny. The timeline for a verdict was 7-9 weeks, so the end of this month might bring good (or bad) news.

And I came home to a nice check for the story coming out in the anthology due for release August 18.So--it's all good--and I am more than grateful for the chance to make my dreams come true.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Down to Business

With the release of Where Is Papa's Shining Star? coming up (I should have a date soon), it is time to get down to business and establish an online platform to market the book, its sequel, and--hopefully--future books. I've been doing a lot of research about marketing and have taken the first step by setting up a second blog, also known as The Word Place, at Wordpress.

I intend to keep this blog where I can review book, pass on helpful resources for writing, and just chat about writing in general. Some of that information will also be posted on the second blog.

Next, I need to set up another page on Facebook (per my daughter-in-law) who does marketing via the web.

Hope Clark's recent newsletter advertised a free download for author 2.0, an excellent collection of online marketing ideas. It's worth checking out! I also downloaded her ebook The Shy Writer, for like Dorothy's Cowardly Lion, I need some courage! Everything I read says that writing the book is only the beginning!

Bottom line is that I will be using the second blog for marketing. This one is still for cozy chats among friends!

Friday, July 3, 2009

What About Writing Conferences?

This month's issue of The Writer gives some pertinent tips on choosing a writing conference. The questions to be asked as one is considered encompass the admissions policy--"open" indicating that it is new-writer friendly, the credentials of the speakers/workshop leaders, the number of people expected to attend, the purpose and focus of the workshops and whether they encompass multiple or specialized genres, and the obvious considerations of when and where the conference is being held.

The question, "Why do I want to attend?" might be the most important of all---and congruently, "What are the advantages to me as a writer?"

I've never attended a writers conference before, but I'm beginning to think that perhaps I should expand my horizons by "mingling" with others who love the same thing. I need a conference that (1) will not break my bank and (2) will provide value for what I do invest. This afternoon I ran across one that just might fit the bill.

Meanwhile, here is a link to Shaw Guides, a free online listing of conferences and workshops.