Hot Links

Man sunbathingWell, not so hot around where I live, after being nearly washed away by a month’s worth of rain falling in two hours. But that’s the British summer for you. Let’s pretend we’ve actually got weather suitable for July and check out some hot links for the beach!

6 reasons why editors will reject you

Chris Pavone on six ways you can make editors toss your book on the No pile. And possibly even the “Oh, hell, no!” pile.

Before I wrote my first novel, The Expats, I spent nearly two decades at various arms of publishing houses such as Random House, Workman, and HarperCollins, mostly as an acquisitions editor. But a more accurate title for that job might be rejection editor: while I acquired maybe a dozen projects per year, I’d reject hundreds upon hundreds. And while it may not be possible to pinpoint what exactly makes for a great manuscript or submission, it’s pretty easy to identify some of the avoidable mistakes that can virtually guarantee your project will get relegated to the circular file.

Pitching in those Agent/Editor Appointments
Agent Rachelle Gardener on one way writers can go wrong pitching to agents or editors by not giving them the story of their book.

One thing I’ve noticed lately in fiction pitches – verbal pitches or queries – is that some writers want to tell all about the theme  or the emotional journey of the story, but they have a hard time conveying the actual story.

“My book is suitable for children of all ages”
Nicola Morgan on why this is the worst possible claim to make when pitching or querying a children’s book.

The main problem with this claim is that it tells the agent or publisher nothing about your book. It’s a woolly statement, which indicates your lack of knowledge about your genre or intended age group and pretty much everything to do with children’s writing.

Rhino Skin

Kit Shannon talks about that characteristic a writer needs to cultivate – thick skin, so that they won’t let setbacks and knockbacks destroy them.

But you have to be prepared for the slings and arrows of the writing life. These may come in the form of rejection letters, bad reviews, angry reader e-mails,  personal jabs from a family member, or any  number of other places.
To survive, you need to develop Rhino skin. You need an outer armor that takes the hits but doesn’t stop you. Here’s how you get it:

The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar
Nuggets of wisdom about storytelling, compiled by storyboard artist Emma Coats from her time at the Pixar animation stutio.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

When I bought your book, I didn’t sign up to be your beta reader
The Vacuous Minx blog on self-publishing not quite finished books.

BUT. But. Not every reader is interested in keeping track of the changes an author decides to make to an already published book. The author made choices and then published the book based on those choices. An author decides to put out a version with better proofreading? Fine. But putting out a version with storyline changes? New material? WTF?

Two things to leave out of your query

Racelle Gardener on two things agents would be glad never to see in query letters again.

Too many people say these things in their queries, so they always sound cliché. No matter how true these statements are for you, they’ll only bring your query down. Leave them out.

Ten Reasons Why I’ll Quickly Reject Your Story
Dave Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants discusses the ways to get a story rejected on page one.

2) The story is unbelievable. “Johnny Verve was the smartest kid on earth, and he was only six. He was strongest one, and the most handsome, too. But the coolest part was when he found out he had magical powers!” At that point, I’m gone, and not just because there were four uses of “was” in three sentences. 

Covering letters / query letters / submission letters

Nicola Morgan with some plain and simple bullet point advice about what and what not to put in a query letter.

Many of you have heard this advice over and over again, so I apologise, but you wouldn’t believe how many writers are still pitching in eye-rolling ways to agents and publishers, still clearly never having bothered to discover this very available and consistent advice.

What He Says… M/M Romance vs Gay Romance

Male writers in the genre on the question of M/M Romance vs Gay Romance – is there a difference?

As another difference, I think a contemporary story where anti-gay discrimination doesn’t exist at all isn’t very believable to a gay male reader. I’ve read some books where I just can’t buy into the story because everything is too unrealistically easy for the characters. But the contemporary M/M romances with nearly all-gay casts and no hint of discrimination seem to have large followings.
~ Charles Edward

Happy July! More links in August! But between now and then should be a report on my first ever Romantic Novelist’s Association conference and an announcement on the release day of Lashings of Sauce.

5 thoughts on “Hot Links

  1. Intend to explore all of these – but the one that immediately caught my attention was the Vacuous Minx link. I couldn’t believe it when not one, but several self-publishers spoke very matter-of-factly about revising their already published novels. Editing is bad enough (like, do it right the first time, dude!) but to actually revise it? Unless it was a freebie, who wants to pay even 99 cents for a book the author hasn’t finished? Good God…

    1. I know! It’s one thing to go back several years later and create a revised version – very clearly labelled as such! But the original version should have been as finished and as good as the writer could make it at the time.

  2. Great set of resources, Becky. The “beta reader” thing in particular resonated with me. I’ve read books by a couple of indie authors who later asked me to re-download the “new version” or the “2.0” of their novel… thereby guaranteeing I’ll never seek out their work again. Finish it or don’t publish. I’m really picky about that.

  3. It’s down to impatience I think – which is one reason some people self-publish in the first place I think. They’re not prepared for how long the whole writing game takes.

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