Linking into Spring

Is it spring yet? If not, why not? Okay, it’s still pretty nippy here, so cuddle up in your thermals and check out some links.

Fatal Submission Mistakes
Writers worry they’re going to ruin their chances before their books are even read. Wendy Lawton on Books and Such discusses how some fatal mistakes are not as fatal as you think. Take her quiz to find out which is which!

1) At a writer’s conference you pitched your book to an agent who seemed very interested. She handed you her business card and asked you to send the proposal and first three chapters. The trouble is, you learned so much at the conference you wanted to make changes before you sent it. How time flies while fiddling with a manuscript. It’s now nearly a year later, you’re heading to the conference again and chances are that agent may see you even though you plan to avoid her at all costs. Fatal submission mistake? Yes or No

When Publishers Fail: publishing and author service
K.J. Charles talks about when publishers fall down on one of the biggest parts of their job – editing your book to be the best it can be.

Now, if you’re self published and you decide not to use an editor, that’s your business decision. But if you’re with a publisher who doesn’t edit–if they make the business decision to put out your book in poor shape because they don’t know or care that it should be better, if their imprimatur is not a guarantee of anything like quality, if their editing is no better than you’d get from your mate who reads lots of books, if bloggers and readers are looking at your book and saying, Meh…remind me why you’re handing over 60% net receipts again?

How to Pull Off a Killer Blog Tour
Josh Lanyon on the Not Your Usual Suspects blog with some fresh ideas about blog tours.

And special is the antithesis of what we typically see these days. There are more tours than ever, and they are getting longer than ever, the prizes are getting bigger than ever — and readers are more bored than ever.


The point of a blog tour is to interest readers, to excite them, to stimulate them into buying our books. But routine is not interesting. Common is not exciting. Average is not stimulating.

The 10 REAL Reasons Your Book Was Rejected: A Big 5 Editor Tells All
Ruth Harris guest on Anne R. ALlen’s blog talking about how rejection isn’t always about the quality of a book.

Rejections come for unexpected reasons: True Story #1

Way back when I was a child working at Bantam, a would-be author showed up at the office, his ms. in hand. As the least important, most expendable (what if this guy turns out to be a nut and has a gun?) warm body on the staff, I was sent out to Reception to find out what he was offering. Shook hands, introduced myself, he yackety-yacked, blabbity-blabbed about his masterpiece. Then he opened the ms. box to show me his jewel and a cockroach jumped out. True story. Ms. rejected. Politely, I’m proud to say.

Is Your Writing Routine Effective?
In the end, you’ve gotta sit down and write and get those words out. Tracy Collins in her first post at Romance University blog asks if you’re making the best use of your time.

Ask any writer about the biggest challenge they’ve faced and chances are the answer will have to do with the lack of organization. There are so many time wasters and temptations to procrastinate, especially when you’re writing with no deadline. What is more, nobody can help you be more organized and productive. Writing is something usually done alone, so it requires lots of self-discipline and self-motivation. That’s why establishing the right working routine is important for writers to increase productivity overall, and also for those who want to improve their writing skills.

Are You Being Too Much of a Control Freak About Your Characters?
Oh my god, those pesky characters, going their own way, acting like they make the rules! You have to get them under control – or do you? Peter J Story wants you to give them some freedom.

Naturally though, a living, breathing character must come complete with his own personality and will. You might have plans for your character, but as the story develops, he may let you know he has other ideas. That’s a very clear turning point for any author: do you corral your character, or do you let him loose on the world? Taking the second path can dramatically change your whole story for the better.

My Book is My Baby! (Now pass me the wet wipes.)
KJ Charles on why your book is not your baby and doesn’t need to be protected like an infant.

This metaphor is of course very easy to mock. Thus: I don’t put my baby up for sale on Amazon; I don’t think a poorly baby can be made better by cutting 20% of its length; it is not good practice to put a misbehaving baby in a drawer and forget about it for six months. Et cetera. You can entertain yourself with this on Twitter for hours. But there is a serious reason why this is a bad metaphor, which is worth looking at in depth.

An Open Letter To That Ex-MFA Creative Writing Teacher Dude
Chuck Wendig is pretty furious, and as sweary as usual, about an article causing some controversy.

This is one of the worst, most toxic memes that exists when it comes to writers. That somehow, we slide out of the womb with a fountain pen in our mucus-slick hands, a bestseller gleam in our rheumy eyes. We like to believe in talent, as if it’s a definable thing — as if, like with the retconned Jedi, we can just take a blood test and look for literary Midichlorians to chart your authorial potential. Is talent real? Some genetic quirk that makes us good at one thing, bad at another? Don’t know, don’t care.

Don’t shame M/M Readers
Cardeno C about shaming readers of m/m and romance.

Why am I writing this in a blog? Because today I read something that made me angry. It was an opinion about “women” who write M/M. Now, apart from generalising with their huge, broad brush there about allwomen who write M/M, this person pushed some buttons with me.

How To Make The Most Out Of A Writing Critique: Ten Tips
Chuck Wendig on critique and what it can do for you.

When I say, you have to make the most out of these critiques, I don’t mean emotionally. Receiving critique for me is — emotionally! — like being a trashcan full of old liquor bottles set on fire. Flames. Lots of fumes. A great deal of shattering. Black, heinous smoke. No, no, I mean there exists a pragmatic side to receiving critique, and it’s not just what you do with the critiques you get but it’s also how you set yourself up for them.

A guide to fanfiction for people who can’t stop getting it wrong
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Aja Romano on The Daily Dot about fanfic, fandom and all the nonsense that pops up in articles about it. And an ex-fic writers myself I loved it.

What is fanfiction? That’s the question magazine articles and TV segments have been attempting to answer for upwards of 40 years now, usually without doing much actual research into the topic.

Maybe this was a valid question back when folks were still sliding Kirk/Spock zines under the tables at Star Trek conventions, but in the era of Fifty Shades of Grey (look, we had to namecheck it at some point) and Amazon’s licensed, for-profit fanfic publishing service, you’d think that fanfic explainer articles would be on the way out.

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