Wednesday, July 30, 2014

August Editing Openings

Part of me is in denial that I'm actually talking about August.  (Right?)

I've got one opening for a Premiere Critique during the first week of August.

PREMIERE CRITIQUE:

  • detailed line edit of your first 75 pages
  • editorial letter
  • guaranteed 1-week turnaround
  • $260 - half up front, half when I've finished the project

As always, you can also hire me for a regular 30-page edit for $95, or a 3-page, see-if-your-opening-is-working edit for $18.

Please send all inquiries to authoress.edits(at)gmail.com.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Biggest Email Fail Ever

I've got 3 email addresses that are related to my blogging/writing/editing:

1.  facelesswords(at)gmail.com  This is my main email address, and the one that's associated with the blog.  All blog-related communiques should be sent here.  I check this email throughout the day.

2.  authoressmail(at)gmail.com  This is my (very) secondary email address, and the one with which I've signed up with Twitter and Facebook.  It's also the address I use for Feedburner--so if you get my blogs posts sent directly to your email, this is the address they're coming from.

3.  authoress.edits(at)gmail.com  This is the address for Authoress Edits, my editing business.  If you want to get in touch with me concerning an editing project, this is the email you should use.

Many months ago, I stopped keeping my "authoressmail" gmail tab open.  It's not an address I actively use, so I figured I could just check it periodically instead of leaving it open (I have enough to look at already!).  And then I promptly forgot about it.

Imagine my horror when, a few days ago, I opened it and saw ALL THE EMAILS.  Many were automatic deletes--like those lovely notifications that someone's unsubscribed from my blog.  But many were emails FROM MY READERS.  And the oldest stretched way back into last year.

Last year!

At first, I felt utterly horrible.  But as I began to wade through the emails, I realized that most of them shouldn't have been there in the first place--they should have been sent to one of the other addresses (or posted as comments on the blog).

Okay.  I still felt horrible.  Because with each non-response from me comes the perception that I am a non-responder.  That I CHOSE not to respond.  And oh, I don't ever want to be that person.

Communication is hugely important to me.  Sure, I drop the ball sometimes.  Usually it's because I'll see an email and think, "Hm, I don't have time to respond properly right now, so I'll come back to this one."  And then I don't.

You guys.  I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU.  I love that you take the time to write.  And what's really cool is that, in this slew of notes and comments, there wasn't a single snarky one.  Not one.

And that speaks so highly of this community.

Anyway, I want to help things be better, so here's what you need to know:

IF YOU SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG VIA EMAIL AND RECEIVE THE POSTS IN YOUR INBOX:

  • If you want to leave a comment on a blog post, YOU HAVE TO CLICK OVER TO THE ACTUAL BLOG.  By hitting "reply", you're sending me an email (that I'm not seeing until weeks or months later).

    So those of you who have written to ask, "How do I leave feedback for the Secret Agent Contest" need to realize that the contest occurs ON THE BLOG.  The email notification is just that--a notification.  (This is also true for drawings I've held.  If it says "leave a comment to be entered in this drawing, YOU HAVE TO CLICK OVER TO THE ACTUAL BLOG and leave your comment in the comment box along with all the others.  Finding entries to old contests in my inbox was very sad.  I never saw your entries.)
  • If you're wondering where the second half of the Secret Agent entries are, YOU HAVE TO CLICK OVER TO THE ACTUAL BLOG to see them.  The email notification system has a limit of 25 post, so the entire collection of 50 entries will never be included.  I've gotten emails that range from "How do I see the rest of the entries?" to "Why isn't my entry included?"  Folks--this is a BLOG CONTEST.  You've got to CLICK OVER TO THE ACTUAL BLOG.
  • If you want to send me an email, PLEASE DON'T HIT "REPLY".  My main email, as mentioned above (and on the CONTACT ME page of the blog) is facelesswords(at)gmail.com.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HIRING ME TO EDIT YOUR PARTIAL MANUSCRIPT:
  • Email me at authoress.edits(at)gmail.com.  Yes, there were emails in my authoressmail box asking about editing projects.  Again, I'm guessing these came from folks who subscribe to the blog via email.  Please make sure you send your editing queries to the proper address!

Honestly, the worst moments of my foray through the emails were the ones where people were asking for help.  One person didn't realize there was a fee for the Baker's Dozen and wanted to know if there would be another submission window (there was, and I hope she figured that out).  One person thought she had to sign in, somehow, in order to use the submission form (no sign-in is necessary).  One person was having trouble with her screen reader (she is blind) and needed my help entering a contest.  (This last one bothers me most of all.)

I want you to have a positive experience here, and I want to be available when you need help.  Please (please! please!) use the correct email address.

(And no, I'm not going to merge the addresses; my inbox is full enough as is, and I have it set up this way on purpose.)

I'm guessing that most of the "oopses" are coming from email subscribers.  I APPRECIATE THAT YOU ARE SUBSCRIBED!  But please remember that hitting "reply" does not leave a comment on the blog or send your email somewhere I'm going to see it in a timely manner.

To all of you who may have been frustrated by a non-response from me:  I'M SORRY!  I hate being at the receiving end of non-response, and it makes my skin curdle to think I've been on the dishing-out end.

Please take a moment and add facelesswords(at)gmail.com to your address book--then I'll always be at your fingertips!  And thanks so much for reading and contributing here.  You're what makes this community the vibrant, thriving organism it is.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Winners and Then Some!

This is an especially exciting winners announcement, and you'll see why!

1.  Ms. Hawk would like to see the FIRST 50 PAGES of the following entries:

21  Renascence
42  My Best Friend Runs Venus
49  Tag, You're Dead

2.  Ms. Hawk would like to see the FULL MANUSCRIPT of the following entries:

6  Blood Rose Rebellion
8  No More Blues

3.  In Ms. Hawk's own words:  "And, I'm always happy to see a query from anyone who entered the contest, of course!"

So if yours was one of the 45 non-winning entries, you may query Ms. Hawk via regular channels (check her web page for guidelines).  Please put QUERY: SECRET AGENT ENTRANT in your subject line.

WINNERS:  Please email me at facelesswords(at)gmail.com for specific submission instructions.

Congratulations to EVERYONE!

Secret Agent Unveiled: Susan Hawk


Many thanks and appreciative curtseys to this month's fabulous Secret Agent, Susan Hawk of the Bent Agency.

Susan's Bio:

Susan Hawk is a Literary Agent at The Bent Agency, representing middle grade, YA, picture books, and non-fiction for kids. Projects she represents share powerful and original writing, strong story- telling and a distinctive, sometimes off-kilter voice. In middle-grade and YA, she’s looking for
unforgettable characters, rich world-building, and she’s a sucker for bittersweet; bonus points for something that makes her laugh out loud. In picture books, she’s looking particularly for author- illustrators, succinct but expressive texts, and indelible characters. Her favorite projects live at the intersection of literary and commercial. Before agenting, she spent fifteen years in children's book marketing at Penguin, Henry Holt and North-South Books; she also worked in Editorial at Dutton Children’s Books, and as a children’s librarian and bookseller.

For Susan’s current wish list, please see this recent post.

Winners forthcoming!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Fricassee

Sometimes, it really is time to walk away.  Forever.

That's not something you really hear from me.  I am your advocate--your constant reminder to keep working, keep learning, keep growing, keep querying, keep BELIEVING.  Walking away when the going gets tough (which is frequent) does not a successful author make.

But.

Sometimes the revelation comes that you've been trying to force a square peg into a round hole.  Sometimes it really is time to move on to the next thing.  And learning to tell the difference between angst-and-despair and a true sense that you've been going in the wrong direction is key to knowing what choice to make.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I happy to continue writing stories regardless of whether or not I'm published?  Because the honest, gut-slicing truth is that not every aspiring author is actually cut out to be a writer.  And that's okay.  You can always write for pleasure--for the rest of your life, really.  But only you can decide if this is true for you.
  • Have I chosen the wrong career path?  Because it happens.  Folks go to college for four years, and then decide they really didn't want to major in whatever degree they're holding in their hands.  So they go back to school.  Heck, I have a degree in music education, and I'm certainly not teaching music to elementary students right now.  (I did that.  For one year.  That was enough for me to know that I wasn't going to do that for the rest of my life.)
  • Are you happy living the story you're going to tell people some day?  Right now, your writerly journey is your own, personal story, leading to wherever your dreams lead you.  If you're not happy living your story, then it's time to reexamine if you are living the right story.
  • Do I have what it takes to JUST KEEP GOING until I'm published?  This is truly the separating-sheep-from-goats point.  The darkest hour truly does come before dawn, and many people who would have succeeded, had they just stuck it out for a little while longer, give up before they see the light of day.  If you know you've got what it takes to keep writing, keep waiting, keep trying, keep restrategizing, keep on KEEPING ON--then keep going.  Don't give up, no matter what's going on around you.
Your answers to the above questions may produce valid reasons for you to quit writing.  That's the stark truth.

But there are also reasons NOT to quit writing:
  • Your critique partners rip apart your manuscript and suggest a rewrite.
  • You've queried 50 agents and nobody requested anything.
  • You've written one novel and it didn't go anywhere.
  • It's been three years and you still haven't landed an agent.
  • Your agent hasn't sold your novel yet.
  • Your debut novel flopped.
  • You're burned out.  (Take a break--don't quit.)

Food for thought on this Friday afternoon!  I think that, regardless of who we are or what our aspirations in life may be, there are times when we need to step back and do a little soul-searching.  If we feel angst, where is it coming from?  Is it because we're worrying too much about our novel that's on submission?  (Answer: keep writing.) Or is it because we know we should actually be teaching steel drum classes on a cruise ship instead of writing stories? (Answer: probably you should be a steel drum teacher.) Don't be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions--you will be stronger and wiser for it.

Now go and have a wonderful weekend!