Monday, November 28, 2011

Feeling A Bit Spotty

I seem to have contracted the plague (a.k.a. the cold) over the Thanksgiving break and so my responses online may be a bit spotty this week. Apologies ahead of time for any radio silence, but I’ll still be checking out all your cool blogs when I can. Happy Monday;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Agent Request for Exclusive

It feels good when an agent expresses interest in your work. Even better when multiple agents start wanting to read your manuscript. But what happens when they start requesting exclusive reads of your book?

I’ve recently been blessed with the “problem” of having multiple agents requesting extensive partial or full versions of my manuscript The Long Defeat. I already have three agents currently reading it on a non-exclusive basis, but yesterday a fourth agent requested the entire manuscript on an exclusive basis for the next six to eight weeks. Obviously, I very much would like to honor this request, but the fact that my book is already circulating in the hands of other agents at the moment complicates things a bit.  

To my fellow authors who have some experience in submitting queries and manuscripts to agents: Have you come across this conundrum before? If so, how did you find the most professional and polite, yet expedient way of negotiating a compromise? I have every intention of honoring my obligations, but I can’t grant an exclusive read until the three other agents have had a chance to finish reading my book. Nonetheless, I’m very enthusiastic about the interest agents are expressing for my novel, and I appreciate all the good karma points and encouragement several of you have been sending my way lately. Thanks!  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NanoWriMo Update

How are your NanoWriMo goals shaping up this month? Halfway through November and still wondering where all the time went? Are you still on track or do you have some catching up to do?

Needless to say, I’m very glad that I opted to do a mini or partial NanoWriMo of 25,000 words instead of 50,000 for the month. I’m approximately halfway toward my goal of penning 25,000 words for the month of November, and although it hasn’t all been for one project, between my short-stories and large manuscript projects, I’m still well over 10,000 words and counting. The key ingredient for me is keeping it fun and trying not to approach it as work, but as something fun to do.

Have you readjusted your NanoWri goals or are you still planning on finishing in time? Do you tend to do better at the beginning of the month or do you gain speed as it progresses? What have you already learned from this year’s NanoWriMo that you could improve upon or what has worked really well for you in your writing schedule?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Writing to Authors

Ever wish you could chat with a favorite author? Maybe you have a few questions to ask or you’d just like to let them know how much they’ve inspired your own work? So why not write them and see?

I’ve blogged about this topic before, but I continue to love to write to favorite authors of mine and share my enthusiasm with them as well as learn some useful tips along the way. I recently wrote to a favorite civil war author of mine, Nick Taylor (who won the Michael Shaara Prize for Civil War fiction two years ago with his novel The Disagreement), and he has started reading my manuscript with the generous offer to write a blurb for my book. Needless to say, I’m thrill beyond words to have one of my favorite published authors actually reading my own story!

So who are some of your favorite authors you’d like to meet? Maybe you’re already pen pals with someone who regularly publishes in your genre? Joyce used to write to Ibsen, so why shouldn’t you write to some novelists who have truly inspired you? 

Friday, November 11, 2011

What Makes a Bestseller Sell?

Two books might have the same quality, so how does one sell out in every bookstore, whereas another will only generate mediocre sales? Why did Charles Dickens’ books make him a fortune whereas Herman Melville died in obscurity? How does the latest vampire novel keep coming out and topping the bestseller list today?

In short, I started pondering what are the essential elements that make a bestseller today. Granted many external factors contribute, such as fame and promotion, but every decade produces fiction bestsellers that tend to share certain commonalities. It might be a love for certain types of characters, or a preference for a particular genre.

So what would you say are the key elements of bestsellers coming out today? Which are your favorites and why? What in your opinion do book buyers love and what do they ignore?

Also, Happy Veteran’s Day to all those who have served and to their families. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What’s in an Outline?

Do you prefer to have a detailed outline when working on a new story? Or maybe you prefer to fly seat-of-your-pants? I suppose I’m somewhere in between myself.

I’m working up an outline for a new story, but at the same time I’m chomping at the bit to get to the meat of writing that first draft. In some ways it’s a pleasant conundrum, but I often find myself beset by two internal forces competing for my attention: on the one hand I know from experience that a well-crafted outline really makes the story better from the very beginning, but at the same time I never want to inhibit the raw inspiration of creativity when it actually decides to show up.

So how do you balance these two opposing virtues of the writing process? Do you give in more to a well-planned plot or do you prefer to allow a more organic form to take over? Perhaps a blend of the two, but ultimately what works best for you?   

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blogging for Academia

My friend Kelly has interviewed me regarding my blog, which she’s referencing as part of a media project for her class at Berkeley. First she asked me questions about my blog, and then she needed feedback from people who visit my site. I spoke to some of you this weekend who were super awesome in providing feedback to her questionnaire.

So thank you, thank you, thank you all! I’ve posted her questions for fellow bloggers below regarding my site and if you’d like to provide her any additional feedback in the comment section it’d be most useful for her project, as the more input she gets from people the more thorough she can make her paper. Otherwise, thanks for stop by as usual and have a great start to you week!

1.  How long have you interacted with this site (months, years, etc)?
2.  What is your motivation for logging into the site and what expectations did you have going into it?  Have your expectations changed?

3.  How often do you log into the blog (e.g. multiple times a day? weekly? etc.) and do you interact with other consumers on the site?

4.  Who do you interact with on the site?
5.  Are the interactions within this site meaningful to you?  How so?  Meaning may imply your satisfactions.

6.  What do you enjoy to write about or respond to?