If you’re writing for traditional publishing markets (by which I mean anyone who has an editorial staff to choose their content, such as book publishers, magazines, newspapers and multi-author websites and blogs), your real client is not the reader, but the acquiring editor. Editors, of course, want to make their readers happy, but they also want to work with writers who make the editor’s job easier, not harder.
Last year I posted six ways to show that you’re not a professional, thereby making sure that editors will never want to work with you again. Today, I want to tell you about the writers of the 10 stories in Paramourtal 2, and what they did to make their editors so happy that we would be delighted to work again with every one of them.
So here are six ways to make your editor happy:
1. Read the guidelines and follow them precisely. Continue reading
Paramourtal, Volume 2, the second anthology of paranormal romance from Cliffhanger Books, is now available in paperback format. It’s a great read, not only for people who like romances, but for anyone with a taste for adventure fantasy.The 10 stories included cover the full range of paranorma, from dark fantasy on the edge of horror, to straight-out goofy humor.
You can read descriptions of the stories included on the Cliffhanger website, and order Paramourtal 2 in paperback at your local bookstore, at Barnes & Noble, or on Amazon. We expect to have ebook editions available soon.
As an editor, I had a great time working on this book, not only because the stories are so entertaining and unusual (not a vampire or werewolf among them!), but because the authors were, one and all, a dream to work with. In my next post, I’ll give you some reasons why. Until then, happy reading!
Last month, fellow writer and editor Tarl Roger Kudrick of On the Premises said on Facebook that he hadn’t updated the OTP blog, because he hadn’t thought of something interesting to blog about. So I proposed this topic which has been occupying my mind recently:
“I’ve seen a lot of discussion lately on the “literature vs popular” theme (maybe because of the last Twilight film?). Is it a good story only if it is well crafted on every level from grammar to themes, or is it a good story because people enjoy it regardless of any traditional literary standards of merit? I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.”
Tarl took up my challenge immediately, and I looked forward to a good and thoughtful answer from the editor of one of my favorite ezines (and a man with the good taste and literary discrimination to buy one of my stories for his second issue). I didn’t quite expect what I actually got: one of the best discussions I’ve read in recent years, of what elements make a story work or not work. Continue reading
Not long ago, the online review site New York Journal of Books posted a LinkedIn discussion soliciting reviewers of science fiction books. The post described the NYJoB’s prestige in glowing terms:
“Our reviews for some time now have been quoted in large and small publisher promo, on book covers, etc., typically alongside, and often more prominently, than long-established reviews… Our standards for reviewers are high. …we care about books a great deal. The art of the book review has been withering and it is our aim to keep it alive and flourishing.”
But then there’s this:
“This enterprise is a “labor of love.” Reviewers all set their own pace for submitting reviews. This is not a paid gig [italics mine].”
Sure enough, the site has a lot of content that appears to be of good quality. It also has a lot of high-end advertising, which means income. The three principals appear to be highly successful business professionals in marketing, finance and publishing. Not the kind of people who work only ‘for love.’
So why do they think it’s all right to ask people to contribute unpaid content, when they are clearly earning advertising revenue from that content? Continue reading
All of these are either real editorial correspondence, or real questions from novice writers on various writing forums (details changed in some cases for anonymity).
I’ve written 17,000 words of a YA romance novel. How much more do I have to write for this genre?
If I tell you that a YA romance is 50,000 words, are you going to write exactly that many words then stop, even if you’re in the middle of a scene? Write and revise the story until you think it’s finished and as good as you can make it. Only then should you worry about which publishers accept novels in your genre, at the length you’ve written.
Here are 5 story ideas. Please tell me which one you like best so I can submit it to your anthology. Continue reading
There are two kinds of writers: those who describe too much, and those who don’t describe enough. I’m of the former variety, though I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) to curb my inclination to spout pages of beautiful descriptive prose instead of getting on with the story- which is, of course, the usual problem with long passages of beautiful, descriptive prose.
Yes, many excellent writers do flood their narratives with long descriptive passages, among them Tolkien, Bradbury, and Michael Chabon. Unless you’re one of them, pipe down and keep reading. (Besides, I know plenty of Tolkien fans who skim right past those long blocks of description, anyway.)
Description is especially tricky in speculative fiction. If you’re writing a contemporary story, you can assume your readers are familiar with most of the details of your world. They know what a lawyer and a mail carrier wear, how a city street looks, and how a cell phone works. You only have to mark out what’s different about this particular mail carrier, or this particular street, to create a specific image.
But suppose you’re writing about Martians? Continue reading
If you participate in writing discussion boards of any kind, you’ll often see a novice writer ask a question about some rule of English grammar or style, which leads to a huge debate among the pros. One of the LinkedIn writing groups I belong to has been discussing the serial comma for over 3 months!
English does have a lot of firm rules, mainly relating to punctuation, grammar (subject and verb should match, don’t change verb tenses in the middle of a sentence, always use a determiner with a noun); and syntax (adjective goes before noun, modifiers should go as close as possible to the noun or verb they modify). All of these exist as rules because when the rule isn’t observed, the meaning changes or becomes unclear or is grammatically incorrect.
But what if you encounter a “rule” that writing professionals can’t agree on? Continue reading
I’m taking a break from helping others transform their stories, to spend a little time transforming my own web presence. New content and a new look coming soon; meanwhile, please visit my blog WorldBuildingRules! to see more about my creative and editorial work, and, of course, get some great tips on creating imaginary worlds.
See you soon!