Pitching a Book: Allergies, colds, and mothering…oh my!

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I am an avid believer that in life there are no excuses…except during allergy season in Atlanta, when your fighting a cold and when your a mother — there are no days off in motherhood. So, my goal of pitching to a literary agent each week in March was delayed, until last week.

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That’s right, I pitched to two agents last week. That means I’ve pitched to three agents since Feb. 25 — and I’ve heard back from two already! But I’ll share those details next week.

What I want to touch on this week is what you need to do even before you begin pitching your romance, erotic, fantasy, middle grade, YA or non-fiction (and so on) masterpiece. There are levels to this pitching thang and here is what I’ve learned since I’ve started.

Query Letter

As I shared before in my post Pitching to Literary Agents: See what had happened was…, your query letter not only summarizes your novel or novella, it sells the book. Be sure to include the word count, the genre(s), the audience who would love your book and who you’re book is similar to. That last part has been hard for me because I only like certain erotic stories, and they are mostly the classics.

But, if you can relate your book to a current author or novel, be sure to mention it in your query letter.

Oh and keep this to one page because a lot of agents just want this in an email and they are not going to read anything longer.

Synopsis

This was THE HARDEST piece to pull together for me but in the end, it was worth it because it helped me find those hidden holes in my own story. Again, in the post that I shared earlier, I touched on the importance of this piece.

Yes, no one wants to give away their whole book in 2-5 pages but you must in order to give some agents a full look your storyline.

Remember: this helps them figure out any holes and as I found out, it will help you too.

The FULLL EDITED Manuscript

Originally, I shared that you should have the first three chapters ready. Now I’m changing that to having the full piece completely edited. That means peer groups, hiring an editor, and reviewing it until you want to throw it across the room or are dreaming continuously about every word, every period, hell maybe even the amount of tabs throughout (or is that just me).

This is mandatory because some agents will ask for the first 10 pages or the first three chapters or the first 20 pages or the whole damn thing!! The idea is to be prepared for whatever their request may be. It could be the difference between making the connection now or missing the boat.

We’ll folks, that all I have time for! I’ve back on a normal writing schedule working on book two in this series, and preparing for passion-fy release sooner than later (thank to everyone who voted on instagram)!

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A love

My love for words runs strong and deep but every now and then I trip over them, hunting for the perfect tone or flow or trying to ensure the context and usage is flawless.

My love for words makes me over think them, causing me to get confused about the message I’m sending or doubt if the message that I’m sending is confusing in itself.

My love of words is a beautiful pain to absorb. One that teaches me new lessons every day but can bite when I don’t properly send them with love and honesty.

I pray that one day my love for words heals and encourages, even through their untraditional and at times chaotic form because I know that is why I was placed on this earth…

To use my love of words to orchestrate a movement that my voice and mouth may not be able to achieve. Words that could speak louder and wider than my voice could ever reach.

When Desires Change Mid Draft

Lately, I’ve been on a journey to explore and grow my intentions around writing… #writerslife #authordnc

Lately, I’ve been on a journey to explore and grow my intentions around writing. When I started blogging to now, I’ve wanted to share lessons learned from wedding planning to life crises. The stories I’ve told and feedback I’ve received have solidified that I was made to tell genuine stories.

So I stretched my storytelling further when I published my first book, Untraditional: A Collection of Passion-Fy Short Stories. I was satisfying one of those “I really wish” dreams that I spoke of in college so when I looked back on all the words that I had written to date, I couldn’t believe that it was a dream destined to come true.

When I quietly published my second book, Like. Love. Lust., I wanted to give a piece of me. Something that the first fantasy romance didn’t dive into, even though it took several debates to convince my family and friends so…even my grandfather questioned the details. People forget that I’m an only child — to my mother at least — and my imagination has always been on like 100,000. But Like. Love. Lust. was a reflection of the rollercoaster of emotions that I went through on my journey to learn love. A path that was rough and reckless at times, but that taught me more about the woman I was and wanted to be.

Now, as I work on my third piece, I know how it started off in my mind but now my soul desires to switch gears.

It’s the continuation of the short story The Robinsons’, from Untraditional, that takes leads you down a path with Nia after an unforgettable encounter with Mr. and Mrs. Robinson. Nia is introduced to her new self. More aware of her desires. More open to all possibilities but none that she desires to stick. Just living for each moment.

As I edit my story, I’ve gotten to certain parts where I understand that this or that character plays such an important part to how she will or will not take her next steps and I owe their presence more explanation. But wait…this was supposed to be like a straight passion-fy tale of like, love and lust?

I’m discovering that this piece is taking so long because the message that I want you, my readers to receive is much deeper than just those simple emotions. When I coined the term passion-fy, I even included the descriptor of “intensely emotional characters” so why have I tried to pigeonhole myself to three?

So I won’t anymore. I desire to give you the novel that I’m thinking about now in hopes that you not only understand Nia complex and emotional plight but how her mother, friends, The Robinsons, co-workers and all are as passionate as she is.

Thanks for being patient with me…

With passion,

DNC

Oh, and if you want to want to get a taste of how the story starts off…mind you a very rough draft of it…check out The Teaser post. Leave some feedback while you’re there too. I would love to hear what you think. 

The Drafting Twilight Zone: Tips for getting it out and over

So you’ve unlocked your writing with your key of imagination and as you move through it you fall through to a dimension of sentence structures; a dimension of grammatical woes; a dimension of endless prose. You’ve moved into a novel with multiple character development and plot twists. You’ve just crossed over into the Drafting Twilight Zone.

Yep. The story of my life right now. Even though I feel like I’m so close to finishing the first draft of my next book, I can’t stop going back and wanting to add subplots and gradual detail. All stuff that I don’t even know you guys need but I feel is necessary.

In hopes of getting out to this whack ass drafting dimension of insanity, I took some time to see how the pros have handled this.

Try Stephen King’s technique that he shared in On Writing, which he learned back in high school. It’s a simple formula:

2nd draft = 1st draft – 10%

So he states that,

“Even today, I will aim for a second-draft length of thirty-six hundred words if the draft of a novel runs three hundred and fifty thousand words, I’ll try my damndest to produce a second draft of no more than three hundred and fifteen thousand … three hundred, if possible. Usually it is possible. What the Formula taught me is that every story and novel is collapsible to some degree.”

Great words. But this is for the second draft, which I’m kind of in but not totally. So then I found pretty nifty advice from Sarah Waters.

“Don’t panic. Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends’ embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce . . . Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way. And if all else fails, there’s prayer. St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, has often helped me out in a crisis. If you want to spread your net more widely, you could try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, too.”

Good advice but a bit vague. Then I ran into Neil Gaiman’s words, who’s the author of American Gods—a novel and show that I just devoured. He gives me exactly what I needed, and wanted, to hear.

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.”

So guys, it seems that the only way out of the “Drafting Twilight Zone” is through. Full steam ahead bishes! My hope is that once I’ve finally finished this process, an ingeniously articulated masterpiece is created for yout reading delight. Here goes nothing.

As I glue myself to my writing chair, focused on finally knocking this out, be sure to check out my free short story series on this blog. Catch up. Don’t be lame. Friday is always a great day to read.

DNC’s Short Story Series Presents: “Complicated