From Writing to Publishing

Mind Over Matter

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HOW CAN WE INTENTIONALLY IMPROVE OUR THOUGHTS?

As humans, we believe no one can hear us when we think. We believe our minds are absolute – a sanctum in which we define who and what we are. Our thoughts are the after-office hours in which we can speak and act freely without consequence. But what if that belief was wrong?

Our thoughts are the forefront battlefield, and this is true in every area – including writing. What we think and feel in secret slowly mold and shape us into the people we are today. Some people are bitter. Some people are pessimistic. Some people are rude or self-righteous. These are all the negative effects our mind can have on our character. A man once said your words define you, but so do your thoughts.

So what are your thoughts saying about your writing?
“I don’t feel like writing today.”
“My writing is crap.”
“I’ll never finish this stupid book.”
“Why do I even bother? No one cares.”

So I ask you again: How can we intentionally improve our thoughts so that they have a positive effect on our writing?

Guard your thoughts. They become your words. Guard your words. They become your actions. Guard your actions. They become your character.

Grab some paper or your phone right now and put this down…
“I write for the pure joy of the thing. And if I can do it for joy, I can do it forever.” Stephen King

Ever wonder how Mister King can write so many and such lengthy novels over and over again? Maybe he’s got the right mindset. Maybe he doesn’t tell himself he can’t, he tells himself he can. If our thoughts are the battlefield, then we must become the warriors, and our intentions the weapon we use to guard our minds. Because the mind creates the story in which we write. And after all, we are writers are we not?

Think about that.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

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From Writing to Publishing

Interrogating Agents (Politely!)

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Welcome, fellow writers. This is our last lesson for this four-week session Finding Literary Agents. Let’s get to it.

Today, I can’t stress etiquette enough. I know you’re from the Gen X and you’re used to getting your own way with a firm and demanding “gimme!”…or is that Millennials…? Regardless, there’s a whole world of opportunity which will open up if you can keep a cool head and simply learn to be polite. Foreign concept, I know, but you can do it.

Ya’ll are gonna unfollow me after this, hahaha… “Fanny’s such a rude@r$& b□tt!”

Okay, so hopefully you did your homework and have a booklet of multiple agents to contact. And by multiple I mean MUL-TI-PLE. You’re going to want to send out queries in incriments of 5 or 10. It really is a numbers/waiting game. All right, writers, start your engines…

Here is where etiquette is crucial. Agents, like publishers, recieve dozens, maybe hundreds, of queries a day. They’re inundated with possibilities. Keep that in mind when weeks go by and you don’t hear from them. Your query is most likely to catch their eye if you can be polite, professional, and friendly. There are some key things to look for when querying:

Preferred method of contact
Synopsis/no synopsis
Manuscript/no manuscript (also how much)

I encourage you to personalize each query letter to the specific agent you are sending it to. Nothing elaborate, but see if you can speak to the person and not to the entity. They are humans. If you can reach their imagination and spark interest, you have a much better chance of getting picked. Obviously, don’t treat them like you would your best friend, but really see if you can relate to their interests.

Edit your queries just like you would your book. Have a trusted friend or teacher beta read for you. You really, really, really don’t want typos in your letter, and you want it to catch people’s interest. If your friends think it’s boring, the agent will most likely think it’s boring too.

Now, once you send out your first batch, make sure to check those agents off in your list. While you’re waiting, you can sit back and keep writing. Give it a few weeks before you begin this process again. And keep your chin up! Stay focused, stay positive, and stay determined.

Thanks for reading!

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

Series Title:
*Literary Agents – Where Are They Hiding???
Subtitle:
*Week Four; Interrogating Agents (Politely!)

From Writing to Publishing

Investigating Leads

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Got a decent collection of agents and/or companies? Good, let’s get to work.

Obviously your most efficient tool will be the internet, that holy database of…data. You’re going to want to double check your leads on professional places like LinkedIn. Generally, if a published author is putting an agent’s name in his or her acknowledgments, it’s a good indication that the agent is legit, but it’s always a good idea to check them out on multiple platforms. Don’t ever message these people on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites. Social media is their personal time. No one wants to be pestered with work on their personal time.

As you begin your career as a writer, you want to remain professional. If dressing up in a business suit or closed-toe heels makes you feel more professional while you browse the internet, do it.

Now pay careful attention to the method in which the agent chooses to be contacted. Whether it be email or snail-mail, you’re going to want to comply to their wishes to the letter. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s and all that. Grab your little notebook/phone/etc and create separate lists for each agent that you investigate. Don’t contact anyone yet, just accumulate information. We’ll talk about etiquette and decorum next week as well as the right and wrong way to contact an agent.

Until next time!

Fanny T. Crispin

 

Series Title:
*Literary Agents – Where Are They Hiding???
Subtitle:
*Week Three; Investigating Leads