What’s Happening Around CO

May 2017

June 2017

Asking for Advice: A How-To…Avoid Letting Advice Drive You Mad

RFortune Cookieecently, I posted two possible covers for an upcoming endeavor on Facebook, asking for, yes, you guessed it, the dreaded ADVICE.

You see, I love hearing thoughts on cover art, on manuscripts, on marketing as well as how to live a better, more productive writerly life.

Advice can be the best thing EVER.

And then again, it can make you want to rip your hair out, piece by dyed-poorly piece.

The problem for me, comes in picking through the feedback. For example, when one person chooses one cover, and the other the second one, how am I to know who’s right? Aren’t both opinions valid?

Yes, everyone’s feedback is valued and valid.

But not everyone’s advice is right for me, and my work.

Therefore, to save myself from crying (mostly because it gives me raccoon-eyes), I’ve developed some advice for advice.

Aren’t I the clever one?

* Stop sneering. I do know how lame I am.

My advice for advice is as follows:

  • Ask specific questions to get what you need
  • If you don’t understand the feedback or need more, ask
  • You don’t have to accept every bit of advice
  • Just because someone says something doesn’t make it right for you
  • Weigh the advisor’s knowledge on the content in your final decision
  • Accept the very real fact that you cannot please everyone
  • Ask for advice in the right places – know your advising audience
  • Take risks – Don’t get locked inside your worldview

Being open to advice greatly affected my cover design. I had specific advice that has transformed my thinking about the cover. I plan to use my writerly tribe next to determine the best cover blurb.

The one thing I didn’t add above, and perhaps the most important albeit intuitive advice is, be grateful for every single word. Thank you, tribe. If I don’t say it often enough, thanks to each of you. Thanks to those who helped me last week. Thanks to those who continue to beta read and critique, just not me, but our community.

RMFW writers are amazingly supportive and I appreciate all of you more than I can say.

In that vein, please tell us in the comments the best bit of writing advice you’ve received. How did it affect your work? What advice would you give a beginner or even a professional?

PubCon 2017, Early Bird Pricing Ends March 31st

PubCon 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Table Mountain Inn
1310 Washington Avenue
Golden, CO 80401

REGISTER NOW

Schedule

Morning Session | 9:00 am - 12:00 pm | Traditional Publishing

Our panel of experts will discuss the process writers who want to be traditionally published will likely follow. This includes finding and submitting to the right agent, editing, how the agent determines the best houses to submit work to, what the editors look for when they receive a submission, how the process of contracting for a book works, basic information on royalties, who has the responsibility for different parts of the process, time frames, the non-writing parts authors will deal with, marketing, and many other aspects of being traditionally published. During the workshop, attendees will be able to place questions in a box and they will be drawn and answered randomly, as time allows at the end of the workshop. Speakers include Gina Panettieri, Linda Hull, and Ben LeRoy.

Lunch Keynote | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm | Susan Brooks

Each author's path to publishing is as unique as they are. Susan Brooks will discuss the differences and similarities between self-publishing, indie publishing, and the big 5 publishers to help authors decide which path to publishing might be the best fit.

Afternoon Session | 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm | Self-Publishing

Our panel of self-publishing experts will discuss the process of self-publishing your book, including how to know if/when your manuscript is ready, front and back matter, cover art/fonts/copyrighted images, determining keywords and placement for your genre, what self-publishing platforms are available, potential costs and revenue, being a “publisher,” where to look for help, various types of marketing, budgeting, timelines pre-and-post release, and much, much more. Speakers include Lisa Manifold, Bernadette Marie, and Nick Zelinger.

Pricing

Early-bird registration through March 31
Full Day | Members $70.00, Non-members $80.00
Half Day* | Members $40.00, Non-members $45.00

Regular registration April 1 - April 21
Full Day | Members $80.00, Non-members $90.00
Half Day* | Members $45.00, Non-members $50.00

*Half-day registration includes either breakfast with the morning session or lunch with the afternoon session.

Speakers

Gina PanettieriGina Panettieri | President and Editor, Talcott Notch Literary

Being an agent is all Gina can imagine doing. Books, and the amazing people who write them, have been the focus of her life for more than two decades. It makes her feel like her inbox is Santa's magical Christmas bag. It's always full, always overflowing, but brimming with the potential of something spectacular. All I've got to do is pull the little ribbon... With fiction, I love quirky, edgy characters, women's fiction, paranormal, urban fantasy, horror, science fiction, historical, mystery, thrillers and suspense.

Linda HullLinda Hull | Author of the Mrs. Frugalicious mystery series, freelance editor

Linda is a native of Saint Louis, Missouri, but currently resides in Denver, Colorado. She is a longtime member and former president of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and is currently on the board of Mystery Writers of America. She was also honored to be named the 2013 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year. Her debut novel, The Big Bang, was published by Tyrus Books in 2013. Frog Kisses, her romantic comedy, was published by Literary Wanderlust in 2015. Linda is also the author of Eternally 21, Black Thursday, and Sweetheart Deal, the first three titles in the Mrs. Frugalicious mystery series.

Ben LeRoyBen LeRoy | Editor with Tyrus Books

 

 

 

 

SusanSusan Brooks Brooks | Editor-in-Chief, Literary Wanderlust

Susan has been on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers since 2009. She holds a master’s degree in publishing from George Washington University and has many years of editorial experience, including working as a developmental editor, acquisition editor, proofreader, managing editor, and production manager. You can follow her at @oosuzieq on Twitter and read her syndicated blog on writing craft at susanbrooks.wordpress.com.

 

Lisa ManifoldLisa Manifold | Multi-Self-Published Author

Lisa is the RMFW 2016 Independent Writer of the Year. She is the author of the Sisters of the Curse series, based on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Her new series, The Heart of the Djinn, is a trilogy that shows what happens when a free-lancing djinn does his own thing. Three Wishes, the first book in The Heart of the Djinn series, is out now. Book two, Forgotten Wishes, will be out soon! Her new Realm trilogy will feature Brennan, the Goblin King, making his debut.

Bernadette MarieBernadette Marie | Bestselling Author, Owner of 5-Prince Publishing

Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it, because she lives it. A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011, 5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too. Bernadette Marie is also the CEO of Illumination Author Events.

Nick ZelingerNick Zelinger | NZ Graphics

A book designer for over 25 years, Nick has worked for ad agencies and printing companies; been an art director for an aviation magazine; designed product packaging for sports and fitness manufacturers; created large signage for store fronts, company vehicles and Rapid Transit; designed promotional material for the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, KOA Radio and Clear Channel. His cover and book designs have earned his clients more than 100 national and international awards, such as Best Cover Design by USA Book News, the Indie Excellence Book Award, Foreword Reviews Book of the Year, Next Generation Finalist Awards, Global eBook Awards, CIPA’s EVVY Awards, The San Francisco Book Festival Awards, and many more. Nick is also the co-author of Another Nightmare Gig from Hell: Musicians Tales of Wonder and Woe. He has been a recording and performing musician since the age of 16. He currently serves on the board of AuthorU.org, and is an Associate Member of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA).

Tom Sawyering Your Writer Friends into Helping Revise Your Book

Boy am I enjoying revising this book…it’s so much fun!

Take that passive verb!

K-pow! Adverb say whatly?

What am I doing, you ask? Well, I’m not so sure I should say. It’s just…I’m having such a great time…and I don’t want to make you jealous…

Is it working? Are you wanting to help me revise this dumpster fire of a novel?

I knew you liked me. I just knew it!

Okay, so I’m going to outline how I revise and would love for you to jump in, giving tips, tricks, tools, and general help for anyone stuck in revising hell, which is the first level for those keeping track.

 This is my process, and mine alone. It’s probably not ‘best practice’, but it works for me (sometimes):

After typing THE END (which oddly, I don’t ever type at the end, but bear with me), I start back at page one, copy and developmental editing as I go. For those who might not know, a copy edit is placing the right period, fixing a run-on, and/or adjusting a passive verb. Developmental is the bigger picture stuff, keeping eye and hair color consistent, and/or tying up hanging loose ends.

Once I run through it once, I do the same thing again, looking for deeper POV/Showing options. And that means, if I come across this: He was cold. I would likely go into a deeper POV, and change it to: The air chilled his flesh, raising goosebumps along the hair follicles.

And that’s usually it until the editorial letter hits my email.

Sometimes I might have an added step of critique from trusted sources, if available. This is up for much debate, but I prefer one or two readers I trust rather than wide critiques. Too much of a good thing for me. I try to please everyone and end up with a bigger mess.

So how do you revise?

What sort of software helps? A time ago I used Rainbow Editing, which helped before I started to use active verbs in my first draft. I sometimes use those word count programs--ones that find my overused words or adverbs.

Tips or tricks you find helpful?

How much do you put into a revision? Meaning, you have to eventually let the book go. How many times do you go back to revision before sending it on its way?

Really any advice on revision is helpful. Maybe we can, as a collective, help each other become better at the awesome, super fun art of revision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not All Hearts & Flowers – History Sucks Edition

First off, happy, happy Valentine’s day!

Now let’s quit the mushy stuff and focus on writing.

How does what happened yesterday affect your story?

 

I’ll give you two examples to consider.

Example #1 –

You based a story in Southern California in 1979 with a teen girl as your protagonist. A coming of age story. Something light and filled with girlish dreams and meandering around the sunny beaches.

Sounds like a nice tale, right?

Now through the lens of history. What was happening at that time and place?

Well, a team of serial killers were trolling for young teen girls in the Southern California area.

Therefore, the actions and reaction of the protagonist might be different. Maybe she’s less open to strangers. Maybe her parents aren’t as free with her. Maybe she’s not allowed at certain places.

 

Example #2 –

Not his example actually happened to me. I wrote a book based on my protagonist looking remarkably like Heath Ledger, who was alive and well at the time.

A week after I finished the book, Heath Ledger died of a drug overdose.

Both his death and how he died impacted my novel. People would have assumptions about my character. Or the time and place of the novel. And an emotional response to the tragic ending of Heath Ledger.

 

My advice when writing is two-fold.

First, keep your eyes on current events and climate. Do your research, even if you don’t think it will matter in the long run. Better to know than to be sorry about a factual error.

And secondly, understand that every reader comes into your book with a e=wealth of knowledge, experiences, and views. You aren’t going to make everyone happy. But seeing as your job is to keep the reader entertained, you should consider who said reader just might be and the events that impact your narration.

 

Has something like this happened to you? Have you used an icon, or a place, and then learned information that changed the perspective of your story?

Going Deeper for 2017

Welcome, 2017! So glad to see you. This year promises to be the best writing yet.

In that vein, I’d like to discuss a problem I’ve been having and hopefully you’ll have advice. Because, that’s what writer’s groups like RMFW are all about. Asking questions of your tribe. And mocking them when they give you bad advice…

So tribe, here’s my dilemma. I’ve been working on a cozy mystery. I sent it to my agent to read, and she suggested we make it more of a general mystery instead of a cozy. Her suggestion for doing so is, to go deeper.

Now that sounds easy enough.

Blinking at the blank page…

What the heck does go deeper even mean? I understand it in the general sense. But how do I make it happen? Does anyone have ideas or tools they use to create more depth and emotion?

So far, I’ve added some additional backstory and description of surroundings. Gotten more graphic in terms of the murder itself.

Most of that advice came from the internet, so you know it’s true.

What say you? How do you make your stories more complex? I promise not to laugh and point.

 

Writerly Resolutions for 2017 – ADD YOURS

Normally I am not one to partake of new year resolutions. Mostly cuz I hate to fail at them.

That losing 10 pounds one has really added up since my first resolution twenty years ago...But let's not focus on my jiggly thighs. Of course, now you can't get that visual out of your head (you're welcome!)

I do like one kind of resolution though - WRITERLY ONES. 

So as much as 2016 sucked for some people, and brought joy for others, I'm glad to see 2017. It holds promise of words, words, and more words. Book births. Some book deaths, usually termed, OUT OF PRINT. Also the idea of ideas. The realities of agents, editors, publishers, marketing, promo. Wins. Losses. Queries. Decisions. Questions. And RMFW!

And best of all reading a mass of great books by RMFW writers.

With resolutions in mind, here are a few of my writerly resolutions for 2017:

I vow to finish more than 3 manuscripts this year. Mind you, probably not good ones, but still...

I also promise to, and please hold me to this, be more social and active in my community, both writerly and other.

And finally, I will make a point to meet RMFW writers, find out who they are and what writing brings to them.

What about you?

If you could take a moment to add your resolution to the comments, we'd love to read them. 

 

On the first day of NaNoWriMo, my pen gave to me…

Not a dang word.

Stupid writing.

Disclaimed: I didn’t do NaNoWriMo. In fact, I haven’t done it in years. While in the past I’ve lied to myself, saying I would write every day in November, hitting 50k with the greatest of ease, I didn't even bother this year.

Hi, I’m Julie, a failed NaNoWriMo participant.

I have never, since my first try in 2007, hit the 50k mark. The most I ever did was 30k. Odd, since my latest project, a writer for hire deal for a film studio, came in around 50k and I completed it in a few weeks. So why can’t I win in November?

I’ve blamed it on the time of year. Like I only write in certain months, November just isn’t one of them…A crap excuse. What else? I have too much going on to write that much in a month…Considering I had 5 days off last week from my day job, that excuse doesn’t hold any turkey. Writing is hard, I whine. Again, not so much when I’m not kicking and screaming like a big baby. I sprained my index finger and since I type like two-year-old…

You see my point? I have a million excuses as to why I don't write. We all do. If I could only add this energy to writing, I’d have a book out every week.

And yet, I’ll continue to have reasons why I can’t succeed. It’s easier to never try than to fail. But all my time doing NaNoWriMo, that’s my greatest takeaway, it’s okay to fail. This is what I do because I love to do it. If it becomes a forced chore, like hitting 50k in November, I might reconsider.

How about you? Did you NaNo? Did you hit your word count? Have you failed at a project before? And finally, what’s your best/lamest excuse for not writing? Give 'em to me so I can use them next time I fumble with my own BS.

Happy Holidays! I'll see you again next year (unless I get hit by a bus or sprain my finger...or if I....).

Top Things That Scare the Words Out of Writers

BooHappy Halloween or Oct 31st, depending on your preference for the spooky. In honor, I've created a list of the things that go bump in the night and often the day for my writer friends. Feel free to add your own in the comments:

  1. There is less than 20 hours until NaNoWriMo starts
  2. Editors who change deadlines from Jan 2 to Nov 1 (yes, this is my life)
  3. The editorial letter (which always seems like the longest email in the history of emails)
  4. Agents. In general.
  5. Non-compete clause in a contract
  6. Lifetime rights
  7. PW No Star Reviews
  8. Amazon's rating system. Who thought up the cruel 1-5 star ratings? Sadists, that's who.
  9. Roving Goodreads reviewers
  10. Typing THE END
  11. Typing the first word in a new work. Mine is usually a swear one.
  12. Failing
  13. Succeeding
  14. Pitching in an elevator, that then get's stuck between floors after the agent/editor says the idea sucks.
  15. Query letters
  16. Reader expectations
  17. Having 40k done on Nov 30
  18. Paying for college tuition for kids off what we make as writers

BOO! Your turn. What scares you?

Current Climate in Publishing: The Sky Didn’t Fall, So Now What?

After the recent Colorado Gold Conference, I found myself wondering about indie/self-publishing and traditional happy-b-day-picpublishing. When I joined my first Gold Conference back in 2008, I/S publishing was the DEVIL. No, really, like the actual end of the world four to five horsemen. (I first typed horsemint, which is, according to word, any various coarse mints. Thought you might enjoy my overeagerness about just how bad it once was to I/S publish, that or my fat fingered typing ability).

This past conference, the vibe was MUCH different, and in fact, most of the I/S pub workshops were filled (I should know, our Rejection Panel went up against Nathan Lowell’s Amazon workshop Saturday morning. Thank you to the five people who joined us). Also, for the first time, iPAL the independently published version of PAL, was awarded a Writer of the Year (Lisa Manifold, who deserved it greatly for a) successfully writing and marketing great books, but more so b) being a leader in our community).

So my question to you, dear readers, and for once, comment dang it!, how do you feel about publishing these days? When you think of your current WIP, is it slated for traditional route or a more indie one? Have you come to the dark or maybe light side (depending on who you ask) of publishing?

Right now I publish with both. I see good things and bad for each. Nothing is ever going to be simple or perfect in publishing. Yet this is the first time I see I/S publishing tipping in favor to traditional. Or maybe just with my tribe. So let’s hear it. Good and bad. Beautiful and ugly. What say you about today’s publishing format climate?