Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Why write?

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.” -- Maya Angelou

Monday, October 15, 2007

Email Etiquette for Query Letters

Are you emailing your query letters to prospective agents and publishers? If so, I hope you are using the same etiquette you would use for snail mail. That means you begin your letter with Dear Ms. or Dear Mr. Agent. Then you write out your three or four paragraphs using proper spelling and grammar without any text or email shorthand (lol, 4 instead of for, u for you, etc.).The only real format difference is that instead of having your contact information in the letterhead, you can include this info under your signature.

Make sure you follow the submissions guidelines as far as attaching copy or including your writing sample in the body of the email. And don't forget to check and double check the spelling of the agent's or editor's name.

My new ebook, Four Ps to Publishing Success, has a whole chapter dedicated to making yourself attractive to agents and editors. You'll find guidelines on how to prepare a professional letter and eight tips for crafting an irresistible query. Check it out!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Point of View

I was invited to lunch by a friend last week. She said, "You're always so positive and uplifting ... and I've been a little down of late. My book seems stalled, and blah-blah-blah. I need a Shelley boost." Not being one to turn down an opportunity for a free meal or to bask in a little praise, I accepted with enthusiasm.

As we enjoyed our meal alfresco at a downtown sidewalk cafe, my friend remarked that she admired my focus and positive outlook. "You always seem so sure of yourself and what you're doing." In comparison, she said, she was frequently distracted from her writing and discouraged by some recent contest disappointments and difficulty completing a chapter.

I admit to being pleased that I project such a favorable image. But here's the kicker: When I look at my friend, I see a woman writer whose byline keeps popping up in print and Internet columns. In addition, her fiction and nonfiction work has been selected on several occasions in just the last year as a contest winner or runner up--and for some significant cash awards as well! In my estimation, she is a prolific writer and producer of fine quality writing. In fact, in recent months I've envied her continued output while I've been distracted from my personal work.

Point of view is more than just the voice of a character in a work of fiction. It also means having a distinct perspective based on where you stand. I guess I've learned that when I don't like the view from where I'm standing, I move. I turn the pages in my mind until I find a scenario that suits me better.

Hey, we're writers. That means we create our own reality as well as fantasy. So, focus your perspective on a vision of yourself that suits you. And stop examining yourself in a 5X magnifying mirror--learn to overlook your perceived flaws and focus on your talent and your purpose.