Where Are You At? The Three “Acts” of a Writer’s Journey—From Newbie to Master

I thought this post by Kristen Lamb was a fun read.

It breaks down the stages of being a writer.

Stage 1 is the newbie stage.  Stage 2 is the apprentice stage and has three levels (early, intermediate, and advance).  Stage 3 is the mastery stage.

I thought it’d be fun to talk about the stage we’re all at and maybe some of the hardest lessons we ever had to learn along the way.

For details on the stages, I’ll link to her blog post so you can read it:

The Three “Acts” of a Writer’s Journey—From Newbie to Master.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Following Up on Submissions

The last time I posted an article, I wrote about submitting a short story to a magazine. And as promised, I’m following it up…with an article on following up on those submissions when a lot of time has passed.

Most magazines promise on their websites that they’ll get back to you on your submission in 2-6 months. What they don’t tell you is that work and submissions tend to pile up, especially when the magazine may be an operation run by only a few or even just one person. And imagine getting several submissions at the very least every month for short stories, articles, art pieces, and just about everything else under the sun. Your submission could be lost underneath all that.

So if you find a magazine has been taking its time getting to your submission, it can be helpful to send them an email and ask politely if your story has been looked at yet. Here’s what I normally put down in an email when I’m following up on a submission:

Dear [Insert magazine name here],

I am writing to follow up on my submission [insert story name here] which I sent in [insert how long ago or date you sent it in] to see if it is still being considered for publication. If you could please get back to me when it is convenient for you, that would be great, and thank you for your time and consideration.

Hoping you are well,

[Insert name, pen name if applicable, and contact information]

It’s also a good idea to attach your short story to the email in case it got lost somewhere among the submissions.

Normally a magazine will get back to you pretty quickly after this sort of email is sent. Even then though, it may take some time for the magazine editors to get back to you on your short story. If that’s the case, it may work in your favor to send an email every month or so inquiring about the status of your short story. That way it’ll stay in the forefront of the editors’ minds.

Also, remember to always be courteous and polite in your emails. They could just send you a form rejection letter right away, so the fact that they are taking the time to actually look at your story, no matter how long that time is, to possibly publish it is worth staying on the magazine’s good side. And when the magazine finally does take a look at your short story, no matter what the result is, be courteous and thank them for the time they took to read the story you sent them. That way, if you send them something in the future, they’ll be inclined to work with you and show you the same kindness and understanding you showed them.

Do you have any tips on following up on submissions?

Categories: Business Plan, Digital & ePublishing, General Writing, Marketing & Promoting, Psychology of Writing & Publishing, Publishing Basics, Short Stories, The Writer & Author, Traditional Publishing, Writing as a Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Having a Good Team

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Just as a sport’s team needs to have good team work to win games so does the writer.

With the finish of my sweet-Christian romance, Courtships and Carriages, I reflected on how much a good product stems from those behind the scenes. In other words, an author needs a good team. These include an eye-appealing cover, good editors and having a story which takes people on a journey that entices readers to read more and want more.

An eye-appealing cover is important, such as the one for my newest release, Courtships and Carriages. This beautiful cover is above.

However, getting a good design which matches your novel is not easy. It takes the right photograph as well as relaying the right story concept. Mine says sweetness and romance, all fitting the story. But other genres require different qualities, such as a horror book depicting dark or black designs to denote evil lurking in the corridors.

At a glance, readers need to know what lies behind the cover. Currently, I am reading, Doctored Evidence. What is on the cover? A picture of a doctor’s stool and the type of bed you would find in his office or in an emergency room. As indy publishers or with certain traditional publishers, you can have some input on your cover. But a traditional-published book without an author’s input, places that author’s story at the whims of their graphic designer. This could lead to disastrous results like a cover depicting a man wearing pajamas, but no scene contains anything of that sort.

A good cover also needs to focus on not more than three concepts. My Courtships and Carriages has three — the girl, the basket and the yellow-wheeled carriage. Each of these are important to the storyline.

If you are a self-published author, you need to make sure you hire a professional to do your design work or are proficient in developing a cover. I met an author a couple of years ago who used his mother’s painting of their Alaskan cabin for the cover. It was awful. After talking to the man, I heard intriguing stories about his family’s experience in Alaska, such as a bear peeking into their window when a certain television show was on air. I bought his book after talking to him, but if I only had seen his cover I would have dismissed it.

Another must is to line yourself up with good editors. I cannot tell you the importance of having an excellent team in this regard. I have readers who look over my manuscript from a reader’s perspective. One reader is especially knowledgable about farm animals since she grew up on a farm. She also is a great resource for lanterns and cooking without electricity because she experienced these.

However, I also have wonderful editors. They are great in finding grammar and spelling errors, historical inaccuracies, making the story flow smoothly and providing suggestions to improve the overall work. I am so grateful and I cannot thank them enough. Without this team, my work could end up in a wastebasket.

Of course, a key is to have a story which makes readers turn pages. I cannot tell you how heartsick I was last year to learn that my story needed major changes. It would not work as a book in a series as I planned so I made changes and started a new series with Courtships and Carriages. Her input was extremely valuable. It improved the work and although I hated to hear this terrible news it also was what I needed to hear. The story is better and it freed me from having to stay under the guidelines of a villainous character which I was trying to turn into good. Now the story flows and the characters shine. Thanks so much to this special person.

So line up a great team. One which also works for you and remember this sometimes takes time to find, but you will and as always I will end with a God bless.

Categories: Uncategorized

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