Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Week in Review 6/7/15

Welcome to the week that was!

In last week's review Dena Pawling revisited our ongoing terminology seminar with this

And now I understand why the PB notation tripped her up. At the bottom of the copyright page she posted for the Gary Corby book, it shows that Death ex Machina has an ISBN as a PB, which presumably does NOT mean picture book =)

Nope, it means paperback. Hardcover and paperback editions of the same book have separate ISBNs.

Karen McCoy had a report on BookCon that I found interesting:

I went on Saturday, and whoa. Just whoa. It seemed like triple the people as BEA (though cutting the BEA Exhibit space in half probably enhanced this effect) and a lot of autograph lines capped early (tickets ran out). My friends and I didn't mind--we mostly just browsed a lot of booths. It was interesting to see how booksellers garnered attention from the crowds. Lots of free giveaways-- though I'm bummed I missed the ARC of KILL THE BOY BAND, which I can't wait to read.

The autograph lines had an interesting system. If people wanted a book signed, they had to get a wrist band, and before they could do that, they had to stand in a very (VERY) long line to purchase the books they wanted signed first. Not sure if they've done it that way every year or not, or whether it was effective.

Like any con, if you aren't up with the early birds, most of the worms get snapped up early. But my friends and I walked away with a fair amount of goodies anyway.

Stacy weighed in on BEA coming back to Chicago in 2016

REALLY bummed no one in the publishing industry wants to come to Chicago. :(

It's not so much we don't want to come to Chicago. It's measuring the value of attending BEA against the increased cost of attending when you have to fork out for hotel rooms and air fare. For me, the value of BEA is right about the price of the admission, but add a couple hundred to that, and I'm not sure. Chicago is particularly difficult cause there isn't anything else there to add value. In LA I could visit film agents, and meet California publishers and agents. DC is on the train line with a superb transit system to get around on (thus cutting costs).

On Monday, the results of the writing contest were posted. A lot of you were worried when the contest was late both opening and closing. Sorry about that. I overslept both days after a long week!

Terri Lynn Coop said exactly what I think about these writing contests:

One of the best bloggery days is when the contest results are posted. It's like reading a pint-sized anthology of world class flash fic.

S.D.King created a locationmap for us to add yourself: tap the pin and then drop it on your location.

On Tuesday the question was about how to requery.

Susan Bonifant made a good point:

Julie (Weathers) hit on something with PYW's fear of losing interest.

It's frightening to consider losing interest in something you've spent years on. But there might be a more uncomfortable truth at the core of this angst: you won't lose interest, but because time and fresh eyes WILL make the flaws stand out, you WILL have to attack it anew. Because nobody else will see the A of it if you settled for a B-

Elissa M had a terrific insight for us with her comment about professional musicians

Musicians train their ear to hear proper pitch, recognize chord progressions, etc. My husband quit the less-than-professional community band I play in because he IS a professional, and the sounds were destroying his ear. In addition to practicing (daily) he has to play with fellow professionals just to keep his ear attuned. He also constantly listens to recordings of accomplished instrumentalists (sometimes playing along with them) so his own improvisation doesn't get stale. (He's primarily a jazz/blues musician, but he also plays "legit" music.)

This is one of the MANY reasons you want to read widely in your category and beyond. I'm a staunch advocate of keeping a writing journal as well; a place to note great sentences and paragraphs, lovely turns of phrase, or words you had to look up. I'm not a writer but I keep a journal like this to both practice my penmanship and keep track of memorable things I've read.

Thing like this that Rob Ceres drew to our attention:

I love Pat Conroy. In Beach Music he wrote,

“American men are allotted just as many tears as American women. But because we are forbidden to shed them, we die long before women do, with our hearts exploding or our blood pressure rising or our livers eaten away by alcohol because that lake of grief inside us has no outlet. We, men, die because our faces were not watered enough.”

Longwinded for sure, but superbly rhythmic. And not one word can be added, or changed, or deleted, without irrevocably altering the passage. Now there is a master.

Dena Pawling made a valuable point about who/what to read for maintaining that keen eye:

One caveat about reading well-known authors - don't exclusively read their newer stuff. Yes, authors get better over time, but they can also get lazy [not always, but sometimes]. As it has been said, Stephen King [and others like him] can write whatever they want. I'm going back and listening to audio books of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, and after the first several books, it's hard for me to listen without thinking "she could have cut that dialogue tag." In some respects, I can't read a book for pleasure any more.
Just remember, not even multi-award-winning authors are perfect. But it does give you a good place to start

Kelsey Hutton had an interesting point:

"EVERY SINGLE WORD" is technically redundant, but the rhythm pounds the meaning into you One. Syllable. At a. Time.

I'd actually never realized that every single word is redundant, but of course you're right. It sounds awful to leave out single though. I'll take style and rhythm over "correct" any day of the week, too.

And brianrschwarz had a terrific idea about the importance of waiting:

I read a book on plane crash survivors. Statistically speaking, the first 3 minutes after a plane crashes are the most crucial moments of a survivors life. The actions taken during those first three minutes prove 95% of the time to result in their imminent doom or their survival.

The reason for this is simple. When you survive a plane crash, the first thing that pops into your head, hanging upside down in the canopy of a rainforest, is to unbuckle yourself. This is bad.

Another natural response is to pry loose of whatever position you are in and start running, expending lots of energy quickly and leaving yourself much more likely to die.

A third example is eating something without knowing if it is safe. Lots of bad decisions can be made in the first three minutes, but professional survivalists tell you to do one thing immediately.

Hug a tree.

Linda Strader asked:

Since I sent revised pages too soon, the agents that requested edits probably think I'm a nutcase. So, what do I do now? Move on, or is it okay to send this new version to those agents

Move on. Authors who keep sending revisions to the revisions are the ones where I lose interest in anything further. Sure, one revision too soon isn't great, and maybe got a rejection, BUT you can still query for the NEXT book if you haven't annoyed me endlessly before.

The conversation veered off on to editing practices. I really liked what Matt Adams said about limiting himself:

when I'm paper editing, I limit myself to 30 pages per session -- maybe to get to the end of a chapter I'll go to 40, but never longer. More than that I tend to gloss and I start missing things.

I'll do two sessions in a day -- one in the morning and one around nine at night to get my eyes fresh for each time.

On Wednesday a reader told me about an agent who sorts queries based on whether the writer has a website. I think that's idiotic.

mhleader pointed to my blog post about "what you need before you query" where I list a website and asked if anything had changed.

No it hasn't. But you're looking at the wrong list. The agent mentioned in the query said she DISCARDED queries when the writer did not have a website in his/her own name. That's this list:

Yes, it's smart to have a website. No, it's not something that distinguishes good writing from bad writing, or sellable/unsellable books.

Jenz had an interesting point:
You can try to rely on your superlative writing to pull you through while you flout standard advice. But I've noticed that students who consider themselves above the rules and want everyone to see only their quality work while ignoring other points of professionalism aren't the ones I'd like to hire myself.

I'll use Gary Corby here as the classic example. He wasn't trying to flout the rules; he certainly does not consider himself above them. He's one of the most down to earth sensible people I've ever had the privilege of working with. (One of the smartest and funniest too) I would have shot myself in the foot if I had not done everything in my power to get those pages.

Stuff happens. People don't know what the industry standards are. Websites get broken. Stuff happens! My job is to find good material not police the behaviour of writers. The guidelines are there to help writers not serve as ways to weed out the uninformed, or the unlucky.

The conversation drifted sideways into blogs/websites.

DLM mentioned:
Geez, Brian! I've got 34 followers. *Hangs head in ignominy*
I don't look at the number of followers of a blog. I look at the comment section. If there are lots of comments from a variety of people, that's a blog that would be considered a good platform. You want people who are invested with the blog writer, and are engaged with the subject. Eyeballs aren't the best measure of that; comments are.

Susan Bonifant asked
Why does an agent want to see a website at all? What are they looking for past the things that can be seen in pages? Creativity ? Personality? Politics? Are they gauging the agreeable-ness of a potential client? Are they trying to glean mental stability? Do they want to see how old we are?
When I click on a writers website it's most often to find the story behind the details in the query. "My first book was a bestseller" without any further details means I want to lookup the title and the publisher and the year it was published.

"My previous agent and I parted ways" means I look to see if the previous agent is listed.

"My first book was published in 200X" means I look for the publisher and whether it was self-published.
I'm not looking for how old you are, your political opinions, your personality. On the other hand, if you have a blog linked to your website, yes I'm going to look. And if you've posted endlessly about your publishing/writing travails, or worse, posted your rejection letters, yes I pay attention.

And yes, at some point we're going to need a collection of Julie Weathers stories. Here's one for the list:
One of the most visited blog posts I have is one about proper starching of Wranglers and how I starched my ex's Wranglers so heavily the zipper glued shut from the body heat. He had to cut the zipper out with a pocket knife

On Thursday the discussion turned to how to mention an editor has your manuscript when you query an agent.I took the opportunity to explain why submitting to editors before agents was something most of us agents really hate.

AJ Blythe asked
At a conference last year I booked a pitch with an editor at the Aussie based publisher of a US imprint I would *love* to be published with. I wasn't planning on pitching, but to work out 1. if my genre was of interest here (it's set in Oz, but it's really a US genre), and 2. if I did publish with the Aussie based publisher could my book still end up with their US imprint. I also made it clear my book wasn't written, it was just a fact finding mission.

The editor loved my concepts, and requested the partial of the first book of both proposed series. And to "get writing".

What do I do now? Following JR's advice above (and she is QOTKU) I should get an agent first (and for reasons that make complete sense, darn it). But the editor (one of the Big 5) is Aussie based, and I know I will need a US agent.

Every multinational publisher works differently. Some editorial groups routinely consider titles published by their overseas counterparts. Some don't.

The truth is though that the US market is the largest market for books in English. That means it's smart to get a US agent and US publishing deal first. Depending on the terms of that publishing contract (whether the rights licensed are World English or North American) you might get to sell directly to the Australian market rather than depend on the publisher to strike a deal with their Australian counterparts.

If your book is published in Australia you're going to have sell VERY well for the US market to be interested. A lot of Australians are published quite successfully here, and not very successfully in Australia. It's a strange thing indeed.

Colin Smith asked
So... even if the editor loves the book, doesn't it still have to go before a committee at the publisher before the editor gets approval to offer? I'm pretty sure editors can't go handing out 6-figure advances without the approval of the publisher. If I'm correct, then what exactly would an offer from an editor be? What kind of guarantees can an editor give to an author whose work s/he'd like to publish? I could see maybe a small press editor might have that kind of clout, but at a larger press...?

Most editors will indeed have other people at the publishing company read the book and get on The Enthusiasm Train before making an offer.

If the editor wants to acquire the book, it's just like every other offer. S/he calls up the author and says "let's dance" and "here's the offer"

All of this is in the FAR FAR distant future from a writing conference. Most editors who ask for manuscripts at these things wait a certain amount of time and then send a rejection. They have a very hard time saying "no" to writers at conferences (we all do) and thus will ask to read something they have no intention of reading or inquiring. No amount of wailing about "getting your hopes up unfairly" will change that.**

Matt Adams explained why he thinks people should pitch to editors anyway:

So if an editor wants to read your stuff, I think you've got to take that chance. If an editor is open to a pitch, I think you've got to make it. It may blow your shot with them, but since there's no guarantee that shot would exist at all if you wait to get an agent, a risk-reward analysis would say this one is worth it.

Here's why he's really REALLY wrong.

When I get a query from someone, let's call him Matt Adams, that says his manuscript is with Editor Awesome over at AwesomeSauce Publisher, and Editor Amazing at GotBucksPublisher, I'm more likely to say no to the query than if I think I'll have a clear submission field if I like the book.

By sending to those editors you've taken them off the playing field for me. There aren't enough publishing companies to go around right now. Take two out of the field and you've reduced the number of places I can send things on a first round submission by up to 20%.

And of course I can hear you saying "but the editor will love my book, I know it" and thinking you are going to be the exception to all those other losers out there. You are NOT the exception, and see above (**editors are not likely to even read the book that they're going to reject.)

Friday we had another writing contest and those results will be up on Monday.

Tuesday resumes with more Q&A.

It's a gorgeous day here in New York. I hope you're having a wonderful day as well.

Blog subheader:
Mr. Baldacci, Mr. Coben, Mr. King. Setting my sights too high? Setting myself up for failing? Maybe. But aiming for mediocre seems silly.--Amanda Capper


bjmuntain said...

No comments yet? Am I first? Woo!

(Watch someone get in just before me!)

A great WiR, as usual. Thanks!

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I do so love the week in review!

It's lovely here in central New York, sunny and bright, though not terribly warm. It was 43 degrees out when I was up briefly around 5:30 and 7 *shivers*

Looking forward to contest results on Monday! I've been going through them a few at a time, so I don't become too alerted to the prompt words.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Great WIR, love the map.

I think Carkoon is one of those little forgotten islands somewhere in the South Pacific. It doesn’t have scary stone statues or had a Broadway play written about it. It’s got rusted out ship hulls from WWII on the beach, caves, palm trees, fresh water and an Italian deli that sells Pizza in a box, American cheese and lima beans packed in olive oil. I think Colin should start a vineyard.

So Julie Weathers, Janet says we need your stories. If that’s not an endorsement, touting effort and ability I don’t know what is?
Nike !

Donnaeve said...

Like the weather, the WIR is lovely.

The vommenters sage.

The FF entries top notch.

All is well now in my little world.

Have a wonderful Sunday all!

Lance said...

WIR is always great. The map is great, too. Go Julie Weathers!

Terri Lynn Coop said...

A bit windy here in the plains of Kansas (which sounds uncomfortably close to Carkoon.) It apparently is going to go from 60 to 90 in two days.

One question on blogs/comments/traffic, etc. as a platform.

I'm seeing that popular blog posts are more likely to be discussed on FB than on the blog. With the need for sign-ins, captchas, etc. it is easier to hit the FB button, port it over and discuss it there.

I recently wrote a post that, for me, took off. It was widely shared, discussed and laughed over, with shares and replies sometimes 2-3 deep. But, on the site, it shows 3 comments.

A lawyer friend who writes amusing political commentary is finding the same thing. No one comments on the blog itself, but the FB posting discussion may go on for days. I also often find the FB discussion more lively and interactive.

But, if you set up a FB page for your blog, it dies on the vine. The action is in the personal pages.

Anyone else finding this to be true?

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Wonderful Week in Review. I love the subheader by Amanda Capper.

'Twas a busy week here. The discussions on requerying and pitching to editors were both very interesting.

I've been more active keeping a book/quote notebook ever since QOTKU suggested it. Mostly to remind myself of authors' titles and publication dates because I can't remember those kinds of things. Somer's ability to move the story was one of the first things I noted.

Today I was lucky enough to attend a workshop by Shannon Cain. She won two pushcarts, has taught creative writing for years. I'd love to attend US cons. QOTKU points out travel to Chicago raisees costs for BEA. Criss-crossing the atlantic is prohibitive at this point.

Last night I dreamt all the Carkoonites were around a table enjoying a meal or drinks or something. And earlier this week I dreamt I got a job sharpening pencils, all my friends were happy for me. And the really great news I got a new agent for my paintings. It was a call out of the blue.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Terri Lynn Coop, Same for blog. Lots of FB activity but very few blog comments

Donnaeve said...

I thought I was done the read Angie's comment about a new agent for her paintings - congratulations!

And also to Amanda Capper for the blog sub-header of the week!

WHOOP for both!

Karen McCoy said...

Lovely WIR! Posted another few bookmarks for future reference.

Thanks for the mention--I saw and learned tons from BEA and BookCon--including the *face* publishers and booksellers made when Chicago was brought up. Like they'd had their first taste of Vitameatavegamin. Janet's analysis seems to be shared by many.

Still trying to figure out how to pin on the locationmap. S.D. King, help?

S.D.King said...

I dropped a pin for Carkoon somewhere in India. When I read the name I always think of the Black Hole of Calcutta - no idea why.

Feel free to move it to its proper location - except someone said it was a planet, so the pin map won't help there.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Glad it's not just me seeing that, Angie.

And except on the blogs that have become communities like this one, I find even popular blogs to mostly be, "Wow, you're awesome,this touched me, you rock," while the FB discussions are way more interactive.



Dena Pawling said...

I hate Facebook and I don't get many comments on my blog. Guess that means I stick with fiction and don't try for non-fiction.

Congrats Angie on your agent for painting!

Colin Smith said...

Thanks for addressing my question, Janet. The discussion about editors this week confused me as to how it would be better to bypass an agent and go straight to an editor. Your answer to my question and to Matt's point sheds much light. As usual. :)

Guys--Carkoon is not mappable. At least in this dimension. It's an exile planet. Its environment is a bit like Death Valley and the Sahara, except those places are considered summer vacation resorts to the Carkoonians. Of course, those exiled to Carkoon can only dream of going to such cooler climes since they aren't allowed to leave without permission from QOTKU. And I'm sure I've racked up enough demerits in the comments that it'll be a long time before I experience the relief of 120 degree (F) temperatures. Yet Carkoon is not just notable for its exceptional climate. We have an abundance of life, some intelligent-ish, and some even non-hostile. But trust me, you don't need to know its precise location. You'll never want to visit. No-one is here by choice.

If platform is measured by blog comments, then unless I plan to write a book about Graham Cracker alternatives outside the US, I have no platform. I guess my non-fiction articles are too dull to comment on, or are glossed over by those looking for non-Graham Cracker pie crust recipes. I suppose I could fix this either by promoting my blog more, or being more active in the blogisphere... but then I'll become a blogger, which is a whole other time suck that I'm not sure I want right now. Of course, it could be my writing that's the problem... in which case maybe I should take heed...? :-O

Amanda! Congrats on sub-header of the week!! I'm glad that reminder will be in front of me every time I check Janet's blog. :)

And thanks for taking up my suggestion for the contest, Mighty QOTKU. To whoever wins: you won't be disappointed with this book! :)

bjmuntain said...

Oh, I forgot to mention: the map works for me now. Yay! I put myself on there.

Angie: Congrats!

Terry Lynn Coop:

Facebook has its strengths and weaknesses. It is often seen to be more 'friendly', so yes, there can be more discussion.

Terminology-wise: there are no 'personal pages'. Those are personal accounts. They're more intimate, and tend to be more for friends and families.

Recaptcha made me choose bread. But there was no bread, really, except the example, which looked like a pumpernickel loaf. I finally chose what looked like buns and... maybe crepes?

A Facebook page (like the one you mentioned, being set up for a blog) is a totally different critter - to Facebook. It's not intimate, everything you post there is public (you don't have a choice to make it private, like you do for your Facebook account), and Facebook's view of them are different.

The reason they don't do as well is because Facebook chooses what you want to read. Even if you 'like' a page, and want to get information from it, Facebook will still make the final decision as to whether you want to see it or not. Its algorithms for such things include images, videos, likes and shares by people you know, and whether the post has been 'promoted' (that is, paid for by the poster.) If someone wants to see everything posted on a Facebook page, they have to go under the 'Liked' icon, and choose 'Get notifications'. Because Facebook figures they know what you want to see better than you do.

So the reason you get fewer comments on a Page than an account is because fewer people (a percentage of your 'likers' or 'followers') are seeing it.

As for blog vs Facebook account... that probably depends on the person. Janet gets a lot more discussion here on the blog than on Facebook (but I see she gets quite a bit on Facebook, too). I think it's a matter of how you market it, really, and whether commenters on the blog seem welcome. Also, many people spend time on Facebook, and if a person's posts are appearing in their timeline, they're more likely to see it and respond. However, there are some people who don't get Facebook accounts for several reasons, and you're not going to reach them on Facebook.

I think it also depends a lot on if you're published or not published, on what you write/blog about, and so forth. On how often you post (Janet posts daily. Some people post weekly, biweekly, monthly, or irregularly (sorry! I'll try to do better!))

And, too, what you're offering people. If people want what your talking about, if you have opinions that they will agree or disagree with (not counting trolls), if you have information that many want to know, or if you can give them a good laugh... You gotta give people something. That's what it really comes down to.

Dena: Keep blogging about the funny things you see at work. And make sure people see you blog. Market it - post it on Facebook and Twitter, find ways to get influential people following your blog (they can get other people following your blog). I see you're on Google+ - it's not as popular as Facebook, but it's more friendly for the poster. Make sure you post your posts on Google, then. (I should do the same. So far, I only post on FB and Twitter.) Google+ tends to be less 'intimate' and more 'businesslike'.

bjmuntain said...

(Sorry about the Recaptcha comment going mid-post. I forgot that my post had probably been pushed back up to the beginning when I got an OpenID error, even though it looked like the end. Please pretend it is at the end.)

Colin Smith said...

Oh and for those of you who have been kind enough to stop by my blog from time-to-time using Firefox to browse the Interwebs, I fixed the problem that caused viewing issues with Firefox. As a note to my fellow WordPress users, Firefox doesn't like the Slimstats plug-in. Something to do with the way Slimstats collects visitor information it seems. Anyhow, I disabled that plug-in (no loss, I didn't use it much anyway) and all is working fine in Firefox world.

Dena Pawling said...

BJ - I'll keep blogging about court, don't worry about that. Some of the stuff is too funny to pass up. And to think it's all true lol. I have no idea how I got on Google plus except maybe I'm automatically added when I set up my blog on blogspot. I have 2 followers on Google plus who probably think I'm anti-social because I have no idea how to do anything there, including follow back. I'm still such an Internet newbie. It took me weeks to figure out blogspot and Twitter. And like Colin says, it's such a time suck. One of my CPs works at a school, so for summer she only works half-time. She's setting up a website and blog and finishing her editing and starting the query process. I'm so envious. I'm lucky to get 30 minutes per day during the week.

Okay I'm whining. It's a lovely day here (80s) and my kids are healthy. Life's good.

bjmuntain said...


I'm now a follower, too. And you've somehow got it set up so that all your blog posts go to Google. So, since I'm following you on Google, I'll get to see all your posts! And don't worry about being a Google newbie - I'm still learning that one. I've done Facebook and Twitter as part of my former job. I'm trying to learn more. Someday, I may get another job doing social media.

By the way, I found your Google presence just by clicking on your name here. Being on Blogspot (aka Blogger) means you have a Google account. I now have two, and I'm trying to consolidate them, but I may just have to delete one and push the other. If you look for my account on Google, choose the one with the Koko-dog avatar. The other is pretty well a ghost. *cue Twilight Zone music*

This time, choosing burgers for Recaptcha. One is obviously a burger. The other is a bunch of burger-shaped sandwiches made with english muffins, croissants, and bagels.

As an apology, it gave me an OpenID error, and I had to choose again. This time: drinks. Two bottles of wine and a shooter. I think I'm set now.

S.D.King said...


The map had permissions issues at first. I think it is working now, so if you still have trouble, try closing out of it completely, then get back in. There is a chance that it will not like playing with you if you don't have a Google account.

Had a crazy busy week, out of town with little connectivity,so I didn't get to work on it - then I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was working.

brianrschwarz said...

Just placed my needle on SD's map. Now time to plan the road trip ;)

Speaking of road trip, anyone heard how Julia is doing? I hope all is well with her! :)

Also, great WIR. Always an honor to get a mention! Maybe I won't be stranded on Carkoon forever... unlikely...

And DLM, just checked my average comments per blog.. not doing so hot in that category. I should probably just take after Julie Weathers and start blogging about catching frogs in the swampy backwaters of the Mississippi River.

DLM said...

Brian, me neither - I get more comments than I did a year ago, say - but it's all from here and Mojourner Truth. Even my friends never read the thing.

Fun to see myself in the WIR again! :)

Dena Pawling said...

Okay BJ I just clicked on your name here and it sent me to -
which then referred me to -
which has the cute puppy icon =)

I figured out how to add you on my Twitter feed. Still have no clue on how to add you to Google Plus. I did figure out how to add a Google+ badge on my blog. It says I have 10 followers. Huh??!

Judging from the number of comments on Janet's blog, I would guess she has enough of a platform for a non-fiction book..............

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Carkoon is to an island, and Colin if you don't admit the truth you're getting voted off. Palm trees do not grow on planets in other dimensions. You have gone coco-nuts my friend.

Amanda Capper said...

Hey! I wrote something close to intelligent! I'm going to call Mom.

I wonder if I can list this as a credit?

I really, really wish I could write flash. I try to come up with stories for the contest but I tend to compare myself to Colin and always come up lacking. I'll keep trying but short stuff is not easy.

Love reading them, though, and always interested to see if The Queen agrees with my choices.

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

@ Janet - "I'll take style and rhythm over "correct" any day of the week" YES YES YES! And the U.S. vs Australia published books - very interesting.

Enjoy the lovely weekend, all!

Colin Smith said...

Amanda: For flash fiction you can set your sights a lot higher than me, though I truly appreciate the compliment. If I were to base whether or not I even attempt flash fiction on how I compare to some of the folks in here, or on Flash! Friday, I wouldn't bother. But as you suggest in your quote, you aim high so you try harder, not so you can feel like a failure and not even try. :)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Another great Week in Review.

Thank you, Colin. That expresses my thoughts precisely. To aim high and learn through the skills and gifts other writers have.

LynnRodz said...

Another great WIR, thanks Janet.

It was a beautiful day here in Paris, but it's time for me to go to bed.

bjmuntain said...

Oh that's right. I log in here from my WordPress account. One of these days, I've got to get my WordPress account directing straight to my actual website.

And I'm following you right back on Twitter!

Recaptcha said 'choose all the food'. I guess sushi and soup aren't foods, because it didn't like it. Then it said 'choose all the cakes'. Again with the cakes.

AJ Blythe said...

Thanks so much for answering my question, Janet. I guess I have to be smart and aim for a US agent first and foremost. I can do that. Just need to know where the goal posts are =)

Colin, thanks for the heads-up your site's fixed.

SD King, fabulous having the map. I've added myself (although it took me ages because Sam Hawke beat me to it and we live in a tiny place - I'm obviously not very coordinated with the mouse)

Another wonderful WiR!

Sam Hawke said...

Echoing AJ's thanks for the Aus/US info. Choosing whether to go Aus or US agent has been a big thing for me too. Obviously selling in the US market is desirable because of its size, but on the other hand, it's SO big that you can get lost out there. In Aus your numbers are likely to be much much smaller, but you might potentially get better publisher support/marketing and not have quite as much competition for attention. On the other hand (assuming I have more than 2 :) ), depending on the genre you write in, you have such limited options for publishers here so you really only get a couple of chances.

Another odd factor is that down here the stats are very different, for whatever reason - I think it's something like only 60% of trad published authors are agented in Aus compared to a much, much higher percentage in the States.

bjmuntain said...

Sam: That's like Canada. Some years ago, a Canadian organization gave a day-long workshop on the business of writing. There, they gave the stat that, while 90% of published writers in the US have agents, only about 10% in Canada do. That may have changed along with all the changes in publishing (this was about 10 years ago), but many authors here (some published multiple times) don't have agents. They do, however, have access to lawyers through the local literary organizations.

I don't think there are any Canadian publishers that require an author to have an agent. Even Harlequin doesn't require an agent.

Canada, too, has a smaller market. 5000 books sold make for a Canadian bestseller.

Choose food again. This time, besides the food, the pictures included 3 bottles of booze, a contact lens, and a row of wrapping paper rolls.

Gary Corby said...

The competition page has closed, so I wanted to say here that I've read every entry for the Death Ex Machina competition, and I stand in awe of the creativity.

Would you believe Death Ex Machina is book five? I don't think I'll ever get over the bizarre way I managed to stumble through the query process. I wouldn't recommend my exotic mistakes to anyone else, but it does make a good conversation piece.

AJ Blythe, we're a bit in the same boat, or at least on the same continent. You're the second person this week I've seen ask about publish in Australia vs US. If it helps, my US editions outsell my only two Australian editions, even within Australia. So there's a pretty good rationale for trying overseas. Of course, if you've written Australiana, or something set fair and square in Australia, then it's a no-brainer to look for local publishers, unless your name is Colleen McCullough.

AJ Blythe said...

Gary, thanks for those stats! I'm a bit embarrassed to admit I bought your books via Amazon US (kindle), so I haven't helped with your Aussie numbers :(

stacy said...

Ha! I feel like a shy, woodland creature right now.

If the convention is in downtown Chicago, particularly the Loop, I think agents and publishers would have a pretty easy time getting around, as there are lots of public transit options (something Mayor Emanuel--despite the press--is doing a nice job of improving). Anyone who does plan to come is welcome to ping me for pointers on getting around Chicago. And that's not just for BEA--for anything.

It's really a shame how we don't have many (any?) publishers left in Chicago now. We've got Sourcebooks in the burbs, but I think that's about it. And they do a lot of gift books--definitely not all fiction. It seems like there were more publishers at one time, but I think a lot of the smaller ones closed down after the last economic downturn.

OTOH, we still have the Printers Row Literary Festival, and this year was particularly fun. Got to (briefly) meet Craig Johnson, who held a great talk and and was very personable when he signed books. I apologized for the atrocious weather we had yesterday morning and he talked a little about the time he did a 52-city book tour in cities where none managed to have any baseball teams.

I didn't ask whether he liked the Cubs or the White Sox because, boy howdy, I didn't want to trigger a riot in the library, which I'm pretty certain is deemed neutral ground by the fans.

Gary Corby said...

No embarrassment required, AJ. I hope you feel good that you're buying and reading books!

I saw that you're writing cozies with a bit of romance. That to me suggests the US market would be a good try, speaking as someone who is mostly clueless about markets. There's a slight but noticeable difference in approach when querying to either the UK or US, but don't let that stop you!