Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Query Question: how much of my book can I put on my website?

I've been working on a book series for a few years and as I'm sure all fiction writers are, am very excited about the characters, world, and story.

I am also an artist and my sister is into musical composition, and we are both decent with computers & design & such. A website for the series seemed like a great idea a few months ago --- synopses, artwork, original music, maybe quotes - i.e. things to get people excited about the story, not the story itself -- and after a lot of research on literature websites, we spent some time putting it together.

I was pretty pleased with our results and I think it could be a fun addition to a query.

In one of your posts I think I saw that a website link is acceptable as a small blurb near the end or under the electronic signature on a query letter. However, I got the feeling this was for the websites of published authors.

My question is, assuming it is of professional quality, do you think it would it be frowned upon or considered an attribute in a debut query? Or should the website remain unpublished until this is discussed with the agent? I was worried the potential agent might think, 'they've spewed all their story into cyberspace and now the rights are all screwed over' or something equally terrible. I don't know about any legal potential situations or publishing nuances for this situation and was wondering if you had any input.

For starters there is no such thing as a "fun addition to a query." Thinking like this leads to glitter, presentation folders, chocolates and unicorn plushies.  This is the road to hell, and you want to get off it asap.

A website link under your signature is for everyone, not just published authors. 

You don't mention what kind of books you're writing, other than that they are fiction, and you also don't mention what kind of website (with music) that you're building.

[Websites that play music when I click on them mean I click OFF them instantly. If this is news to you, please please please spend some time researching tips on building effective websites.]

To answer your question: you can put your entire book up on your website and not affect any of your publication rights.  You can also put up synopses, artwork and whatever else you want.  Where you plan to get quotes for an unpublished book, I do not know, but that's a whole other blog post.

But the larger question is, other than you're good at building websites, why would you do this? Is this an effective tool to employ in querying?

The ONLY time this kind of website is going to help you is if you are an author/illustrator writing picture books. [Clever music isn't going to help there either.]

I'm sensing here that you want to stand out from the crowd.

The ONLY way to stand out from the crowd is to write a book I really want to read.

You're spending a lot of time on this website idea; that's time you really should be spending on the books. Every minute you're writing html code for a synopsis, you're NOT writing your book. Every minute you spend creating art work for a book is a minute you're not reading widely in your category.

I fully understand the lure of working on something fun rather than doing the more difficult work of editing, revising, and reading. This kind of fun stuff will not get you closer to being published. It will not boost the effectiveness of your query.

It doesn't screw up your publication rights; it messes with the amount of time you're devoting to what matters: writing.

This is the modern equivalent over fussing about the kind of paper to choose for typing your query. It does NOT matter, as long as I can read what you write.

Don't be clever. Don't try to be different.

Be brilliant. That takes a whole lot more time and effort.


Susan Bonifant said...

First of all, I sometimes read a OP question and hope, HOPE Janet Reid will cover particular points in her answer. This was one of the best back-to-work posts yet.

Also, hugely agree: music on websites is a lovable as forgettable 70's tunes that play while you're on hold waiting to handle a frustrating problem.

french sojourn said...

Susan, agree completely. I have been scarce on this comment section as of late as I am writing fiendishly. (I heard that communal sigh of relief) But each day I hit the JetReid site and read. Lately with the 100 plus comments it chews up time, but it's better than Facebook-timesuck.

Music on a site is an auto off.

Back to writing.

Thanks Sharque.

mhleader said...

Gotta say, I HATE HATE HATE any website that either automatically plays music, automatically plays videos, automatically uses sound effects. In fact, I hate any website that automatically does ANYTHING except show me (SILENTLY) whatever information I went there to get.

The news sites and commercial sites are stuffed full of auto-playing videos and music. And I treat that as absolute SPAM. I leave the site immediately.

I'm with the QOTKU for this. I once again am in awe of Sharkey's perceptiveness.

Unknown said...

Back in the band days we had a saying. You see my drummer was the always practical one. That's why I hired him, to reign me in. Because I have a tendency to get too out there too fast.

because when you're in a band your primary goal is writing and selling music. You do this, of course, by recording an album and selling it. And even though plenty of bands play sho s before they have a cd, mostly they're just wasting time. Because if someone loves them and wants to support them, the band has no way to let them do so.

During the first few months of my own bands existence, I would commonly get caught up in how I wanted to tour this winter or how I wanted to play with these big bands or at these colleges and my drummer would always stop me dead in my tracks with this quippy one-liner - we don't even have a band yet. Because until you have something recorded, you haven't accomplished the one thing that matters about playing music. Having something to show for it.

I understand the temptation. One of the hardest things about being an artist is learning to accept that you are perpetually and invariably miles ahead of the rest of the world. Because I had written some of those songs 4 years before they hit a record. Because a book idea starts long before the first page. And by the time the world sees this finished product, you've practically memorized it. You know everything about it. To you it's an old friend, and the rest of the world is just now saying hello.

The point is this- you don't have a band yet. Don't worry about websites or multi-interactive experiences or marketing plans or generating buzz. Worry about getting that idea down, and if it's down worry about ripping it up and fixing it, until it's a polished, shimmering, glittery thing that needs zero stretches of the imagination to realize in its full glory. Do that first. The rest can wait till you have a band.

Kitty said...

I'm nowhere near the point of needing an agent, but I do occasionally check out where I can submit my short stories online, and many of them consider work which has appeared online, including on blogs and Facebook, to be previously published.

I would think long and hard about posting your in-progress work online.

Sam Hawke said...

IS there anyone anywhere who enjoys autoplay - video, audio, whatever? The main news websites here all do it now, and you have to register and login with your settings to turn it off. Basically they know it's hideous and we all hate it, and they try to use it as a stick to force us to register with them. Horrible.

LynnRodz said...

I agree with both Hank and Brian, we have to choose wisely because the internet can become a real time waster if we're not careful.

Most days I come here at 1 p.m. when Janet puts up her post. I give myself one hour to read her blog, make a comment, and read the other 4 agents I follow daily. During that time I usually come back and read whatever comments are here. After that, I'm not back until it's time to go to bed and all the writing has been done. I try to read through most of the comments (unless I fall asleep) because there's a lot of good information (and craziness) there as well. Alas, I'm not always successful.

Sam, I hate it too!

Colin Smith said...

Auto-music/auto-video websites are an idea straight out of the pits of Carkoon. The Carkoon Tourist Board website, to be precise. That's why this is an exile planet, not a vacation spot.

And I'm so disappointed to read that agents frown upon "fun additions" to the query. I was going to send a box of partially-used underpants wrapped in kale. Nothing to do with the novel, but I was hoping that would help me stand out from the crowd... :)

Julie said...

Susan & French - Ditto.

Specific points: Having spent yesterday am with my Hired Query-Helping Indy Publisher, here are my questions.

Is it true that my platform does not belong on my query? If it does belong on my query in general, is it true that because I live in VT, the assumption is - to a busy NYC Agent - my platform extends to VT readership only and is therefore irrelevant regardless of size (making the phrase "FB likes of x #" worthless on a query)?

As to "how much of my book can I put on a website?" What about snippets on FB? If readership doesn't matter in a query letter - and now I'm TOTALLY confused because a year ago FB platform was all that AND a bag of chips, which was why I SPENT all year getting one - then does it matter at all? And where? And if it DOES matter, then I need to keep mine. And the way I keep it is with my snippets. They rather demand it, and my FB counts drift downwards when I stop posting them. So how much can I put up there and have it be okay? Yes, I'm talking about unpublished manuscript snippets from WIP's. I've brought this up with the Indy Pubs; I've brought it up at conferences; I've brought it up again and again online - and there seems to be no consistent answer. The answers vary from FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE, DON'T DO IT! to NOBODY CARES, SO STOP ASKING!

But I never asked you, and you're my Gold Standard... You're Mickey Mouse.
You're the Nile...You're the Tower of Pisa... You're the smile on the Mona Lisa... (cough). Never mind. But I do need to know, am I shooting myself in the proverbial foot here by putting snippets / teasers from unpub'd works up? Because if I am, I don't know what to put up on my platform of now-questionable-necessity. The platform that I've spent a year and not insubstantial amounts of cash establishing because a year ago it was completely and thoroughly essential.

She said something that you have been saying to me for years - but in a different way that finally made it hit home. I used Colin's Erin Brokovich analogy, and she said, "YES!" and went on to say, "This is a sales tool. You're not telling a story. You're selling a story. You have a couple sentences to convince them that they can sell this. I know you're passionate about this; your query doesn't carry that. So. Your assignment is this. Ten short, declarative sentences that use words an Agent can sell. Power words like "Death" and "Battle" and "Love" and "War." It isn't about your voice. That's secondary. It's about why they can make this book work on the shelf."

And so now I have to turn 110K words into "He lost everything but his son," and "Son comes to live with him and his army of Angels - but has no idea who he is or what they're fighting for" and "protecting him against the armies of Lucifer," all without explaining much of anything, when what I really want to do is say, "You see, what happens is..."

So I give her declarative sentences, no glue, and we'll glue them together next week. I hate this. I feel like I'm selling Ginsu knives, not my book. "It slices! It dices! It throws the Archangel Michael at you and turns you into a Telepathic Demi-Angel and takes away your life as you knew it! It plunks you down in a chair and five hours later, you're still reading!"

On the other hand, she blind tested it with her editors without telling me... which was good, because I would've been nauseated all month had I known she was doing this... and apparently it went well. I think she's trying to convince me to bag traditional editing and go with her, frankly. HA HA HA... :)



Dena Pawling said...

“A website for the series seemed like a great idea a few months ago --- synopses, artwork, original music, maybe quotes - i.e. things to get people excited about the story, not the story itself -- and after a lot of research on literature websites, we spent some time putting it together.”

Well first of all, congrats on your website! I only have a blog and it took FOREVER for my non-computer brain to figure out how to do it.

I like the idea of artwork.

I have my query [minus the author info paragraph] on my blog.

As mentioned, be sure any music you put on your site is “click to play” and does not auto-load. Those are the spawn of Satan, moreso than a synopsis.

And speaking of synopsis, do NOT put your synopsis on your website!!!! After all, once I know what happens in your story/series, why would I want to read it?

I'm seeing a trend in about 90% of Janet's posts here on her blog:
1. Be professional
2. You are not wasting my time
3. Write the damn book

Congrats on your website. Now get back to work and write the book/s =)

S.D.King said...

I was just thinking. . . this group is so spread out. . .so I created an interactive pin map.

I will wait for Janet to say if it is genius or creepy (I think a little of both). If she thinks it is fun, I can "share" with commenters and you can drop a pin on your location and identify your genre.

Wait - didn't Janet just tell us to quit goofing around and get to work? Ok, ok, ok.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of interactive websites with lovely illustrations and character deets and bits and pieces of the author's writing, so that if I love the characters, I can get more. But auto-music should be burned with fire. There is never an okay time for auto-play music on websites. I don't register to get rid of it. I either click right off (most likely) or mute my speakers (2nd most likely)

And I agree with general consensus- use the time to write your book/another book. It's too easy to get distracted with Stuff.

Karen McCoy said...

We can thank the NYC jackhammers outside my hotel room for my earlier arrival this morning. (Must read yelp reviews next time.)

I've built a platform way too early (cue jackhammers) because years ago I heard a talk at a conference that said it was a good idea. And had my husband not been a graphic designer, I probably wouldn't have considered it.

But I suppose I have the space ready for when I need it. Like in Under the Tuscan Sun, with the train track they built in the mountains before they knew a train would come through.

Craig F said...

You do need to settle down, fasten your seat belt and write something brilliant. It has to be brilliant enough to get some of the visual and audio gratification people to talk about your website. The problem is that those people don't tend to read a whole lot.

Getting comments from this blog might be the worst place to get them. The people here are writers and get their information the old fashion way, they read it. On the whole they don't want to be ambushed or attacked by a website.

Good luck with the brilliant part. It can be something different for every person who reads your work.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Brent Weeks has an excellent author website, maybe a little overboard. He posts artwork his fans create of his characters, maps to his fantasy lands. I don't recall any music. Video spoilers like what Jeff Somers creates are excellent. Janet posted one on her web page.

On my emails I have a signature line with my website but thought it not good practice to include it when querying. Am I wrong? Should I leave it when I start querying? Usually I delete it when contacting non-art professionals.

I had to select street signs from reCAPTCHA, there were some very strange other pics including beer and roadkill.

Unknown said...

Be brilliant.

Wow, best advice I have ever heard. I was originally going for being Mr. Darcy, but when that didn't work out, I went for writing. Now I'm going for brilliant. And even if I don't make it, what a goal.

I don't spend much time on unpublished author's websites. Why should I? They are in the same boat I am, just off the shark infested waters of Carkoon.

John Green's Youtube videos, however, are brilliant. Tommy Wallach has made an album that compliments his book. That is brilliant. But note that he waited until after he was published and that his book is about music.

Donnaeve said...

Auto-music on websites reminds me of Muzak in elevators, forced upon you whether you like it or not. Same goes for videos that are intended to show the facial emotions, or body expressions of the words typed out. I will immediately leave a website if either of those are included.

As to the website the OP has created, that's all fine and good AFTER (MAYBE) they've secured an agent and the book is going to be published. This really, IMO, reeks of one sitting on the cart and wondering where the horse went to. Oh. Back there. Also, and to Ms. Janet's points about writing the book, writing it "brilliantly," etc. If you do that, guess what will sell your book? Likely NOT the website. It's something sitting right on everyone's face. Mouth. Word of mouth.

Hank! Good for you! I'm happy to hear you are writing fiendishly! How are the grapes doing? The sheep? :)

Wow. That's the fastest I've typed a comment in YEARS! And I didn't even have to back up to put a space in...Whoop!

Awww, CAPTCHA. Signs. Really? I'm hungry.

Ashes said...

On the topic of gimmicks, I was once under the misguided impression that standing out through creativity was the way to go. Thank goodness I never queried (I'll send my first queries next month), but first when I researched the publication process it did cross my mind.

I think it's common to think of gimmicks because writers are creative people who often have other creative outlets (drawing, music composition, rug-hooking) that they think will add value. Back then I was under another misguided impression, I believed my query should showcase my creativity. I thought the concept should sell the book. After a lot more research and self-education I learned the simple truth, one Janet preaches again and again, the writing is what should sell the book. The writing is the only thing that matters.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Donnaeve, I'm glad you mention Muzak by name. Somebody who read my first chapters didn't know what Muzak was, and I was a bit alarmed (in addition to disappointed....). I do like being able to find original music; I do not like auto play ANYTHING (but I think that's common of most of the webfaring culture).

My experience has been similar to Julia's, in that most sites where I'm submitting short fiction, "posted on my blog" equals "published" (which is a shame because I have at least one short I published on my blog that I'm particularly proud of/happy with). I'd assumed this conceit generalized to novels, but you know what happens when you assume, I guess.

Stephen G Parks said...

C’mon, who doesn’t like a little Rupert Hines while they’re trapped in the elevator?

Sing it with me, you know you want to:

“If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain…”

Wait, was that even the 70s?


But to the point, I wouldn’t post the story online (nor synopsis), but once closer to the publication date, I would be tempted to post background on some of the characters or (since mine does have aliens) write out my background notes on my alien cultures and give that kind of info.

But I would not post plot points (alliteration 1), beyond the basic back cover blurb (alliteration 2).

Julia: "He lost everything but his son," and "Son comes to live with him and his army of Angels - but has no idea who he is or what they're fighting for" and "protecting him against the armies of Lucifer,"

I’d read that, or at least look into it enough to see if I wanted to read that.


ps - On a personal note: sorry I was gone for a while - had an accident, did something to my shoulder (MRI results at the end of the week. Praying it’s not a torn rotator cuff or anything else that needs surgery to repair). Only really been able to type (beyond one-handed finger jabbing) for the last few days. So frustrating! (Is there a statute of limitations on replying to old threads, ‘cos I’m worried the moment’s passed on them?).

[x] I'm not a robot

french sojourn said...

I'm embarrassed to's Rupert Holmes. I wish I didn't now that but my mind Captcha-ures so much trivial info.

Donna- sheep no more (restraining order) Vines and wee grapes progressing.

S.D.King - Saint Jean de Duras, S.W.France. Science Fictin - Police Proceedural.

Angie B.A. How are the remaining (68-12) 56 paintings going?

Dena - can one open a book if you know how it ends....I know biography, historic, etc. My vague point being I don't want to know it was Mr. Mustard in the library with a cattle prod while playing the bagpipes...Crikey!

Hey LynnRod...hope you're well.
Cheers (back to hunting and pecking...the keyboard....ooof!)

Elissa M said...

Hmm. I write. I really do write. And I read. Daily. But, I too, am also an artist. It's sort of my "day job". (I'm also a musician, but that's an avocation, not a vocation.)

So here's where I disagree in the teensiest way from the Shark: "Every minute you spend creating art work for a book is a minute you're not reading widely in your category."

Every minute I spend creating artwork for a book (or anything else) is a minute I'm exercising the right half of my brain and giving the left half a rest. Of course, it works the other way around, too. Writing gives my drawing side a break. For me, the two endeavors work together, helping balance a sometimes unbalanced mind.

Still, I get Janet's main point: Don't waste time on peripheral things. Do the work.

Flowers McGrath said...

I read this earlier and was doing all kinds of stuff but thinking on it quite a bit. Have a minute now. I haven't read all the comments yet...but probably won't be able to till tonight or tomorrow. Sorry if I am redundant.
I have a website and it doesn't play music but it has a tab for my music, which isn't an accessory to my writing. You can buy it there. I also draw, paint, have acted, make all kinds of things. I can't imagine not putting a creative touch on everything I do. I think there is something to be said for being a creative type with lots of talents and having a place for them all/some on the Internet if you are into that. I also have my main page of my site as my blog. I don't blog as frequently as I'd like to, but i also don't see myself doing too much social media or self promotion unless/until I am really directed to by a publicist or someone with a greater handle on whAt to do then I do. It ends up feeling like an enormous waste of my time.
I truly love having a website. I just like knowing I am out there in this dimension or our society. I like being able to send new friends there. Etc.
On the get to work note, even this blog can be an enormous draw of love-time and energy. I have to discipline myself because it can feel like work when it's not. Again, though, writing is such solitary time, I think you also need to gift your creative self with experiences not all perfectly attributed to the written word on the page. The well can run dry, so to speak. It's a balance.
I have also been one of those people to want to add, essentially, gimmicks to get noticed. When i was getting an acting agent as a teen, I put my headshot in tubes. That actually really worked. But as i have read so many of Janet's posts i realize, that may be something you can get away with when a child. As you get older, other things are expected of you. It may just scream naive or foolish even.
In the end, however, I am concerned being multitalented and showing it may in fact be a strike against you. It complicates you to people and causes you to come across, as my dad often put it, Jack of all trades master of none. But then I think of Miranda July or Colin Meloy. Maybe the thing is to really remain engaged in one thing until you truly RECIEVE success and respect for that, then wow them with your other talents. Still working on it all myself.
Always appreciating the blog!

Jenz said...

I assume the quotes mentioned are quotes from the book itself.

You can take down the existing pages and start using the site as an author site. Really all you need is web presence so that agents can contact you.

My dad told me to look at what my bosses wear to work and dress at that level. Do the same with your site--look at what the pros do and emulate it.

And note that they don't heavily promote books they don't have deals for yet.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I'm different, I'm clever so I'm screwed.

Can you tell that along with my brilliance comes humility ?
No, oh well back to being a clever and different unknown.

Colin Smith said...

I don't mind elevator music so much, certainly not as much as I mind auto-music on blogs. At least with elevator music it's confined to the elevator, you expect it when you enter the elevator, and it's usually not so loud as to intrude upon conversation. On blogs, you don't expect it, and you can be sure it's playing at a not-very-subtle volume. Someone back in the mid-to-late 90s thought auto-music on blogs was cool. And sure, back then it was a hot and new thing. I think the novelty lasted all of two weeks... :)

Adib Khorram said...

LynnRodz: I do the exact same thing as regards keeping up with my blogs. Thirty minutes in the morning and then I have to leave them alone until the end of the day, if I even get to return.

I always enjoy the Week in Review because inevitably I've missed something awesome.

As to websites, just last week I stumbled across a website for a company that sells rolls of paper for plotter-printers. I'm pretty sure it was coded in HTML1.0. It had the Page Visitor Counter and everything! I was almost surprised there was no auto-play MIDI in the background or flashing text.

Managing your free time really does take discipline. Goal setting helps keep me distracted from working on ancillary projects. I told myself I was going to read one hundred books this year (I'm at 46 so far!) and that looming number has kept me focused.

And when I'm not reading those books, I'm writing those words. Except for the two hours on the weekend when I get to play LEGO video games. I'm on LEGO Lord of the Rings right now.

It is awesome.

Flowers McGrath said...

Errg. One more thing. Then back to the salt mines. There is an enormous, very youthful, happy culture of DIY people out there. I don't know if they buy books. Ha! They may all just be writing ones and most of them not selling any of them. But I definitely think the myriad ones I have met, really aren't savvy exactly the way Janet's world is savvy, necessarily but/&/or are they in it for the same reasons maybe as one might think. I guess the big valley here is traditional and perhpas more old school "what works" and then the modern creative open source vibed DIY collective or self creating type "what works". We haven't seen the OPs website and it may be just fecking brilliant and blow us all out of the water. The art the music the world. It's wether an agent will go to the link and think so and therefore be more likely represent them? That sounds less likely, but I don't want to assume from the OPs question that it's hoakey or doesn't work. There are always exceptions to the rule. Just far too few of them.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

I'm with you – websites that autostart any music or video without my say so are automatically closed and never revisted. Autostart is a tool of the devil.

Scott Sloan said...

I have to say I've never considered unicorn plushies as the road to hell.
Technically speaking, I've never considered unicorn plushies… at all.
But I believe is was the immortal Dante who populated his seventh level of hell with unicorns being ridden by Hello, Kitty.
That is a fate too terrible to contemplate.
Get that unicorn some My Little Pony reruns – stat!

Unknown said...

I'm very surprised that so many people went to the auto-music option--I assumed the OP meant a music file available for download that corresponded to a particular scene in the book, etc.

I remember reading Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, and loving it, and finally getting to hear a particular sonata that was mentioned often in the book. I've also enjoyed seeing authors' drawings of their characters, maps, etc. available online (for already-published books). I like those glimpses into the author's world.

I agree with Janet that working on your author website can easily become a timesuck and is unlikely to convince an agent to sign your book. But for readers, now--those extras can be really nice, as long as they're done well.

And now back to writing for all of us...

Julie said...

"Read widely to see what's out there that is like your manuscript."

If you've just written a manuscript in a new genre, how do you know what's out there that is like yours - and which of it is worth reading?

Do I google: Stories involving PICU residents? Stories involving corrupt senatorial dynasty families? Families who attempt to drown little kids? Mysteries that aren't because the murder-attempt victim survives and the one who puts it together isn't a detective? Mysteries that aren't because the detective (an MD) actually has help from a couple of other people, thereby breaking one of the rules of mystery writing?

How do you find "what's out there like yours?"

REJourneys said...

I sometimes draw my characters. Actually, I usually draw my characters because I've been practicing art for far longer than writing. For some reason, if I can't visualize them while writing, there ends up being a disconnect in voice and character.

It really doesn't matter what my characters look like, but sometimes the clothes they wear and the poses they'd be in help me get a grasp on their personality.

Other times I just get so excited about my story ideas I have to draw them or I'm afraid I will burst like an overblown balloon.

All of this, though, is to help me focus when I do sit down and write because I can use all the help I can get. :)

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Julia: "How do you find "what's out there like yours?" "? You go to the library! ;) Regardless of what each librarian/clerk/employee's Reading Topic™ is, we can all hold forth on "readalikes" when asked, or we know which resources to consult when stumped.

And, I'm not really a "mystery reader" (this doesn't mean I won't read them, just that few have caught my attention/fancy over the years as compared to other genres) but one thing which really bugs me about a lot of mysteries I see is that it isn't law enforcement Solving the Puzzles at's the dog walker, or cat sitter, or the cats themselves, or the woman who owns the knitting shop, or or or.

And so far as my free time goes....well, a lot of it is writing. And submitting short stories. And trying to edit these two novels into one coherent one. And playing D&D (Or Shadowrun or White Wolf, depending on the day), and video games. And walking the dog and watching stuff and cooking. Any of those moments can be rich soil for stories, depending on the stories and characters you're writing.

So far as my "website (Blog) goes, I've been writing about Dungeons and Dragons all month on my writing blog, even though, I've yet to complete one of my traditional fantasy novels. Ah well.

Julie said...

Stephen - Thanks for that. No, really. As a heartfelt thank you, I give you this. Thanks, Stephen. I never leave an Earworm challenge unaddressed. And, no. You'll never see Spock the same way again.

Adib - Lego games rock! Strangely, however, the Lego Lego movie game was weak. At least, we thought so.

Scott - what about Unikitty? She's my muse!

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Dena, I hear that too. Maybe we should all refrain from commenting on the same day. Put a tag on twitter, something like #amwritingnotvommenting.

BJ, thank you for answering my ISBN question yesterday, I didn't vomment again was writing.

Elissa what you said. Flowers and REjourney, nice to know other artists here.

While painting is a no-brainer, reading sometimes takes too much concentration. Especially when analyzing the writing style or trying to pick out the plot points.

Julia, reading beyond your genre is enlightening. I don't know what genre I want to focus on other than suspense and twisted, definitely not erotica.

Hank, one more done today.

Just for fun check out the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for wretched writers.

Julie said...

Angie, I'm definitely reading beyond my genre - I picked up Reacher! I just don't know what to read - my genre just changed and since I'm supposed to know what is IN my new genre, and I have no idea what there is... I don't know how to find it, LOL... :)

Julie said...

Angie - I do have this nifty "Beretta" magazine so that my "shoot-em-up" scenes are at least somewhat legit...

Unknown said...

Not sure if I am supposed to say this, but I guess Janet won't let it be posted if not :) I was the one who had asked the question and wanted to say this - Thank you so much, Janet and everyone else, I really appreciate you taking the time to look at the question and give your input. I especially found the comment (the first, long one, lol) of Flowers McGrath to be very helpful. Of course the writing is the backbone and brain and the hard work, and that's what will ultimately matter. But, I admit I love creating the story from all aspects and think it adds something for readers, or maybe just for me as inspiration (not agents, though! good to know :). I was planning on rock 'n' roll music to open with the home page, but I'm considering changing it now. Lol. I meant it to be files to be opened, for scenes as one of the commentators guessed. Thanks again, all you sharkish people. Happy writing!

S.D.King said...

French sojourn - You're on the map. Watch for an email to view.

Anonymous said...

I like what Elissa said about exercising both sides of your brain. I don't necessarily see working on other creative endeavors as "wasting time" that would be better spent writing. Geez, here I go, being disagreeable again.

I know many writers who use collage to help them with story concepts. One writer I know makes a huge 3-ring binder for each novel, full of pictures and other visual/tactile prompts for the story. Other writers develop extensive play-lists of music they listen to while writing. Some writers knit or crochet while working out a plot glitch. These are multi-published, bestselling authors. And I've seen readers get pretty excited when writers share those creations with them.

I don't do any of those things. I'd rather have someone rip off my fingernails than attempt a craft project. But I can certainly see the value if it helps with story creation. Probably not a good use of time if you're doing those things as a way to procrastinate and avoid writing, however.

I glanced at twitter earlier and saw a post from a person attending BEA and it quoted someone else as saying the new frontier (or some such word) in ebooks is video. I sure as hell hope not. If I wanted to watch a movie, I wouldn't be reading a book. GRRRRR

Pardon my surliness. I've been sick for a couple days with a throat cold. Yesterday I went from sounding like Lauren Bacall to James Earl Jones to Marcel Marceau. Today I'm whispering. And being surly in comments. *sigh* Time for a nap.

Anonymous said...

I despise it when I go to a website and they have music, animated banners and those damnable gifs after ever paragraphs that you can't escape. The constant motion is giving you a migraine as you try to glean whatever information it is you're there for. Unfortunately, some of these people who love these cute gifs have valuable information, so you can't just avoid them. I usually resort to slapping post it notes on my screen to stave off the migraines.

Janet emailed me some months ago and gave me a word to the wise. I have five links in my signature. The game company I write for had suggested we all link to the various social media associated with the game. Janet said some spam filters will block an email with that many links.

Just so you know.

I removed those links and put them on my official email account they created for me and kept the other email account separate. Which is a good idea anyway.

Years ago Zach Recht posted installments of his story, PLAGUE OF THE DEAD, THE MORNING STAR STRAIN on his website. He gained a substantial following of devoted fans and he was a very talented writer. Permuted Press noticed and bought the rights. They told him to take down everything down and published the book. The book broke all sales records for them. The second book did the same.

This can happen, but it's like the story of Lana Turner. How often does that happen?

I have a website. A friend insisted on building one for me. I have samples of writing up there I need to take down because I look now and realize my writing has evolved and improved. My son wants to redo the website this summer and make it more interactive and less busy.

We'll see.

Frankly, I have my hands full writing and editing...and keeping up with y'all.

Anonymous said...

So much to say and respond to! I'll split it into two (or more) messages. Sorry for adding into the comment count. I hate sleeping in and coming late to the party.

I won't say I exactly disagree with Ms Shark - the writing itself is the most important part of your writing career - but I don't see the harm in having a website, and there are some pretty good reasons why it's good to have a site.

Yes, a website will be more useful once you're published. But if your website is built and functioning before that point, you've had a chance to build a readership, a following, and a presence on Google. It can take some time for your website to move up the Google ranks.

My website took some time to build, but the fanciest thing I did with it was to separate my blog posts into three separate blogs. (WordPress wanted to put them all into one long list, and that wasn't my vision for my site. I might go that way in the future, but I like the separation I have now.)

I've also created a website for my 'world' - or, rather, a company I created that's a big part of my world.

I did all that during a period when I had stalled on my fiction. I couldn't figure out what to do next. I had a couple other ideas floating around in my head that hadn't quite gelled yet.

It was fun. And I think it was a good use of my time. If I was blocked in my writing, at least I was able to create something, and it might turn out to be useful. If nothing else, I can use my website (and that of my fake 'company') to show future employers what I'm capable of in website design.

As for music and videos: My computer's sound card doesn't work. And since it's an older computer, I've set my browsers to 'ask me' before running anything Flash. Otherwise, the whole computer freezes when I get to a website that automatically runs video. And that makes me hate the website, even before I can see it.

The problem with posting pieces of your work online isn't legal. It's a matter of sales. If people can read the novel online for free, they're not going to buy it when it comes out. It's important to know how much to post before it becomes too much.

As for the short fiction markets, as Kitty said, it's best not to post them anywhere. Because a short piece of fiction is... well, short. While a short piece of a novel might get people to want to read more, a short piece of a short story might be too much. Why would people buy your story in a magazine if they can read it for free on your site?

Sandwiches this time. And one picture with what looked like a Rock or Round Bread turned into an alligator, with a glass of wine...

Anonymous said...


Yep, Julia. It's all about selling. That's hard for some writers to do because it's so subjective. It's art. But there are a few artists here who can tell you that even artists know how to sell their work.

Whether you put your platform on your query or not depends on your platform. If you write non-fiction, then your platform is essential. Writing fiction, if your platform is that you've sold stories to magazines, then that's included. And, in your case, if you're writing medical thrillers/mysteries, add that you are a doctor, because it gives credibility to your fiction. But a social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is not generally included as platform in a query.

And Julia: It sounds like the industry professional you've 'hired' is grooming you for her own company. I don't know if I would be comfortable if someone - even an industry professional - were to have other people reading it without my permission. I mean, if I submit my novel to a publisher or agent, yes, I can accept it might be shared amongst others at that publisher/agency... but if I hadn't actually submitted to that publisher, just hired her for industry guidance, I'd be wary.

SD: A pin map isn't creepy. I've belonged to other groups that had one, just to see where everyone was. I don't know if many people ever looked at it, though, after the novelty had worn off.

Angie: It's perfectly fine to put your website under your signature. Just don't expect the agent to click through. What an agent really doesn't like (from what I've heard) is "Read my terrific query or my partial or my pages here on my website", or something where they HAVE to click through to get the full gist of your query. I put my website and my Twitter account under my signature with the rest of my contact information. That way, if they *want* to see what I've been doing, they can. But they don't *have* to, and I don't expect them to.

Stephen: Welcome back! Hope your shoulder feels better soon. So sorry about your accident. :(

I am a Rupert Holmes fan. I am not embarrassed to say so. It came out early 80s, I believe. That's when I remember first hearing his music, anyway.

But I wouldn't put music on my website anyway. I've got nothing original for others to listen to.

Flowers: An acting agent and a literary agent are two different bunnies. It's entirely possible an acting agent wants gimmicks. A literary agent isn't into the glitz - it's all about the writing with those lovely folks.

Colin: Another difference between elevator music and blog music is that elevator music isn't going to start playing from your work computer so everyone knows what you are (or aren't) doing.

Julia (again - sorry, trying to get caught up here): Read thrillers. Medical thrillers. Medical mysteries. Any mysteries. It's not the specifics. It's the genres and subgenres. Then you know your genre, and how your novel is different from others in your genre.

Angie (again): I love the Bulwer-Lytton contest. I've already submitted. It's so much fun to sit down and write truly terrible first sentences. Freeing, in fact. :)

Kara (aka OP): Great question. You're right. Lots of interesting answers.

KDJames: Gargle with salt water. It can help clear up the infection in your throat. Hope you feel better soon.

Sandwiches again. Maybe ReCaptcha thinks I should go have lunch...

Anonymous said...


Watch out, you're careening towards Carkoon faster than I did by saying Janet was super duper wrong (which I stand by, mind you, so stamp that ticket for an extra life sentence)! ;) Janet has a particular attitude towards the comment you made, enough so that I felt the reverberations 12 states away-

"If you've just written a manuscript in a new genre, how do you know what's out there that is like yours"

I'm sure we'll see it in the WIR, but I bet right now her first thought is a swear word mentioning a horned animal and said animals feces. Because even "new" genres, at least if you can define it into a genre at all which is almost always the case, can be found in multitudes on goodreads and amazon, flooded usually by self publishing (which lately has a tendency to drive the "new genre" market in my humble opinion). I'm not sure who wrote the first New Adult fantasy, but I can bet you that the moment you could read an article or a blog post on New Adult Fantasy, there were already 100 books in the genre.

To illustrate my point furher, if I can find 4 books on Goodreads about Dwarves flying through Space (which is quite the strange combination), I'm pretty sure something somewhere is at least simliar to your book! And in the very unlikely scenario that you can't, you read the parts that sum to the whole.

And don't get me wrong. I feel your pain. I too have a strange combo genre book which is YA but a mystery but breaks the cardinal rule of mysteries which thrusts it into an almost alien-type arena. So I read a bunch of alien/paranormal books, a load of YA, a bunch of detective YA, and then another load of alien books. So hopefully my writing has been influenced correctly. :)

Nobody writes in a vacuum. As much as we all want original ideas, the truth is there is nothing new under the sun. Dusted off? Sure. Polished? Yes. Better done? Absolutely. But never before considered? Probably not. That doesn't mean we can't get really fresh takes or realy cool combinations that haven't been fully explored. Because there are a multitude of those, but everything was influenced by something, so even if it's brand new, it was pieced together like frankenstein from a thousand books before it.

Rip off one person, and it's plagarism. Rip off everyone, and it's pure genius.


Donnaeve said...

Kara, glad you found some of the vomments useful! Good luck as you continue to work on your book, and who knows, maybe one day that site you've created will help deploy your publicity when the book is published, right?

kdjames - I agree. I am definitely NOT the craft sort either. The craftiest thing I've ever done was... oh. Ha. Nothing.

I read. I run. I plant flowers. Those are the things that help me think through writing problems. But. To each his own, and I get it if Kara enjoyed it. I created my website - as I'm sure we ALL did, and I did find it fun. It's nothing fancy, but I liked doing it. So, there's that.

Anonymous said...

The discussion is still going about negative views of Diana Gabaldon's ability as a writer on Books and Writers. Someone asked her for writing advice.

I'll quote it here:

"The only way to write anything is one word at a time.

Which is both very reassuring and Utterly Horrifying, and it's remarkable how few people realize that it's the truth."


That idea has been expressed before, but somehow it still comes as a shock to people.

And open up Word and see how much I lost when the computer crashed.

Anonymous said...

Too busy ranting to notice OP's comment! Thank you Kara for having the boldness to ask! It's a great question and always enlightening to see Janet's take!

Honestly, I'm often surprised or intrigued by her answers. Even when I think I know the answer, she seems to say something that I hadn't considered or that pieces together a different perspective for me. But it truly takes some nerve to ask, and it's awesome that you did that! I know I learned something! :)

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Notes on auto-play music, gifs, vids, anything.

I live in a place where the Internet is barely adequate and my computer is teetering on old age. One misplaced auto-play can freeze up my entire system and cost me whatever I was working on.

You do that and I will wreak my vengeance by not only ignoring your book into perpetuity, but also taking to social media to mock your site. Unfortunately, auto-play is coming back into fashion for vids and they are teh evul.

As to website, in general, I like something that sucks me in. I like excerpts, it can let me test for things like "Is this first POV, present tense?" If so, I'm likely to take a pass unless it is extraordinary. Is the style engaging, etc.

But stuff like fan art and fantasy book covers, um, no. Not until you are a mega-star. A well-written blog is a big "yes."

The odds of me clicking on music, vids, embedded youtube, or trailers are almost nil.


Anonymous said...

Donnaeve: Gardening, of any sort, is crafty. So I have derailed your 'not crafty' self-deprecating, and revealed you for the crafty person you are.

And now we're back to the non-gluten-free noodles. Tease!

Julie said...

Brian (and Janet), lest I end up with phantom limb syndrome faster than you can say "Holy Poo, that hurt..."

No, no, no, no, no!

NOT "new" as in "new to the world of books;"

"New" as in "new to me."

"New" as in "Hey, how about if I don't write about Angels and time transfers this time (and thereby perhaps open up a whole new realm of potential Agents)?"

That kind of new.

Does anyone have some Bactine?

And some Band-Aids?

Julie said...

"New" like "Hey, I think I'll try to write tight prose this time for a change and let's call it 'Mystery.' Or - gosh - maybe even 'Fiction.'"

"New" like "I've got six books of Fantasy and I'm worried about that. Maybe I can try writing 20,000 fewer words to a wider audience and see if that works."

That kind of new.

But I don't know what's out there similar to what I just wrote - which sort of goes like this.

Pretend that the Kennedys (only I call them "Emersons") came over on the Mayflower and got really sick and wrong and super stuck on themselves and forgot that primogeniture was actually illegal. And then one of them got so wrapped up in his Emerson-ness that he tried to kill an illegitimate kid in the family.

Now pretend that you've got this intrepid PICU fellow. She admits the kid and starts sniffing it out.

Her significant other has had dealings with the Emersons in the past; he also has a military-ish background. And let the fireworks start.

Which of the Emersons did it, why does the significant other hate the Emersons so much, and can my PICU fellow figure this all out before the killer-to-be finishes the job.

Now. That's my "New" genre - new to ME. Because I'm used to Demi-Angel Dad trying to save his telepathic son from the evil henchman of Lucifer. Little bit different.

I have Nooooo idea what's out there similar to my Emersons, but I'm pretty sure it's out there - I just don't know what it would be, and Barnes and Noble is awfully big. And I annoyed them last week by bringing in my McDonald's coffee when they offer Starbucks, and so now they scare me.


I know there are no real mashups. I just... I'm talking too much, trying to save myself from Carkexile. :D

(And I also don't know if I've got a mystery or a regular fiction).

Anonymous said...

Ah! Makes more sense Julia! I've burned my soap box. I promise.

Mostly because I needed the kindling, because Carkoon gets too cold at night. And all the weather patterns are messed up. Speaking of which...

Colin did you finish my perma-mansion yet? Because I'm getting awfully cold and it appears some rodents of unusual sizes have moved into my cave as well... and here I didn't think they existed...

Does PICU stand for something? The google machine tells me it means

Private Illinois Colleges & Universities
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

I don't think either of those are right...

Captain BS to the rescue!

Anonymous said...

Julia, go to Amazon and google "medical thrillers," for a start. Tess Gerritsen, CJ Lyons, Michael Palmer, Robin Cook, Kay Hooper, Patricia Cornwell... Or search for "political thrillers" if you're focusing less on the medical and more on the power angle.

Anonymous said...

Um, don't go to Amazon and "google" anything. I believe "search" is the word for it over there.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Kara, great question. Other OPs have fessed up. Janet posted a few of my questions. I am grateful she took the time to answer and post on her blog. I never came out of my cave to say which questions I asked. Only recently do I feel like I know something about publishing and writing fiction. My quest started here. If you haven't already, I suggest reading some books Janet reps. Her clients write like, like, like... I can only think of clich├ęs. Plus Janet nor the other commenters here will punish you for typos. But don't be like me and mention she might have made one. I still feel a millimeter tall.

KD, well put. I can add that practicing tasks which require concentration, help one to quickly switch into writing mode.

Julia, I am also reading widely. For awhile it was erotica, got bored, now it's fantasy- brain racking. I always go back to thrillers. I'm trying to figure out which comp titles to list. It's hard time finding urban contemporary realistic with a twist. It seems phsychologial thriller is the closest I can come.

BJ, did your sentence get listed? I'm howling at the selected entries. Thank you again for the advice for the signature line.

The only thing worse than music on blogs and websites are click-on-adds.

A few days ago I said I would be scarce. Three comments today, may be a record.

Julie said...

KD - to me, "Google" has become the 21st century equivalent of "Xerox" or "Polaroid." The trademarked word that is no longer trademarked. Just what Google wanted. So much the worse for the rest of the world. I fear the same has happened (or is happening) with Amazon. "Amazon" is becoming a verb.

Brian - PICU is Pediatric Intensive Care Unit - my "fellow" is like a resident, an MD who has completed pediatric residency training and is now completing subspecialty training in intensive care treatment of kids like our near-drowning victim.


And I also realize I need info on Navy training, so I'm checking out American Sniper and looking into Jack Ryan stories, although I think they may be out of date. I need Desert Storm stuff and 9/11 stuff. Ah, well.


And then I also have to switch gears back to my "The Archangel Michael just came in and screwed up my life and my family and now I'm in charge of running this religious paramilitary organization and my son has no idea who he is and he hates me for it" story query.

Very odd.

This is why authors have personality disorders.


Anonymous said...

Julia, this is an interesting post about what it takes to be a sniper in various branches of the military. Don't know if that specific skill is what you're looking for info about, but there are links at the bottom to various branches and their requirements.

If you want reliable info about military training, maybe stay away from fiction. :-)

Anonymous said...

Angie: No, Miss Shark didn't make the typo you (and others) thought she did. Because she has a time machine and is able to go back and make it so that she didn't make a typo.

As for Bulwer-Lytton: the 2015 winners haven't been chosen yet, according to the website. The official deadline of April 15 is past, true, but the actual deadline of June 30 is still to come... (Mine were submitted in March.) I didn't submit any in 2014, so mine hasn't come up yet. :)

Donnaeve said...

Angie, loved reading the Bulwer-Lytton entries that were there..., didn't get to all of them, but for the ones I read (especially the dishonorable?) OMG. Great writing.

bj- gardening is crafty? Hang on. I think of craft like scrapbooking, knitting, creating a handy dandy container out of milk cartons, glass, cardboad and glue. Gardening to me is stick plant in ground. Remember to water it. Feed it here and there. Brag when it blooms or plops out a tomato. Dare I say I'm I'm skeptical about your analysis. :)


Jennifer R. Donohue said...

So far as combining music and fiction, Mark Danielwski's sister "Poe" did a companion album to HOUSE OF LEAVES which was interesting to listen to. I think there's a CD that has to do with a Neil Gaiman book as well, but I can't remember which book and which CD. So now that we've established the website doesn't auto play, but rather is an entirely consensual musical website experience, I think it sounds pretty cool, if that's where an author's inspiration has taken him or her.

(and Ms. Reid's own Jeff Somers will, on his blog, occasionally post guitar pieces he's composed.)

Julia: Both your currently new-genre-to-you book and your usual angelic genre sound pretty rad ^^ Let me know when we can order copies, 'kay?

Unknown said...

Donna. I do lots of creative gardening! I once grew a fungus between my toes! ;)

I think I agree fully with bj. I've tried to grow tomatoes a handful of times. Results varied but I never saw the tomato. One time I had one growing in the back yard and kept forgetting to water it. I lived in a community and someone must have noticed. A while later I saw a tomato sprout and I was soooo proud, right up until the moment when my housemate walked outside with the watering can and I realized he kept it alive.... He eventually ate the tomato, which I felt was deserved.

All this to say, gardening requires skill, patience, a good eye and perhaps a green thumb, most of which translate to all creative endeavors!

Julie said...

Jennifer - Oh, yeah. Be looking for them on the NYT Bestseller's list next month. (Cough)

Thanks, tho'. :)

LynnRodz said...

Hi, Hank, it was just a scare, thank goodness. Thanks for asking.

Adib, that's what I love about the WIR as well. There's always something I missed. Good luck on reading 100 books this year. You're almost halfway there, so I'm sure you can do it.

Flowers, that's what my family has said, as well (because I write, draw/paint, compose/play music, do poetry, etc.) I'm a Jack of all trades and master of none. Oh well.

Julia, you're writing about Michael the Archangel, I'm sure you may have included the Mont Saint-Michel in your story. If not, it could be an interesting addition. There's a wonderful abbey and monastery built there in the 8th century. According to its history, the Archangel Michael appeared to a bishop to build a church on the tiny island off of the coast of France. (It's an island during high tide but you can walk to it during low tide.) Anyway, just a thought.

Julie, I had to laugh about Lana Turner, I'm sure the younger crowd here thought, who?

John Frain said...

For saying this: "Websites that play music when I click on them mean I click OFF them instantly."

Just, thank you.

Anonymous said...


I thought about explaining the Lana Turner reference, and then decided it would be good to go on a treasure hunt.

Not many get famous by being in the right soda fountain at the right time.


Craig F said...

Kara: welcome, I hope you'll stay and vomment with us some.

Angie: I am obviously no where near the painter you are. It is harder work for me to lay out all of a painting than it is to write an outline for a novel. Are you eighty painting stock painting or are you creating new stuff at a rate of four a day?

Gardening: I can tell people who live where it freezes by their attitude toward gardening. In my corner of paradise the weeds grow all of the time. Any blank piece of dirt will have something growing from it when the rainy season starts. You have to start early in the year and get everything ready before summer starts. After it breaks ninety it is too late to have faith in planting anything. When the rainy season arrives, it hasn't yet but we have almost 20 inches of rain already, all you can do is keep the yard mowed.

I am also part owner of a blueberry/blackberry/peach farm. Gardening isn't creative for me in the whole. The forty some orchids by the pool are something else though.

I have to use a lot of creativity in my job. There are certain rules to designing a kayak or an SUP but making it different from any other is a creative effort.

Anonymous said...

OK, everyone meet over at Craig's for blueberry/blackberry/peach crumble. YUM. I am SO envious.

And I guess I should clarify my "disagreement" earlier before I end up in Carkoon, because honestly I'm too sick to travel. The question was whether an AGENT would find that type of creativity to be a bonus in a query and I can certainly see from an agent's perspective why it wouldn't be.

But from a WRITER'S (and even a reader's) perspective, I can see how it could be not just fun but also a good tool in the creative process.

Good question, Kara! It generated some really interesting discussion. Hope you'll hang around and talk to us some more.

Anonymous said...


I hope you will hang around. We're mostly harmless.

Here's something to consider, you may not have thought about.

Not that I condone this thing, but it happens. Suzy Q, is surfing the web while she waits on a conference call from Carkoon and stops at your site. Oh, that looks interesting. Let me check this author out.

All twenty-nine fellow office workers in Carkoon look around as something akin to We Will Rock You blares from Suzy's cubicle.

Molly finally has cranky baby to sleep and decides to surf a little bit before settling in to get a few words down on her masterpiece. Oh, that looks interesting. Something like We Will Rock you blares out waking up cranky baby and taking care of quiet writing time.

I'm sure others have brought this up and I missed it, but if I get hit with music on a site, I generally don't go back.

That being said, I'm old and cranky.

Anonymous said...

Julie: Kara said that she doesn't have the music autoplay. The surfer has to choose to listen to it. :)

Julie said...

Lynn - I'm working with the UK for the first books of the series bc the MC is the bastard son of Owain Glyndwr, but then will move further afield onto the continent; Eleanor is of primary importance, so la France is coming. As is Chateau Gaillard and its "Walls of Stone / Walls of Butter" Henry / Phillip debate (read pissing contest). Henry? Richard? Goodness, it's slipping my mind. Anyway. Yes, Mont Ste Michele is a fav of mine, although my Michael is perhaps a bit non traditional. :)

On to other matters!!!


I have discovered - realized - this!

Jack Reacher...
Janet Reid...
Ja... Re...
A coincidence?

Very clever, Mr. Child. I see what you did there. I'm renaming my main character. She's no longer Kennedy Clark.

Janet Reno? Taken.
Ja...mie Re...aper? Probably not great for a pediatrician.
Ja...ckie Re...agan? Hm. Mrs. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

All right. Back to the drawing board.

No! Wait!

Jane Reed.

She'll NEVER suspect.

Oh.... Wait. Right.

Anonymous said...

Went back and read Kara's comment: Yes, it does look like she said she planned on having rock music open... but then she said that wasn't the plan.

But I can see how it might be mistaken.

Julie said...

KD - thank you!!! For reliable info, I tend to use bios and .gov sites (though we can debate 'reliable' in that context). But the fiction will tell me what's out there, how it's written, what people like, what 'rules' there are, and which ones I might attempt to break and get away with it.

I got "American Sniper" out of the library today.

And, post Louise Penny, now I seem to be developing a rapid addiction to Reacher. This will not be good on my wallet.

Medical thrillers next (thank y'all), and...

@Julie - I have to tell you...
I spent a goodly amount of time today...

Julie said...

Polo Blue.
Just sayin'.

Julie said...

AND.... Look at this...
In "Men's Journal," which I also bought, there's an article called "Navy SEALs, Inc., The Big Business of Selling War Stories." Timing. Is. Everything.

Anonymous said...


My son used to deal with SEAL Team Six in Iraq. The contractor the govt hired to repair weapons was slow and not very good, so most everyone brought their weapons to Will since he was an armorer anyway and good with weapons.

The SEAL team had a compound on Will's base. He had to deliver something to them one day so he took it back over there. Waited out in the yard and one guy came by.

"What are you doing here?"

"Delivering this, for ABC, sir."

"Wait here. I'll go get him. Don't move."

"Yes, sir."

Another SEAL comes by.

"What are you doing out here?"

"Delivering this for ABC, sir."

"Why are you standing out here in the sun? It's 130 effing degrees out."

"I was told to wait here, sir."

"Eff that. Follow me."

Will follows him to a conference room. "Stay here. Don't look at the maps. I'll go get him."

"No, sir. I won't look at the maps."

First SEAL comes by and sees him in the conference room. "What are you doing here? I thought I told you to wait outside."

Will, being a brave young soldier. "Please don't kill me, sir."

SEAL laughs and continues search for ABC.

Gingermollymarilyn said...

Thanks, Stephen Parks! Now I've got that Pina Colada song stuck in my head(!) . . . but I like it.

Julie said...

Julie - THAT is AWESOME.
And the whole SEAL issue is of rather primary importance, here. I met a SEAL once. Very interesting guy.

Do you know if, in 2001, if their term of duty came up, if they were discharged home?

And I'll also say this.

There are an AWFUL lot of similarities between the military and medical training, esp surgery. I was aiming for surgery - then life hit. There were many times during training that "Please don't kill me, sir," was a good and valid answer. Or, at least, it seemed so at the time. :) In any case, we adjusted. It was a series of successive approximations.

Now I write. I bring different realities into people's lives - or at least, I hope to.


Anonymous said...

Will actually got on well with them, but he's pretty laid back and he gets things done. That's pretty much all they cared about. They needed something, he got it for them. He was kind of like Radar on MASH except he was a weapons whiz.

Julie said...

Okay, probably NONE of you are on and I'm just going to gush into cyberspace for no good reason.

But I broke a 110K book a year ago and totally restructured it over the past year on the basis of some doubts I had and some rather tough love that I sought out based on those doubts. I went looking outside of genre because I wanted people who weren't biased for the work. Well, I got back exactly what I was worried about and spent pretty much all year pulling the walls down and then removing the uprights, putting in new uprights, and then putting the walls back up and painting it all over again. And I sent the new, pretty, MS back out to my betas and editors a month ago when I started manically writing the MS that I just finished.

Well, I got back the review from the reviewer who was primarily responsible for me sighing and committing all year to rewriting the thing.

And I'm over the moon.

I want to print the thing out and send it to newspapers all over the world.

I may never, ever, ever have this feeling ever again, but for right this second... I have a convert. And that's a pretty good feeling. :D Someone who hated Angels... now doesn't mind them so much. Mine, anyway.

So tonight - just for tonight - I'm going to bed early.


Anonymous said...

Yay! Congrats, Julia!

Goodnight. :)

french sojourn said...


Congrats. That is great!

Thanks for passing that on. It inspires for sure.

I am currently eviscerating a whole orphanage of little darlings from my first MS. I find lemon juice works at the end of the day to get off all the stains.

AJ Blythe said...

Another brilliant to-the-point post. I'm behind with my blog reading thanks to exams and was going to skim these, but when I got to Colin sending kale-wrapped-underpants with his query I had to stop for fear of waking the house with my laughter.

Anonymous said...

And back to work with me. I've discovered not only is writing done one word at a time, but editing is also.

Stephen G Parks said...

Thanks Hank for the correction. Holmes, not Hines.

BJ, the only other song I know by him was Hot Rod Hearts. What else did he do that I might know or should look up?

Julia, congrats on your good news! Unfortunately, your earworm counter-attack missed its target (Video unavailable in my country) and I've heard it before. I'll keep grokking Spock anyway.

It's getting to be late evening here, so goodnight all.

I always get: [x] I am not a robot

Anonymous said...

The Rupert Holme songs I knew back in the 70s, besides Escape (the Pina Colada song), were Him and Answering Machine.

I heard that album, Partners in Crime, over and over and over again. You see, the school librarian loved that album and kept playing it when the library was closed. I loved working in the library, so I was often there while it was playing. Those three songs stayed with me. Of course, that was long enough ago that I don't really remember the other songs on that album. Memories of high school aren't supposed to last past age 40, are they?

I just looked him up. Looks like he left writing albums in the 80s, and is now writing novels. I wonder if they have the same wry twists?

Flowers McGrath said...

I am back and not even sure if Kara is checking in here at this point! But...
Yay! Glad my comment was helpful despite the length. I want to cut an album if/when my book gets published. Something where if you buy the book there will be a code and you can down load the album for free. A lot of my music friends give away albums tandem with other music they are selling. I have never done covers before but since my book takeS place in the sixties I wanted to do covers too. There is a great place to check out called LOUDR for your music. It's freeee!! They deal with covers and originals and get your songs onto amaZON and itunes and deal with royalties. That will also help legitimize your stuff, I think. Being on iTunes feels really necessary.

To all the wonderful multi-hyphenates out day we shall rule the world!! Vive les artistes etc etc. (I don't speah french, oy.)

Dena yes for sure on all the many agents. I don't think adult acting agents like gimmicks either, with maybe the exception of youtube videos and shorts that get into festivals, etc. The tube idea was just a kid move and it was so simple everyone just thought i was, you know, cute or something. and I didn't put any plushies in the tube, no glitter or anything. In every other way i followed business standards.

Finally, I don't know if anyone wants a website that hasn't got one now but please check out squarespace. Beautiful streamlined templates and relatively easy to use BC they have incredible tutorials and customer service with very fast replies!!