Monday, April 18, 2011

Sundays for Writers

Yesterday, Patricia Anderson, Judy Emery and I joined the Guelph Write Now group at Lucie's Restaurant in south Guelph. Published author, Sarah Totton was the guest speaker.

Sarah talked about the "rules" for being a professional author. She borrowed the following suggestions from Robert A. Heinlein and Robert J. Sawyer:
  • Write.
  • Finish what you write.
  • Send out what you write.
  • Keep sending it out until it sells.
  • Keep writing new work.
  • Don't quit.
And she added her own rules...
  • Treat it like a job, not a hobby.
  • Schedule time and/or set deadlines and work to meet them.
  • Learn to work independently (not to external deadlines or peer pressure).
  • Always READ the market's submission guidelines.
  • Always FOLLOW the submission guidelines.
Sarah also shared the following tips...
  • Create a goals list. Ensure that all goals are specific and measurable. For example, "Write 100 words per day for the next month" instead of "Write more."
  • Keep a progress log.
  • Reward yourself each time you achieve one of your goals.
  • Use the following free online markets: ralan and duotrope.
A few upcoming events and contests...
Written by Joanne Guidoccio

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Meeting With Aspiring Writers

Yesterday evening, Patricia Anderson and I attended Sarah Totton's workshop, Bursting the Myths of Publishing, at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library.

We gleaned many interesting facts from the interactive presentation.
  • A survey of 108 science fiction and fantasy writers were polled about advances from their publishers. The advances ranged from 0 to $40,000 with an average of $5000.
  • J.K. Rowling received a $3000 advance for her first Harry Potter book.
  • In a survey of 185 professional writers, more than half managed to find agents/publishers without connections.
  • Agents will negotiate contracts with publishers, work on revisions, and help you plan your career. Some agents can also sell film/TV/foreign rights for your book.
  • It takes anywhere from six months to a year (sometimes longer) to get a book out there after it has been bought by a publisher.
  • Vast majority of self-published books sell less than 100 copies.
  • Independent bookstores such as The Bookshelf may stock self-published books if there is a local connection.
Some advice for aspiring writers...
  • Short story writers do not need an agent. They can sell directly to magazines such as The Atlantic and The New Yorker.
  • Get an agent if you have decided to go with a major publisher.
  • Research agents before sending out query letters.
  • Get a critique of your query from Evil Editor.
  • Query at least 100 agents for your book.
  • Send out five query letters at a time. If you don't get a positive response, consider revising your letter.
  • While querying, start working on your next book.
  • Legitimate agents will not charge for reading your book.
  • Check out the background of editors on the Predators and Editors website.
  • Ask your friends and relatives to read your reviews and only send you the positive ones.
  • For more information e-publishing and self-publishing, visit J. R. Konrath's website and blog.
Written By Joanne Guidoccio