On this publication journey, I am learning about writing, publishing, and myself.
This is a compilation of websites, blogs, tips, etc that I found helpful in my pursuit of knowledge and samples 🙂 I will add to the list as time allows.
Critique Partners (CP):
My first suggestion to any writer, regardless of your genre, talent level or background, is to get yourself a few critique partners. If you only read one suggestion from my entire page, this will be the one area that helps you the most. I am fortune enough to have two types of critique families. The first is my CP’s. We found each other through an online class. They offer the perfect balance of honesty, compassion, valuable insights and friendship. And they have mad writing skills. Secondly, I belong to a local writing group that meets once a month. Based on our numbers, we are limited in the amount we can review for everyone, but they are bloodhounds when it comes to missed commas, cliches and other travesties. Surround yourself with good people and be a good partner.
How to find a CP? Twitter, http://howaboutwecp.tumblr.com , joining writing organizations like SCBWI.org (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) , RWA.org (Romance Writers of America) , and there are tons more. Also, you can join groups on Facebook and Goodreads.
Ah, yes, the query letter. That awe inspiring letter that’s limited to less than 300 words that will bring an agent to tears or to the edge of their seat by the mystery and magic included in your manuscript description. Some find this an easy exercise, while others would rather trade a pound of flesh. Either way, if you’re looking to publish with a small press or traditionally, you need one. Below are sites I found informative and helpful.
AgentQuery – This site has great information about formatting your query. (It also has information about various agents and what they represent.)
Writer’s Digest – Lots of resources here. Successful queries, how-to lists, and do’s and don’ts.
Galley Cat – a running list of successful queries in a variety of genres.
Nathan Bransford – Nathan has both helpful tips on formatting, examples of good queries, and links to other resources.
The Knight Agency – What your query should be from an agent’s perspective.
Query Shark – Want to play along? Send your query in and hope to chosen or comb through the archives to read queries and see how they improved.
Jill Corcoran – motherlode of information about queries 🙂
I thought I knew what I liked until I started looking for the elements for my own cover. Here’s a very helpful trick. Copy pictures of fifteen book covers that you love (or find eye catching) onto a Word document. Now, sit back and study them. I noticed I had preferences for specific color trends, graphic arrangements and stylings. I also asked my CP’s to suggest what they thought the cover should look like. (I should add right here that they are fabulous.)
Read, look, read and look some more. Below are a few very helpful sites that listed samples or information about presentation. And whether you are publishing from a traditional publisher, a hybrid publisher or as an independent publisher, the information can help you with your cover selection/creation.
http://blog.reuts.com/book-cover-art-chapter-7-unmoving-tutorial-finale/ (they ran an entire series on “how to”. check out their blog)
Looking for someone to design your cover? Check out the samples of:
(* cover artists mentioned above are included based on the quality of their samples. Without professional or contractual interactions with those listed, this is solely a directory listing, not a referral listing.)
Book Jacket Copy:
Remember that query that almost sucked the life from your body and the joy from your soul? (that is, unless you are one of those: those gifted misfits who can slap one together on the fly and leave the rest of us drooling) Well, for me, the book jacket copy was my second query. You’re not trying to hook an agent’s eye, you’re trying to hook your audience’s eye. Now granted, I did use my query as my basis… it was still hard. But don’t go it alone. Use your resources. (My CP’s, my family, and another author helped.)
http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/4-easy-steps-to-an-irresistable-book-blurb (This is my personal favorite. Great for query writing too!!)
http://larrywtimm.com/2013/03/08/top-ten-bad-back-cover-blurb-ideas/ (Okay, this one made me smile. You need those once in a while.)
This is definitely an area where I can offer resources and not much advice. So here goes:
Want to use Twitter to create a fan base? Read this post for great tips by Andrea Wenger http://andreajwenger.com/2012/02/29/what-to-tweet/
There are so many articles/blogs/books out there that can help you hone your skills, offer a fresh perspective, or just give you a bit to ponder. Here are a few of those resources that I recommend:
On Writing. A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Stein on Writing by Sol Stein