Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Understanding #MSWL

"Hashtag MSWL" This is that famous publishing hashtag in social media that editors and agents love to throw out there very now and then stating their ManuScript Wish List. So what does this really mean?

A lot of authors really misinterpret what we are really saying when we list all of the genres and sub-genres following that #MSWL. These are stories that we would really love to see. Either we have an editor who is looking for a project of this nature, or we are seeing this as a hole in our line up. In some cases, this is just a type of story that would be really cool to see.

We are not hoping you are going to start writing this project. We are hoping you already have this project and it is ready to go. You have just been waiting for a place to send it. You have to remember that you have written the story, that idea and need will be gone like the wind. As you know, the publishing world is constantly shifting and what is hot today may not be hot tomorrow.

I will also say that sometimes we post stories like this because we simply are "thinking out loud." Are we really interested in seeing that story and marketing it? Maybe, but not necessarily. It could just be wishful thinking.

As you see this projects, think about what you are working on. If you have something that fits that model, you might just want to jump on that opportunity. Who knows, your orphan project may have just found a home.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Not Happy With Your Career? Then YOU Make A Change

Yes, I am saying something here that I always say. YOU have control of your career. YOU are the person in charge. Yes I fully understand that we cannot control the buyer's habits. Yes, I fully understand we personally do not have control over the distribution of books. But you do have control of what you want to do with your writing.

I was working with a couple of my writers this weekend and they were all taking charge of their own careers. One was a bit frustrated that due to release times, there would be a huge gap in her book releases. What is she doing? She takes that mixed approach and is releasing a few smaller projects digitally with a company we have worked with in the past. Simple, but she was in charge.

A second is looking to expand into another genre. The current genre she is writing in is a slowing down a bit She what did she do? She picked up another project she had started in another genre and began work on that.

A final author decided  to look to a different time era for her historical writing.

As you can see, this is not that difficult. Don't just sit there and blame other people. Take charge.

And yes, this also applies to everything else in your life. Not happy with the country right now? Then get YOUR butt out there and VOTE!!!! You make a change,

Friday, November 2, 2018

Writing With No Plan Is A Waste Of Time

We are now on day 2 of the NanoWriMo and there are a lot of authors out there just banging out words. According to the NanoWriMo group, it is about word count and that is the only thing important. They argue that you can always go back and edit later. Personally, this is the worst thing I could ever recommend to any author, especially if you are trying to write a book. As the NanoWriMo people describe, your goal is to have a 50,000 word "NOVEL" finished in a month. Unfortunately, what most end up with is 50,000+ words of complete drivel.

I heard one author who has been doing NanoWriMo for 10 years. She openly stated that she has still not gone back and editing any of the "Novels" she finished. But she has a lot of words written.

So what was the point?

Among writing communities, there are also competitions where authors "SPRINT" during a set time block. Again, the idea is to write fast and worry about the editing later. And again, I would argue that this might not be the best approach.

Yes, we have to increase your writing speed. If all you can accomplish in a single day of writing is 5-6 pages of writing (and I am talking in a day) then you are probably not doing much. But if you are just going through the motions and writing fast WITHOUT thinking, this is not going to help you.
 
You need a plan of action. No, I am not saying you have everything scripted out in a full detailed outline, but you need to have a goal in mind for that day's writing. What is the goal of the chapter? What do the readers need to learn about the characters and the plot for that day. Take 10-15 minutes and figure this out.

I would say, yes. Speed writing and sprints is great for brainstorming. It is a chance for authors to purge their brains of a lot of ideas and let the good ideas surface to the top. In terms of quality work, this is not the best approach.

I don't know about you, but I live a busy life. If I blow three hours of writing and then have to go back and probably rewrite the whole thing, that first block of time was a waste. So the question is, why do people do this? Are there any good benefits.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Why We Use Submission Guidelines

I am always amazed at the number of writers who submit projects to me and do not follow the guidelines. I am also amazed at the number of writers out there who complain that the publishing world uses these guidelines as "hoops they have to jump through." It is also these people who then claim that they went to self-publishing because "the industry just turned this into a game."

Sorry to say this, but this is not a game. This is the real world.

We are now living in a digital age. We don't just tell people what we had for dinner on Facebook, or take bunny pictures of our self on Instagram, or tell people "They are just fake stupid people not like me or my (what color is that) hair."

Because we live in a digital world, we have to find a way to manage all of this data that is coming into our computers at record speed. These submission guidelines we use are how we translate the work you are doing into something we can use on our end.

The publishing world is no different than any other company out there who uses digital submissions of job applications and resumes. When we submit job applications and they ask for file uploads, those companies want a particular format. This is not a game, but it is how it is entered into their computers. Digitally formatted resumes allow the computer on the other end to translate that data and enter it into their databases.

Here at Greyhaus, I have a form that you can use to submit projects. Each box has a space to enter data that I ASK FOR. I also limit how much information I want included. Why? Because it shows up in my email box so I can read it all in the READING PANE and not have to open other documents.

For those who email queries to me, I also ask for a specific set of items. Again, this allows me the chance to get back to you quicker.

And yet, I have people who send attachments and embed a ton of extra stuff. I also get people who just attach a query letter instead of putting the letter into the body of the email. Is this what I want? No. To read your letter now requires a multi-step process which, inevitably leads to a rejection because some writer could not read that Greyhaus Literary Agency does not acquire Biographies.

This is not a game. This is a business. If you want to succeed in this world, or any other place, consider reading and learning those directions. Then follow those directions.