Thursday, March 26, 2020

Be Prepared For A Spike In Bad Writing

I got thinking about this today as I scanned over my social media accounts to see what people were up to as we all hunker down. One of my author friends started painting. Another friend decided to take up piano...

and then I panicked.

Stuck at home with nothing to do, I predict there will be a ton of "authors" (yes, I am putting this in quotes for a reason) will now write that novel they have been working on for the last who knows how many years. Some will just start it.

And I am worried.

As those of you know who have been writing for a long period of time, or those of you who have published, writing is not a matter of just typing words on a page.

It takes time.
It takes education.
It takes a commitment to the craft.

So I ask those of you who do write and who have been at this for a while to step up and help out. Stop the insanity. Guide these people toward quality resources. Tell them the honest truth about their writing even if it is terrible. And, more than anything thing, stop them from submitting that manuscript immediately to every publisher and agent they find on the Internet. Even more important, stop them before they dive into "self-publishing" and spend money on a product that may very well be awful.

OK, let me add here that there may be some good writers, and we do not want to hamper someone wanting to start writing as a hobby. I just want to insure they are not hurt along the way from this single moment of weakness.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Subjective Nature Of Publishing

Over the last several days, I have been reading submissions and sending letters back to authors. One of the comments I find myself saying is that the story just did not work for me. As an agent who likes to provide some sort of feedback to authors when I pass on their story, this is probably the hardest to write. I know that all of you love to know "what you can fix" to make your story better and this type of letter does not help.

And yet, this is the nature of the publishing business. We may talk about sales, marketability, and numbers, in the end, this is a subjective business.

Let me explain it to you this way and it might make more sense. I am sure we have all faced this before. All of your friends have just read a book and totally love it. They go on and on about it so you decide to pick it up to experience the same excitement...

And that excitement is not there.

You read it and keep asking yourself, "Why did they like it? I didn't see what was so great about it."

In cases like this, there might not be anything to fix at all. The story just did not resonate with me as an agent or editor. And yes, this is tough.

For authors, while this type of response is not what you want, it is actually a positive response on several levels. First, you know that theoretically, the story is fine, but it was just a matter of sending it to the wrong person. The story still has life in it. And, on a second level, you can now start to determine "who" is right for your voice.

I have said this a lot here on the blog. Your story does not fit with everyone. Your voice is unique just like the publishers' and agents' voices are.

Remember also, you want someone who is crazy about your story. Just getting someone to "sell" your book is not going to work out for you the way you want.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Stuck at Home? Use This Time Wisely

I just wrapped up reading new submissions and I saw a disturbing trend. It clearly appears that with the down time people have right now as we are all stuck at home, that people are simply just using the time to fire off mass mail submissions to every editor and agent out there. Yes, you might have said to yourself that this is a prime time to do that, but many are making huge mistakes.

I posted on a live feed on Facebook a talk about doing research. This simply is a time that you can start learning more about potential publishers, editors and agents that you want to work with. THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING NOW.

The concept of just flooding the market with all of your submissions without learning about who you are sending the projects to, or if you are right fit is just plain stupid.

So, use the time wisely. Learn the business. Listen, Read and think about what the professionals are saying. This is a good use of your time.

Updates from Greyhaus

I know it has been a while since posting but family things got in the way. Had to drive back to New York to retrieve oldest from the college that shut down and had the students leave their dorms. Now trying to get life back into order!

For those of you with submissions, you are my project today! Those with requested projects, you will hear from me by the end of the week.


Sunday, March 15, 2020

Does Covid-19 Have You Stuck At Home - Here's a GREAT Solution

Here in Washington State, things are pretty unreal. Starting no later than March 17th, ALL K-12 public and private schools, colleges and universities are closed. That means all of the kids are now stuck at home. While the colleges and universities are able to continue teaching remotely, many of the K-12 schools are struggling to find a way to help the kids out.

Now we add in the fact that people just do not want to go out, unless they are ready for the zombie apocalypse to fight for cleaning spray and toilet paper.

But there is something we can all do.

BUY BOOKS. BUY A LOT OF BOOKS.

If you have digital devices for the kids, get them a ton of e-books to read. Buy a ton for you too! Order books to be delivered to you.

The deal is, Netflix, Hulu and those video games are going to wear out in a week. That will leave you 5 more weeks to deal with the kids. Add in the fact that if the students really are not doing much to advance their education, I can promise you, being someone who works in education, THEY WILL BE BEHIND.

This book buying run will also help the industry!

So I challenge all of you. BUY BOOKS NOW!!!! Let's really spike the income for the publishers and authors!