Monday, September 30, 2013

There Are No Right Or Wrong Answers, Just Better Approaches

As I am jotting down ideas for this coming week, I find that many of my ideas are really  aimed at a lot of newer authors who are beginning this wonderful journey in publishing. It might also be because I am busy prepping my notes for the upcoming conference in Utah (I am really looking forward to seeing you all when I arrive). In any case, today, I want to really focus on the idea of right and wrong approaches to writing.

There are a ton of blogs out there (as well as a lot of books and journal articles) that seem to imply the right way to do all of the things we have to do to get our book published. In some cases, the authors really do make a persuasive argument making it very easy to believe it is their way or the highway. And, while some of these people might believe this (which I think is wrong as you will soon see), I do believe many of them are simply saying this is one approach you might take.

I am frequently mentioning things like this here on my daily rant. Your story, your situation, your own personality will dictate the right approach to take. In other words, every situation will be different. You will even find that each book your write, and each character you create will demand something different of you as a writer.

Let's take query letters for example. I am always a firm believer that you put in the opening paragraph the basics about your book including the title, genre and word count. Now, why do I recommend this? I personally believe this is a chance for you to plant a seed in the mind of the reader, whether it is an agent or an editor, to think about your story in a context. It gives the agent specifically, a chance to think about potential placement of the story before they get bogged down into the meat of the query. If you send it to an agent or an editor without specifically stating who you want to see it, it gives that first reader a chance to send it to the right person.

Of course, there are others who scream loudly that this information should be at the end. I have even heard one agents proclaim, "Of course I know this is a book you are submitting to me and of course it would be what I want, I don't need that information now!"

But, when it comes to the right or wrong approach, guess what? I am not going to reject you if the information is at the top or the bottom and I would certainly hope the other agent wouldn't reject you if you put the information at the top.

To be a successful writer, you have to be a thinker. What is going to work best in THIS situation. You also have to be able to recognize that what some other author did in his or her book worked in that case but may not apply to you. This is not a business where one size fits all.

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