Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Today, let's discuss author etiquette, both at conferences and in the online world. Here are just a few behaviors authors should avoid seriously avoid.
1. I'm sure you've heard the horror stories of authors pushing their manuscripts under the toilet stall to an editor or agent. Don't be that pushy person! Respect their space. Trust me - they-ll remember who you are and your chances of making a good impression at your pitch appointment will be ZERO, no matter how good your story is. Editors and agents share their horror stories with each other.
Instead, have your elevator pitch perfected and ready to go. You may meet an editor or agent in the hallway at a conference, in the dining room, or in the parking lot. Open a casual conversation first. Let them give you the opening to share your pitch.
2. Recently, intentionally negative commentary on a large, well-read website forced an author to back off her book's release date. She was devastated. Don't be that negative person! Other authors will know who you are and de-friend you faster than you can blink.
Instead, remember the adage, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Think Thumper from the old Disney movie Bambi.
3. At your pitch appointments, stick to your time limits. If you're in a group pitch with three minutes per person, don't go on and on about every minor character and trivial detail of your book. This leaves everyone else with no time to share and a serious desire to pummel you senseless. Don't be that inconsiderate person! This behavior will not earn you a request.
Instead, have your presentation ready, whether it's memorized or on paper. If you have three minutes, yours should last two. Leave time for the editor or agent to ask you questions and - most important - request your business card or sample chapters. This applies to one-on-one pitches as well. Be brief, be bright, and leave a good impression. Listen to what the agent or editor tells you. Ask them how they're doing! Thank them for their time.
4. When you're on Facebook, Twitter, or other social websites, stay social. I see too many authors who only use these social networking tools to push their latest book, flooding you with invitations to their website or a book release party. Don't be that obnoxious person!
Instead, be social! Share funny anecdotes, especially if it includes kittens or bacon. Be interested in other people's posts. Encourage people who seem to be having a rough time. Congratulate people on their successes. They'll remember that you're genuine and be more apt to like you. Then, when you share your accomplishments as an author, people will be more than happy to share and congratulate you.
These are just a few examples, of course. Remember to be considerate and respectful of everyone around you, in every situation you encounter. Agents and editors will remember these traits. It shows them what kind of author you'll be to work with. Your behavior will help you sell your story.
Don't be the person everyone avoids. Be the person everyone respects.
Monica Britt, editor
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Haven by Celia Breslin is today’s Taste of Champagne. Haven, Breslin’s debut novel, sits at the top of Champagne Books’ Bestseller List. A few pages in and it’s easy to see why. Check out the short excerpt that showcases Breslin’s storytelling/writing skill as Carina looks back on the morning and afternoon of her birthday.
“So, on my twenty-fifth birthday, a day meant for celebration, I found myself with family secrets to unravel, mysterious strangers to meet, and unknown dangers to avoid. Unease slithered up my spine and my head throbbed yet again. I was a pawn in a game I hadn’t even known I played. I didn’t like it one bit.”
Carina Tranquilli is a wealthy nightclub owner in San Francisco who endures a 25th birthday from hell. Her life is a twenty-something’s dream with parties at her own nightclub, friends and family who love her, and a to-die-for wardrobe. Until the morning of her 25th birthday when the witch attacked her, only the death of her parents and a twelve-year-long memory gap troubled her otherwise perfect life.
When vampires arrive claiming to be kin, she’s forced to delve deep into painful memories that she’d rather leave undisturbed. If your relatives are vampires, what does that make you—especially if you’re acquiring a taste for blood? She discovers that these same vampires have been hosting a private night at her nightclub where the only humans invited are those on the menu—willing feasts for vampires she didn’t even know existed.
When she meets Alexander, a gorgeous vampire as drawn to her as she is to him, the action moves from steamy to sizzling—even if it is forbidden by her newfound relatives. The same relatives demand the right to control her life to protect her from unidentified threats until she can protect herself with her vast powers. Those powers, whatever they are, fail to protect her and her friends when the really bad guys, also with fangs, show up.
Haven, the first installment in The Tranquili Bloodline series, is one of the best new stories I’ve read in a long time. The rich plot and compelling characters provide the set up for a long series run. I’m looking forward to the next one.
Click HERE to buy/read excerpt of Haven.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
It's Wordy Wednesday, and that means...
...time for some reflections from the editor's desk!
This week I’m continuing the theme Graeme started last week – what to look for when perfecting your manuscript. I’m going to add to his list by declaring war on needless adjectives and adverbs. Too many of these words weaken your story and look amateurish. In the nineteenth century, I’ve heard, authors were paid by the word, hence the flowery prose of that era. In the twenty-first century, authors are usually paid a percentage of sales, and do not need to embellish quite so much. We also talk much more informally, and the excessive verbiage of two centuries ago becomes stilted and unnatural.
Does this mean to never use adjectives or adverbs? No, of course not. Sometimes they are absolutely necessary. But use them sparingly.
Consider the following paragraph:
Annette tossed back her curly reddish blonde hair and slammed her hand down on the dark oak desktop. She rose up on her red stiletto heels and glowered at Arthur, her dark-haired bearded protesting subordinate.
What if you wrote the following instead:
Annette tossed back her hair and slammed her hand on the desk. She stood up and glowered at Arthur, her protesting subordinate.
In which of these paragraphs does Annette come across as the powerful manager that she is? Sure, at some point you might want to insert a description of what Annette and Arthur look like, but not here, where the key point is the action. And let me also note that a manager would probably not wear red stiletto heels unless she worked in the fashion industry, or possibly publishing.
As for adverbs, many of the extraneous words Graeme posted can be used as adverbs. Words like just, some, somewhat, really, very, actually, quite, or still, are frequently unnecessary and often weaken what you’re saying. Note the difference between these two simple sentences:
She felt somewhat lonely that evening.
Her loneliness dragged at her.
The second sentence is a stronger statement.
Adverbs are frequently used when the verb is not precise enough. Whenever you see an adverb, double-check your verb. Often you’ll discover that a more powerful verb eliminates the need for the adverb.
Tom forcefully moved the papers across his desk.
Tom shoved the papers across his desk.
Be ruthless in weeding out unneeded adverbs and adjectives. Your prose will be the better for it.
Champagne Book Group