Fidning Typos

November 22, 2014

Excellent article written by Nick Stockton about why we have a hard time finding our own typos.

*Yes, the typo in the title was intentional.


Queries: Be the Coach Purse

November 20, 2014

It’s a small thing, I suppose, this ranty McRant of mine. I mean, it won’t cure world hunger or lower taxes. But it may…MAY…prevent soulless editors from rolling their eyes. What am I talking about? The maddening manner in which too many authors open their query letters with The Hypothetical Question(s).

  • Have you ever been trimming your toenail cuticles and wondered what it would be like to be confined to a wheelchair? No. Actually, all I’m trying to accomplish is achieving comfy toesie status. I’m shallow that way.
  • Have you ever sat in a bar and wondered what it would be like to dance on the bartop? Um. Yes. I’m equally shallow that way.
  • Have you ever sat in traffic and wondered what it would be like to have a giant skiploader clear out all the cars? Please. I’m from California. Traffic has been elevated to a fine art.

What’s really going on with these hypothetical questions is that you’ve taken me out of your query and into my own inner dialog. You want to avoid this. At. All. Costs.

And it’s simply annoying to boot. Rather than asking me questions that are sure to draw answers infinitely different from your story, simply start your query out with a statement that draws out the set up in one easy peasy slice.

  • While in the throes of trimming his toenail cuticles, Karl sliced too deeply, drawing enough blood to fill a thimble. Damn, he thought, I’ll have to wrap the toe, which will make my shoes tight, which will make me limp all day long. Upon reflection, limping would have been a fair trade-off for what Alice, his wife, had to endure every day. Life in a wheelchair…

See how much more engaging this beginning is than a hypothetical question? The author immediately sets the stage to engage me – soulless editor – to what the story is about. Not only am I getting a bit of thought process from the protagonist, but also his sense of shame for his minor inconvenience, and empathy.

This is how you pull someone into your web…like the adorably tempting Coach purse sitting in the store window. Come to Mama! Conversely, Hypothetical Questions are the icky, gluey seepage that traps victims in, just like a stinkin’ spider so they can bite the crap out of you. Don’t be a stinkin’ spider by taking the easy way out with a Hypothetical Question. This is your time to show your talent. Be the Coach purse.


Great NPR Interview With Kara Sundlun – FINDING DAD

November 15, 2014

Finding Dad- lores

Terrific NPR interview with our author Kara Sundlun. Click here to listen to her fascinating story.


JAN’S STORY and YOU LET SOME GIRL BEAT YOU? On Sale!

November 10, 2014

Get ‘em while they’re hot, kiddies. Amazon has two of our wonderful titles on special:

girlbeatyou-smYOU LET SOME GIRL BEAT YOU? by Ann Meyers Drysdale – $2.99 WoOt!!

I adore Annie’s story because she never let public opinion sway her passion for sports. Whenever I’m feeling down on myself, I pick up my tattered copy and draw strength. Looking for a great pick-me-up written by one of the loveliest people evah? Click on the da link. You won’t be sorry.

 

 

 

jan-storyJAN’S STORY by Barry Petersen – $3.99 WoOt!

Early Onset Alzheimer’s steals the mind and leaves the body intact. CBS journalist Barry Petersen wrote an eloquent story about the love of his life, Jan, and her slow downward spiral – leaving him behind. The problem with Early Onset is that the people left behind are still young. Vital. Barry broaches a controversial topic that, frankly, needs discussing. It’s the reality of needing to be loved, to feel someone’s arms around you while you’re held hostage to one of the cruelest diseases. Barry opens this tough debate with honesty and clarity that sometimes the idea of “family” takes on a less traditional role. Can’t recommend this book enough.


About Those Log Lines…

November 5, 2014

big-Mouth

Whenever I talk to authors at conferences, they seem to be all about delivering their log lines, which is fine because time is short, and they only have mere nanoseconds to tell me the concept of their books. It’s an invite for me to say, “Tell me more.” I’m usually rushing down the hallway to a meeting, seminar, or pitch sessions, so brevity is much appreciated.

However, a log line isn’t your pitch – it’s a concept – so these aren’t helpful in a query letter. For that, you need to lead with your story’s plot.

If you lead with this:

Log Line: “Newly free from the rat race, Twist McPherson becomes the reluctant publisher to five saucy ladies in their seventies and an internationally famous legal thriller writer with a nasty case of writer’s block and urgent desire for anonymity.”

An agent may do the literary equivalent of hanging up on you and stop reading after one sentence. Yah. It happens. A. Lot.

If you want them to keep reading, just jump right in and belch out the plot:

Twist McPherson, on permanent hiatus from the rat race, moves to Palm Springs and sets about writing the Great American Novel. Her timing couldn’t be worse; the sour economy has publishers signing only the big blockbusters, like world class author Jack Crawford and his courtroom dramas. After one too many Harvey Wallbangers with her best friend Roz, Twist agrees to dust off her advertising talents and create her own publishing company.

During her weekly Mah Jong game with a group of saucy ladies, all in their 70s, Twist casually mentions her publishing plans. Before she can eat the olive out of her martini, Dirty Little Secrets, LLC is born, and Twist has a stable of five new writers who, under nom de plumes, have spent the past three years writing some of the hottest, yet refined erotica to hit the electronic bookshelves. As southern belle, Lucinda Du Pont, drawls over tea spiked with Jack Daniel’s, “Smut sells, dear.”

In the midst of cover designs and distribution, Twist—so named for her metaphorical gifts of rearranging the male anatomy during tough business negotiations—meets the mighty Jack Crawford, newly arrived to the desert to finish his faltering tenth book and meet his thrice-past-due deadline. He absolves his writer’s block by writing for Twist under the name Marcella de la Prentiss.

It wouldn’t have been so bad had Chicago Times book reviewer Carl Beckenham not smelled a story in the young new publisher who blasted onto the scene with her classy advertisements and sophisticated promotion. But Snarlin’ Carl’s nose for a hot story has him digging deeper into Twist’s business to find out the identity of her writers, which threatens Jack’s career and the ladies’ dirty little secrets.

It may seem a small thing, but I know many in the business who will stop after the first sentence. If that first sentence is cliché, the person reading it will roll their eyes in your general direction. And that’s the thing with log lines; they can be quite cliché, and that’s okay…so are lots of movie log lines. However, your job is to tell the acquiring editor or agent what your book is about, and a log line only offers up the overall scheme. Big difference.

Save the log line for racing down hallways with errant editors and your neighbor, who you really haven’t forgiven for borrowing your weed whacker and never returning it.


Typochondriac

October 31, 2014

BAHAHA…just saw this on Facebook – that font of all knowledge and truth:

Typochiondriac: Extreme fear of making a spelling mistake.


Kara Sundlun Wows ‘Em on CBS THIS MORNING

October 29, 2014

Finding Dad- loresSundlun, Kara-77_high res(1)Fantastic interview with our author Kara Sundlun on CBS This Morning as she talks about her exciting new book FINDING DAD: FROM “LOVE CHILD” TO DAUGHTER. Forgiveness is the toughest decision of all. You can either spend time demanding an apology, or you can spend your time creating new, better memories.

Click here to watch, love, buy the book!


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