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Plant Success Seeds for Your Next Conference Now


fruits-863072_640 (1)

Pixabay.com Choose a few seeds to plant for success for your next conference now.

“Plant Success Seeds for Your Next Conference Now” by Joan Y. Edwards

You have the magical seeds needed for your success. Your inner mojo or magical power is there for you to use 24 hours a day.  Look for it. Plant it. Nourish it. To help you grow in confidence, you need to grow in skills and abilities. Plant these seeds for your success at your next conference.

pixabay.com/Choose a few seeds to plant before the conference.

 

Before the Conference

  1. Believe in you. Activate this belief. BELIEVE IN YOU AND YOUR ABILITIES. That’s the first seed for success. Believe in you. You can do all things necessary for your success.
  2. Set your goals. What skill do you most want to improve? Attend the workshops that will help you improve that skill. I hope that by attending a conference, you’ll learn a new skill or marketing technique that inspires you to reach your goals. You have what it takes for success. You may have to look through different eyes, through a different window to see it.
  3. Visit the web pages of three presenters that interest you. If they have a website, read the about me section. Check out their books at your local library or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
  4. If you have specific questions for presenters, write them down on 3×5 cards and ask them at the conference during the workshops. If you don’t get a chance to ask them in person, most handouts or websites give contact information so you can write and ask them later.
  5. Get business cards with your name, address, phone number, email address, website, and blog. Many people put an image and link to their publishedbooks on the back. Use www.VistaPrint.comwww.Gotprint.com, or local print shop. You can also create business cards on your computer.
  6. Writers: Prepare a postcard, business card, bookmark. Use your book titles and pitch blurbs. Get these giveaways printed at www.VistaPrint.com, www.Gotprint.com, or other print shop. You can also create them by hand or with your computer.Illustrators: Prepare a portfolio of 10-20 of your illustrations. Make sure these are the kind of illustrations that you enjoy creating. Prepare a postcard with a sample illustration on it. If you have illustrated a published book, put it on one side and put a different story’s illustration on the back of the postcard. Share with people you meet at the conference. Also send one of your postcards to the art directors for publishing companies represented at the conference.r illustrators. Get bookmarks and or postcards printed at VistaPrintGot Print, or other print shop. You can also create them by hand or on your computer.
  7. Buy a new spiral notebook with a bright colorful design, a composition book with a black and white cover, or a sketch book.This way all of your notes are in one place. You can put it in front of your computer when you get home, and transfer your handwritten notes to your computer. You can add information from handouts by scanning them into your computer, or by typing what you want to remember from the handouts.
  8. Writers: Buy two pens that are dependable and write just the way you like a pen to write. Put them in your pocketbook to take with you. Illustrators: Take a pencil, a ruler, and a white eraser.
  9. Write a pitch for three of your manuscripts. Print out your pitches on 3×5 cards, 4×6 inch cards, or plain 8.5 x 11 printing paper. Carry two copies of each pitch with you to the conference. Put one copy in a folder and the other in your pocketbook. Practice giving your pitch in front of a mirror. Use eye contact. Memorize it. If your pitch is longer than on 3×5 index card, it is too long.
  10. Take comfortable clothing to wear in your favorite colors to keep your spirits high. Take a sweater or blazer, in case the air conditioning is too cool for your inner thermostat.If you’re hot, you can take off the blazer. A good work attire for writers/illustrators is a pair of jeans, a shirt, and a blazer. Linda Rohrbough says that you want the editors to think you just left your computer to meet with them. Be comfortable. If you feel better being all dressed up, dress up. It’s important for you to be comfortable and feel distinguished. Wear comfortable shoes.
  11. Check your laptop, iPad, or iPhone. Charge its battery. Bring your charger to the conference.
  12. Copy the  full manuscripts of your Works in Progress and other pertinent information you may need for the conference to a portable drive or flash drive for your laptop or use a cloud data holder. If you use Dropbox, you can put your manuscripts in it and access it from your iPad or iPhone or other electronic devices. It allows you to see your manuscript from all devices. Check it out before you leave home to make sure it works.
  13. Check out the directions to the conference. Find the restaurants that are located close to the conference that serve the kind of food you can eat.

pixabay.com At the Conference: Nourish the Seeds at the Conference

At the Conference

1.Take notes.

Take notes using your new spiral notebook or composition book or take notes on your laptop or other device.

2.Hand out business cards.

Hand out business cards to everyone with whom you talk. Ask for their businesscards, too. This will give you resources to check after the conference. The more you do this, the more comfortable and natural it will be for you. Make a goal of handing out at least 10-30 cards and getting an equal number in exchange.

3.Talk to people sitting beside you in a workshop.

Do you feel lonely and out of touch with people? Talk to the people who sit beside you in the workshops. Exchange names, email addresses, and business cards with them. Here are possible questions to start your conversation:

“What are you writing?”

“Are you in writing group? Is it online or face-to-face?”

“How do you find time to write (illustrate)?”

“Do you (draw) write best in the morning or at night?”

4.  If you meet a publisher or agent, ask them questions about themselves and their projects.

If you happen to meet an agent or editor in the elevator or at lunch, remember he/she is human, like you. Ask one of these questions or one of your own:

“What is your favorite project right now?”
“How do you know when a book is right for you?”
“What’s your advice for writers(illustrators)?”

5. Writers: Be ready to answer questions about your writing with a pitch.

After your question for an editor or agent, there is a great possibility he/she will ask you, “What kind of writing do you do?” This is a perfect lead in for your pitch. Hold your head high. Look the editor/agent in the eye. Pretend he’s your best friend and tell him your pitch.

Illustrators: Be ready to answer questions about your illustrating. Tell people three things you like to draw and if your like to portray humor, the dark side, nature, etc.

6. Take a short walk for exercise in between sessions.

7. Get plenty of sleep.

8. Eat healthy fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Drink plenty of water. This will keep you alert and focused.

9. Enjoy yourself and learn as much as you can.

10. List twenty things for which you are thankful each morning before you get out of bed.

11. Thank the presenters and the organizers.

12. If you are inspired by a book you hear about or see in the bookstore at the conference, buy it or borrow it from your public library.

 

After the Conference

 

1. Sleep, if you’re tired.

Accept yourself and others as you are. Focus on what you want. Be thankful for what you have. Be grateful for where you are. Put the fun back into your writing.

2. After you’ve rested, read and organize your notes from each workshop.

Edit your notes and add information from your handouts. You can scan pertinent information from the handouts into your computer.  Write at least three major things you learned from each workshop. You can write down more details if you want.

3. Make a top ten list of things that you learned at the overall conference.

 

4. Write/Revise Your Writing/Illustrating Goals

After this information soaks into your mind, body, and spirit, write/revise three writing/illustrating goals using the skills and information you learned. (Be patient with yourself.)

5. Writing Skill/Genre Goals

a) Read ten books in your chosen genre and three books on the craft of writing and/or illustrating.

b) Revise your favorite manuscript and submit it to an editor or agent.

c)  Revise 3 of your favorite illustrations. Choose one to create a new postcard and send to a prospective publishing company.

6. Marketing Goals

a) Learn a new technology.

b) Submit manuscripts/sample illustrations to different agents and/or editors often.

c) Join or create a critique group.

c) Join my Pub Subbers Yahoo Group, a group to encourage you to submit your manuscript/portfolio often (monthly if possible). To join, write me and tell me why you would like to join at joanyedwards1@gmail.com. Members postsuccesses, ask other members for help. etc. Members receive automated reminders for the weekly steps to get your work ready for submission.

Pub Subbers
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

d) Prepare a book presentation for schools/organization.

e) Prepare a proposal to present a workshop for a writing conference.

f) Prepare a pitch for a manuscript. Go from a page summary and then focus on the words to hook readers. Keep shortening your pitch: 200-100-50-25 words. The ultimate goal is a pitch that is 140 characters long (approximately 25 words) that fits in Twitter. If you have all these different lengths, you will have a pitch to use in your cover letter, proposal, and for the rave blurbs for the back cover of yourbook. Your pitch is the magnetic tool that will entice people to buy your book.

7. Networking Goals

a) Create a website and/or blog.

b) Join a critique group.that focuses on genres you write or illustrate.

c) Give book presentations/workshops for schools and organizations

d) Create an author/illustrator page on Facebook and post news of your publishing journey.

e) Create a Twitter Account.Tweet your blog posts and your publishing news.

f) Visit the websites of three people who shared a business card with you.  Email them. Here are possible points to include in your email. Remind them of how you enjoyed talking with them. Thank them for sharing a resource. Congratulate them on their manuscript, portfolio, or book. Compliment them for being brave if they read their story at open mike. Thank them for giving you a new way to look at a problem.

g) Make a list of your followers on Facebook and Twitter. When you get your book published, they will be helpful in spreading the word about your book.  Interact with at least 25 of them on a regular basis.

Resources

  1. Amy Bishop. http://www.projecteve. “Do I Still Need Business Cards for Networking?” http://www.projecteve.com/do-i-still-need-business-cards-for-networking/
  2. Deborah Shane. “What to Do Before Attending a Conference?” https://smallbiztrends.com/2014/04/what-to-do-before-attending-a-conference.html
  3. Kristen Lamb, “Getting the Most Out of Writing Conferences:” http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/getting-the-most-out-of-writing-conferences/.
  4. Margo L. Dill, “Writers Conferences: Five Reasons Why You Should Go NOW, and How to Get the Most for Your Money:” http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/13-FE-MargoDill.html/.
  5. Marita Littauer, “Four Keys for Writers ConferenceSuccess:” http://www.right-writing.com/conference-keys.html/.
  6. Travelle. “How to Prepare for a Conference:”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/travelle/how-to-prepare-for-a-conf_b_8413424.html
  7. Yvonne Russell, “Getting the Most out of a Writers’ Conference:” http://www.growyourwritingbusiness.com/?p=47/.

Thank you for reading my blog. Each time you read one of my articles, you honor me.  I hope your success is better than you ever imagined.

Click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

COMMENT

 

Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2012-2017 Joan Y. Edwards

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Why Not? Day 9 Write a Query Letter or Cover Letter. Go Ahead.


Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

“Why Not? Day 9 Write a Query Letter or Cover Letter. Go Ahead” by Joan Y. Edwards

  1. You’ve written sentences.
  2. You’ve written paragraphs.
  3. You’ve written an article, poem, short story, manuscript, screenplay.
  4. You’ve written a title.
  5. You’ve written a pitch.
  6. You’ve revised your writing at least three times.
  7. You’ve had your work critiqued by a critique group, a writing partner, and/or a professional editor. You’ve decided which suggestions you’ll honor and revised your manuscript again. You’ve proofread it and had others to proofread it, too.
  8. You’ve picked out one publisher or agent

What is the difference between a query letter and a cover letter? A cover letter goes along with a copy of a manuscript or a proposal. In the days before emails, these letters would cover the main manuscript or other enclosures. Thus, the name cover letter. With a query, it doesn’t go on top of something. It doesn’t have attachments. It’s all alone. A query letter’s purpose is to ask if someone would like to see a manuscript. It’s asking a question. If there’s nothing attached or enclosed, it’s a query letter.

A cover letter means you have permission to send part of a manuscript. If it’s a non-fiction manuscript book, the guidelines might say to send a proposal with the first three chapters. If a publisher or agent’s guidelines specify that you send ten pages or a whole picture book manuscript, then you’re writing a cover letter to go with it.

Both a query letter and a cover letter follow the same format – one page, single spaced, one-inch margins. Your address, phone number, email address, and date on the right side at the top. The name and address of the editor or agent on the left side.

Greeting: Dear Mr. or Ms. and the last name. When I’m not sure whether it’s Miss or Mrs. I usually use their first name. Please make it more personal than Dear Submission Editor or Dear Agent. But if that’s the best option possible, go with it. A publisher may tell you to send your query to the submission editor with no name mentioned. Other publishers have an online form to submit your information. If so, you can copy and paste elements in the right places. Usually, literary agencies like for you to study their agents and choose the one who works with your genre. They want you to select one and only one agent.

RE: Put Submission or Query or Fall Conference 2016: Check the guidelines for subject notes

First paragraph: Tell where you met them or why you chose them (conference, website, blog, another writer).

Explain that you love the humor, information, mystery, or another quality of a book that they published or represented as an agent. Tell how your book is similar to this book. Tell your PITCH (2 sentences).

Second paragraph: Tell MORE ABOUT YOUR STORY (125 word selling summary).

Tell why you believe this company or agent would be a good match for this manuscript. If the guidelines mention certain interests of publisher or agent, mention it, if it relates to your book.

Third paragraph: SHORT BIO.

Tell 3 biographical sentences about you and your writing/illustrating. Mention your membership in writer or illustrator professional groups, such as Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators.

Closing paragraph: THANKS AND ASK THE QUESTION.

Thanks for considering my work. If it’s a COVER LETTER, tell what you’ve enclosed or attached. May I send you the complete manuscript of BOOK TITLE? I look forward to hearing from you, but I understand that if I don’t hear from you in _______ months, you are not interested.

If the guidelines accept only email submissions, use email. Make sure your own email address has your name in it, not flowerful@gmail.com or thegreatest@yahoo.com.

If the guidelines ask for snail mail, use your postal service. If they ask for SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope), be sure and enclose one.

Thank you for subscribing. Question for you, subscribers: Are you getting the updates for new posts for my blog by email like you signed up for? Please answer my poll.  

Good luck with writing your query or cover letter. Please let me know if my ideas or resources help you. There are more resources for you below. To comment, click below and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

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Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join over 384 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
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  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

Earlier blog posts in the Why Not? series:

  1. “Why Not? Day 1 Write. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3t0
  2. “Why Not? Day 2 Write a Sentence. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3u1
  3. “Why Not? Day 3 Write a Paragraph. Go Ahead:”
    http://wp.me/pFnvK-3uf
  4. “Why Not? Day 4 Write a Snappy Title. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3wG
  5. “Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead:”
    http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xh
  6. “Why Not? Day 6 Revise Your Story. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xl
  7. “Why Not? Day 7 Get Your Writing Critiqued. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xj
  8. “Why Not? Day 8 Make a List of Good Publishers. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xp

Resources

  1. Agent Query.com. “How to Write a Query Letter” http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx
  2. Allena Tapia. About.com. “A Sample Query:”
    http://freelancewrite.about.com/od/getpublished/a/samplequery.htm/
  3. Charlotte Dillon. “Query:” http://www.charlottedillon.com/query.html
  4. Cynthea Liu. “Anatomy of a Query Letter:” http://www.writingforchildrenandteens.com/submissions/anatomy-of-a-query-letter/
  5. Jacqueline K. Ogburn. “Rites of Submission:” http://www.underdown.org/covlettr.htm/
  6. Joan Y. Edwards. “Components of a Good Query Letter:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/components-of-a-good-query-letter/
  7. Joan Y. Edwards. “Will Your Query Letter Sell Your Manuscript?” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/will-your-query-letter-sell-your-manuscript/
  8. Nathan Bransford. “How to Format a Query Letter:” http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/03/how-to-format-query-letter.html/
  9. Nathan Bransford. “Anatomy of a Good Query Letter:” http://blog.nathanbransford.com/search/label/Anatomy%20of%20a%20Good%20Query%20Letter/
  10. New York Book Editors. “How to Write a Darn Good Query Letter:” http://nybookeditors.com/2015/12/how-to-write-a-darn-good-query-letter/
    Preditors and Editors: Sample Query http://pred-ed.com/pubquery.htm
  11. Query Shark http://queryshark.blogspot.com/ 

 

Why Not? Day 6 Revise Your Story. Go Ahead.


 

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

This is Day 6 of the Why Not? series.

“Why Not? Day 6 Revise Your Story. Go Ahead” by Joan Y. Edwards

  1. You’ve written an article/thesis/story/poem.
  2. You’ve chosen the shortest snappy captivating title.
  3. You’ve developed a catchy pitch/hook/story concept

Let your work rest in a drawer or in your computer for three days if it’s an essay for high school or college, a newspaper article, or short story to one-six months for a novel or screenplay. Letting it rest will give you a fresh look when you get back to it. When your writing’s rest period is up, you’re ready to revise it.

I recommend that that you revise it three times yourself before you take it to a critique group. Sometimes when I’ve gone to a critique group too early, I heard their voices and not my own. Let your gut feelings about it be your guide.

There are many ideas to consider in the revision process. I’ve broken it down into proofreading and revision. To simplify things, I list the ones that are most important in your first revision.

Print out your manuscript with one inch margins and double spaced.

I consider proofreading part of the Revision process.

Proofread

Read the manuscript aloud. Derick Wilder, a writing peer and member of SCBWI, says if you read it backwards, you may see mistakes and hear mistakes you might miss.

  1. Correct words that are spelled wrong.
  2. Correct punctuation.
  3. Correct grammar usage.
  4. Vary sentence structure so you don’t put your reader to sleep.
  5. Change passive voice sentences to active voice.

Read, Study, and Revise

  1. Is your title still the best possible one for your story.
  2. Does your pitch show the emotional concept of your story in two-three sentences?
  3. Does the manuscript contain descriptions that would be better as dialogue? For instance, do you tell how Jane and Dave are always at each other’s throats when it would be more interesting to read dialogue using words that make you feel like they’ve slit each other’s throats.
  4. Is there backstory that could be deleted from the beginning and placed at the exact time when the reader needs to know that information to understand the story?
  5. Does your story have a beginning with a problem, a middle in which the problem gets so bad that the protagonist has to make a change or all is lost, and a satisfying ending? Does your protagonist solve the problem on his/her own power?
  6. Do your characters actions and reactions invoke emotional reactions to your readers? Katherine Ochee suggests that you write what you feel rather than what you know. Are your characters believable in the world you created for them?
  7. Chuck Sabunchino suggests making a chart for a picture book with the following headings: character, action, dialogue, feeling, and visual. You could do that for a short story or novel, too.

Resources about Editing/Revising

  1. Chuck Sambuchino. Writer’s Digest. “6 Tips for Revising Picture Books:” http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/6-tips-for-revising-picture-books
  2. Dave Hood. “How Should You Revise a Short Story:” https://davehood59.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/how-should-you-revise-a-short-story/
  3. Holly Lisle. “How to Revise a Novel:”https://hollylisle.com/how-to-revise-a-novel/
  4. Joan Y. Edwards. “Characters Must Show Growth and Change: Interview with Sarah Maury Swan:”  https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/characters-must-show-growth-and-change-interview-with-sarah-maury-swan-au
  5. Joan Y. Edwards. “Get a New Perspective When You Revise Your Manuscript:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/get-a-new-perspective-when-you-revise-your-manuscript/
  6. Joan Y. Edwards. “Get Rid of Passive Voice.” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/get-rid-of-passive-voice/
  7. Joan Y. Edwards. “Goodness! How Could I Have Submitted That Manuscript?” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/goodness-how-could-i-have-submitted-that-manuscript/
  8. Joan Y. Edwards. “Look for Four Writing Errors When You Revise:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/look-for-four-writing-errors-when-you-revise/
  9. Joan Y. Edwards. “Sounds of Words Bring Characters to Life:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2015/05/16/sounds-of-words-bring-characters-to-life/
  10. Joan Y. Edwards. “Stop Boredom: Vary the Beginnings of Your Sentences:”
    https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/stop-boredom-vary-the-beginnings-of-your-sentences/
  11. Joan Y. Edwards. “Vary Your Sentences: Begin with a Different Part of Speech:”https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/vary-your-sentences-begin-with-a-different-part-of-speech/
  12. Katherine Ochee. “Eight Awesome Steps to Revising Your Novel:” https://writersedit.com/eight-steps-revising-novel/
  13. Reedsy. “How to Revise a Novel: Step by Step:” https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-revise-a-novel-step-by-step-guide
  14. Roane State.Edu. OWL.”Revision Checklist for Essays:” https://www.roanestate.edu/owl/essayrev.html
  15. Stephen Koch. Writer’s Workshop: https://www.amazon.com/Modern-Library-Writers-Workshop-Paperbacks/dp/0375755586
  16. Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. “Revising Drafts (of College Papers):”http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/revising-drafts/

Other blog posts in the Why Not? series:

  1. “Why Not? Day 1 Write. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3t0
  2. “Why Not? Day 2 Write a Sentence. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3u1
  3. “Why Not? Day 3 Write a Paragraph. Go Ahead:”
    http://wp.me/pFnvK-3uf
  4. “Why Not? Day 4 Write a Snappy Title. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3wG
  5. “Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead:”
    http://wp.me/pFnvK-3xh

Thanks for reading my blog. I’d love to hear from you. Please click on comment below and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

***************************************************

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join over 383 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
  3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

 

Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead.


Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not image Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

Why Not? Day 5 Write a Pitch. Go Ahead.

A pitch can be called an elevator pitch or a logline (in the case of a screenplay. A pitch doesn’t tell the ending of the story. A pitch for an article, thesis, picture book or novel is 25 words or two sentences telling enough about a story to capture the interest of a possible reader, publisher, agent, or editor. A pitch is used in person, online, in chats, interviews, query letters, cover letters, proposals, and on the covers of books. It’s your door to getting another person interested in what you’ve written.

A blurb on the back of a book is a longer pitch – perhaps 100 words,  ten sentences, depending on the publisher or author’s decision. You can add to it, but the essential information that pulls us in should be one or two sentences.

Write your pitch before you write your story. What? You say you’ve already written your story. That’s okay. Write your pitch now. Write it before your next revision. Doing this will help you make sure your story is what your pitch says it is. Your pitch is your promise to your readers of your story’s emotional impact.

It’s a great idea to practice your pitch. Have it ready when someone asks you, “What are you writing now?”

Start you stopwatch. You’ve got 30-60 seconds to get the person’s attention with the pitch for your book. If you stammer too long, the person will start a new topic of conversation or if leave the elevator and your chance goes down the drain.

Be ready. Write your pitch on a 3×5 inch index card. If it won’t fit on the 3×5 inch index card, it’s too long. Keep it with you in your wallet. Practice saying it in front of a mirror.

Christina Mandelski with Upstart Crow Literary says “I like to always start with who the story is about, what challenges the protagonist faces, and some standout detail that makes it feel unique.”

Amy Burkhart, agent, says the pitch has to tell, “Who, What, When, Where, and Why should I care?”

Kathleen Antrim, award-winning author, says a pitch must tell, “What if… and so what?”

­What if?
  1.  Who is the story about – girl, boy, age or grade, man or woman, occupation if it’s important to the plot, and the main character’s major flaw. (You don’t have to tell the names of characters)
  2. Where is she? Historical Fiction necessary. Not always essential.
  3. When does the story take place? Historical Fiction necessary. Not always essential.
  4. What is her problem? Who or what stands in her way?
  5. So what? Why is crisis important to her? Why does she need to win this challenge? What change has to happen for her to win? Does this pull at your heart strings? Does it invoke a deep emotion for the protagonist’s situation?

Here are some of the words about four New York Best Sellers. I shortened them to the nitty gritty (major essence) from the information given on Amazon.com. I don’t have the exact pitches that these authors sent to their agents or publishers.

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain.
Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. What if that’s not true?
The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti
What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Charlotte Davis is in pieces.  You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you. But she’s learned how to forget.

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

Good luck in writing a pitch that hooks your readers, agents, and editors!

 

top10nonfictionbook

smaller Cover Joan's Elder Care Guide by Aidana WillowRaven

Copyright 2016 Aidana Willow-Raven and 4RV Publishing

As I mentioned when I posted this Pitch blog, the voting for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2016 was over on January 14, 2017. Thank you to all of you who voted for Joan’s Elder Care Guide and other books in the contest. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

Oh my goodness. Joan’s Elder Care Guide came in 3rd Place! Third Place in Best Nonfiction Book! How cool is that! Here’s a link to see the results and to read the sweet comments that touched my heart! 

http://critters.org/predpoll/final_tally_nonfictionbook.ht

Thanks for believing in me!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please click on comment and scroll down and tell me your favorite pitch!

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

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  1. Never Give Up image
  2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
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Resources -Other blog posts in the Why Not series:

  1. “Why Not? Day 1 Write. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3t0
  2. “Why Not? Day 2 Write a Sentence. Go ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3u1
  3. “Why Not? Day 3 Write a Paragraph. Go Ahead:”http://wp.me/pFnvK-3uf
  4. “Why Not? Day 4 Write a Snappy Title. Go Ahead:” http://wp.me/pFnvK-3wG

Here are more articles about pitches:

If You Don’t Do It, It Won’t Get Done!


if-you-dont-do-it-it-wont-get-done-copyright-2016-joan-y-edwards

If you don’t do it, it won’t get done! Image Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

“If You Don’t Do It, It Won’t Get Done!” by Joan Y. Edwards

It’s funny that you might have two or three manuscripts sitting in a file on your computer, packed away in a box under your bed, or hiding in an old manila folder. Yet, you have never ever submitted any of these stories to a publisher. Or perhaps you’ve drawn or painted many pictures, put them in a colorful portfolio, but have never submitted them to a publisher.

How long have you been waiting? How long are you going to procrastinate the submission process? What is stopping you? Why haven’t you submitted them? I know your list of reasons could reach in the hundreds. But why list them. Why not focus on the reasons you should submit your manuscript? Use your energy to get you closer to your goal.

Here are five empowering facts about you that you may not know:

  1. You have the intelligence needed for this job.

  2. You have the talent needed for this job.

  3. You have the experience needed for this job.

  4. You have the money and resources to do this job.

  5. You have the courage to do this job.

You’re looking at me as if I don’t know what I am talking about. But, I do. I know you better than you know yourself. You have all these talents, but you’re afraid of failing.

So what if you fail. You’ve failed before. What did you do? You got up and tried again. Do it again.

Each time you do it, you’ll gain more skills. You’ll learn at least a few things to improve your submission.

You tell me that you did that with other things, but submitting a manuscript or submitting a postcard with an illustration on it…that’s a completely different ball game. That’s too hard.

Someone’s holding up a mirror in front of you that’s not projecting a true picture of your worth. It must be an old timey mirror that distorts the true picture of what the situation really is. It’s time to get a new mirror. It’s time to think different ideas. It’s time to have a different belief system. It’s time to believe in you. God believes in you. I believe in you. Believe in yourself.

But you say to me. My parents don’t believe in me. My husband doesn’t believe in me. My sister doesn’t believe in me. My brother doesn’t believe in me. My boss doesn’t believe in me.

Guess what! To be successful, the only human person who has to believe in you is you!

God believes in you. He put an idea for a creation in your heart…a gut feeling. That’s God telling you that you’ve got what it takes and he’ll be there with you each step of the way. If you don’t have it now, you’ll have it as soon as you start believing in you. You’ll learn it. As soon as you need it, God will hand you the key.

Belief in yourself is essential. Once you believe it, it will happen. Take action. If you don’t do it, it won’t get done. You won’t reach your goal.

How do you gain more confidence in yourself? Practice. Study. Practice. Saying it. Believing it. Doing it. Taking action.

Write down the steps you need to take. Then take them. Do it. Go ahead. One by one. Inch by inch. Story by story. Illustration by illustration. Submission by submission. You’ll get there.

Pub Subbers

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

October 2016 was the 7th Birthday of Pub Subbers. I had a contest on this blog post for people to submit their work to a publisher, editor, contest, or agent during October before midnight October 31, 2016 and to leave a comment telling that they submitted and where. No one let me know that they submitted their work. Therefore, I decided to award the prize to one of the seven people who left a comment:

  1. Joan Reid
  2. Linda Andersen
  3. Sheri Levy
  4. Carol Baldwin
  5. Sandra Warren
  6. Cat Michaels
  7. Kathleen Burkinshaw

Random.org chose #7, therefore, Kathleen Burkinshaw won a free critique of 3,000 words, 3 illustrations, or a copy of Darcy Pattison’s Novel Metamorphosis: Uncommon Ways to Revise. Thank you to all of you who left a comment. You help give life to my blog.

How do you reward yourself when you submit? A tangible reward works well for me. Feel free to share this post with your fellow writers and illustrators. To leave a note, click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

COMMENT

Believe in You
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016-2017 Joan Y. Edwards

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How to Prepare for Your Upcoming Conference


How to Prepare for Your Next Conference image Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards.jpg

How to Prepare for Your Next Conference image Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

“How to Prepare for Your Upcoming Conference” by Joan Y. Edwards

Here are a few key ways to prepare for a conference that you will attend in person. I wrote this with writers and illustrators in mind. However, I believe most of the ideas would be beneficial and could be adapted to anyone attending a conference in any profession. It’s in 3 parts: before the conference, during the conference, and after the conference. I hope that by attending a conference, you’ll learn a new skill or marketing technique that inspires you to reach your goals.

Before the Conference

  1. What skill do you most want to improve? Attend the workshops that will help you improve that skill.
  2. Visit the webpages of at least three of the presenters that interest you. If they have a website, read the about me. Check out their books at your local library or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

  3. If you have specific questions for presenters, write them down on 3×5 cards and ask them at the conference during the workshops. If you don’t get a chance to ask them in person, most handouts or websites give contact information so you can write and ask them later.

  4. Get business cards with your name, address, phone number, email address, website, and blog. Many people put an image and link to their published books on the back. Use www.VistaPrint.comwww.Gotprint.comwww.BCEofNC.com, or local print shop. You can also create business cards on your computer.

  5. Giveaways – Get bookmarks printed: www.VistaPrint.comwww.Gotprint.comwww.BCEofNC.com. You can also make bookmarks by hand or on your computer.

  6. Giveaways – Get postcards printed of your best illustrations or of your book covers with a selling pitch for them: www.VistaPrint.comwww.Gotprint.comwww.BCEofNC.com. You can also make bookmarks by hand or on your computer.

  7. Buy a new spiral notebook with a bright colorful design or a composition book with a black and white cover. This way all of your notes are in one place. You can put it in front of your computer when you get home, and transfer your handwritten notes to your computer. You can add information from handouts by scanning them into your computer, or by typing what you want to remember from the handouts.

  8. Buy two pens that are dependable and write just the way you like a pen to write. Put them in your pocketbook to take with you.

  9. Write a pitch for three of your manuscripts. Print out your pitches on 3×5 cards, 4×6 inch cards, or plain 8.5 x 11 printing paper. Carry two copies of each pitch with you to the conference. Put one copy in a folder and the other in your pocketbook. Practice giving your pitch in front of a mirror. Use eye contact. Memorize it.

  10. Take comfortable clothing to wear in your favorite colors to keep your spirits high. Take a sweater or blazer, in case the air conditioning is too cool for your inner thermostat. If you’re hot, you can take off the blazer. A good work attire for writers/illustrators is a pair of jeans, a shirt, and a blazer. Linda Rohrbough says that you want the editors to think you just left your computer to meet with them. Be comfortable. If you feel better being all dressed up, dress up. It’s important for you to be comfortable and feel distinguished.

  11. Check your laptop, iPad, or iPhone. Charge its battery. Purchase a portable disc drive or flash drive. Most of them are USB port compatible. Copy your full manuscripts of the Works in Progress and other pertinent information you may need for the conference to a portable drive. If you use Dropbox, you can put your manuscripts in it on your main computer. Add the Dropbox app to your iPad or other electronic device. You can see your manuscript from all devices. Check it out before you leave home.

At the Conference

1.Take notes.

Take notes using your new spiral notebook or composition book or take notes on your laptop or other device.

2.Hand out business cards.

Hand out business cards to everyone with whom you talk. Ask for their business cards, too. This will give you resources to check after the conference. The more you do this, the more comfortable and natural it will be for you. Make a goal of handing out at least 10-30 cards and getting an equal number in exchange.

3.Talk to people sitting beside you in a workshop.

Do you feel lonely and out of touch with people? Talk to the people who sit beside you in the workshops. Exchange names, email addresses, and business cards with them. Here are possible questions to start your conversation:

“What are you writing?”
“Are you in writing group? Is it online or face-to-face?”
“How do you find time to write (illustrate)?”
“Do you (draw) write best in the morning or at night?”

4.  If you meet a publisher or agent, ask them questions about themselves and their projects.

If you happen to meet an agent or editor in the elevator or at lunch, remember he/she is human, like you. Ask one of these questions or one of your own:

“What is your favorite project right now?”
“How do you know when a book is right for you?”
“What’s your advice for writers(illustrators)?”

5. Be ready to answer questions about your writing with a pitch.

After your question for an editor or agent, there is a great possibility he/she will ask you, “What kind of writing do you do?” This is a perfect lead in for your pitch. Hold your head high. Look the editor/agent in the eye. Pretend he’s your best friend and tell him your pitch.

6. Take a short walk for exercise in between sessions.

7. Get plenty of sleep.

8. Eat healthy fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Drink plenty of water. This will keep you alert and focused.

9. Enjoy yourself and learn as much as you can.

10. List twenty things for which you are thankful each morning before you get out of bed.

11. Thank the presenters and the organizers

Tell the presenters and organizers what you liked about the conference. Make suggestions for improvements.

12. If you a book inspires you at the workshop, buy it or ask for it at your public library.

After the Conference

1. Sleep, if you’re tired.

Accept yourself and others as you are. Focus on what you want. Be thankful for what you have. Be grateful for where you are. Put the fun back into your writing.

2. After you’ve rested, read and organize your notes from each workshop.

Edit your notes and add information from your handouts. You can scan pertinent information from the handouts into your computer.  Write at least three major things you learned from each workshop. You can write down more details if you want.

3. Make a top ten list of things that you learned at the overall conference.

4. Write/Revise Your Writing/Illustrating Goals

After this information soaks into your mind, body, and spirit, write/revise three writing/illustrating goals using the skills and information you learned. (Be patient with yourself.)

5. Writing Skill/Genre Goals

a) Read ten books in your chosen genre and three books on the craft of writing and/or illustrating.

b) Revise your favorite manuscript and submit it to an editor or agent.

6. Marketing Goals

a) Learn a new technology.

b) Submit manuscripts/sample illustrations to different agents and/or editors often.

c) Join my Pub Subbers Yahoo Group, a group to encourage you to submit your manuscript/portfolio often (monthly if possible). To join, write me and tell me why you would like to join at joanyedwards1@gmail.com. Members post successes, ask other members for help. etc. Members receive automated reminders for the weekly steps to get your work ready for submission.

Pub Subbers

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

d) Prepare a book presentation for schools/organization.

e) Prepare a proposal to present a workshop for a writing conference.

f) Prepare a pitch for a manuscript. Go from a page summary and then focus on the words to hook readers. Keep shortening your pitch: 200-100-50-25 words. The ultimate goal is a pitch that is 140 characters long (approximately 25 words) that fits in Twitter. If you have all these different lengths, you will have a pitch to use in your cover letter, proposal, and for the rave blurbs for the back cover of your book. Your pitch is the magnetic tool that will entice people to buy your book.

g) Prepare a post card, business card, bookmark, signature for email to promote you and your writing. Use your book titles and pitch blurbs.

7. Networking Goals

a) Create a website and/or blog.

b) Join a critique group.that focuses on genres you write or illustrate.

c) Give book presentations/workshops for schools and organizations

d) Create an author/illustrator page on Facebook and post news of your publishing journey.

e) Create a Twitter Account. Twitter your blog posts and your publishing news.

f) Visit the website of three people who shared a business card with you.  Email them. Here are possible points to include in your email. Remind them of how you enjoyed talking with them. Thank them for sharing a resource. Congratulate them on their manuscript or book. Compliment them for being brave if they read their story at open mike. Thank them for giving you a new way to look at a problem.

g) Make a list of your followers on Facebook and Twitter. When you get your book published, they will be helpful in spreading the word about your book.  Interact with at least 25 of them on a regular basis.

Resources

  1. Kristen Lamb, “Getting the Most Out of Writing Conferences:” http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/getting-the-most-out-of-writing-conferences/.
  2. Margo L. Dill, “Writers Conferences: Five Reasons Why You Should Go NOW, and How to Get the Most for Your Money:” http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/13-FE-MargoDill.html/.
  3. Marita Littauer, “Four Keys for Writers Conference Success:” http://www.right-writing.com/conference-keys.html/.
  4. Yvonne Russell, “Getting the Most out of a Writers’ Conference:” http://www.growyourwritingbusiness.com/?p=47/.
  5. Do I Still Need Business Cards for Networking? (projecteve.com)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Each time you read one of my articles, you honor me.  I hope your success is better than you ever imagined.

Click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2012-2016 Joan Y. Edwards

***************************************************

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Take a Chance on You: Submit Your Manuscript


Submit your manuscript! Believe in you!

Submit your manuscript! Believe in you!

“Take a Chance on You: Submit Your Manuscript” by Joan Y. Edwards

Many of you are sitting on a manuscript. It may be hidden in your drawer because someone took the wind out of your sails. You stopped believing in your story. The only thing that can kill your story and its publication is you. Ultimately, you make the difference. Never Give Up on your story. Keep searching for a way to get your work published.

Critiques are personal opinions. They are not facts. Only use the opinions you believe are right…not just a little bit right…100% right. Follow your gut feelings. Honor yourself and your writing. You are important. The world needs your writing and your view on life.

Once you’ve gotten your manuscript in a great quality condition, you’re ready to activate the Pub Subbers plan to get published!

Yes, it’s possible that you might find a better way of writing what you wrote.

Yes, it’s possible there are a few things you didn’t know, but find out later.

The question is:

Is this manuscript the absolute best it could be at this particular moment in time? If your answer is “YES,” go for it. Take a chance on you. You’re worth it.

Follow the steps for Pub Subbing!

Week 1 Find a publisher. Get one last critique of your manuscript and pitch.

Week 2 Write your cover letter, query letter, or proposal.

Week 3 Make revisions on manuscript, letters, proposal. Print out. Check over. Correct errors. Follow publisher or agent guidelines. Submit.

Week 4 Celebrate your courage in submitting. Live. Write another story.

Each submission fills you with joy and hope!


Please click here to leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

Believe in you!

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

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