Hold onto your pens, this is going to be a long blog entry! The first half I will cover some things from my writing retreat and in the second half I will go into Writing Quest, previously known as the Monthly Writing Challenge.
I can summarize the retreat in one sentence: It was awesome! Yes, not descriptive, but true nonetheless. The guests included Janet Reid, Jim McCarthy, Annette Rogers, and Tina Trevaskis. Aside from getting valuable information from all of them, the dynamics of the group when they were together on a panel was priceless. I will attempt to describe some of the modules, but please forgive me if I linger on some more than others.
Janet Reid is an agent from FinePrint Literary Management and is best known as the Query Shark. If you want a chance to have your query properly torn up so you can improve it, I recommend visiting the Query Shark website on how to submit it for critique. Right before I read my query out loud in the module run by Janet Reid, I realized how flimsy and vague it was. Let's just say I have re-written my query for Mind three times in the last five days, with much help from my critique partners. The process was painful, but I think I'm a better writer for it - it also made me realize that yes, sometimes it's better for someone else to write your hook and couple paragraph summary because you are too close to your own writing and think everything is important!
Jim McCarthy is from Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. Jim did a wonderful job of detailing social networking for writers. Website, blog, Facebook, Twitter - all of it was covered and it's amazing how important it is in today's day and age for any writer to gain exposure and find networking opportunities. I think I am going to have to take more advantage of my Twitter account from now on and start following all those agents and editors out there (who all have great advice most times).
Annette Rogers is from Poisoned Pen Press. This press publishes mysteries (and I am trying to nudge a friend to submit - heh). Annette explored what draws readers into fiction - it was a fun and relaxed module. Even though I don't write mysteries, I thought she did a great job explaining what she looks for when she's choosing fiction to be published.
Tina Trevaskis is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Samhain Publishing. Her module covered the current trends in e-book publishing. I have always been quite leery of non-traditional publishing, but hearing what she had to say changed my mind about it drastically. I loved how she said that e-books were just another format for publishing, kind of like audio books. If only the bigger publishers would approach it that way! Some people prefer to read hardbound/paperback books, but others prefer e-books, so to gain as many readers as possible, having books in both formats would be an advantage.
I also managed to have a "pitch" session with Tina. I use the quotes since she can't actively acquire for Samhain, since she deals with the marketing side of things. It was a wonderful conversation about what I'm currently working on as well as how I intend to market myself. I guess I need to start upping my blog posts! She also told me I needed to finish Dead As Dreams. ;)
Of course the guests weren't the only amazing thing about the retreat. I was more than thrilled to reconnect with many of my writer friends, the modules run by alumni were also engaging, fun, and useful. And that fire I needed to get me going has been lit under me. The last couple days I have been busy revising my query, submitting a couple short stories, critiquing a bit (of course), and submitting a query and chapters to Samhain! Wish me luck. I think it's a publisher that would be a perfect fit for Mind, since I do have a strong romance subplot.
This leads me into wrapping up June and starting July. I only pushed out 3,500 words during the June Writing Challenge. Not my goal, but it was still 3,500 more words added to Dreams than I had written in the previous five months.
One of my writer friends suggested I do such a challenge every month. So, after talking it over with others, I decided, why the hell not! The challenge is now called Writing Quest, and will be held monthly. It will be flexible for everyone - as long as the goal is associated with writing (word count, revising, researching, etc.), come join me and others to work towards our goals. Sometimes all you need to know is that someone else is trudging alongside you to get those fingers moving. If you're on Facebook, you can find the Event for July here: Writing Quest - July. If you're not on Facebook, post your goal in the comments of my blog. =) And if you Twitter about the Writing Quest, please use #writingquest as a tag!
I know you're going to ask it. What's my goal? This month is a Butt In Chair goal for me. I am going to try to write at least one page, approximately 250 words, EVERY DAY. I need to get into the habit of writing every day, and this may be small to start with, but if I keep it up, I will have 31 pages added to Dreams by the end of the month. As a side goal, I would also like to revise "Love Fades" and send it off to a slush pile. I received several wonderful critiques, from my critique partners and people on Critters, for that short.
Oy, that was a long post. Who's still with me? Watch for a new blog post either Friday or Saturday - it will be shorter, I promise. I will be blogging about Fantasist Enterprises because they need some help to raise money to keep things going.
Until later, happy writing!