Tuesday, June 13, 2017

HOW TO PERSONALIZE A QUERY LETTER:

3 Ways to Gain the Attention of an Editor or Agent


Before you send a query letter, hopefully you know how to look up the submission guidelines and that you need to actually follow them. Every editor is different, and every publisher is different. Sending Editor A a query letter according to Editor B's guidelines may get your query letter tossed in the trash. So, FOLLOW SUBMISSION GUIDELINES!!!

Once you have a list of editors to whom you'd like to submit your work, and you know their submission policy, you're ready to personalize your query letter. Whether you are polishing off your query by finally adding that personal touch, or you are just now beginning to write your query letter, it doesn't matter. Either way, it's the personal touch that may help the editor decide to actually read your query letter.

You want to make it clear that you're querying that person for a reason. If you follow one of these three ways to personalize a query letter, you'll definitely have a higher percentage of gaining the attention of an agent or an editor.

HOW TO PERSONALIZE A QUERY LETTER: 3 Ways to Gain the Attention of an Editor or Agent || writing, authors, submission process, submissions, how to submit a manuscript

Be Familiar With Their Interests


Yes, editors and agents are busy, but they have a personal life too. If you do any level of research at all, you're likely to find a few of their interests online. Whether it's their passion for all things elephant, or their interest in haunted houses, if you have a similar interest, you can use it to your advantage, especially if you've written something about that interest.

Query Example: I am writing to you because we share a similar fondness for elephants. I happen to have a manuscript about elephants that I think you might be interested in reading.

Follow Your Potential Agent or Editor to Conferences


Most editors and agents are always looking to grow their list. One way they do this is by speaking at writing conferences or retreats. If you follow your dream agent to a conference, you'll have an instant "in" to querying him or her. Often, you'll get an invitation to submit your work for a limited time. So if you want your book published with a certain publisher, follow where their editors go to speak and be sure to introduce yourself.

Query Example: I met you at the Writers Who Run Retreat last June and really enjoyed your workshop on great beginnings. I think you might enjoy reading my middle grade novel about magicians and love.

Know What Authors They Associate With


Every editor and agent has a list. They work with authors, both new and established. Be familiar with that list of authors. Know which authors you're fond of. When you mention an author or two in your query from their list specifically, they will know that you have done your research. They will be impressed with the fact that you like their work and the authors they associate with. So, do your research.

Query Example: I am querying you because you represent Author A, B, and C, all of whose work I greatly admire, especially Book 1, 2, and 3. I have a book with a similar feel to their work, though still uniquely mine. I think you might enjoy taking a look at it.

What's another way you can personalize your query letter? Share in the comments!

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Monday, June 5, 2017

THE PROS AND CONS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF WEBINARS

The Internet is exploding with webinars these days. In almost every industry, you'll find webinars being offered. Knowing the different types of webinars out there will help you face them head on when you encounter them. If you want to host your own webinar, it will be helpful to know all the different types of webinars you can choose from.

Pros and Cons: Different Types of Webinars || writing, entrepreneur, writerpreneur, what to look for in a webinar

Webinars are one way in which we consume information. It's not the only thing out there. There are blog posts, podcasts, infographics, links within social media to other articles, videos, white papers, transcripts, and more. Webinars can be categorized in four basic ways, but the combination possibilities are many.

  1. long or short webinars
  2. paid or free webinars
  3. informational or sales webinars
  4. live or recorded webinars
  5. interactive or boring (just kidding, but nobody wants to listen to a boring presentation)

Different Types of Webinars


The Long vs. Short Webinar


The Long Webinar

This type of webinar is typically an hour or longer. There is generally a vast amount of information to convey, or a specific list of steps to cover. People who attend longer webinars are obviously

Monday, May 29, 2017

GETTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUED IS LIKE BUYING A NEW PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES

As a writer, you know it's important to revise your work until it shines. That's why you joined a critique group. That's why you look forward to your manuscript critiques. It's just like buying a new pair of running shoes. Let me explain.

How to Get Your Manuscript Critiqued || buying a new pair of running shoes, similarities between writing and running

An Outside Perspective


For big races, there's an expo. The race expo is where you go to pick up your swag bag, which includes your shirt and your bib. Then you get to walk around and look at all the vendors. There's food, drinks, coupons, shirts, hats, shorts, socks, headbands, jewelry, info about other races, massaging tools, insoles, and of course shoes.

At one such expo, the Brooks team was there with a big prize wheel, a little bus, and lots of shoes. "Step on a treadmill! Get a Brooks assessment. We'll find the right shoe for you." So you strip down to your tootsies and step on the treadmill. There's a camera aimed right at your naked feet, recording the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Within minutes, you have an outside perspective telling you where your strengths, and your weaknesses lie. Are you a supernator? An overpronator? Are your ankles in alignment with your legs and your feet? Sometimes, a look from the outside is what we need to tell us which pair of shoes to buy.

And with your writing? The person providing you with a critique is another outside perspective? Do you tend to be passive? Do you tend to tell more than show? Sometimes it's harder to know your own weaknesses, so invite someone to gently point them out to you!

Trying on the Recommendations


So now you know your running weaknesses. It's time to try on the recommended pair of shoes. Hop back on the treadmill and take them for a spin. You'll either go with pair A or pair B. Run a little here and run a little there. Recommendations are great, but you've still got to try them on and see which your feet like better.

Your story has been cut up with a microscopic razor. Things you never saw before. Things you never even thought of. But you can't wait to try out all the great advice. Well, minus killing off your main character's love interest. It doesn't matter; you're keeping it in. You might change the name though. But the rest of the critique seems to have some great recommendations! So far, so good.

Hope for Improvement


You chose pair A. They're bright and colorful, even though you'd prefer navy and grey. The good thing is that they are super comfortable. You're excited to have a new pair of running shoes. You were 200 miles overdue. Now all you can do is hope for improvement. Improved feel, comfort, and breathability. Improved times. Improved muscles. Less soreness. Fewer injuries. Yes, pair A will certainly improve your running. Now get out and run!

You sit at your computer and implement several of the changes suggested by your critique partners. You hope it makes your story better, that you've improved upon the last version. A few tweaks and you're ready for round two. "Hey, can you take a look at my story? Let me know if you like it, and what I can do to make it better. Let me know if any of it doesn't make sense." At this point, all we can do is hope for improvement. So run with it and keep writing!

How often do you buy new running shoes? Could you live without your critique group? Share in the comments!

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Monday, March 20, 2017

FICTION BOOKS FOR RUNNERS ABOUT RUNNING

If you like to read and run, or you know someone who likes to run and read, then this list of books is definitely for you! Even if you hate running, but you love to read, you might find one of these books intriguing.

Books About Running || runners | runner characters | books runners will love

Running Books For Adults


This list is quite long, so I only list the image and summary for a couple. The other running books listed for adults are quite popular and well-known in the world of runners.

Resolve by JJ Hensley


In the Pittsburgh Marathon, 18,000 people from all over the world will participate. Over 9,500 will run the half marathon, 4,000 will run in relays while others plan to run brief stretches. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn't their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment and one man is going to be murdered.

Running Out by Dave Essinger


After a plane crash in a remote Canadian wilderness, the athlete-hero faces the race of his life—to save his wife, his daughter, and himself. Dan’s past is fraught with sinuous turns and compelling complexity, but his present path is straight and clear: survival. We follow his every stride, sometimes as breathless as he is, as he runs toward rescue—or disaster.


MOSTLY FICTION


What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Once A Runner by John L. Parker, Jr.
Again to Carthage by John L. Parker, Jr.
Running by Jean Echenoz
Marathon Man by William Goldman
Run by Ann Patchett
I Want to Show You More by Jamie Quatro
Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish
Running The Rift by Naomi Benaron
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
A Gift of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey
Two Hours by Ed Caesar
The Runner by Cynthia Voigt
Flanagan's Run by Tom McNab
Run With the Champions by Marc Bloom
The Purple Runner by Paul Christman
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe

MOSTLY NONFICTION


Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
PRE: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend by Tom Jordan
Swoosh: The Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There by Julie B. Strasser and Laurie Becklund
Out of Nowhere: The Inside Story of How Nike Marketed the Culture of Running by Geoff Hollister
Bowerman and the Men of Oregon by Kenny Moore
A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins
Why We Run: A Natural History by Bernd Heinrich
Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek
The Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age by John "The Penguin" Bingham
Feet in the Clouds: The Classic Tale of Fell-Running and Obsession by Richard Askwith
The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb
Running and Being: The Total Experience by Dr. George Sheehan
Running With the Buffaloes by Chris Lear
Running Through the Ages by Edward S. Sears

I'm sure there are more, but this will get you started.

Running Books For Teens

Run by Jolyn Brown


When Supermom joins Dad on his latest project, Morgan is left with her aunt. Instead of dating the cute boy from her high school track team, Morgan will spend the summer in a small town near Kanab, Utah, five hours from home and all of her friends. Her plan is to keep a sane distance between herself and her aunt's six boys. What Morgan does not expect is being attracted to the neighbor kid who hangs out with her cousins. How can she like two guys at the same time? Just when her life could not get more messed up, Morgan stumbles across an abandoned house and learns she lived there when she was small. The house and its secrets haunt her . . . it turns out she has been dreaming about the place for years. All she wants is to hold onto what she loves. But as the summer passes, she wonders if she is going to lose everything.

The Inside Track by Richard Tice


A college student who has started weight lifting and running to improve his love life meets a fascinating girl on the track who introduces him to the Mormon Church.

Running Books for Children


The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold


"Nearly all the sheep ranchers in Blue Gum Valley rode horses or drove jeeps to check on their sheep. But Joshua Summer Hayes liked to run...with Yellow Dog trailing behind him." So it's no surprise when Joshua decides to enter a race from Melbourne to Sydney. People laugh when old Joshua shows up in his overalls and gumboots, calmly nibbling a slice of pumpkin for energy. But then he pulls into the lead, and folks are forced to sit up and take notice.


Marathon Mouse by Amy Dixon



The mice of New York City dread the day of the New York City Marathon more than any other—the crowds, the large shoes, the noise. All of them, that is, except for Preston. He and his family live underneath the starting line on the Verrazano Bridge and every year Preston has dreamed of joining all the other runners in the marathon. This year, Preston is determined to make his dream come true, even though his family tells him that mice are not fit to run marathons. He trains hard leading up to the big day and when the race starts, he successfully dodges sneakers and crosses the finish line, showing his family that mice can do much more than just scurry.


The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller



It's the day before the big parade. Alta can only think about one thing: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. She'll be riding on a float tomorrow. See, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. It doesn't matter that Alta's shoes have holes because Wilma came from hard times, too. But what happens when a new girl with shiny new shoes comes along and challenges Alta to a race? Will she still be the quickest kid? The Quickest Kid in Clarksville is a timeless story of dreams, determination, and the power of friendship.


Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull



Before Wilma Rudolph was five years old, polio had paralyzed her left leg. Everyone said she would never walk again. But Wilma refused to believe it. Not only would she walk again, she vowed, she'd run. And she did run--all the way to the Olympics, where she became the first American woman to earn three gold medals in a single olympiad.


Have you read any of these? Which one will you add to your reading list? Share in the comments!

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

14 DAYS OF LIT LOVE

This Valentine's Day, I invite you to join the 2-week writing challenge, 14 Days of Lit Love. Celebrate all things literary! #14DaysofLitLove

14 Days of Lit Love || Join the 2-week writing challenge to strengthen your creativity
Join the challenge!

Celebrate literature


The best way to celebrate literature is to buy books and read books. But another way is to write! By practicing the writing craft, you can create more awareness for all things literary.

Write more often


Most people say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. New research says the average is closer to 67 days. If you made a New Year's Resolution this year to write more often, or to write every day, or to be more consistent with your writing, this challenge is the perfect way to help you implement that!

For two weeks, you'll receive a fun and fast writing challenge in your inbox that will inspire you to keep going. Receive even more motivation by sharing your musings on social media (Twitter and/or Facebook).

Amp up your creativity


The 14 writing exercises can act like little warmups for a longer writing stint, if you like. They're meant to challenge your creative thinking and help you have fun with your writing. They are exercises that you can repeat over and over again. Join the challenge today!

Are you game? Type, "YES!" in the comments if you joined the challenge!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

HOW I GOT MY AGENT

Writers always want to know how other writers got their agents. In fact, someone recently asked me how I got my agent and I realized I hadn't yet shared it on my blog. So today, you're in for a treat!

How I Got My Agent || how to connect with an agent | literary agents | resources for agents for picture book writers

I Wasn't Looking for an Agent


I started writing seriously way back in 2009. I had two ideas. I wrote and wrote and wrote. In 2010, I continued to write and finished multiple manuscripts. I even joined a critique group. In 2011, I went to my first SCBWI writing conference. I had been to two other conferences during college, and a writing workshop several years later. But an SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) conference is in a league all its own.

But I was never really looking for an agent. It felt too scary. It was late 2012 before I ever sent a manuscript to an agent, and that's only because I heard him speak at the annual SCBWI conference. I decided I didn't feel like researching who would be the "perfect agent" for me and my work. I'd just submit to agents I've heard speak and had an "in" to submit to them, or to agents I'd actually met. In 2013, I submitted to 6 agents, one of which asked to see more of my work. Exciting! Yes. But ultimately, a no-go.

Even though I wasn't actively looking for a literary agent, I did happen to collect several possibilities along the way. I saved it for you, too! If you write for children, you might want to check out this list of 60 Agents Who Represent Children's Books. If you write for adults, my list won't help you, but my story can still inspire you!

My First Agent


Yes, I'm on my second agent. It happens. It's actually very common in the industry. In 2014, I went to a writing conference/retreat (it was kind of a hybrid) and I met a few agents. I even submitted to one of them earlier that year through the Gold level membership of 12x12 (it's for picture book writers), but never heard back. Yep. Crickets.

At this retreat, one particular agent's workshop resonated with me... a LOT! Because of the insight I received and the connection I felt, I revised my manuscript and several weeks later, I submitted to this agent. Less than a week later, I got a phone call about 9:00 PM. I had so many questions! We chatted about my book and some other manuscripts I had ready to go. A week later, I signed the contract. I had an agent!!! Woo-hoo.

But somehow, subconsciously, I got a little lazy as a writer. I was still active in my critique group and still attended conferences, but something was "off" with my mindset. About a year after I got my agent, we broke up. It just wasn't working for either of us. There were lots of factors. I was depressed for a bit, but my writing community helped me get through it.

After the Breakup


I still didn't feel like doing hard-core research to find "Mister Perfect." Yes, I was on the rebound, so I selectively submitted to two agents. We didn't court. In early 2016, I submitted to a handful of agents. Meanwhile, I participated in a Pitch War on Twitter. I didn't find my agent through a Twitter Pitch session, but I did become more aware of the hashtag #mswishlist. Yes, there's a whole website dedicated to what agents and editors are actually looking for!

I thought about my strongest manuscript, the one that got me my first agent. The story that had been submitted to only a few choice editors at this point. A manuscript I started in December 2011 and finished the first rough draft in January 2012, a manuscript that I continued to revise for 2 to 3 years. My agent-hunting manuscript. I went to MSwishlist.com and looked for a good fit. I saw a few posts of agents looking for a manuscript about the history of a thing. Perfect!!! I connected through Twitter and was invited to submit through the guidelines on the agency website. So I did.

Although I had never heard of this agent before, or met her, let alone heard her speak anywhere, I followed through. She emailed me and set up a date and time for a phone call. I had my questions ready. She patiently and happily answered every single one of them. She asked me about my other projects. I told her about 5 or 6 of my other polished mss. And she loved the idea for all of them! We hit it off right away. She offered representation at the end of the call, but specifically told me not to answer her right away, and to take my time and get back to her in a couple weeks.

So I contacted the other agents I had submissions out to, and in March, I signed with Stacey Graham of Red Sofa Literary. She's a perfect fit: professional, dedicated, conscientious, thoughtful, and my personal cheerleader. Thank you, Stacey! If you want to see what my books are about via some fun similarities, visit my Pinterest board: MY BOOKS.

Do you have a dream agent? Not necessarily a contract with your dream agent, but one you'd love to have? What's one question you asked your current agent or WILL ASK an agent, given the opportunity? Share in the comments!

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Monday, January 30, 2017

HOW TO LISTEN FOR INSPIRATION

Writers have "The Muse." Runners have "endorphins." Call it inspiration, motivation, or habit. It's all the same thing really. Today's inspirational thought or motivational message has nothing to do with habit (more on that in a future post), and everything to do with this quote.

"Words make you think thoughts, music makes you feel a feeling, but a song makes you feel a thought." - Rob Kapilow || famous quotes | inspirational writing quote | somewhere over the rainbow

Somewhere Over the Rainbow


Somewhere over the pages of your books or the pavement under your feet, you have no doubt felt the endorphin-filled Muse enter your soul. "Words make you think thoughts, music makes you feel a feeling, but a song makes you feel a thought." I just love this quote by Rob Kapilow, composer of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Writing, when in you're in the zone, takes on a music of it's own. In the middle of a good run, you feel the lightness of your feet, the rhythm of your breath, and endorphins conducting a symphony all their own. I don't know about you, but inspiration (not necessarily for new story ideas) comes to me most often through songs.

Choose a Theme Song, or Two...


I have a lots of favorite songs and I love to dance. Mostly in the privacy of my own living room. So when someone suggested to find a theme song for certain tasks, I took notice.

So, have a song for jazzing me up when I do live webinars. I have a song for hunkering down and getting to work, whether that be writing or more business-y marketing type stuff. I have a whole playlist for running. And another playlist for Quittin' Time, songs that make me want to stop working and get up and dance.

If you're having trouble creating productive habits, perhaps you should try grounding the action with a theme song. Or if you struggle with motivation to get something done, like go for a run? Theme song! Try it!

Finding Inspiration Through Other Means


Okay, so maybe music just ain't your thang. That's okay. Here are a few other ways people receive inspiration.

Ways to Get Inspired

  • Nature
  • Exercise
  • Journaling
  • Music
  • Reading
  • Prayer
  • Meditation
  • Dreams
  • Brainstorming
  • Friends

What inspirational method speaks to your heart the most? Gardening? Traveling? Share in the comments!

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Friday, January 27, 2017

EPISODE 11: DO IT ANYWAY, EVEN IF YOU ONLY HAVE 20 MINUTES

This writing tip will help you be more consistent in your writing. Fight procrastination by setting aside 20 minutes a day. Over time, you'll be amazed at what you've been able to accomplish.

How to Be More Consistent in Your Writing: Do It Anyway || writing tips | author advice | running | how to be a writer | writer inspiration


How to Be More Consistent

The trick to fight procrastination when you'd really rather only have 30-40 minutes or 2+ hours to write or go for a long run, is to "Just Do It." You only have 15-20 minutes? Do it anyway!!! Little steps more often add up to more growth over time. Do it anyway.

Set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes. How much did you write? Share in the comments!

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