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Newsletter Dated: 10/31/2004 8:42:19 PM
Subject: Soup*s On
Andrea Campbell’s Newsletter
*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, family member, professional friend of Andrea*s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine.
Have questions, comments, or ideas for future publication? I look forward to your input and never turn down helpful hints. This newsletter is a continued work-in-progress and I hope you will stay around to see new features in every bi-monthly issue.
In this issue:
* From the Author*s Desk
* Doing Good
* Pat Holt Uncensored
* J.A. Konrath—Six Things You Should Never Put in a Query
* American Magazines Today
* Linda Pynaker’s Passion
*** From The Author*s Desk ***
Well Pat Holt has had quite a run in my newsletter with her Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See article, but we are on the last two items, numbers 9 and 10. I hope this information has helped you look at your work in a new light.
Fiction novelist, J.A. Konrath is back with some tips for queries, and writer Linda Pynaker has a few words about passion. Also, how about those magazines?
Next issue, I hope to update you on Ziggy, perhaps present some new forensic science concepts, and provide both inspiration and information for all. And don’t forget to visit: http://www.gardenandhearth.com in January where you will see my new editorials on interior design. The articles have just started but look for the series to give you oodles of ideas for your home and surroundings.
**This just in: I am going to be teaching an online workshop called: Publish A Book: How to Write a Killer Nonfiction Book Proposal for MediaBistro starting in January 2005. The listing will be up soon. For more information go to: http://www.mediabistro.com/courses
*** Doing Good ***
I have just donated a book to an extremely good non-profit organization for children. Here is their Mission Statement:
Lullalee's mission is to foster literacy projects through art and music that promote self-esteem. Encouraging hope, creating joy and laughter for physically challenged and disadvantaged children in the age range three (3) to twelve (12) years.
Lullalee Publications was established to develop audio and visual content designed to enhance the lives and learning experiences of all children, but, specifically, disadvantaged, physically and mentally challenged children.
Lulla Projects customize the need of the facility who request our services. We provide storytelling events with costumed characters, puppet shows and other productions that excite children and guide their interest toward the importance of reading and education. Some of the projects:
School Career days
Year-round Camp Facilities
Lulla Kids helping Kids Program-Service Learning Projects
**Free services for those who qualify, or fund raising partnerships**
Our goal is to spread our project worldwide and ensure that all children receive the same benefits and level playing ground for literacy. Lullalee Publications accepts cash donations small and large, and is currently seeking children book donations in the age range 3-14.
Lullalee Publications--A non Profit Organization
Lee Ann Butler-Owens
Founder and Chairman
(650) 219 9670
Won’t you take a look at the site and donate your book too?
Go To: http://www.lullaleepublications.org
*** Pat Holt Uncensored ***
If you do not know Pat Holt, you must make a quick run over to her web site. She has kindly offered me the privilege of reprinting her mistakes writers don’t see article. Due to newsletter space, however, you are privy to the last two items, numbers nine and ten. If you haven’t seen the former suggestions, visit Ms. Holt’s site at: http://www.holtuncensored.com/ten_mistakes.html
Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)
Like many editorial consultants, I've been concerned about the amount of time I've been spending on easy fixes that the author shouldn't have to pay for.
Sometimes the question of where to put a comma, how to use a verb or why not to repeat a word can be important, even strategic. But most of the time the author either missed that day's grammar lesson in elementary school or is too close to the manuscript to make corrections before I see it.
So the following is a list I'll be referring to people *before* they submit anything in writing to anybody (me, agent, publisher, your mom, your boss). . . .
9. AWKWARD PHRASING
"Mrs. Fletcher's face pinkened slightly." Whoa. This is an author trying too hard. "I sat down and ran a finger up the bottom of his foot, and he startled so dramatically .... " Egad, "he startled"? You mean "he started"?
Awkward phrasing makes the reader stop in the midst of reading and ponder the meaning of a word or phrase. This you never want as an author. A rule of thumb - always give your work a little percolatin' time before you come back to it. Never write right up to deadline. Return to it with fresh eyes. You'll spot those overworked tangles of prose and know exactly how to fix them.
Compound sentences, most modifying clauses and many phrases *require* commas. You may find it necessary to break the rules from time to time, but you can't delete commas just because you don't like the pause they bring to a sentence or just because you want to add tension.
"Bob ran up the stairs and looking down he realized his shoelace was untied but he couldn't stop because they were after him so he decided to get to the roof where he'd retie it." This is what happens when an author believes that omitting commas can make the narrative sound breathless and racy. Instead it sounds the reverse - it's heavy and garbled.
The Graham Greene quote above is dying for commas, which I'll insert here: "Her face had the ivory tinge of atabrine; her hair, which had once been the color of bottled honey, was dark and stringy with sweat." This makes the sentence accessible to the reader, an image one needs to slow down and absorb.
Entire books have been written about punctuation. Get one. "The Chicago Manual of Style" shows why punctuation is necessary in specific instances. If you don't know what the rules are for, your writing will show it.
The point to the List above is that even the best writers make these mistakes, but you can't afford to. The way manuscripts are thrown into the Rejection pile on the basis of early mistakes is a crime. Don't be a victim.
*** J.A. Konrath—Great Advice ***
Six things you should never put in a query:
1. Don’t be needy. Pros don’t mope and moan about how hard the publishing biz is, or beg to be read. I once started a query, “I’ve had forty rejections on this book so far, but I’m not giving up yet.” Do you think the editor even bothered to look at the manuscript?
2. Don’t be cocky. Telling the editor or agent how rich you’ll make them, or how brilliant your idea is, always backfires. For my fourth unpublished novel, I send out a query that stated, “Here’s your next blockbuster.” Among the form letter rejections I received, one had a hand-written note that said, “Guess again.”
3. Don’t use fancy paper. There are many wonderful colors and patterns of paper available at the office supply store. I’ve used pink, blue with white clouds, intricate Aztec borders, and paper that appeared to be stained with blood. The rejections I got back were on plain, white, 20# bond, because that’s what professionals use.
4. Don’t use fancy font. Stick with Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier, 12 pt and double spaced. I tried sending a query once using an exotic, caligraphy font, because I thought it made me stand out and appear intelligent. The agent returned it asking, “Next time, submit in English.”
5. Don’t include a SASE. Everyone in NY requests that you send a self addressed stamped envelope for a reply. In fairness to the publishing biz, they get a ton of unsolicited manuscripts every day, and couldn’t afford to send rejection letters to everyone out of their own pocket. Keep in mind that SASEs are for rejections. In fact, it makes it even easier for them to reject you. If they want your work, they’ll gladly spring for the stamp, or call on the phone. Do you think Tom Clancy sends SASEs?
6. Don’t address it to unknowns. Dear Editor and Dear Sir letters get thrown away. Find out who the editor is, and then call up and make sure that editor still works there. Publishing is a turbulent business, and editors are constantly moving from house to house. Make sure you’ve addressed your package to a real person who still works there.
— J.A. Konrath is the author of Whiskey Sour, a thriller featuring Chicago Violent Crime Lt. Jack Daniels <http://www.jakonrath.com>
*** American Magazines Today ***
American Magazines Dumbing Down at an Alarming Rate
Watsonville, CA - New American magazines are published for increasingly younger readers, new study proves. And with much abbreviated material.
"Magazines launched in the 1990s and 2000s capture readers younger than the average magazine purchaser today," says Meg Weaver, owner of the Wooden Horse Magazines Database, an online magazine resource for publicists, writers and researchers with information on over 2,000 US and Canadian consumer and trade publications. "In contrast, magazines launched in the 1950s and 60s attract readers today who are 13% older than the average reader. Readers of magazines founded in the 1970s are 3% older and the trend to younger ages is continuing. Publications from the 1990s have readers 9% younger and those from the 2000s are 13% younger. In other words, large blocks of the reading population are no longer being serviced by the magazine industry."
To draw these younger readers, magazines are rumored to publish shorter material. "We therefore also investigated article lengths and found another disturbing trend," Weaver said. "The average minimum word count that editors request from their writers range from a high of 738 words in magazines founded in the 1960s to an appalling 478 words in magazines launching today."
For more details contact Meg Weaver, Wooden Horse Publishing, (831) 728-0835, fax: (831) 761-9085. http://www.woodenhorsepub.com/archives/archivesjune2004.htm
*** Linda Pynaker’s Passion ***
It`s All About Passion
We live in a time-oriented society and most of us tend to be impatient. We want things to happen immediately. Let's imagine that you could have everything you want right now. What then? For example, one day it occurred to me that, if public speaking was immediately comfortable to me, I would miss the process and I would have to come up with a new growth challenge. If my books immediately became best sellers, how would I have spent the many months that were otherwise devoted to strengthening my skills and experimenting with new methods of promoting my books and myself? What about all of the wonderful people I have met? If our goals were immediately fulfilled we would have to be incredibly creative in dreaming up new ideas to keep ourselves challenged. We are better off learning to savor the journey more.
Being passionate about your goals motivates you to take risks you might not otherwise take. It encourages you to do more than the bare minimum. If you don't care about what you're doing, why would anybody else? To enlist the support of others, it has to be evident that you believe what you are doing is of value.
After my first book was published, somebody asked me how I was managing to sell so many books. I told her, “I'm learning how to toot my own horn, something that goes against every grain of my being, but I know I need to. I'm talking about it everywhere, in the hallway, on the sidewalk, in the stairwell, in checkout line-ups, etc.” I had never been good at selling things. I was a certified paragliding instructor for several years and never directly sold any equipment. But, with my book, I knew things had to be different. I had to be different.
That doesn't mean I had to go through a personality change. I really don't believe we can change our personalities. We instead develop different areas of it.
Your purpose is as individual as you are and you came into this life with the required skills and talents already encoded for you to achieve your purpose. It is a matter of digging through your own personal toolbox to discover them.
Excerpt from Make It Happen! Use Your Intuition and Positive Spirals by Linda Pynaker
*** Future Newsletters ***
In upcoming newsletters we will answer reader’s questions, share a new story or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writer’s tips. If there is any area of my life or work you would like to discuss, from autopsy to monkeys, just send me a note. Thanks for the read. : 0 )
Copyright©2004 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here, fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.