Saturday, August 8, 2009

Forewarned is Four-armed...

I wish I had four arms. . . can you imagine? I could use two to hold the kids down and the other pair to write like mad.

This week begins with a happy story. This is a blog about getting published, so that means I got another non-rejection letter. Big grins and chocolate all around. Since I've been through this process once before, you'd think I would most certainly be, forearmed. (I still like four-armed better) Not so.

So when the acceptance miraculously appears in my inbox, I immediately switch to scramble mode. You see, along with the happy, happy, joyous news there usually are things like, contracts, forms, questionnaires, cover requests etc. I knew this. Of course I did. So how is it that, at this late hour, I find myself clueless yet again?

Does chocolate cause brain damage?

(Shudder) Let's hope not. Instead we will go with the theory that I'm a slow learner and next time, oh let there be a next time, I'll be on the ball. I'll have things ready. I'll at least have thought about what might look good on the cover.

In the meantime, since we're here to learn from my stupidity--er--mistakes. I'm rattling off a list of things to prep or have at the ready before the wonder of acceptance happens. If I'd been thinking, I would have done all this for each story right after finishing it.

Query and Synopsis:
okay, technically you need this long before you get a yes. These are the first two items to whip up before you can even start submitting properly. I hate them. Okay, I take that back, I hate synopsis. Queries are actually kind of fun. It's okay, everyone hates synopsis. Still, the two of them are probably the most important of the accessory files to any piece. Making them glow with perfection is an art I have certainly not mastered. Someday, maybe. In the meantime there are tons of great resources on the web on writing queries.... good luck with that other one.

Blurb:
This one's fun. I usually incorporate something like it into a query, so sometimes it's just a matter of cut-and-paste. It's the commercial that goes on the back of your book's cover. Read some book backs, and you'll get the feel of it. I like to think of this like a movie trailer in print. Jazzy, exciting, quick but deep enough to hook a potential reader. Fun stuff.

Tagline: Okay if the blurb is the trailer, this is the one-liner on the movie poster. Also fun.

Bio: EEEK. I've managed to dredge out a few of these. One on the website, a short one for book backs, a longer one for publisher pages. I'm not a big fan of writing about myself. I write fiction. So when I get asked for a bio, I cringe. How do I make myself interesting without sounding like a dork? Read some author bios, open up the gin, think, think. Anyway, good luck.

Cover Questionnaire:
Again, a fun one.... but. It helps to have been thinking about it before the questions drop into the inbox. (What was I thinking about anyway?) I really like being able to give cover input. I haven't seen one of my covers yet (hey, it's still early) but I'm excited anyway. So far these have had questions about my book's theme, genre, and mood as well as asking for detailed descriptions of my main characters, settings, etc. There's a place to suggest and describe a scene you think would make a good cover as well. Who wouldn't be excited about that?

So, with room for a little variation in length and quantity, that's what I've ran into so far. Remember that my experience is pretty darned narrow. Still, having any or all of the above in hand for each work would probably not be wasted effort. And despite my grumbling, this is bloody fun.

Worlds better than retail, at least.

Cheers,
~Frances

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