A La Carte Publicity Services offer a menu of options

In addition to full service marketing and promotional campaigns for  clients throughout the Southeast, our sister company, Priscilla Goudreau Public Relations & Marketing (PGPR&M), is now offering a la carte  Publicity Services to help:

  • Press Releases tailored to your message and audience
  • E-newsletters or printed newsletters with content written just for you
  • Social media platform creation and management
  • Blogging, website management, bios, feature stories, and collateral materials
  • Marketing plan to fit your needs and fan base
  • Ads that target your local market to increase your business
  • Author Press Kit or business collateral package to boost your book or business and presence in the community.
  • Event coordination and other consulting services

Originally launched in Jacksonville, Florida and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Priscilla Goudreau Public Relations & Marketing began focusing on author publicity services in 2013 and since then has represented a number of authors both traditionally and self-published. The company supports the Women’s National Book Association and the Charlotte Writers’ Club as well as a myriad of writers groups and organizations throughout the region.

Priscilla Goudreau-Santos , along with a handful of highly respected book industry pros, launched All About the Authors as an online resource for writers  in 2015.

All About the Authors is excited to offer authors needed information to boost the success of their books. Contact Priscilla Goudreau Public Relations & Marketing for more information about these and other services.

The Faith of a Writer: My Process

By Michele Young-Stone

       My writing process is rewriting. I start with an image, usually of a character in my head. He or she has some problem: she was struck by lightning and no one believes her, her father isn’t there for her, her mother is a drunk, she feels abandoned (novel #1, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors); she was born with wings, they were considered a birth defect, her parents separate, she doesn’t understand her place in the world or the significance of the ghostly wings she wears (novel #2, Above Us Only Sky); when she’s seven, her mother’s twins are born prematurely and don’t survive, she loses her mother to sadness and mourning, she falls in love with a girl and struggles with her notions of right and wrong (novel #3, Lost in the Beehive). These are the bones, the beginnings. I don’t ever know what’s going to happen until I start writing. With Lost in the Beehive, I knew that I wanted to explore societal norms and conventions. I wanted to investigate the choices people make to either follow or break with convention. Gloria is attracted to the same gender, but this is not acceptable in 1960’s New Jersey. (Sadly, for some people, this isn’t acceptable today.) Is Gloria going to follow her heart, or is she going to try and live as society expects her to live?

    My process is very tactile. As I’m rewriting, I’ll often make collages or draw my characters. With Lost in the Beehive, I used old magazines from my research, copies of Life, Photoplay and Good Housekeeping, to make collages of the major scenes I was writing. Some of the scenes made it to the novel’s final draft, but most didn’t. They were a part of the process. The writer Valley Haggard recently reminded me in her book, The Halfway House for Writers, that nothing is wasted. Sometimes I get really frustrated and down on myself because I will have written thousands of pages that seem wasted, that will never make it into the final book, but as Valley writes, “Nothing has been wasted: none of your writing and none of your time. Even lost years and lost manuscripts were necessary to bring you where you are now.” I believe her. She’s right. I desperately need to be reminded of that fact. I’m never going to sit down and write an outline and follow it and voila, have a completed manuscript/novel. It’s never going to happen. My process is putting down layers and scraping those layers away (rewriting) to find what the story wants and needs to be.

Isabel

In every novel I’ve written, some character inevitably shows up on the page and starts bossing me around. I don’t know why he or she is there, but this is the really good stuff because this is the subconscious at work, and I have to have faith that this is happening for a reason. I often reference “the faith of a writer” because a writer has to have faith that what’s being created will at some point, with enough love and hard work, take a reasonable form that’s accessible and satisfying to readers. In Lost in the Beehive, Sheffield Schoeffler showed up. He became Gloria’s (the main character’s) best friend. The novel became a platonic love story between them, each character struggling to fit into a world that didn’t seem to want them. While I was writing, I made magnets and little paintings that read, “I love Gloria” and “I love Sheff.” I love them both.

Gloria and Sheff

In between writing The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors and Lost in the Beehive, I wrote Above Us Only Sky. I had a two-book contract with Simon and Schuster, and they decided that they wanted to publish the novel about the girl born with wings first, but the problem was that I hadn’t written that book, so I had to set Lost in the Beehive aside and get to work.

Four years later, when I returned to Lost in the Beehive, I realized that it was a book about Gloria’s life: about her childhood, her first love, about her friendship with Sheff, and about her adult life, but it wasn’t cohesive. To quote my agent, Michelle Brower, “It needs a narrative vehicle.” If you’re wondering what that is, I was wondering the same thing. It’s basically some force that compels the story forward, that makes it cause-and-effect, and not just this happened and then this happened and then this happened. Finding the narrative vehicle was far more difficult than you can imagine. I literally stuck all the characters on a train at one point. I was desperate. I had a book that wasn’t technically a book. I had characters I loved, I had events, but the structure just wasn’t quite right. As I considered structure, I realized that I had to cut Gloria’s first love interest from the book. She was part of Gloria’s backstory. The novel was more about Gloria’s relationship with Sheff and her family than it was about her first love—Isabel. Again, I had written hundreds of pages that would never be a part of the novel.

Right now, as I work on my fourth novel, I’ve already written as many drafts, and I’m still trying to figure out what the book is really about. I struggle not to beat myself up. I tell myself that if I keep writing, if I keep spending time in the world I’ve created, the truth of the book will rise to the surface. I’ve written and published three books already. Why should this one let me down?

 

Michele Young-Stone, author of Lost in the Beehive (Simon & Schuster), will be among five featured authors at the Women’s National Book Association-Charlotte’s annual Spring Meet the Authors Evening from 7-8:30 p.m.  on Monday, April 9,  at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road in Charlotte. The event is free and open to the public.

 

Checking it twice… Marketing checklist for 2018  

It’s that time of year when we check our (book) marketing list and then check it again. What have we done right? What have we done wrong? And, what should we add or delete from our list for next year?

I’ve been reading many articles on marketing trends for 2018 and to put it in the words of a global marketing industry leader, they are filled with “predictable predictions”.

Of course, the latest and greatest technology is always on the list as is focusing on the customer, making better use of data, and the role of the marketer. All of these are about getting down to basics and doing them well. Serving your customers or readers is always the most fundamental and essential ingredient of successful marketing as is staying in touch with them.

But, you ask, how do I get the basics right?

Here are a few helpful tips:

  1. First, plan ahead to take a strategic approach, stay focused and efficient, and meet your objectives.
  2. Consider your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). Make a list and plan ahead for unforeseen changes! This is a time to be realistic and take a look at competitors/authors in similar genres. What are they doing that seems to work. Can you use this strategy or tool to your own advantage?
  3. Content is still king and the more organic and fresh the better. That means investing the time and money to make it interesting and informative. Sharing good, relevant information is always important. Ask yourself what and why this is good information for your followers and customers.
  4. Use tools like Google Analytics and social media native analytics to determine what is and isn’t working and how your audience is responding to your digital marketing. You’ll know what platform and type of post are working best, and the optimum time to post on social media.
  5. Think before you post to protect your reputation and brand! Develop a personal social media policy. Getting too political, for example, may offend current or future customers.
  6. Don’t neglect face-to-face or phone conversation. The art of the relationship is always best in person.
  7. Schedule your posts to save time. There are many useful tools such as Hootsuite or Facebook’s built-in scheduler that are free or low-cost.
  8. Always target your audience no matter where you’re promoting your product or book.

Choose a plan that focuses on strategy and sustainable growth. Build your program on a solid foundation and get help where needed. The best advocate for you and your product is you (and your publicist!).

 

(Reprinted from a blog post published on Priscilla Goudreau Public Relations & Marketing)

A Story of Two Fires

    By  Jim Minick

             The novel Fire Is Your Water started out as nonfiction. Two fires struck my family in this one small area of Pennsylvania where I grew up, and though I tried, I couldn’t figure out how to make a larger book about these, especially because one fire occurred before I was born. So it took me five years of wandering in the wilderness of words to understand fiction would allow me to combine these stories if I could figure out how.

Part of that “how” came by collapsing four generations of people into two generations, and thirty years of stories condensed to three months. The larger part of the “how,” though, was discovering the connecting thread, which eventually became this: what happens to a faith healer when she loses her ability to heal? That became the driving question.

Ada Franklin, the main character in Fire Is Your Water, is based on my great-grandmother, Ida Franklin Minick, who was a faith healer or powwow doctor in the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. She could remove warts, stop blood, and take out fire, like Ada in the novel. And like Ada, she entered a burning barn with a relative, who was severely burned in the process. Afterward, my great-grandmother was not the one who healed my grandmother’s hands—another person did. So that got me thinking about why and what happens if faith is lost. I’m pretty sure that did not happen with Ida, but it opened a door for me.

My first memory is sitting on my great-grandmother’s lap, but then Ida died when I was four. So I wish I had known her better, and in a way, this novel helped me imagine a little of her life, like what it was like to work on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the 1950s, or to heal an epileptic, or even, to heal a bleeding cow by saying a chant through the phone. All of these are family stories I was able to weave into the novel to honor these people and this place.

I worked on this novel, off and on, for fifteen years. Attention got pulled to other projects, so in that time span, I wrote four other books, plus taught full-time. At some deeper level, I think I knew I wasn’t ready yet to write this book, so I had to learn my way in, through other genres, and then through extensive reading and studying of novels I admired, like Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, and Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men.

One of the great risks I took with this book is with the character of Cicero, a raven who learns to read and talk. Most of Fire Is Your Water is in third-person point-of-view, but Cicero’s chapters are in first-bird’s POV, and as, one reviewer commented on the bird’s swearing, he is “foul-beaked.” Cicero and the idea of a talking bird came much later, maybe two-thirds of the way into the writing. I was taking a fiction workshop with Darnell Arnoult (an excellent teacher and writer), and I knew the other main character, a man named Will Burk, loved birds, so I kept playing with that idea, trying to figure out how to develop that passion of his. Then I remembered reading an essay about a person growing up with a talking crow as a pet, and that, along with encouragement to just experiment, let me walk through that door of magic realism to find Cicero there waiting to chew my ear off, literally.

And yes, many birds, especially “smarter” species like ravens and crows, can learn words. I collected several stories from fellow birders about such. One ornithology professor told of a raven tamed in grad school. The bird loved to say, “Nevermore,” and he loved to drink whiskey. When he got too tipsy, he’d just repeat, “Never, never, never….”

When Cicero heard this, he wanted to file an animal abuse report until he realized that it all happened decades ago.

I’ll end with one of Cicero’s favorite quotes, from Eubie Blake: “Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind—listen to the birds. And don’t hate nobody.”

Jim Minick is the author of five books, including Fire Is Your Water, a debut novel released this spring. His memoir, The Blueberry Years, won of the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year from the Southern Independent Booksellers Association. His honors include the Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian Writing, and the Fred Chappell Fellowship at University of North Carolina-Greensboro. His work has appeared in many publications including Poets & Writers, Oxford American, Shenandoah, Orion, San Francisco Chronicle, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Conversations with Wendell Berry, Appalachian Journal, and The Sun. Currently, he is Assistant Professor at Augusta University and Core Faculty in Converse College’s low-residency MFA program.

Jim and his new book will be featured at the Women’s National Book Association Charlotte’s 8th Annual “BIBLIOFEAST” Book & Author Dinner on Monday, Oct. 16. Tickets are available at http://wnba-charlotte.org/wnba/calendar/bibliofeast-tickets/ (credit card) or at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road, 704-525-9239 (cash or check).

Saying Yes to Yourself

By Caitlin Hamilton Summie

We all have demands on our time that make it hard to fit in our creative writing: jobs, possibly parenthood, possibly caring for parents, school work, yard work, cleaning. The list goes on. Indeed, it can go on forever, pushing one’s writing down to the end of the list.

Being busy nowadays seems like a virtue. Being busy also makes you feel there is a good reason you are not writing—there are so many other To Dos that are so much more important.

But are they?

As I have grown older, I’ve learned the power of the word “no.” No, I am not available for that committee, though thanks so much for thinking of me. No, thank you, I can’t come for that event, but I sure appreciate the invitation.

And a perennially tough one for me: no, my house is not going to be perfectly clean. (If you ever visit, don’t look too closely!)

But saying no more often didn’t quite get me to finding my “yes” – to more writing time — like I thought it would.

This isn’t to say that I wasn’t writing. I was. On a lunch hour. Late at night. Weekends. I believed that pursuing my writing at all felt like I was saying “yes” to myself.

But I wasn’t, not really.

I discovered my “yes” only recently, as I scanned a long morning To Do list. I had myself and my writing at the very bottom of the list, when and if time allowed. And suddenly, I saw it: I was willing to carve out time to write and to send stories off, or edit one of my pieces, or this or that when everything else was done. But I didn’t ever prioritize my writing.

No, I felt myself say, staring at the list. I erased myself from the bottom and penciled myself in at the top.

Yes, I thought, I will do something for myself first today. It might be only from 8-8:15 a.m. But I am going to do it. Some days, I am going to prioritize my writing career.

And I am.

Caitlin Hamilton Summie and her new book, To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts, published by Fomite Press, will be featured at the Women’s National Book Association Charlotte’s 8th Annual “BIBLIOFEAST” Book & Author Dinner on Monday, Oct. 16. Caitlin lives in Knoxville, TN and is also a book industry marketing and publicity consultant. Tickets are available at http://wnba-charlotte.org/wnba/calendar/bibliofeast-tickets/ (credit card) or at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road, 704-525-9239 (cash or check).

Sebastian Matthews pens ‘memoir of poems’

By Sebastian Matthews

Early in the process of writing Beginner’s Guide to a Head-on Collision, I began to see the book as “a memoir in poems.” A hybrid collection, Beginner’s Guide consists of short lyric poems, prose poems, and short prose pieces in the personal essay vein. Intertwining these three forms, I tell the story of the head-on collision that nearly killed my family, then the aftershocks of recovery we were by necessity engaged in for the next few years.

I started writing the first poems while still in the ICU. I had to do something to combat the fear, worry and fatigue that had overcome me. A month or so later, still in a wheelchair, learning to walk again, I found myself unable to write directly about the traumatic experience. I started penning these strange “Dear Virgo” poems, which were all self-loathing, sarcastic faux horoscopes narrated by an angel/devil figure floating above me and providing unwanted commentary. Later, a few months into the recovery, I began to write about the event moment to moment, trying to capture the scene as it played out. Eventually, it felt easier–and more powerful–to write about the experience in the essay form. Then I returned to a set of prose poems exploring themes of depression, trauma and PTSD.

The book is structured as a set of concentric circles. Imagine a stone thrown into a pond–the accident itself–and then imagine the circles expanding out to fill the body of water. I tried to organize the collection in such a way that the reader would experience the event and its aftermath in different ways—moment to moment, day by day, month by month, then year by year. The book ends with my family beginning to move fully into a normal, post-accident life.

My wife, Ali, and my son, Avery, are characters in this story, and within it they move through their own stages of growth. Avery was 8-years-old when the accident occurred; he walked from the car unharmed. But his parents came out two weeks later both in wheelchairs. His dad no longer could shoot hoops; his mom no longer had the energy to help with homework at night. Over time, Avery discovered a way to bring me back into his childhood world. Using our trampoline as an arena, Avery began to “train” me by playing a game we later dubbed “Butterfingers.” By throwing a ball back and forth over the trampoline’s net, father and son re-ignited an old routine of play. Within a few months, out of the wheelchair, wobbly on my feet, I was moving my aching feet, shifting my stiff body left then right, forward and back. Later, I took this training to the basketball gym and to the weight room.

I hope in writing Beginner’s Guide to a Head-On Collision that I can share with readers the ways that one can grow and learn from such a catastrophe. When one faces such crisis, when one gets challenged at so many levels at once, something new and dynamic arises. You shed old selves and step into new ones.

The book is dedicated to all our friends, family and neighbors who helped us through the ordeal. It’s fitting, for their encompassing communities allowed us, by encouraging us, to heal.

 

Sebastian Matthews and his new book, Beginner’s Guide to a Head-On Collision published by Red Hen Press, will be featured at the Women’s National Book Association Charlotte’s 8th Annual “BIBLIOFEAST” Book & Author Dinner on Monday, Oct. 16. Sebastian lives in Asheville and teaches writing at Warren Wilson College. Tickets are available at http://wnba-charlotte.org/wnba/calendar/bibliofeast-tickets/ (credit card) or at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road, 704-525-9239 (cash or check).

 

Transforming Your Thoughts Into a Published Work

By Dr. Patricia Fitzhugh

When my ex-husband initially uttered the words “the move” on our 19th wedding anniversary, I had no idea that the events in the days following would become a published memoir of my middle-aged marital experience. These are just a few notes about my first publishing experience.

What prompted me to start writing?

I started writing this book, The Move, Memoirs of a Mid-Life Marital Crisis, five years ago but I didn’t start off with the intention of publishing a book. I was journaling about my feelings of anger, sadness, depression and the swift changes that were occurring in my life at the time. I decided to capture my raw emotions and feelings on a daily basis. Most of my inspiration to write came from reading about other people who had similar experiences, their stories were the ones that helped me want to share mine and help someone else just as others had helped me.

What were some of the steps I took to transform my notes into a book?

  1. I kept journaling until I ran out of words. This process is sometimes referred to as emptying out. Once my mind and heart were empty, I knew that this particular book was finished.
  2.  It took over two years to complete the editing process. Some of the editing was grammatical while other edits were content related.  I sought guidance from other writers who encouraged me to consider the level and extent of the details from my personal journal that I wanted to include in the book. I had to ask myself questions like, “How much of my life did I want to expose to the world?” Some of the content in my journal was explicit and I had to consider how this information would affect my children in the present and future. I also had to be sure that the content in the book was intended to serve as a mechanism for helping others and not hurting the people who may have been portrayed negatively.
  3. I turned the manuscript over to the publisher once I completed my edits. My book was self-published, so most of the work done by the publishing company included editing, formatting, cover design, printing, filing paperwork for the copyright, obtaining the ISBN number, getting the book online with Amazon, designing marketing materials, and announcing the book release.

 How did I find a publisher?

Many years ago when I first starting hosting women’s conferences, one of the speakers we invited to participate in the conference had a publishing company. She had published books by some of the other speakers that attended the conference over the course of several years. She also facilitated workshops about transforming manuscripts into a book. While my schedule didn’t afford me the opportunity to attend these workshops, the publisher had videos and a publishing guide on her website about the process that included pricing and a choice of plans. I was able to read about the process and research the services she offered. I would recommend you ask questions of friends who have published one or more books about their experience — both pros and cons.

What happened once I released my book?

I released The Move in 2016 at my first Women’s Expo in Baltimore, Maryland. It was a great experience primarily because I came to the realization that I didn’t know anything about promoting and selling a book.

Here are some key questions to consider when you are ready to release your book:

  1. What set’s your book apart from others in the same genre?
  2. Why should someone buy your book?
  3. How are you going to engage a person in a conversation to peak interest about your book and close the sale?

Here I was at a huge expo with a box of books and no plan. I thought people would just want to buy my book because it was me, “Dr. Patty”. Well, that wasn’t the case. Let me share with you some of the things I learned during this very important experience.

  1.  If you are going to sell your book at an event you must know the demographic of those registered or attending the event. I thought my demographic was middle-aged women 35 to 55 years old. However, when I got to the event, I learned was that most of the women ages 45 to 55 were already past the stages within my book. My demographic was women ages 35 to 40.
  2. Don’t rush your release. When you rush to get your book released you may not maximize all of your marketing resources. A marketing plan is necessary so that you can be sure to position your product to get in front of the right people. You also want to consider a social media plan and a profit plan.

 Is there anything I would have done differently on the release of this project?

In the next phase of my book promotion, I have actually worked on developing a marketing plan, social media plan and determined how much revenue I want to generate from book sales for the existing year. These tools will help me to reposition my product, monetize my message and establish benchmarks.

I hope these tips help you with publishing your book!

 Dr. Patricia “Patty” Fitzhugh is a speaker, entrepreneur, author, leadership consultant, television and radio host, women’s advocate, and visionary. But first and foremost, she’s a humanitarian who is committed to helping others find hope and offering her voice for human rights. For nearly 25 years, Dr. Fitzhugh has used personal life experiences and overcome challenges to inspire many to do the same. She is CEO of It’s A New Day, LLC, an organization she founded in 2013 now based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  The company is the media and brand marketing organization for Dr. Patty CARES, Dr. Patty LIVE, and Dr. Patty SPEAKS and produces a weekly Internet television show and blog talk radio show, Managing Mid-Life and Morning Coffee with Dr. Patty. This is her first book.

Contact her at 443-924-MLRC or by email at info@drpattycares.com.

Favorite Christmas Books

There’s nothing I like more than visiting a book store this time of year. It’s great anytime, but walking into the warmth of a cozy book store, with the smell of glue and paper in the air, all decorated for the holidays with gift ideas out on display, just helps get me in the holiday spirit.

So in that spirit, I decided to use this blog space to share some of my favorite Christmas books and stories. It’s a time of year when classics are as welcome and loved as new stories, and it never ceases to amaze me how every year new books are published with a Christmas theme. It just never gets old! Here are the ones that I have enjoyed reading on my own or with my children.

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree. I was introduced to this book just a few years ago, but it instantly became one of my favorites. Probably because I live just an hour or so away from Tweetsie Railroad and Grandfather Mountain, both of which are named in this book, but also because the story itself, about a little girl whose daddy has gone off to war, is so touching and relatable.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. It was great when I was a kid, and it’s still great now. We’ve probably all struggled with questions about how to help out our neighbors who are less fortunate and how to include them in our own festivities, and this story does a great job of showing how much it means to include everyone.

The Gift of the Magi. This short story by O. Henry might just be one of his most famous, and it’s no wonder why. The sweet story of young newlyweds Della and Jim is both heart wrenching and heartwarming. You can read it in its entirety online, but I still would rather bring out my tattered book.

A Christmas Memory. Truman Capote’s short story is more autobiographical than fiction, and depicts a sweet Christmas season shared with family the made lasting memories.

On the Banks of Plum Creek. Many of Laura Ingals Wilder’s books in the Little House Series describe special Christmas memories and traditions, but this one always stuck in my head. They have a horrible blizzard, and are worried about how Santa Clause will come, but they all end up having a special Christmas together.

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!

This week marks the start of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as it has come to be known. Whether you are embarking on writing a novel in one month, or you’re just using all of this talk of writing as inspiration, it’s a great time to get going on the writing projects you’ve been mulling over in your head. After all, we’re heading into fall and winter, where cold temperatures, snow, and rain will keep us indoors more than other times of the year.

Sometimes, all it takes is something like people talking about writing and NaNoWriMo to help get our creative juices flowing. But there are some other good ways to get started writing, or maybe help yourself over a writer’s block. Here are a few tips to get your fingers moving along the keyboard:

  1. Take a walk. Sure, it might seem counterproductive to leave your computer when you’re trying to write more, but research has shown that exercise actually boosts brain activity. It helps you focus and gives you the energy you need to come up with new ideas. Another plus, you never know what might inspire you while you’re out there walking!
  2. Try your hand at writing prompts. Sometimes coming up with an idea can be the hard part. Let someone else do that for you, and use your time practicing your writing! Here are a couple of websites I like:
    Writing Forward
    Language is a Virus
    The Write Prompts
  1. Keep a journal. Yes, it’s just more writing, but it’s a different sort of writing. Rather than trying to pencil-and-paper-writing-clipart-pencil-and-paper-clipart-egdvul-clipartdevelop characters or come up with dialogue, in a journal you just write your feelings. Many times, those journal entries are great fodder for future stories. And if not, they’re at least a way to get you in the writing practice more regularly.
  2. Read. Most of us don’t need permission to do this. If you’re a writer, most likely you’re also an avid reader. And reading other people’s writing is always a great form of inspiration.
  3. Turn off the phone and log off Facebook. Don’t you hate it when you’re in the middle of a great sentence and your text message alert beeps? Do you answer? Do you stop to read it? It’s like the bell for Pavlov’s dog, it’s hard to ignore it. After all, we’ve trained ourselves to think if someone is trying to contact us it’s important. And our phones aren’t our only distractions. When you’re writing and your mind starts to wander, it’s so easy to click over to Facebook and see what’s going on, or browse a few of your favorite blogs. If you really want to do yourself a favor, turn off all your distractions and focus just on your writing. You’ll feel so much better in the end.

Now that you’re inspired, check out our video on how to win NaNoWriMo. We want to see some great novels at the end of the month!

 

Stuck in Book Publishing Limbo

by Betsy Thorpe

Are you stuck in limbo? Book publishing limbo can happen at any time during the writing process. Currently, I’ve got three friends who are waiting…

  • One, under contract with a major publisher, is waiting to hear whether the head of her publishing house likes the book enough to give it a major investment with hardcover, publicity, and marketing dollars.
  • One friend is waiting to hear back from her agent about whether the changes she made for a specific publisher will be enough to get her a deal.
  • One friend is just resubmitting her book to agents after massive re-writes.

I’m in limbo too. My agent currently has a draft of the new opening to a book she’d already submitted to editors. It got nice rejections (yes, there are such things as “nice rejections”), but a few critiqued that it took me too long to get the story moving. So my super sharp agent and I had a story meeting, and we came up with (hopefully) a fun new beginning that will get the reader into the story far more quickly than the novel’s previous incarnation. But I’m in limbo until I hear from her whether I should proceed with what I’ve done, change some elements, or scrap it and try something else. So I wait until she has time in her schedule to look at my schedule.

Still others wait for edits from their editor, like me. Sometimes they have to wait a little while if their editor has a waiting list. Other times I have to wait to get a hold of their book, because clients need to budget their edit, and save up for it.

If we go further back into the process, some are in limbo waiting for the TIME to write their books. One client of mine knew she was having foot surgery later this year and is convinced that that time lying around will force her to spend time on her book. My friend Holly and I, who also angie-pisel-21-c-robin-parish-photographyrecently had foot surgeries, think she will be so sleepy on her pain medication that she will not be able to concentrate enough to get her work done. However, one of the authors we met at Bibliofeast, Angela Pisel, author of With Love from the Inside, actually did write her debut novel when she was recuperating from breaking her ankle, so she has proved us wrong.

cover150x250Others are waiting for the big idea to strike. They know they want to write a book, but what should it be? For those who are in this part of limbo, I highly recommend a book called Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, which is all about inspiration. (Spoiler alert – big ideas don’t come 99% of the time unless you’re sitting at the desk, already writing.)

How do you best get out of limbo? In all cases: Write. I’m writing this blog. My friends in the scenarios above are thinking and writing their next books while their current books are under submission. The authors who are waiting for their edits should be writing their next book. Stephen King wrote in On Writing, my favorite book of writing advice that you should send out your book to agents and editors (and I’m paraphrasing here, since I can’t find the exact quote) only when you are so invested in your new book idea that you think it’s the most exciting and best thing you’ve ever done, and so you could care less whether or not the old book sells because you’re so convinced of this new book’s merits.
[Update: As I finish up this piece, I got good news. My agent likes my new start. Full steam ahead on the rewrite. Limbo no more – at least, until the next time I turn something in.]