Tag Archives: how to get published

Should You Revise & Resubmit?

21 Oct

Querying can be terrifying.

Whether you’re searching for an agent or applying directly to an editor/publisher (or even your own agent), sending your work out there is a nail-biting experience for nearly everyone, including established writers. In fact, most writers will tell you that rejection is a constant part of the publishing process. No matter who you are. So is submitting.

Everyone faces rejection and acceptance eventually. And then, there’s the revise and resubmit.

A R&R is not a “no,” but it isn’t a “yes” either. 

It means an agent/editor/publisher liked your work enough that they believe in it and can see it moving forward after some significant changes. More often than not, an agent, editor, or publisher will give you some sort of feedback about what they believe you need to change. It’s not a guarantee, but it is an opportunity.

Should you revise & resubmit?

If you think you’re heading in the same direction, I say go for it. Your manuscript will be better in the end, no matter what happens, and I think that’s worth it. If you’re unsure about the revision notes, I honestly believe that means the notes didn’t resonate strongly enough to justify a revision. However, that is just me. Every writer is different. But I can admit that I learned this lesson the hard way.

Yes, I have revised and resubmitted—and received a “no” and a “yes” afterward.

There was one major difference between the “yes” and the “no” scenarios.

The biggest difference? I should’ve known the “no” situation from the beginning. When I received the initial feedback, I was unsure, but I felt too guilty to walk away. I mean, an R&R is a rare opportunity, right? Shouldn’t you take advantage of every opportunity? That was my thinking, but that sort of thinking isn’t always right. Why? Because my heart was never in it, and readers can sense that. With the “yes” opportunity, I received feedback that just resonated.

The moment I read the note, I felt like the team understood the heart of the manuscript. In only a few lines, they directed me in a way that felt right. In fact, it felt better than right. It felt like the place my manuscript should’ve been in all along. Instead of the confusing dread I felt with the “no” scenario, I felt complete and total excitement with the eventual “yes” scenario. Now I feel a lot more confident about when to accept a R&R.

Here’s my step-by-step guide for writers who receive a R&R:

  1. Make a decision: Take a little break to truly ask yourself if the revision notes resonate with you—and your manuscript. Once you make a decision, ask yourself one more time. Make sure you’re not talking yourself into it for an opportunity that doesn’t actually work with your vision. This will save you—and the other party—a lot of time and energy. Don’t feel guilty if the notes don’t resonate. Do feel gratitude for receiving feedback anyway.
  2. Let the other party know. Either way, thank them for their feedback. If you decide to revise, ask the other party when they expect a return (if there is an expectation), and make a plan.
  3. Now sit down to write.

It might be your revisions. It might be your next manuscript. Just keep writing.

Either way, you’re on your writing path to success. Enjoy it.

~SAT

P.S. I’m giving away a FREE audiobook of Bad Bloods: November Rain! Enter the Rafflecopter hereI’m also searching for audiobook reviewers, so if you love YA fantasy AND audiobooks (or you know someone who does), point me in the direction of their awesome blog. Good luck & thank you!

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#MondayBlogs When NaNoWriMo is Over

28 Nov

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a lot of fun for many writers, and it can be that stepping stone that forces you to sit down and finish that draft you’ve been trying to complete for years. Whether you hit that 50,000-word milestone or not, I want to congratulate you, because—guess what??—you sat down, you got to work, and you wrote something that mattered to you.

That is worth celebrating.

But many writers might be asking themselves what to do now. Edit? Query? Write more?

The answer will be different for everyone, but here are my three universal tips for NaNoWriMo writers. (And, again, congratulations! You. Are. Awesome. Never stop writing.)

1. Do Not—and I repeat—DO NOT immediately start querying

NaNoWriMo’s goal is to get 50,000 words down. And while 50,000 words is certainly an accomplishment, it’s definitely a first draft. Querying now will only hurt you. In fact, working on a query letter at this point might not even be necessary—because a lot changes from a first draft to the final product—but that’s different for everyone. Sometimes, I like to write query letters before I write a book, just to make sure I understand my concepts and direction. This, of course, never becomes my final query or synopsis, but it helps to have a first draft of everything all at once. That way, I can see how my story changes and shapes over time.

So what are you supposed to do with a first draft?

Extra Tip: Make a plan. Set more deadlines, like NaNoWriMo. Maybe December can be drafting a query letter, synopsis, and pitch month.

Extra Tip: Make a plan. Set more deadlines, like NaNoWriMo. Maybe December can be drafting a query letter, synopsis, and pitch month. 

2. EDIT

Well, first, I normally tell writers to walk away for a little bit. Three weeks might seem like a long time, but it’ll distance you from your work…and your blind love might clear up. This is when you can see your plot holes, flat characters, and other flaws that definitely need fixing. Take word count for example. NaNoWriMo only requires a 50,000-word document, and while this is ideal for MG books, 50,000 words isn’t a great word count for an adult novel or even a YA fantasy. While 50,000 is an AMAZING accomplishment (please do not get me wrong), you’re more than likely going to receive automatic rejections because your word count is off. I know. I know. Word count isn’t everything. In fact, I think pacing matters more. But what’s the brutal truth for debuts? When your word count is off, it tells agents and publishers that you don’t know your genre or market (even if you do). Figure out your ideal word count here—and try to get it there. Don’t bank your entire career on being an exception to the rule.

3. Work on that query, synopsis, and pitch

Your novel isn’t the only piece of work needing attention. Now that you have a complete and edited draft, writing that dreaded query comes into play…and more often than not, query letters and pitches take just as long as editing does. Thankfully, there are plenty of helpful places to learn about this process, like QueryShark and the Query Critique Calendar (where you can get one-on-one help during competitions).

In the end, NaNoWriMo is a fantastic starting point, and you should be proud of your work and accomplishments. But it’s only one part of this wonderful journey. Take your time. Publishing is never a race. And make friends along the way.

Writing should be fun, after all. Try to enjoy all that comes along with it, including everything after THE END.

~SAT

New Page: Tips

10 Sep

If you follow my Author Facebook Page, then you already know I’ve been spending the day updating ShannonAThompson.com. I’m excited, because I’ve been talking about this update for a while, but I finally found some spare time (even thought it’s because I’m sick and sitting around in bed.) But I’ve added the “Tips” page. And, yes, it’s already up on the bar.

So what is the “Tips” page?

It is a collection of all the writing, editing, and publishing tips I’ve ever posted about. It also includes helpful websites and inspirational ideas at the bottom. From now on, I’ll be adding each of my posts to this list, so you can easily return to it in the future.

Check it out, and let me know if you’d like to see it set up different or anything else added! I’m always up for suggestions, and I look forward to continue on with more writing tips.

But, just for fun, the Minutes Before Sunset Facebook Page has a new cover photo:

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~SAT

Publishing Tips: Nonfiction

19 May

Quick announcement: if you can produce a review before the end of May, email me at shannonathompson@aol.com for a FREE copy of Minutes Before Sunset via Smashwords! 

I’m switching it up today! I normally talk about young-adult fiction, specifically sci-fi or fantasy, but I thought I’d leave a list of nonfiction journals where you all can submit your work to. I got this list from my Nonfiction Writing I class at the University of Kansas. The reasoning I’m including journals, rather than publishers, is simple: journals give an opportunity to get your name out there if you don’t already have something published, and they have a higher acceptance rate, depending on which one you’re submitting to. However, some of these journals also accept poetry, prose, and more, so check it out, even if you don’t write nonfiction. You might get something else published!

As an extra, I’m also including my three finalized personal essays from this class, so you all can see what I learned. (If you can recall, I wrote Writing Tips: How I Handle Rejection on March 23, 2013, and I included a first draft, which is now below, rewritten and edited.)

My essays: They will open as PDF files.

  • Flashbacks: This is the edited version of the only essay I’ve shared before. It’s about my mother’s death, along with my roommate’s death, and how these moments, along with other traumatic events, have affected my views on mortality.
  • My Weeklong Marriage and the Lying Truth: I’ve mentioned my vacation to Puerto Rico quite often, and there’s a reason for that. It was one of the most important vacations in my life, and this essay is about what I learned while I was there. However, it is explicit, but I don’t want to ruin the contents either by explaining.
  • Now[here]: This particular essay is about my life on the road. As many of you know, I have moved over fifteen times, and I’ve lived in five different states. This is where my desire for creativity began and how it formed somewhere beyond the window. This essay also includes quotes from Erin Moure’s The Unmemntioable.
This is my favorite photo taken during my vacation in Puerto Rico. I'm sharing this as a part of my essay, "My Weeklong Marriage and the Lying Truth."

This is my favorite photo taken during my vacation in Puerto Rico. I’m sharing this as a part of my essay, “My Weeklong Marriage and the Lying Truth.”

Nonfiction Journals: Now. This is a list of all of the journals we discussed in my class. I will add some information, but I can’t include everything (because there is A LOT of specifics.) If you’re interested in submitting, I highly encourage everyone to continue to read over the journal before doing so. This list is simply a collection where you can begin:

  • AGNI: Poetry, essays, fiction, creative nonfiction, autobiography, memoir, cross-genre, prose, narrative, and literary fiction. Accepted Sep. 1 and May 31.
  • Brevity: Publishes well-known and emerging writers. Work must be shorter than 750 words. Reads between May and September.
  • Ecotone: all forms of literature within a transition zone between two adjacent ecological communities. Reading period between Aug. 15 and Apr. 15.
  • The Iowa Review: nonfiction, but unsolicited manuscripts are accepted during the fall semester only.
  • The Georgia Review: nonfiction, specifically subjects against a broad perspective. Reading period between Aug. 16 – May 14.
  • The Gettysburg Review: essays over literature, art, science, history, film, and contemporary thought. Reading period is between Sep. 1 and May 31.
  • The Gulf Coast: accepts fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews. Reading between Sep. 1 and March 1, but there are prizes and contests.
  • The Kenyon Review: short fiction and essays up to 7,500 words, poetry, plays, excerpts from larger works, and translated poetry or prose. Reading period is Sep. 15 through Jan. 15.
  • Missouri Review: nonfiction only. No restrictions on length or topic. But they only accept online submissions for $3.
  • New Letters: essays of fiction, nonfiction, and some poems. Most essays are between 3,000 and 5,000 words. No simultaneous submissions.
  • The Normal School: nonfiction, memoir, personal essays, and creative nonfiction with contemporary styles. Most interested in whatever goes against the norm. Literary short fiction, poetry, and culinary journalism, but no unsolicited criticism. Manuscripts read between Sep. 1 to Dec. 1 & Jan. 15 to Apr. 15.
  • N + 1: Instructions say to read a couple pieces to see if your genre fits. Submit if you decide it’s applicable.
  • The Fourth Genre: contemporary and creative nonfiction. Accepted between Aug. 15 – Nov. 30.
  • Threepenny Review: includes art from many different genres, including but not limited to, fiction, nonfiction, essays, memoirs, poetry, operas, plays, books, film, and photography. Submit whenever but multiple submissions will be ignored.
  • Under the Sun: creative nonfiction (no academic articles or review essays). Very short pieces (2-3 pages.) Manuscripts read between Aug. 15 – Jan. 2.

    If you want more information, I share a lot on my Facebook page! You can also ask me anything you'd like. Join by clicking here.

    If you want more information, I share a lot on my Facebook page! You can also ask me anything you’d like. Join by clicking here.

Good luck! Let me know if any of you submit and/or get published (or have been published) in these journals. I’d love to share the links with everyone as positive examples to help others be inspired into publication 😀

~SAT

Publishing Tips from Bogart, my cat

3 May

So you want to be published?

That’s purrfect! And, unlike Shannon, I can find time between my catnip and cuddling to write this blog post. So I’m doing her a favor. (She owes me an extra bowl of cat food now.) For the equivalent of a sparkly cat toy, you can buy Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon and Smashwords for $6.99, and I’ll post a picture of me playing with my new toys next time! (I almost furrgot: Shannon wanted to share this–her novel was featured in Book Mavern’s Picks, and her website hit over 7,000 followers!)

Publishing Tip #1

Create your piece. If you have hundreds of pieces, don’t forget you can get them together, but it will take time. Have fun with it, and take breaks when you need to. The whole picture will come together when it’s supposed to. 

This was the beginning of my masterpiece. I even lost some pieces. But at least I could fill them in with my own creativity.

This was the beginning of my masterpiece. I even lost some pieces. But at least I could fill them in with my own creativity.

Publishing Tip #2

When you have your pieces together, begin editing (recreating and finalizing) your product. And don’t get mad at that loud machine that your papers magically shoot out of.  It’s only trying to help.

I originally thought this machine was my mortal enemy. But now I know it gives me free paper to rip up and roll around on.

I originally thought this machine was my mortal enemy. But now I know it gives me free paper to rip up and roll around on.

 Publishing Tip #3

Now that you’re sending your finalized product out, don’t get scared of rejections or critiques. These things happen. Humans don’t always understand what you’re trying to write. That’s why they talk so much. 

Even I get scared somethings (mainly by my neighbor's dog, but that's not the point.)

Even I get scared sometimes (mainly by my neighbor’s dog, but that’s not the point.)

Publishing Tip #4

I mean it. Don’t get scared and don’t give up. Be willing to change within the realm of being yourself, but always press forward. Even when all seems hopeless.

See? I tried moving away, but I had a problem lifting all of my bags by myself. So I stayed.

See? I tried moving away, but I had a problem lifting all of my bags by myself. So I stayed.

 Publishing Tip #5

Since you haven’t given up (because I know you took my advice–I need my own cat blog) you have succeeded! And you can relax on top of your hard work. Literally.

I particularly like sleeping on top of other's work, but sleeping on top of my own is probably the right thing to do.

I particularly like sleeping on top of other’s work, but sleeping on top of my own is probably the right thing to do.

Publishing Tips #6

Don’t forget to celebrate. You’ve done all of this hard work, and you deserve some family and friend time. Cuddle that cat nip, snuggle up to the window, and watch the birds. Have a great time!

This was my book release party.

This was my book release party.

I hope you enjoyed my purrpespective on publishing. Shannon should be returning for next time, but, in the meantime, I’ll be playing with all of those toys you guys are sending me. 

~Bogart

Publishing Tips: Introduce Extras

6 Apr

25 days until the Minutes Before Sunset release. 

When I posted Shannon Summary: Six Months In, I received a lot of inquiries about how to bring more readers to your blog and/or novels. I thought about this for a while, and I’ve come to a lot of conclusions, but one of them in particular kept repeating itself: connect with our readers.

I spend a lot of my free time reading other blogs (Twitters and Facebook pages too). In order to connect with readers, I never expect them to find me. I go to them, and I prove that I care. I think this is really important, because then there is a connection between the writer and the reader (especially if they are a writer too.)

So what can you do once you get passed that step?

Create opportunities.

Like my cover contest for Minutes Before Sunset, I try really hard to involve my readers with my writings (because, ultimately, it is for them.) But I understand if others aren’t comfortable with that. So I thought about other things, and I came up with this idea (mainly because a lot of published authors actually have pages like this themselves) and decided to do it myself.

My Facebook Author Page is over 150 likes too :]

My Facebook Author Page is over 150 likes too :]

Create an “Extras” page for your novels and/or writings. This allows reader to see Fan Art and/or anything you’ve created while writing. You can also add possible soundtracks, along with anything else you find enhancing towards the experience of your novel. I think it’s important to have pages like this, because it can be further entertainment for your readers while also giving the opportunity of teaching your writing methods.

I’ve added “Extras” pages for November Snow & Minutes Before Sunset. (Click the links to see them.)

These pages will include Interior/Exterior Maps, Soundtracks, and Fan Art (along with anything else I think will enhance the experience of the novel and writing tips.) Whenever I add something new, I’ll be sure to post an announcement on my blog and Facebook Author Page.

So check it out (and if you have anything you’d like to see, let me know, and I’ll add it!)

~SAT

April 8: Relax & Read: The Unmemntioable by Erin Moure

As an "extra" to my life: I have a collection of frogs. Don't ask me why, because I honestly have no clue. People seem to buy them for me, and this is my most recent one (of 6). He's from Puerto Rico.

As an “extra” to my life: I have a collection of frogs. Don’t ask me why, because I honestly have no clue. People seem to buy them for me, and this is my most recent one (of 6). He’s from Puerto Rico.

Writing Tips: How to Handle Rejection

26 Feb

Quick Update: My author page is now on Facebook. Please support me by clicking here. You’ll get the latest updates, and my current status has a surprise that isn’t on my website yet! I’m REALLY excited, so check it out, and you’ll get an advantage on other readers when I offer an upcoming competition ;]

Rejection is everywhere: we break up, we get fired, we lose friends—and we survive them all—yet, when our art is rejected, many feel completely defeated, and they never get out there again. This saddens me. This is how art dies.

Rejection happens to everyone, and, if it hasn’t already, it will happen to you—but you cannot let criticism get you down.

In terms of the writing industry, many writers, professional or not, already know about the long-hated query letter. My favorite metaphor for writing one is the ballerina having to explain why she can dance instead of showing off her abilities. However, whether we like it or not, we have to face the reality of the query eventually.

In the future, I plan on posting about how to write an effective one, but there are plenty of posts like that out there. Instead, I wanted to share one of my favorite blogs that handles rejection: Rejection Love Letters (Or How to Lose Agents and Alienate Publishers)

John Tompkins is a writer trying to get his book published. Currently, he’s sent out 93 queries, and he’s received 36 rejections—all of which are scanned for fellow readers and writers to see. Not only is this brave, but it’s encouraging. I say this because Tompkins does something I’ve never seen done before: he translates the rejection letters into a love rejection, causing the normally petrifying letters to morph into humorous material.

For instance, “Love Letter #28” is a rejected letter he titles, “In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m calling this one: If I’m not busy, I’ll call you.

Immediately, I’m in a fit of laughter, but I’m also astounded by Tompkins ability to shift rejection into humorous determination in order to move forward. This attitude is one of the most positive things I’ve seen from a writer in a long time. It’s a beautiful way of looking at an aspect of the publishing industry where many lose themselves.

So—in terms of this—I find John Tompkins to be a wonderful and daily reminder of how to be positive about something that can be extremely upsetting. Perhaps you can think of query rejections like rejections of love—“Find someone who loves you just the way you are” (Love Letter #34)—and remain positive as you move forward.

As Richard Bach said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit,” and we can all learn from Tompkins’ positive perspective to continue moving forward in the journey of our successful dreams.

Never give up!

~SAT

This is just another hilarious example of his blog.

This is just another hilarious example of his blog. Check it out if you’re feeling down or you just want to laugh. It’s also great to read if you’re feeling a little alone in the query letter madness.

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