Friday, September 25, 2009

Words they are a'changin'

I was reading this article in the Washington Post about how new authors have to market their own books now. (I'm not surprised, and I'd planned on doing that anyways. I already have the local launch party planned in my head.) Anyways, as a marketer, it got me thinking about all the new terms we have in the English language today, mostly due to the explosion of the Internet and all of the new digital sales tools we have available.

I'm not that old, but old enough to remember a time when the Internet didn't exist. How I survived - that I can't recall, but it got me thinking. What would some of those computer terms meant to us then? And I made up some definitions of my own.

Website - noun - The center of a spider web.
Blog - noun - A piece of wood, cut into a rectangular shape.
Cell Phone - noun - A telephone that is stored in a small compartment.
Javascript - noun - A cursive font used for coffee packaging.
Facebook - noun - A photo album similar to a scrap book except the pictures included are only of people's faces.

That's all I came up with, but it's Friday so if you have any more, post them in the comments. Creativity is welcome and thoroughly enjoyed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Music and Words

What am I doing right now? Arguing with my band about the set-list for our show on Sunday. Minor details. At least we have a show, and it's our first fundraiser, and we'll be playing for the mayor of Warwick. ( -We would be Live Music) To be honest, we were not the first choice for the band. The scheduled band cancelled so we were a last minute replacement, but I don't think it matters how you get your foot in the door, as long as you can cram it in there.

I'm bringing this up, because the journey our band has traveled is so very similar to path I'm embarking on for my writing career. We've been playing together, oh I don't know, two maybe three years, and we've just started getting some gigs this summer. After several years of playing together, we sound pretty darn good, but you can't get a gig unless you have a following, and you can't get a following unless you get gigs. It's a catch 22.

Like querying agents, we've gone from bar to bar, dropped off demos, and get positive feedback from the owners, but then never an email or a phone call. But I think the important thing is here, is that we've never given up. Playing music is fun for us, and I think we'd play even if we never got a gig. The same goes for my writing. I'm not gonna stop just because no one is reading it, and who knows, maybe two years from now, I'll be able to finally cram my foot in that door and shove it wide open.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Y cant anyoone spel?

This is somewhat related to my previous post; however, as I continue to read tweets, blog entries and other various Internet chats from aspiring writers, I am horrified at the lack of spelling ability. If you want to become a writer folks, you need to learn how to spell.

As the third place contender of the Laguna Elementary School Spelling Bee, proper spelling has always been a passion for me, so when I see a word that is blatantly misspelled, I cringe. Especially when the word is from a wannabe writer and they misspell something like "writeing" or as I saw today, "rediculously".

Of course, we're all human and we all make mistakes and with the invention of text messages, instant messages, Twitter, and spell check...we've all gotten a little lazy.

My rules of thumb:

  • Personal email, texts, instant messages, etc. - Don't worry about it.

  • Internal Corporate Email - Worry about it, but if you make a mistake don't cry about it.

  • External Corporate Email - Check it, check it again and just for fun check it a third time.

  • Query Letters - Please see "External Corporate Email"

  • Emails, texts, instant messages, etc, when you are talking about your dreams of writing - Please see "External Corporate Email" or re-think your career dreams.

I am probably going to be massacred for this post because usually when you are pointing out other people's follies, you tend to make one of your own. As I said before, everyone makes mistakes.

I recently started reading Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by self-pronounced Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty. My purpose in reading this is to improve my grammar skills and hopefully my writing as well. Surprisingly, much of what she covers in her book, I already knew, but I did have one issue, and I want to see if you feel the same way.

According to Grammar Girl...
Correct: I felt nauseated.
Incorrect: I felt nauseous.

However, I feel that more people in the general public use "nauseous" versus "nauseated". When does something become correct due to popular opinion? I'm sticking with nauseous, because I'm not writing Nobel Prize literature, I'm trying to write books that people will understand and enjoy, and if the people want "nauseous", I'm gonna give it to them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Little Sympathy

I may have a little more sympathy for the hard-working agents. I wonder how many queries they receive each day from people like this...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Round 2

I've sent out a new group of queries and one is still pending from my first round. Hopefully the second round proves to be more in yielding a contract. I just purchased the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents, and this book has been a Godsend. I discovered many additional agents that I can query that I did not find in my Internet searching. It also includes a list of writer's conferences held around the country.

I am pondering going to the one hosted by the International Women's Writing Guild in NYC on October 18. The Sunday session includes time to pitch your novel to available agents. Many agents take on new projects from writers they meet at conferences. You'd think it would be easy to get from Rhode Island to NY, but it is proving more difficult and expensive than I would hope. It's hard to spend the money when I'm not collecting a paycheck.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reader's Comments

Last night after yoga, my friend who reviewed the book for me, and I sat down for our frozen yogurt and discussed. Her initial thoughts:

"The book is GREAT! You either need to write the second one or tell me what's gonna happen."

To the agents currently reviewing my first 40, please note above. If we can get the first one going, we have a shot at a sequel!

She also gave me some contructive feedback on certain areas and caught more minor typos. I made the changes last last night, and I have to say, it's in excellent shape.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dare to Dream?

I was reading Design Sponge the other day (view link to the right) and they had a post about the Penguin recovered classic series of books featuring adorable cloth covers. Can I dare to dream that I may have a book in print one day and it will have a cover as adorable as these?

I'm pondering re-purchasing some of my favorites in these covers just to sit on a shelf in my office and look fabulous.

Initial Impressions

I just released my novel to friends and family to read. I'm ashamed to say the reason I didn't do it sooner was because I was afraid of what they would have to say. However, I can't improve it if I don't get constructive feedback and to everyone who has a copy, I instructed them to be honest. So far...

Husband says, "Ok, now I need to read the second one."
(but he is obviously biased, and not really my audience, besides, he doesn't read)

Friend says, "The book is great!"

She's still in the process of reading it, so I'll have to wait until she is finished to get her overall take, but she would be my audience and does read. Of course, I almost forgot to tell her that I used her name in the book. Her namesake's role is a very small one in the story, but I still hope she doesn't mind.