Jamie Stewart’s Guest Post: ‘The End’ Is…

Guest Post

Jamie is back for more fun here at A New Look On Books!

Meet Jamie Stewart.

Jaime Stewart

Jamie names nail polish colors for a living. She has a pet cat named Schrodinger and a Galapagos Finch named Darwin. She dreams of being a tightrope walker in her local circus. Until then she will continue to write things and carve celebrity-inspired nutcracker statues for her friends and family. You can find her on her website: www.xojamiestewart.wordpress.com, on Twitter: @xoJamieStewart, and on Instagram: xoJamieStewart

 

Guest Post – ‘The End’ Is Only The Beginning

In November of 2014 I started writing what would be my very first finished novel. I worked on it like a woodland creature prepares its den for winter: diligently and passionately. When I typed those seminal words at ‘the end’ of the final paragraph I immediately opened up an internet page and started researching the next steps to becoming a published author. I was prepared to pitch my story, get signed to a literary agency, and publish my first novel before I graduated college. (Oh, sweet, naive Jamie.) I thought the long and difficult journey was behind me. I thought it wouldn’t be long before I held my precious hardback in my hands. I thought it would be smooth sailing.

I thought wrong.

Two and a half years later my trusty winter den of a book remains tucked away in a folder on my hard drive. I have graduated college. I do not have a literary agent. I do not have a book deal. What I do have, however, is something much more valuable. I have a perspective on writing that I could have only gained from relentless (and sometimes discouraging) first hand experience.

After a year of conducting research, attending conferences, and sending out personalized query letters I had enough rejection letters to furnish my winter den with half a dozen beds of shredded paper. Sometimes the rejections were helpful. I was advised to reevaluate everything from the protagonist’s primary motivation to the arc of each individual chapter. At the same time some rejections gave me nothing more than pleasantries and best wishes going forward. Both styles of rejection reminded me that my beautiful, amazing, flawless gem of a book was not universally adored. I slowly realized that there is much more to writing books than churning out word counts.

What I have learned is that writing a book can happen in stages. Interacting with your story for the first time is like falling in love. When you finish the project you feel like singing everything you say and kissing the man behind the counter when he gives you your coffee. You want to skip down the street, handing out first printings of your manuscript and blessing others with your brilliance. You want to introduce your lover to the world and print up enough Save The Date cards to put the greeting card industry out of business. But what your love-struck daze may prevent you from seeing is the fact that your beloved darling of a book has flaws. Quite a few of them, in fact.

What is important to see is that the romance between you and your book doesn’t have to end when you realize your manuscript isn’t perfect. Like any other strong relationship it only gets better through hardship and challenges. Revision presents those challenges. Feedback is the most crucial part of writing a good book because it allows you to go back into a story you think is great and make its greatness accessible to the masses. I am still as much in love with my first book as I was the day that I typed ‘the end,’ but today I have added thousands of revisions to my manuscript to make it as good to others as it is to myself.

Today I still stand beside my trusty little winter den of a first book. It looks very different than it did back in the winter of 2014. The roof is patched and the sides have been reinforced to make it stronger for the future. Maybe it is destined to remain on my hard drive for the rest of my life. Maybe the changes I’ve made still are not good enough to make my story worthy of being shared with the masses. That’s okay. The best part about learning how to build something for the first time is that it allows you to pick up hints along the way of how to do things better the next time around.

Right now I am in no rush to get my first novel out there. For the moment I am content to practice the craft of writing and use all the feedback I can to improve myself as a writer. Maybe one day I will have you over for tea in my trusty little patchwork den, but until then you’ll just have to wait and see what happens! One thing is for sure: this is certainly not ‘the end.’

A Writing Tip from Traci Sanders

Misc., Writing

Meet Traci Sanders.

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Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides.

“My ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through my own writing or editing works by other authors.”

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TIP 233: Mastering your manuscript

This tip, and many others on publishing and marketing, can be found in Beyond The Book: Tips on publishing, marketing, and networking to build your brand, now available in digital and paperback on Amazon.

While most of the tips in this book are aimed at authors who choose to self-publish, I do throw a few on traditional publishing in the mix. As well, some authors are hybrids, meaning they choose to publish some of their books as Indies, and list other titles with agents or publishers.
No matter which route you choose, knowing how to format a manuscript is a good skill to have.

First, here are some Don’ts when it comes to manuscripts:

  1. Don’t use fancy fonts or colors. Your manuscript won’t be taken seriously.
  2. Don’t send your full manuscript unless it’s requested.
  3. Don’t forget to put your name and book title on it.
  4. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Follow the standards.
  5. Don’t embellish or lie about your experience or talents. Don’t claim to be an “award-winning author” if you’re not.
  6. Don’t mention writing accolades or published pieces, unless they were awarded or received from a notable source. (Ex: Don’t mention that you had an article published in your local newspaper.)
  7. Don’t compare your writing to someone famous. Let your writing speak on its own merit.
  8. Don’t suck up to the agent/publisher by mentioning their work. They recognize it right away.
  9. Don’t underline anything in manuscripts. Italics will suffice.

Now, here are a few Do’s for manuscripts:

  1. Do use a 1-inch margin on all sides.
  2. Do address a certain agent by name—not “to whom it may concern.”
  3. Do follow the submission guidelines – only submit what is requested. Don’t attach documents if they ask you to copy and paste it into the body of the email. And don’t send more, thinking they will “appreciate your work once they start reading.” It probably won’t make it past the slush pile.
  4. Do include a title page, but start the page numbering on the first page of the actual story. It should include:
    title of the story, approximate word count (to the nearest hundred), author’s contact details, copyright details, and agent’s details (if represented).
  5. Do include a header on each page: your name, title of novel in all caps, and page number.
  6. Do start each new chapter on a new page, about one-third the way down the page.
    Just a side note: most agents/publishers don’t want stories with prologues, but if you self-publish, you don’t have to worry about that.
  7. Do start the first line of the story four to six lines down from the chapter title.
  8. Do double space the entire manuscript, except certain lines on the title page. See images above.
  9. Do use 12pt. spacing, and Courier font type.
  10. Do use left-align for your text.
  11. Do single space between sentences.

Whether you are an Indie or traditionally published, it’s important to represent your work in a professional manner and have a manuscript at the ready, just in case. Many Indie authors have had their titles “picked up” by publishers at conferences and conventions.

 

This tip comes from her newly released book!

Stop back around noon today for a guest book review by Traci!

Fanfic Friday Presents:dumbass-stilinski

Fanfic Friday, Misc.

Hello everyone!

It’s no secret that I have a slight loving obsession for fanfiction. After some brainstorming I’ve decided to have a fanfic friday feature, once a month, where you can meet some of the awesome writers I follow on Tumblr and reconnect with some of the characters that you may have forgotten about.

If you know of any fanfic writers and want to nominate them for a feature, just send me a message.

Otherwise, enjoy and happy Fanfic Friday!

Meet the writer behind the Tumblr name dumbass-stilinski.

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Steffanie was born and raised on Long Island, New York but currently lives in Florida. When she’s not working (which is more often than not what she’s doing) she likes to write (obviously), and go to concerts. She’s a music buff, and she listens to nearly everything (except country) and she owns more band t-shirts than any normal person should. She also loves movies, TV and comic books. Her favorite films are in the Marvel universe, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. She collects Harley Quinn comics, but her favorite series is Sex Criminals. Her favorite TV shows are Teen Wolf, American Horror Story, Riverdale and Parks and Recreation. She’s been writing fic for 13 years, and she started out writing for Harry Potter, before taking a short break, and then moving on to write for AHS and then finally getting into Teen Wolf. Her favorite character to write for is Stiles Stilinski, mostly because she relates to him the most. Dylan O’Brien is her future husband, with Evan Peters and Cole Sprouse as her second and third choices.
Where to find her:
Snapchat: PotatoOBrien
Her Fanfic of choice is… click here to find out!
*Warnings for mature content.