Thursday, June 29, 2006

New Payloadz Affiliate: HOW TO FIND AND KEEP YOUR SOUL MATE

Would you like to make some money? I have now set up my eBook HOW TO FIND AND KEEP YOUR SOUL MATE with Payloadz.com's affiliate program. The eBook retails for $7.99 and by setting up an affiliate program with Payloadz (which is easy and which I explain in detail how to do it here, you can start selling the eBook off your website or newsletter (or blog) and earn $4.00 off each sale. Cool, huh?

Of course, if you aren't interested in the affiliate program, you are more than welcome to pick up your e-copy of HOW TO FIND AND KEEP YOUR SOUL MATE by clicking here:



Even if you don't set up an affiliate program, the eBook's price is very reasonable considering there are two FREE bonus eBooks to go along with the deal. This is like buying HOW TO FIND AND KEEP YOUR SOUL MATE for only $2.67! Details on the eBook can be found here.

You must have a Paypal account to do either, but they are a piece of cake to set up.

Speaking of piece of cake, and now that I'm through with my blatant promotional efforts, yesterday was BF's birthday. And we did nothing.

We had planned on going to see "The Lake House," but BF has diabetes and he wasn't really feeling all that chipper, so we had a barbecue outside instead. I cleaned the pool while he sat inside watching TV. Not a memorable birthday, that's for sure.

We're going to make it up on July 4 and go see the movie then. I hear it is fantastic. Sandra Bullock is in it and she is one of my favorite actresses. Meg Ryan and Reese Witherspoon are my next favorites.

I go back to work tonight and after three days off, I dread it. It's something about tourists that make me want to run and hide (read yesterday's post).

Well, BF is getting out of bed and I need to get my butt going. Do consider purchasing my eBook or signing up to become an affiliate. Either way, you'll make this hard-working, poor little over the hill boomer chick mighty mighty happy. ;o)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

She Works Hard for the Money

Summer is officially here. I know, I know...it's been here for a few weeks now, but summer to me officially starts when the TOURISTS arrive.

You know the ones. Cranky, irritable, unconsolable. No matter what you do, nothing is right.

I'm talking from someone who knows tourists like the back of my hand. I can spot one as soon as they come into the door.

When I'm not writing and making millions of dollars off my writing (okay, I can dream), I wait on tables at a restaurant. I do this not only for the pleasure of that paycheck (and tips), but it's something that will get me out of the house.

I don't like going out of my house for the main reason that people are weird. Hasn't anyone noticed that? WEIRD. As in, NOT NORMAL.

Years ago, when I was just getting used to the fact that there are people loose on the streets that should have been locked up a long time ago, I wrote a little ditty. It was mainly for my own amusement as I generally like tourists per say. Really I do. Especially when they leave big tips.

So, the ditty I am about to let you read comes from the heart - the heart of someone who tries to make a measley living off of others....

How to be the Perfect Diner

Attention Ladies and Gentlemen, Children, and Others:

I am your server. I am paid to tend to your every wish, get your meal to you on time, and clean up after you.

I am paid below minimum wage, but your tips help me pay for my brand new car outside. I have a family to feed and depend on you to help with that.

I am courteous, friendly, and go that one more step above and beyond to make your dining experience a happy one. I enjoy my job, meeting new people and having a roof over my head.

There are only a few rules I ask you to go by:

1. When you come into the restaurant, abide by the sign at the door that says, "Wait to be seated." It's very hard for me to find you if you have seated yourself. Do not be rude when I finally come to you.

2. I know you are hungry or have driven long distances, but please do not shout at me.

3. When I take your order, please do not stare out the window, talk about the latest party at Chad's to your partner, or ignore me.

4. Do not expect me to know what you want. I am not you. I do not have the same taste buds as you.

5. Please refrain from calling me, "Hey You!" I have a name as my name tag clearly points that out for a reason.

6. Do not yell at me if it is the kitchen's fault they lost your ticket. I can't be everywhere at one time.

7. Do not blame me if there is hair in your food. It is not mine. Honest.

8. Do not allow your kids to take the straw wrappers and make spit-balls out of them.

9. Do not allow your kids to run around the restaurant, jump up and down in the seats, and make loud farting noises with their armpits.

10. Do not bring a sleepy, tired, cranky, well you get the picture, child in the restaurant because you couldn't find a sitter.

11. Do not bring your kids.

12. If I am very busy, please don't annoy me with your pleading for refills. I will get to them when I have time.

13. Do not call me from across the dining room if I am waiting on another table. I have special talents that you wouldn't want to find out.

14. Don't try to talk to me if another server has emotional problems and needs my shoulder to cry on. This could get ugly.

15. Do not make me do a million things for you and tip only a dollar. Or nothing. I will follow you out of the restaurant and write your license plate down. I have friends in the Mafia.

16. Do not call the 800 number on me. I will swear it wasn't me.

17. When it is time to leave, tell me how much you enjoyed my service and will ask for me next time. This will save you from buying new tires after you leave the restaurant.

18. Don't take me personal when I say, "Have a nice day."

NOTE TO TOURISTS:

This is merely tongue-in-cheek and is no way intended to insult, ridicule or slander. Being a tourist is not your fault. You actually are normal otherwise. Let's hope so anyway. And, btw, don't forget to tip your waitress. She works hard for the money....yeah...works hard for the money so you better treat her right...Donna Summer, may God bless you. ;o)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Self-Published Books That Became Movies

It's really amazing at the little things that really knock you over and throw you for a loop and this is one of those times.

I was over at POD-DY Mouth blog today after doing a search on "self-published books turned into movies."

I just devour her blog to see what's the latest findings she has on POD (print-on-demand) books, mainly for the sarcasm and the great literary finds she manages to uncover from the heap of all those POD books out there, but it was a post today that really threw me.

This particular post, and I'll send you the link in a sec, started off with her talking about all the crap out there and a particular passage from a book came to her mind.

The passage goes like this and is actually from the first chapter which should be the one that really grabs the editor....

[Ben] graduated from a small Eastern college on a day in June. Then he flew home. The following evening a party was given for him by his parents. By eight o'clock most of the guests had arrived but Benjamin had not yet come down from his room. His father called up from the foot of the stairs but there was no answer. Finally he hurried up the stairs and to the end of the hall.

"Ben?" he said, opening his son's door.

"I'll be down later," Benjamin said.

"Ben, the guests are all here," his father said. "They're all waiting."

"I said I'll be down later."

Mr. Braddock closed the door behind him. "What is it," he said.

Benjamin shook his head and walked to the window.

"What is it, Ben."

"Nothing."

"Then why don't you come on down and see your guests."

Benjamin didn't answer.

"Ben?"

"Dad," he said, turning around, "I have some things on my mind right now."

"What things."

"Just some things."

"Well can't you tell me what they are?"

"No."

Now, I have to agree with POD-Dy Mouth. This majorly sucks. I mean, does that just draw you in or what?

And, yet, this book received great reviews. Here are a couple:

"Brilliant...sardonic, ludicrously funny."
The NY Times

"A highly gifted and accomplished writer."

Chicago Tribune

And it's doing fantastic in the Amazon rankings.

So, what book is this that such crap came from and, in fact, they made a great movie out of it?

Go here to find out and then come back...there will be a surprising experiment come from this.

Are you still standing up or have you passed out on the floor? I was floored.

I did an experiment. I run a writing group and we post things for each other to look at to get a little critical input. So, I posted the passage and just let the members think that it was I who wrote it without exactly saying so. Here are their remarks. Keep in mind these are writers and authors who should know crap when they see it, but refrain from telling like it really is because they love me. ;o)

How about changing the first two lines to read as one?
"After graduating from a small Eastern College one day in June, Ben flew directly home."
You get the idea.
Bianca
http://www.journalscape.com/wanaki/

You're also missing a few commas.
Linda L Rucker
www.LindaLRucker.com

"The following evening a party was given for him by his parents."
This is passive and would likely sound better like...
The following evening, his parents threw him a graduation party....
or something like that.
April Wells
http://home.austin.rr.com/awells13/Writing.html

"I'm probabaly WAAAAAY off base here, but when I read this the thought entered my mind the son is either gay or about to commit suicide."
Joyce Anthony

"It doesn't suck, but with so little to go on I'm having a hard time putting into context. Combining the two sentences would make it flow easier. There are so few details--reactions, body language, tone...but it's just a little piece so that's to be expected."
Theresa Chaze
http://www.theresachaze.com/

"I think it will, once that first sentence is tightened, or put together with the second sentence.
Ron Berry
http://www.freewebs.com/unwriter/

"I see some passive voice in "a party was given for him by his parents" -- active voice would be "his parents gave him a party."
"What is it."should have a question mark, not a period. Also "why don't you come down and greet your guests" should have a question mark, too. And "what things"-- ditto with the question mark."

Marilyn Morris

Now, these are ordinary people just like you and me and yet they caught what's wrong with it.

So, you tell me, how did this book get published AND become a movie when there are so many gifted authors out there who would just like their one shot at fame?

This is a crazy business, that's for sure.

BTW, POD-dy Mouth's post can be found here.

Oh, Lea Docken's response really threw me and I think you'll get a chuckle out of it....

"Just read this Dorothy and it reminded me of the Graduate. I can just picture Dustin Hoffman as I read this...wasn't the kids name in the Graduate Ben? Oh well. Anyway that is the first thing I thought of."
Lea Docken
http://www.fracturedpublisher.com/

Dang. Blew my cover...






Sunday, June 25, 2006

Boomer Chick's Blog of the Week Award

Before I announce the winner of this week's blog of the week award, I want to say THANK YOU to FTS for earning his unexpected Spotlight Blog of the Week! It was funny but when I opened my email this morning and there was a comment that said "FTS sent me" and I knew it was Sunday and that's when he posts these things and I went OMG...he didn't. I zoomed over to his blog and yep there it was! THANK YOU AGAIN FTS! I am so honored!

I've known FTS for a little while now and this guy is super amazing. His humor will definitely knock you off your seat. I've tried to encourage him to put his stuff into a book and SELL it, but I guess the Rocky Mountains has other plans for him right now. You see, he just moved from Texas to the Rockies and is loving every living minute of it. I would, too, wouldn't you?

Now, not because Boomer Chick is FTS' spotlight blog of the week (heh), but I truly feel that his blog is surely worthy of the Boomer Chick award...what do you think, guys?

FTS, if you're reading this, I thank you for your contagious humor and so I bestow you with this week's Blog of the Week Award. The graphic is up above and you can put it up on your blog if you like. Not mandatory of course.

Enjoy the award, enjoy the Rockies and, most of all, thank you for the mention in your blog!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

California Dreamin' - Pt. 5 - California, Here We Come!

I don't remember too much about the trip to California as I was only seven, but things come to me in spurts so I might remember them later. I do remember that feeling when we crossed the California state line!

I remember the clouds and the mountains more than anything. And, I remember all of us breaking out in a chorus of "California, Here We Come!" I'll never forget that!

We were all weary but when we hit that border, it was as if something inside of me came alive. My mother was beaming, my aunt was acting crazier than usual and even my baby sister took on the good vibes.

Someone, probably Mother, yelled for Bob...er...Daddy to stop the car, that they wanted to take a picture. My mother grabbed the baby and I joined her in front of the sign that said, "Welcome to California." Oh, just remembering it, gives me chills. If you could have been there, it was WONDERFUL. We had made it!!!!

My step-father took the picture and we jumped back in the car.

It was a long trip from the border to our destination, Fort Ord. I don't even know if we stopped over, but I do remember arriving at the base in the daytime, so perhaps we did stay over somewhere. I really doubt it, though, because by the time we hit that "Welcome to California" sign, we were psyched and I'm sure my step-father floored it.

Oh, the mountains!!! They were soooo beautiful!!!!

Anyway, we arrived at Fort Ord and Bob...damn keep forgetting...Daddy...got out to sign in. They gave us a key to our new home and we couldn't wait to see what our new house looked like!

To the right is an aerial picture of Fort Ord. I'm not sure if this picture was taken then or now, but it will give you an idea. At one time, Fort Ord was the largest military base in California!

Despite the little bickerings that went on with him and my mother, I really was proud of my new dad, even though I didn't take a liking to him making me drink milk, and a few other odd things he made me do. Oh, nothing perverted. Well, one wasn't so kosher which I'll talk about later, but all in all, life was super!

Our new house was so cool! Bob...er...Daddy bought a German Shephard we called "King" and we were now the perfect family. My sister and I shared a bedroom, but it was cool as I was having recurring nightmares about being taken away in a spaceship. Other than that, life was fantastic.

School was about to start, but I took advantage of the last lazy hazy days of summer by checking out my new digs. There were houses right beside us and across the street...I had never seen so many houses so close together before. But, it was cool because that would mean I'd have plenty of kids to play with! All of the kids were army brats like me, so generally, we all got along. Life was super. A new beginning for me and my family...a picture perfect life!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pitch Slam is Over!

Omg, what an experience. The pitch slam with TWL Author Talks and Kristin Nelson is over. She critiqued about seventy pitches today - took her three hours! What a wonderful person she is. I have said it before and I'll say it again, she's tops in the literary field in my book. She's a tough cookie, yet so warm. Personality-wise, I give her a 10. Literary-wise, omg, I can't even put a number on it, it's so high.

Okay, I guess you're wondering about the results. Out of seventy pitches, no mine didn't make it, but eight of the members of TWL Author Talks got partial requests. Kristin said that actually that was about average. The recipients of partial requests went out to: Louise Ahern, Louise Ahern, Debora Dennis, Jennifer, and Lis (sorry, I don't have last names or websites for some). Congratulations to all!

She actually critiqued all three of my pitches, even though it was against her self-imposed rule of one pitch per person after she saw how many had come through. Couldn't blame her, though, and it did bring to mind that next time we need to make the rules clear before we do the pitching.

I'm not sure who will be our next guest agent, but I'll let you know beforehand.

All in all, this has been the most wonderful experience and I can't wait for the next go around!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Pitch Slam Results with Kristin Nelson

There aren't any. LOL...not yet anyway.

SEVENTY pitches came through and Kristin lost her email service. We probably blew it up, lol.

No, actually, she frantically emailed me saying that the email box she signed up with for the pitch slam went on the blink just before we sent the pitches through. Of course, we didn't know it and were steady sending them through.

I had to make the announcement to the group that she couldn't give feedback until tomorrow, then she came back online later tonight and told everyone she didn't expect so many and in order to give them her fullest attention, she was going to work on them over the week-end. I just feel so bad for her. She did say just before that if she requests a partial, then send it to so and so address, so this was an added bonus...some of us might get asked for partials...something we didn't count on!

So, we'll see how that goes. I do want to say that it was the neatest experience helping and receiving help in the pitch group that Kirsten Mortenson set up for us to hone our pitches. We were all working so good together. Even if I don't get a partial request, I hope one of the others in the group do. We were a team. It was just an incredible experience. Now that it's over, I feel like I did the day after Christmas as a kid. Kind of let down that it was over.

So, I plan on having more agents come in and doing it again. They are a great bunch of people and the way we worked together for a common goal and were all rooting for each other and it was so genuine, it was amazing.

Oh, I have to tell you something! At work tonight, someone told me that there were raccoons underneath a car outside so we all dashed out to see them. Omg...there were two baby raccoons just sitting under a car looking so afraid. They were so absolutely adorable! I ran inside and grabbed some food out of the trash can and flew out the door with it. I tossed a piece of bread to one and omg it was sooooooooooo adorable how he/she grabbed it with his/her little black paws and started eating it. I threw one to the other one and he/she did the same. ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE. But, the thing is, how did they get there? The woods isn't far away, but these were BABIES. I wanted to take them home, but you never know about rabies. Absolutely adorable. Anyway, that was the highlight of my night. I hope when I go in tomorrow that they haven't been squished as the busy highway is right out front.

Well, I hope to have some news about the pitch fest tomorrow. I'll let you know the results!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tomorrow is Slam Pitch Day!

I am so psyched. Tomorrow is Slam Pitch Day!

For those that don't know what that is, literary agent Kristin Nelson will be fielding pitches the TWL Author Talks group and I have been working on all week. I'm not sure how it's going to go, but it's going to be so exciting watching the pitches coming through and hearing what she has to say about them.

The pitch starts at 2 p.m. eastern time and even thought that's like..uh..hours away, I know I'm not going to get a bit of sleep tonight and all day tomorrow I'm going to be fretting!

I do have to say that Kirsten Mortenson (sorry if I have that last name wrong) has done a marvelous job with the pitch group. If you could see how we've taken the pitches and improved them...I'd read all these books based on the pitch alone!

But, I think we're ready even though we had some sudden change of plans. We worked all week turning our pitches into one sentence, then Kristin announced just today that she wanted two or three sentences and it was back to the drawing board!

If you could have seen us. We were scrambling around like chickens with our heads cut off lengthening the one sentence pitches we had worked on all week.

But, I think we're ready.

I'll let you know the results tomorrow. I'm pitching three books actually and might throw the nonfiction (she said that she doesn't represent much nonfiction at all but agreed to give me feedback if I sent it through) at her...it just depends on if time runs out. We only have an hour and a half and there's more than 200 of us in there. Kristin will be in for a surprise if all 200 send pitches and send more than one!

That's why I'm going to wait and see how it goes. I know I'm sending the paranormal comedy through and am thinking about sending the paranormal that my friends, Heide Kaminski and Pam Lawniczak and I wrote years ago that was just picked up by a small press. Oh, didn't I tell you? This book was written about 2 years ago and Heide found a publisher for it. They're quite new and I can't really say who until the contract is signed, but we'll see how it goes. I thought the book needed work, and that's why I didn't pursue publication, but Heide thinks this is a step in the right direction because the book has been just sitting in a file, doing nothing. So, we'll see how that goes.

Anyway, I'm all psyched for the pitch fest tomorrow and I'll let you know what Kristin says about my books. I'm skeeeered!

Oh, just a note, I will be returning back to my California journey posts soon. I'm getting psyched about that as well. BF is trying to make sure he has off and it's not looking too good for Sept. 18 and he says we might have to wait until the first of October. FIRST OF OCTOBER???? Jeeez Louise. I want to get in the pool while I'm there! What's the weather like in Las Vegas the first of October? Can you still get in a pool and not freeze your tabookas off?

Anyway, gots to run. I'll let you know what happens tomorrow...wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My Almost Experience with Vanity Publishing

This blog post this morning is all about vanity publishing and looking for an agent. Two different subjects, but a friend of mine this morning on a writer’s loop brought up this subject and I’d like to give my views on it.

I’ve been published every which way there is, except vanity, although at one time I did consider it.

Back when there was no computer (for me anyway), I saw an ad in the back of a magazine that just shouted at me. “We Will Publish Your Book!”

At the time, I was a struggling housewife and my husband, kids and I were living off of his income. While he made pretty good money, it still wasn’t enough as we were living paycheck to paycheck.

I had been writing for a long time. In journals. In notebooks. Anywhere I could find a place for my pen to land. I had written many stories, but when I saw this ad, a particular story I had written came to mind. It was about three kittens in which one kitten saved the lives of the other kittens. I know…lol…lame, but as I had small children, and had read many picture books to them, I thought to myself that this story is waaaay better than the ones I’ve been reading. If I can remember, it was called “The Misadventures of Poopsie, Boopsie, Bobolina and Alf.” Okay, stop laughing…these were the names of my cats and I wanted to make them famous. *grin*

As I so wanted to bring in some money into the household (becoming a famous author wouldn’t have been a bad incentive either), I mailed off the postcard (that already was pre-stamped; man, those guys were desperate) and a couple weeks later, I received a huge glossy brochure that almost made you want to sell your kids to the first person who made you an offer to do this.

As I didn’t have any money to send them, I put it off and went to the library to find out how to become a published author. I went home with stacks of books and when the kids went to bed, I just devoured them.

In one of those books, there were snail mail addresses (no email addresses back then) of major book publishers. And…it would cost nothing for me to publish except for the stamps. Whoa…did this look good or what?

I typed out my story (again, remember, no computer) and sent it off to Rodale Publishing and waited. During that time, I envisioned what I would like to spend my huge advance on—mainly things to refurbish the house since we didn’t have extra money to do that. And, in my wildest visions, I pictured a mansion with money to spend on anything I wanted. Seriously, this is the mindset of someone who doesn’t know a thing about the business.

Two months later, I got a rejection. This was my first rejection ever and it really hurt. Gone was my dream and that vanity publishing offer was looking even better about then.

Life intervened and I started writing more children’s stories (I would presume having children influenced that). My next story was about a little boy who ended up in the Land of Tall Tales for telling too many lies (my son was the reason I wrote that one) which was called “No More Gooseberry Pie!” but, instead of sending it off, I put it in a drawer and carried it around with me as I moved house to house in my quest to keep my children fed after my husband left me for a hoochie-mama over on the island (another story for another time).

Whenever things got really bad, I would pull out that brochure and wonder how I could get the money to get this book into print. I had no idea back then that I would probably never recoup that money, but remember, this is the mindset of someone who doesn’t know the business and is desperate to a) bring needed income into the household and b) become a famous children’s book author.

Thirteen years after writing “Gooseberry,” an epublisher picked it up. I was now a published author! But, what I didn’t realize was that just because I was now published, it didn’t mean I was going to be raking in the money. Which I didn’t.

My point is, if you are a writer with aspirations to be published, it takes time to become who you want to become unless you hit on some wild and wonderful high-concept unbelievably fantastic new wonder. The odds? Not very good.

Since that day I mailed that first children’s book to Rodale and got the rejection, I have learned some things about this crazy business. One, it takes time and two, if you don’t have connections in the business or some fantastic new high concept idea for a book, it’s going to be a long road. And, this I suppose, is why people choose vanity publishing (not to mention subsidy, epublishing, POD, and self-publishing).

But, you know what? I don’t condemn those who chose those routes and you know why?

It leaves a space on those bookshelves for those authors who work their asses off, get an agent and hold out for that publishing deal that only those who are willing to go through the torture and the torment of dealing with rejections out the ying-yang, of persevering until they’re blue in the face and never ever giving up on the dream.

So, keep on with those methods…there’s only a few select spots that these NY publishers have and, baby, one of them I hope is mine.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Boomer Chick's Blog of the Week Award

This week's Boomer Chick Blog of the Week Award goes to Daisy Dexter Dobbs' blog "The Dazed Delirious Dialogue of a Romantic Comedy Writer"! Go here and give her a big congrats! Congratulations, Daisy!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Literary Agent Kristin Nelson in TWL Author Talks!

I'm happy to announce that literary agent Kristin Nelson will be fielding questions in TWL Author Talks on Monday, June 12, 2006 for the entire week! Last week, as you know, we had the talented Jenny Bent and the response was overwhelming! Fifty people signed up overnight, so now's your chance to get in on finding the agent of your dreams!

Now, here's the coolest news....Kristin has agreed to a pitch slam on Friday, June 16th!

So, what's a pitch slam?

A pitch slam is summing up your entire book in one sentence (in this case) and having one of our literary agent guests tell you if it's something they would be looking for or not. Not as easy as you think.

Last week, we had Jenny Bent giving her input on the pitches and you'd be amazed at how hard it is. While some of us walked away with out tails tucked between our legs, we learned just what it is that makes a pitch stand out and was an invaluable lesson!

Kirsten Mortenson, one of the members of TWL Author Talks, explains some of the things that Jenny didn't like in the pitches people submitted while she was a guest (thank you, Kirsten!).

Kirsten says:

"1. Not original enough/has been "done to death."
Takeaway: Make sure your pitch shows that you have the twist/color that makes your concept stand out from similar novels.

2. Pitch confusing. Couldn't tell who was doing what.
Takeaway: Edit out extraneous information. Make sure its clear to what/whom the pronouns of your sentences are referring. Maybe follow a fairly simple setup/conflict/resolution structure in your sentence to make sure it's easy to follow . . .

3. Missing story "arc."
Don't just list the characters and setting. Make sure you've also set up the main conflict and resolution.

4. Conflict not compelling.
Make sure the conflict you've presented is "big" enough to show that you've got a strong plot.

5. Bland title."

Jenny got me on #2. I totally confused her and I'm revising before the next pitch slam with Kristin Nelson.

Another member of TWL Author Talks, China, explains just what it might take to gain an agent's interest in a pitch slam:

"There are a few different ways, that I know of, to do a one sentence pitch. I'm not saying these are the only or best ways, or guaranteed to work, or anything like that. These are just a few of the ways we learned to do them at the creative writing program from which I graduated.

**Note--my examples are not real, and shouldn't be held against me. ;)

The first technique: Character, Conflict, Hook

Describe your character, why we should care about him or her (ie the conflict), and what makes this book different from any other with a similar theme or storyline.

A lot of times the different parts of your pitch blur--your conflict can also be a hook, or your hook can also be a conflict.

Example: A struggling single mother (character and conflict al lwrapped into one) loses her job (conflict) and finds the only way to support her family is to become a stripper (hook, conflict). That's a little low concept and a whole lot rough, but I hope itillustrates the technique.

**********

The second technique: GMC (Goal, motivation, conflict)

This is pretty similar to character, conflict, hook. It's simple--your one sentence should introduce your character, explain his or her motivation, his or her goal, and his or her conflict.

Example: When a waitress (character) is inadvertently sucked into another dimension (conflict), she must battle not only the forces of darkness but her own inner demons (conflict AND motivation) in order to find her way home (goal and motivation). As with the CCH style pitch, sometimes the goal, motivation and conflict can intertwine.

************

Third technique: The high concept pitch.

In this one, you mostly introduce the concept of your story.

Example: Martians and vampires fight for world domination, leaving astring of human bodies in their wake.

There are many other techniques, but I want to add in some general tips.

1. You don't need to give very much detail about your character, plot or world. This should be your story boiled down to its absolute barest bone structure.

2. Using a character archetype is more effective than using character specifics, and also cuts down on length. Use "a washed up musician," rather than, "Lenny Diamond, a struggling singer-songwriter in his 50s..."

3. Your pitch--even a single sentence pitch--should have a little bit of the flavor and tone of your story. If you write light and frothy, your pitch should be light and frothy. If you write with a quick wit, your pitch should display some of that. If you're writing humor, your pitch should be at least a little funny/witty."

Thank you, China!

I can't imagine doing this in person. I know many authors who have gotten book deals this way, but who knows, maybe there's a book deal or two that will be result out of our virtual book slams with our agent guests. If nothing else, it gives you invaluable input by professionals in the field. See you there!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Jenny Bent in TWL Author Talks Today & Tomorrow!

What a fun day it's been so far with literary agent Jenny Bent of Creative Media Group as she fielded questions from TWL Author Talks today. She'll be back tomorrow so if you haven't signed up for the group, now's the time! The link is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TWLAuthorTalks/.

Here's a recap of today's talk and my thoughts........

Jocelyn asked:
"Is the chick lit genre fading? If so, what are the "hot" new genres that you
are actively acquiring?"

Jenny replied:
"The chick lit genre is DEFINITELY fading, if not faded. I hear middle
grade is very hot right now, however, I haven't really sold or acquired much of
that. Historical fiction is still hot, and nonfiction by anyone with a
really big platform and a good idea is a perennial. In terms of fiction,
everyone, agents and editors, are kind of casting around to see what's
working. I think people want to move away from chick lit and move back
towards literary/commercial fiction, like GOOD GRIEF or THE TIME TRAVELLERS
WIFE."


Well, I heard this about chick lit and it's a shame. I really liked the tone and the cute covers. Sigh. I'm thinking, though, that it's going to eventually come back, but what to do about unpublished manuscripts that these authors have in files? Are they not going to see the light of day? Terrible.

Lisa asked:

"I've seen that some authors do very well right out of the gate in
NYC and others get stuck low or midlist. The bookseller mailings and
attention to the booksellers from the author seems to be a big impact on
this. Is there anything else you can suggest that seems to really help? Is
there some distinct something you see that shows in the ones that hit
bigger than those who don't?

Number two: Also, I've noticed that some authors rush to sign another deal
before the first release with a publisher hits to get security. Others
gamble on waiting and showing great numbers to try to push their earning
potential by way of showing they are bankable. What is your take on the
smartest way to approach this within the same publishing house. Obviously,
if you are prolific and salable in other genres to other publishers that
gets you more exposure but just wondering on a same publisher basis. Slam
dunk another deal for security or wait for those pre-orders to hit hoping
for a bigger pay out but risking sales being bad and getting no
deal."

Jenny replied:
"Regarding your first question, it has a great deal to do with publisher
support. Sometimes a book just generates a lot of heat and excitement in house
(and this can be triggered by great quotes, or great reviews, or foreign sales,
or just general enthusiasm on the part of the various departments) and this
translates to a bigger push for the book. Also, if a publisher pays a lot
of money for the book, you can get the same result. Sometimes you just get
lucky, too--a publisher can be surprised by how well a book does just based on
word of mouth and support from booksellers.

Regarding your second question, this is always a dilemma, and there's no
easy answer. Some publishers refuse to offer for a second book before they
see how the first is doing, and that makes the decision for you.
Otherwise, it's up to a decision made by the agent and author working together
to see what the best strategy would be. And it also depends, again, on the
amount of in-house enthusiasm that first book is getting. In one situation
I was in recently, the publisher offered a low amount of money for a third book,
and we decided to pass and see what happened with the second one. In the
meantime, we made a better deal for a different book with another house.
So it's always a judgement call...."

Haven't had no experience with this, I really can't comment. The whole business just kafoozles me anyway.

I asked:
"Can you tell us about the last submission you just accepted as far as what it
was that hooked you? Was it the actual hook, the writer's credentials, the
genre being as one of your favorites, or what?"

Jenny replied:
"I actually just loved the writing and the story-line so much. It was
a YA novel, and I was concerned that there wasn't enough of a hook and that it
wasn't edgy enough (people seem to want YA to be edgy these days and that the
author didn't have strong enough credentials, but I just kept coming back to how
much I loved it, so I took it on. And I sold it in a week, so it had a
happy ending!"

Ah....I love a fairytale ending.

Shon asked:
"Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. I have one for
you. I know there are several reasons why an agent will take on a client,
great writing being at the top of that list. However, as an agent,
what do you see are three key ingredients a writer must possess in order to
stand a chance getting represented?"

Jenny replied:
"1. A strong, unique plot 2. A distinctive voice 3. and yes, great
writing!"

Interesting being as I just did a survey that said that readers were looking more for characterization as opposed to plot, but who knows. But, you see where she adds "unique" there? I can understand that. I think that's a real biggie.

As I am working on a paranormal comedy, I thought I'd throw her a question about that. I asked:
"How is paranormal comedy doing these days? Are the editors looking for
something like this?"

Jenny replied:
"I think it's doing okay, but people would rather see dark, sexy paranormal."


Well, rats. Mine isn't dark, nor sexy unless you consider a ghost being sexy, which she isn't really, although she is beautiful so I guess she could be sexy, too. But, what I think she really means is flirtatious, which mine isn't really. Should I make her that way? I don't know. Like I said, it all confuzzles the hell out of me.

Which leads me to the next question. Cathryn asked:
"How do you feel about the erotic romance market. Do you see the rush
dying down anytime soon? Are you acquiring erotic romance?"

Jenny replied:
"Not actively. I have some authors that are writing it, but I think the
market is going to get flooded very soon since so many publishers are doing
it. I’m just not a huge fan of the genre; which isn’t to say I wouldn’t
take someone on, just that I’m not out there trolling the waters."

Well, probably the same as chick lit. Hell, the whole market whatever way you look at it is flooded.

And, finally, I asked the million dollar question I had been wanting to ask since she came in:
"You mentioned that you are acquiring non-fiction, but those with a strong
platform. I did notice that some of the books you have acquired in the
genre are from experts in the field such as doctors. What are the chances
someone who is not a doctor, but who has just entered the field of expertise as
far as books already published on the subject and perhaps a semi-strong media
presence such as radio spots and a strong Internet presence might have a shot at
being represented by you for subsequent books on the same subject?"

Jenny replied:
"The chances are not all that good, unless the book was a bestseller, or the
internet presence is immense. Publishers want strong medicial credentials
and a very strong media platform.There's no general rule about how long it
takes. Could be a week; could be several months."

Well, I haven't been the same since. I just wanted to throw everything in the wastebasket and become a tomato picker.

So, okay, let's look at the big picture. I have a relationship book finished. I spent months working on it. I have obtained interviews with people who have given me precious words about their own experiences for it. I have queried celebrities for endorsements. I have...I have...NO MEDICINAL CREDENTIALS.

Well, pffft.

Guess I didn't think of that when I was about to graduate high school. All I could think about was getting the heck out of there. Now I see where education is very important. Now I can see what algebra and Latin had to do with everyday life. Who knew I wanted to become an expert in the field of relationships? It was the laaaaast thing on my mind at that time.

Well, pfffffft.

But, I'm not giving up. I can say one thing. I get an A+ in perseverance.

Tomorrow, Jenny finishes up her talk, so if anyone wants to get in on the conversation, the link is in the top paragraph.

Talk to you tomorrow!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Boomer Chick's Blog of the Week Award

This week, the proud winner of the Boomer Chick's Blog of the Week Award goes to Vixen's View at http://vixen.wordpress.com/. I just love Vixen's blog. I love her attitude and I can't think of anyone who could deserve the award better! Congratulations, Vixen!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

NEW!!! Boomer Chick's Blog of the Week Award!!!

Okay, I'm psyched. I am happy to announce a new award that I will be handing out to those blogs that really do it for me. Are we having fun yet?

Here's the deal. If you have a blog that takes me away from my writing and has that OMG...THIS IS THE COOLEST THING...factor or, oh well, just because I like you...you are eligible!

Every Sunday, I'll post a new winner. If I choose your blog, I'll post your link so that everyone can run over and say howdy. Now, you never know who I'm going to choose, so dust out those cobwebs, put away the dishes and for god's sake, do something with that bed hair because you never know who might be dropping in.

Of course there's a catch. What do I look like...oh, never mind...the catch is you have to link the award back to this site. Oh, come on, you know you want to.

So, watch out this Sunday....the Boomer Chick's Blog of the Week Award could go to...

YOU!