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Thursday, September 18, 2014

One on one appointments by Terry Burns

I'm on my way to a writing conference at Rose State College (near Oklahoma City) and of course in addition to presenting programs I will be doing one on one appointments.
Too many people don’t take an appointment because they don’t have a project to pitch. It’s a missed opportunity, for most editors and agents I know enjoy having “teaching appointments” with conferees. Though they don’t have anything to pitch, they do have questions. I enjoy those, as long as I’m told up front so I’m not waiting for a pitch that isn’t coming.

Then there is the conferee who takes up all their appointment talking. You can’t sell your project in a ten- or fifteen-minute appointment. That isn’t enough time, but you can make an impression on the agent or editor so they will remember you when we have the chance to send your proposal to him or her. An editor or agent will let you talk your time away if you insist; that makes it easy for him or her. But if you really want to make an impression, engage that agent or editor and make him or her participate in the dialogue. It’s the same with agents using the time to read your proposal. They will probably ask you to send it electronically because most won’t remember what they read beyond the first two or three appointments, if that many.

Remember, the competition for contracts is stiff. Before you go to an editor/agent appointment remember these tips: Make your submission outstanding, make it your best work, exactly follow their submission guidelines.

What does it take to give a successful pitch? For the Hartline agents, we sell manuscripts to editors we know and have a relationship with. That means I’m looking for projects that really interest me, are well written, and, most important, are manuscripts that match what these editors are looking for. The last thing I want to do is put something under contract when I have no place to go with it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Agent Confession by Diana Flegal

I do not know many in this business that are not freelancing to supplement their income.

Writers have down time in between deadlines and write articles for extra income.

Agents edit for publishers.

Ex-editorial agents that live in the 'downsized' zone, are freelancing, and agenting, and writing.

It can be a juggling act of great proportion.

All for the love of words.

In a frenzy of preparation for an upcoming conference, the result of a freelance job, and having just moved all while knowing I had a stack of things waiting to be read from clients and people from previous conferences, I was losing it. Quietly, privately, only letting family and friends know- certainly not my clients.They need to know I'm hot on the chase for their publisher or mid read in their 'hard to put down' manuscript. Right? And I usually am dear reader. But I was exhausted and had run out of gas.

And in my cry of desperation to the shepherd of my life- he led me to a 'green pasture' and gave me a day off. This is what it looked like yesterday and why I am just now writing this blog and posting it so late.

A drive across the state of North Carolina. Mountains rising against sun and clouds doing a graceful dance. On the way to a clients house to pick up some paper work I had forgotten the day before- a three hour round trip I had not planned. That's when I got permission to take a day off.

So I stopped by Lake James. Kicked my sandals off, rolled my pant legs up and walked in the 'warm as bath water' lake. 


Picked up some lake glass. Gazed at the beauty around me, spoke to strangers and smiled at children gleefully enjoying their day off school. (not sure why no school). And on my way home, refreshed and thankful, a friend and her husband called and invited me out to dinner.

After all of this, I made it in time to keep my scheduled hair appointment. (I am now a redheaded pixi). Way too short! Oh well, not worth fretting over, right?

Getting ready last night for bed, I realized I was looking forward to the next day of work, and my upcoming conference.

Folks, we need to play once in a while. It makes us better at our jobs. And since I will be working this Saturday, my day off fell in the middle of the week. Who knew! #bestdayinalongtime #unscheduledjoy

Give yourself permission to play. Schedule it. #lifeistooshortafterall

BTW: Here is a great blog about 'burnout'. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hack Your Breakfast by Andy Scheer

Words are tricky. It's bad enough that they can mean more than one thing. (The classic example is trunk.) Worse, a word's meaning can keep changing – without filing due notice.

A promotional email this past week from the Johnsonville sausage company reminded me I'm hopelessly behind the curve on one term's transformation.

I thought I knew the meaning of “hack.” Then I read this subject line: “Hack Your Morning Time With Johnsonville’s New Breakfast Links.”

I knew that today, “hack” means more than a smoker's cough or what someone does with an ax (or a golf club). I knew about computer hackers – who break in and vandalize software.

But malicious destruction didn't seem a reasonable goal for one's breakfast – at least not one a sausage company would admit. In case you like hacking (of whatever kind) the email included a link (pun intended) to an opportunity to a :30 Second Morning Hack sweepstakes and game on Pinterest.

I'll let you check it out – and the potential results on your own breakfast. Meanwhile, I'll stick with bacon.

Monday, September 15, 2014

She Doesn’t Like When I Go by Linda S. Glaz

Nope. Ophelia’s unhappy. She saw the suitcases come out today so I could pack, and she was not happy. She nosed around the bedroom for a while, then finally slumped into my suitcase lid.

“Can I go?” Pretty sure that’s what she asked.

She can’t go, but I can and I can’t wait. One more day and whoosh, I’m on my way to Muskegon, Mi. I love Maranatha Writer’s conference. There are plenty of opportunities to talk with other writers, possible clients, editors, and old friends. And, I have to admit, the venue is drop dead beautiful. On Lake Michigan, folks can hardly wait to take a walk along the beach at night when the moon is the only light for miles. Or to be there late at night for a bonfire and plenty of silly fun.

Classes are a tad smaller than larger conferences affording conferees the opportunity to really pick the industry professionals’ brains. Lots of chances for appointments and meals with editors and agents means a truly intimate environment.

Wonderful keynote speakers and amazing ambience brings folks back year after year. If you haven’t experienced Maranatha, or other smaller conferences, you need to. And be prepared to make a lot of great friends.

No, Ophelia can’t go, but I can.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Economical Writing short course by Terry Burns


If you are looking for an economical writers conference, I’ll be on the faculty for this short course at Rose State College in Midwest City OK (Outskirts of Oklahoma City). I’ve been there several times, and it is a small conference with great facilities packed with excellent presenters, is economical and full of content.

Last year’s Short Course was attended by more than two hundred people. This year the College will expand the program with more presenters, more agents, and more contest categories. Organized by New York Times-bestselling author William Bernhardt, this conference will bring some of the nation’s most successful writers and literary agents to Oklahoma.

More than thirty published writers, agents, editors, and others in the publishing industry will present at the Short Course, led by Guest-of-Honor Jacqueline Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean, the first book selected for Oprah’s Book Club, and John Wooley, Oklahoma author of more than thirty books of fiction and nonfiction. Authors will share their secrets, agents will provide one-on-one consultations with writers, and editors will talk with attendees interested in writing for their publications.

Whether you write fiction, poetry, memoir, or creative nonfiction, this workshop will have something to help you grow as a writer and publish your work. This Short Course will explore all aspects of why this is the best time to be a writer.

Information is available at http://www.rose.edu/shortcourse

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Benefits of Our Enemies by Diana Flegal

This past Sunday my pastor, Nick Honerkamp, reminded us that even our enemies have a purpose in our lives.

Habakkuk reminded the Lord that he and his people were surrounded by the enemy and were in need of his help. When was he going to deliver them?

God told him: Paraphrase: When they have succeeded in getting out of you everything I have purposed and allowed them to.    

Have you been crying out to God, “When God, when? Why God, Why?

When am I going to be picked up by an agent, a publisher? Why are they published and not me? I am a better writer.

Sometimes agents and editors can appear to be a writer’s worst enemy. Foiling you at every turn, they do not recognize your great turn of phrase, your terrific plot, and un-believable characters.

But they serve a grand purpose.

Habakkuk was wise. He enquired of the Lord.

Habakkuk 2:1, I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this.

He waited and the Lord answered him.

Habakkuk 2:2, And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

So that he may run that readeth it. For an appointed time.

I am a doer. I find it hard to wait. I am a fixer, surely I can help God out with this one. WAIT.

Wait Diana, for the appointed time. HARD to do. Lord. The publishers – they publish others, and Lord, THIS is worthy. Why not this? NOW.


Then they that read it can run with it. It will be a help to them in time of trouble, discouragement, or weariness.

Wait, for the appointed time.

Now Lord. Surely it is now.

Wait. Just a little longer. And in time, it will speak.

Habakkuk 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

It will come, right on time. Position yourself for it.  





Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What Was New That Year? by Andy Scheer

This year, Tater Tots turn 60. I'd never have known, but my wife got an email from Ore-Ida.

I checked online and learned the company's marketing department is trying to make this a big deal:

“Ore-Ida Tater Tots potatoes have a 60 year history that evokes many happy memories,” says Fed Arreola, Vice President of Marketing. “From humble beginnings, the original Ore-Ida Tater Tots potato brand has retained its place at the dinner table as the one and only, the original that we all know and love, and that’s something we’re proud of.”

The announcement got me thinking how someone writing a novel set in 1954 might research what people would eat, drink, and wear – besides what brands of soap they'd use to wash dishes and their laundry.

Some historical details are easy to find, like the names of elected officials and what songs were popular. But many minor details, like the brands on a shopping list or those products' advertising slogans – “Crisco: It's digestible!” – take deeper digging.

As I type this, I'm listening to the 1957 “RCA Victor 'New Orthophonic' High Fidelity Recording,” Bing With a Beat featuring Bing Crosby with Bob Scobey's Frisco Jazz Band. That's one way to get in touch with the mid 1950s. But it's not an easy album to find – or find out about.

With all the information available online, there must be reliable sources for discovering what was new and popular in any given year. If you've found some of those sources, please share.

When you do, let me know if you'd like an MP3 of Bing's version of “Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella.”