Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The New Age in Publishing Diana Flegal with Alton Gansky

At Blue Ridge Christian Autumn in the Mountain’s Novel Retreat last week, Alton Gansky spoke on the new age of publishing.

I think what he says bears repeating and with his permission, I have listed amongst this post, the highlights of his message.

This age more than any other allows the creative to create and get things into the marketplace.  Self publishing is just one slice of the publishing pie.

Options abound.

Traditional Publishing or Legacy Publishing is a publisher that offers an advance to the author, and a percent royalty on each books sold AFTER the sales have paid back the advance. They provide professional editing and pay for the formatting and book cover design of your book.

Vanity Presses have a bad reputation, and it is well deserved. They will publish anything written by anyone on any subject as long as the writer is willing to pay for it. Product improvement is minimal and the author is required to buy a minimum number of copies. The writer is the primary warehouse and distribution channel for the book. Some vanity presses provide a kind of distribution through their websites.

Small Presses are royalty paying publishers that generally do not offer an advance but pay a higher royalty to the author than traditional publishers. Many authors have found a happy publishing home with the Small Press model.

Many well published authors are taking books that have not found a home in traditional avenues or a book that has gone out of print and are publishing with the small presses. Traditionally published authors that also self-publish are called Hybrid authors. An Indy author is one who chooses to forego traditional publishing to maintain creative control or to publish something that doesn’t fit the current market.

Are you considering self- publishing?

While the stigma once attached to it is not the same as it was five years ago, writers need to beware.

The key to self publishing is to have the right motive.

  • A good motivation is: To get good content out because you can, and/ or you have time sensitive material.
  • Bad motivation: I want to be published and I can pay to make it happen.

Too many authors get impatient and publish before their story is fully developed or their manuscript has been professionally edited. Keep in mind, if one has a 100,000 word manuscript, the average length of an historical fiction, and it is 99% accurate, you will have 1000 typos.    

Seek out a good professional editor. Slow down and be sure you are putting your best possible work out.

Exciting times abound.  

More can be found about Alton Gansky, Litt.D. at Gansky.Communications


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Right Time to Write by Andy Scheer

Eight weeks ago I got an assignment for a week of devotional articles. I scanned the assigned portions of Scripture and confirmed they all fit the theme the editor wanted me to address. But beyond placing the verses into each day's devotional format, I set the project aside.

A month ago when I had some spare time, I reviewed the passages again. Again, no ideas sprang to mind for what I'd write. So I turned to another project and promised myself I'd work on the devotions this week.

It's Monday, and my procrastination time has run out. I need to write not only a 1,500-word magazine piece, but also my February 2016 devotions.

So I again opened the project file. But this time my eye fell on a different verse in the passage of Scripture than the one I'd highlighted a few weeks back.

I thought of the conversation my wife and I had recently enjoyed with old friendspeople we'd known thirty years ago and had just seen for the first time in a dozen years. Our experience with them would serve as a great illustration for a devotion on this passage of Scripture.

Why couldn't I have thought of that a month ago? Simple. A month ago, I hadn't seen them for a dozen years—and we hadn't had that experience.

That's one devotion down and six more to go. I just hope the other six aren't also ones I'm not yet ready to write.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Winding Down the Season by Linda S. Glaz

Last conference of the season this weekend. I look forward to meeting new folks and placing names with familiar faces.
There is nothing that excites me more than meeting writers with hope and energy spelled out across their faces. They are filled with joy at the prospect of making ‘the connection’ that will help their work move forward.
And I don’t know who’s more excited by making the connection, the author or me. I just received a contract for a client this morning, and it’s such fun to talk with them, feel their exuberance through the phone. Know they are taking the step to forge ahead.
Meeting new people is a love of mine. I don’t take everything I have proposed to me, but I have remained friends with dozens of conferees who I now call friends. Seeing their journeys play out, even with another agent, is one of the high points of this job. They are realizing their dream.
So, even though the season’s winding down, I know I’ll meet someone at this last conference who I will soon call friend whether or not I take their project.
What a dream job!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Defining Genres by Diana Flegal with Eddie Jones

This week I had the privilege to be part of the faculty at the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novel Retreat held at Lifeway’s Ridgecrest Conference center. Today and next week I will be sharing material (with permission) from notes I took while listening to several conference speakers.

Eddie Jones, founder and Publisher of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and award winning author, facilitated a workshop this week on defining genres. Since authors sometimes question what category their title falls under, I thought this list might be helpful.

Romance verses a Love Story

Romance: the developing love relationship between a boy and girl, facing obstacles, ending happily. Boy eventually gets the girl.

Examples: An Affair to Remember/ You’ve Got Mail/ The Caretakers Son by Yvonne Lehman

Love Story:   A journey of falling in love ended by tragic deadly circumstances.

Examples: Love Story/ Romeo and Juliet/ The Notebook/ Titanic/ Gone With the Wind

Mystery verses Suspense

Mystery: The solving of a puzzle by an amateur or professional sleuth. The Dead body shows up in the first chapter.  Several suspects, all knew the victim. Often has a surprise ending.

Examples: Murder She Wrote/ The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun/ Castle  

Suspense: There might be a body or not. But there is a crime to solve. The protagonist’s (detective/sleuth) life is continually threatened.   The reader is exposed to information   the protagonist is not yet aware of causing suspense for the reader.

Examples: No Where to Turn by Lynette Eason/While You Were Sleeping/ The Fugitive

Speculative/ Fantasy/ Science Fiction

Speculative: Life the way it could be if…

Examples: E. T./ Enoch by Alton Gansky/ The Day the Earth Stood Still

Fantasy: The author creates a new world but brings into it present day rules.

Examples: Lord of the Rings/ Harry Potter/ The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Science Fiction: The writer creates a new world in a different galaxy.  Has a lot to do with science or technology.

Examples: The Matrix, Star Wars/ 1984/The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells


Impress your friends the next time there is a lull in the conversation. "Hey, did you know Nicolas Sparks is NOT a romance author?"












Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's Your Pace? By Andy Scheer

How many words did you add to your writing project this week? More than your critique partner added to hers?

Who cares? So long as you're still progressing, your pace on this stretch doesn't matter.

This past week, my wife and I enjoyed a three-day getaway in the mountains west of Denver. Each day we hiked about three miles. But for each hike we fell into a different pace—reflecting the altitude and terrain.

Day one's trail, around a mountain lake, was mostly level. A few times muddy stretches or uphill sections slowed us, but we averaged a steady pace and finished the circuit in good time.

Day two found us trekking up Mayflower Gulch to an old mining town. We'd enjoyed the hike two summers ago. But this time the steep track was covered with snow and ice. We'd expected some snow. But not the effort of walking uphill for more than a mile and a half when every step meant unsure footing.

We took the trail slowly. We paused often to catch our breath. Some younger hikers passed us. But we arrived safely. We enjoyed the scenery. Then we descended the mile and a half—without falling. But only because we took our time.

Day three's trail was dry but steep. Several times my wife outpaced me, especially on stretches where scenic vistas beckoned me to take a photo—and catch my breath. Again we were overtaken by a much younger hiker. But she lived nearby and said she hiked the trail daily. For us, it was the first time. So we took it at our own pace, enjoyed the journey, and finished the hike.

Having completed those trails, my wife and I are better, more experienced hikers. If we ever take those paths again, we might be able to complete them more quickly—conditions permitting.

What terrain are you experiencing on your work-in-progress? If you've reached a steep, uphill section, don't worry if you're moving more slowly or have to catch your breath. It's a good time to look over your shoulder to see how far you've come. Then start writing again—at your own pace.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Never Too Late by Linda S. Glaz

It’s never too late to finally get it.
I finally got it.
I managed to snag a bundle on Amazon for less than a buck. A bunch of awesome authors, great stories, the whole works. Opened to a multi-pubbed, award-winning author I had always wanted to read. I got to page three. I went back; must have missed something. Reread, got to page two and a half. Went back again. What?
Back and forth, in and out of POVs. Yessiree, head hopping like a rabbit on steroids.
My apologies Sally Stuart for the tough critique you gave me fifteen or so years ago. You were spot on. And I was horribly wrong.
Admitting my foolishness, let’s just say that I never really got why omniscient doesn’t work as well as controlled POVs. I really didn’t. I grew up on authors who wrote that way. Now, mind you, I taught the company line. I’ve given numerous classes on POV, deep POV, deep—deep POV and so on and so forth. I tell my authors to be sure their POVs are easily understood. Even though I still was not convinced all of it was necessary.
And yet, here I was on page three, so confused that I had to reread the opening pages three more times to try and connect with someone. I hope you know, I haven’t picked up the story since. It was too much work to try and figure out who was thinking, feeling, expressing themselves.
Sooooo…there you have it. Lesson taught. Lesson learned.
I finally got it. How about you?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

2014 ACFW Random Observations From My Corner of the World by Jim Hart

I was able to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in St. Louis in September and here are a few random observations:

For me, the best part of conferences is meeting authors, whether at an appointment, sharing a meal, or waiting for the elevator. And I had some great conversations with a number of editors. It’s energizing to be around so many creative types.

As I met with my appointments I discovered that the range of genres represented was very diverse. I never knew what story an author was going to pitch: A cowboy love story? A deaf musician? A boy who rides dragons? A young pick-pocket who goes to work for the police? A story of racism in a farming community? A story featuring a major Biblical character? It’s almost like digging into a box of chocolates (without hearing Tom Hank’s voice). As a short-attention-span person, I really enjoyed it.

I found the number of writers who are writing YA and/or YA fantasy amazing. It seemed like every fourth person had a YA fantasy to pitch. Obviously a lot of people are reading that genre. It’s a shame that they are so hard to sell. I tried to be as encouraging as I could, because it seemed that nearly every editor at ACFW was NOT looking for for YA or fantasy/sci-fi. Although I did read a blog today from an editor who acquires YA fantasy for a general market publisher and her advice was to write from your heart, not to what is trending. Great advice!

So to all the authors that pitched to me at ACFW – thanks! You were the highlight of my day(s)! Especially those who had their proposals, one sheets, samples and manuscripts on a flash drive.
One author handed me a flash drive business card, which I had never seen before.  I had to wait until she got up from the table to try and figure out how to open it. I would suggest to every writer who has to make a pitch to stop what you’re doing now and google ‘flash drive business card’. It was a pretty impressive piece of tech, one that’s probably been available much longer than I realize.

And it was especially great to be able to share a meal…..and a long walk…..with a nice group of our Hartline clients. A special thanks to those that helped push Mom’s scooter across the street as it’s battery began to die. (That’s one way to work off a plate of lasagna).

Because Joyce and Linda Glaz were both nominated for the ACFW agent of the year award we were anticipating the awards banquet. The saying "two out of three ain't bad" says it all! And though the award was presented to Chip MacGregor there were a lot of authors in the room rooting for our Hartline agents!

And now…..back to reading the proposals and samples that I picked up at the conference!