Saturday, October 29, 2011

Is this a good time of the year to send proposals?

You know that I am often asked a question that I feel it would be good to answer to others as well. One of my clients just asked such a question. Is this time of the year a good time to send a proposal?

The answer is yes and no. 

The publishing industry pretty much goes dead between Thanksgiving and after the first of the year, at least for the larger houses. However, a lot of editors use that time to catch up on their reading. But they have a lot of trouble moving on something because they can't get the necessary meetings together to make acquisitions because of holiday scheduling. So they are reading but probably not buying? That's how it tends to work.

That means they are probably only responding to the ones they are going to pass on. It's a time for cleaning off their desk and narrowing it down to the ones they want to try and move on when everybody gets back to work. It's a good time to get something read, but we don't want them responding because a response would probably be negative.

That's what I mean by yes and no.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Books and Covers

 Having four authors with books coming out from one publisher within days of each other is not a normal function around here, but it's kinda cool. Oak / Tara Publishing is releasing "Thyme for Love" by Pamela S. Meyers on November 14th. "April Love has always dreamed of being a chef. But she didn't expect a former fiance' or murder to be part of the recipe for her new job." This is the first book in a three book series.

Lynda Lee Schab's "Mind Over Madi" is set to release November 15th from Oak / Tara. This is the first of the The Madi Series, Delightful. Witty. Entertaining. Real. Poignant.Light-hearted Women’s Fiction at Its Best.
Madi McCall admits her husband lacks a little in the romance department, but all in all, he’s been a good husband, a good father. Now, though, she suspects Rich is having an af  air with Fawn Witchburn, the mother of one of his fourth-grade students. To say Fawn shows of   her “assets” more than should be legally allowed in public is an understatement, and Madi’s insecurities kick into high gear. When, in a heated moment, she asks Rich to leave and he complies, Madi is forced to deal with her issues. Issues of love and trust she’s tried so hard to avoid. Issues that trail all the way back to her childhood and make her act like a total moron.

Suzanne Hartmann's "Peril" is set to release from Oak / Tara November 18th. This is the first of a three book series.

A top secret agent with enhanced strength must use her extraordinary abilities during several high-profile assignments from the White House to NASCAR tracks. When unwanted publicity threatens to expose her, she herself becomes a terrorist target, with danger surrounding her on all sides.
“Plenty of action and unexpected twists.”
Foreword by Jimmy Makar, General Manager of Joe Gibbs Racing
Also endorsed by the founder and director of Midwest Raceway Ministries.

Jonathan Wakefield's "Fatal Reality" is set to release from Oak / Tara November 18th. This is the book that best-selling author James Scott Bell said "Grabs you from the start and doesn't let go." Fatal Reality is an action-packed reality show in a book in a contest where only the winner will be allowed to live. When media celebrity Kyle Borders wins a spot on Extreme Mortality, the biggest reality show ever, he's determined to live out his faith before a worldwide audience.

In addition to the above titles, Randall Mooney's "WOGBOOK" releases on 11/11/11 at 11am from Crossover Publications. Randall feels that fewer teens are not reading the Bible much because they don't relate to the language. There are a lot of translations out there that deal with this but the WOGBOOK  (Word of God Book) is a New Testament that is true to the King James Bible but written not as a Bible but an easy to read book. None of the verses have been omitted and the author has made no effort to offer a private interpretation of the words or text. This is something truly unique and is intended to easily be read over and over again.

Max Elliott Anderson's "Terror at Wolf Lake" is releasing from Comfort Publications. Max is the author of 36 middle reader "books for boys" and has a very strong following. Eddy Thompson was known for one thing and one thing only. Eddy was a cheater. He cheated on anything, anytime, anywhere, until something happened up at Wolf Lake. It wasn't the brutal cold. It wasn't when he fell through the ice. It wasn't even when two scary men arrived at their remote cabin. What happened would change Eddy's life... forever.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Interesting New Development

Interesting new development indeed

I was at Lifeway Christian Store to get a song to sing Sunday and it was the first time we’ve used Lifeway’s new system to burn accompaniment tracks in house. Several thousand songs that you just look up and if they have it you can listen to it and then burn the track right there. 

Too cool. 

It immediately made me think that it won’t be long until books will be printed that way too. A number of larger stores can already do it. I was talking to the Mardel’s rep at ACFW and they are already putting the POD systems in their stores.

It’s a brave new world. Authors or artists still earn their royalties just like a print book and they can AFFORD TO SHELVE AUTHORS THAT THEY WOULDN’T HAVE ACQUIRED IN PRINT FORM because they didn’t have the name identification to merit the expenditure. I think that’s going to be a win-win. Even new authors can be shelved in stores they formerly did not have available to them. Not only that, but it means they will be able to keep our backlist available for sale.

Author who have backlist titles know how difficult it is, even with a new book out, to have places that will allow us to sell backlist titles while we are having a signing for the new one. Now they can go over and have the book run off and bring it right over to be signed. 

I know this capability is starting to be available but don’t know how quickly we will start seeing it, particularly outside of the major stores in the large cities. But it is interesting to think about, isn’t it?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Confession Time by Emily Reynolds

Re-posting with permission from the blog of the Wayside Press imprint of Written World Communications.

Emily C. Reynolds is not only an assistant to agent Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency, but she is also the recent winner of Novel Rocket's Launch Pad Contest for contemporary romance. (There, you must call her Mme Hendrickson.) I asked her to share her timeline for success as she continues her writing journey. I hope her words encourage you. You'll find Emily at home here. 

Occasionally, other voices will show up here. Perhaps even yours. If you have something you'd like to say about writing or editing, about the process or the wait or the frustration or the joy, leave a comment or send me an email and let's talk about it.

Normandie Fischer, Editor, Wayside Press

 An Insider's Look 

 It’s confession time.

For quite a while, I didn’t talk about being a writer, and not merely because writing is a solitary pursuit. First, I’m not published, and there are some who’d dismiss me as a poser. Second, it takes a long time to create a novel from start to finish. And once you do, the process has only begun. It goes something like this:

1) Write the Masterpiece. This takes a long time. For most people it takes at least a year --  if they’re good at it. For many, the process may take up to ten years.

2) Have the Masterpiece critiqued. I call this “unleashing the hounds.” This is where you straighten your spine and let several trusted critique partners have at your ‘baby’ because they’ll tell you the truth. They’ll go to work, pointing out all the plot holes and narrative slumps, the scene/sequel issues and character arcs, and—my personal weak area—issues with goals, motivations, and conflicts.

3) Rewrite the Masterpiece. Now, you have to go back and rewrite most of the story at least once and more likely several times. My first book was gutted and rewritten 7,359 times. I counted. But the writing's better, which keeps me from regretting the blood, sweat, and tears.

4) Pitch the finished Masterpiece. Hopefully, you’ve been scouting the industry for a while now and have a good idea of who might best fit your project. You've taken courses and read writing blogs and learned about different agents. You know which ones represent your genre and what each requires for a submission.
You write a synopsis (one page summary of your entire book). That alone can take several weeks. You poke and prod and tweak those first three chapters of your book until they SING, because they’re your one shot. That’s all an agent is going to look at to make his/her decision. If you’re blessed, the agent will love it and request the full manuscript.

5) Wait. You wait for so long you wonder if you really did hit ‘send’ on that email query. While you wait you start working on your next Masterpiece. Eventually the rejections come. You soldier on with book 2, trying not to let the rejections of your Masterpiece rattle you. Eventually, your query finds the right agent. Maybe the agent wants substantial edits. Now you have to rewrite some more. (see point 3) and resubmit.

6) Agent starts shopping the Masterpiece. This takes even longer. Months and months as the agent tries to prove to a publishing house editor that your project is just perfect for that house.

7) Wait some more. And work harder to learn everything you can about the craft of writing. You continue to go to conferences to make connections with industry professionals and talk to editors about your writing projects. You continue to write, you read everything you can in your genre (and outside your genre), and you wait.

And that’s where I am right now.

It requires more patience than I ever imagined. It requires being okay with the process and not merely with the end point, something I’m not very good at.

Here's an interesting thing I learned not too long ago: when the Israelites escaped Egypt and headed to the Red Sea they walked right up to it and then had to WAIT until God moved. I had never picked up on that part before. God didn’t part the waters as the people headed that way. They got to the edge of the Red Sea first, and took a good long gander at that vast expanse of oceanfront. With the Egyptians (interestingly enough a symbol of the world and our struggles against the flesh) coming right up behind the Israelites in a less-than-friendly manner, God made them wait right there on the brink. They couldn’t go forward and they couldn’t go back.

One might say, stuck.

God drove them to the threshold and made them wait. They had to exist in liminal space, the place between what was and what will be.

Like taking a step of faith . . . except without the step-taking part.

Waiting. Being. Resting in the knowledge that He’s got you right where He wants you.

“I’m going to show the courage not to retreat back to what was and I’m going to be patient not to jump into what I think ought to be, but I'm going to stand in liminal space. I am going to trust that as I stand on the threshold it is pregnant with the possibilities of God.” –David Jensen

It’s hard, standing on the edge and looking out over the possibilities, trying to be okay with the “spaces in between” that sometimes feel heavy enough to crush you. I’m trying to be at peace on the threshold, trying to stay at peace as I wait on the cusp of this writing adventure. Because I don’t have a clue about this wild ride God is taking me on.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My first movie premier

I was invited to the premier of a delightful Christian movie entitled Footprints. The premier was being held in the oldest continuously operating movie theater in the State of Texas in Mineola, Texas. It was being held there because the community theater group there gave actor/screenwriter/director and producer Jim Huggins his start in theater. It was quite a gala affair and Saundra and I enjoyed it tremendously.

So why me?  Why was I invited?

Actually Jim contacted me some time ago and said he had been told that I was the guy to take his screenplay and turn it into a novel to accompany the movie. I have done some of that before, but never when I had an actual movie to look at as I worked on it.

A shot of Saundra and I with the cast members that were present.

A shot of me with Jim Huggins who wrote the screenplay based on his own life. He produced and directed the movie. Usually a screen play is adapted from a book so maybe they try to make the movie follow the book as well as they can. In this case the movie came first and it was essential for the book to match up with it as much as possible. Since it was a fictionalization of real events that made it more important to be a close fit.

The book is now in the hands of several publishers who are strongly considering it. The movie is going into distribution now and a DVD version should be able to be ordered soon. It will make you run the gauntlet of emotions but is a powerful story of God's redemption as well as a story of how to think out of the box when it comes to being a witness for God. You can email to be put on a list to be notified when the DVD is available, and yes, maybe my hat got a little tight when there was a full screen credit at the end with my name and telling people to look for the book.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Alumni Club

A number of those who have worked with me have gone on to make their mark in publishing. Just goes to show I associate myself with good people.

Kristine Pratt – my first editorial assistant – has gone on to found her own publishing company, Written World Communications which is showing some remarkable growth.

Linda Glaz – editorial assistant – has worked her way up to be a full agent with Hartline Literary agency.

Randall Mooney – one of my early clients has gone on to establish his own publishing company, Crossover Publications.

Normandie Fischer – editorial assistant – has become the Executive Editor of the Wayside Imprint of Written World Communications.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor – client – has become the in-house publicist for Hartline Literary and has established her own publicist company.

Tammy Barley – client – has become the Executive Editor of World Talk, the international book and magazine imprint of Written World Communications.