Monday, September 15, 2014

It takes me a full day to work up, format, study the market for the proper people that I can see evidence might be interested, and make submissions on a single client. It takes me a full day to do a full manuscript read. I can read them much quicker but I format and do light editing as I go as it causes me to do a closer read and if I find I am interested in it that work is already done. If it doesn't draw me in or I don't connect with it I quit reading and respond at that point. I have 60 clients so you can see how that schedules out.

I can work in quick things that require immediate attention, of course, and would never ignore correspondence from an editor or an urgent need from a client.

I block out half days to work incoming submissions which I evaluate and respond to, set it aside for a closer look, or if I have preliminary interest request a full manuscript. I do keep an eye on what is being discussed in the various groups I connect with just to know what they are talking about but seldom contribute nor invest significant time there. I put time in communicating with my clients on our private client group and I contribute to the Hartline and my personal blog once a week.

It is common for me to do outside chores, lawn and garden, in the first couple of hours of the day while it is cool before I start doing the above work. I seldom work at all on the Lord's day at all unless it is something really urgent. My Sundays are pretty much tied up at church and I don't even carry my phone with me when I go.

When you add in the honey-do's and knocking down my to-do list, time in the morning and evening with my wife, and the myriad of small ways that life demands attention the schedule can be pretty full. But I try to respond as quickly as possible to the constant stream of submissions and correspondence that comes in each day. I know some people only respond if interested, and I get that, but it isn't how my momma raised me. As I recently commented on our blog, I remove my hat when meeting or talking to a lady, I open doors, and I adhere to the Southern courtesy she taught me. That includes responding to everyone who writes me.

Occasionally I get notes addressed "to whom it may concern" or maybe "Dear Sir or Madam" and most of us read that as "Dear Occupant." Those aren't addressed to me. I know what you do with your occupant mail and I may do the same with mine in spite of the fact that momma always would think it rude not to someone who takes the time to write you.

You can see that it sometimes takes a little time for me to get something done. But I try to keep up.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Economical Writer's conference


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

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back to work

I just spent labor day in the mountains not far from Ruidoso NM. It was great. I didn't even take my computer and the phone didn't work unless we went into town which we did a couple of times. When we did go into town, we would clean off our email but not work anything unless it was urgent. It was great, sitting around the campfire, playing games in the camper, doing a little writing. A real stress reliever.

But that didn't mean the work went away. Those who work for a big company there may be somebody else that covers your job while you are out. Mine doesn't work that way. Not only that but some people take advantage of a holiday weekend to work up some submissions and send them so that inbox starts stacking up. That happens when I go to a conference as well.

This morning was like a nice extension of the trip. It was refreshingly cool. A nice soak in the hot tub followed by coffee around the gas fire-pit. It was like we were still up there.

But now it is back to work. That's going to mean some negative responses as I mentioned over on Linda Glaz's entry to this blog. Like Linda I hate to have to do that. And it's going to mean trying to clean out this inbox as I talked about over on Andy Scheer's entry to this blog. My inbox applies deadlines for much of what I do. I have things sitting there I have to do for clients, hopefully some things from editors to respond to, maybe even a contract offer or two, various things I have to do and of course all those submissions.

It's dig down and weed out. I generally work it bottom up, oldest items first unless I see something of importance that must be dealt with immediately. My computer sits on an airdesk next to me so I see email every hour of the day that I am awake. It also shows up on my phone if I am away from the house. I watch what is coming in and things stay there until I deal with it. I either handle it or take some initial action and put it in another file for further action. It controls much of my activity.

Editors take precedence of course, followed by clients (who would rather me be responding to editors). I have to carve out some relative uninterrupted time to do full manuscript reads. A submission doesn't advance to the point of me offering representation without this happening and they deserve my full attention (unless something catches on fire and has to be put out).

Much of what is in my inbox can be tossed just from the subject line ( you know what kind of mail we constantly get). I do quickly scan the items in the junk file, usually three to four hundred a day, and sometimes find submissions there. I used to have them automatically delete until I found I was missing some. I still miss some as I fail to see them there, but not many. If you send me something and don't hear back in a couple of weeks it is a good idea to follow up. I don't mind.

If I expect to get to something fairly quickly I may not acknowledge receipt. If it will be a while I do try to send a receipt. It is unusual for me to not respond within a month but on occassion I have got stacked up to the point where it took longer.

But enough talk about all this. It's time to quit dawdling and go to work on that inbox.