Posts tagged ‘writersdigest’

October 25th, 2010

Let's Go Tweeting! (But Don't Forget Your Helmet!)

by Madeleine Rex

This month’s issue of Writer’s Digest was epic. Actually, most of them are, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. Anyway, I found a myriad of potential blog topics. One of which was Twitter.

Oh, yes, Twitter. The online drug that serves us in so many ways. A procrastination tool of the highest quality (140 characters and everything!), a way to stalk people we admire without being arrested (Kidding…), but, most of all, Twitter is one of the ultimate ways to find kindred spirits. Like beings. Other writers.

I am one of the very few people in my high school who doesn’t have a Facebook account. I don’t particularly want one, plus I get a weird thrill from the resistance. Ultimately, though, I don’t have a Facebook because it wouldn’t be as helpful. Sure, I could talk to the kids in my Geometry class for hours on end (because, let’s face it – I’d be a Facebook junkie if I ever got one. It’s just the way I am – I like to talk.), but they’re not writers or avid readers. They’re not the people who I could get loads of good advice from, and they’re not the people who quite understand why I’ve written books and write book reviews. No – those people are on Twitter.

My point? Join Twitter. It certainly will get in the way of your finishing the laundry, but it will also lead to fantastic relationships with people like you. And don’t argue that you’re not in search of kindred spirits because you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.

Joining isn’t the end of the fun, either. In fact, that’s precisely what WD was talking about – Twitter etiquette. What’s okay? What’s too casual? What’s too personal/impersonal? Where do you draw the line?

Some of the folks in the article agreed that you shouldn’t talk about your personal life at all…

… Draws the line at the parts of his life that are wholly separate from his writing.

And that’s where I don’t completely agree. Of course, keep what you want to be private out of the public eye. Be comfortable because otherwise your friendliness and openness will sound forced, not to mention the fact that you won’t have any fun if what you’re saying is unnatural. However, I like to read author comments and chat with authors about totally random things. Examples:

  • What their favorite kind of egg is.
  • The movie they watched when they were thirteen that frightened them so much that they slept with the light on for the first time since second grade.
  • The crappy pizza they ate last night.
  • Their favorite TV show.
  • Their new shoes.

All of those are hypothetical, but they’re all things I would talk about. They’re the sort of inconsequential things I’d talk about with friends, and that’s the way I like to think of the people I chat with on Twitter. I certainly wouldn’t get on there and say terrible things about people because that’s terrible etiquette in general, but of course I mention my family and teachers [etc.] once in a while because they’re part of my life. They’re people who come along with the Madeleine Package, and that’s what you’re getting when you follow my Twitter feed. What you don’t get from good feeds says a lot more about them:

Not Okay.

  • Rude comments about other people. That’s simply not okay anyway.
  • Complaints about agents and editors (named). Unprofessional.
  • Weirdly personal comments (or inappropriate ones) that you wouldn’t tell your real life friends either.

Those are just three broad examples, but they encompass a lot. Don’t be mean. Don’t insult. Don’t say grossly inappropriate things. <– Rules of the playground.

There are exceptions to every rule. If you write books about grossly inappropriate things, then grossly inappropriate things on your Twitter feed would be expected (though I probably won’t follow you). In general, however, these are the major Twitter guidelines, in my opinion.

The Keys: Don’t be mean, insulting, or terribly inappropriate. Do be friendly, helpful, and casual. Treat the people you tweet with as pals, not necessarily as co-workers. Don’t feel afraid to tweet about random things because other people out their probably like Eggs Benedict, too.

May 18th, 2010

The Biz

by Madeleine Rex

It’s common knowledge that a businessman/woman needs to know his/her market. Inside and out. Backwards and forwards. Better than the back of their hand.

In the case of publishing, that does not entail following current trends or stealing the voice of a (currently) popular author. That’s like plagiarism of ideas. We all know that 1) If you’re a writer, you’ve probably written pages upon pages in the past, and you’ve got your own voice. Don’t tape over it; and 2) that trends pass. They’re like seasons. Except there aren’t four. There are fifteen hundred million. Keeping up with them will be detrimental to your writing time.

However, you don’t want to be entirely oblivious. I’m not talking of the market, but of publishing in general. Rachelle Gardner recently tweeted something that caught my eye:

“Dear Agent, here is a link where you can see my manuscript.” That is not a query, sorry.

Yeah, no. Not a query. That example screams one of two things. Either the writer had absolutely no idea what he or she was doing or he/she has a terrible, sour sense of humor. I doubt agents are looking for either. Every inkling of information someone could ever dream of wanting to know regarding querying, agents, critiques, publishing, etc. can be found on the internet. It’s all here. There’s a fantastic array of publishing-related blogs and sites. If only one has the will to look.

Elana recently posted about communicating with non-writers. You know; those people who don’t stay up at night pondering how to write a single sentence or accurately describe the emotional aftereffects of murdering someone? These are the people who still believe that you can get your book published with sheer will. People ask me, “Are you going to get it published?” (It being my book.) I tell them it’s not that easy, but what I really want to say is, “Why don’t you try to get it published?!”

Really, this publishing thing? It’s murder. Which makes us all suicidal.

Knowledge, in this instance, is your weapon. Use it. Don’t make a fool out of yourself, and by golly make sure you know what a query is.

I’ve compiled a list of the major publishing blog/sites. Of course, many of you already have your weapon in hand and are ready to face the publishing world. However, if you find that you don’t recognize one of the names below, I’d check it out.

Nathan Bransford’s Blog (The literary agent celebrity.)

Rachelle Gardner’s Rants & Ramblings

Kristin Nelson’s Pub Rants

Eric’s Pimp my Novel

The Query Tracker Blog

Absolute Write Forums

Writer’s Digest Forums (By the way, you’re in idiot if you’re an aspiring author and have not yet subscribed to WD. I’m not going to tip-toe around your feelings here. Do it. Now. You will not regret it.)

Steph Bowe’s Hey! Teenager of the Year (Check out Steph’s blog particularly if your a teen writer.)

Naturally, I’m missing a lot. If you have any blogs/sites you would recommend, let me know. I’ll be adding a separate link column in my sidebar for such things soon.

So, don’t be naive. Don’t assume anything. Just do your research. Get to know your market and the world you intend to live in before you work and live in it.

You wouldn’t by a house without walking through it, would you?

January 2nd, 2010

Nathan Bransford's Blog & Forums

by Madeleine Rex

Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent

I’ve been reading Nathan’s blog for a while now, after having seen the link millions of times on the Writer’s Digest Forums. I was curious as to what the huge fuss was about, and was exceedingly pleased to find that his site lives up to the hype.

Nathan masterfully juggles humor and information on publishing, querying, writing in general, etc. I’m absolutely hooked, and once I joined his recently opened forums, I had trouble tearing my eyes away from the computer.

His blog has also been one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers two years in a row, and (all you book bloggers will recognize this one) was also 2009’s Best Publishing Industry Blog for Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

It’s certainly worth a look.