The Writers Network News, May 2013 Issue http://ezezine.com
The Writers Network News, May 2013
In This Issue
One: From the editor's desk - How to Find an Agent or Publisher
Two: Ask the Book Doctor about Book Promotion, Book Trailers, and
Three: This Month's Easy Editing Tip from Bobbie Christmas - Seasons
Four: Subjects of Interest to Writers
Five: Contests, Agents, and Markets
Six: Got Muse? - Flirt a Little
The Writers Network News
No Rules; Just Write!
Editor: Bobbie Christmas
Contents copyright 2013, Bobbie Christmas
No portion of this newsletter can be used without permission; however,
you may forward the newsletter in its entirety to anyone who may be
interested in subscribing.
Excellent editing for maximum marketability
More than twenty years in the business of editing books (We must be
doing something right.)
As book doctors, we write, edit, and evaluate fiction and nonfiction
manuscripts, book proposals, query letters, and synopses. As book
shepherds, we guide writers through the process of self-publishing. We
are a top-rated Better Business Bureau Accredited Business.
230 Deerchase Drive
Woodstock, GA 30188
Follow my Write In Style creative-writing blog at
Meet Fellow Writers
Do you live in or visit metro Atlanta? Sign up for local meeting
notices today! Send your name and e-mail address to
Hurry! We have a meeting planned May 4 in Roswell, Georgia. Contact me
if you want to be there, so I can reserve enough seats at the
Some links in this newsletter have been shortened with the help of
www.tinyurl.com, which takes long web addresses and converts them to
Writer's quote of the month
In defense of writing personal (sometimes called confessional) poetry,
W. D. Snodgrass, winner of the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for his
first book of poetry, Heart's Needle, said, "The only reality [a poet]
can ever surely know is that self he cannot help being. If he pretties
it up, if he changes its meaning, if he gives it the voice of any
borrowed authority, if in short he rejects this reality, his mind will
be less than alive. So will his words."
One: From the editor's desk - How to Find an Agent or Publisher
Dear Fellow Writers:
Many writers ask me how to find an agent or publisher for their books.
The traditional way involves researching agents and publishers through
sources such as Writers Market or Literary Marketplace. When you submit
manuscripts using these sources, however, your submission arrives amid
hundreds of others, reducing your chances of acceptance.
The very best way to find an agent or publisher is to know accomplished
authors who write in your genre and get them to introduce you to their
agents or publishers. Few of us know a Stephen King or Pat Conroy well
enough to get such an introduction, however.
What's a writer to do? Attend conferences where agents and publishers
are accepting appointments to review submissions. Pay the fee to meet
with those folks. It's worth it.
In April, I spoke at a Florida Writers Association mini-conference, a
one-day affair, in Altamonte Springs, Florida. FWA had lined up a
surprising number of agents and publishers eagerly looking for
manuscripts. I spoke with one of the acquisitions editors on our way
back to the airport, and she said she heard at least two great pitches,
and she looked forward to seeing those manuscripts. Don't you want an
acquisitions editor at a publishing house to say the same about your
Look into some of the writers conferences taking place in your area. If
any offer appointments with agents or publishers, read what genres they
represent. If any match your writing, invest in your writing career and
pay for appointments with those folks. These people will meet with you
face to face, give you valuable feedback, and may even accept your
Yours in writing,
Bobbie Christmas (Bobbie@zebraeditor.com or email@example.com )
Author of Write In Style, owner of Zebra Communications, director of
The Writers Network, and coordinator of the Florida Writers Association
Editors Helping Writers service.
If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, please sign up to get your
own copy. Simply go to www.zebraeditor.com, click on Free Newsletter,
and follow the prompts. I never share your address or send out spam.
Two: Ask the Book Doctor about Book Promotion, Book Trailers, and
By Bobbie Christmas
Q: What's the best promotion method to use once a book is published?
A: I wish I could answer your question, but what is best for your book
depends on your type of book, your expertise, your abilities, the
amount of time and/or money you have to spend, and much more. I
recommend that you read a book about book promotion and decide what
methods are best for you and for your book. The one I read and used
extensively was Jump Start Your Book Sales by Marilyn Ross. It advises
getting started with promotions before the book even comes out. It also
recommends adding a chapter that appeals to an additional sector of the
market, to broaden the appeal of the book. Based on her recommendation,
I included a chapter on business writing in my book, Write In Style,
which had originally been geared only toward creative writers. My
publisher was pleased with the addition, too.
Ross's 1999 book may be a little dated now, so I went on Amazon and
found at least two other books that give marketing ideas for books.
Look up Ross's book, and you will see others like hers that are even
Q: Creating a trailer to promote a book online is becoming popular. I
am exploring a possible business venture in this field and would value
your knowledge and opinion.
- Who generally pays for the creation of a book trailer and promoting
it on the various sites? Is it the publishing house or the author?
- What is the return on investment? Has anyone done the research?
- I find most trailers on YouTube or dedicated trailer sites, yet not
on the online stores or e-book libraries. Any idea why this is the
- With e-book and online book sales increasing, this media is likely to
What is your personal opinion? Do book trailers help sell a book or
A: I can give you only my opinion, not based on many facts, but you
asked for my opinion, and here it is:
A book trailer on the Internet is no different from a Web page; someone
or something has to drive traffic to it, or it sleeps in cyber space
wasting bytes. For that reason, probably, most trailers appear on
YouTube, where people watch funny, shocking, or educational videos, and
where all video producers hope their babies will go viral.
Who pays for the trailer? I imagine the biggest buyers of trailers are
self-publishers seeking an avenue to promote their books, and in those
cases, the author and publisher are the same.
I cannot speak for why online stores aren't using trailers; I have no
knowledge of the thinking in those places. Although I suspect they see
no value in trailers, who knows?
All the trailers I have seen were produced and paid for by the author,
and none of them has enticed me to buy a book. Have any enticed you?
Nevertheless, some must work, or they would not be popular, unless they
simply play on the ego of the author who can say, "I have a book
As for the return on investment, it depends upon whether you are the
producer of trailers selling to authors and publishers or you are the
author attempting to sell books to readers. If you are thinking of
going into the trailer-producing business, your biggest market would
probably be self-publishers. Will self-publishers get a good return on
their investment? In my opinion, no, unless they have a strong
marketing campaign to drive people to the trailer and a compelling
trailer that entices people to buy the book.
Q: My handwriting is not the best and is getting worst. Is it normal
for a writer to publish a book already signed with the author's
signature? What are the pros and cons if I do this?
A: I have never heard of anyone doing it, although it may have been
done somewhere without my knowledge. Here are my thoughts about the
pros and cons:
Once a signature is printed, it is not an autograph, but simply a
printed copy of a signature, so it has no significance or value.
Books do not have to be autographed; autographs are an added feature
that personalizes a book and sometimes adds value, but it is not
essential to the enjoyment of the book.
I have heard of authors who refuse to autograph books, so if no
autographed copies exist, all the books have the same value.
Autographs do have personal appeal to buyers, but unless the author
becomes famous, an autographed book has little added financial value.
If I had any physical or emotional reason not to sign books, I simply
would not offer to sign them.
Bobbie Christmas, book editor and owner of Zebra Communications, will
answer your questions, too. Send them to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Read
more "Ask the Book Doctor" questions and answers at
To order the book, Ask the Book Doctor: How to Beat the Competition and
Sell Your Writing, go to
Would you like to read, save, or share the Ask the Book Doctor column
as a PDF file? At http://zebraeditor.com/files/ask_the_book_doctor.pdf,
the newest column is posted around the first of each month.
Three: This Month's Easy Editing Tip from Bobbie Christmas - Seasons
Remember Princess Summerspringwinterfall? If so, you're from the Howdy
Doody era, as am I. In the case of the princess's name, capitalization
was appropriate. When writing about the seasons in general, however,
summer, spring, winter, and fall should not be capitalized.
For more editing and creative writing tips, order Purge Your Prose of
Problems here: http://tinyurl.com/4ptjnr.
Four: Subjects of interest to writers
Where is Bobbie speaking next?
"The Greatest Writers Conference on Earth," where members find their
agents, meet their publishers, and get the scoop on the industry. Feel
free to e-mail conference planners at
When: October 18-20, 2013
Where: Orlando Marriott
1501 International Parkway
Lake Mary, Florida 32746
Ask for special FWA Conference rates. See
Are you considering publishing with a pay-to-publish (self-publishing)
company? Do you know how to do the research necessary to protect
yourself from exorbitant fees and worthless programs? Read Writing and
Publishing News by Patricia Fry, Matilija Press, at
Write In Style No Longer In Stock
Write In Style is the first book to teach how to write tighter,
stronger, and more creatively, PLUS how to speed through your editing
phase using tricks available in the software you're already using.
Write In Style won the Royal Palm Literary Award for education, Best in
Division (Georgia Author of the Year Awards), and was a finalist in
USABookNews Best Books.
I warned everyone to buy from me, while I had a few copies on hand, but
there are only a few water-damaged copies plus a couple of new ones
left, now, and they are all selling on Amazon.com.
To order, go to
To order a used or slightly water-damaged copy, click on the Used tab
or contact me directly at Bobbie@zebraeditor.com for more information.
No Kindle? No Problem.
Don't you hate to hear about all the free or inexpensive Kindle books,
when you don't own a Kindle? No problem! Download one of Amazon's free
Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on all your devices. The
Kindle app is available for every major smartphone, tablet, and
computer. With the free Kindle reading apps, you can buy a Kindle book
once and read it on any device with the Kindle app installed. For more
From The Chicago Manual of Style Website Q & A This Month
Q. Dear CMOS Editors: When omitting the end of a sentence in a
quotation, should there be a space after the ellipsis before the
closing quotation mark? (1) The Supreme Court ordered the school
districts to desegregate "with all deliberate speed. . . ." (2) The
Supreme Court ordered the school districts to desegregate "with all
deliberate speed. . . ." I see that 13.53 indicates there should not be
a final space, but I'm not sure if that rule applies beyond sentences
that are deliberately grammatically incomplete.
A. Don't add a space. Note too that there is rarely a need to put an
ellipsis at the end of a quotation that forms a grammatical sentence,
whether in itself or, as here, with what precedes it. You would be fine
with (3) The Supreme Court ordered the school districts to desegregate
"with all deliberate speed."
Q. Is it acceptable for the subject of a sentence to use "(s)" to
indicate a possibility of plurality? If so, should the verb that
follows be singular or plural? The attached form(s) indicates the
required accounts or The attached form(s) indicate the required
A. The "(s)" construction works only when the noun in question is not
the subject of a sentence. Instead, you can use the plural alone, which
we usually understand to include the possibility of a singular meaning:
The attached forms indicate the required accounts. Or, if you don't
think that's clear enough, be more explicit: One or more attached forms
indicate the required accounts. Or you can rewrite to cast the "(s)"
word as something other than the subject of the sentence: Required
accounts are indicated by the attached form(s).
Q. How is capitalization handled in questions of ambiguous geographical
origin? I'm trying to rationalize 8.37 and 8.60. Is it "German
shepherd," on the grounds that the term refers to the putative
geographical origin of the dog, or "german shepherd," in the same way
that you have "swiss cheese" and "french dressing" on the grounds that
the term is nonliteral, meant to evoke recall of a geographic place
irrespective of the actual origin? (If this is confusing because German
shepherds may originate from Germany, what about Australian shepherds,
which have nothing to do with Australia whatsoever?)
A. CMOS can list only so many examples, and it's no good wasting time
pondering fine distinctions, so if your document uses some terms that
Chicago lowercases and others you aren't sure about, rather than
agonize over possible inconsistencies, just look up the words in a
dictionary: CMOS lowercases french dressing and swiss cheese, but
Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary uppercases them (along
with Australian shepherd and German shepherd). Make your choices with a
view to minimizing inconsistencies, and record them in your style
The Chicago Manual of Style is the reference that book editors use. For
more CMOS Q & A, see http://tinyurl.com/2xscwn.
First-Ever Sale! Get a $10 discount! Only Three Left! Read to the
bottom, to get full discount information.
Purge Your Prose of Problems
A Book Doctor's Desk Reference, Fifth Edition
Save thousands of dollars and edit your own book! Order my proprietary
book-doctor desk reference book online at http://tinyurl.com/4ptjnr.
In alphabetical order and in easy-to-understand language, Purge Your
Prose of Problems covers all you need to know to revise and edit
fiction and nonfiction books, including grammar, punctuation, word
choices, creative writing, plot, pace, characterization, point of view,
dialogue, Chicago style, format, and much more. The spiral binder lets
the book lie flat in front of your computer, for easy use. Available
printed or as a PDF e-book that allows you to keep all this vital
information on your computer for ready reference.
The e-book is the best deal, because you get it immediately and pay no
shipping, and it then resides on your computer for the speediest
reference, whenever you need it.
To save thousands of dollars by editing your own book, order Purge Your
Prose of Problems today at http://tinyurl.com/4ptjnr.
Want a $10 discount on the price of Purge Your Prose of Problems? I
have three remaining copies of the fourth edition, still cram-packed
with excellent information, but a little older than the fifth edition.
To acquire a discounted copy of the fourth edition, e-mail me to be
sure I still have a copy available, and if so, instead of $29.95, you
will pay only $19.95 plus $3.99 shipping and handling. Interested?
Write to me at Bobbie@zebraeditor.com.
Terminology Writers Should Know
noun: One who loves words.
From Greek logo- (word) + -phile (lover). Earliest documented use:
"I treasure my printed OED--as a memento of my logophile grandfather."
Dictionaries: Finding Their Ideal Format?; The Economist (London, UK);
Nov 22, 2012.
This month's word came from A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg
Thinking of using Author Solutions, Trafford, iUniverse, Lulu,
Palibrio, or Xlibri or any other "publisher?" Do your homework and read
about the class-action lawsuit against these companies, all owned by
Penguin and Author Solutions. See http://tinyurl.com/d26f7xk
Attention Members in or near Birmingham or planning to visit
Birmingham! Free $10 gift card to one lucky person!
No, you don't have to buy any of my books, use my services, or even
know me, but I have a $10 gift card to Continental Bakery/Chez Lulu,
and chances are I won't get to Birmingham, Alabama, again for a long
time. If you'd like the gift card or know someone who does, send me an
e-mail (Bobbie@zebraeditor.com), and if you're the first to contact me,
I'll let you know. You'll then send me a self-addressed, stamped
envelope, and I'll send you the gift card. I want this $10 gift card to
find a "good home," with someone who will use it.
Free Tools for Writers from Bobbie Christmas and Zebra Communications
Order PDF reports on writing-related subjects, including correct
manuscript format, how to form and run a critique circle, how to
identify weak writing and repair it, self-publishing versus traditional
publishing, and much more. Go to
http://zebraeditor.com/free_reports.shtml. Newest report: Genre: A
Slippery Subject Essential to Fiction: Learn about genre fiction
categories and the benefits of complying with genre specifications.
Free copy of the copy editor's handbook available at a free copy of The
Copyeditor's Handbook by Amy Einsohn it can be found at
Attention Writers! Try Before You Buy: A New Way to Find a Qualified
Editor for Your Book
The Florida Writers Association offers a unique service to members
through its Editors Helping Writers service, and you have the
reassurance that you are dealing with fully vetted professional editors
who are overseen by a coordinator of the service as well as the strong
Florida Writers Association itself.
To learn all the rules and regulations for the Editors Helping Writers,
go to http://tinyurl.com/96eklu5. To participate in the service, you
will have to be a member of FWA, but the membership fee is low, the
advantages of membership are many, and you don't have to live in the
state or even in the country.
However You Write, When and Where Can You Use However?
I tell writers to guard against using conjunctions at the beginning of
sentences, mostly because writers tend to overuse them, starting too
many sentences with And, But, So, and However. For more detailed
information, see this article, which delves even deeper than I would:
Ask the Book Doctor: How to Beat the Competition and Sell Your Writing
answers many of the questions you wish you could ask an editing expert.
Whether you write books, short stories, articles, reports, or anything
else, learn more about how to write, edit, and sell your work.
Paperback: $14.95 plus $4.99 S & H (total: $19.94 US) E-book: $8.95, no
S & H, with almost instant delivery. You'll save almost $10 by buying
the e-book! To order either, go to http://tinyurl.com/lexp7n.
Become Bobbie's friend on Facebook:
Like Zebra Communications on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/7vcxaxu.
Five: Contests, Agents, and Markets
30 Days to Sanity Wants Your Stories!
Do you have heartwarming, insightful, and powerfully moving true
stories about how to stay sane in this chaotic 24/7 world? A co-author
of the New York Times Best-selling book series Chicken Soup for the
Soul is currently seeking personal stories to be included in 30 Days to
Sanity, an online stress/resiliency program. We're looking for
inspirational true stories that give a personal account of an event, an
obstacle overcome, a strategy to remain sane, or a lesson learned that
helps the reader discover basic principles they can use in their own
Some of the topics we will include are: Getting to Know Yourself, Your
Needs & Dreams, Getting Your Priorities Straight, Learning to Listen to
Your Heart, Discovering Your Passion, Setting Aside Time for You,
Balancing Work & Family, Building a Soulful Community, Learning to Love
Your Body, Taking a Mini-Vacation or Playcation, Setting Limits Both at
Work and at Home, Putting Technology to Work for You, Making a
Meaningful Contribution to the World, Growing From the Bumps in Your
Life, Making Technology Free Times to Truly Connect, Creating a Space
Just For You, Making Sacred Time for Your Family, Eliminating Time
Wasters and Energy Suckers, Managing Technology, Banishing Your Guilt,
Celebrating Your Gifts and Strengths, Expressing Appreciation to a
Friend or Loved One, Asking for Help or Support, Discovering an
Attitude of Gratitude, Using Life as Your Teacher, Cultivating
Compassion, or Comic Relief (humorous stories about funny things you've
done while stressed).
Story Length: Up to 1,200 words
Submission Deadline: June 1, 2013
Compensation: $100 one-time use fee for each story accepted for
Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org or to 30 Days to Sanity, Box
31453, Santa Fe, NM 87594-1453 (please keep copies as we are unable to
Submit as many stories as you'd like.
Send Your Poem to Mars
NASA is raising awareness for its upcoming launch of the Mars
Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft with its Going to Mars
project. The MAVEN spacecraft is scheduled for launch this November, to
study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere; the craft will examine why
Mars lost its atmosphere, and how that catastrophe affected the history
of water there.
To liven things up, the mission managers have invited the public to
submit literary messages that could be tucked into a DVD that will go
with the craft. Three lucky poets will get the chance to include their
haiku, specifically written for the occasion — and everybody who
submits something will have their name included on the DVD.
Deadline July 1.
See http://tinyurl.com/c4eecsb to submit your haiku.
1035 Green St.
Roswell GA 30075
E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
This newspaper is visually exciting and mentally stimulating.
"Our mission is to publish a newspaper for the purpose of expanding
awareness and supporting all those seeking spiritual growth. We are
committed to excellence and integrity in an atmosphere of harmony and
love. Published monthly before the first of each month. articles by the
first. We accept articles, artwork, and photography that are in
accordance with our mission. We reserve the right to accept, reject, or
edit any material we receive but do our best to honor the integrity of
the author/artist. We do not endorse any particular program or
advertiser. We simply offer our readers information on various subject
matters for potentially educating those who already make a difference
by doing business in a growing consciousness field. It is expected that
all material is submitted 'in good faith, with no intent to mislead or
harm others. It is the readers' responsibility to make intuitive
decisions that are right for them."
Frederic C. Beil, Publisher
609 Whitaker St.
Savannah GA 31401
Contact: Mary Ann Bowman, editor.
Query by snail mail with SASE.
Frederic C. Beil publishes in the fields of history, literature, and
Imprints: The Sandstone Press, Hypermedia, Inc.
Responds in 1 week to queries.
Pays 7.5% royalty on retail price.
Receives 3,500 queries received/year. Thirteen mss received/year.
Needs: art, architecture, history, language, literature
Needs: historical, literary, regional, short story collections,
"Our objectives are (1) to offer to the reading public carefully
selected texts of lasting value, (2) to adhere to high standards in the
choice of materials and in bookmaking craftsmanship, (3) to produce
books that exemplify good taste in format and design, and (4) to
maintain the lowest cost consistent with quality."
Six: Got Muse? Flirt a Little
We all know how good it feels when someone is drawn to us, especially
when the feeling is mutual. Think back to a time when you have had such
an experience. Remember the feelings in your body and the thoughts
going on in your mind.
Write a scene from the point of view of a person having a flirtatious
experience. Choose dialogue that reveals whether the characters are
bold, coquettish, or subtle in their approach to each other. Use action
to show the body language both characters exhibit. In the narrative,
describe what the main character feels and/or thinks. Be sure to stay
in only one point of view, when it comes to thoughts and feelings.
Do YOU have news for The Writers Network News? Please send it in the
body copy, not an attachment, to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Deadline: The
15th of each month.
Send a copy of this newsletter to all your writing friends. Tell them
to join The Writers Network F-R-E-E by visiting www.zebraeditor.com and
clicking on Free Newsletter.
With the exception of Zebra Communications, information in this
newsletter is not to be construed as an endorsement. Be sure to
research all information and study every stipulation before you accept
assignments, spend money, or sell your work.
The Writers Network News: a newsletter for writers everywhere. No fees.
No officers. No Rules; Just Write!