The Writers Network News, June 2015 Issue
The Writers Network News, June 2015
In This Issue
One: From the editor's desk: Sad Times
Two: Ask the Book Doctor about Amazon Payments, Bad Reviews, Paragraph Indents, and Ph.D.
Three: This Month's Easy Editing Tip from Bobbie Christmas: Who/Whom
Four: Subjects of Interest to Writers
Five: Contests, Agents, and Markets
Six: Got Muse? Toss This Around
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The Writers Network News
Editor: Bobbie Christmas
Contents copyright 2015, 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
Celebrating twenty-three years in the business of editing books. We must be doing something right.
We edit and evaluate fiction and nonfiction book manuscripts. 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 http://bobbiechristmas.blogspot.com/
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 Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Hurry! We have a local meeting planned for Friday, May 29.
Note: I have shortened some links in this newsletter with the help of www.tinyurl.com, a free service that takes long web addresses and converts them to short ones.
Writer's Quote of the Month
When someone asked Stanley Kunitz, the first U.S. poet laureate of the twenty-first century, for his advice for younger poets, he answered the following: "Do something else, develop any other skill...turn to any other branch of knowledge. Learn how to use your hands. Try woodworking, birdwatching, gardening, sailing, weaving, pottery, archaeology, oceanography, spelunking, animal husbandry--take your pick. Whatever activity you engage in, as a trade or hobby or field study, will tone up your body and clear your head. At the very least it will help you with your metaphors."
One: From the editor's desk: Sad Times
Dear Fellow Writers:
This month has been rough on my family. My brother-in-law fell ill and eventually passed away. Manny, my niece said to me, was a special man, because he always made everyone else feel special. She put it well. Manny had been her stepfather for more than forty years. I knew him even longer, because I met him when he was just a good friend to my sister. About ten years later, she married her best friend, and they have had a marriage that was the envy of the world.
It has been heart-wrenching to watch Manny slipping away mentally, and then failing physically. The family has been sitting with him and with my sister as much as possible, and he was never alone. Eventually he left this world surrounded by his adoring wife and two of his stepchildren and under the care of a kind hospice nurse.
Grief does strange things to people. We lose our focus. We cannot recall what we have done or haven't done. We feel as though we are walking through a fog, or better yet, through some gelatinous liquid that slows us down and confuses us at every turn. I feel doubly saddened. Not only do I feel my own loss of a great friend and terrific business consultant, but also I feel my sister's giant loss of the love of her life.
As a human being, I must live this experience and get through it. As a writer, I am observing my feelings and pondering how to put them into words. Sometimes I can find no words. Maybe I will be able to express my sorrow later, after I no longer feel it.
Meanwhile, life goes on. I had made plans long before Manny fell ill, and in the midst of all my sadness, I followed my plans and flew up to visit my son and daughter-in-law, who live near Washington, D.C. We spent a three quick days together, which lifted my sadness a little.
What has all this to do with the art and craft of writing and editing? For one, this family situation has put me far behind on my work, which stresses me out under any circumstance. I've had to write to clients and explain why I am unable to return their edited manuscripts on or around my estimated dates. I've had to readjust my schedule in a major way, but I also keep reminding myself that I'm not a medical doctor, only a book doctor. No one will die if I am late with a project, but I hate to disappoint clients.
I'm sure everyone understands what I've been going through, though. No need to send sympathy notes or condolences. I know that people understand and care. Sometimes, though, we have to remember to understand and care for ourselves.
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 Amazon Payments, Bad Reviews, Paragraph Indents, and Ph.D.
By Bobbie Christmas
Q: I listed my book on Amazon. As you know, they charge a fee, which they take out of the money due you from sales. I also went on their "search inside the book" promotion, which meant I had to ship another book to Xerox Corp. Amazon told me it had two sales, and I shipped two more books. As time went on, I realized that I would keep shipping books and never see any money, because the fees would eat up any sales money, so I asked Amazon to withdraw my membership and remove my listing. Its response was to remove the $8.50 price of the book and list "one new and one used at $1.95" and a negative (one-star) review by one person. I protested and even phoned Amazon, but to no avail. The person at Amazon said "someone" put my book for sale at that price and "someone" posted the negative review and that it would stay on permanently. Have I any recourse?
A: Your question has many parts. First, I'm sorry that you had such a poor relationship with Amazon. Not everyone has the same results, but book sellers are pressed to give deep discounts to resellers such as bookstores and websites, which is why traditional publishers pay us authors so little per book. Most of the cover price of books goes to printing costs, shipping costs, overhead, commissions to distributors, and discounts to booksellers.
When I looked at your book listing on Amazon, though, it said the title wasn't available. It did not list any used copies, but I must tell you that the very first day my publisher released my book, Amazon listed used copies in addition to new ones. I was shocked! Since then I've heard rumors that people set up fake review names and addresses, get free copies of books for "review," and sell them as used books in perfect condition.
Check the Amazon payment policy. I believe it doesn't send out a check until the balance due adds up to a certain amount, perhaps $10. For a book that retails at $8.50, you would probably have to sell many more books than two, for the balance due you to reach the minimum. The only recourse is to promote your book more, so your sales can reach the amount that generates a check from Amazon.
As for the negative review, everybody is entitled to an opinion, good or bad. If authors were allowed to influence reviews or delete bad ones, no one would trust any of the reviews. They are authentic, and a bad review is here to stay. The only way to combat a bad review is to get better reviews from others.
If it makes you feel any better, I read the review. It says the author did a "sloppy job of editing," yet the single-paragraph review contains two misspelled words. Talk about a sloppy job!
Q: What is the rule about indenting paragraphs?
A: The opening line of every paragraph should be indented five spaces. To make the indents automatic, set the auto return on the toolbar at the top of the page to indent five spaces automatically. In Word, look for the ruler at the top of the page on your computer screen and move the top arrow in five spaces.
I have heard questions about whether the first paragraph of each chapter should not be indented, and the answer depends upon your intent for the book. If you plan to self-publish and want the first paragraph in the printed book not to be indented, you may choose to type the manuscript that way. If you plan to seek a traditional publisher, however, standard manuscript format calls for all paragraphs to be indented.
Q: How do I punctuate the doctor degree, Ph. D? PHD? Phd? Is there a space, or should the letters all run together?
A: Chicago style dictates that the abbreviation for doctor of philosophy should be typed Ph.D. It has a capital P, lowercase h, period, no space, capital D, and period. Example: John earned his Ph.D. this year.
Send your questions to Bobbie@ZebraEditor.com. Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas, owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions. Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at www.ZebraEditor.com.
The Small Publishers and Writers Network (SPAWN) website graciously hosts dozens of past "Ask the Book Doctor" columns. To catch up on many writing and editing tips, go to http://www.spawn.org/editing/index.htm#bookdoctor.
Three: This Month's Easy Editing Tip from Bobbie Christmas: Who/Whom
To determine whether to use who or whom, determine whether the word is the subject or the object.
Subject: Who = the person who is doing the action. Examples: Who said that? The boy who showed up was not the boy we summoned.
Object: Whom = the person to whom the action is done. Examples: To whom should I send this letter? Tell me whom to call.
For more editing and creative writing tips, order Purge Your Prose of Problems here:
Four: Subjects of interest to writers
Member Ben Oswald made the following information available to fellow members:
"I use an editing tool that works very well for me and might for some of your readers. I have Amazon convert my first draft in Word to an .azw file and send it to my Amazon Fire. When I am editing, I read my manuscript on my Fire, which sits to the right of my computer, and make the corrections and changes I find on my Fire in my desktop copy. I find mistakes more readily on my Fire than I do on my desktop, because I am looking at the manuscript in a form different enough from the one I was looking at while I composed the manuscript. Mistakes are therefore much more apparent.
"Also my wife reads my drafts on her [Kindle] Fire, notes changes and corrections, and brings them to my attention as soon as possible after she finds them. Cindy (or I) can highlight the changes and can also make notes about that correction, if necessary. When we sit down to review her corrections and suggestion, she can easily find the suspect word, phrase, etc., or check her notes if she thinks the text needs clarification. Reading my manuscript on her Fire is far more comfortable than reading it on her computer, and she more readily finds mistakes than when she was computer proofing."
His suggestion is great for owners of e-reader devices that allow readers to highlight passages. I'm still a believer in printing out my manuscripts and proofing them as hard copy, and I just finished that exact process with the second edition of Write In Style. I don't know why, but we do see more clearly when we proof a manuscript in a form other than the same one we worked on in Word. I'm of the old school, printing it out, but no matter what, proofing is a necessary final step and is best done in a form other than as the Word file on our computer screen.
Get 50% Off a Two-Day Writers Convention in Metro Atlanta!
June 13-14, 2015
Forsyth Conference Center
Register now using code Writer15 and get 50% off!
Use this link to sign up now: http://tinyurl.com/nharct8
Because I will be speaking at the upcoming Publish15 convention for writers, I've been given permission to offer all my members of The Writers Network a 50% discount off ticket prices when you register online at www.publish15.com using code Writer15.
Publish15 will bring a variety of experts, professionals, and providers in the publishing industry together with writers. Its mission is to educate writers about the latest trends and topics in the publishing industry, as well as expose them to available publishing, printing, and marketing options.
Every writer, whether seeking traditional or non-traditional publishing, will benefit from the knowledge they gain and the interactions and networking they do at Publish15.
Speakers will include experts in all areas of publishing, book marketing, social media, and more. Exhibitors from all areas of publishing will be available to speak to writers about the options available to them to publish, promote, and sell their books.
Publish15 will be held at the Forsyth Conference Center in Forsyth County. Attendees can choose from General Admission passes to the Exhibition Hall or a Two-Day Workshop Pass to attend a series of workshops held over the two days, with nearly 20 topics to choose from.
Publish15 is a first-of-its-kind annual publishing convention that will bring together a variety of experts and providers in the publishing industry with writers interested in having their work published.
Register now using code Writer15 and get 50% off! Use this link to sign up now: http://tinyurl.com/nharct8
Special added attraction: My readers begged me to re-release Write In Style, my award-winning book on creative writing that has been out of print since 2009. At the Publish15 conference, BookLogix and I will be launching the second edition of Write In Style, updated and expanded. Plan to get your copy while you're there.
Writers Network member Dan Anderson has launched his fifth book, The Loves of Cinderella. The Amazon URL is http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X1V6TZ0. This novel is a modern twist on an old fairy tale. This Cinderella is a teenager forced to flee Eastern Europe to escape terrorist rape squads. She finds her way to Beverly Hills as an au pair, only to encounter abuse and new threats from her evil host family. Read about how Cinderella overcomes numerous obstacles, including attempts on her life, to pursue her destiny of becoming a famous Hollywood actress and finding true love with Prince Charming.
Read about Dan's other novels at www.dananderson-mysteryauthor.com.
I'd Rather Be Writing
I have to cook, but my apron says "I'd Rather Be Writing." Find it and other gifts for yourself and friends at http://tinyurl.com/nvh7dyu.
You've finished writing your book. Now what? Read the good information in The Book Baby Blog: http://blog.bookbaby.com/2015/05/how-to-publish-a-novel/.
Have you ever been flummoxed by how to make a possessive out of names that are already possessive, like Macy's or McDonald's? The CMOS Shop Talk blog shines a spotlight on section 7.16, explaining how it's done. See http://tinyurl.com/ng8ts4z
Will I see you at the annual Florida Writers Association Conference in October?
Plan now to be at the 14th Annual Florida Writers Association Conference, October 15 - 18, 2015. The theme is “Changing Times,” and the event takes place at the Hilton Orlando in Altamonte Springs, Florida. FWA always gives smooth-running and highly informative conferences, and I'm honored to be one of the speakers again this year. I hope to see you there. For details and registration, see the FWA website at www.floridawriters.net.
Terminology Writers Should Know: Tittle
This entry is just for fun. Chances are you will never need to know that the dot over the letters j and i is called a tittle. Now you know, though, in case anyone ever asks you.
Amazon further expands its publishing horizons, adds nonfiction to its area of interest. Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/o6b68zl
Bless you, Carbonite! I'm always amazed at how I use this service to my advantage. I was using my laptop the other day and needed a file located on my desktop. No problem. I logged into my Carbonite account, went to my desktop computer files in the cloud, and downloaded to my laptop the latest version of the file I needed. In other cases, files I thought were corrupted or gone forever, I could access again through Carbonite. Follow this link to sign up, and you and I both get a $20 gift card of our choice: http://tinyurl.com/k9mb8r9, but even if you don't use Carbonite, please be sure your computer is always backed up to a safe location separate from your computer, and preferably not even in your house. The cloud is the only safe place to keep your backup files.
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 PDF e-book is the best deal. You get it immediately and pay no shipping. After you download the searchable PDF, it 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.
Two Free Audio Books with Free Trial of Audible
Limited time special to readers of this newsletter
Includes two free audiobooks with your free trial. Choose from 150,000+ best sellers, new releases sci-fi, romances, mysteries, classics, and more. After 30 days, get 1 book each month, $14.95/month, but you can cancel easily anytime. Your books are yours to keep, even if you cancel. To take advantage of the free book offer, click here: http://tinyurl.com/nlpofld.
Do your writing friends a favor, at no charge! Tell them to subscribe to The Writers Network News by going to www.zebraeditor.com and clicking on the yellow box at the top. To view back issues of this newsletter, go to http://tinyurl.com/psnmp6p.
What to do when you get home from a conference? See http://tinyurl.com/mnkj2vp for good suggestions after any writers conference you attend.
Can't decide whether to self-publish or try to find a traditional publisher? Learn all the advantages and disadvantages of both options. For a free report on that subject and many others related to creative writing, go to http://zebraeditor.com/free_reports.shtml.
Toby Haberkorn asks: "Is there any possibility that you might connect other writers like me who have the herculean task of marketing our books so we might share ideas and experiences? Marketing is a lonely activity." If you'd like to exchange marketing ideas with Toby, her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 will save almost $10 by buying the e-book. To order either, go to http://tinyurl.com/lexp7n.
Not sure when to cite a source in nonfiction? See what The Chicago Manual of Style says on its blog: http://tinyurl.com/px8tyvx
Become my friend on Facebook and follow my adventures, opinions, and observations: http://www.facebook.com/bobbie.christmas. I have a separate Facebook page specifically for writers. Like and follow my Zebra Communications for writers here: http://tinyurl.com/7vcxaxu.
Five: Contests, Agents, and Markets
ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/ Virgil Thomson Awards Competition Guidelines
Hurry! Deadline May 31!
The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards program recognizes books, articles, broadcasts and websites on the subject of music selected for their excellence. The Awards were established in 1967 to honor the memory of composer, critic and commentator Deems Taylor, who died in 1966 after a distinguished career that included six years as President of ASCAP. The Awards have been renamed in 2014 to also honor the memory of Virgil Thomson (1896 – 1989), one of the leading American composers and critics of the 20th Century, and a former member of the ASCAP board of directors.
Written works must be published in the United States in English, during the calendar year of 2014. The subject matter may be biographical or critical, reportorial or historical - almost any form of nonfiction prose about music and/ or its creators. However, instructional textbooks, how-to-guides, or works of fiction will not be accepted. Paperbacks that were originally published in hardcover are not eligible. Reprints or translations of works that were previously published outside the United States that are now being published in the United States for the first time are eligible. Program notes, recording liner notes and on-line publications are also eligible.
MATERIALS TO BE SUBMITTED
FOUR COPIES OF EACH SUBMISSION ARE REQUIRED:
Completed application form. (Online Submission Is Preferred)
When submitting more than one article, 4 copies of each article should be submitted.
Article submissions should be in letter-sized file folders.
Please submit a total of 4 folders regardless of how many articles you are submitting. (Label each folder with author’s full name only.)
Submissions of articles and liner notes are limited to three entries per author; articles that were published as a series of articles on a single, specific subject may be considered as one entry.
Liner notes should be limited to 4,500 words and also include four copies of each recording.
Individual web article submissions should include date first posted to website and four copies printed from site.
To submit a website for nomination, please include the home page web address, contact information from the site’s chief editor, screen shots of highlights from the site and a short statement about the site’s musical importance.
Four sets of the material must be submitted.
Submissions will not be returned.
Material should be mailed to: ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards 1900 Broadway New York, NY 10023
Please call 212-621-6318 with any additional questions.
Several categories of cash prizes are presented to writers of award-winning books and newspaper, journal or magazine articles (includes program, liner notes and on-line publications). Awards are also presented to the authors and journalists as well as to their respective publishers.
MATERIALS ACCEPTED FROM FEBRUARY 1 THROUGH MAY 31, 2015
Haiku Journal is a Prolific Press publication which celebrates the art of haiku poetry. As part of the Prolific Press mission, to make art accessible to everyone regardless of income, Haiku Journal is published, in its entirety, online for the world to see. Paperback issues are available in the Prolific Press bookstore.
Simplicity is the key here. Keep it simple and beautiful. Haiku should seem to say more than what is possible in three lines. They should resonate beyond themselves somehow.
1030 Hunt Valley Circle
New Kensington PA 15068
Contact: Editorial Department.
Publishes hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market originals. Accepts simultaneous Submissions. Responds in three months. Pays 5-15% royalty on wholesale price. Accepts unagented authors.
This Christian publisher accepts fiction and nonfiction submissions on topics with a Christian perspective.
Nonfiction: biography, general nonfiction, how-to, self-help
Nonfiction: religious, Christian, historical romance, African American romance, and Amish fiction
Submission Method: Query with SASE.
"Audience includes those seeking uplifting and inspirational fiction and nonfiction."
Twilight Times Books
P.O. Box 3340
Kingsport TN 37664
Contact: Andy M. Scott, managing editor.
"We publish compelling literary fiction by authors with a distinctive voice."
90% of titles are by unagented authors
Submission guidelines: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/subs.html
Twilight Times Books was established January 1999.
We will be open to fiction submissions from July 15 to August 5, 2015.
Wanted: Mid-list authors
Twilight Times Books will present the works of those writers whose stories blend genres, are too literary for other publishers or seem too mainstream or "quirky" in tone. The requirement for consideration at Twilight Times Books is your novel must be entertaining; your nonfiction book must be informative. Both fiction and nonfiction book submissions must be professionally written and you must have a comprehensive marketing plan.
Please note our formatting requirements, listed on our website.
We have expanded our guidelines to include more nonfiction titles in 2015-2016 and we are also interested in: creative nonfiction, how-to books, humor/satire, juvenile, magic realism, military/war-related, paranormal, supernatural, women's fiction, writing advice, etc.
When we re-open to novel-length submissions on July 15, 2015, we will be especially interested in the following categories: fantasy, literary, military SF, mystery/suspense, paranormal romance, science fiction, SF romance and YA fantasy.
Purchase a couple of books or read the stories in Twilight Times e-zine to determine the type of writing we're interested in seeing.
Six: Got Muse? Toss This Around
When a man wanted to propose to a woman in ancient Greece, allegedly he tossed her an apple. Catching it meant she accepted the proposal. Is this tidbit the truth? I don't know for sure, but it makes me think of many potential stories. Tossing something can mean many things. Think of the popular song that featured someone throwing some unidentified object off a bridge. What might that song have been about?
For this exercise think of a character tossing something for some reason and write a story about it. It could be a sports story, a mystery, or a love story, but it must involve tossing of some kind.
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.