Sunday, April 22, 2012

Searching For Publishers

Oooh this is a tricky one! Why? Because the urge will be there to write to as many publishers as you can, as quick as you can! (You'll see).

Hopefully, your carefull planning will help you to avoid that. Because as you near the end of your 1st draft, you should have compiled a list from which you can make an informed choice.

There are huge publishing houses, Medium sized and the Smaller houses. Who do they represent? How many in your specific genre? How well do they do each year in getting their author's noticed.
There will be a temptation to write to the large ones, because they will get you noticed and make you rich and famous yes?

Sorry, statistics are against you.(Unless you are already established)

What did I do?
Okay, I admit it, I tried a few of the larger publishing houses to begin with. I followed their instructions to the letter. I avoided the temptation to send off multiple submissions. And it was awful waiting for the rejections.
The thing about the larger houses is, they have many, many editors covering each specific genre. If your submission ends up on the wrong desk on the right day? It's over.
Even if you get the right editor and you get through to the next stage - (and I did) - they are so commercialised that unless you've submitted at the right time, you can be rejected solely because of the fact they have already 'filled' this years 'slots' for, eg, Fantasy or Romance.
If you happen to have caught things exactly right - well - again, they may be sooo large, they can choose to be very, very picky.
Most of the time though - they are only interested in established authors who have published their work through other houses.

I've got to tell you a simple truth here. I used my head.

I started writing my first full length novel in November 2010. I completed my 1st draft in April 2011.
I did a re-edit, had it 'proof read' by several people and began submitting it to publishers around the end of May 2011.
By September, I was getting fed up with rejections. (Remember how I said to prepare yourself for this?) again - you'll see why....
On several occasions, I made it through to the next level.
On one occasion, the publishers asked me to 'restructure' my work to their particular taste.
I came so close. And for me, that was worse than an outright rejection.

So - I stopped the 'panic', used the constructive feedback I had received from four publishing houses, and did a major re-edit, transferring my entire work (well 99% of it) to American English. (I missed a few words! :)
This was completed by November 2011.

Then, I started narrowing my search to those publishers who were, how can I say? - different.
I specifically looked for established publishing houses who were widening their genre list and expanding. I also looked for established editors who were branching out.

THESE are the publishers to look for.
They are not a pushover - don't get me wrong - their business is to surround themselves with quality authors so they can make a viable living. BUT they will be hungry for new talent.

So, as I say, From the end of November 2011, I started a thorough search for quality publishers in this particular 'niche' and found half a dozen who were really attractive prospects.
I ensured my submission was top quality and started sending off applications.

Those I wrote to didnt mind multiple submissions, and so I honestly stated that fact on my application, assuring them I would not be foolish enough to try and play one off against the other.

Guess what happened?
My 1st application - a single submission - NO reply!
My second submission ( a double submission ) I got a very encouraging reply in only a week, (Yes - 1 week) - stating they liked the quality of my submission and that they wanted to see more!
I sent off my entire manuscript and thought.... HELP!

While I was waiting - I received another reply from the second publishers stating they also liked what they saw, and that my submission was being passed to a chief editor to look over.

In the meantime, the original publisher who asked for my full manuscript liked what they saw - and offered me a contract! (THANK YOU RUBY LIONESS PRESS)...
True to my word, I had to contact the second publisher and thank them for their kind assistance, and notified them I had been offered a contact elesewhere.

After I signed my contract, I even had a reply from someone who I had written to over 6 months previously and forgot about. Guess what? They liked my work!... what?
Needless to say - I contacted anyone I had ever written to very quickly to ensure they knew I was no longer available.

So, I'd managed to secure a strong contract with an expanding publishing house, having experienced publishing staff, quality experienced editors and a number of well established authors already contracted to them.

If I may offer my 'inexperienced' advice?

Look for publishing houses like these! They are there and, as I have found, the smaller houses are much friendlier, more supportive and they are good for you.
My own publishers - Ruby Lioness Press - are like a family and have encouraged me to improve in amazing ways.

How? I'll tell you about that next time - AND - HOW it's helped improve my quality.
See you then.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ruby Lioness Press - A Quality Publisher and Growing Family.

Check out what's happening on the above website.

Or - on Facebook/Twitter - Ruby Lioness Press

Friday, April 13, 2012

You can find out more / different things about my books and future projects at Blogaholic and Manic Readers.

Find out more about short story projects:

Love Bite
A Fresh Start

Main Novels:

Guardian Angels - Book 1 of the Guardian Series - Coming August 2012
Guardians - Book 2 of the Guardian Series

And projects under development:

Fallen Angels - Book 3 of the Guardian Series
The Tale of Augustus - Book 1 of the Cambion Journals.

Looking forward to getting to know you better through the pages of my work...

BOOK LAUNCH - "Fairy Tail"

I am pleased to announce my debut short story, "Fairy Tail" was published today by Ruby Lioness Press and will be available for your enjoyment within the next few days at

My thanks to everyone who made it possible and for encouraging me to try something different.

I hope you enjoy it...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Actually Getting It Down on Paper (Or Computer)

This will be a short entry because I can't really tell you what to do. I can only relate what I did, and I started to put things down only after acknowledging my strengths and admitting my weaknesses!

Sounds strange I know - BUT - unless you do that yourself, you might end up being your own worst enemy. Why? Well, like I said, I'll use my own personal example.
I'm a very focused and determined individual. Some might look on that as a "positive", especially when it comes to writings books. However, I also had to combat my impatience and when you're a motivated individual like me, you have to be careful.
In the past, if I had something that needed doing - believe me - it gone done! I'd start on whatever it was and keep going and going until I'd overcome all obstacles and it was finished. Even if I was exhausted at the end of it.

You can't do that if you're writing a book. The quality will suffer and all your preperation will go to waste. So, what did I do?
I channeled that focus and determination into finding the right routine for me.
I accepted the fact I can be impatient and that motivated me to adopt a working practice that made me think I was busy all the time. And THAT really helped the quality of my work.

Me? First thing in the morning I like to look through the public and social sites. See who's doing what and where. What's current? What trends are developing? How will that affect future projects.

I take a break, train, shower, have breakfast etc, and by 9.00am I'm sat down ready to write And I DO write, using my pre-prepared guide notes and research as a blueprint. Don't get me wrong, the story evolves in its own way too, but I'm free between the hours of 9.00am - 1 or 2.00pm every day to write and make my creation grow.
I obviously take breaks during that time, as if you allow yourself to get tired, your story will reflect your jaded and worn out frame of mind. When I take those breaks, I make sure I get away from the screen. It's good to refresh the mind.
After 2.00pm I make a point of doing something entirely different, my Greek Language or Dancing Lessons, sports, reading a book, drawing, watch TV - whatever. So long as it's different.
Then, during the early evening, from about 4 - 6 or later evening 7 - 9 (dependent on my other lessons/passtimes etc) I take another look at my socual/public sites and do some research.
Usually, it's in preparation for what I'm going to be writing the next day. Sometimes, I check up or add depth to what I've already written.
Remember - when you add depth and substance - it reflects throughout your manuscript. I find this quite refreshing - not like work at all - but still limit myself to a couple of hours at the most.
Sometimes, I research and prepare new projects! (Wait and see - I've got some absolute gems coming your way).

Now - some of you wouldn't touch this routine with a big stick. Others might relate to it. but that's the point. It isn't YOUR routine, it's mine! It works for me and keeps me raring to go and itching to write.
And THAT'S the hunger you want to experience. THAT's how you make you writing concept exciting and build your idea into a book people will want to read.

Next time - I finished writing my manuscript. What did I do as I neared the end? What did I do next?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Following a Blueprint

You can't wait to get writing! But before you do, make sure you have an outline to follow, a blueprint, or as I sometimes like to call it, a skeleton.
The skeleton provides the framework on which you will "hang" your story - beefing out your concept into an evolving living entity. Your story, if properly constructed will add the muscles, sinews and organs, skin and distinguishing characteristics.
This will involve combining your plot - your characters and how they evolve - the villains - their interaction - the history of how they got there - where they are going, etc, etc. Of course, part of my process involved the Guardians themselves!
We know how I devised the concept - but when it came to the story itself, I had to think: Why are they so concerned about society? What are their motives and purposes? When they do introduce themselves, how far is their influence going to go?
How does this fit into where "I" want to go? What's the beginning of my story? Where and how does it eventually end? What main bodyparts do I have to traverse to get from the feet to the head?
Yes - what route will I follow along the blueprint to set out in the first place and then reach the end?
I mapped out the Guardians story in a simple chain.
I discovered there would be six main steps to get from one end to the other.
However, those steps would cover a considerable time, and that might involve making the books too huge to be considered. So, I split the six steps into two main parts - two trilogies if you like.
The first part would cover the initial introduction of the Guardians into society and all the hurdles and challenges they would have to overcome - as well as the villains they would have to contend with - while the second part would......? Ah - you'll have to wait and see! ha ha.
Having done this, I then had to think how I could make it interesting.

I'm an avid science fiction/fantasy reader. But I don't read just anything! I like quality work. And believe me, I was around when the Sci-fi/fantasy genre exploded onto the scene and became a major industry.
I quickly saw you had to be careful what you spent your money on, as sadly, in the early days, alot of rubbish managed to slip through.
Fortunately, there were some quality writers. Myself, I followed Stephen R Donaldson, Terry Brooks, Ursula K Le Guin. As time went by, I found Julian May, then Raymond E Feist, Trudy Canavan.
Looking at their styles, some followed a simple format: A - B - C - D etc, etc. gradually evolving the storyline and characters.
Others mixed it up a bit! A - C - B - D is perhaps the best way to describe it. They introduced the story, gave you some history, then developed the plot, giving a hint about the future. Then - you went back in time! It added great depth to what you had already read. It helped you understand the characters better - who they were - why they were like that, etc. Then it might jump forward - showing how things were - then you went "in between" to see how you got from A to C.
Sounds complicated, but when it's done well - Wow! It keeps you hooked and really helps you appreciate the depth of the story and it's characters.

I wanted my story to be more than just a story. I wanted an outline that people could relate to, see themselves in, become part of. I wanted my characters to be "real". Someone you could imagine as a friend, an enemy, someone you'd absolutely hate in real life and wish you were part of the story so you could be there to get rid of them!
I wanted the development of the story to grab you, and hold you - but - keep you guessing too.
So - although it took alot of planning - I mixed it up a bit. (As you will hopefully see).
That way, I added a real depth - not just to the story - but to my characters, giving them an internal and external storyline, a history with twists and turns that comes out as the story progresses.
As I did this - I made them "real" in my mind.
That's important. If they're not real to you - how are you going to convince your readers?
That's why I developed a very detailed uniform, rank structure, training program etc etc for each and every Guardian from the word "GO".
They have an emblem - a training academy - operations centers and stations. They have a "life".
Appreciating this helped me to become immersed in their world at the "Blueprint" stage.
And now - I was ready to write.
But that's for next time -
Are you ready to meet the Guardians?