03 May 2016

Pitch to Publication: Reflections on the Editing Round

That time I thought I'd only take on 1 manuscript...

In March and April I was a participating editor in #P2P16. As a follow up to my post about the selection round, I wanted to share here some of my reflections on the editing round, which ran from March 12th to April 15th, and the goal of which was to work with my chosen authors to get their manuscripts ready for the agent round, April 16th-22nd.

My P2P authors & their manuscripts
I chose to work with Tabitha Bird on THE EXQUISITENESS OF SEEING because the voice was lyrical and distinctive; the premise captivating; the theme of healing oneself from past trauma something I'm personally passionate about; and because the final pages reached into my body, grabbed my insides, pulled them out and laid them bare. This was the manuscript that got me sobbing just from the partial.

In response to Tabitha's partial

05 April 2016

Pitch to Publication: An Editor's Perspective

Last month I participated for the first time in Pitch to Publication, not as a writer but as an editor. I had no idea what to expect, but I'm so glad I did it. In this post I reveal the work I did during the week of March 6th and how I made my decisions. I hope it will be helpful (or at least interesting) to writers who are thinking of submitting to P2P in the future.

Round 1
I received 86 queries, most of which fit my manuscript wish list (MSWL). Deciding early on that I would only have two piles, a Maybe pile and a Pass pile, I read the query letters and usually just the first 2-3 pages of the writing sample.

Those that made it into the Maybe pile had a well-written query letter that gave me a sense of the premise, plot, stakes, and character(s) - some or all of which resonated with me on a personal level - and pages that started in a scene with some sense of stakes, emotion, and/or intrigue. The most common reasons I passed were that the submission didn't fit with my MSWL or the story didn't start in the right place. There were a couple of cases where the first five pages were actually outstanding, but the premise or main characters just weren't my cup of tea.

I did notice that I became pickier about halfway through the submissions, which would suggest that those who submit early have a slight advantage. That said, there were definitely some very strong submissions that came in later, several of which made it into my Maybe pile and I think one or two even made it to Round 3.

26 February 2016

Pitch contests

If you are an author who has finished writing The Thing and wants to get it published traditionally, there are many reasons to consider pitch contests.

Much has already been written on this subject by other bloggers, so instead of rehashing here, I'll point you to some of the articles I like:
  • On her blog Writability, Ava Jae has discussed the whys and why-nots of entering Twitter pitch contests. (She also has a host of other helpful posts on the topic, including several on pitch critiques.) 
  • Christina Dalcher has blogged about The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of pitch contests; I found her cautions in the last section particularly helpful. 
  • Literary Agent Carly Watters wrote a succinct yet comprehensive guide to Twitter pitch contests
  • And on Carissa Taylor's blog you'll find a fairly comprehensive list of pitch contests that seems to still be relevant despite the fact that it's a few years old.

What I want to talk about is Pitch to Publication (#p2p16), a pitch contest organized by Samantha Fountain (@FountainWriter) with help from my colleague Becca Heyman (@RFaithEditorial) that's different from any others I've heard of. Most pitch contests involve a writer pitching to agents. Sometimes the prize includes critique. But Pitch to Publication has two rounds and includes not just critique but actual editing.

22 February 2016

Writing prompt 66

As longtime followers of this blog will know, from time to time I get an idea (or a line of dialogue or an image) that I really like but am probably not going to do anything with because I have too many writing projects in the works already.

The following lines popped into my head sometime last week. I wish I could tell you an interesting story about where I was at the time or why it occurred to me, but of late my life's been so full that I'm lucky if I remember in the afternoon what I did in the morning.


02 February 2016

Writing inspiration: A lesson in conflict

Nothing has been easy this week. And it's only Tuesday.

Case #1: I went to the gym this morning for the first time in three months. I got up early, braved the cold, spent what seemed like hours (but was probably only 10-15 minutes) scraping frost off my car windows. I thought about giving up several times, but in the end I got into my frost-free car and drove to the gym...only to find out that they couldn't unfreeze my account. They'd have a manager call me, they said. But she didn't, so it was on me to call back this afternoon. Sorry, but only the primary account holder (i.e. my friend) can authorize this. Friend contacted, but she's incredibly busy, so no idea when I'll hear back about when she can find time to go reactivate my account.

Case #2:  I just moved, so I called my health insurance company to report a change of address. They got a new system recently, and now the only way to change my address is to reapply. (Really?!?) But that's okay: you can reapply online! Super easy! Except I don't have either of the two supported browsers. But that's okay! You can print the application! Except that I don't have a printer, so I'd need to go down to a photocopy store and pay bunches of money to print it out, and then pay to mail it in. But that's okay! Here's a list of people nearby who can help you! Look, this one has an appointment available this week! Next page: No appointments available. Sigh.