Tag Archive: readers


Progress Report

 

I think now is a good time to update you on what’s going on with my writing…that and I don’t have an insightful idea for a blog. Hopefully I’ll get a few ideas in the coming days.

I just found out today that two of my flash fiction submissions were accepted by Super Flash Fiction. While I had submitted three, only two were accepted due to the fact that one was hard to follow. Their decision was perfectly understandable and one that was shared by my writers group. I wanted to show the direct aftermath of a superhero slug fest since that’s something I feel we rarely get to see in comic book. They always cut to a few days or a few hours after and gloss over the smoking rubble, sustained injuries and the immediate psychological effects the battle may have had on the characters. I think I’ll post it up here so you guys can read over it. Feel free to comment!

I’m supremely excited about “Dark on the Rock” being accepted to JukePop Serials. I’ve always loved the serial format of a TV show, and it’s one that I’ve blended into my writing style, so I’m eager to see how this new project turns out. With this and my superhero flash fiction, I may be getting calls or e-mails from Marvel, DC, BOOM! or another comic book company…or maybe even Joss Whedon himself to co-write The Avengers sequel!

I’m almost done with my query letter and I’ve got a list of agents to ship it off to. This is something that I’ve been dragging my feet on for a while. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the publishing business and I’m not sure if I still want to pursue traditional publishing. On the other hand, I’m not sure if I have a strong enough platform and enough insider knowledge to make a go at self-publishing. There’s just a deluge of self-published work out there, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to really stand out from the good authors and the not-so-good authors. But I think that if I express these concerns with an agent I’ll be fine. At the very least I can be content with the knowledge that  someone, or several someones, feel that I’m qualified enough to represent. Not that I need anyone’s approval, but still, publishing is a business and a business that requires a certain skill.

Still working on wrapping up my second novel. I’ve got a bit of the next to last chapter to finish up and a rough idea of how I want the final chapter/episode to be. Unbelievable to think that I’ve written one novel let alone that I’m about to finish another…and have mostly written the third seeing as I originally started with that one a few years ago. Ah, life.

So, as you can see, I’ve got a lot going on. I’ve come a long way, and know that I’m not ready to lay down in contentment yet, I don’t think I ever will be. I believe there’s always another step to take, another mile to go. It’s strange to think that I’m actually becoming a published writer with a query letter and almost two complete novels under my belt. We spend our lives dreaming, and when those dreams start to become reality it’s like they weren’t really dreams at all, just a skill we didn’t know we possessed. Can’t wait to see what else is in store for me…and for you, too.

Take care out there.

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Serial Killer…Kinda

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going serial!

I recently learned that my series DARK ON THE ROCK will be featured on JukePop Serials’ website very soon! If you’re a fan of superheroes or sci-fi, you won’t want to miss it! Even if you aren’t you still shouldn’t miss it. One of the great things about JukePop is that readers can not only vote for their favorite stories, they can also leave comments for the writer, which may have an impact on future installations/episodes.

Here is a small preview of what’s in store for you, and I’ll be sure to update as soon as JukePop launches. I’m really looking forward to this! Hopefully it’ll open some doors for me.

Take care out there.

 

 

I’m starting to work on perfecting my query letter(s) to send out to agents. *Pause for applause* I’ve been reading advice on how to write a query letter, what to include in a query letter and how to get your query letter trashed before the agent even finishes the first paragraph. While absorbing and taking note of all of this information, it’s occurred to me that writing a query letter is a lot like writing a book.

Let’s break it down like James Brown.

Target Audience

When writing a book, you have to know who your target audience is so you can craft your writing to reach as many people in that audience as possible. The same is true of a query letter. You have to know the name of the agent, what kind of material they accept and if they want to represent your material just as much as you like writing it. With both a book and a query letter, you want to make sure that your personality shines through. Although there are hundreds of urban fantasy series out there, each author speaks to the same audience in their own unique voice. Personality and individuality is paramount if you want to stand out on the bookshelves and in the inbox of agents.

Hook

If you don’t want readers to skip over your novel, you’ve got to have a hook. We live in an age where our eyes are constantly bombarded with stimuli, so if you want to snatch a person’s gaze, you’ve got to dazzle them. When it comes to books, the cover is what holds readers in sway. Once you’ve made them stop and stare, you’ve got to keep them enthralled with an original and compelling plot. With query letters, you’ve got to hook agents with your synopsis. I’ve always thought that blurbs are like movie previews, you don’t want to tell/show the audience everything, but you want to highlight the main points of the movie/novel and get their heart racing to see the full project. Authors have to come up with innovative and effective ways to get agents to ask for a full manuscript.

Trust

Bestselling authors aren’t always overnight sensations; it takes them time to build up their credentials before readers flock to pick up their new book the same day it’s released. One way they do this is by earning the reader’s trust and consistently putting out excellent material.  When writing a query letter, your trust comes from your publishing credentials. The more publishing credits you have to your name, the more likely an agent will trust that you know how to write and sell story, even if you’ve never written a novel before. If you don’t have many publishing credits, that trust comes from your personal background, what you’ve done before you decided to write a book and what makes you the perfect person to write a certain type of book.

Professionalism

In most cases, agents don’t want to deal with authors who don’t know jack about the publishing industry. They’re much too busy with other authors, editors, publishers and their own personal lives to give you even the nickel tour of the publishing world. The same applies to writing a book. Readers don’t want to waste time and money on an author who doesn’t care about grammar or learning the fundamental rules of novel writing, such as character development, plot and proper resolution. Remember, we live in a rapid fire age, and it only takes a few sentences for readers to decide if they want to buy a put or stuff it back on the shelves.

Now, I consider myself to be an intermediate-bordering on advanced writer, so what I’ve shared with you here is by no means holy gospel, only my personal observations on the matter. Writer’s Relief has a ton of posts on query letters, as does the illustrious Rachelle Gardner. Be sure to subscribe to both if you’re in need of a lighthouse while navigating the surging waves of the writing ocean.

Take care out there.

Mum’s the Word

Controversy.

It’s a word that sends images and words hurtling through our minds. It seems as if we can’t go a single day without experiencing, reading or hearing about some sort of controversy. We may lock ourselves in our homes, cut off the TV, take a hiatus from Facebook and Twitter and escape to the fantasy world of a book. Only to find that our escape isn’t an escape at all, but another quagmire of controversy.

As writers, we may not want to upset or alienate our readers. They give us their time, money, attention and hopefully their praise. We don’t want to dissolve that tenuous tether of trust by having our characters deal with something like abortion, race issues, homosexuality, rape or anything else that the public feels strongly about. Even if we don’t outright announce our stance on the issue, we don’t want to run the risk of scaring off potential readers by bringing in real-world politics or have a character who is thinking about having an abortion.

I often find one of the best ways to unravel my emotions and thoughts is to write them down, put my characters in a similar position and allow them to show me the way. Sometimes I’m shocked at how intelligent my characters are, just as I’m stunned by how cruel they might be. Even though it’s me writing the story, I’m not the one telling that story. I write about characters who share my personal views and beliefs, and I also write characters whose beliefs I don’t agree with. And sometimes it’s the characters whose views aren’t my own who are the most enjoyable to write.

Imagine that.

Controversy is something that I feel cannot and should not be ignored. Writers are nudists. We show our naked flesh on the page, the ink becomes our scars, moles and stretch marks, the creases in the book are the creases in our skins. We offer ourselves up to our audience and hope that they will be gentle. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t. All of that being said, what’s the true risk in including an inter-racial couple, gay couple or a noble cheating spouse in your work? Not every reader will like what you write, even if they are fans of your genre. You have to ask yourself, are you writing to get your ideas out into the world, or are you writing to get a paycheck in your hand? Usually the answer is both, and it’s entirely possible to do both and still remain true to who we are, all with a little ingenuity.

As a gay African-American author, I know that there will be times when I’ll have to decide how much or how little of certain…possibly controversial subject matter I wish to put on the page, something that I’ve encountered already with writing my first novel. I’ve decided to not shy away from it, but also not to take it to the extremes. I enjoy creativity, and I want to not just put my own beliefs and views on the page, but do it in a creative way.

Creativity. Controversy. Creative controversy. Controversial creativity.

Blending them together gives them a totally different meaning, don’t you think?

Take care out there.