The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Back-of-the-Book Blurb Friday # 18

             Every Friday (except for June that Sioux took the month off and poked into the bottom of a gross of Russel Stover candies and last night, when she was busy with her granddaughter) there is a photo, and a link. (Mr. Linky is such a slinky fellow.)

          The premise is to write a blurb for an imaginary book--and the photo is the cover of the book. You have a limit with the blurb--it can be no longer than 150 words long. You get to choose what kind of book it is. This clever writing exercise is the brainchild of Lisa Ricard Claro, whose 3rd romance novel, Love to Win, comes out on July 30. 

       After you write a blurb, add your name to the link. (It's incredibly simple.) Feel free to peruse the dozens of one or two other blurbs that linked.

       Here is the "cover" of the book, along with my blurb:

Love at First Bite

Petunia nipped at Pugsley in the dog park, and was immediately smitten. His stout build. His short legs. His pushed-in nose. He was one hot dog!

And Petunia. Her scrawny legs. Her eyes that bugged out in such a beguiling manner. She was one hot-to-trot (on a walk twice a day) *itch!

Petunia had seen many dogs turn their butts away, snubbing the sniff, when a different breed would walk by. A chihuahua and a pug pairing? Not a wise combination, from Petunia's perspective.

But love wants what love wants. So Petunia hatched a plan—to transform herself into a pug, so Pugsley's family and friends would embrace her... with open paws.

Will there be a litter of puppies in Petunia and Pugsley's future? Or will Pugsley and Petunia each insist spaying and neutering would be the wisest way to go? Read Love at First Bite to find out. (148 words)

      And here is the photo for next week. I hope to actually post it on Friday. (This was a crazy week.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Selling Short Nonfiction

          On Saturday I went to the AWN (All Write Now) conference. The first session I went to was with Sue Bradford Edwards. In a session that was an hour or so long, she shared lots of information. Here are some of the points/advice she shared:

  • When an editor asks, "Can you do this?" (such as "Can you write an article about camel poop?") you say "Yes. Definitely." And then you rush around doing research...
  • Once you set your sights on a magazine to write for, read the last 6 months' to a year's worth, so you aren't pitching something they published a few months ago.
  • Sue's first draft is full of notes to herself in all-caps. (For example:  LOOK UP THE DATE WHEN KOKO THE GORILLA WAS BORN.) This way, your writing is not slowed down and also, you won't forget that a key detail needs to be inserted there.
  • Sue does expert interviews to verify information, and she's never had anyone turn her down when she tells them she's writing an article for children.
  • Make your information kid-friendly. Sue once did an article on horses (or was it the poop on poop?) and she discovered that a horse produces so many cubic yards of manure every week. Well, what does a cubic yard mean to a kid? Nothing, so Sue found out how much poop fits into a typical backpack and put it in those terms. Now that's something a child can understand:  A horse produces 25 backpacks of manure every week (or however many they can fill up).
  • Make sure the slant is appropriate for the age level. One of Sue's friends wrote a piece about Jimi Hendrix... for eight-year olds. Is this the audience that needs to hear of his drug use? His overdose? This writer wrote about Hendrix's early years--when Jimi was a kid, he painted and drew. The author connected his artistry during his childhood with how he later painted with music. 
  • Hook the reader with a great beginning. If you can find an oddball fact that contradicts what most people think they know about a subject, the reader cannot resist reading more.
  • Magazine editors want their readers to continue to think about the subject even after they've finished reading the article. Make sure the ending is well-crafted.
  • Research a magazine before you query them. 

        ---Who's the audience?
        ---What's the tone? Academic? Casual?
        ---Make a log of the articles they've published in the last year. If 
            the authors' names appear on the magazine's masthead or
            if they're editors, that's not the sort of thing you can pitch.

        It was a great conference. Many of the St. Louis writers impressed the agents and the editors. Donna Volkenannt--they want to see her whole manuscript. Pat Wahler--they want to see hers. Kathy Cureton (Val)--they want her proposal (she's working on a nonfiction book). And moi? One editor wanted to see my manuscript. Another wanted to see 50 pages.

         Stay cool, and keep your keyboard running hot with regular drafting and submissions.