tips

All posts tagged tips

10 Ways to Increase your chances of being published

Published 30/06/2014 by Lily Crussell

This is a newbie list I wrote for an article for a website (which they never used) of ways to ensure your MS is more likely to be noticed.

It is harder than ever to become a published author, and whilst the likes of ‘Twilight’ and ’50 Shades of Grey’ seem to fly off the shelves, many talented authors have hard drives over flowing with amazing new ideas.
Being a failed author myself, I hope these tips will prevent you from making the same mistakes.

1. Get known BEFORE submitting your manuscript

Publishers and agents want a guaranteed hit on their hands, and this is easier to achieve with an author who already has several credits under their belt. This can include a popular blog, writing credits for local magazines or websites, or winning writing competitions. Writing magazines and local literary groups often run competitions that may appeal and though some may not have a tempting prize just having placed is always a benefit to your profile.

2. Ensure your manuscript is finished.

Often non fiction books can still be in the planning stages whilst being submitted due to their needing finance for research etc. This is not the case with fiction. Your manuscript must be polished and ready before sending it out to agents because of…

3. The Slush Pile.

Your manuscript has taken years to write, you’ve edited, polished, pruned and perfected it. Unfortunately so have most of the other authors who submit work. Agents have a derogatory term for all the submissions they receive; The Slush Pile. They are looking for any excuse not to use your work and it can be something as small as not spelling their name correctly. Agents are sent hundreds of queries EVERY DAY. It is infeasible for anyone to read every word sent to them so they are often quite brutal in rejecting work to make their lives easier. 

4. Beta Readers.

Friends, family and writing groups can be essential for critiquing your work, but you need to be sure that they’ll be honest. There are websites that offer Beta reading and critiquing on the condition that you offer the same to them. Having an outsider with no emotional attachment to the author or manuscript means that you are more likely to get the truth rather than empty compliments that friends or family will give as they try not to offend you.

5. Keep Writing.

Expect to be waiting months to hear back from agents, and during that time you must keep writing. It could be a follow up to the book you are currently sending out (agents will love the concept of a series as it means more money) blog entries…it really doesn’t matter as long as you keep at it to improve your skills and keep your mind active. Enter competitions, write articles for local papers…just keep writing.

6. Spelling and Grammar

Whilst the internet is awash with ‘experts’ on grammar and spelling, it is difficult in the real world to ensure that your work is perfect. Computer spell checkers are wonderful, but they won’t pick out words that are used out of context. They also won’t spot missing words or sentences that make no sense. There is also only so useful you will be at noticing errors as you will know the story and will fill in blanks without even realising. There are companies that specialise in such work, or you can find a buddy on the net you can trust to read it in exchange for your help.

7. Social Networking.

Admittedly there are so many different types I find it hard to keep up, but learn which ones are used the most by your target audience. If you’re writing for teens LinkedIn isn’t the way to go. Twitter or Facebook would serve you better. If your work is more academic, search for forums and sites that are better suited for your material. Always think audience!

8. Blow your own trumpet.

No one likes an arrogant self promoter as a friend, but when starting out in this industry, you’re the only one who can make yourself known. Tell the world about your achievements; if you are involved in something that is covered by the media, ask to be listed as ‘author John Doe’ or ‘teen fiction writer John Doe’ anything that alludes to your work as they will lead to people looking you up. Put links to your website or social media in the signatures of all your profiles and email addresses.

9. Network.

Authors are often anti social or suffer from social anxiety (I speak of those I know including myself) this makes any communication harder, but trying to break in to this industry is hard work. Make friends, be generous with your time, hand out business cards in as many situations as you can get away with. Be useful to people so they want to help you via promotion or introductions they can make.

10. Have things in place.

You need a website. It doesn’t have to be beautiful as long as it has contact details, information about yourself and what you write. A biography is always helpful as you can list previous work and link to it (this can be your blog etc) to ensure anything connected to your career is able to be found in one place. Use LinkedIn to connect with other professionals. Email, social networking, promotional items…anything that will show agents and publishers that you are ready and eager to break into this medium.

Block and stupid wrists

Published 09/10/2012 by Lily Crussell

I was doing voluntary work at the primary school where my mum works and they had me covering and labelling books. I have no problem with boring repetitive jobs (all the more time to daydream about Norman Reedus) but it has caused me awful pains in my wrists. This means I can’t do any of the things I love I.E Pole (I’ve missed about three weeks now) or large amounts of typing. Not a happy bunny. This isn’t helped by the fact that the weather is rubbish! Grey skies from now until April I think urgh! On the plus side, I did see an awesome motivator that pointed out that girls don’t have to shave their legs until April lol. Unfortunately due to pole classes, I do shave. I shave more for my pole girls than I ever have for a guy. TMI, but c’est la vie. Can you tell I’m bored as I can’t write?

I’ve been reading a lot and finished ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls ridiculously quickly. It’s a sweet enough book and I’ll admit I did see a lot of myself in Emma Morley. Go read it, it’s good. I wasn’t happy with the ending, but there we go.

Other than not, nothing much to tell. The pubslush appeal has been ditched as it just wasn’t happening. I’m thinking of using Createspace to get ‘Of Darkness and Light’ into print, but I’m struggling with finding a cover designer. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of talented peeps out there, but they’re not doing what I want. I’m picky, what can I say. I just figure if I’m going to do it, I should do it properly with something I am 100% happy with. If you know anyone awesome who can work within the constraints of createspace (I really have no clue how it works) get in contact. Bare in mind I’m poor so nothing ridiculously expensive, unless they will take a kidney as payment. I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs, so my kidney must be in pretty good condition. One careful owner….lol.

THE WALKING DEAD SEASON THREE IS COMING SOON! OMG OMG OMG! I have a sad, sad life lol

Love and Hugs

Lily x

 Oh yes, we will have more angry Dixons! Booyah! x

Turning Points!

Published 20/08/2012 by Lily Crussell

Ok, another little bit from the writing course that I did about Turning Points. This is only a short one.

1. Set up/Scenario/status quo – Normality at the beginning of the story. Making the audience aware of what ‘normal’ is, so that when things change, it will be evident.

2. An inciting Incident – The ‘thing’ that changes everything. It can be hugely dramatic, or it can be something smaller. It doesn’t ahve to even be an event, it could be a changing of state fo mind.

3. A Number of Turning Points – The changes that make the action happen and lead to the conclusion (resulting in the character growing or changing.)

4. Climax – The point that everything has been leading to, usually a dramatic event of some kind. The reward for the build up.

5. Resolution – How everything changed / or went back to normal after the climax. This can be a change of view point or character traits may have changed.

Also, next giveaway at 1050 Likes on my FB page!

Love and Hugs

Lily x

Reedus Gif of the day;

 He’s all sleepy! Awwwwww x

Word Counts and why I hate them.

Published 20/07/2012 by Lily Crussell

The ‘new’ first draft is out with the betas, so we shall see what they think. The biggest problem I found for this one was how much I struggled to end it. I also hate how confined the genre is with word count. No publishers want a YA novel that is over 80,000 words. Of Darkness and light is 99,000 and I had to cut a tonne out of that! The one I’ve just sent out is 78,000 but that is because I cut a lot. More will probably be added after this draft. I understand that bigger books cost more to produce, but go pick up a  book from any other genre, and they’re often twice the size or more. The ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series for example (which I am currently reading) are HUGE. Each book is MASSIVE! I struggle to ‘kill my darlings’ when editing as if I put it in in the first place, I think there’s a reason for it. Some scenes don’t add to the story, but they show more about the character. Editing is my own personal hell, not only because I’m hacking out things that I like, but also because it’s impossible to see the book as a reader would. I know the background of my chars, so it’s impossible to notice gaps as my mind will instantly fill them in!

Any wannabe authors out there, find yourself a good critique partner as soon as possible! It’s not something I’ve been able to get for myself and I think it would be helpful, especially if that person is already published! That kind of advice is invaluable!

Thank you all again for the all the Birthday Wishes! They were much appreciated!

Lily x

I used this for a caption comp recently, but had to share it again. If you haven’t seen the Boondock Saints 1 and 2, go find them now! There will be a third, and the brothers quite clearly object to sparkly vampires! Bearing in mind my ex looks a lot like Robert Pattinson, I especially love this picture lol x

Caffeine Addled Brain

Published 10/07/2012 by Lily Crussell

Urgh! Just recently I can’t stop drinking tea! I’m thinking part of it is due to the weather being so like winter, that my body has shifted into ‘give up on cold drinks, ice, strappy tops and shorts’ mode. The heating has been switched on for goodness sake! Every day the weather is rubbish and grey and it’s either raining or looking like it’s about to. The only way us Brits make it through the winter is by thinking about Summer, and now that we’ve been cheated out of it, I think people are going to start hibernating!

I did something to my shoulder at pole last night, so struggled to sleep and am depending on tea to get me through the day! I’m working on edits for a NEW novel which I’m desperately trying to get finished so I can send it out to my Beta readers, but it’s a real struggle. I’m not feeling remotely inspired by it at the moment and I’ve hit a dead end…again. The ending sucked so needs rewriting and there are threads that don’t work out properly. Grrrr! I was hoping to get this one out to agents and publishers asap as I haven’t had anything new to send out for ages! ‘Of Darkness and Light’ is making the rounds….AGAIN with the info of how many downloads I’ve had etc, but some of those I sent out at the beginning of the year and I’ve not even had half of them back yet!

Please could you go Like my fanpage if you haven’t already! I’d love to get up to 900 by my Birthday (Next Wednesday)

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Lily-Crussell/229502913788140

 

Love and Hugs

Lily

 

New Book (or not)

Published 06/07/2012 by Lily Crussell

Somewhere in the madness of giveaways, competitions and making swag, I actually almost forgot the reason for it. I want to be a published author. I want people to read my work. Duh.

I had a very good writing day on Wednesday and wrote about 10 thousand words, which isn’t bad. The problem is, it wasn’t on a book that’s anywhere near finished. I am driving myself a little crazy because I can’t focus on one thing for more than five minutes. I know this is a symptom of depression, and due to the fact that they’re messing with my meds again (You don’t have to be crazy to be here, but it helps) I can’t sit still.

So to all those I have waiting to be Beta readers, it might be a little while longer than I anticipated. Grrrr!

BUT, check out my awesome tees I made yesterday! I’m wearing one now!

unfortunately the quality of the transfers wasn’t perfect as I burned them in a couple of places, but it’s all good and not that noticeable. I also broke the iron, so will be going out to buy my parents a new one. That’ll be a blow to the wallet I don’t need, but c’est la vie.

ALSO! I have joined squidoo. I don’t quite get it yet, but I have put a lens (page) up about my charm bracelets and will be adding more once I get used to it. It seems like a fun premise and kept me out of trouble for half an hour so it’s all good!

Love and hugs

Lily

P.S Had to give up on FAQ Friday due to a lack of questions. If you have any, message me or leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them on here as and when!

PPS; I had 460 downloads on Sunday alone last week when the book was free, so I’m thrilled about that. I’ve had 6 people borrow it, and 11 downloads between monday-today. The book is only 99p/$1.50 so take a chance on an indie author who has NO support from an agent or publishing house. I’m having to do all this from scratch having had no idea what I’m doing. It’s a steep learning curve, and along with having to hold down a full time job I loathe, it’s difficult to know where to start sometimes. In total, I’ve made about £40 from over 3600 downloads. That’s nothing. I’ve spent about £1500 on promotion, editing etc. This is what I want more than anything, but us indie’s need your help!

 

Bad Writing Day

Published 03/07/2012 by Lily Crussell

I’m working on a new manuscript. By new, I mean it’s not related to ‘Of Darkness and Light’ but it’s not new in the sense that I’ve written it recently. It’s one that has been sitting in various states on my laptop for about a year now. I decided it’s the closest to being finished and would make sense to work on it and get it out to agents. Unfortunately I am completely stuck. The ending I had previously written…sucks, for want of a better word. It doesn’t work, it’s messy and I don’t like it. The problem is, I now have a HUGE gap in the manuscript and can’t think my way out of it without using what I would call a ‘lazy’ idea. Something too blatant or conventional.

I was hoping to get it out to beta readers by the end of the week, but I’m not happy with it. The problem is, I can’t ask anyone for help without giving the whole plot away and I’m seriously worried about plagarism (It’s an idea that I don’t think has been covered recently (or at all) in YA fiction) I was really excited about it, but now that I’m stuck, it’s annoying the high heck out of me.

Rant over.

Anyway, head over to my facebook fan page as I’m having tonnes of giveaways at the moment in the form of caption competitions with some great prizes. (I’ve spent over £200 on postage over the last fortnight…oops!) So go take a gander. You can always use anything you win for giveaways on your own site/blog/review page.

What are you listening to at the moment? I’m completely in love with the album ‘Ex-girlfriends’ by Low Millions. I love Adam Cohen who is the singer of the band. He usually does his own albums, but I found this on Amazon and can’t stop listening to it! Love it!

Love and hugs

Lily x