Caffeinated Press is pleased — giddy, even — to attend this year’s Ann Arbor Book Festival. On Saturday, June 18, from noon until 5 p.m., we’ll be participating as a retail vendor during the downtown street fair.
Writing the Great American Novel isn’t much different from studying a martial art or learning to scuba dive or qualifying for the Boston Marathon: You need a wee bit o’ talent, of course, but success follows from mastery, which follows from putting in the time to advance from novice to expert.
While it may be true that certain writing rules apply broadly, or even universally, the application of those rules can vary widely as a function of genre and story length.
One of the worst things an author can do is shop queries on the open market for material that hasn’t been substantially revised in light of feedback from competent beta readers.
I don’t think there’s a “One Weird Trick” approach to building a writer’s toolkit that will work for everyone. The ways I’ve written in the past don’t work for me today, and today’s method may not work for me a year from now. What’s important is that your infrastructure blend into the background; you should use it, without being aware that it’s there. And when it doesn’t work, change it up.
Although publisher/agent guidelines vary in the specifics, most novel queries require a cover letter, one to three sample chapters and a synopsis. Synopses, however, tend to bedevil early-career writers. They’re presented, usually, as an afterthought, or as some sort of back-of-the-cover tease — and therefore, the synopsis becomes the silent killer of what otherwise could have been a perfect pitch.
Like it or not, although writing as an activity is inherently solitary, writing for publication is an astonishingly social cultural phenomenon that requires much networking and relationship building.
A few quick items of interest from your friends at Caffeinated Press — Open office hours today, Sun. Mar. 13, from 10a to 4p. Please feel welcome to drop in, have some coffee, plug into the power and the Wi-Fi, and keep makin’ progress on your magnum opus. No RSVP or fee. Just show up at […]
Even though it might be embarrassing, an occasional trip down memory lane is useful. And it’s worth remembering, too, that your first or second novel will almost surely end up in the back of your file cabinet. That’s OK. It’s healthy. Your goal shouldn’t be to write and then to publish, but rather to write until you’re ready to publish.
Dive deeply into author one-page bios, glossy headshots, writers’ blogs, social media marketing and book synopses.