Tuesday, January 27, 2015

3 MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN SENDING QUERY LETTERS





Now that everyone is back from their holiday celebrations, agents will start seeing an increase in their submission stacks.  If you have been working hard to get your manuscript ready, you might want to take a moment to make sure you don't make any of these common mistakes when querying agents...

1. DEAR EDITOR OR TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Whether you are submitting your manuscript to an agency or directly to a publisher, you want to make sure you address your query to the correct person. Take time to check out the submissions guidelines on their websites. Check out the websites of the authors working with these companies to determine an actual contact name to attach to your query. Statistics show people LOVE hearing their names and taking the time to address your query letter to the right person instead of simply tacking a "to whom it may concern" or a "dear editor" as a header to your query will show the person considering your manuscript that you are a professional who did their homework.

2. I WROTE A YOUNG ADULT, HIGH FANTASY MEDIEVAL HISTORICAL FICTION MYSTERY LOVE STORY ADVENTURE QUEST

There is nothing that will make an editor or publisher's head spin faster than a writer who can't decide what they've actually written. How can you submit to the correct person if you don't know what you wrote? Your manuscript might have elements from different genres, but you need to decide what is the MAIN focus of your story line. There will be people out there who cover a variety of genres but as a writer, your manuscript identification can't be convoluted. If you're not sure, have your critique group or some beta readers help you to identify exactly WHAT you wrote before sending out that query letter.

3.  I KNOW YOU'RE CLOSED TO SUBMISSIONS, BUT YOU'LL WANT TO READ MY BEST SELLING MANUSCRIPT

Agents and publishers LOVE discovering heart stopping, page turning manuscripts. What they DON'T like are writers who try to force their manuscripts on them without having enough respect for the querying process. Make sure to check their guidelines first to see if they are currently accepting submissions. This would also be a good time to make sure you are sending your query to the right individual.

As a writer, you've poured your heart and soul into your story. Now make sure you give it the best chance of being requested by an agent or publisher by avoiding some common mistakes on the road to publication.

************

I hope you learned something new today and be sure to check back tomorrow for the next post in my month long celebration!






Blurb:


Addie comes from a long line of readers, or “story catchers,” as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it  will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.

Buy Links:
 
THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB: 
 
Fan club membership includes:
 
Membership Certificate
Bi-monthly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news and other goodies
Reading log for earning Story Catcher Award
Short story starring YOU!
Book Trailer:




Monday, January 26, 2015

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO GETTING PUBLISHED







I want to tell you a little story I don't think I've told anyone yet. It's about when I when I was offered a book deal for THE STORY CATCHER.

I'd pitched my story during a Twitter pitch party and received a message from my future editor, Jessica Schmeidler. A number of emails soon followed where she expressed her interest in wanting to offer me a book contract. I was so naive to the whole publishing process back then I didn't even understand what she was offering. I had to ask her to repeat herself to make sure I had heard what I thought I was hearing. I'm sure she was probably laughing at me (in a good way) and I can't blame her. It was funny when you think about it.

Here I'd been writing for more than 40 years. Most of those years were just for me but for the past 5 years I focused all my efforts on having one of my books published and now Jessica was offering to fulfill my dream of becoming an author.

But do you know what is even funnier?

Just how much I've grown as a writer and what I'm capable of doing going forward with my career.

I never realized just the fact that one book being printed by an independent publisher would give me credibility with people in the writing community outside of my friends. Less experienced writers are now asking ME for advice and I have to laugh because it was not too long ago I was in their shoes. I can still feel what it's like to be overwhelmed with everything involved and while in no way do I consider myself an expert at this whole publishing thing, there are now people out there who do and that concept is very funny to me.

I've learned handling all aspects of marketing and promoting my book may not be beyond my ability to do and again, people are coming out of the woodwork asking my advice about things like they think I know what I'm doing which makes me laugh.

I'm also learning that my book, THE STORY CATCHER, has a special meaning to many people and I think that surprises me most of all. I was fortunate. I never had trouble reading and my son was blessed with the ability to read at a very young age. Addie's journey, however, is similar to many children today who struggle to corral those wiggly words long enough to catch their own stories. People are already beginning to tell me stories of either their own struggle with learning to read or how their children currently are struggling. THE STORY CATCHER reaches out to all generations and may end up touching more hearts than I ever imagined possible.

But you know what? My amazing editor, Jessica, knew it all along. She told me people would like the wonderful illustrations and they have. She told me people would connect with my story more than I would realize and they are.

It's funny how we writers think writing is a solitary business where we're never sure if someone will like what we write. The reality of it all is we are just creating a canvas of words where everyone knows how to use the colors but we just got to them first. And THAT'S the funniest thing of all...

*************

I hope you learned something new today and be sure to check back tomorrow for the next post in my month long celebration!






Blurb:


Addie comes from a long line of readers, or “story catchers,” as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it  will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.


Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle ¦ Paperback ¦ B&N ¦ Smashwords

 
THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB: Fan club membership includes:
Membership Certificate
Bi-monthly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news and other goodies
Reading log for earning Story Catcher Award
Short story starring YOU!




Book Trailer:




 

 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

DO YOU REALLY NEED AN AGENT TO PUBLISH A BOOK?





Actors have agents. So do athletes. Why even a circus clown can have an agent so why not writers? But maybe the bigger question should be...do writers NEED an agent to publish a book?

Maybe not.

It's going to depend on what your end goal is. Have you put together some favorite family recipes and just need a few copies printed? Then you definitely don't need an agent. Maybe you've self-published quite a few titles on your own and feel fairly confident about the whole publishing thing but now want to consider expanding into a more traditional market? You might do just fine without an agent when subbing that next manuscript to a larger publishing house if you have decent books sales, like in the thousands, to back up the titles already out there.

I feel I was lucky since I didn't have an agent at the time Anaiah Press offered me a book contract for THE STORY CATCHER. Maybe it was because my manuscript was simply that compelling that it didn't need an agent to sing it's praises. Or maybe it was because Anaiah is a small press just starting out and was willing to give my book a chance. No matter the reason my book is proof that at least for one writer, an agent wasn't needed to get a book deal.

But for the majority of writers out there, if you have long term goals (like I do) of really wanting to make a career out of your writing, then securing an agent is probably the best way to increase your chances of receiving a contract offer.

Look at it this way. I can either cast my fishing line in my backyard pond where there might be one or two fishies to take a nibble at what I'm offering. Or...I can hop on that agent's charter boat that's willing to take me out in the middle of the ocean to help me land a whale of an offer. Which do you think I would want to go with??

And just in case you aren't sure where to start, here are some newer agents who are actively seeking new clients. They just might cover the genres you write in. Check them out by clicking on their agency links listed below:


Caitie Flum... http://www.lizadawsonassociates.com/

Amanda Panitch...http://www.lmqlit.com/

Kirsten Carleton... http://www.waxmanleavell.com/

Cynthia Kane...http://capitaltalentagency.com/

Leon Husock...http://www.lperkinsagency.com/

Lane Heymont... http://www.theseymouragency.com/

Lydia Blyfield... https://carolmannagency.wordpress.com/

Kerry D'Agostino... http://www.curtisbrown.com/

Mary C Moore... http://www.kimberleycameron.com/



Blurb:

Addie comes from a long line of readers, or “story catchers,” as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it  will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.


Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle ¦ Paperback ¦ B&N ¦ Smashwords


THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB 
Fan club membership includes:
Membership Certificate
Bi-monthly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news and other goodies
Reading log for earning Story Catcher Award
Short story starring YOU!



Book Trailer: 




 



Saturday, January 24, 2015

PAYING IT FORWARD STORY CATCHER STYLE




THE YEAR OF THE BOOK
by Donna L Martin

Hear ye, hear ye; come one, come all.
Stand up. Be counted. Answer the call.
From fearsome dragons and sword wielding knights,
To wizardly wizards and rugs that take flight,
From twirling tornadoes and shiny red slippers,
To imaginative gardeners with magical clippers.
Gather ye round, come closer I say.
It's time to be heard. That time is today!
 From far reaching galaxies to tales from the old,
Each one is a treasure. Each story needs told.
So gather them close, the big and the small,
Then shout it out, sing it out, no matter the call.
From tall mountain top to the smallest nook,
It's time to proclaim THE YEAR OF THE BOOK!


Because I LOVE books and I LOVE helping others, I thought it would be nice to combine the two. I've thought of another way to enter the drawings for my cool prizes in celebration of THE STORY CATCHER's book release this week.And what better way than to pay it forward by giving the gift of books?

Here is how it works. If you decide to donate a book to a school or deserving charity who works to supply readers with much needed books, just leave a comment here and let me know. Or even better, why not take a picture and tag me on your Facebook post? For every gift of reading paid forward I will enter your name in the drawings for the prizes from my CATCH A PRIZE CONTEST. If you don't remember what all the cool prizes are, just go to this link. The contest runs until 12:59 p.m. on January 31st so you have plenty of time to pay it forward STORY CATCHER style!

 



You can order my book, THE STORY CATCHER, through the following buy links. It is available in both ebook and print copies. Here is the book blurb and book trailer.

 




Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.com/0990908542










Blurb:


Addie comes from a long line of readers, or "story catchers," as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.
 

Trailer:







Friday, January 23, 2015

THE STORY CATCHER TEASERS



As part of my week long celebration of THE STORY CATCHER's release by Anaiah Press,  I thought I would tease you with some of my other stories. Just enough to help give you a sense of my writing style...as if you couldn't figure THAT one out already...;~)


Here's a some of my picture books:


BARNYARD CHRISTMAS

"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the barn,
Not a creature is stirring while down on the farm."

Blurb: All the barnyard creatures were getting ready for a winter's snooze when up in the sky a special Christmas visitor comes swooping down to stir up a little Christmas spirit. Who's that riding in a sleigh pulled by eight tiny hawks? Why, it's Santa Claws, of course!


OH NO, MOE!

Blurb: Every year Moe tries to win his town's Halloween contest but the costumes keep playing tricks on him. This time he has a tasty snack motivation and a fool-proof plan to take first place!


THINGS GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT

Blurb: Jack's afraid of what's in the closet. Monty's scared of what's in the bed. They both should be worried about what's down the hall!


ONE POTATO TWO POTATO

Blurb: Fox is looking forward to lunch when a broken basket causes his meal to get away from him.  Fox has a rollicking, frolicking chase down the hill as he and his friends try to catch rumbly, tumbly potatoes before they get away!


Here are some of my chapter books:


THE WARRIORS THREE

"Chapter One: Krutch Park

Large oak leaves swirled downward, showering the three boys with bursts of red,

yellow, and brown as they raced each other to Krutch Park.  Reaching the monkey bars

first, Billy let out a shout of victory before pushing his shaggy blonde hair out of his eyes. 

He glanced over his shoulder at the others as they ran to catch up to him."
           

Blurb: Billy, Alex, and Nathan have been friends as long as they can remember. But the challenge of competing in a martial arts tournament will not only test their friendship, but will also uncover an unexpected hero.


THE CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK


"Chapter One: The Essay
          
          The blast of a train’s whistle as it rumbled across Lebanon Street startled Abigail from daydreaming about Papa’s yummy homemade chocolate chip cookies. Every kid in her third grade class knew how much Abigail loved chocolate. Why even her best friend, Billy, said she would turn into a chocolate chip cookie herself if she didn’t stop eating so many of them!"                   

Blurb: Abigail's favorite things are trains and chocolate chip cookies. But when she has to write an essay for school, she doesn't know what to write about because nothing exciting ever happens around town. It will take 50 tons of chocolate, an airborne diesel train, and an unsolved mystery to give Abigail enough excitement for a lifetime of essays!


Here's some of my young adult novels:

LACEY'S BRIDGE (Work In Progress)

"Prologue

            Tears streaming down her face, Lacey raced to the bridge.  She was numb to the feeling of branches scratching her arms and the wind tangling her hair.  Her attention was focused on the destination.  She had to get to the bridge in time.
            Lacey broke through the trees just as the sun slid from behind dark clouds.  Ahead of her were moss-covered posts and snow stung her eyes as she stumbled toward the bridge’s edge.  Exhausted, she paused a moment to rest her head against the gnarled wood as memories of Tommy washed over her."

Blurb: Lacey always seems to be running away from something; mostly her abusive mother. Tommy tries to live up to his drunken father's expectations, but it never seems to work so he dreams of the day he can run away. Life and love happens when these two run into each other. That is until the shooting starts.


LUNADAR: HOMEWARD BOUND (Work In Progress)

"The setting sun bathes the deck in an unnatural light.  The men are restless.  They have been too long from land, too long from home and it weighs heavily upon their spirits.  This night will be a rough one with choppy seas and razor sharp tongues.  My hand is firm upon the railing and my body sways in rhythm to the waves.  My eyes peer into the fading light as if to see land just beyond the portal.  I will get no rest this night.
Voices waft up from below, a harsh word muttered here and there as the men settle down in cramp quarters which reek of sweat and dirt from many days at sea with only each other and the moonlight for company.   My body begs for rest but my mind races.  Crowded with the what-ifs and what-could-have-been of another life time.  Too late to change things.  The sea is my master and I follow wherever it leads me.  I struggle to stay awake. Many depend on me to lead them through the rocky maze which lies before us.  But I am confident.  I know this path well, having traveled it many times.  Truth be told,  I could steer this ship through these waters with my eyes closed.  Every rock and shell is as familiar to me as the stars in the northern sky.
The maze is done and once again we are on the open sea.  A solitary moon looms before me, the only other thing awake at this time of night.  Midnight hour. Witching hour.  A time when the portal opens between the here and now to stretch into the outer world.  My heart races as if mere wishing could make these sails quicken the journey.  At last we are homeward bound and another moon will not rise before we are once again in the arms of our loved ones.  All that stands between them and me is the moon."

Blurb: Lady Ariana never wished to become a young ruler in the wake of her father's death nor to wage war with Lord Shemar and his Drundles. And she never expected to be caught in the snare of the mermaid's song until that night of the Winter's Solstice. But her father's people depend on her and a portal to another world could hold the key to saving the future of her beloved water city of Lunadar.

There you have it. Some stories to tease your senses and maybe peak your interest as to what's in store in the future for readers from my role as THE STORY CATCHER.




You can order my book, THE STORY CATCHER, through the following buy links. It is available in both ebook and print copies. Here is the book blurb and book trailer.
 
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.com/0990908542


Blurb:

Addie comes from a long line of readers, or "story catchers," as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.