Traditional or self-publishing: that is the question

  It’s time to report back about the status of my novel. First of all, I’m happy to say I’ve completed revision nine. The purpose was to cut out unnecessary words and bring my word count more in keeping with the number agents and publishers suggest. After I added a lot of needed new material, as suggested by my critical assessment editor, my word count grew from 85,000 to 103, 052 words. So, my goal was to cut at least 5,000 of them. I’m happy to say I exceeded my goal, and cut 5,675 words. Hopefully I didn’t cut anything that I’ll have to put back later. My next job is to break up several long chapters into smaller ones. That is an easy fix. And now I feel I’m at a point to think about getting my book published. The question is, should I shop around for an agent or publisher or should I self-publish? That’s a question I never thought I’d be asking. I’ve always said I didn’t want to self-publish. I didn’t self-publish my memoir, so why go that route with my novel? … [Read more...]

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How I got my book published

Now that this piece was rejected for inclusion into the Authors Publish anthology, I'm free to post it here. Hopefully my experience and perseverance and will to get my book published will inspire other authors to keep sending their work out. Please don't give up. It's worth it in the long run. How I Got My Book Published By Madeline Sharples Two years and sixty-eight queries later I finally got a book contract with a small press – the now defunct, Lucky Press. I found Lucky Press through the the firstwriter.com Publishers Instant Alert Service, and followed the submittal instructions so carefully that in her response, the publisher told me my query letter was perfect. (The instructions said: Send query by email with cover letter, short bio, how you can help with marketing, 300-500 word synopsis, and first chapter, all pasted into the body of the email. No attachments. Write "Manuscript Query" in the subject line.) With that and her request to send her my manuscript, I thought … [Read more...]

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Five reasons to be in a writing group

I joined a writing group a couple of years ago. It’s called The Last Sunday Writers because we usually meet the last Sunday of the month. Today’s meeting was cancelled because of lack of a quorum. Only two of us plus our leader planned to attend, and we weren’t prepared to read this month. So what’s the point? I usually want to read at the meetings, but I’m still a little traumatized from the feedback from my novel beta readers. I need to give putting myself out there a rest for a while. However, I’m very glad I was invited to join. I had known several people in the group because we attended workshops together. Or if we hadn’t met before we had worked with the some of the same writing instructors in the past. So we are a well-knit group with similar goals: continue to write, get feedback from our fellow writers, and network. Five things I like about being in a writing group are: It encourages me to prepare a piece for review once a month: this can be a new essay, story, poem, art … [Read more...]

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Tips for leading a conference workshop

Since I participated at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference as both a workshop leader and panelist the end of June, it's time to share a post I wrote for The Memoir Network's Writers Blog in early May on this subject. I very much thank The Memoir Network's founder Denis Ledoux for inviting me to write for his great memoir website. Here's the post verbatim: Promoting yourself as a writer Participating in writing conferences, either as a panelist, lecturer, or as a workshop leader is a great way to get your name and book out in public and to network with other writers like you Being a presenter comes with tasks, but the challenge is not impossible. I’d like to offer you some  guidelines to help you be as successful as you can be to: Respond to a presenters’ request for proposal, Adhere to a list of conference presenter’s guidelines, and Develop a workshop that keeps the promises you proposed – in the specified allotted time. I recently co-led a workshop at the Story … [Read more...]

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Some important events

Even while I work a temporary day job an hour away from my home office and writing room, author events still go on. On Thursday of this week I was interviewed again by Cyrus Webb on Conversations LIVE about my memoir Leaving The Hall Light On. This year we spent a little more time on the impact of mental illness on a family, and I was thrilled to tell the audience about our son Paul's music career. Paul showed an interest in music ("I want to watch a record" "play more Cat Stevens, Mommy") from the time he was a little boy. It just blew me away that Cyrus reread my entire book in preparation for this second interview. Cyrus, you are an interviewer extraordinaire! Please listen to Cyrus and me here: Author Madeline Sharples returns to Conversations LIVE *** And I'm very excited to announce that Sonia Marsh, author of Freeways to Flip-Flops and editor of the My Gutsy Story Anthology, and I will participate on a panel to discuss "Relationship Building: The Secret to Mark … [Read more...]

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Book marketing – is there ever enough?

Okay, I’m on to another marketing project. I was overwhelmed and indeed impressed by the numbers of blogs Jessica Bell is going to visit during her two-week book launch blog tour for her soon to-be-released, String Bridge. And that got me thinking I hadn’t visited nearly enough blogs at the time of my book launch. I visited one blog a day for about three weeks, and she’s going to have interviews and reviews on up to seven or eight blogs a day for two weeks. Plus she’s going to have a whole lot of these same folks and more hit Amazon on the day of the book’s release. Now that’s using the network to the fullest, I would say. With my friend Susan at my book launch with Ben in the background I asked her how she amassed such a list and she admitted it was a lot of work. She reads and comments on all the blogs on her list regularly. And that’s why she felt she was justified in asking them to do this book marketing favor for her. I know that’s true. Jessica visits and comments on m … [Read more...]

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