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Showing posts from April, 2022

The Query Letter: Making the Pitch

I researched the query requests for many agents and here is what most would like to have. The caveat being: always do your research. If an agent asks for something different, follow their instructions to a tee to prove you will be easy to work with. If you look difficult to deal with in any way, it doesn't matter how good your pitch is. The agent or editor may never see it. And, no, you don't need to worry about theft. They aren't writers. Your work is already copyrighted as you write it. You could given ten people the same story idea and end up with ten very different novels. You cannot copyright an idea. Subject line: Query, Agent Name, Genre 1. What is your product? The Pitch (or hook) is a concise statement that sums up the essential nature of your book. This concise statement is usually achieved in one or two sentences, and it gives your audience a sense of what the book is about and why they should get excited about it. Stick with your protagonist's goal, probl

My Kindle Vella Update

Let me crow about my successes with Kindle Vella so far this year! First, Amazon just gave me a bonus that was FOUR TIMES more than the previous month. Wow. To say I was delighted is an understatement.  Second, I now have one completed middle grade reader published. Princess Willy Be is still #26 in Top Children's Stories. Read Here I will complete a 28-chapter romance novella this week. It's the prequel to the Morristown Murder Mystery series that will publish next, and I plan to repackage it as a regular eBook to give as a free promotion when the mystery title releases. Read Here I have also started revising and publishing, episode (chapter) by episode, my 2017 NaNoWriMo novel, which is mostly just being tweaked by chapter to make shorter, more readable episodes.  Read Here I am once again a published author. Yay, me! And, apparently, I write in very short paragraphs now. 😁 At this point in my life, it all seems like a miracle. So... money + publication = a Kindle Vella p

That Thrill of a First Sale

A friend on Twitter recently commented about how excited she was about her first sale of a short story, and that reminded me of the thrill I had at my first major sale. I'd been writing for a couple of newspapers already, but when Lady's Circle published "A String of Pearls" and sent me a check for a whopping $125, I felt like I'd finally made it to the big time. One of my newspaper gigs at that time was penning a weekly humor column, and of course, I had to write about the experience. The following is just a bit of that nonsense, week's offering.  When I sold my first short story to a major magazine my family joined me in the excitement, and we were all happily playing Howard Hughes around here for a while. My husband started planning his retirement. The kids started picking out houses in the country. And I had visions of never having to look at another price tag again before buying a pair of jeans.  Meanwhile I had not even cashed the check yet. I was a

Rookie Mistakes

I was working with a client recently on a developmental edit and they shared with me a pitch they sent to an agent. They thought it would be terrific to send the pitch in written in the voice of one of the characters complete with cheeky comments and all caps and exclamation points. They were so proud of their creativity. Needless to say, it got immediate rejections. I am not saying there has never been a successful atypical pitch, but this is not considered a good strategy. Make sure you research the agents or acquisition editors you wish to pitch. Go to the Manuscript Wish List at , find an agent or editor, then further research them by visiting their website and social media. Find out what they like and what they hate. They are usually vocal about it. Follow their submission guidelines to the letter. It proves you will be an easy client to work with. They want to know you can follow directions and that you read their instructions. They don't want silline

Our Brand New Podcast! (No joke)

Episode 01 - Fools & Sages Transcript and links: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening – wherever you are in the world. Welcome to the brand new Blood-Red Pencil podcast. If you’re not going to launch something new in January, then what better time to start than a month that’s… NOT January. I’m Elle Carter Neal , the (sort-of) techie, behind-the-scenes, admin person here at the Blood-Red Pencil, and now behind the mic as the host of this podcast. I’m in Australia, while the rest of our team currently operate from the US. Please leave us a comment and let us know where in the world YOU are joining us from. We love to connect with you. Our theme for April is Fools and Sages, and, while we do enjoy entertaining you with a little foolishness, we hope that, after 14 years of blogging at the Blood-Red Pencil, what we have to offer is a whole lot of writing and editing wisdom. The wisest piece of advice anyone could give or follow is simply “Be kind”. Be kind, be generous, take care