Aug 06 2012

Ok, So You Think Your Idea Is Dumb?

Posted by Mathias

Do you suffer from self doubt as a writer?  Do you think your ideas are stupid?  Do you think no one will ever give a damn about what you write?  That it’s too weird?  Well, it’s common to go through those things.

Ok, so maybe your idea is off the wall!  Maybe it isn’t what people are used to!  So what!  Even things that are jokes and that people think are the weirdest ideas in the world can make it big! (more…)

Jul 04 2012

Painting Yourself Out Of A Corner As A Writer

Posted by Mathias

Nearly every novel has them, that scene or chapter that just never feels right when being read in context with the story. Sometimes they are minor. Other times they are major. But the fact that they exist so often, sometimes multiple times in a single story, is a reality.

In a way, their very existence sort of gives us aspiring authors hope. We tend to fret about every bit of our story being so perfect. Not as good as it can be mind you, but one-hundred percent infallible. It seems that this is what holds us back more than anything else. So many people never submit the novel they have written because they are certain that it has faults. Even though every story every published has faults too.

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Jun 26 2012

Please Avoid These Five Major Twitter Fails!

Posted by Mathias

Ah, yes, Twitter.  140 characters to say whatever it is that is on your mind.  But are you guilty of any of these five major Twitter fails?  Maybe it is time to rethink your life.

1. Demanding someone follow you in order for you to follow them.

Really?  You have so little that is interesting to say that you have to bribe people to follow you?  Shame.

2. Following someone, waiting for them to follow you, and then unfollowing them.

Can’t drum up followers any other way huh? (more…)

Jun 17 2012

Interview Your Perspective Agents

Posted by Mathias

Many writers jump, head first, at the first offer for representation they receive from a literary agent. It is an understandable reaction. Most authors get beat down by many rejections before someone shows an interest in their work. Therefore, when someone tells them they think them can sell the author’s labor of love, the author is too happy to think about anything else once the good news arrives. Yet repeatedly, I hear horror stories from authors that did not look before they took the leap and signed a contract with a literary agent.

Just like with any other endeavor, it is very important that you, as a writer, interview your perspective agent just as the perspective agent is giving you scrutiny. I have mentioned this a couple of times to other writers I know and the general response has been shock that I would even suggest it. I don’t know why. I think it is only logical, especially considering the many horror stories I have heard from other authors about how bad either their current or former literary agent was.

I do not know about you, but I do not want to experience the following:

• Signing with an agent who does not return my phone calls for up to six months.
• Having an agent who repeatedly “looses” my manuscript.
• Landing an agent who insists on meeting with me face-to-face multiple times a year, and, worse, that I come to see her in New York, spending oodles of money on plane tickets when she has yet to sell my manuscript and secure at least an advance for it.
• Having an agent who repeatedly sends me emails intended for another client, discussing confidential contract and project information and then quickly having to send another saying, “OOPS! Ignore that!”
• Signing with an agent who constantly calls me “John” rather than my real name.
• Signing with an agent who feels the need to send me every humorous spam email he receives, which is upwards of twenty a day
• Landing an agent who argues with me over the clearly detailed commission she is supposed to receive based on our contract, complaining that it was a typo, and that she is really entitled to twice as much.
• Having an agent who does not send out commission checks until months after they are received or not at all until gently reminded to do so.
• Signing with an agent who pitches my novel to an imprint that has never published a Fantasy novel in its entire existence and has no interest in ever printing such things.
• Having an agent who tells me what my next novel “must” be about because XYZ publishing house is looking for yet another cheesy vampire tale to sell to teens and preteens and who then gets into a shouting match with me when I say no.
• An agent who insists on calling me at 2:00AM because he is a night owl, another author he represents is also a night owl and he just wants to see how things are going with me and when he can expect my next manuscript.

Yes, these are all real stories other authors have shared with me. And yes, most, if not all of them could have avoided these problems if they would have done some do diligence about who they were signing to represent them.