Your Hosts: Dan and Howard
Toni Weisskopf and Cat Rambo joined Dan and Howard to discuss what it is that editors “really want.”
Question To Help You Decide Whether Or Not To Send Your Editor Bad News: “Will this news get better if I wait?”
Credits: this episode was recorded at GenCon Indy 2016, and mastered by Alex Jackson
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 17:13 — 11.9MB)
Do something completely new. Write by hand, or outdoors. Also, listen to actual people talking, and write down what is being said.
Navah Wolfe, an editor at Saga Press, joined us to talk about the manuscripts she would really like to see. Ordinarily we don’t encourage people to write to the market, but Navah asked specifically for the opportunity to tell our listeners what she’s looking for. As it happens, tracking Navah’s wish list as you write is unlikely to send you haring after the latest trend—you’re far more likely to develop some new writing skills that will make your work more enjoyable, more fulfilling, and ultimately easier to sell.
Spoiler Warning: In three weeks we’ll be doing a Project in Depth on Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal. If you want to get the most out of that episode, you have three weeks to acquire and read the book.
Credits: This episode was recorded aboard Oasis of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 20:02 — 13.8MB)
Write two different “this meets that” pitches, once with a focus on the emotional heart, and once with a focus on set dressing.
Gail Carriger joined us at WorldCon in Spokane, Washington, to talk about her Convention Survival Kit, which is full of things most of us wish we’d known to bring to conventions back when we first started attending them.
Pronunciation note: Brandon uses the soft “g” when saying Gail’s surname, but it’s actually Carriger with a hard “g.”
Liner note: Gail’s convention tips and packing list can be found here. The page is pretty comprehensive, and is worth bookmarking and committing to memory.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 18:32 — 12.8MB)
Someone has to make a pitch when they are very, very drunk.
Court of Fives, by Kate Elliott, narrated by Georgia Dolenz, and Prudence, by Gail Carriger, narrated by Moira Quirk
Daniel José Older joins us for a Q&A on showing your work around. Here are the questions, which were submitted by attendees at the Out of Excuses workshop:
- What’s the best way to meet editors and agents at conventions?
- How do you write a good query letter?
- What do you mention as credentials in your query letter?
- You didn’t cover self publishing at all this month. Self publishing is legit, right?
- Can you submit the same work to more than one agent or editor at a time?
- Can you re-submit a revised work to an agent who previously rejected the piece?
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 22:50 — 15.7MB)
Write a query letter for a book that you love, but did not write. Then write a query letter for your own work.
Mystic, by Jason Denzel, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal
Marco Palmieri and Michael Underwood took the stage with Howard and Dan at GenCon Indy 2015 to discuss hand-selling manuscripts. Marco Palmieri is a senior editor at Tor, and Michael Underwood is an author, and is also the North American Sales and Marketing manager for Angry Robot Books.
We begin with a list of the things to avoid doing, including the classic mistakes like chasing editors into restrooms, but we quickly move on to where you get started, and what your task list is going to look like. We cover resources like Literary Marketplace, Locus, and Publishers Lunch, and the not-so-secret-anymore #MSWL hash-tag.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 16:48 — 11.6MB)
Your character has to go undercover at a writing conference, and steal a super-secret manuscript from an editor
We’re at the end of our Season Ten Master Class, and if you’ve been diligent about the homework, you may very well have a finished manuscript in your hands. What do you do with it?
Daniel José Older joins us for a bit of reminiscence. We talk about some of our first submissions, and what we did right, wrong, and weirdly. We cover our criteria for selecting publishers to whom we’d like to send our stuff, and we include the shiny intangibles in that list.
This episode was engineered aboard The Independence of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered in an abandoned missile silo by Alex Jackson.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 20:19 — 14.0MB)
Research the market for that thing you’ve written. Find things that are similar to what you wrote, and read up on who published them. Find out who the editors were. Then make a list of places where you’d like to submit your work.
Peter Orullian joined us in front of a live audience at Westercon to talk with us about dealing with editors. We usually talk about craft, but this is a business discussion, and it’s about one of the most delicate and important relationships in the business. He begins by telling the short version of the story, and how he managed one of the worst-case scenarios: asking your publisher for a different editor.
We then move into some take-aways, and some additional experiences we’ve had that will hopefully help our listeners manage this sort of thing in the future.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 17:55 — 12.3MB)
Write a sword-fighting scene, a la Princess Bride, in which the witticisms are part of a magic system, and are part of the fight itself.
Unfettered: Tales by Masters of Fantasy, Written by: Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, Jacqueline Carey, R.A. Salvatore, Naomi Novik, Peter V. Brett, Shawn Speakman (editor)
Narrated by: Peter Ganim, Marc Vietor, Bronson Pinchot, Jay Snyder
Microcasting! It’s what we call our Q&A episodes, because they’re like multiple mini-casts. Eric James Stone joins us to help out. Here are the questions we field:
- Should a pantser rewrite their book once they know the whole story?
- What do you find most useful from an editor?
- Story creation is cool, but can Writing Excuses talk more about sentence-level work?
- What advice do you have for pitching to agents and editors?
- What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever gotten?
- How do you encourage a writer-friend who is down on their work?
Give episode 9.11 a listen for our answers.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 20:21 — 14.0MB)
Something magical is preventing your friend from pursuing their dreams, but you don’t know what it is…