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Transcript for Episode 1.12


Stacy Whitman, Not Howard

Dumb mistakes, stupid stuff to not do

  1. Not reading the submissions guide
  2. Make sure you’re submitting to the right market
  3. See Kristen Nelson’s Blog
  4. If your protagonist is eaten in the first chapter by a monster, it’s probably not YA (interesting, the blog has this as “it’s really hard to carry off a YA novel where a monster eats a child in the first chapter”)

How do you act like a professional?

  1. You don’t say my kid read this and they loved it or even my class read this and loved it.
  2. Wear a suit?
  3. Be very careful about simultaneous submissions
  4. Do your research
  5. Simultaneous queries are okay, even simultaneous chapters — simultaneous submissions is really full manuscripts. And if two editors ask for your manuscript, tell the second one that is with another editor now, please wait.
  6. Keep track of where and when you have sent submissions. Also keep track of the comments they return.
  7. Don’t try fancy paper, fancy fonts, getting an illustrator, turning pages, and other tricks.
  8. Let the text speak for itself
  9. Stacy: I have to admit I don’t even look at cover letters first. I read some of the text and if it’s good enough I go back and look at the cover letter.
  10. Stop rhetorical questions in cover letters! “Have you ever wondered if an elephant came into your room what you would do?” No.
  11. No editor has ever bought work because of the font or paper, but many have rejected work because of it.
  12. You want your writing to make an impression. Nothing else.

Dumb stories?

  1. Someone sent in a decoupage envelope.
  2. A submission in crayon
  3. Perfumed letters
  4. Sending in Author photos (before being asked)
  5. Hand-drawn art
  6. Writing in Second person present tense — not for the beginner at least.
  7. Usually, one or two viewpoints, linear time (This is where Stacy talked about Holes, with many viewpoints and time jumping — but the author had spent 20 years writing!)

Just before the break, someone (Dan?) said: Know the rules before you break them.

The second part of this will be in Writing Excuses #13.

Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
Current Music: Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy), Big & Rich