Calling All Artists! An Indiegogo Film Alert

Hello my readers,

Are we having a happy summer yet?  Third day in, and I’m ready for the beach!

For those of you on the RSS, this will be a little surprising (most absolutely a good one!) in that I’m stepping a little outside of my normal contest winner announcements.

Instead, I’d like to share an interesting Q&A I had the opportunity to conduct with filmmaker, Angeline Walsh, Director of 21st Century Spectacle, and indie filmmaker.

Angeline’s newest indie film, A Murder Party, is currently under production, but needs community support – your support to be specific.  Please read Angeline’s extraordinary interview, and reach out to support this exceptional young artist.

INTERVIEW WITH ANGELINE WALSH

For people who have never heard of it, what exactly is an Indiegogo Campaign?
Indiegogo is a a fund-raising site (think KickStarter). They are based out of San Francisco, CA and have an A+ BBB rating, so they’re very trustworthy. I’m mentioning this because of the electronic donations, which are part of the campaign.
What is your Indiegogo Campaign specifically targeting?
I am trying to fund my newest film, A Murder Party. My funding goal is $3000 and I am reaching out to the community for support in this endeavor.
A Murder Party – who is the film’s target market?
Primarily the young adult, although middle age and families might also enjoy the film.
Why will people enjoy this?
It’s very funny! It’s set in the Victorian Era, and there is lot’s of satire and some adult humor. Think Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, and Oscar Wilde.
So you’re newest film is A Murder Party. How long is it?
Well, we are still in creation, but it will be around an hour and twenty minutes.
I had the pleasure of watching your film “21st Century Spectacle”…was that your first full feature length film?
Yes it was. A Murder Party will be my second full feature film.


Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?
When I was about twelve years-old. I had already been writing and performing plays, but I picked up a video camera and started making short films. I just love entertaining people.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life creating film?
To ignore the adversity. A lot of people think creativity is immature or something reserved for children, but it’s not. One has to be ambitious and stubborn in this field.
 
What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better (or worse) for you?
Great writing! I think a well written screenplay will probably equal a well performed film. The characters and character-driven actors are very important, too.

What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
Shawshank Redemption – the hope it inspired was extremely influential to me on a personal level. Jurassic Park. Edward Scissorhands. Inglorious Bastards.
Is there any one filmmaker that’s really inspired you? Why did that person inspire you so much?
Walt Disney is my number one inspiration – both as a filmmaker and as a person. Tim Burton. Wes Anderson. Quentin Tarantino – I think he’s just pretty much a genius writer.
In your opinion is the film business fair? Why or why not?
No…at least not the Hollywood machine. Indie is more flexible and offers more options to women and minorities.
How do you make decisions that work in your favor – even up against any odds?
I have a really great support group of extremely supportive friends and family.
Are there any qualities about the industry that anger you or that you wish could be changed?
Definitely! I’m not a huge fan of the Hollywood machine. It is a greedy, big “boys club” that rarely hires women for large studio projects and blatantly issues lower budget films to women.  People are starting to speak out against the obvious unfairness of it, and I’m glad. 

What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?
Yes, I do think the filmmaker should worry about the audience, but I’m going to reference two quotes. The first is Charlie Chaplain, who said, “The audience doesn’t know what the hell they want.”. The second is Jim Morrison, who said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” 
 

So I believe there’s a lot of flexibility in creating a film…I believe that filmmaker’s kind of dictate what is going to be liked or disliked…and there’s so many different tastes out there.



If I were to ask you, “What is the most important advice you could give a filmmaker starting out”, what would it be?

Find your voice! Find what story you want to tell and tell it. Study film making and filmmaker’s – study people.
Anything else you want to add?
I’m just asking that the community come together and be part of this unique experience.  At the risk of sounding cliché, even $5 really does make a big difference..
How can you be part of A Murder Party?

Go to https://www.igg.me/at/jointheparty

www.igg.me
JOIN THE PARTY. | Crowdfunding is a democratic way to support the fundraising needs of your community. Make a contribution today!

Angeline Walsh is a writer and filmmaker.  Her first film, “21st Century Spectacle”, won Best First Feature at the L-Dub Film Festival.  Her new film, “A Murder Party” is currently in production.  See the rest of her work at ANGELINE PRODUCTIONS.

Until next time…stay safe, stay healthy, and stay creative!

Connie Irons is a novelist recently begat blogger. As a double GeminiThumbnail of my Blog Picture it’s hard to tie her down to one genre, but her favorites are well written horror and snarky memoirs (hail David Sedaris). When she’s not writing she’s mindlessly spoiling her beagle/basset puppy, Tucker, and evading payment on multiple loans from her fiancé.

Twitter: @connie_irons
Facebook: Fictional Black Ink
Email: Contact Me
Author’s Den Contributor
The 2015 Guide | What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book?

Thanks so much for visiting – you make what I do purposeful!

“Ignore all hatred and criticism. Live for what you create, and die protecting it.”
– Lady Gaga

What’s The Most Important Element Of A Good Story?

Hello Readers!!! I’m back for a special edition blog posting to honor my awesome winners of the spring pictorial contest titled What Does This Picture Mean To Me? Below are the winners to this super fun contest – and then I want to explore details behind my blog title.

FIRST PLACE
The Tower of Penitent Whores by Sean Flood
Read the winning entry

SECOND PLACE
Armour Sincère by Maryanne Carey
Read the winning entry

THIRD PLACE
Here We Are by Maya Johnson
Read the winning entry

Congratulations to all of my wonderful winning writers – and to ALL of you who submitted your outstanding work to Black Ink Contests. Thank you so very much!

Now, to address my blog post: What’s The Most Important Element Of A Good Story?

At the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, it was asked a group of writers, journalists, and producers to explain what makes a story great. The resounding response was:

“The most important element in a good story is conflict. It’s seeing two opposing forces collide with one another.”

OK – so my brain automatically went to Star Wars (and I’m not a big, geeky Star Wars fan, btw…but my mind still went there).  I mean – how much more opposing can one get than wimpy, squack-armed Anakin/Luke up against the broad and tough shoulders of Darth Vader?

Note the visible height difference
Note the visible height difference

Even the names have immediate and notable power differences: One name for Luke – – Two for Darth Vader.

And yet we writers have to take these comments under strict advisement!

The wheel has worked just fine since it’s invention in…ummmm…ok, I don’t know when the wheel was invented. But the point is why would any of us reinvent what is obviously the most important element of any good story?

STORY CONFLICT
Old popular titles along with the new all have one, surging element in common: CONFLICT.

From Gone With The Wind to Gone Girl, there is the relentless staging of characters in conflict.

Margaret Mitchell had several oppositions in her novel: North vs. South – Scarlett vs. Rhett – Scarlett vs. The World – even (in some points of the novel) Scarlett vs. Scarlett.

WS3

Gillian Flynn kept things a little neater in her opposing husband/wife team, Amy and Nick Dunne.

Still, there were the underlying conflicts between Nick and the police department; Amy and her parents, etc.

This element of conflict was one of the primary reasons Sean Flood, author of The Tower of Penitent Whores was awarded first place in the spring pictorial contest at Black Ink Contests. His story reveled in that element of conflict almost from the start, and the conflict didn’t stop until it reached a dramatic, fateful conclusion.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE – THE KING OF CONFLICT
So how does the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival merge with one of the most iconic writers of all time, William Shakespeare?

CONFLICT!

From A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Romeo & Juliet, Will Shakespeare takes the resounding applause for climatic character conflict.

WS2

How much success would Romeo & Juliet have enjoyed if nobody cared if the kids got together? What if the parents encouraged their union? What if, instead of taking poison, they booked a cruise to Bora Bora and sailed off into the sunset together? Sounds mildly irritating and boring, doesn’t it?

PEOPLE LIKE CONTAINABLE CONFLICT
If mention is made of “Conflict in the Middle East” or “Conflict on the Gaza Strip”, people feel a bit tense and uneasy. This kind of conflict is not the kind of conflict that readers – nor people at large – enjoy.

If you start talking about The Girl On The Train or Jane Steele – ah! Well, there’s some tasty readers club reading and on-line chatting material. Why? Because of the universal love of containable conflict – containable drama. Nothing too serious. Just characters in a book.

        

Of course, there’s several fiction books centralized in the Middle East and even the Gaza Strip, but they are fiction books. All well within the boundaries of a front cover and a back flap jacket. Safe.

So to sum it all up for you, if you’ve been working on a novel or perhaps you’ve even started fielding it to agents, make sure it has enough containable conflict to entice your agent, your readers, and (most important) you.

WS1

Until next time…stay safe, stay healthy, and stay creative!

Connie Irons is a novelist recently begat blogger. As a double GeminiThumbnail of my Blog Picture it’s hard to tie her down to one genre, but her favorites are well written horror and snarky memoirs (hail David Sedaris). When she’s not writing she’s mindlessly spoiling her beagle/basset puppy, Tucker, and evading payment on multiple loans from her fiancé.

Twitter: @connie_irons
Facebook: Fictional Black Ink
Email: Contact Me
Author’s Den Contributor
The 2015 Guide | What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book?

Thanks so much for visiting – you make what I do purposeful!

I’d agree with you but then we’d both be wrong.
– Unknown

Make Your Writing Dreams Come True!

Some if not all of my Fictional Black Ink blog readers know that I’ve been conducting creative writing contests since August of last year.

Black Ink Contests

What many of you probably don’t know is that these contests and this website have been a five-year-in-the-making dream.

I bought the domain name blackinkcontests in 2011 and did…..nothing.  I wrote an elaborate website and sat on it.  I sat on it for so long, in fact, that the domain name expired and I was left to only wonder what might have been.  It remained shelved for years until I joined a writing group.  That’s were something very odd happened.

I began to realize that while I love writing, my true love was really seated in the competition of writing.

wish hope dream

I’m a fairly competitive person by nature, and the thrill of combining my absolute love of the written word joining hand in hand with a contest seemed too intoxicating to keep shelved forever.

I started back at square one.  Miraculously, blackinkcontests had not been bought by another domain user.  I saw that as my first sign.  I immediately repurchased it.   Instead of the elaborate, over the top fifty page website I had developed the first time around, I made my new site much simpler.  Much more to the point.

I started blogging about it and joined twitter to spread the word.  I paid for advertising and started getting responses.

In short – I got serious about making my dream a reality.

I am very, very proud of Black Ink Contests.  In no way, shape or form am I technical!  I’m dreamy, creative, sometimes a little pompous, but I am not technical.  I had a small amount of on the job html code training, but that training took place back in 2005.  And as we all know, technology changes almost every second.  So I went into my website development with a small amount of old information and a  huge amount of motivation.  Google was and is my best tech friend.

In launching my newest contest What Does This Picture Mean To Me, opening today [March 5th], I gave my website a little face lift.

This picture is the inspiration for the current contest challenge
            This picture is the inspiration for the current contest challenge

If you’re a writer and enjoy writing competitions I encourage you to visit and enter the contests.  I have complete faith you’ll have a lot of fun!  Let me know what you think of the new site look.

Until next time…stay safe, stay healthy, and stay creative!

Connie Irons is a novelist recently begat blogger. As a double GeminiThumbnail of my Blog Picture it’s hard to tie her down to one genre, but her favorites are well written horror and snarky memoirs (hail David Sedaris). When she’s not writing she’s mindlessly spoiling her beagle/basset puppy, Tucker, and evading payment on multiple loans from her fiancé.

Twitter: @connie_irons
Facebook: Fictional Black Ink
Email: Contact Me
Author’s Den Contributor
The 2015 Guide | What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book?

Thanks so much for visiting – you make what I do purposeful!

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Valentine’s Day – Lovers, Shakespeare & Winners

Ahhhh….St. Valentine’s Day. That segue holiday (and month) between the previous late year’s festivities and – for us northern states – the first signs of spring.  My dearest creative writing friends, this is my belated Valentine “card” (ergo blog) to each of you!

St Valentines

Oddly, in doing research about St. Valentine, I found that his origins are a bit murky. Some sites posture him as a rebellious priest who defied orders that young men not wed lest their wives and families dampen their war-inspired ardor. Still others suggest he is a martyr, killed for assisting Christians in their escape from the evil Roman’s.

Still others claim the day itself, though named after St. Valentine, actually has its origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

Regardless of which resource you choose to invest your reading and belief – or even if you believe in any origins of the day at all (save a marketing win for Hallmark and other greeting cards,gift and candy shops), the fact remains that an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year (the #1 card-sending holiday, according to the Greeting Card Association, is an estimated 2.6 billion cards sent at Christmas).

St Valentines II

So where does Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet and teens poisoning themselves come into all of this glorious history? In the 2016 Black Ink Contests Valentine’s Flash Fiction Contest, of course.

Parting is such sweet sorrow was the inspired verse of this contest. And our winners did a fine job of using it! Visit Black Ink Contests to read all of the winning stories. You will be pleasantly surprised!

FIRST PLACE
Just One Regret by Shannon Hollinger
I probably shouldn’t have killed her. I know that now. But at the time, it felt like I had no other choice. I’d take it back if I could, but I can’t. Now I’m trapped here, in this place, probably for the rest of my life, with nothing to fill the hours of each day except the memory of what I’ve done.
Read the winning entry

SECOND PLACE
February by Kellyne Vaudreuil
Read the winning entry

THIRD PLACE
Click: Capture and Release by Katherine Menon
Read the winning entry

I want to sincerely THANK all of my wonderful contestants! Each was a tribute to the modern, creative writer and I felt honored to have read them all.

A special CONGRATULATIONS to my top three winners. Such outstanding work to all three of you!

I invite all of you creatives to join Black Ink Contests in March for a fabulous new contest.

Contest title:  WHAT DOES THIS PICTURE MEAN TO ME?

A unique creative writing contest will open on Saturday, March 5th.

A picture will be posted and you, the creative, are allowed free writing reign – all genre accepted!  Contest guidelines and submission criteria will posted on the 5th.  Prizes and entry fee below.

$200.00 1st Place Winner | 1st Place will also be entered (for free) to Narrative
$50.00 2nd Place
$25.00 3rd Place

$4 Entry Fee

I hope each of you can make the fun.  Until next time…stay safe, stay healthy, and stay creative!

Connie Irons is a novelist recently begat blogger. As a double GeminiThumbnail of my Blog Picture it’s hard to tie her down to one genre, but her favorites are well written horror and snarky memoirs (hail David Sedaris). When she’s not writing she’s mindlessly spoiling her beagle/basset puppy, Tucker, and evading payment on multiple loans from her fiancé.

Twitter: @connie_irons
Facebook: Fictional Black Ink
Email: Contact Me
Author’s Den Contributor
The 2015 Guide | What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book?

Thanks so much for visiting – you make what I do purposeful!

Every day’s not Valentine’s, but you make it feel like most of the time, when I’m all alone with you.
“Life Is Better With You”
MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD LYRICS

The Holiday Of Writing – Black Ink Celebrates Daily!

Hello All!

It’s been a while, and I’ve missed every one of you!

Happy Holiday to all those who celebrate – and a very Merry Christmas to those who celebrate Christmas! To quote a line from my 1st place winner’s story [read more below], Happy HOHO (Happy Household Holidays)!

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted to my blog and as I did some research for this post I realized how much I loved the thrill of investigating a topic and learning new things about writing and writers.

Today’s post is dedicated to the diversity of our large and friendly writers world. Not just the obvious racial and gender diversity, but the spiritual and belief-based diversity as well.

Dec 23 pic I

I opened an Anagram Holiday contest back in early November and encouraged contestants to submit a story that focused on non-traditional holiday’s.  As writers, we are usually hungry to learn new things about our global brothers and sisters – the things that make us the same – the things that make us different.  And while I am in no way going to go in deep about religious beliefs, it cannot be ignored as one of those things that differentiate some groups.

I choose instead to celebrate Black Ink. Not only the name of my fiction contest site, but also the color of ink used to submit stories around the world.  Agents of all faiths, backgrounds, beliefs, and that wonderful mix we call the individual receive manuscripts in one color – black ink.

Dec 23 pic III

Authors, too, around the globe struggle with the single most daunting feat facing every writer – getting published along with monetary rewards and recognition.

Having said that and without further ado, I would like to take this opportunity to present my winners of the 2015 Anagram Holiday Short Fiction Contest.

FIRST PLACE
A Marzipan Moon by Whitney Ricciardi
It was Christmas Eve and I could hear my Mom chanting a Hare Krishna in the kitchen. I groaned. She couldn’t just sing Deck the Halls like a normal Mother. It was the smell of gingerbread pancakes that got me out of bed. I shuffled down the hall in my flannel jams, and yawned as I sat down on the stool at the kitchen island where she was flipping the pancakes. “Morning my little Marzipan!” “Morning” I said while rubbing the sleepers out of my eyes.
Read the winning entry

SECOND PLACE
Stressed Desserts by Natalie Walker
Read the winning entry

THIRD PLACE
La Reine de l’hiver (the Queen of Winter) by Vivian Monteagudo
Read the winning entry

I want to sincerely THANK all of my wonderful contestants! Again, each story was eye candy and soothed the reader in me.

A special CONGRATULATIONS to my top three winners. Such outstanding work to all three of you!

DIVERSITY & AUTHORS
I found this online and thought I would share:  Submissions are now open for our New Voices Award for unpublished authors of color!

Lee & Low Books’ New Visions Awards — No Entry Fee Prize: $1,000.00. Entry fee: $0.00. WRITING CONTEST WEBSITE LEE & LOW BOOKS, a leading multicultural children’s book publisher, is inviting entries to its annual New Visions Awards. Under the company’s young adult and middle grade imprint called TU Books (est. 2010), the New Visions Award will be presented for the best MG or YA novel written by a writer of color. The first-place winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000, along with a basic publishing contract (with an advance and royalties). One honorable-mention will receive a cash prize of $500.

Not too shabby in the way of awards money.  Good luck to any of you who enter!

Until next year…stay safe, stay healthy, and stay creative!

Connie Irons is a novelist recently begat blogger. As a double GeminiThumbnail of my Blog Picture it’s hard to tie her down to one genre, but her favorites are well written horror and snarky memoirs (hail David Sedaris). When she’s not writing she’s mindlessly spoiling her beagle/basset puppy, Tucker, and evading payment on multiple loans from her fiancé.

Twitter: @connie_irons
Facebook: Fictional Black Ink
Email: Contact Me
Author’s Den Contributor
The 2015 Guide | What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book?

Thanks so much for visiting – you make what I do purposeful!

‘Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.”
-Dr. Seuss

Halloween Flash Fiction Winner & Strong Contest Advice

Happy Halloween to all!!! Special edition Halloween post today announcing the 2015 Halloween Flash Fiction Contest winner and I’ll also discuss the secret benefits of online story contests. Grab your hot chocolate and come on in for a slice of Halloween fun!

Real pic of a 1950's clown. No wonder people are still terrified!
Real pic of a 1950’s clown. No wonder people are still terrified!

This (just in case you haven’t already guessed it) is my FAVORITE holiday!  As a kid Halloween trumped my birthday and quite often Christmas even came in second.

I gave this years Halloween contest a theme; somewhere in the story contestants had to use It was a dark and storm night based on a well-known line from the novel, Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Without further ado, announcing the winner of the 2015 Flash Fiction Halloween contest:

FINALIST – Laura Rose Cardona
Keep Your Enemies Closer

It was a dark and stormy night. A bolt of thunder crept into my room and shocked me awake.

“Mom!” I yelled, bolting from my bed. My chest rose and fell in rapid succession; I made my way toward the door of my room. I was always afraid of storms. Lightning’s electric current only existed within the night, and within the night existed the dark, and I was always afraid of the dark. Anything could be lurking.

FOR THE FULL STORY READ HERE

I was not going to do this, but I was so impressed by these other authors that I simply had to give mention:

EDITOR’S CHOICE
Editor’s Choice – “The Model Child” by Carolyne Faulkner

SEMIFINALISTS – These were stories that passed through two rounds of readings and were considered by the editor.

Semifinalist – “(Un)Welcome Visitor” by Kami Dimitrova

Semifinalist – “Fedora” by Reena Bhojwani

HONORABLE MENTION’S

Honorable Mention
The Chorus of Bells” by Natalie Walker

Honorable Mention
A Halloween Road Trip” by Patti McQuillen

Honorable Mention
The Furry and the Damned” by Elizabeth Eve King

Honorable Mention
Cookie Fortunes” by Brenda Marie

Honorable Mention
A Desk Fit For Purpose” by Madeleine McDonald

A wonderful congratulations to my outstanding Finalist, Laura Rose Cardona! And a hearty Cheers! to my Semifinalists and Honorable Mentions!

ALL OF YOU – Don’t miss the 2015 Holiday Anagram Short Story Contest! Guidelines and contest rules will be posted right here at FBI and BIC on Saturday November 7th. Free to join – More prize money offered – $100 First Place – just in time for the holidays!

I want to congratulate ALL contest participants. I’ll admit to you all – judging this contest was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life! I’m not exaggerating in the least. There were soooo many good stories; soooo much talent. It was almost impossible for me to pick one, and in fact I couldn’t pick just one which is why I segued into an Editor’s Choice, two Semifinalist and five Honorable Mentions. Regardless if you were selected for any of the above, you all really did a fabulous job. Thank you for entering!

Halloween Blog Picture - Creepy Kid pic

As a contest entrant myself I know the gumption it takes to get your story composed and then hit that submit button. At the end of this blog post I’m going to discuss the #1 reason why I think authors get rejected from contests and publishing at large.

First – the secret benefits of online contests.

WRITING CONTESTS – ARE THEY WORTH IT?
Yes! Writing contests (and most especially winning them) are definitely worth it!

Fan Story Picture

I’ve long been a proponent of qualified published writing as the content of your Author Bio when one queries.

My Finalist, Semifinalists and Honorable Mentions can now mention their achievement referencing this contest win when they move into agenting a manuscript. Blogs and contests sites such as Fictional Black Ink and Black Ink Contests are the birth place of many a great author and writer.

Getting published, in ANY venue, is extremely competitive. For fun, competitive creative writing contests, check out Fan Story.

HERE ARE THE SECRET BENEFITS OF ONLINE CONTESTS

  • You are published! Congratulations! Your name might not be on the NY Times best seller list (yet), but you can honestly say your work was published by a party not related by blood or friendship.
  • You can reference your publication in your Author Bio if and when you query an agent
  • Your work is being read by strangers…this is the start of a following! Whenever you get published, always try including a brief bio with links to your blog/website/or other online social media related to your creative writing
  • Name recognition. Your name is your signature. The more often people see it, the more they’ll start to recognize it. Tie your name to a good story and you’ve got publication gold!

WORD TO THE WISE AUTHOR
Sometimes being the best isn’t about being the best writer…its about being the best researcher (have you investigated the agent to whom you intend on submitting?)…its about being the best creative (have you Creatively Targeted your agent in writing a story tailored to him or her?)…finally, its about being the most PERSISTENT.

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

So many authors give up after several rejections – – it’s that turtle author who clings to their dreams, stays in the game for the long haul, and follows every possible publication avenue – – that is the author who wins the ultimate prize.

FINALLY – THINGS I LEARNED AS A CONTEST JUDGE
I received over 100 submissions and I want to thank each and every one of you who entered! I also want to say that I was completely floored by the amount of talent some of you packed into 1000 words or less!  Unbelievable talent!

There were a few, however, that did not adhere to the guidelines. At all. I was a little surprised by this. As a flash fiction contest with a fraction of the money that can be made in big publishing, I would have thought the guidelines would be as easy-breezy as following a quick road map from one’s living room to one’s kitchen. If people couldn’t follow these guidelines, I thought, how in the world will they make it when they start to query the big guys?

Follow the rules picture for blog

Folks, make sure you read submissions pages with a fine tooth comb! Print it out, check off each instructional, and make sure you have their submission rules down to every I dotted and T crossed.

For my contest, not following the guidelines was an immediate disqualification for entry.

I can say with almost 100% certainty that this is the #1 reason why a lot of newbie authors never even get read!

Again, I want to thank all of my 2015 Halloween Flash Fiction contestants. You were all wonderful to work with.

Congratulations, again, to my finalist Laura Rose Cardona! And to all of my talented contest participants – thank you for joining the fun!

Please stay tuned for the 2015 Anagram Holiday Short Fiction contest. Guidelines, contest rules and all the other goodies will be announced at Black Ink Contests on Saturday, November 7th.

ANAGRAM:
Anagram flash fiction contest picture 4 blog

Connie Irons is a novelist recently begat blogger. As a double GeminiThumbnail of my Blog Picture it’s hard to tie her down to one genre, but her favorites are well written horror and snarky memoirs (hail David Sedaris). When she’s not writing she’s mindlessly spoiling her beagle/basset puppy, Tucker, and evading payment on multiple loans from her fiancé.

Twitter: @connie_irons
Facebook: Fictional Black Ink
Email: Contact Me
Author’s Den Contributor
The 2015 Guide | What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book?

Thanks so much for visiting – you make what I do purposeful!

“If human beings had genuine courage, they’d wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween.”
– Douglas Coupland

AND….

“A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.”
– Erma Bombeck

Have a safe and Happy Halloween everyone!!!

45+ Websites That Will Pay You To Write

ANNOUNCEMENT II:  Based on your feedback, I will not be ending my blog in 2016!  The blog will move to a standard WordPress page (of the same name) and as we get closer to the transition I will keep everyone posted of the changes.  The biggest change you’ll see in 2016 is a reduction in posts;  I will only post once a month.  I want to sincerely thank you all so much for reading and your valuable feedback and kind comments!

OK, having said that, let’s get started! ☺

Today’s post is going to be short and sweet. It’s about making money and getting published (as are my usual themes), but I have a nice link-out that has everything listed for you.

Money out of pc pic FIRST

As many of you might already know, I’m a huge proponent of the author resume (aka Author Bio). Building a relevant list of published material is so important, especially when you start marketing your work to agents…even more important if you haven’t actually published anything in mainstream yet.

Having a solid resume of publications under your belt will immeasurably spiff up your author bio.

SO HOW DO YOU GET YOUR NAME OUT THERE?
Serious writers will make every effort to get their name out there and their work read by others. Even if it means writing articles and freebie posts. But those articles and posts aren’t just bumpkis. You’re writing…the number one rule of every professional author I’ve ever read (including all of the heavy hitters) is KEEP WRITING EVERY DAY! So even if you aren’t preening your current YA novel or penning the slaughter scene of your Horror debut, you are writing.

I think a moment of honesty is called for – – while we all love writing, who doesn’t want to also get paid for writing? It’s payment for passion. I think any (in fact most – if not all) creative writers will agree that a paid submission is the icing on the cake.

Money out of pc pic

SPEAKING OF PAYMENT
So my blog post title states 45+ Websites That Will Pay You To Write.

Keeping to my integrity as a blogger, I’ve included a direct link so you can get your hands on the paid goodies. I just want to give you, my fellow writers, a few words of good advice – GO FOR IT!
This is your opportunity to get published and paid.

45+ Websites That Will Pay You To Write

PS – BONUS! The 2015 list includes 110 Paid listings!

DOWNLOAD THE 2015 LIST

Enjoy and happy writing!

***The 2015 Halloween Flash Fiction contest is now closed.

Please stay tuned for the 2015 Anagram Holiday Short Fiction contest. Guidelines, contest rules and all the other goodies will be announced at Black Ink Contests on Saturday, November 7th.

ANAGRAM:
Anagram flash fiction contest picture 4 blog

Connie Irons is a novelist recently begat blogger. As a double GeminiThumbnail of my Blog Picture it’s hard to tie her down to one genre, but her favorites are well written horror and snarky memoirs (hail David Sedaris). When she’s not writing she’s mindlessly spoiling her beagle/basset puppy, Tucker, and evading payment on multiple loans from her fiancé.

Twitter: @connie_irons
Facebook: Fictional Black Ink
Email: Contact Me
Author’s Den Contributor
The 2015 Guide | What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book?

Thanks so much for visiting – you make what I do purposeful!

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
– Louis L’Amour

Have You Created An Impressive Authors Platform?

ANNOUNCEMENT:   As some of you may (or may not) know, I’ve been hosting a writing contest since early September and have received more entries that I ever thought I would. Hosting literary and writing contests has long been a personal dream of mine, so this overwhelming response cemented a long overdue idea and passion on which I am finally going to focus all of my energies.

While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this weekly blog and have a nice little following, I am going to transition the blog to another online medium effective January 1st, 2016.

Looking for the PERFECT Lit Agent that fits your novel?
What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book?

Fun PAID writing contests
Black Ink Contests

It might seem a little ironic that I would choose today to make this announcement (considering the topic is focused on building an audience through platforms such as blogs), but I felt it only fair to give an honest assessment of where this blog is headed.

As I make the transition, I will also not be posting every Tuesday. The following dates will be posted until the end of the year: I will finish out every Tuesday in October, including the special Halloween post on October 31st. This will be followed by November 10th and 24th and December 8th, 15th, 23rd, and 29th.

I hope you all continue to visit, and I will remain dedicated to bringing you as much relevant information as possible.

OK, enough about the transition – let’s get started.

An Author’s Platform is still under some debate as a necessary pre-tool when publishing. I use the term ‘pre-tool’ to indicate you’ll want to establish yourself prior to beginning the agent submissions process. I am on the team that thinks yes – you should have a relevant, existing platform.

Author Platform pic

It looks good if, in your author bio, you can reference a saturated writers blog with a hefty following. Agents like seeing that you have invested time and energy to create a following; they also recognize that a substantial readership might consist of several pre-orders to the book you are trying to sell.

Having an established authors platform also allows room for marketing non-traditional publishing platforms (i.e. eBooks and self-published novels).

The key to growing any kind of self-directed platform is persistence and patience.

You can also visit Your Writer Platform for some free eBooks on the topic.  In addition to the freebies, Your Writer Platform provides access to a professional marketer who has invested her knowledge into helping authors build their author platform.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM
Social Media has one key word in it – Social. This means if you aren’t into social gatherings, even online one’s, this might not be the best tool for you to build a platform.

Despite your personal feelings on the matter, however, developing a social media network really is critical to establishing an ongoing method for communicating with your target audience. There are several options to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.

Social Media pic

I would recommend selecting only one or two social media and then focusing your energies on those two selections. Post something every day at minimum – twice or three times daily is recommended for sites like Twitter. It takes time ( a lot of time) to grow a strong social media presence, so the key word is patience.

BLOGGING
Blogging can be your secret weapon in the publication arsenal. Blogs are a great place to post articles that establish your expertise in your field. Blogs are also a terrific way to start a following and introduce your writing.

You can start a free, dedicated blog using established platforms such as WordPress or eBlogger. I’ve listed a few free sites below.

Tumblr.com

Blog.com

WordPress

Bravenet

Blogger (aka eBlogger)
**Requires a Google Account log in
***Sorry for no direct link.  Even though I don’t personally have a Blogger account, the url kept capturing my personal Google information. You can visit the site by typing Blogger.com into Google

Blog pic

If you don’t want to invest in a personal blog, you can still reach your audience by posting relevant (and regular) articles to sites like ArticlesBase and Ezine. I’ve listed a few free article submission sites below.

WriteArticles.org

Buzzle.com

Ezine

ArticlesBase.com

Article Dashboard

You can create whatever niche you choose and discuss that niche in great detail. Providing knowledge-rich, solid content and interesting topics are the best way to secure a following. You can also share news about your upcoming book(s), which is a perfect way to generate interest in an upcoming release.

eBOOKS
Many authors want to hold out for that traditional “pot of gold” – agent selection and big house publication. In today’s online world, however, there is no need to wait for that golden phone call in order to make your publication dreams come true.

Kindle readers and the like have opened the doors to all authors who wish to self-publish their book.

Self-publishing an eBook will open several doors, especially for the new author. He or she can ascertain, through eBook sales, if their story has a market – – this insight is incredibly valuable as it will allow the author to move forward into the next venture with a more exacting approach.

Kindle Publishing

Kindle Pic

Smashwords

BAM (Books A Million) Publishing

Lulu

David Carnoy, author of Self-Publishing: 25 Things You Need to Know, writes another fantastic article, How To Self-Publish An eBook.   Highly recommended reading for those interested in this avenue.

SELF-PUBLISHING VIA eBOOK: DREAMS DO COME TRUE
Think you’re losing out on traditional marketing with big sales rights? Think again! The Martian by Andy Weir was first published under his own name. It was originally self-published in 2011 after which Crown Publishing purchased the rights and re-released it in 2014. The Martian, a film adaptation directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, was released this month [in October 2015]. It is also a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

The Martian book cover

So, you see, self-publishing to big market venue is indeed very possible!

Don’t give up and keep writing…you will eventually see results!

Next Tuesday’s Blog Topic: 45+ Websites That Will Pay You To Write
I’ve long been the proponent of the following:  Focus less on the big publishing; focus more on the day-to-day publishing.  Getting your work out there is extremely important…and these lists include PAID submissions!

Don’t forget to enter your Halloween Flash Fiction! $50 1st place, DEADLINE is this Saturday the 24th at Midnight.  GUIDELINES

Connie Irons is a novelist recently begat blogger. As a double GeminiThumbnail of my Blog Picture it’s hard to tie her down to one genre, but her favorites are well written horror and snarky memoirs (hail David Sedaris). When she’s not writing she’s mindlessly spoiling her beagle/basset puppy, Tucker, and evading payment on multiple loans from her fiancé.

Twitter: @connie_irons
Facebook: Fictional Black Ink
Email: Contact Me
Author’s Den Contributor
The 2015 Guide | What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book?

Thanks so much for visiting – you make what I do purposeful!

“Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life.”
– Hunter S. Thompson

 

Quickly Identify Your Weakest Writing Link

Today’s topic is important to me because I know I have a weak link (or two) in my creative writing. Although the topic suggests ‘quick identification’ of the weakest link, in doing my research I discovered that this weak link is actually the result of multi-layers in the creative writing process. I’m going to briefly discuss each one and reveal the number one weakest writing link. If you read through each main topic I think you’ll find you can put more meat on the bones of your story.

Weakest Link Picture

Let’s get started.

If any of you were able to wade through the 2nd video in last weeks post, you may have heard Judith Murray from Literary Agency Greene & Heaton say something at the end of her interview. Something that really captured my attention (mainly because both she and fellow lit agent, Antony Topping, referenced this)…they said the story they would publish would have to make them want to turn the page and keep reading it.

As an avid reader, I’ve been there…it’s close to midnight and I know I have to get up for work early in the morning but I just – can’t – put – the – book – down!!!

I’m going to reference two of my most recent reads: This House is Haunted by John Boyne and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

             

With both, I started off as an innocent bystander and the next thing I knew I was caught up in the drama…the what-if’s…the ‘whose hiding behind door number two??’

So how exactly does an author capture that kind of tension and conflict? How does an author capture the reader?

Let’s find out how.

THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED

This House Is Haunted

As a horror fan, the moment I read the back flap I knew I had to buy the book. The book back flap, as we all know, is essentially the query letter; I was hooked right away. The novel didn’t fail me. The tension came mostly in the form of a woman alone with two children – – only she didn’t know she was alone with the two children until well into the read.

This is classic horror. Women alone…women alone with children. Two vulnerable and “helpless” classes that (at least in the horror genre) are rarely exemplified as heroines or saviors. Almost immediately I, as the reader, had a delicious sense of vulnerability and terrifying solitude and the chilling realization that I was unprotected. I didn’t know who I could trust, and there was something very odd going on at the house I was visiting.

Creating Tension and Drama: THE PUBLISHED
Creating tension is rarely negotiable across genres. The author must create a sense of vulnerability that the reader can identify with: alone in a house, in the dark, in a thought process, in a relationship, in an angry crowd, etc.

Creating Tension and Drama: YOU
Right up front, make your protagonist likable – relatable. Most people like animals, so a dedicated pet owner will suffice. Then (regardless of genre), put your protag in a vulnerable situation.

Need inspiration for writing a likeable and relatable character? I found a decent blog post touching on this very topic:
20 tips for creating relatable – and lovable – protagonists

With any character emotion, try incorporating non-fiction advice.
In her Tip #9 Be Likeable and Relatable, author Lordes Welhaven of Networker For Business Woman writes,

“Likeable people are relatable. They don’t pretend to know it all or be “bigger” than they are. They take other’s opinions in stride choosing not to believe that they are less than or better than anyone else. We all have our insecurities, it all starts with accepting yourself. Once you accept what you like as well as what you don’t like about yourself, you’ll find that others will like you more. In fact, they might even appreciate the fact that you are so human, just like them.”

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On this same topic she continues by stating,

“Likeable people don’t gossip ever, not even behind closed doors to their most faithful confidants. I’m sure you’ve had someone tell you some rumor they heard that they were so eager to share with you. Didn’t it cross your mind, if only for a fleeting second, that if they are gossiping about someone else today that they’ll be gossiping about you tomorrow?”

This is terrific advice to both professionals and creative writers constructing a likable character.  These are real, human characteristics and the more believable your character is, the better.

Once you’ve established a likable protagonist and placed them in a vulnerable and potentially dangerous situation, the reader will want to know to know more about him or her. Do they have any defensive skills, like Karate or Jujutsu? Are they afraid of the dark? Is there a quick back story to supplement their current fear; did something happened to them as a child that places them in particular stress in your given situation?  What you’re trying to draw out is HOW CAN THE READER PROTECT THEM?

Look Over Shoulder Pic

 

CREATING LIKEABLE CHARACTERS
Readers, by and large, like the following:

  • A character who has overcome something (a bad childhood, a bad relationship, a bad work experience, a bad social experience, etc.)
  • A character who feels emotions (they are sad when their cat dies, happy when they get a work bonus, elated when they find their perfect partner, etc.)
  • A character with financial problems. This one is interesting to me personally , as I’ve always rooted for the protag or even secondary character who seems to struggle monetarily. I guess the super-rich-bastard-type is too far aloof for most of us to relate to and root for.
  • A character with dental issues, hygiene issues or any significant social issue that might make him or her completely “unacceptable” to the crowd. A lot of people can relate to this social unacceptability, and it makes for a good connection with readers when your protagonist or primary secondary character is vulnerable to crowd (and social) judgment.

GONE GIRL
While I personally figured out the premise to Gone Girl by the third chapter, this was still one of my favorite reads. Why?

Creating Tension and Drama: THE PUBLISHED
It was so evident from early on that Amy Dunne was not stable that it left the READER in an ongoing vulnerable state….what exactly would this character do next? She was without controls and therefore UNPREDICTABLE!

Creating Tension and Drama: YOU
Your character does not have to fit a niche. You can make him or her as predictable (or unpredictable) as your imagination will allow! NOTE: Once you establish your characters ‘MO’ [Modus Operandi] you’ll have to stick to it. A “jumpy” character only irritates readers.

CREATING SOCIAL PARIAH’S

Scarlett Letter Pic

For me this title brings to mind a recent documentary I watched regarding Aileen Wuornos.  For those even remotely familiar with that case file, I think you might understand this: On some human level I felt just the tiniest bit bad for Aileen.

And no – I don’t want to turn this blog post into a quasi You Tube forum of hate literary against Aileen (or even against me for saying she is a sympathetic soul), but I do want to point out that while her actions were despicably heinous, she still maintained this ‘female wronged’ persona.  With her clear mental health issues and rather blunt and somewhat sad personality, I think Aileen Wournos is a story that resonated with many women.

When creating a strong social pariah, your character must fit into some socially acceptable ‘wronged’ category. I Know What You Did Last Summer, an extremely popular film based on the 1973 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan; a perfect example of the social pariah.

I Know What You Did Last Summer centers on four friends who are being stalked by a killer, one year after covering up a car accident in which they were involved. The social pariah’s in this case are the four teens who have killed somebody and covered it up – a socially unacceptable injustice. They must pay for their deeds.


The audience is siding, to some degree, with the vicious killer of the teens. He, after all, is setting right what the group did to that poor man when they dumped his body.

The lone avenger for justice and victims rights is a very popular social pariah, and there are many, many books from which to draw inspiration.

CREATIVE WRITING – YOUR WEAKEST LINK
I wanted to focus on tension, conflict, character creation, and social pariah’s before I got into the meat of the blog for several reasons.

If you do an intensive search on why agents reject manuscript submissions, it is usually because one of the four following reasons:

  • There wasn’t enough tension and conflict (i.e. NOT a page turner!)
  • The characters weren’t fleshed out enough
  • The agent didn’t feel any connection to the characters
  • The agent never found themselves rooting for the characters

Your weakest link is probably your focus on creative writing and lack of attention to real human emotion. An inability to elicit emotion in your readers.

I came across a fantastic blog post that touches on this very topic: Creating Emotion In The Reader

Yes, maybe in chapter two you’ve shown the reader how angry your protag was at her husband. But did you allow your reader to feel that anger? To become angry on the part of your wife…a good piece of fiction will elicit real-life emotions in your readers. Emotions that will stick with them until they’ve completed the novel.

THE RIPPLE-EFFECT
Speaking of our angry wife, did you bother to tell the reader how that anger affected the couples child(ren), the day care teacher, the friendly neighbor, the Starbucks barista, the mother-in-law?

Real Human Emotion rarely ever affects just one person. There is usually a ripple affect (co-workers, siblings, parents, friends, even strangers). Make sure your writing captures ALL of your characters human emotions, especially the more inter-twined your characters might be.

In addition to Real Human Emotions, your characters should be as living and breathing as you and I are right now.

Two take-aways from This House Is Haunted and Gone Girl: I always wondered how the characters were doing! Getting ready for work I’d think:

Is Eliza going to figure out what Isabella and Eustace are up to? When are the police going to figure out Amy Dunne is brilliantly psychotic?

These were people I’d never met – strangers – fictional characters! And yet I wanted to know more about their lives and couldn’t wait to pick up the book again!

CHARACTER INVESTMENT
People will care and start becoming invested in your characters when you make them care.

  • Knowing your readership is extremely relevant at this point of the publication process
  • Identifying your target market is essential (even before you start writing)
  • Develop an Authors Brand early in your writing career…this will help establish you as a good resource of factual information…creative writers and authors are, by and large, a very logical group. Don’t disrespect their intelligence by feeding them completely illogical information.

In addition to factual, logical information, there is one other tool in your weakest link arsenal:

THE SELFIE CHEAT SHEET
Read one chapter of a recent story you’ve written or are working on. On a separate piece of paper, identify the following from the READERS perspective:

Sights
What all does the reader SEE.
A house. A yard. A forest. The beach. A barn. A pair of faded jeans.
Jot down all of the visuals you’ve included for your reader to look at.

Smells
What is the reader SMELLING?
A fire pit. Perfume. Mint lip gloss. Oranges. Impending rain.
Smells can bring on a flood of memories and have even been known to influence mood! HINT: Having your character enjoy an unusual or normally unpleasant odor can create a standout

Emotion
Fear . Anger. Happiness. Joy. Terror. Indifference.
Your characters must always be feeling something in order for them to be alive – in order for the reader to buy into them as real people

Sub-Emotion
Do you have secondary characters in the chapter you are reading? How are they affected by the protag’s actions and emotions? Jot down the relationship between the protagonist and all secondary characters. How does the protagonist influence your secondary characters? Always remember – your protagonist is the stone thrown into your literary writing…the secondary characters are the ripple effect.

I again want to thank Lourdes Welhaven at Networker For Business Woman for permission to use pieces from her awesome blog.  Muchas Gracias m’lady!

Next Tuesday’s Blog Topic: Have You Created An Impressive Author’s Platform?
This includes a high-level, steady following on social media, a well read blog, or perhaps an engineered platform such as several top selling eBooks.  We’ll discuss how you can start building your author platform right away!

Don’t forget to enter your Halloween Flash Fiction! $50 1st place. GUIDELINES

Connie Irons is a novelist recently begat blogger. As a double GeminiThumbnail of my Blog Picture it’s hard to tie her down to one genre, but her favorites are well written horror and snarky memoirs (hail David Sedaris). When she’s not writing she’s mindlessly spoiling her beagle/basset puppy, Tucker, and evading payment on multiple loans from her fiancé.

Twitter: @connie_irons
Facebook: Fictional Black Ink
Email: Contact Me
Author’s Den Contributor
The 2015 Guide | What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book?

Thanks so much for visiting – you make what I do purposeful!

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
– William Wordsworth

Pleading With A Lit Agent – Your Step-by-Step Guide

OK, ok…so we’re really not going to actually plead with any specific agent, but keep your options open for a lot of groveling.

Man Pleading

Before we begin the boot licking, let’s take a big step back and look at the life of an agent.

They, after all, don’t live on Mount Olympus with Zeus and Hercules as their neighbors. They rent (some own) – just like we do. The lease cars (some are buying) – same as us. Some have children who have carelessly broken priceless heirlooms; others, an over anxious mother who calls the police after a second missed phone call. Perhaps they enjoy that special co-worker who fails to interpret lack of eye contact as Go Away!, the mail carrier who always delivers the neighbors magazines, the dog that eats anything, the cat from hell…this list has a life of its own!

In short – they are us! They are us with titles that dictate we scrape and bow…just a little.

While I wasn’t thrilled with many aspects of this video, the overall message it delivers is relevant:

When you start querying, just remember that your targeted agent isn’t some fluff-ball of magical air, sitting in a mahogany encased library room, anxiously waiting to hear from clever authors. They are workers – sales people. Harried and irritable. That phone call you made last week to get your kids dental bill all straightened out…guess what? Your agent might be making that same kind of phone call today.

In an effort to plead with anybody, you have to know exactly who you are dealing with.

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THE CHARMER
If you’re reading this you are a creative writer. And I, as a fellow creative writer, have never met another creative who isn’t both charming and charismatic. Maybe not in that beefy, sales-guy kind of way…that loud, but lovable kind of way. But in a quiet, sweet, literary way.

Your weapon when contacting an agent is your sweet, affable charm. Use it to your advantage.

Your charm is non-negotiable – you were probably born with it. What you also have to bring with you to the pleading block is a hard eye towards business.  Read on.

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ONLY 18 DAYS LEFT UNTIL THE OCTOBER 24th DEADLINE! DON’T MISS OUT ON YOUR CHANCE TO WIN $50 FOR 1000 WORDS OR LESS IN THE BLACK INK CONTESTS HALLOWEEN FLASH FICTION CONTEST

Super Tiny Halloween Pic

GUIDELINES
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THE CHARMED
The one we wish to charm, of course, is the agent. And here is where my extensive research pays off for you, the reader. In putting together The 2015 Guide | What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book? I discovered something quite unusual about most agents.

I want to repeat – MOST agents (not just many)…most of them hold a law degree. An agent might currently represent childrens books, with a recent publish of Sandy Sullied the Sandbox; that same agent might also have a hard-nosed law degree hanging on her office wall. Don’t be fooled by the innocent representation(s).

WHAT DOES AN ATTORNEY-AGENT MEAN TO ME & MY STORY?
Knowing that an agent holds a law degree further supports Creative Targeted Writing. Something I started talking about in last week post Rejected Again? You’d Better Read This!

Had these people not segued into literary agenting, they might instead have been embroiled in legal battles; viciously competing with other attorney’s and stampeding the halls of a courthouse. My point being this: Your agent might not be the softie literary, tentatively sipping Oolong tea in front of a wood-paneled fire place.

How does knowing an agent holds a law degree support Creative Targeted Writing?

Because I think the prevailing notion with most authors is that agents are creative readers and writers – just like they are. And while this notion does hold true for many, many an agent, it might not be entirely the situation with your selected agent – the person you plan on sending your query and (hopefully) manuscript to.

The Law picture

He or she might have a specialty law degree – like International Sales – and their agency snapped them up during the interview because they’ll be a great in-house resource to field international sales. But at the end of the day, that same former law grad might not be completely invested in reading YA or MG or Fantasy fiction – all of which has been assigned to their desk.

Knowing exactly what your agent has an interest in (both professionally and personally) is a good way to target the right agent. CTW [Creative Targeted Writing]. Do thorough research on your agent; you might be dealing with a former attorney and will need to craft your romance novel with a touch of the law.

The audio isn’t the greatest (I had my speakers on high), but if  you catch what these two literary agents have to say it is quite meaningful to any author on the verge of querying:

PLEADING – OLD SCHOOL STYLE
In the old days, when we were kids, pleading usually meant a steady mantra of begging before our parents either caved or began threatening our very existence. Sometimes it was an intoxicating blend of both and we marched on, a little uncertain if our tactics would win us what we wanted.

This, unfortunately, will not work with an agent.

Instead, pleading with an agent comes in the form of the Author Bio section of the query.

The Author Bio is just like a quick resumé – and what are resumé’s? Hopeful pleadings – – ‘Hire me! Hire me!’

So in the Author Bio you, too, will plead – – ‘Ask for the full manuscript! Ask for the full manuscript!’

PLEADING VIA THE AUTHOR BIO
This is why having a strong author platform is so important! It is something I discussed a while ago,  An Authors Brand – How Important Is It?

Your query must have a strong hook and grab the agents attention. We all know that. But at the end of the query, the agent is going to want to know why they should publish your version of Why Are Seagulls White? versus they guy down the street who also happened to submit, Why Are Seagulls White?

Let’s look at two examples:

Your Author Bio
Doug Smith is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in English. In 2011 he received Honorable mention in Hip Hip Hooray! Creative Writing competition. He is hoping to publish his first novel.

The Guy Down The Street Author Bio
Joe Blow is a freelance writer, fantasy & sci-fi eBook author, and editor of The Fiction of Science & Fantasy blog. He writes for many online publications, as well as AuthorsDen and Fantasy Pages. His fantasy short story collection, The Outer Banks Isn’t In North Carolina! is published by Writers Exchange ePublishing. His latest project is a science fiction MG anthology that will be published next year.

I’m sure I don’t have to point out the obvious differences in these two bios. If both of these authors were standing in front of the same lit agent, pleading that their manuscript be read, which one do you think the agent will choose?

She will choose the best manuscript, naturally, but she’ll more inclined to initially read the manuscript of the more invested author.  As long as the rest of his query was prime, Joe Blow will probably win the request for a full or partial.

Stephanie Chandler penned How to Write a Dazzling Author Bio and it’s a pretty quick, informative read.

I mentioned in a previous blog post that the query letter is your time to shine; your time to brag and name drop. I encourage all of my readers that when they start to query they loosen their ties, adjust the volume, and start playing hard ball.

FINAL PLEADING TIPS 101

  • Beef up your Author Bio. Stop focusing on getting published by a big name publishing house; focus instead on the day to day publishing that will impact your bottom line writing credibility.
  • Do thorough research on your selected agent. Remember the old saying:  ‘It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.’  KNOW your agent. Get to know him or her very well.
  • Carte blanche your writing to a targeted agent. Writing for a specific agent will reduce rejection and focus your creative energy to a similarly interested party.

Visit again next Tuesday and we’ll discuss something near and dear to my writers heart.  The topic:  Quickly Identify Your Weakest Writing Link

Don’t forget to enter your Halloween Flash Fiction! $50 1st place. GUIDELINES

Connie Irons is a novelist recently begat blogger. As a double GeminiThumbnail of my Blog Picture it’s hard to tie her down to one genre, but her favorites are well written horror and snarky memoirs (hail David Sedaris). When she’s not writing she’s mindlessly spoiling her beagle/basset puppy, Tucker, and evading payment on multiple loans from her fiancé.

Twitter: @connie_irons
Facebook: Fictional Black Ink
Email: Contact Me
Author’s Den Contributor
The 2015 Guide | What Agent Publishes My Kind Of Book?

Thanks so much for visiting – you make what I do purposeful!

“It’s amazing – you may not realize it, but so much of what you are not is because you are literally standing in your own way of becoming. And what I’m pleading with you about is, get the hell out of your own way.”
– Leo Buscaglia