The Secret Formula for Getting Published

EMU's Debuts

secretformulaYears before I was even offered a contract, new writers started asking me if I would tell them how to get published. Some have asked if I would connect them to an agent or an editor. Others have wanted to know how to write a surefire query letter.

These are the same questions I asked established writers when I was new, and every question is a good one. Every one of them is important if a writer wants to eventually work with a respected, traditional publisher. But—trust me—if I knew a quick-and-easy secret formula, I would’ve used it a long time ago.

If there *were* a step-by-step process, however, it might look a lot like this:

1. Blood

2. Sweat

3. Tears

4. Repeat

But since we’re talking about the Children’s market, rather than the Stephen King method of getting published, perhaps I should use the ABCs to impart the…

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What Is Cobb Russwin Reading?

mishaburnett

In Cannibal Hearts there is a scene where Nancy Dew describes the book she is reading, and while I don’t mention the name, it’s The Demon’s Apprentice by Ben Reeder. I describe the book and the cover well enough, I think, that someone who is familiar with the book would recognize it.  I put it in there, frankly, because Ben Reeder had just preformed my daughter’s wedding.  It was the kind of an obscure reference that I enjoy doing because, well, I’m like that.

Now I find myself in a scene where James is talking to Cobb Russwin, and I need some kind of light dinner conversation.  It occurs to me that I’d like to have Cobb talk about the book he’s reading, and I’d like to be able to plug a self-published work.

So what is Cobb Russwin reading?  Well, he’s a former Marine, well-traveled, with an interest in…

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Free Book Giveaway Extravaganza

Author and friend Schevus Osborne is having a giveaway and is running a flash fiction ghost story contest on his blog. Check it out!

Nascent Aspirations

Ok, so maybe it’s not quite that exciting, but I am offering up two free kindle copies of Spirits of St. Louis: Missouri Ghost Stories and 100 Worlds: Lightning-Quick SF and Fantasy Tales.

If you would like to enter to win, just leave a comment on this post to earn one entry. In the spirit of both books, I am also adding a further incentive. For one additional bonus entry, include in your comment a 100 word (exact) ghost story. I would like to compile these after the contest and present them together in another post to showcase everyone’s work, so leave a pen name and / or website for attribution. Submission of a story means you agree to one-time, non-exclusive electronic rights for me to publish your story on my blog only. You will retain all other rights.

I will draw the winners at random, and each winner will…

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Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It: A tribute to Junie B. Jones

RIP Barbara Park

Author/ Writer Julie Young

Junie        I discovered Barbara Parks’ irreverent kindergardener when my own son was five-years-old. Not since Fudge Hatcher has any literary character made me laugh as much and I quickly devoured every book that featured the plucky Junie B. Jones whose middle name stood for Beatrice “but I don’t like Beatrice, I just like B. and that’s all.”

Just last week I was reading “Turkeys We Have Loved (and Eaten)” the last Junie B. book Parks wrote before her passing, to my son. Though he is 16 now, we still enjoy sharing books together and he loves the over-the-top way I do Junie’s voice. Needless to say, we were both distraught to learn of Parks’ passing this morning and I suspect that we will spend at least part of the day revisiting our favorite Junie B. Jones stories including: Aloha-ha-ha, Junie B. Has a Peep in Her Pocket…

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NaNoWriMo: Classic Novels Written in a Month

Interesting Literature

Which classic novels were all written within a month? And which writer would take all his clothes off as a way of coping with writer’s block? We’re here to inspire you in your writing quest whether you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo or merely trying to complete (nay, perhaps start) a writing project.

This month, many people are taking part in NaNoWriMo, or ‘National Novel Writing Month’, which takes place every November. The idea is to write a novel – to start one if not to complete it – by writing 50,000 words across the month of November. Here at Interesting Literature we thought we’d offer some support for those undertaking NaNoWriMo by showing how even famous and established novelists have had to cope with writer’s block, deadlines, and writing quickly.

Douglas Adams memorably remarked, ‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.’…

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16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here

These are fascinating. I’ve been living in the states since 1995 or thereabouts. Over the next couple of days I’m going to work on my own list of what surprised me (and in some cases continue to surprise me) when I first came here.

Thought Catalog

A lot of people around the world have ideas of what America is like, possibly thanks to Hollywood, or their local news channels, and maybe from what they’ve heard from families and friends. But then, they came here, to the grand old United States and their minds exploded. Taken from Quora.

1. Rakib Islam

I am originally from Bangladesh and here are a few things that I find hard to explain to peeps back home.

  • Fruits and vegetables are way more expensive than meat and poultry.
  • That, generally speaking, the poor is more obese than the rich.
  • A lot of couples adopt children, sometimes in spite of having their own, and treat them exactly like their own. (To me, this alone is a marker of a great people)
  • By and large, people do not carry cash.
  • That you address your boss (and some of your professors) by some abbreviated…

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Image

Today on Paws4Thought I’d like to introduce author George Sirois. George’s book “Excelsior” was recently rereleased by Rocking Horse Publishing.

1. When did you start writing?

I’ve been creating since I was 9 years old in 1985, when I would kill time between assignments with my friends by drawing the most simplified robotic characters. We were inspired by Star Wars, Voltron and TransFormers and had a lot of fun creating one character after another. My first actual writing attempt came several years later, after I lost contact with my friends in school. I kept hacking away at those characters, expanding them, giving them more detail, fixing their backstories, etc. I filled over 200 loose leaf pages with a really long and complicated story that basically ripped off every form of pop culture I had been exposed to at that time. But I didn’t care since I didn’t see these stories going anywhere back then.

2. Tell us a little about your book.

The character’s been with me since 1992, when I wanted to come up with someone new to add to the little universe I had already started. After watching the John Boorman movie Excalibur, I wanted to give him a mythic flavor, someone who would wield a sword and would be a god being made into human form. He had elements of Jesus Christ, King Arthur and my childhood hero, Optimus Prime. In 2007, I was introduced to the concept of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, and I thought this would be a great exercise to tell the definitive story of Excelsior, since I set up the universe timeline with his story going first, and then that leading into the story of the characters my friends and I started back in 1985.

3. Who is your favorite author? Who is your biggest inspiration in your writing?

That’s hard to say. I’ve read more than my share of different books by different authors. I’ve never felt committed to one particular writer. I see a lot of positives and negatives in all of the ones I’ve read.

4. When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I’ve been a movie lover all my life, and I’m very proud of my always-expanding DVD collection. I’m a sucker for special features on discs and I tend to watch those more than the actual movies. I also love following the New York Giants and Yankees, dancing West Coast Swing and taking long walks to clear my head.

5. If you could choose one super-power what would it be?

I’d have to go the Wolverine route and say an accelerated healing factor. Having that would really expand my horizons and make me a lot less afraid to do things since I wouldn’t hurt myself in the process.

6. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Music that was used in 80s movies. Those songs are so cheesy, but they’re so much fun to listen to, and in the right frame of mind, they can get you incredibly motivated. Try listening to Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best” from The Karate Kid while you’re walking and tell me you don’t increase your pace. Also, professional wrestling. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have come up with the concept of my 2002 book, “From Parts Unknown.”

7. Any advice for new writers?

Don’t stop. If you can’t stop, you’re a writer. If you care so much about what you’re writing that you think you’re a hack, you’re a writer (Hacks don’t care about what they write). Engage your teachers and tell them what you’re working on. It’s likely that they’ll want to find out more about what you have in mind.

8. Any new projects in the pipeline?

A lot is currently in the pipeline. I’m rewriting my 2002 novel “From Parts Unknown” into a five-part serial. Each part of the serial will be published as an eBook, and then the complete version will be combined into a paperback. And, of course, there’s the first of two “Excelsior” sequels, and once that trilogy is complete, I can move on to tell the definitive story of the characters that were created back in 1985.

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