While this fall semester may be one of the stranger ones, it’s still important to prepare yourself. Here is a list of books you should read for that.
Every writer wants their voice to be heard, and although getting your book recognized by a publishing house is very competitive, you shouldn't give up on your dream! Here are five tips you should know before sending your script to publishers.
If you’re a writer, then you probably have at least two voices in your head, one in each ear. One voice tells you that what you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games. The other voice tells you that you’re a terrible writer and you should just give up.
You suck down those fears and put a smile on your face. You’re a writer, and you have a short story of a novel or maybe you even have both. You submit your work and sit back.
It’s a stab in the gut, and the ‘thanks’ only adds salt to the wound. You suck it up and submit again. Maybe this time you’ll submit to a smaller agency, a tinier magazine. You hit send:
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Thanks to The Gotham Writers Conference, we at Bookstr were able to listen in on a lecture given by Kim Laio, author of the essay published on Lit Hub Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year. Since everyone had a paper and pen, she had the listeners in the audience go through two different exercises. The first exercise was as follows:
- Writer down your hopes and dreams as a writer
After telling everyone to do this, the room was filled with a long contemplative silence filled only with the soft scribbling of pens and the soft groaning rattles of the radiator. When everyone’s pens were done, and after some time after that, Kim Liao said this:
Now skip a line. Protect your hopes and dreams.
After giving us a clear warning that her next two directions were “worse” then she first direction, she gave us the second:
- Answer what’s stopping you from achieving those dreams
And then the third:
- What’s underling these anxieties?
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She then turned to the audience, asking them what they answered. Don’t fret, the only people who answered were those who raised their hands and were given the microphone. One person told us a story about how they were writing a book about a “terrible cult” and the effects their actions brought upon their family.
A book about cults? Count me in!
She then said she hadn’t told anyone about the book for the longest time because, well, there was a certain personal conflict with the book.
What was the person problem? Her brother.
Her brother was a member of the cult. He left the cult, but became an apologist for the cult.
It was only after this person was able to tell her brother about the book and give him it that she was able to move on. She doesn’t know if he read the book, if he was angry or upset, but he had the book and it was out of her hands.
This story is about the third direction Kim Liao gave us: What’s underling these anxieties? Turns out the most common reason for anxieties about your hopes and dreams about becoming a writer is this daunting question, “What will happen if you tell the truth?”
See, if you’re a writer, then you probably have at least two voices in your head, one in each ear. One voice tells you that what you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games. The other voice tells you that you’re a terrible writer and you should kill yourself.
Both of these voices are toxic.
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Fiction, non-fiction, they all deal with truths. Even if the book takes place on another planet or another dimension, there is always a person connection the writer has with the work. It came from them, and now it’s out there on a bone writer paper written in black ink. It’s literally out there in black and white, and most often we are afraid to show it because of fear.
That right there is a personal rejection. No one has rejected the story except you. If you’re thinking about your worst review, as one person at the conference was, stop that. Any craft, be it writing or construction or electric or running, gets better as you do it more and more. So keep it, and silence the voice that tells you you’re a terrible writer and know that the story you are telling is one that only you could tell.
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Now sit back. Remember that voice that tell you you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games? Bring down your expectations. Humble yourself.
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Even the authors of those books didn’t know they were writing something as huge as those. Heck, I’d bet George R R Martin has days where he’d wish Game of Thrones wasn’t as big as it was so the pressure would be off as he finished up Winds of Winter.
Tamper your arrogance, erase your fears
Now you’re ready to submit. Then you get a rejection. And then another one. And then another one after that.
So what do you do?
Well, what do you think that Kim Laio, author of the essay published on Lit Hub Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year is going to tell you?
Image Via Girl Meets Fornosa
Get 100 rejections of year
This is how you do that:
- Set up an excel spreadsheet
- Set up one column for the number
- Set up one column for the story
- Set up one column for the publishing house/agent
Don’t worry, we understand. One-hundred rejections a year? A hundred times of people stabbing you in the gut with that “No, thanks,” as though the ‘thanks’ at the end of that sentence means anything? No, thanks, you go, but don’t reject me now!
According to Kim Liao, she heard this advice from a friend and thought it was the “best advice ever.” By collecting a hundred rejections a year, you’re making it yourself mission. Your goal now isn’t to get published, but to wrap up the rejection list. When you get a rejection now, you can now log it into the spreadsheet and get that rush of a dopamine because you’re productive. That rush, that split second happiness, makes you feel motivated to go and put yourself out there again.
It isn’t about collecting those rejections slips so you know who to stick it to when you make a ton of money, that’s not why Stephen King collected his rejection slips, it’s to give yourself a goal, to turn your disappoint into a mission to keep going and wrap up the rejection list. You’re accepting that you’re going to get rejected and now you’re striving to do so. Odds are at least one person will accept your story. Plus, if you want to be a writer, you have to get used to it.
“For a writer, it’s mostly rejections.”
Image Via Writer’s Digest
Rejections aren’t all bad. Remember: “The door isn’t closing, the path if shifting.”
Rejections can create relationships. Your expert query letter may prove that while the agent isn’t interested in your current work, he/she might be interested in your work as a writer. They might ask to see something else or, worst case, they now know your name. Your name is out there, like a plane traveling across the beach, and you never know who might see your banner.
At this point in the conference, Kim Liao gave us the audience a second set of direction. With pens and notebooks at the ready, the silence was palpable. These are the sets in full:
- List 5 or more things you can do in the next year
- List 4 things you can do in the next 6 months
- List 3 things you can do in the next 2 months
- List 2 things you can do this month
- List 1 things you can do this week
So what’re you waiting for?
Image Via Author Media
Go on Twitter and search for submission calls. Look for agents and editors, most agents and editors post their emails on their Twitter.
Image Via Webnode
Maybe you should set up a blog; just remember to “write lots of posts in advance.”
Image Via Self-Publishing School
Set up a writing schedule. A writing schedule isn’t necessary just writing. Put time aside for pitching, writing, and querying. All three of these things have to do with writing, and you have to set time aside for each.
Before you query, take a step back and look at your writing. “Whenever you feel that you’re ready, take a week,” and remember that “[y]our writer’s group can help you solve your problems…not your agent.”
You can only query one agent with one project at a time. If you go back and make changes, odd are that agent doesn’t want to hear about that project anymore.
When you’re ready to submit your work, set up the excel spreadsheet and aim to get a hundred rejections a year. Rejection is a “necessary step,” in the writing process. “It can happen anywhere,” even to the most successful writer.
But keep writing and keep submitting. If you get a rejection, and then another one, and then another one after that, then guess what? You have only three rejections and need ninety-seven more to finish out your list! Odds are you’re going to be surprised because the best thing you write might be the thing people like the best.
And don’t forget: if you’re writing a novel and you go “Now I have an agent! I’m done,” then you’re wrong. You haven’t even gotten started yet, but you’re ready.
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Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are self development picks to improve your quality of life! Dig in and enjoy!
5. ‘Coffee Bean’ by Jon Gordon
image via Amazon
The Coffee Bean by Jon Gordon is about dealing with the stresses of life. It can be often harsh, stressful, and the environments we find ourselves in can weaken or harden us. This is an inspiring tale that follows a man called Abe as he faces challenges, pressures, and stresses at school and home.
Abe discovers that instead of letting the environment change him for the worse, he can change the environment around him for the better. Wherever his life can take him, Abe takes it to heart to live life like a coffee bean and transform into something better. Are you an egg, a carrot, or a coffee bean?
4. ‘Run The mile you’re in’ by Ryan Hall
Image via Amazon
Ryan Hall is an Olympic athlete and American record holder in the half marathon (59:43), but in his autobiography, Run The Mile You’re In, he reveals that as kid he hated running. He wanted nothing to do with the sport until one day, he felt compelled to run the 15 miles around his neighborhood lake. He was hooked.
Now a coach, speaker, and nonprofit partner, Ryan shares the powerful faith behind his athletic achievements and the lessons he learned that helped him push past limits, make space for relationships that enrich life on and off the running trails, and cultivate a positive mindset.
3. ‘Witchery’ by Juliet diaz
Image via Amazon
Witches by Juliet Diaz is about connecting with your inner witch and embracing it to make your life healthier. Third generation witch Diaz teaches you how to embrace your inner Magick through casting off what doesn’t make you happy, embracing inner athleticism, and becoming an embodiment of truth. And through it all, you’ll build the knowledge to craft spells of your own.
2. ‘I am love’ by Allowah Lani
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I Am Love by Allowah Lani is a sequel to his 2016 book, Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics and the Quest for Enlightenment. In that earlier book, the author looked critically at the issue of the legitimacy of psychedelics on the spiritual journey, ultimately leaving the question unanswered. In I Am Love, the intention is to offer a more definitive statement and practical method for those using psychedelics as a tool for spiritual growth.
Can psychedelics like ayahuasca really and truly reveal the ultimate nature of reality? Exploring ayahuasca in the context of studying the modern spiritual classic A Course in Miracles, the author answers cautiously in the affirmative. Yes, they can, but there is much inner work to be done to get there, not to mention confronting our great fear of awakening. Are you up for the greatest challenge of your lifetime, of any lifetime? Are you ready?
1. ‘There’s no plan b for your A-Game’ by Bo Eason
image via Amazon
There’s No Plan B For Your A-Game by Bo Eason is a book by the acclaimed athlete showcasing how to plot the best course in your life. There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game explains how to develop the character, integrity, and commitment it takes to become the best. Bo Eason focuses on a winning four-step process that helps you attain the skill, maintain the effort, and persist through challenges: Declaration: What do you want to achieve? Preparation: How can you make it happen? Acceleration: Where will you find the stamina to reach your goal? Domination: Why do you take others with you?
With inspiring, specific, real-word guidance, There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game teaches the best practices that lead to the best results, in every walk of life.
Featured Image Via Amazon
If you’ve done any volume of writing, you can probably relate. Beyond a signature style, authors sometimes have words they use more often, or in this case, concepts and sentence pieces. A surprising number of them have to do with actions the characters are taking. The tweet got an enormous number of responses, causing the topic to trend on twitter. The whole thing gives the impression of characters doing things without the authors’ permission.
And I mean… they probably shouldn’t. But whether they’re blinking might not always be relevant. And she’s not the only one whose characters have gotten a little unruly.
Why won’t these characters hold still? Don’t they know what medium they’re in?
It isn’t always character wrangling, though. Sometimes the words won’t work. Or sometimes there are just too many of them.
Paraphrasing yourself is a lovely new take on the self drag. Though the original tweet’s tone was of amused annoyance, in some cases it devolved into actual advice, as though THAT’s going to change anything.
I mean, sure, you’re probably right, but sometimes a person’s gotta shrug. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Only when the moment’s right, I guess.
Featured image via ZDNet