To Agent or Not to Agent? Part One

Today we’re welcoming a longtime friend of Magical Words, Barb Hendee! Barb is the nationally best-selling co-author of the Noble Dead Saga, along with her husband J.C. She is also the author of the Vampire Memories series and the recently launched Mist-Torn Witches series. Visit her website at: http://www.nobledead.org

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If You Want to Get Your Manuscript on the Desk of a New York Editor, You Need an Agent.

Okay, that title probably lays out the point of this blog post pretty clearly, but this is a complex topic.

Of late, I’ve heard some rather “loud” voices in the industry telling new/hopeful writers that not only do they not need an agent to be successful, but that an agent will actually be damaging to their careers.

In one online discussion, I recently (stupidly) jumped in to say, “Well, of course if someone is self-publishing, he or she doesn’t need an […]

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Finishing

Good morning, y’all! I’ve been up to my ears in a story that’s due this week, so I’m presenting a special guest to you today. Shannon Wendtland is one of the writers of the wonderful anthology An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes from Mocha Memoirs Press. Today she’s here to talk about her novel Heliodor. Welcome, Shannon!

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I used to be a ‘pantser’, and by that I mean: someone who writes by the seat of their pants. I’d get an idea – one that I thought had legs – and I would write like crazy until my energy petered out. I’d write ten thousand-plus words in a weekend. And then I’d go to work and get back to my daily life and not write again for weeks, maybe even months.

It’s hard to finish a project when you do it in big, […]

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I Don’t Know What To Say

I’m having one of those days, in which I know I’m supposed to come up with something brilliant (or wise, or maybe at the very least amusing) for everyone to read here today. I’ve got nothing. I’m writing a short story that’s due in about 15 days, and I spent the weekend prepping panel choices for the writer guests for ConCarolinas (are you coming? We’d love to see you there!) I had two editorial Skype meetings for an as-yet-unnamed super-secret project. I’ve brainstormed a choreography for an upcoming belly dance show in the fall and gathered bags and boxes full of unnecessary possessions that I’m going to sell at my parents’ yard sale this weekend.

Is it any wonder I’m blanking on what to write today?

******** I was a guest at Anachrocon back in February. It’s a charming Steampunk con in the wilds of Atlanta GA. The panels I […]

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What’s It Cost?

So my well died sometime in the night.

At least, I assume that’s what happened. We woke up this morning to discover that there was no water pressure. (Nope, the pipes aren’t frozen – it wasn’t that cold last night.) The guy is coming over later today to take a look. He had recommended that we fix something else a while back, and warned that if we didn’t fix the other thing, we’d likely see our well pump die sooner than expected. (It is 25 years old, so it was probably time for it to go anyway, but I digress…) Trouble was that in addition to fixing the thing, there are so many, many other things that demand my money. I need to replace the roof, and my front windows are in dreadful shape. My kitchen floor could use replacing, and the carpet in the great room is way beyond […]

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If You Meet A Writer On The Road

It’s that time of year… SF and fantasy cons all over are gearing up. Writers are gassing up their cars, making hotel arrangements and packing their bags with books, bookmarks and all manner of swag to give out to admiring fans from hither to yon. Cons are great fun, for the most part. If you’re headed to ConNooga this weekend, Mysticon or Anachrocon next weekend, or another con down the line, you’re sure to have a good time. But I beg of you, keep your good manners handy. There are a few things you just shouldn’t do when you go to a con.

First, let’s talk about the facility itself. Most cons are held in hotels. The hotel and the con have a contract together, with the hotel agreeing to host the panels and activities and offer attendees a discounted room rate in exchange for an upfront payment from the […]

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The Right Way

I know a man who once decided to submit his manuscript to a famous movie producer. He didn’t know the producer, nor did he have any actual contacts in Hollywood. But he wasn’t going to let that stop him…he packaged up his manuscript in a nice, clean envelope, addressed it to the producer’s office, wrote *Confidential and Personal* on the outside and sent it on its way. Since it said *Confidential and Personal*, the producer’s secretary passed it directly to the man. The producer read it, and while he did not choose to make his next blockbuster movie based on my friend’s manuscript, he was kind enough to offer valuable comments on ways to make the manuscript more saleable.

I was at a publisher’s party some years back, having a conversation with my editor. A self-published writer (at the time, self-pub was almost never done and certainly not with any […]

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Coming Out Of The Dark

January is never my favorite month. The holidays are over, so all the pretty decorations are gone. It’s cold and damp and there’s not anything in particular to look forward to. So my mood tends to drop pretty badly in January. Most of the time I can tough my way through to spring, but this year was hard. We lost David Bowie and Alan Rickman (and now Glenn Frey, because damn.) A family member of mine has suffered a loss, and I’m dealing with an unpleasant work environment. So I was not at all strong when I ran across an article about an upcoming book that sounds very nearly like the one I already wrote. Coming from my publisher, too. I crashed into an emotional wall. Did that author steal from me? Are there enough similarities for me to complain? Is there anything I could do? Would it even matter? […]

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