Motivation Monday – 8th February

Happy Monday everybody! Time for some of us to share our targets for the week ahead – writing and non-writing related!

Vanessa:

  1. I’m on target with my edits – I need to finish the final polishing of the wip this week ready to…
  2. Send the wip off to my agent!!
  3. Finish a short story for a mid-Feb deadline (still on the list from last time!!)
  4. Non-writing related: when the wip has gone off, do some very neglected housework!

What are everyone else’s plans for the week? I’ll let you know how I got on on Friday!

Vanessa x

Jan:

Well, my targets for this week are: 1)  To complete and return my answers to some fab questions posed to me by a fellow writer for her blog. 2) To chase up some research enquiries for Book Two. 3)  To gear myself up for my next dental appointment this coming Thursday (second half of root canal treatment, oh joy of absolute joys!).

Catherine:

  1. Write 5,000 words minimum to be on target for book deadline.
  2. Relocate my twins and myself to my mum’s house while my husband stays behind and we have new heating fitted in the house.
  3. Write another TTD list for all the things I need to do in the run up to P Day! Just over a month to go!

Follow Up Friday 5th February

So, how did we get on this week? Did we achieve what we set out to do on Motivation Monday’s post? Let’s see …

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  1. Final read through of manuscript on Kindle … tick
  2. Tweak as necessary … a little tick as I’m 75% through with the tweaks
  3. Send to editor … that will get a tick later today

All in all, a good week for me, despite a few unscheduled interruptions which have probably put me back by a day. Will send the manuscript over to my editor today – fingers crossed she will like what I’ve done.

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Hope everyone else had a good week and, if not, don’t worry as there’s always next week!

Celia: Have my three tasks been done? No, no and no. Have been off sick all week – feeling very sorry for myself and eating a lot of hot buttered toast but not doing anything else. Have put all these jobs on hold. Will try again as soon as the muse and the ooomph return. Well done Sue!

 

 

An interview with Sam Eades – Senior Commissioning editor at Orion

I’m very happy to welcome Sam Eades, senior commissioning editor and associate publicist at Orion, to the blog today, answering some questions and offering some great advice!

Hi Sam, and welcome. Can I start by asking you to give us an insight into your day to day role?
I am a senior commissioning editor and associate publicist at Orion. I’ve been here seven months now, following stints at Transworld, Headline and Macmillan in the publicity department. I have an unusual role in that I both commission fiction AND publicise it! And no, I don’t publicise my own books, I think I’d annoy myself too much. No day is the same but some of the day to day tasks I might do include on the pr side: circulating coverage to agent, author and sales team; pitching for media; accompanying an author to interviews and events; pitching a book at an internal meeting; organising an author tour and on a really good day lunch with a journalist.

And on the editorial side: taking new business to the acquisition meeting; following up on submissions from agents; preparing an offer and a pitch letter for someone I want to take on; checking over a contract; briefing covers; checking metadata to make sure books feature in the right categories on Amazon; responding to an agent query about an existing author; looking at trends and anticipating trends in the fiction market for future commissions and on a really good day lunch with an agent!

As a child, was there a book or a series you returned to over and over? What was it that drew you in?
I’m embarrassed to say I owned every Goosebumps novel ever published. Ahem. I was a big Agatha Christie fan, I read lots of classics, Enid Blyton, Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, Anne Fine before moving on to all the books on my parent’s shelf, Virginia Andrews, Jilly Cooper, James Herbert!

At what point did you know books were, or had to, feature heavily in your life?
My mum took me to the library once a week, and a voracious love of reading began. The first Brownie badge I got was a Book Lover badge which may have been a clue as to where I would end up.  I didn’t realise publishing was an actual industry where people had jobs until a work experience placement at Little Brown.

What advice do you give to those wishing to pursue a career in publishing?
Apply to internships at big publishing houses, small publishing houses, literary agents, scouts and freelance pr agencies. The more placements you apply for, the more experience you will get and the more likely you are to be in the right place at the right time when a vacancy comes up. Don’t limit yourself to editorial; there are a number of creative and exciting departments and individuals, who are responsible for bringing a book to market. Read Make Your Mark by Aliza Licht, it will teach you how to make the most of an internship and be remembered without being pushy. Once you land a placement, have a look at the publisher’s catalogue and familiarise yourself with their list. A heads up that entry level jobs involve admin and support work.

What book have you read most recently that you just can’t get out of your head?
Most recently, I really enjoyed Amy Cuddy’s PRESENCE *power poses at desk*. Over Christmas I read a ton of classics I’ve always wanted to read including Shirley Jackson’s WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE and COLD COMFORT FARM. I also was very lucky to get a proof of Curtis Sittenfeld’s ELIGIBLE and I loved every single word of it. I’m remembering that book now with a huge smile on my face.

What submissions would you love to see arrive in your in-box? / What’s your current wish list?
Where to begin! I would love to find a British suburban Ripley, a bit like Phil Hogan’s A PLEASURE AND A CALLING. Having read so many psychological thrillers, I’m leaning towards something warmer, a vintage set or vintage feel cosy crime series would really hit the spot. I think JoJo Moyes is a genius, and would love to find women’s fiction that packs an emotional punch like ME BEFORE YOU. I really enjoyed books like THE SHINING GIRLS and FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST, so a high concept crime/sf thriller. Basically I like twisty, high concept novels, a good weepy or to channel my inner Poirot. And despite reading psychological thriller after psychological thriller I still can’t get enough of them! Finding the new Ruth Rendell would be nice. I like multiple voices, deftly balanced past and present narratives, mysterious prologues where we don’t discover who is narrating until the end… etc etc!

Did you ever want to be on the other side and write a book?
NO!

What is your favourite / least favourite part of your job?
Hanging out with your favourite authors and reading is the best bit. Eating sausage rolls at train stations in the middle of nowhere is the worst bit.

Is your taste in books the same as your taste in films or do you find they differ?
I love twisty American thrillers like INCEPTION and SHUTTER ISLAND, so there is some crossover there. I’m a real Netflix addict and enjoy PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, REIGN, THE GOOD WIFE etc. I’d love it if fiction could be as addictive!

Do you have any advice / top tips for writers?
These four books have been helpful to me on the editorial side. 1. INTO THE WOODS by John Yorke. It will help with plotting and examines the plot structures of famous books, films and tv series. 2. WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass. There are some great sections on landscape, character development, coming up with a theme and creating tension. 3. ON WRITING by Stephen King. Will fill you with pride at being a writer. 4. SAVE THE CAT. A book on scriptwriter than can be applicable to books (and recommended by @Mushenska no less). It will help you come up with your pitch, which will be invaluable when contacting agents.

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For anyone dreaming of being published by Orion, do you have any advice?
Do you
accept unagented submissions? 
Have a look in the acknowledgements for your favourite books and books you feel are similar to your WIP and see who the author’s agent is. Get a copy of the WRITERS AND ARTISTS YEARBOOK, find those agents and check out their guidelines and look at their websites too. Here are some great articles on how to submit and land an agent:
https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/preparing-for-submission/how-to-find-a-literary-agent
http://www.torbooks.co.uk/blog/2014/05/27/juliet-mushens-on-how-to-approach-an-agent-dos-and-donts
If you can’t get an agent, don’t think all is lost. We have periods of open submissions at Orion with Gollancz and have a creative writing competition with Good Housekeeping. Authors we have published include Eva Holland and Diana Bretherick.

Thanks Sam for taking the time to come and chat with us!

Roving Romaniac – Jill Mansell’s You and Me, Always Book Launch

Jill Mansell & Laura

Jill Mansell & Laura

As I write this post, I am still in recovery.

The event was THAT GOOD.

Jill Mansell has been a huge source of inspiration for me as a writer ever since I read Good At Games seven years ago, and I was thrilled to be at the launch of Jill’s 27th book, You and Me, Always.

The event was on the sixth floor of Carmelite House on the Embankment, London, a fantastic venue with a stunning view.

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The view of the Embankment

I was excited for two reasons – I was celebrating a book launch with one of my all-time favourite authors, and I was meeting up with friends from the writing and blogging world, some of whom I was meeting in real life for the first time.

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Jill Mansell

The evening kicked off with a warm and charming interview with Jill, followed by the launch and a book signing session, which led to the party part of the ‘launch

Alison May & Laura

Alison May & Laura

party’. I was on orange juice and sparkling water, but the drinks, including wine, and the canapes were in abundance, and the staff were attentive and friendly.

Laura & Julie Cohen

Laura & Julie Cohen

Sue Moorcroft & Jan Jones

Sue Moorcroft & Jan Jones

It was a great evening, with a fab opportunity to talk books, with Jill’s name never far from people’s lips, as we discussed our favourite Jill Mansell book, and the reasons we love to dive in to her fictional worlds. I remarked that I recently read Jill’s Three Amazing Things About You, and as soon as I started reading it, my husband asked why I was smiling. I replied it was because opening one of Jill’s books was like coming home.

Thank you so much to everyone, bloggers and authors, who took the time to chat with me. The evening will stay with me for some time.

I missed my train home, despite the gallant efforts of the lovely taxi driver who did his best to get me to Waterloo on time. I paid for another ticket and caught the later train, which was the most entertaining carriage in which I’ve ever ridden. Six strangers partied. Oh yeah.

And I’d do it all over again.

Laura x

 

 

 

 

Life Cycle of a Writer – Planning for submission

Hi everyone.

I feel as though it has been FOREVER since I have given you all my update. I also feel like a lot of my recent updates have been how I am not getting anywhere and how life is getting in the way… and to be fair, it was. It still is, sometimes! However, I have learnt that life will always throw things at you at the most inappropriate times and I need to suck it up and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN!

So that is what I am doing. I had planned to start 2016 with gusto and get things moving along with my writing. However, all best laid plans and all that, Mum was taken seriously ill in hospital and boom, there goes three weeks of my life in a whirlwind of hospital visits, work and juggling childcare (thanks SO much to all my wonderful friends for stepping in and helping – I really couldn’t get by without you all.)

So fast forward a month and we are in February and I feel like I have achieved nothing. ZERO. ZILCH!

With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to write off January 2016 and start the year again, fresh, in  February. So…

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And here I am, ready to make things happen and actually DO IT!

I have pulled together my submission plan  and I just need to do some editing for two of my novels before I send it over to my agent for submission. I am hoping to submit my plan, as a whole, to show editors that I have more to offer than just one book. I have 5 synopsis’ to send over as well as two complete novel drafts (one more polished than the other but two complete nonetheless). So I just want to run through another edit on them both so that I am happy and then I shall see what my agent thinks. Hopefully she will love it all as much as I do.

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Well, there you have it – my submission plan. Fingers crossed life doesn’t throw anything huge at me over the next few months so that I can really get stuck in – I think I’ve had my fair share recenetly, time for a break.

Best of luck to everyone who is submitting either at the moment or in the near future – I would love to hear your updates, too. Lets do this and work it through together.

Lots of Love

Lucie x

Motivation Monday 1st February

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Monday is here upon us again, I hope you all had a good weekend and ready to tackle the week ahead.

My To Do List isn’t very big, but if, I mean when, I get it done it will be a huge relief to me. So, here it is …

  1. Final read through of manuscript on Kindle.
  2. Tweak as necessary.
  3. Send to editor.

edits 2

 

Dragonfly

Celia: This is my first time on Motivation Monday, for a  very good reason – I haven’t had any writing motivation to report! The day job is syphoning off lots of energy and the writing part of it hasn’t been much fun. BUT, the new area for creating works of fiction is waiting for me upstairs in the spare room, and this week I’m aiming to use it to:

  1. Redraft and enter 2000 words and synopsis in the SCBWI Slushpile Challenge for the start of a YA love story.
  2. Write the next part of the Year Five spoof Greek myth play.
  3. Continue with edits of WIP, even if only a couple of chapters.

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Follow up Friday

Here’s how I got on with my targets this week – how has everyone else done?

Vanessa:

Finish my edits! I’ve set myself a target of sending the revised ms to my lovely agent by half term, which is w/c 15th Feb, so I’m hoping to finish the edits this week so I have a couple of weeks to polish it and make it all nice and shiny!

I’ve finished!!!!!! I got to the end mid-week so I’m still on target for sending to my agent on the 12th February – I’m just hoping I’m still happy with it as I read through over the next couple of weeks!

Polish first 3000 words of ms for a novel competition

I’ve put this back a bit – now the edit is done, I’ll be polishing soon anyway!

Finish a short story for a mid-Feb deadline

Didn’t manage this one – but I do have some scribbled ideas.

Non-writing related: make birthday cake for father-in-law’s birthday, calm nine year old’s nerves before her first youth theatre panto appearance next weekend!

The cake is baked and the 9yo is VERY excited about Saturday’s premiere!

Vanessa x