This is a cover I created for Diamond Joe. The island I took while on holiday, the ladies I drew as well as parts of the horses. Diamond Joe should be a movie. Too bad Hallmark does not do same-sex movies.
AHHHH! I don’t want to market my books, I just want to write the damned things!
I am a natural-born storyteller.
As a kid, I was the one with the flashlight making up stories about the zombie bunny that would be all cuddly and cute when you were hugging it. As soon as your eyes closed, the fangs came out! The claws turned in to razor-sharp daggers that it would use to rip your throat out!
Can you imagine how many kids tossed their velveteen rabbit books in the trash after that little story?
Whoever heard of evil bunny rabbits? Gives all new meaning to biting the ears off that chocolate Easter bunny now, doesn’t it? Die you SOB…you’re not ripping my throat out!
I always wondered why nobody wanted to sleepover at my house… Was it my breath? Is it possible that my invitations to parties were not lost in the mail? BOOO!
Stories are part of who we are. If it were not for them, we would have no bible, no Jesus, no Zeus or Pele’. We would have no folklore at all. The magical kingdoms of the Scots, we would never know about.
While history is written by the victors, the stories that entertain, are written by writers. That is right, baby, who is your mama!
Before the written word, they would lie around at night and look up at the skies and wonder what all those dots of light were. From constellations resembling things they might recognize, much like clouds today, they made up stories. Those passed down through the ages have most certainly changed much like the ‘telephone game, ‘but never the less, we have them.
This week I got one of my novels back from a beta reader who had some interesting comments.
Tonight I want to talk about feedback and how to use it.
Let’s deal with rejection first.
It is going to happen. Those excellent agents must have material that they don’t have to sell. It has to be so good that it pops off the page without even reading it. There must be linguistic magic that enchants the person who even thinks about opening the e-mail.
“This is not the kind of thing we handle, or your book is not right for us.”
“Son of a bitch! Let me take the old Underwood out and shoot the damned thing, and go back to waiting tables! At least there I get a pinched ass for a few dollars, and hey…I get some attention.”
Ok, that might be a little on the extreme side. I haven’t waited tables, while since I was a kid. I do have an old Underwood that actually works, but of course, I don’t use it either.
Rejections are a starting point. Here is how to handle them if traditional publishing is your path.
Send out your baby, gird your loins, and while you are waiting for the offer letters to come in like the proverbial tsunami, start another book.
Absolutely, positively, do not rest on your laurels! Are you listening? Tell me, you heard that!
You spend your time writing your book, and you send it out after you have languished over every god damned word in the thing. Send it out and move on! Do you realize that the average book is over 70k words and writers suffer over every one of them? Is this the right word? We agonize, trust me on this one grasshopper!
When you get the boilerplate letter weeks to months later, file it away, and send it out again. Someone out there is looking for what you wrote and just possibly with weed so much more prevalent, you might catch them in a stoned moment, and they might laugh at your hook or characters and in a weak moment, they send you an e-mail with all kinds of miss spelled words telling you that you rock and please submit the entire manuscript! Hey, it could happen!
On the flip side, you find the agent who is genuinely seeking what you wrote and is ready to do what it takes to sign you.
Happy days! It could happen.
Tonight I just uploaded a new version of Diamond Joe. After applying many things that I have learned over the years, I have made this lesbian love affair, an affair to remember.
That sounds tawdry, and it is not.
The beta reader told me that she loved the story and was amazed that my characters each had their own voice. ‘Hello, they should have their own voices.”
This is a romance with romantic subplots, family issues, and oh yes, a racehorse!
What is not to love about a rags to riches story, where a young lady discovers who she is and better yet, captures the heart of a young rich widow, who has no idea that she would love another woman?
I walk you through the entire thought process, and I take you down the dark road of, ‘what if she is after my money?”
Oh yes, there are gold diggers out there, gay or straight or is it gay and straight?
This is a heart wrenching, feel-good story that they should make a movie out of but, Hallmark has yet to make a movie with same-sex couples. Why is that? This book would be such a killer hot movie. Maybe Netflix should pick it up.
I am trying to figure out who would play whom…
Back to the feedback. What you want from them is what they liked and what did not work for them. That is all you want, as that is all you need. If they start to tell you, it would have worked better if…Stop them! You don’t want to know the ‘if’ part. The reasons are simple. If they render an opinion and you should be foolish enough to take it, guess what, it is now their story, not yours.
So ladies and gentlemen, if you read my novels and you should be so kind as to offer me feedback, just tell me what worked and did not work for you. Allow me to figure out why. I am the writer and in my little office, I am a god!
That sounds crazy but think about it. I create worlds, people, places, and situations. I even create evil little rabbits. That is what a writer does, and if you don’t respect any writer that you know, you might find yourself in one of their stories, tied to the bed, surrounded by hundreds of chocolate Easter rabbits, without their ears. Since they cannot hear you, they will never know if you are loving, or hating your throat being eaten out. It is just payback after all.
Write! Write! Write!
When I get a rejection letter, which I do on occasion, it just drives me to improve my craft. Since they hardly ever tell you anything other than, ‘we don’t sell this shit’ (paraphrased,) you send it out again while learning your craft even better. That is what drives me. Yes, I would love to know what exactly they didn’t like about it but, it is probably their twelve-year-old child going through the slush pile while playing some game on their phone.
- Put some magic in your hook!
- Cast a spell on the reader.
Write something so overpowering that even the twelve-year-old will stop looking at the phone long enough to say ‘WOW!”
I have said it many times in different ways, you cannot be a one-trick pony. Write your story, nobody is perfect and your story will not be perfect. Send the thing out and start writing about evil little bunnies, or not.
If you are like me, you are on fire at the keyboard. You can go hours without eating, or even thinking about food, as your characters are running through caves or jumping off cliffs, you cannot leave them! Continue on, and don’t let the bastards or twelve-year-olds get you down.
Agents are always looking, even though they might profess to be too busy. If they are good, they are looking. You might try sending your queries to agents in states where pot is legal…I kid…nobody gives a damned if it is legal or not!
I am probably one of the few who has never tried it. I don’t smoke, but I hear some gummies are to die for…Bwhaaa! Are they rabbit gummies?
Much love peeps. -TW