Friday, April 29, 2016

Is an external editor necessary before we submit?

One of my critique partners always hired an external editor before he queried agents. Though he had a couple of critique partners and beta readers, he felt that an external editor would give him an edge when he sent out queries and sample pages to agents.

His first few manuscripts were rejected by many agents and just when he was on the verge of giving self-publishing a serious thought, he signed up with an agent who got him a two book deal.

There is a question running around in my mind. Is it important for writers to work with an external editor before we go on submission? So far, all my books that have been published, have been edited by the in-house editors of the publishing houses themselves. This is the normal procedure in India. The editors of the publishing houses work with writers to polish the book, before the book is published.

When I started querying a few years back, my manuscript/s went through my critique partners. I made the changes they suggested. After a few rounds of revisions, I started querying again targeting different agent. I am wondering that if I had an external editor, perhaps my chances of getting an agent would have increased. But, if the story or the character didn’t appeal to agents, then no amount of editing would have swung the scales in my favour.

I am toying with the idea of working with an external editor after I my finish my current work in progress. Yes, I finally started my adult novel on 1st April. I have written 31,739 words so far. I am enjoying writing something different from my usual middle-grade fiction and the two main characters: Kunal and Ria, are becoming more and more familiar as the story progresses.

What’s your view about external editors? Do you think they are necessary if one wants to go the traditional publishing route or seek or an agent? Do you think external editors can get our manuscripts into the best possible shape and increase our chances of getting an agent or bagging a publishing contract? Have you gone the external editor route?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Participating in Twitter Pitch Parties

I have been hearing about Twitter pitch parties from a long time. As I was not on Twitter, I never paid attention to it. Then, I joined Twitter on September 16, 2014. But I still didn't enter because of the time difference.

Last year I had a sudden urge to take part. I succumbed to that urge. Pitmad, in December, was the first pitch party I took part in. On the designated day, between 8 A.M EST to 8 P.M, writers can tweet the pitch/pitches for their completed manuscripts, including the two hashtags #Pitmad #MG or #YA, within 140 characters, every one hour. I thoroughly enjoyed myself (I scheduled the pitches on Tweetdeck) so that even when I was sleeping it would tweet on my behalf.

Though I went to sleep fast, the first thing I did the next morning was to check my phone for twitter notifications. Sadly I did not get any likes from agents for my pitches. To be fair my pitches were very mediocre. If I was an agent I wouldn’t have favourited my pitches either. And I also heard that the feed is brutal, it moves too fast.

I wrote more pitches and took part in SFFPit a few days later. I had an agent like for a pitch. I sent the agent my query, synopsis and chapters.

Then this year I took part in another pitch party, and another agent favourited my pitch for my second book. I promptly sent her my submission.

On Tuesday 19th April there was another pitch party #DVPit (Diverse pitches). Though I just tweeted a few pitches, I saw several pitches receive an overwhelming response from agents. Two pitches in particular stood out. One had around 48 likes from big agents and another around 20.

Before sleeping I saw that one of the writers had around 7 likes from agents, the next morning the writer tells me that two agents she submitted to already rejected her MS. I felt that it was a bit too fast (within a few hours). Yesterday she tweeted she has two more rejections. That got me thinking whether these pitch parties actually help us get agents. I mean a writer can write a fabulous pitch, give awesome comp titles, but the MS may not match what the agent expects or is looking for. Or the writer’s pitch and MS may not exactly match. It’s one thing to write a solid pitch and another thing to write solid 50,000 to 75,000 words (the length of MG to YA manuscripts).

Have you ever taken part in twitter pitch parties? What do you think about them? What has your experience about Twitter pitch parties been?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Which Character do you want to Meet or Date in Real Life?

When we read a book some characters just wriggle their way into our hearts, tugging our heartstrings and making us worry about their fate in the story. This is more so for the main characters who carries the entire story on their shoulders. The credit here should go to the writers for creating/writing such full-bodied three dimensional character readers can identify with and fall in love with.

In the last couple of weeks I read many books where I fell in love with the secondary characters. The authors had paid so much attention to the secondary characters that they jumped out of the page leaving me wondering how they would look like in real life, how they would dress up and how they would talk, if ever I had the pleasure of meeting them.

I have to make an honest confession, in both the books I think I fell in love the other characters as much as I adored the main character. The author had imbued the secondary characters with so much life and personality that they not just threatened the MC for a share of reader affection but they also had the pleasure of staying in my head longer than the MC.

I am sure as all of us have read hundreds of books there must be several characters we would love to meet and maybe even date. Which character do you want to meet or date in real life?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

IWSG Post – Envy, Envy, Envy

I love sharing my insecurities for the month in my monthly IWSG posts. IWSG aka Insecure Writers Support Group acts like our online therapist, where we writers post our anxieties, fears, doubts, insecurities and writing worries, on the first Wednesday of every month. Other writers who share similar worries help us out with their advice and tips. Check out the IWSG website for awesome writing tips.

Trust me when I say this, if there was no IWSG we writers would burst under the impact of our own feelings. Thanks to Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars), who had the foresight to start this awesome group, to save writers globally from the negative effect of their own feelings.

I am thrilled be one of the co-hosts for this month’s IWSG. My awesome co-hosts are Megan Morgan, Chris Votey, Viola Fury, Christine Rains, Madeline Mora-Summonte, L.G Keltner and Patricia Lynne.

I am going to talk about my favourite feeling that creeps up on me time and again. ENVY. ENVY. ENVY.

Yes, I get very envious whenever I read about other writers word counts for the day, week and month. Compared to their word counts my word count looks measly. A writer wrote that she completed a manuscript in 21 days (gulp).

Then again I feel a bout of envy (mind you it’s all healthy, I am not jealous or grudge them their achievements) when I read the blurbs of some author’s books, with sky high stakes, amazing premises and awesome world-building (I use this envy as inspiration, that with effort I too can write such books).

The third bout of envy comes when some blog buddies discuss their books. Gosh they are super-productive. They write one manuscript after another so quickly. My head reels at the rate they complete manuscripts.

Do you all get envious? How do you handle your feelings of envy?

Friday, April 1, 2016

How much time do you spend online?

Though these social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogger, connect us with people from the remotest corners of the world, giving us news and views instantly, they are also a huge drain on our time. We are so addicted to these sites that we constantly browse through them to see what has happened since the last time we were online.

I have become pretty active on Twitter and trust me when I say this, time flies while I am online. I click on a link shared by an agent or a writer, read the article, go on to read a few more similar articles, and before you know it, sixty minutes have flown past, maybe more.

And with smart phones, things are pretty easy. I don’t even have to switch on my laptop to check anything. I wonder whether our lives will ever remain the same. Will we ever be able to manage without our smartphones and our presence on all these sites. We all can successfully divide our lives into before and after the social-networking sites.

How much time do you all spend online? Do you have an account on all the sites?

P.S. As many of my blog buddies are doing the A to Z Challenge, I am keeping my post short.