Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter Spring Event: Part VII
Deborah J. Ledford is the author of three books in a thriller series. She has won numerous awards for short-stories and screenplays.
Deborah talked about the ins-and-outs of agents and going with recognized publishers. No matter which way an author goes the PR is on their shoulders. The author’s name is “where it’s at.”
The term “self-publishing” is going out of style because it is connected more with small runs such as family histories. “Independent (or Indie) Publishing” is the growing term for those who publish on their own.
To get an agent you should have a “killer” query letter. Janet Reid’s blog has great query examples. She said to start with your first choice and you may need to send out one hundred queries. The manuscript should be perfect and formatted to fit the industry standard. The industry is very specific and attending events such as this, doing your research and networking with other writers is how you learn to get it right.
To get an author’s name out there it is important to have a web site. Also enter contests and write short stories to gain a positive reputation.
A basic breakdown is that short stories are usually about 5,000 words, flash fiction is usually 50 to 500 words, long stories are 7,000 to 10,000 words. novellas run about 40,000 words and novels can be 70,000 to 80,000 words. Of course there are always exceptions.
Along with practice, practice, practice Deborah adds read, read read. You have to find the time to read. While others say to read your own genre she says not to read in your own genre while you are in the writing process to keep from picking up the other voice.
She closed the talk with the urge to have a blast while writing your first draft. Then it gets hard with the editing. Always keep a delete file to paste sections you take out. They may come in handy later. Never throw anything out.
This concludes my comments and observations on the Desert Sleuths Mystery writing event in May 2014. The next big event by this group is scheduled for August 14 -15, 2014. Find them on Facebook or go to their web site for more information.