Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Adult? Upper YA? No Market?

This topic is very near and dear to my heart because I’m coming across this time and time again as I interact with literary agents and publishers. The 18 to 22 year old age room is not a target audience in fiction books. My main character for Second Sight is 21 and lacks the marketability of a young adult novel with a teen lead.

When I went to college, I definitely came across this problem with finding books that fit with my age group. We weren’t quite “adults” with full-time jobs and familial responsibilities, but we weren’t exactly ‘kids” either. My roommate used to tease me for reading a series called “Making Out.” (Look it up, the books were AWESOME lol). So, where exactly do books with college age main characters fit?

A couple of years ago, there was this big hoopla over St. Martin’s Press looking for “new adult” genre books. These novels were supposed to be targeted at the upper YA audience. Nothing lately have been released about this imprint, but hopefully crossover novels with a broad age range will begin to pop up at more traditional publishing houses.

So, what’s a writer to do? I’ve been told to either make my MC a teen or drop the YA label. But when you change a character’s age from 21 to a teen aren’t you compromising many of the main components in the novel? Leaving the paranormal stuff aside, teens and college age students have completely different lifestyles and problems.

The other possibility is dropping the young adult genre label altogether and marketing the book simply as a paranormal romance. This would probably make the most sense, but I think many of the feelings and issues would resonate with YA readers.

My feelings right now are either to go with a smaller publishing house with upper YA novels or self-publish. You’ll hear differing opinions on the effectiveness of small presses which I’ve discussed in a previous post. My hope is that one day this won’t be a problem and crossover new adult novels will be more commonplace.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pros and Cons of Working Freelance Through Elance

Unfortunately until novel writing starts to pay the bills, I need to earn an income through freelance writing. As I said before, a few of my projects are fabulous and I have the chance to build a good working relationship with a repeat client. However, since article writing projects can enter slow down periods, it's good to find a source of new clients. Elance is a good place to find freelance writing clients.

After creating a profile on Elance, you are given a certain number of connects used to bid on freelance jobs. The scope of the job decides how many connects are used for the bid with long-term projects requiring more. You decide on a rate that you feel is fair for the project and report your credentials to the client. If chosen, you payment is funded through an escrow account and you begin work. If the client is happy, escrow is released and you receive payment via Paypal or check. Clients give you ratings and these reviews help build your Elance profile.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Skype-The New Norm When Interviewing for Freelance Writing Jobs?

I plan to do a longer piece on Elance, but for now I want to discuss a new trend I’m finding while interviewing for freelance writing jobs-the request to do a Skype interview with a potential employer. Am I the only who is slightly put off by this practice?

I had previously installed Skype since this seemed to be the norm. But now I decided to uninstall the software. I just don’t get why someone who wants to hire you for article writing or copywriting needs to speak to you face to face. I’m fine with phone interviews. I understand wanting to get a feel for the person and discuss your project expectations.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Multiple and Simultaneous Submissions-A Writer’s Perspective

Ugh, the dreaded words for any debut novelist: “We do not accept simultaneous submissions.” Don’t get me wrong-I get it. Why should a publisher or agent put their time and energy into a manuscript when you may sign with another press or agency?

I’ve done an extensive amount of research on this subject. Especially, since a few terms can be confusing. For instance, a publisher may accept “simultaneous submissions,” but not “multiple” submissions. Although every press and agency is different, the general guidelines are that simultaneous submissions are a single work sent to multiple agents and presses at the same time. A multiple submission is sending the same agent or publisher different manuscripts before receiving notification on your initial submission.

What’s an author to do?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Fashion Blog

Although fiction writing is my true love, I do get hired for some great freelance writing work as well. I've done a few horrendous assignments (I won't get into that now, but expect a top five worst writing jobs post in the near future), but I am excited to get started on a new project. It's for a great new fashion blog called zuuzStyle. They're covering everything from celeb looks, clothing deals and beauty advice. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Book Covers-DIY Version

Well, one of the responsibilities of self-publishing is submitting your own book cover. To be honest, I'm actually not freaking out over this if I decide to put my book out there myself. Unfortunately, some of the amateurish looking covers from smaller publishers have been bit of a turnoff. Not saying this is the case with all small presses, some of them have fabulous looking cover art.

You have a few choices for submitting your own book cover:

You can go the DIY route. What you can do is take a few photos of whatever you feel could represent your book and upload them through your digital camera software. Upload a few faves into Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. . Play around with the tools in the software to add text onto the photos. There's an endless number of font, color and size possibilities. If you're not overly impressed with your own photos, try a stock photo website. On a side note, I downloaded Illustrator and it's fabulous. Came with a free 30 day trial, not sure if I'm willing to spring for the hundreds of dollars it costs to buy the software

You can also use templates provided through e-book and print publishers. CreateSpace offers up a free template for authors to build their own print covers. All artwork and text you place in their templates are formatted to fit on the book cover. There are also ebook cover building software online that are both free and paid (I have yet to find a good one that I like, so please comment me with any recommendations).

A new recommendation I've received is you can purchase book covers and artwork through DeviantArt. Really amazing images on the site, I was duly impressed.

Here's the cover I did myself that was my second choice for the book (I'll wait until my publishing details have been ironed out to make the big reveal for the actual cover). I used a stock photo and Illustrator.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Building Your Freelance Writing Portfolio

Freelance writing was a career I kind of randomly fell into. I was working at a travel agency after my college graduation and was in charge of tour itineraries. The job was pretty much a yawn and I found myself with tons of downtime. To keep myself busy, I started to look into writing jobs I could do in my spare time. Unfortunately, my first freelance writing gig was working for a college essay website (I would not recommend this).

I began to apply for more article writing jobs and although most paid an embarrassingly low fee, it was a good way to build my freelance portfolio. No matter how talented you are, better paying freelance writing jobs are not likely to come your way if you've never been published before. Even if you feel your work is worth $0.25 a word, it's not going to happen for a newbie.

The first way you can build your portfolio is to submit work to a revenue share article submission site. Since most of these sites provide little to no editorial guidance, recheck your work to make sure you're highlighting your talent with the written word. Website examples include Suite 101, Triond and HubPages.

The next thing you can do is to sign up for an account through a freelance job website. Sites like eLance and oDesk allow you to fill out a profile and submit examples of your writing. You can then view and bid on writing jobs you're interested in. Once you land a few jobs, customer feedback will help you get more work and increase your bid amounts.

Lastly, consider a blog. Start a free blog through Wordpress or similar site. You can always submit the link to potential employers if they're looking to get a feel for your writing style.

As a new writer, you're not likely to make a ton of cash. However, taking a few low-paying jobs that give you a byline will help build your network and add more published articles you can use for future employers who wish to view samples of your work.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Query Letter Resources for New Authors

When I first started this process of getting my book published, I knew very little. I had heard about query letters, but my work as a freelance writer did little to prepare me for the importance of getting your pitch just right. Don't be surprised to find all sorts of advice when doing a Google search for query letter help. Some sites will want you to pay them to write or edit your query letter. However, after a few drafts and help from some good online resources, you should have the perfect letter ready to send out to literary agents and publishers in no time.