Thursday, October 29, 2009

Writers Network

When writers choose an agent, is it whimsical? Are choices to query made by closing their eyes and pointing to a name on a list? Or choosing a rune stone with an agent's name on their lips?

Nah. Writers network intensively, especially with each other and it's essential to have a good friend-system. Word does get around in writertown.

Right now, there is a huge discussion blooming almost everywhere, probably due to the economy and publishing's tense mood, about agents. Agents Kristin Nelson and Janet Reid (FinePrintLit) have interesting blog posts, as do other agents. It's very interesting.

More on this later, but do check Twitter's Hashtag #allaboutagents on Friday night this. Agents are answering questions galore, and you get a real feel of their personalities and match to whatever the writer writes, their career. Most interesting. There are quite a few agents on Twitter and their responses give much insight to their work and sometimes lives. Facebook and MySpace also provide insights to agents.

But writers also scan agent blogs, read their websites, snag any interviews they've done, and check sites like AbsoluteWrite and Publishers Market Place, paid version. and etc. are really popular. At both, agents may visit to correct or update their own material.

This research is intense, and many groups offer help, i.e. a list of writers who have had this or that agent, and make e-mail questions to that writer possible.

Or through the vast Yahooville, or other places, a querying/researching writer will send up a post: Would anyone who has experience with AgentXYZ please contact me privately? That is probably the most useful networking tactic as it brings in new friends as well. I met a really good friend that way.

A writer serious about getting an appropriate agent for their work/career is busy, busy, busy, a regular bloodhound before choosing one to query.

And to leave an agent is very, very difficult as sometimes emotional likeability/attachment clashes with career necessity. This whole process is no easy matter, sometimes months of effort spent getting the right fit.

Someone suggested a Twitter Hashtag of following the editors. Now, that would be really interesting. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Robot Seeks Publication

If you have a dark sense of humor, or not, you may enjoy the trail of Roland the Robot on his journey to publication. There will be more to this storyline, so please subscribe to it at Just search for Roland the Robot. Some fact, some fiction in Roland's experience. I just think it's funny and that the animation is super.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Seasons and Writers' Balance

Fall is beautiful in the Ozarks, and soon I'll be taking my cameras out for a full day of sunshine and color.

I enjoy the last roses of summer. Mine are struggling now with cool temperatures and supposed frost tonight. However, mums love fall.

Mums of every color are on display now. I usually wait until a little later for sale prices and then pick up a few. I'm enjoying these in my yard right now. I'm generally not a fan of smelly things, but the color is lovely this time of year.

I love my carefree day out, a couple of cameras, a thermos of coffee, a few snacks in the basket and nothing to do or worry about all day, except if there is enough gas in the car. That's it: gas in the car. I drive all over the Missouri and Arkansas rolling hills, taking photos of old buildings/unique trails/gorgeous trees etc. I can't wait to see the pictures on my screen.

As a writer, my mind also takes pictures and starts spinning those stories. Someone has a great saying that I'll paraphrase: You can't write about life by sitting behind a desk. Okay, we probably have some writers who can do just that. But writers need to experience life and color.

At The Second Cup, I wrote about moving too fast through the morning and mistakenly grabbing the vinegar bottle, in lieu of raspberry flavoring for my coffee. Take a sip of Good Morning Coffee, your first deep sip of the day, set to appreciate the taste and get vinegar--and you know you're moving too fast.

In today's fast-moving world, we all need some kind of balancing therapy. Fortunately, I like to do very many things to balance and I hope you do too. To see what else I do, click my other blogs at the top tabs.
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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Missouri Literary Festival

The Missouri Literacy Festival held last week was amazing. Held at Hammons Field and The Creamery Arts Center, speakers, poetry readings, panels on writing, and wordsmiths stretching across the arts participated in the three-day festival.

In conjunction for the National Endowment for the Arts, five organizations benefited from the proceeds of the festival. (They also worked very hard for two years to bring it about, chaired by Wm (Bucky) Bowman. Those organizations are The Springfield Regional Arts Council, Family Literacy Centers of the Ozarks, Ozarks Literacy Council, Springfield Public Schools Title 1 Program, and Writers Hall of Fame of America.

This year, The Big Read was Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. It was the featured literary work, complete with a free CD and a Reader's Guide. Handy dandy journals were labeled with the event, available from a large Borders booth. Cynthia from Borders did a great job, pulling double-duty as this is Borders' National Teacher Appreciation Week with activities at Springfield, MO's Borders store.

Events for Kids were ongoing as were the bands playing for the setup in front of Hammons Field, a ballpark. Go, Cardinals! Childrens Writers abounded.

In the general Hammons Field area, writers of everything participated, readings ongoing, bands playing. Writers lined up along the Grand Concourse.

Buddy, a gorgeous well-behaved golden retriever (I hope I got that right) attended as a celebrity for PALs (Pets As Listeners). On the Grand Concourse children read to Buddy, who also visits schools and other places. I'd seen something about PALs, and was so glad Buddy was there to give more information.

Western writer Dusty Richards and Missouri Cowboy Poets (a genre in itself, I guess) presented programs. I enjoyed the cowboy guitar and songs, too. (In general, I just had a good time.)

Known uniquely as "The Romance Writer" I spoke on Romance Fiction As It Is Today in the Cardinals Suite, and signed books, of course. Met some long-time Cait London readers and they truly made my day. Thanks Mary Jo, Pam et al. Never hurts a writer to be asked for an autograph. :) Suzann Ledbetter Ellingsworth spoke a little later on Writing To Get Paid versus Writing for Money in the All Star Suite. Suzann is always a powerful speaker and interesting, too. Poet Lee Ann Russell's works were also available.

Several universities also held readings and manned info-booths.

U.S. Poet Laureate Bill Collins drew quite the crowd as did other poets. Laura Shapiro, author of the biography "Julia Child", provided culinary insights and what looked like great food at the Creamery, which is actually a renovated creamery serving as the center for the Arts Council. If you can visit, this is a terrific building and hosts The Creamery Writers.

And as a presenter, I visited the Cards real live Bull Pen :) And a real highlight for me was to learn more about Music Therapy. I wish we had it in all our schools. PALS and Music Therapy, two really good healing/nurturing offerings.

Please visit the Missouri Literary Festival and check out all the events and people who provided such a great offering in Springfield, MO.

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