Submission to a Publisher

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Okay, this is it. My post on submitting to a publisher.

Since I’ve actually only submitted to one publisher, Less Than Three Press, that’s what my post will mostly draw on for experience. Make note: my publisher is chiefly an online publisher and receives everything by email. Some big publishers require an actual, physical copy of your manuscript, a cover letter, an agent, and any number of annoying things.

Okay, so you’ve finished actually writing your story. You’ve gotten it checked over by beta readers, you’ve done revisions and several rounds of editing.

If you haven’t done all these steps, then don’t bloody submit it yet. It’s not actually done if you haven’t done these things yet. And don’t come to me and say that you’re good enough that you don’t have to do one of these steps. This is your work of art that you want other people to read and enjoy. You want to do everything that you can to make this work as best as it can possibly be. Especially do not skip editing it, because editors can tell, and they will hate you.

Okay, so now you are definitely sure that you are ready to submit it.

Right, now the first thing you do is go to the publisher’s website and make sure that you’re following all of their guidelines. If you are submitting to a collection, anthology, or a specific submission call of any sort, you should have already been here to make sure you were following thematic guidelines. If you are submitting to a romance publisher, some of them have guidelines on content. Less Than Three Press in particular does not allow any rape/non con, bestiality, tragic endings, and underage sex, etc. Make doubly sure that you have not included any of these things in your story.

Next, make sure you have the correct formatting guidelines down. These are usually very basic and easy to follow. Some of these formatting rules might require you to do yet another round of quick editing. Most changes will require nothing more than a quick “find and replace,” adding or taking out an indent, paragraphing, font change, or something equally simple.

Now you actually have to submit the thing.

Some publishers absolutely require you to have an agent. I haven’t had to use an agent for my work so far, but if the publisher says in their submission guidelines that you need one, then they’re pretty serious about it.

Okay, this is the part where you have to actually talk to the editor that is going to look over your manuscript and decide if they like your work. I know. This is the hard part. Please bring back the boring formatting, because this is terrifying.

Usually, you have to include your name, pen name (if you have one), your contact info, a summary of your work, word count, and a completed manuscript. Make sure you know the name of the person you’re sending it to, and their email. For Less Than Three Press, depending on if you’re submitting to a general call, a collection call or an anthology call, you might be sending it to a different editor.

Things you should not send to an editor because they are busy people and it will enrage them:

  1. an uncompleted manuscript
  2. an unedited manuscript
  3. ideas for a manuscript
  4. a manuscript that is already on submission to another publisher (unless the submission guidelines say that it’s okay)

┬áDouble and triple check that you have included all the information that the submission guidelines require and that you’re sending it to the right place.

Press send.

Wait. Be patient, because the wait length for finding out if you’ve been accepted can be anywhere from weeks to months. Some publishers will send you an automated message to assure you that they received your submission.

Don’t give up! Whatever the outcome is, you made it to this step, which means you’ve come pretty far, in terms of writing.

Outlining

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I don’t know about any of you, but one of the things that I’m most terrible at is organization. I can’t organize things in my head to save my life, and I have to write it down somewhere to get it all in order. Some of my more complicated plots require a very dedicated and colour-coded outline so that I can keep track of what’s supposed to be happening. I tend to accidentally forget subplot points and leave them out.

One thing that sometimes helps with that is Trello, which I made a post about here.

I need an outline. Some lucky people don’t need one, because they’re just that clever. I am not one of those people, so that’s why I’m talking about it in this post.

I tend to colour code things like plot, sub-plots, and character arcs. There’s always an over-arching plot of things that are happening, some of which the characters might not even be aware of. Then I tie in sub-plots to the main plot, because sub-plots that don’t support your main theme aren’t very strong sub-plots. Then I add in character arcs, so that I can tell when a character needs to do something in order for the story to progress.

For me, plot is usually the hardest thing to actually do, because it needs to incorporate everything you want to include in the story. This is more from an organization point of view, because I usually know what needs to happen, it’s just a question of when.

Once the plot is laid down, then I can overlay it with the sub-plot and character arcs.

I find it a very tiring process, to be honest, and it’s usually what takes me the most time. Even research doesn’t take as long as that. Also, I tend to enjoy researching, which makes it less tedious than forcing myself to sit down and make charts and such.

Some people can just sit down and write. One of my teachers calls it the “gardening vs architecture” style of writing. “Gardening” is supposed to be just letting things grow in your head, whereas “architecture” is my style, in which the writer makes a plan. My professor also told us that there was no set way of writing, and that either style could work just fine, depending on the writer.

I suppose, for those of us that have a very chaotic way of organizing things, an outline works best.

Happy writing!

I’m on Wattpad

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I recently signed up with Wattpad.

I’ll probably be adding writing odds and ends on there. Little drabbles that don’t make it into my novels, outside POVs, things like that. Maybe I’ll even do a full-length story on there, but for now, I’m still working on a novel I want to submit to Riptide Publishing for their submission calls.

So, just short stories and drabbles for now.

Anyway, that’s the latest news.

The Power of Organization

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Hey everyone!

I recently started a new job as a Social Media Assistant for an English school in Vancouver. But that’s not what I wanted to tell you guys. They use this online tool called Trello that does wonders for organization, and it’s been so easy to use that I’ve started using it at home as well as in the office.

It’s great for organizing a new project.

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See this? This is a board. You can create as many boards as you like for different projects. Each board is sorted into lines, as you can see in this pic, they are Basics, Intermediate and Advanced. You can call them whatever you like, and you can also make however many you need. Each line has different cards for different tasks you need to do.

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This is what a card looks like when you click on it. You can describe what the task is that you need done. If you look along the side, you can also see what else you can add to the card to keep it organized, including adding a checklist, a due date and other members if they also use Trello. You can also put in info like pictures, word docs from Google drive and links.

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This is a checklist so you can keep track of what you need to do and what you’ve already done.

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See? I’m using it for my July Camp NaNoWriMo project. The best part about it is that it’s absolutely free for what I’ve just shown you. I love it, because I’m terribly disorganized, and I always leave stacks of notes, need to always re-look up research and can’t keep track of characters. This has helped considerably. I thought about buying Scrivener to help with it, but Scrivener is over $40 and this is free.

Happy writing (and organizing)! Here’s the link again in case you don’t want to bother scrolling.

Weird Unicorn story

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So I’m almost finished my trans girl unicorn story. It’s probably going to end up being between 10-15K words, so it’s not too long. I feel like I should have been able to finish this one a long time ago, but between chaos at work and general stress, it’s been rough going. Not to mention, I’m just a procrastinator. I’m going to have to do a really quick editing job, which isn’t ideal, but it’s better than sending in a rough draft.

My very first story with Less Than Three was a rough draft, and you could definitely tell. My entire manuscript was returned for editing absolutely covered in revisions and cross-outs. The more you edit it before you send it in, the less you need to do after! I’ve learned much better by this point, and I’ve never sent in anything that was just a rough draft ever since.

15K isn’t a big deal to edit and revise, though. I am looking forward (NOT) to editing my 50-60K cyberpunk story that needs a lot of revisions (according to my beta reader, and we must always listen to our betas) and a lot of editing (according to me, because when I get tired I put in too many excess words).

Anyway, my trans girl story with unicorns is for an anthology, so it doesn’t need to be too long. My cyberpunk is going to be submitted for general release, however. It’s going to be interesting. I usually go with collection calls and anthologies so that I have a deadline to finish things by. But I have miraculously almost finished the cyberpunk story, so that seems like a point in favour of general release, right?

Anyway, my writing life really needs to step it up. I feel like I haven’t really accomplished much these past few months. Anyway, I will write again when something interesting happens. Such as my next story comes out with Less Than Three (very soon, actually).

What I’m Working on this Spring (2014)

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The life of a writer can sometimes be quite hectic. Often, you get a new idea, and before you know it, you have five different projects, three of which you have writers’ block on. I have a list of things I have to work on, and that includes finishing the writing part, having them beta read by a couple of different people (fellow authors for the most part), revising (adding/deleting scenes), editing and submission to my publisher of choice (currently Less Than Three Press).

So, my list of things I am currently doing work on:

  1. The novel I started for NaNoWriMo 2013 that I didn’t finish in the required time. It’s a dystopian cyberpunk novel that’s looking to be between 50-60K words. I’m 95% finished that one and have at least two betas lined up for when I do finish it. I’m looking at a completion date before the end of February, beta reading by the beginning of March, revising/editing by mid-March and submission before the end of March.
  2. I started a novella before I started my NaNo novel, but that was put on the back-burner while I was writing Project#1. This one is contemporary, set in Seattle and is primarily a romantic comedy taking place in university. It involves a lot of cross-dressing and confusion. That one is only 5-10% done, but I’ve already done the plotting, planning and character design. No idea when that will be done, I’m hoping end of April, but who knows.
  3. I’m in the plotting and planning stages of a story for one of Less Than Three’s anthology calls: Damsels in Distress, which is a femslash anthology focusing on ladies that can rescue themselves. This one is historical fantasy taking place in WW2 Russia. I’m still doing lots and lots of research, because a lot happened to Russia in WW2. Also, not many people are aware, but Russia had really badass lady pilots. Ladies in leather jackets and goggles? Count me in. Have to finish this one by the end of May, as that’s the submission deadline.

That’s the ones I’m definitely in the process of writing. I’ll keep everyone updated as to how that’s going and do another of these posts in summer. Got to keep up a writing schedule!