Mike Timmins Kickstarter

I’d love to sit here and talk about myself and my projects all day, but there so much more great talent out there. Please join me in supporting another literary talent, Mike Timmins, in his next awesome venture!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/108730810/publishing-my-second-fantasy-novel-part-two-the-aw/ 

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Living with Earl now on Audio book!

If you have not bought this book yet by my dear friend and fellow author Tom Lambert, shame on you, it is absolutely awesome! But you can redeem yourselves! His singular piece of literary mastery is now available on audio book, check it out! #supportlocal **available soon at Amazon and ITunes as well.
https://mobile.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Living-with-Earl-Audiobook/B01N6JB9NF/?ref=msw_search_c1_0_1_AN

Contest!

***CONTEST***
In celebration of the release of my new short story collection “Selfie Portrait” I am holding a contest for one lucky person to win a free autographed copy (1) of their very own! Here’s how you enter:
1. Go to http://www.facebook.com/authorterryjames and like my page.
2. Under the contest post, post your own creative, silly, totally unique selfie! (Please keep in mind this will be public on this page, post at your own risk.) or email it to authorterryjames@outlook.com. 
Winner will be announced and contacted by Private Message via Facebook. Selfies will be judged on creativity and originality. Entries must be posted by 11/15/16. Winner will receive one (1) autographed copy of the book via USPS to the address provided at the time the winner is contacted. Contest is open for US residence living within the 50 states. No cash option. Prize valued at $9.99 USD. Void where prohibited. Winner will be announced 11/16/2016. 
Good Luck!

How to Survive Becoming an Author…Week 6…Surviving Literary Agents

Sorry it has been a few weeks since I’ve posted new material. I have been very busy with work and getting my latest book “Selfie Portrait” launched and promoted. If you are interested in seeing what it is all about, just check out https://www.amazon.com/Selfie-Portrait-Terry-James/dp/1537781677/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1475871764&sr=8-2

I also had an interview with the Toledo City Paper that came out this week. for more information on that, check out http://toledocitypaper.com/online/terry-james-fact-or-fiction/

Anyways, enough about me, this is about you, and your the reason I do this in the first place. You’ve written most, if not all, of your book. You’ve got dreams of walking into any bookstore in the country and seeing your months and months of hard work prominently displayed on their end cap. You get your ducks in a row and send a random copy of your manuscript to a publisher and eagerly await for them to send you that check for a hundred-thousand dollars to buy the rights. Fast forward forty years, your wife/husband asks you to come back in from you standing next to your mail box in the dead of winter, you never got a reply. That’s because your beautifully printed manuscript and brilliantly written cover letter got thrown out years before, unopened, and is now compost in some elderly woman’s cabbage garden, or was recycled into a political endorsement mailing which will also get shit canned.

The reason, publishers no longer deal with authors nor do they accept unsolicited manuscripts anymore, you need an agent. It seems sort of disheartening to think you will have to spit your book’s profits with someone else, but if you are one of the lucky few authors to snag one, it could really make your career as an author really take off.

So how do you get a literary agent you ask, well let me tell you, with the power of the ever dreaded “Query Letter…letter…letter… (just imagine the echo effect)”.

What is a query letter you ask? It is a letter basically asking an agent to represent you and your work, it details the project you are working on, and explains to the agent exactly why your book will be the next best thing to Harry Potter or 50 Shades of Grey or a combination of each (though I’d rather not know what happens behind the closed doors of Professor Dumbledore in that mash-up). Anyhow, the letter follows up with a brief description of you, your background in writing, and why you think you are qualified to write this book. easy right…WRONG!

You can ask just about any author who has succeeded in getting representation, and I bet this is the answer you get, “I was rejected hundreds of times before I found my agent and publisher.” Agents are always looking at the market, seeing what sells and what doesn’t, unless you have something that fits that mold, is absolutely irresistible, or are a celebrity who can sell their name better than they can sell a book, your going to have a hard time finding one that is willing to put his/her reputation and royalty check on the line, especially first time authors. The key to getting someone’s attention…The “Query Letter…letter…letter… (just imagine the echo effect, again!)”.

Luckily, there are literally hundreds of resources online you can look up, the bad thing…there are literally hundreds of resources online you can look up. Not all will give you the best advise on the latest trends on what gets the agents attention, and when a single agent can receive upwards to hundreds of query letters per day, yours better stick out and be magnificent enough to put a tear in their eye. So who better to tell you how to accomplish this feat of letter writing…an agent, that’s who!

I recommend, if you are brave of heart, to look to none other than the “Query Shark” at http://queryshark.blogspot.com/ She is ruthless and painfully honest, but it is a resource that is invaluable and will help get you in the right direction.

Till next time, don’t give up, you can do this!

Sorry…

I know it has been a few weeks since I posted. I’ve been really busy at work and getting my newest book out. I hope to get back on track this week, so look for another installment later this week, chow!

How to survive becoming an Author…week 5…Surviving Getting Started

So you’re finally ready to sit down and write that novel. It’s been burning in your soul, playing out in your dreams like an Oscar winning movie. You’ve envisioned your characters, what they look like, how they dress, even how they talk. But now in that perfect moment as you look at the un-written white screen in front of you, you draw a blank. The white space on your screen does nothing to inspire the fact that you only have 40,000 to 80,000 words left before you can consider yourself completed.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Getting the ball rolling on this type of project is never easy, not even for the most experienced writer. But there are ways of overcoming the blank, and there is no set preference on how to organize your thoughts. But here are some examples and tips that might help you get moving along in no time.

1)      Outline. Nothing is better in the beginning as organizing your thoughts. Start from the beginning, what happens, then what, how does the first thing affect the next? I’ll give you a simple scenario.

  1. Jack and Jill climb a hill.
    1. They were carrying a pail
    2. They were fetching water (or hard liquor, hard to say)
  2. Jack fell down in a drunken stupor
    1. Broke his crown (damn drunk)
    2. Which caused Jill to tumble down after (no doubt cussing continuously)

2)      Thought Bubbles. This technique is a bit more graphical. It entails writing down your basic idea of your book and circling it. From that idea, you write a corresponding thought on that idea and circle it, drawing a line from idea one to idea two, and so on. It’s really hard to show this idea but a cool example can be found by following this link, http://s3.amazonaws.com/heroku-ldatschool/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/12201259/Web-of-linked-thought-bubbles-demonstrating-an-example-of-a-concept-map..png

3)      Free Writing. This is the preferred method of yours truly. It is simple yet effective. All you do is sit and write whatever comes into your head. No structure, punctuation, grammar rules, paragraphs, or even correct spelling is needed. Just write whatever pops into your brain. Run-on sentences, go for it, gibberish, go for it, Pig Latin, whatever! Whatever it takes to just simply put your fingers on the keyboard and keep writing until you slowly find that you are getting into your groove! Then return to the screen and make that magic happen!

4)      Cut and Paste. So you know where you are going with the story, but you’re not entirely how you’re going to get there. But you know exactly how one scene will play out. So, write your scene. Sometime while you are writing the scene, other ideas jump into your head. Once you’ve written a few scenes and figure out exactly how they fit together, simply connect the dots, and cut and paste your scenes in place. (warning, though I know some writers can do this, I recommend not using this method unless you have completely used up any other method. It is very easy to get lost and forget where you were going, or mix up your scenes out of order.)

The basic idea here is simple, organize, organize, organize.

Of course, sometimes you just have to take life by the horns and just go for the gusto. Writers like Sandra Hults believe in simply sitting down with her ideas and letting the story take her wherever it leads. A lot of successful authors do this as well. It is definitely a whirlwind challenge and can make for an interesting adventure, especially when the writer themselves are uncertain of the outcome.

Next, let’s talk comfort zones. Not every writer has the ability to just sit down, crack open their laptop, and produce award winning novels while sitting in the middle of an out-of-control room of children at a daycare center. In fact, some very famous writers out there had very strange places where they would find their elusive muses. Edith Wharton would write in her bed in the morning before getting up. Benjamin Franklin wrote naked after a soothing “Tonic Bath”. And Dame Edith Sitwell only wrote after taking a relaxing rest in an open coffin.

Now I’m not recommending you run down to your local funeral home and pretend to test drive a body bag, but it is important for maximum creativity to find your “Place”. For the before mentioned Sandra Hults, she prefers to sit in a quiet library with a set of headphones, a place she admits herself sounds “Cliché” but works perfectly for her. For me, it is a warm cup of Joe, doesn’t seem to matter where, as long as I have the coffee. So search your feelings, and find your muse!

For more information on Sandra Hults and her writing, check out her blog at: www.sandrahults.wordpress.com, or her Amazon page at, https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Hults/e/B00JQ2GHNW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1473720432&sr=8-1

For more information on me and my writing, feel free to follow me on my Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/authorterryjames or on Amazon @ https://www.amazon.com/Terry-James/e/B00HUB1Q6Y/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1471732632&sr=8-2.

 

So in closing, don’t let anything in between you and the book you’ve always wanted to write! If you get stuck, try organizing your thoughts. Find the comfort zone that’s just “write” for you and get creative! Nothing can slow you down but yourself. See ya for now, check back in later this week for a special edition of “How to Survive Becoming a Writer”. What is it about? Find out later!