Q4U: What Gives You Hope?

It’s no secret that things are changing so fast in the publishing industry – along with the entire culture – that it’s difficult to know where we’ll be in a year, let alone five or ten years from now. Some people are pessimistic about the future of publishing, but I don’t listen much to the doomsday predictors, the “publishing is dying” crowd, because I see plenty of indicators that the written word will be around for a long time to come. I remain optimistic and hopeful. What about you? What are some things happening today that give you hope about the publishing world of tomorrow? Have a great weekend! © 2010 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent
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What Should Your Agent Know About You?

What Should Your Agent Know About You? Right now I’m putting together some tools that will help me be more effective at long-range planning with my clients. I want to make sure my vision for the client’s writing career matches their own vision, and that together, we intentionally work towards the client’s long-term goals and dreams (as opposed to a book-by-book “let’s see what happens next” approach). One thing I may do is have my clients fill out a questionnaire to give me a baseline view of who they are and what they want when we begin working together. I’m putting together my list of questions, so I thought I’d ask you: What information should I solicit on my questionnaire? If you were my client, what are some things you’d like me to know in order to serve you...
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Enhanced E-Books

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TK0tSYnlflI/AAAAAAAAEH8/S6ZeC0UJRlQ/s320/ipad.bmp The subject of ebooks is old news by now, practically passé. These days the talk is all about enhanced ebooks – a sort of multimedia reading experience that could be part game, part movie, part interactive learning experience, and no doubt, part advertising. Imagine reading a novel and being able to click on links throughout the text, taking you to maps, videos, author interviews, and anything else a programmer can think up. Personally, it sounds to me like it would have its advantages in certain cases, but in general, no thanks. When I’m reading, I like to READ. It’s hard enough to focus these days, with our brains all messed up from email and the Internet. When I’m reading, I don’t want to be distracted by hyperlinks. But that’s just me, and...
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What is Success?

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TJwfVHU50SI/AAAAAAAAEGM/pasOT_27RFU/s200/oscar4.jpg In the past on this blog, we’ve discussed why we write in terms of our internal motivations. But what about our external goals? What would it look like to “arrive” as a writer? What are you striving toward? What is the definition of success? Tell us why you’re doing this… not just because you’re a writer and you have to write, but what’s your goal? Have a good weekend! (c) 2010 Rachelle Gardner, Literary...
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The Perfect Day

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TIBCV_PdSUI/AAAAAAAAED8/57aZX5liEvU/s200/birthday-cake2.bmp I’ve been looking forward to this long weekend – I’ll be busy Saturday and Sunday, but on Monday (Labor Day) I’m taking the day off. Because it’s my birthday. When I’m looking forward to a day off, I sometimes find myself overly stressed about how to make it a “perfect day.” Sounds dumb – does anyone else do this? I’m not sure how I’ll make Monday the Perfect Day. Right now, I’m thinking I might sleep in until… maybe 7am. I know, living it up, right? Then I’ll sit outside on my deck for at least an hour, maybe two, drinking coffee and reading. Perhaps after that I’ll go for a hike with my family – not too long, maybe about two hours, just enough to feel like I got some exercise. Then...
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What Does an Agent Offer?

I’m gathering information about what works for writers in the agent/client relationship. So here’s a question for all you agented authors out there: What do you appreciate most about your agent? I’m interested in hearing all kinds of opinions. Some areas you may consider addressing: -The working relationship-Your agent’s style (i.e. more businesslike; more relational, etc.)-General career guidance-Honesty and objective opinion Overall, how does your agent add value to your publishing life? For those of you seeking an agent: What do you think will be the most valuable thing an agent can offer you? Thanks for your answers, and have a good weekend! (c) 2010 Rachelle Gardner, Literary...
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Wishing I Didn’t Love Krispy Kremes

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TG4LTGKqBaI/AAAAAAAAEB0/teKJS0crqeY/s200/Krispykreme2.jpg If you’ve been reading this blog long, you might know that I love reading memoirs. I almost always have one (or more) on my nightstand. I recently finished Lit by Mary Karr, Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor, and She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel. Love ’em. Can’t get enough. So imagine how much I loved it when I came across a website that features Six Word Memoirs. It’s a part of Smith Magazine, an online “place for storytelling, with a focus on personal narrative.” It’s a cool website. Check it out here. Of course that got me thinking… wouldn’t it be fun to do Six Word Memoirs here on the blog? I’m game if you are. (Mine’s the title of this post.) Put your six word memoir in the comments. Let’s get to...
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Q4U: Avoiding Writing

A few days ago, a commenter on this blog wrote, The Xbox 360 is the greatest writing-avoidance device ever created. How many book ideas have died at the feet of “just one more game” of Guitar Hero, Mass Effect, or Bioshock? Well I wouldn’t know an Xbox if it dropped on my head, but it got me thinking. We all have our avoidance tactics. What’s your best one? Have a great weekend! (c) 2010 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent
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Q4U: Too Much Information?

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TFuOzhAWLFI/AAAAAAAAEAc/vMkK_XHtBEE/s320/math_400.jpg I’m wondering if the plethora of publishing blogs and the wealth of advice available for aspiring writers is making it more difficult for you, rather than easier. It seems the more information and advice we give via our blogs, workshops, webinars and books, the more writers clamor for even more detailed advice. It also seems writers are stressing more about the details of publishing than ever before. Even with all the information available, one commenter on yesterday’s post said “good, comprehensive and transparent information is extremely hard to find” and called it one of the “flaws of the industry.” I’m flabbergasted by that. If you shop on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble, you will find hundreds of books on every aspect of getting published—many of them “comprehensive...
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A Monkey Could Have Written That

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TDaPZ--cVLI/AAAAAAAAD9s/RdWujysgJrE/s200/monkey.jpg One of the frequent complaints I hear from writers is that there are so many bad books out there. If you want my opinion on that, read my post “All Those Awful Books.” Today let’s put a positive spin on those books you don’t think are well-written. Instead of whining about it, why not try to learn something? Just saying “It’s a piece of s**t” doesn’t make you a better writer. Instead, ask: 1. Why did this get published? The topic? The story? Author familiarity? Something else?2. Who is the audience for this book? What is it about the book that might appeal to that audience?3. Is there anything in this book that I can use to improve my own writing? This will help you think more like a publisher. You no longer have to be mystified (and...
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You Da Bomb

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TCgjfrmShJI/AAAAAAAAD8U/gQgMtUC-Twc/s320/rock_rule2.jpg A friend wrote me awhile back and complimented me on my blog, saying, “I don’t know if you realize this, but you really are a writer.” Well, I had sorta thought I was a writer. Yet I loved hearing someone else say so. It was a great compliment. It got me thinking about how important it is for writers to hear compliments about their work – and to allow themselves to believe them, to take them in and be encouraged by them. So let’s focus on the positive today. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received on something you’ve written? Did you allow yourself to accept it? Did it encourage you? If you’ve never gotten a compliment on your writing, then tell us about any kind of compliment that rocked your world. Have a good weekend! Rachelle...
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Art vs. Commerce

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TBVvpn6I7WI/AAAAAAAAD58/rGvsUBVeGtU/s320/no+pets.jpg We’ve been talking about contradictory messages all week, so for our last day, I wanted to address a topic that is integral to the life of anyone trying to create something artistic – and then sell it. There’s a constant tension between art and commerce, isn’t there? How do you balance the amount of time and energy you devote to learning the business of publishing vs. perfecting your craft? Do you have set times for each? Which takes more time? Which is more important? Have a good weekend! Rachelle Gardner, Literary...
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Think About this One

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TBGtHMwCz1I/AAAAAAAAD5c/fzGl9cUSaao/s200/thinking.jpg What’s more important? Being happy with your work, or getting it published? Tell me. I’ll be interested in your answers (and no, this is not a test). See you on Monday! P.S. Today’s question was suggested by @LeftyWritey on Twitter.
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What’s a Nice Writer Like You Doing in a Place Like This?

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/S_82k_JoDsI/AAAAAAAAD1U/Aaai3OvLHAY/s320/woman-laptop.jpg Ninety-seven comments, woohoo! Every once in awhile I get exhausted and over-scheduled and I wonder if I should stop writing the blog. Or at least post less frequently. Usually that thought lasts about five seconds because I can’t quit. I can’t help it -I love blogging, I love connecting with you, I love the conversation, and I learn so much from all of you. You make me laugh, you inspire me, you keep me grounded, you even make me angry sometimes. Guess I just can’t live without you! But what about you? What makes you keep coming back? What does this blog provide that you want or need? And what would you like to see more of? Hope you have a lovely Memorial Day Weekend… Rachelle Gardner, Literary...
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