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Here lately, I’ve been running wide out with deadlines and tasks atop of sick relatives, surgery, a new puppy, and the ice storm from hell. That not only throws me in high gear, but it also makes me sort at a glance much like an agent.
Sort what, you might ask? Emails, blogs to read, submissions for FundsforWriters, and requests for reviews. And you might be surprised at the key factor I use in deleting or holding to read.
The quality of the subject line.
Hey, when time is crazy limited, and I have chapters to write and newsletters to prepare, something has to give. I’m a fast reader by necessity, but for something to grab me in the fast pace I keep, the words have to snag me as I rush by. That means first and foremost that the subject be crisp, sharp, attractive, intriguing, or whatever adjective you want to use that gives me whiplash. It has to shout, “HEY, READ ME OR YOU’LL REGRET IT.”
Yeah, that latter part sounds stupid, but that literally runs through my head. Will I regret having missed this?
But…it has to start with the subject. Okay, let’s talk about what’s good and what’s not. I’ve snared these good ones from the past week. They got my attention and dragged me to their sites.
How Much Should a Writer Charge for Speaking? How I Read Slush: 3 Lessons for Writers. 5 Ways to Add Humor to Your Writing.
What doesn’t work for me when I’m in a pinch is general stuff like these. They tell me nothing. And unless the person being interviewed in the story is a huge household name, what’s going to draw me in to read about an unknown? When writing about a relatively unknown individual, at least use the subject to spark interest.
How to Write Better How to Build a Platform A Conversation with Novelist (fill in the blank) An Interview with (fill in the blank) A Visit with (fill in the blank) A Talk about Writing Rules
On the line is something like:
3 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Published – Three I’s in the subject line tells me this piece is about the author, and not necessarily with focus on me and my needs. But I like learning about mistakes so I don’t make them. This one is iffy.
And if I happen to open up the piece, I scan first. Headers and subheaders then tell me whether to invest my time. I’m not making this up! We read about this all the time. Agents, editors and publishers scan. They also have deadlines, sick relatives, surgery and snow. They have the same 24 hours as we do . . . and most of them actually have a life afterwards!
So, after you’ve poured your heart and soul and deep intellect into a piece, whether it’s a blog post, a list post, or a submission, take serious time to title it skillfully. Think over-the-top wording because that’s what captures a reader’s interest. If your subject doesn’t snag them, they never get to read your beautiful words that follow.
NOTE: Been guest blogging and participating in interviews lately in celebration of this week’s release of Palmetto Poison, the third in the Carolina Slade Mystery Series. Enjoy a few more new ones here:
Dames of Dialogue – Rural Ain’t as Quaint as You Think - Why crime in the country is unique.
Omnimystery News: C. Hope Clark – http://www.omnimysterynews.com/2014/02/please-welcome-mystery-author-c-hope-clark-1402210800.html – Entitled “This is Real, Right?” What is fact and what is fiction in my stories?
Get Lost in a Story: C. Hope Clark – http://getlostinastory.blogspot.com/2014/02/get-lost-in-story-with-c-hope-clark.html – An interview by Donnell Bell who asks great questions, like “What’s in your refrigerator right now?”
Authors in the Kitchen: C. Hope Clark – http://rosiegenova.com/blog/2014/02/authors-in-the-kitchen-c-hope-clark – Learn how to make Mississippi Mud Pie!
A Day in the Life of Carolina Slade – http://drusbookmusing.com/2014/02/13/carolina-slade/ - Adored this one!
And don’t forget to check out WOW-womenonwriting’s blog where I talk about how my family thinks all my characters are them! http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/2014/02/friday-speak-out-writing-with-family.html
WEBSITE – http://www.chopeclark.com
BLOG – http://www.chopeclark.com/blog
TWITTER – http://twitter.com/hopeclark
FACEBOOK – http://www.facebook.com/chopeclark
ABOUT.ME – http://about.me/hopeclark
GOODREADS – http://www.goodreads.com/hopeclark
PINTEREST – http://www.pinterest.com/chopeclark
WORDS OF SUCCESS
A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
~ Albert Einstein
TOTAL is the paid subscription to FundsforWriters. 70+ grants, contests, markets, publishers and more for the serious writer. $15 annual subscription for 26 biweekly Friday issues to your email. www.fundsforwriters.com - Or receive a free subscription with the full-price purchase of a Carolina Slade Mystery or The Shy Writer Reborn – ebook or print.
The Carolina Slade Mystery Series
Palmetto Poison is out!!!!!
The third in the Carolina Slade Mystery Series.
Carolina Slade is the real deal – Southern charm, a steely determination, and a vulnerability she’ll never admit to. Slade is at her absolute best in C. Hope Clark’s Palmetto Poison so hold on for the ride! ~Lynn Chandler-Willis, best selling author and winner of the 2013 Minotaur Books/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition
Clark’s intensely lush and conversational writing will keep you…turning the pages faster than you can read them. ~Dish Magazine
Comment on Dru’s Musings after reading A Day in the Life of Carolina Slade celebrating the release of Palmetto Poison: This is the very best interview I’ve read on a blog. Ever! Can’t wait to head on over to Amazon and order up the book. Nice to meet you Ms Slade! Now to check out this dude in the cowboy boots and a five o’clock shadow.
Autographed copies available: see www.chopeclark.com
(Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon/Goodreads/B&N.)
NOTE FROM HOPE: Does’t this melt your heart?
Hi Hope -
One of my writing students learned about the American Kennel Club through your newsletter. Here is the story, and you are welcome to share. From the writing student:
A chain of events reminded me that I wrote a dog story in 1988. I found that old, spiral notebook, and looked at the date: 9/21/1988. The AKC submission guidelines stated: “No talking dogs,” so I had to change a portion in the middle of the short story to accommodate that rule. I typed the story into my computer for the first time. I had no computer in 1988. I like my story and wondered why I wrote a story about a dog, since I had no pets. As I let my mind drift before sleep, I realized that twenty-six years ago my first great-nephew was born in May, less than four months before I wrote the story. This dog tale was a gift for the new baby in the family. I never gave it to him; I plain forgot about it, too busy with working as a nightclub DJ in those days. I now have four great-nephews, and I had never addressed the story until now. My oldest great-nephew is engaged to be married, and I’ll probably be a great, great aunt someday. Thanks to your announcement, my old story has new life. I hope I win the AKC contest, but if not, it finally resurfaced. I plan to give it to my oldest great-nephew for his twenty-sixth birthday.
All the best, Hope. I will continue to pass your information on. Write on!
www.personalwrite.com “Person”alized poems and stories for all occasions.
WORK SMARTER 2.0
By C.M. Saunders
If you are serious about taking your writing to the next level in 2014, no doubt you’ve taken steps to maximize your efficiency. After all, time is money, and as Zig Ziglar said, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days.”
In the technological age, the writer is faced with a bewildering array of websites, applications, programs and tools, which all proclaim to make the process of writing or researching easier. But which ones really work? And how?
This is most obvious place to start, an application which runs continuously in the background on your computer, tracking and logging the time you spend on different websites, or engaged in other online activities. It then gives you a report, allowing you to see where you really spend your time!
A large portion of any writer’s day is spent wading through junk mail. This is a time-saving program that allows you to bundle up all your subscriptions into one email and unsubscribe at a click, leaving you with a daily dose of just the good stuff.
We all forget to reply to the occasional email, sometimes losing out on a potential sale in the process. This little gem helps ensure that never happens again. It enables you organize your inbox, manage your correspondence, and set reminders. Great tool when dealing with people in different time zones.
Many writers now write guest blogs to help build their platform. But with so many websites and blogs scrambling for content, how do you know which ones are worth investing your time in? This tool bar allows you to instantly see how many hits a site gets worldwide, and therefore gauge how popular it is in real terms.
This productivity tool takes all your notes and ideas, in whatever form they may come, and collates them in one place at the touch of a button. It even records your meetings and interviews, and lets you share the files with friends or clients.
Procrastination is the enemy of every writer. This simple desktop and web application built around a timer is specifically designed to block out any distractions and enhance your concentration levels when your back is against the wall.
When used correctly, mindmapping can be a very effective technique for improving productivity. This is one of the best free apps available, helping you get more organized by focusing your thoughts and allowing you to build a visual picture of what needs to be done.
It’s all too easy to get distracted by some interesting website you stumble across. Or even that funny video of the cats dancing. This tool lets you put just about anything ‘in your pocket’ until later. Once in your pocket, you won’t even need an internet connection to view it.
This wonderful little tool allows you to launch the files and documents you are currently working on and open selected folders and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes, saving you from having to wade through endless start menus.
It’s not easy being a freelance writer. Sometimes life gets in the way. But Zig Ziglar is right: We all have the same 24-hours in a day. It’s how we use them that counts. Combine some of these tools with a healthy dose of dedication to make 2014 your most successful year yet.
BIO – C.M. Saunders began writing in 1997, his early fiction appearing in several small-press titles and anthologies. Following the publication of his first book, Into the Dragon’s Lair – A Supernatural History of Wales (2003), he worked extensively in the freelance market, contributing to over 40 international publications. His novellas Dead of Night and Apartment 14F: An Oriental Ghost Story are available on Damnation Books, while Devil’s Island is out on Rainstorm Press. He works as a sports writer and blogs for the HuffPost UK. His most recent work is From the Ashes – The REAL Story of Cardiff City Football Club.
FOUR WAY BOOKS PRIZE IN POETRY http://fourwaybooks.com/site/guidelines/ — $28 ENTRY FEE. Deadline March 31, 2014. For a book-length collection of poetry written in English by a poet who has not previously published a book of poems. Previous publication of a chapbook is fine and those poems may be in the collection submitted. $1,000 honorarium and participation in a Four Way Books reading in NYC.
THE NEW GUARD FICTION AND POETRY CONTESTS http://www.newguardreview.com/ — $15 ENTRY FEE. $1,000 for an exceptional fiction in any genre. Submit up to 5,000 words: anything from flash to the long story. Novel excerpts are welcome if the excerpt functions as a stand-alone story. We do not publish illustrations. $1,000 for an exceptional poem in any form. Three poems per entry. Up to 150 lines per poem. Contest winners and all finalists get one free copy of The New Guard, and each submission will be carefully considered for publication. Deadline July 14, 2014.
EVENT MAGAZINE NONFICTION CONTEST http://www.eventmags.com — $34.95 ENTRY FEE. Writers are invited to submit manuscripts exploring the creative non-fiction form. Deadline April 15, 2014 (postmarked). Entry fee includes subscription. Maximum entry length is 5,000 words, typed, double-spaced. $1,500 in prize monies available, plus payment for publication.
WRITER ADVICE CONTEST http://www.writeradvice.com — $15 ENTRY FEE. WriterAdvice seeks flash fiction, memoir, and creative non-fiction running 750 words or less. Enlighten, dazzle, and delight us. Finalists receive responses from all judges. First Place earns $200; Second Place earns $100; Third Place earns $50; Honorable Mentions will also be published. Submit to the 9th WriterAdvice Flash Prose Contest by April 18, 2014.
MARGERY ALLINGHAM SHORT STORY COMPETITION FOR UNPUBLISHED SHORT STORIES http://thecwa.co.uk/ShortStory/ — £10 ENTRY FEE. We encourage entrants from both published and unpublished writers. There are two key requirements – the first is that this must be an UNPUBLISHED short story; the second that it fits Margery’s definition of a mystery: “The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.” The winner will receive £1,000 as well as other prizes to be announced nearer the time. Stories must be no longer than 3,500 words and must be submitted before 4:00pm March 16, 2014.
HATCHFUND http://www.hatchfund.org/ — Everything you need to fund your next project is right here. This thriving creative community connects accomplished artists working in America with eager supporters, premier arts organizations, and art lovers. Hatchfund is powered by AIM a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Supporters give to us. We give to you. In short, that means every donation to support your work is tax-deductible.
VERMONT GRANTS http://www.vermontartscouncil.org/Grants/DeadlinesandInformation/tabid/242/Default.aspx — Artist Development Grants: $250-$1,000 to fund activities that enhance an artist’s professional career. FY14 applications (final round) are available with May 5, 2014 deadline. Match required. Creation Grants: $3,000 to support the creation of new work by Vermont artists. FY2015 applications to open March 3, 2014 with deadline of May 13, 2014. No match required.
ELIZABETH NEUFFER FELLOWSHIP http://www.iwmf.org/our-impact/training/elizabeth-neuffer-fellowship/apply/ — The IWMF is accepting applications from women journalists worldwide whose work focuses on human rights and who have a minimum of three years of experience in journalism. Female journalists working in the print, broadcast and online media, including freelancers, are eligible to apply. Competitive candidates must have excellent English skills. The 10th Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship runs from September 2014 to March 2015. The fellow will be based at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a research associate during the research component of the fellowship, allowing the fellow to pursue academic research while improving her ability to cover human rights and social justice for The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and other media outlets during the journalism portion of the fellowship. Deadline April 11, 2014.
UCROSS http://www.ucrossfoundation.org — Provides one-month residencies on a 20,000-acre working cattle ranch in the High Plains of northeast Wyoming. Writers, visual artists, composers, scholars and scientists working in all disciplines are invited to apply. Deadline March 9, 2014.
ODYSSEYS COSTA RICA http://www.OdysseysCostaRica.org — ODYSSEYS Costa Rica is a Civic, Social and non-governmental organization (NGO) offering a one-of-a-kind, community-based artists’ residency. Because the time you dedicate to your art is precious, we offer unique home stay accommodations with local host families, meals included. Our artist-in-residence program is open to writers and artists in all disciplines, emerging or established, from anywhere in the world.
NEW HAVEN REVIEW http://www.newhavenreview.com/index.php/print-editions/submissions/ — A literary journal that publishes essays, fiction, poetry, and occasionally photojournalism. Word length 1,200 words for prose. Pays $500 for prose pieces, fiction or nonfiction; and at least $25 per poem.
COASTAL REVIEW ONLINE http://www.nccoast.org/Content.aspx?key=7e7a053a-4243-4784-873d-62e56d4a87c1&title=Write+for+Us — The editors seek talented freelance writers knowledgeable about the North Carolina coast. Articles 800-2,000 words pay $75-$200.
1859 OREGON MAGAZINE http://1859oregonmagazine.com/writers-guidelines — In an intelligent and beautiful format,1859 explores the landscapes,the personalities, the movers and shakers, the history and the architecture that is the jewel of the Pacific Northwest. For Oregonians, 1859 is an exploration of the state’s rich history, its incredible destinations and colorful personalities. Departments like “What I’m Working On,” “Home & Design,” “Ventures” and “Sound Off” will resonate with residents of Oregon. Departments like “From Where I Stand,” “The Road Reconsidered,” “Home Grown” and “Top 5” are visual and editorial pollen that attracts the travel bee. Payment varies from $0.30/word to $0.50/word, with web-only copy at a lower rate.
COSMO UK http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/campus/cash-and-careers/student-careers/write-for-cosmopolitan — We want to hear about an experience you’ve had that’s worth talking about, that’s made you look at things differently. In around 800 words, we want to hear about something that’s really struck a chord with you; whether it be something that had a profound effect on you emotionally; something that was traumatic, but you’ve come out of the other side and want to share your story; a mind-blowing experience you’ve had; a life lesson you’ve learned; or just something that happened to you that was hilarious and that we and the world need to know about. All authors whose submissions are chosen for publication will be contacted to discuss terms.
ARIZONA HIGHWAYS http://www.arizonahighways.com/about/writers_guidelines.asp — Arizona Highways is a monthly magazine that encourages travel to and within Arizona. It does this by publishing stories, short monthly departments, and fine photography on places to go and things to do, on the state’s unique scenic environment, on its flora and fauna, on its people, and on the history and culture. The magazine’s feature stories typically run between 1,500 and 4,000 words. Several departments open to freelancers. No fiction, humor or poetry. Pays up to $1/word.
FACT CHECKER Location Virtual. http://phoenix.craigslist.org/cph/wri/4348004975.html — DRAFT Magazine, the nation’s foremost consumer beer publication, is hiring a freelance fact-checker. Applicants must have formal fact-checking experience at a magazine or newspaper, impeccable organization and communication skills, fluency in AP style, and a strong grasp of newsroom workflow. We require at least two in-office orientation days, but the bulk of the work may be completed remotely (an exception to the in-office training requirement will be considered only for extremely qualified, experienced fact-checkers). The fact-checker will be assigned about 10-20 hours of work per month for a flat fee of $250 per month.
FREELANCE COPYWRITER Location Virtual. http://www.krop.com/#!/jobs/y5cfty/ — The University of California’s communications unit is developing an online, interactive timeline that covers 175 years of the history of the University of California. The timeline tells the story of the university, using key research, student and administrative moments coupled with idiosyncratic and unusual happenings to underscore its depth and breadth. The tone of the writing should support the content choices; while celebrating the university’s real and important contributions, there should be simultaneously boldness and lightness in the execution of the timeline’s written content.
FOREWARD LITERARY AGENCY http://forewordliterary.com/ — Foreword Literary is a full-service, hybrid literary agency based in the Silicon Valley with offices throughout the country. We blend the tried-and-true methods of traditional publishing with the brash new opportunities engendered by digital publishing, emerging technologies, and an evolving author-agent relationship. Foreword manages a wide variety of clients, from bestsellers to debut authors, working with fiction and non-fiction for children and adults worldwide.
MEADOWBROOK PRESS http://www.meadowbrookpress.com/aboutus.aspx — We specialize in pregnancy, baby care, childcare, humorous poetry for children, party planning, and children’s activities. We are also the number one publisher of baby name books in the country, with eight baby-naming books in print and total sales of over six million copies.
NEW HARBINGER http://www.newharbinger.com/publishing-guidelines — Many of our books are double-targeted: T hey’re meant to be read by both general and professional audiences. The best way to reach both groups is to write your book directly to the client—to the person with the problem you’re writing about. Use simple language and a supportive tone. Mental health professionals buy our books for the same reason laypeople do—because our books are clear, simple, and complete. Professionals report that they prefer our step-by-step approach over the abstract material usually offered to the professional audience. For forty years, New Harbinger Publications has brought readers effective, scientifically sound self-help books that deal with a range of topics in psychology, health, and personal growth.
LAURA GROSS LITERARY AGENCY http://www.lg-la.com/ — Represents new and established clients in fiction and nonfiction. In addition to expert contract negotiation, LGLA provides clients with skilled editorial advice and guidance throughout the writing process. Beyond working toward the success of each individual book, LGLA seeks to establish long-term relationships with writers to help them build long-lasting and satisfying careers. LGLA has strong publishing contacts in Britain and is represented in most foreign territories. LGLA also handles film and television rights and has worked with all the major studios, as well as with many independent production companies worldwide.
HARTLINE LITERARY AGENCY http://www.hartlineliterary.com/ — Hartline Literary agency is one of longest established agencies serving the Christian book community and though we specialize in that market we do work with general interest books as well. Actively seeking adult fiction, self-help, nutrition, devotional, and business books. No erotica, GLBT, fantasy, horror.
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The Book Don works with authors on all types of books or shorter works, including literary fiction, academic work, memoirs, nonfiction, essays, and journalism. Other services include query letters, book proposals, grant proposals, agent database searches, research assistance, and copy for websites and other promotional materials.
Learn more and contact The Book Don at YourBookDon.com. Mention this ad to receive 10 percent off (new clients only). Kind words from past clients:
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WOMEN READING ALOUD hosts its 4th international Writer’s Retreat from June 16th – 25th on the magical island of Alonnisos, in beautiful Greece.
Situated in the northwest of the Aegean Sea, Alonnisos has been designated as one of the top eco-islands of Europe. View the island as one large botanical garden. Enjoy your private room with bath and private balcony overlooking the turquoise waters of the sea. Morning Writing Workshops, Nite Writes, Sunset Dinner Cruise, Yoga (optional), Welcome Dinner, Closing Reception and much more. Led by Julie Maloney, Founder/Director of Women Reading Aloud. Open to writers of all genres. All levels. Workshops follow the Amherst Writers and Artists Method.
Discover new material, hone your craft and explore the writer’s life. For testimonials and further details, visit: www.womenreadingaloud.org
The Henderson Writers’ Group Presents 2014 Las Vegas Writers Conference April 24-26, 2014
Join writing professionals, agents, publishers and marketing experts for a weekend of workshops and enlightening discussions about the publishing industry. Limited to 150 attendees, the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference provides a unique and intimate setting for each participant to meet and mingle with publishers and agents, as well as participate in free pitch sessions. Take the next step to selling your manuscript. The conference offers:
- Formal pitch sessions with agents and publishers
- Workshops, seminars and expert panels
- Q&A panels
- Meet & Greet Cocktail party with faculty and fellow writers
- Opportunities to mingle and network with publishing industry professionals
- “First Read” panels
Visit our website at www.lasvegaswritersconference.com to see who is on this year’s faculty. Join us and your fellow writers for the best conference yet. And register before January 15 to take advantage of our discounted pricing.
You’re Invited to the “Fifty Shades of Writing” Conference
The Missouri Writers’ Guild welcomes Writer’s Digest Book Editor Chuck Sambuchino and other distinguished writing faculty to St. Louis, Missouri, from April 11-13 for the “Fifty Shades of Writing” Conference.
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN AND INCLUDES: o “Pitch Perfect” welcome session by Chuck Sambuchino o Individual agent and editor pitch appointments o Luncheon keynote by USA Best Selling Author Mary Buckham o 16+ Saturday breakout sessions on topics like query letters, character development, editing, and more o Friday early bird arrival session presented by Literary Agent Sorche Fairbank o An expanded “Agents & Editors Read the Slush Pile” Session o Open mic, sponsored by the St. Louis Writers’ Guild
Additional in-depth master classes and Saturday night banquet available for additional fees. Meet 100+ other writers in St. Louis this April and refine your craft at one of the most affordable conferences in the Midwest.
Visit http://missouriwritersguild.org/MWG%20Conference%202014/ to learn more and register.
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C. Hope Clark
140-A Amicks Ferry Road #4
Chapin, SC 29036
Copyright 2000-2014, C. Hope Clark
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