Thursday, 3 January 2013

#OBBigBang Orangeberry Big Bang - Embraced by Darlene Jones



Updated on 28th December 2012


by Darlene Jones 
Retire and travel? Sure. A safari sounded good—and it was. Retire and play with my granddaughter? Turns out to be the best job I’ve ever had. Retire and read? Of course! But what I really want to do is write. And I have. What prompted this frenzy of activity?
Ages ago, I lived in Mali. Every moment of every day, I wished… Hey! There’s an idea. I could write a book about the Mali those wonderful citizens deserved, a story about waving a magic wand to make it so. Of course, I’d have to throw in a little (or a lot) of hot sex and romance too. Maybe a fight or three, a little sci-fi time-travel stuff, or a fairy godmother, or… The possibilities are endless.
And so it begins. I hunch over my computer keyboard writing. I join the Writers’ Guild, attend meetings, and work with a critiquing group. At last—a completed novel.
Now what? Professional feedback seems like a good idea, so I pay a chuck of change to a published author for a manuscript evaluation. Lots of good advice leads to a rewrite, followed by workshops and seminars and more rewrites.
Many presenters refer to “publishing credits” and urge publication of short stories. I dutifully give that a try and have a few pieces published, but my heart isn’t in it. I set up a blog of short bits that friends and family seem to enjoy reading, but really it’s a novel I want to have published.
Then I attend the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. Great session telling me to put tension on every page. Maybe if I stretch several elastics and let them snap on readers’ fingers? Another great session telling me to eliminate “ly” words. “Find and Replace” works well for this one. Oh, and dialogue tags. Use “said” and “asked” and nothing else. Another rewrite.
Now to query agents. Surrey session #1 – Query letter should be no more than fifty words in this format. Surrey session #2 – Query letter should be three paragraphs including x, y, and z. Surrey session #3 – Everything you researched on the Internet about query letters is wrong; do it this way. I go home, try to make sense of the advice, send out queries, receive rejections, and build up a thick skin.
Determined, I go to Surrey again the following year. Sessions with New York agents are enlightening. “You have fifteen seconds to grab our attention with your query,” they tell us repeatedly. Fifteen seconds!? Pitching sounds like a better deal. Ten whole minutes face to face with an agent. I pitch to three different New York agents and come out with their cards clutched in my hand, rush home and submit the requested material. This frenzy of activity is rewarded with more rejections.
I hunch over the computer writing and rewriting. By this time I’ve completed three novels and have a start on a fourth. I send out queries for books two and three. The pile of rejection letters grows. I shred them all and decide on another conference. My books deserve a reading audience.
At the Willamette Writers’ Conference we hear much rumbling about self-publishing. We’re told that the Big Six are now publishing only 55% of books available to readers. Advances are miniscule or non-existent. Marketing? Forget it. It’s do it yourself. And, says one speaker, “I pitched my author’s novel to 35 publishers before we got a sale. That was followed by a year of rewrites.” I groan. “His book is out next week. It’s been a two year process.” Two years!? “Publish yourself,” she says. “It’ll take you a couple of months.”
We agonize during the drive home. Self-publish? Oh, but the stigma. Our pitches were successful, so should we wait to hear from those agents and then decide? What to do? What to do?
Response from agent number one—rejection.  But, hey she’s actually given some feedback. Two whole paragraphs. This could be good. Nope! Her comments indicate a rewrite is needed. My heart might be found somewhere under my desk chair, or maybe in the sub-basement of my building. I open the next email which is from my writing buddy. She’s received a rejection from the same agent. Two different genres and two very different writing styles. Both professionally copy-edited. Here’s where the cake is iced. The rejections are identical except for our names.
Stigma be damned. Self-publishing here we come.
Buy at Amazon or Smashwords
Genre – Romance, Sci-Fi (G)
Connect with Darlene Jones on Twitter
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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

Blog-A-Licious

Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

BlogNostics

My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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