Books & Such Literary Management http://www.booksandsuch.com Fri, 03 Jul 2015 07:01:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Is All Publicity Good? http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/is-all-publicity-good/ http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/is-all-publicity-good/#respond Fri, 03 Jul 2015 07:01:24 +0000 http://www.booksandsuch.com/?p=24939 Blogger: Rachel Kent

While I was in Orlando, FL for the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS), I checked Yahoo news and saw that they were reporting a failed publicity stunt for Grey–the new book by the Fifty Shades of

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Blogger: Rachel Kent

While I was in Orlando, FL for the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS), I checked Yahoo news and saw that they were reporting a failed publicity stunt for Grey–the new book by the Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James. From what I understand, she was on Twitter for two hours to answer questions tweeted to her under the hashtag #AskELJames. Turns out that most of the tweets were attacks or snarky criticisms and from what I read, E.L. James was blocking people and she and her agent were upset. I read through quite a few of the tweets even though I’ve never read any of the books.

Here’s a small sampling of the tweets: 

Johnny Quid: “If E.L. James asks for these tweets to stop, does that mean she really wants them to continue?”

Jack Howard: “What’s your favourite shade out of the 50? Is there a chance that more shades will be added?”

Laura: “That moment when #AskELJames hashtag is way more interesting than her books.”

Caitlin Stasey: “Does the E.L. stand for ELiterate?”

Dean Burnett: “Today E.L. James learned a valuable lesson that ‘A lot of people bought my work’ is not the same as ‘Everyone likes me.'”

Trevor Donovan: “What do you dislike more, Independent strong woman or the English language?”

Andrew Vestal: “After the success of ‘Grey,” have you considered re-telling the story from the perspective of someone who can write?”

Matty: “What’s it like telling millions of women it’s okay to be in an abusive relationship as long as he’s rich? Asking for a friend.”

Arjun Basu: “Here’s the thing: I think the team behind #AskELJames knew EXACTLY what they were doing. Every news outlet is carrying the story.”

Do you think Arjun Basu is onto something here? Is any kind of publicity good publicity?

I do find it hard to believe that her publicity team would think that she wouldn’t face that type of opposition in a public place like Twitter. And controversy like this does get people interested and reminds those who meant to buy the book that they should go get it.

I still will not be purchasing any of her books.

To what extent would you go to sell a book? Would you attempt a similar stunt? 

Do you believe this was a purposeful or was this just a bad publicity move?

And what do you think Jesus would tweet to #AskELJames? 

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Trade Show Overview http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/trade-show-overview/ http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/trade-show-overview/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 07:01:21 +0000 http://www.booksandsuch.com/?p=24929 Blogger: Mary Keeley

The 2015 International Christian Retail Show, ICRS, held in Orlando, came to a close yesterday. This annual trade show is a switch in gears for agents from the writers conferences we attend during the year. Instead of …

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Blogger: Mary Keeley

The 2015 International Christian Retail Show, ICRS, held in Orlando, came to a close yesterday. This annual trade show is a switch in gears for agents from the writers conferences we attend during the year. Instead of teaching workshops and meeting with writers who pitch their projects to us, we are the ones pitching our clients’ projects to editors. All five Books & Such agents were there this year. Living in different parts of the country, we so enjoy our in-person time together, and our combined cognitive wheels were turning in high gear. I thought you might like to have a glimpse into our activity and a trade show overview.ICRS 2015

We covered a lot of ground, literally, as we navigated 18 scheduled meetings, multiple events, and ad hoc meetings in two and a half days. We attend primarily because ICRS is a time- and cost-efficient way to meet with editors from numerous publishing houses in one trip. This year we especially wanted to get an update on each publisher’s assessment of the industry in response to the ongoing Family Christian Stores sale or bankruptcy saga. Another priority was learning what editors seek to acquire in the months ahead. This informed us about which of our clients’ projects to present to them then and to send to them in the months ahead. I’ll talk about that more in a bit.

After our individual versions of devotional time and cereal-bar breakfast, we headed to back-to-back meetings for two days. Some were in our hotel lobby or publisher’s meeting suite, some at publishers’ exhibit spaces on the convention floor, and others at different hotels.

Sharing perspectives on publishing trends is always an illuminating discussion because we want to hear what publishers’ perceptions are as well as communicate what we observe about readers. Some publishers continue to be stuck, waiting to react after the next big thing appears, while a few editors are beginning to sense it’s time to go with their gut and risk something new, possibly creating the next big trend in CBA. We didn’t hear this last year, and it was encouraging news.

The problems slowing the process are that Christian publishers have to find ways to adjust their sales, marketing, and distribution systems to have success with new genres that are popular in the general market, not to mention the blurring of traditional genres. For example, questions arise about what BISAC code to assign to a split story, an important issue because it determines were books are shelved in stores and affects how to search for a book online. We need to be praying that these publishers figure it out soon.

The Golden Scroll Awards Banquet always coincides with ICRS, usually occurring on Sunday, the day before ICRS officially begins. View the list of winners here. The Christy Awards banquet was on Monday night. View all the winners here. I’m happy to report that Books & Such clients were winners at both events.

Does this trade show overview describe what you thought goes on at ICRS? If you’ve been to the trade show, what was your reaction the first time you were there? Do you agree with me that nonfiction writers deserve their version of the Christy Awards?

TWEETABLES:

Find out what agents do at ICRS with this trade show overview. Click to Tweet.

ICRS provides an efficient means for agents to meet with editors from multiple publishing houses in one location. Click to Tweet.

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The Writing Life Ain’t Easy http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/the-writing-life-aint-easy/ http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/the-writing-life-aint-easy/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 05:00:22 +0000 http://www.booksandsuch.com/?p=24917 Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

I was having some email banter with a group of my writer friends. One of them is working on her first novel, feeling insecure about it, and asked if this lack of confidence would dissipate as she …

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Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

I was having some email banter with a group of my writer friends. One of them is working on her first novel, feeling insecure about it, and asked if this lack of confidence would dissipate as she gets more experienced in writing.

So another friend, a veteran with several novels under her belt, shared this:

The complete lack of confidence will likely persist and even become worse as you progress. I called my editor this summer and said, “What the heck is going on? This is my sixth novel! Shouldn’t I at least have my creative process figured out by now?!” And she laughed at me.

chimp-laughingShe laughed.

At.

Me.

And then through snorts my editor said, “Oh my gosh, is that really how you think this works?”

I couldn’t help nodding in recognition at this exchange, because as an agent I’m the recipient of many of these kinds of emails. The “I thought my writing was getting better—why is my editorial letter still 12 pages long?!” emails. The “Sometimes this is so hard I feel like crying” emails.

I think the writing journey is one of fits and starts . . .  good days and bad days . . . times where you know you’ve nailed it and times when you wonder what ever made you think you can write. This is normal! This is why everyone always says it’s a tough road. Half the battle is dealing with your own mental and emotional responses to your situation.

So take heart…if you’re not finding this easy, you’re not alone. If it was easy, anyone could do it.

What are some specific hurdles you’ve faced lately in your writing & publishing journey? How did you get past them?

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Writer’s Summer OR a Ministry of Interruptions? http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/writers-summer-or-a-ministry-of-interruptions/ http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/writers-summer-or-a-ministry-of-interruptions/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 07:57:13 +0000 http://www.booksandsuch.com/?p=24771 Blogger: Michelle Ule

Sitting in for Wendy Lawton who is at the International Christian Retailing Show today.

What is the purpose of your writing, particularly during the summer months when children may be home?

Do you have a focused goal, …

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Blogger: Michelle Ule

Sitting in for Wendy Lawton who is at the International Christian Retailing Show today.

What is the purpose of your writing, particularly during the summer months when children may be home?

Do you have a focused goal, or do you take life more in stride, open to interruptions?

Does God play a role in your summer writing?

Traditionally, I take the summer off from my job to write. Several years ago, I spent that summer writing a novel, as yet unsold, called Waking Dreams of Hope.

It’s the story of a brilliant woman trapped by a pregnancy into a life she doesn’t want. Even though she knows she should appreciate it and recognizes God gave her the desire of her heart in another area– it just took a surprise pregnancy–she’s a wreck.

Her plans got interrupted.

Her frustration reflects years of my life (though not the pregnancy part).

I wrote that book sitting at this desk in our family room while life took place round about me. Several teenagers were home, young women lived with us, friends dBiddy Chambersropped by, the phone rang– it was seldom quiet and serene, though rich and full of life.

Every day I tapped away, crafting my story.

But because I was home, I also increased my volunteering. Whenever I had no plans to leave the house–“just write”–I often took an extra shift on a local crisis intervention hotline.

I talked to many people that summer, in my house, on the phone, and even online and in forums. Because I was there, I could listen and solve problems, make suggestions, oversee household projects and write my book.

Some days it was lovely.

Other days frustration built–I just wanted to write my book! Some of the book’s scenes left me weeping as I poured out the jumbled feelings of my heroine.

But then someone would ask, “Are we really out of peanut butter?”

While invisible steam erupted from my ears, I reminded myself, “they’ll be gone in a couple years. This is now. Take the time.”

I was better at it some days than others.

“Look down stairs. I’m sure I bought more jars.”

I’d type away, faster and faster as the troubles and anguish mounted for both the heroine and me.

A phone call and a woman in crisis. What was she going to do? Where was she going to go? Who would help her?

I listened. I made suggestions. Sometimes I cried.

And then I went back to the novel.

I got to the penultimate chapter by the end of the summer, 85,000 words in, and realized I didn’t like it.

“So what’s the deal here, Lord?” I whined. “What was this summer all about? Typing practice for me? I already type 120 words a minute, how much more speed do I need?”

God didn’t say anything.

I like to look at situations from a slightly different angle when I’m thwarted. I call it “turning the prism.” Was it possible God was doing something else that summer?

What if the Lord had engineered my life contrary to my expectations? What if my real purpose was to minister and he used the “excuse” of me writing a book so I would be available to others?

My novel languishes in cyber-space. I reread it recently and it’s actually pretty good, full of wisdom and truth. Maybe some day the story will bless readers

But the relationships strengthened, the babies born, the children fed, the grace bestowed –that work will last for eternity.

Many of my spiritual mentors–known through books–lived lives filled with interruptions. Biddy Chambers, Edith Schaeffer and Elisabeth Elliot all ran boarding houses and fed strangers, when they weren’t writing their books, praying, studying their Bibles and listening for God’s directions.

Their example put my interrupted experiences into perspective.

Sometimes–always on the hotline–I’m even gracious myself.

How about you? How do you react to interruptions?

Tweetables

What if the point of our lives, really, is a ministry of interruptions? Click to Tweet

Was I a writer a foot servant in the ministry of interruption? Click to Tweet

Maybe being interrupted, not the manuscript, was the point. >Click to Tweet

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Summer Tips: What’s a Writer to Do? http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/summer-tips-whats-a-writer-to-do/ http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/summer-tips-whats-a-writer-to-do/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 02:37:04 +0000 http://www.booksandsuch.com/?p=24775 Blogger: Michelle Ule

Filling in for Janet Grant who is at the International Christian Retailer’s Show in Orlando, Florida.

Summer’s here and if you’re a writer with children, visitors, spouses, or other interruptions, how are you supposed to keep working …

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Blogger: Michelle Ule

Filling in for Janet Grant who is at the International Christian Retailer’s Show in Orlando, Florida.

Summer’s here and if you’re a writer with children, visitors, spouses, or other interruptions, how are you supposed to keep working on your manuscript?

Continue writing your project, of course, but there are other things you could do with your family around to keep your moving toward “the end.”

Six tips for writers in the summer.

summer

Research possibilities never end!

1. Plan a research trip

If you travel to a destination to do research on a project, it may be possible to write off your personal transportation costs on your income tax. Check with your tax advisor.

One year, my family visited the Salt Lake City genealogical library as part of my family history gathering (this trip was NOT tax deductible).

I spent eight hours in the library the first day while my husband took our two children to various child-friendly spots around the city. The second day, I spent ten hours in the library (my husband had to drag me out at the close of day. I was babbling, but done), while they went to a water park.

Had I been working on a book, my travel costs to and from would have been part of my writer’s expenses that year.

I’m considering a trip to the Museum of the Confederacy this summer for that very reason.

2. Visit local libraries while college is out

I’ll be headed to my local college next week. School is out which means parking will be available and the librarians will not be busy.

I usually visit the website beforehand for the list of books I want to view and take the list with me.

Since it’s summer, I’ll also be able to consult with a librarian about my project. I’m hoping to enlist some professional help.

Librarians generally are happy to assist you in research, particularly since their most frequently asked questions are: “Where is the bathroom?” and “where are the copy machines?”

I’m sure a question about education during late Victorian England will elicit some interest.

3. Time your writing for when the children are asleep; do social media while they’re awake

The weather is nice. Wear out the kids outside during the day; write while they sleep.

When they’re awake and occupied, keep an eye on them while attending to your social media.

It shouldn’t be too difficult to think of a tweet in between making a peanut butter sandwich and telling your six year-old to put on sunscreen.

summer

A classic writing book

4. Read writing books–particularly if you have kids in summer school

If you’ve got kids needing to learn this summer, why not join them by reading writing books?

You can find them in the 808 section of the library (you DO take your kids to the library during the summer, don’t you?), or purchase some.

If your child complains about having to do homework, sit beside them with homework of your own!

Take notes–reviewing ways to write better can only improve your work.

5. Read popular novels to get a feel for the market–particularly in your genre.

I spent an excellent summer years ago reading all the Newberry prize-winning books.

I read books that had never appealed to me before. Some made me weep with their beauty and I understood why they won the prize for the best children’s book of their particular year.

Some were absurd.

It was a rich experience, however, and I shared some of those books–reading aloud–with my children.

You might consider reading some of the best selling books this summer–The Girl on the Train, for example (which I haven’t read) to analyze why this particular book is a best seller.

Or even my current release: The 12 Brides of Summer Collection #1.  :-)

Or any books written by Books and Such authors–check them out on “Author News” to the right.summer

6. Lean how to organize social media so you can take a vacation.

I wrote an entire post on my personal blog about how to do this. You can read the post here.

If you write blogs, tweets and even Facebook posts (for a professional page) ahead of time, you can schedule them and take off without a thought.

Taking a vacation, even from your writing, will do everyone in your family a world of good!

Tweetables

6 tips for writers during the summer. Click to Tweet

A book to write, kids at home, company coming. What’s a writer to do? Click to Tweet

6 ways to advance your writing career even if you get nothing done this summer. Click to Tweet

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For the love of reading http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/all-for-the-love-of-reading/ http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/all-for-the-love-of-reading/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 07:01:06 +0000 http://www.booksandsuch.com/?p=24912 Blogger: Rachel Kent

I am traveling today, so I will not be able to participate, but I hope you will all interact and chat with each other.

On Wednesday, I took my nephew and daughter to a local bookstore and …

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Blogger: Rachel Kent

I am traveling today, so I will not be able to participate, but I hope you will all interact and chat with each other.

On Wednesday, I took my nephew and daughter to a local bookstore and it was so much fun to see them exploring the shelves of books. We looked at a cute picture book together (My Grandma’s a Ninja) and each of them got to pick one book to buy.

bookstoreWhile we were purchasing the books, my nephew saw a sign for a reading program. The bookstore hosts a summer reading “contest” for children and it is spy themed. My nephew was very excited to sign up. He got to get his picture taken with a spy hat and glasses and the bookstore gave him a FBI-style folder with a reading log. If he completes the challenge, he gets to go to a spy party before school starts in the fall. He’s already a reader and loves books, but I could see this motivating kids who are not as eager to read, too. I was happy to see my nephew so excited to participate!

I was part of a library summer reading program like this once when I was a child. We were rewarded with an ice cream party and a free book.

I hope programs like this help children who are not natural readers to find that love of reading. It often only takes one special book! Something that touches a child on a deeper level and shows him or her that reading is an amazing adventure.

Did you or your children ever participate in a summer reading program?

Was there a special book that first ignited the love of reading in you?

I can’t remember a specific book that was the start for me, but when I was a new reader I devoured the Boxcar Children series and the Little House series and then moved on to Anne of Green Gables.

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Writing Mechanics and Grammar Checklist http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/writing-mechanics-and-grammar-checklist/ http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/writing-mechanics-and-grammar-checklist/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 07:01:00 +0000 http://www.booksandsuch.com/?p=24888 Blogger: Mary Keeley

A recent review of the most common writing rules revealed that I’ve forgotten a few. Perhaps you have too, in which case there’s no time like the present for a review. Being human, we all overlook a …

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Blogger: Mary Keeley

A recent review of the most common writing rules revealed that I’ve forgotten a few. Perhaps you have too, in which case there’s no time like the present for a review. Being human, we all overlook a sloppy oversight occasionally, but a repeated mistake may hurt your chances with agents or editors, especially when your mistake is a particular annoyance for them.

Merriam-Webster defines cheat sheet as “a written or graphic aid (as a sheet of notes) that can be referred to for help in understanding or remembering something complex.” I think we all would agree that grammar rules can be complex. This writing mechanics and grammar checklist covers a sampling of Grammar & Mechanics Reviewcommon mistakes, but I hope it will serve as a handy cheat sheet that raises your awareness.

Word Usage

  • Fewer vs. less. Fewer refers to number; less refers to volume or degree. Examples: That jar contains fewer jellybeans. That jar is less full.
  • Who vs. whom. Who is the nominative form, referring to the subject of a verb; whom is the objective form, in reference to the object of a verb. Example #1: Who wrote this piece? This piece was written by whom?
  • That vs. who/whom. Use that in reference to an object. Use who/whom when referring to a person. Example: John found a coat that was left in the library, but he couldn’t find the person whom it belonged to.
  • That vs. which. A restrictive clause calls for that. Which is used in nonrestrictive clauses and requires a comma in front of it because it’s additional information that doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence. Examples: Sue bought the dress that fit her best. Sue bought the dress that fit her best, which happened to be on sale.
  • Anxious vs. eager. Anxious is a form of the word anxiety and should be used only in that context. Example: I am anxious about the appointment with my doctor, but I’m eager to go to the concert.
  • Could care less vs. couldn’t care less. Could care less means that it’s possible for you to care less about something than you do. Couldn’t care less means it isn’t possible for you to care less about it.

Sentence structure issues:

  • Wrong order of thoughts results in a sentence that’s cumbersome to read and hard to understand.
  • A wrong word or phrase screams “amateur.”
  • Too much packed into one sentence becomes a chore for readers when they have to re-read it in order to grasp everything being said.
  • Repetition of a word or phrase within adjacent sentences or paragraphs is annoying.
  • Lack of variation in the length of sentences is monotonous.
  • Sentences beginning with There are or There is are viewed as lazy writing by editors and agents.

CMS-16thEdition_When in doubt about anything grammarly, consult The Chicago Manual of Style: 16th Edition, which is the generally accepted standard. This latest edition of the CMS should have a permanent place next to your computer. Publishers have their own style guides that may differ in some specifics, but editors know you won’t be privy to that information if you haven’t published with them before and won’t hold minor deviations against you as long as you’re consistent in your usage. Editors are sure to react positively, however, when you adhere to the most current CMS style. Here is a sampling of changes that were made in the 16th Edition:

2.133 — Checklist for proofing electronic publications. Also includes how to communicate those proofing changes on an electronic file.

6.119 — Commas following other punctuation marks are now allowed.

7.16, 17, or 18 — Possessives. To maintain consistency, it was decided that possessives of all names, including names like Jesus and Moses, will end in ‘s (Jesus’s, Moses’s)

7.76 — Website is now one word (website), and worldwide web is capitalized (Worldwide Web).

8.136 — Rulings for styling websites. Roman for name of organization (www.booksandsuch.com); italic for title of book (www.365mostimportatbiblepassagesforwomen.com)

8.159 — Ordinals and compound numbers. When the first word needs to be capitalized, as in the beginning of a sentence, both words are capitalized (First Century, One-Fourth).

8.55 — When referring to a specific mountain, river, street, and so on, both/all words are capitalized (Illinois River, Blue Ridge Mountains).

8.153 — Brand names don’t need to follow standard capitalization style (ebay, iPod).

8.157 — Principles of headline style capitalization. Lower-case prepositions regardless of length or importance (A River Runs through It).

11.2 — Extended introduction to unicoding (for international characters across electronic platforms).

14.7 — Access dates. Access dates are now allowed if no publication date is available.

15.2 — Uniform treatment in author date references and notes and bibliography. CMS now recommends a uniform treatment for the main elements of citation. Use authors’ full names rather than initials. Headline style capitalization for titles or works are now identical in the author-date system.

Chapter 5: the grammar chapter:

5.9 (and 5.220) — Mass nouns followed by a prepositional phrase. The definite or indefinite article preceding a mass noun and prepositional phrase indicates if the mass noun or the number of the noun in the prepositional phrase controls the verb form. If a definite article (the) precedes, the mass noun controls, and usually a singular verb is used (The quantity of coins saved this year has increased.) If an indefinite article (a or an) precedes, then the number of the noun in the prepositional phrase controls (a small percentage of coins are added each month.)

5.220 — There is a great list of word combinations to watch out for. Example: close proximity. This is noted as redundant.

Which word usage or grammar rules did you not know? Do you detect sentence structure issues you need to address? Can you think of common mistakes to add to this list?

TWEETABLE:

Keep this checklist of common writing and grammar mistakes as a quick cheat sheet. Click to Tweet.

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Envy and the Writer http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/envy-and-the-writer/ http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/envy-and-the-writer/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 07:25:48 +0000 http://www.booksandsuch.com/?p=24511 Blogger: Michelle Ule

Filling in for Rachelle Gardner who is out of the office today.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been wrestling with envy for a long time.

I know it’s a sin, I know it’s wrong, I …

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Blogger: Michelle Ule

Filling in for Rachelle Gardner who is out of the office today.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been wrestling with envy for a long time.

I know it’s a sin, I know it’s wrong, I don’t like it, but it comes out–often when I least expect it–often aimed at other writers.

I’m ashamed.

I wish I was perfect and didn’t wrestle with envy.

But I do.

And I suspect some of you may have trouble with it as well.

The on-line dictionary defines envy this way: “a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions.”

It warns envy is very close to jealousy:

“Envy denotes a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another: to feel envy when a friend inherits a fortune.

Jealousy, on the other hand, denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that one more rightfully deserves: to feel jealousy when a coworker receives a promotion.”

Here are five things I do when envy wells up.

Envy: Reichenthal Pfarrkirche - Kanzel 7

Envy by Wolfgang Sauber

1. Recognize I’m envious and deal with it promptly.

It should be obvious, but it isn’t always.

I’ll see something–usually on Facebook–and feel disgruntled.

That’s usually a tip off that something is wrong in my spirit.

I have a choice: grumble or deal with it.

On days I’m holy, I confess the sin, swallow and move on.

On days I’m not . . . God gets me eventually.

It’s far more efficient to acknowledge the truth and deal with my attitude immediately.

Reciting a version of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 can help.

Remember?

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered it keeps no record of wrongs. 

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 Love never fails.”

2. Avoid comparisons: no one is the same as you.

“Comparisons are odious,” Madeleine L’Engle used to say in her Austen books, referencing John Lydgate, Miguel Cervantes, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare (who may or may not be the same person anyway).

Comparisons do no one any good and either puff up the one or tear down the other.

The stories I want to tell are different than the ones you have to write.

My life experiences cause me to look at the world differently than you do–for a reason.

I cannot compare my writing career with another person’s because only my career has been ordained this way by the God I serve.

So nothing good will come of comparing–apples and oranges, Michelle and Shakespeare, two different styles, two different writers.

3. Flee temptation

If you have recurrent problems with envy and Facebook posts tend to antagonize, you should flee Facebook.

If you’re having a bad day and are swallowing rejections–either real or imaginary–avoid places that will rub salt into your wounds.

It’s easy to anticipate the days I’ll struggle with jealousy on Facebook, and so I don’t log on.

Some people may have difficulty every day, so I have a straight-forward suggestion: why not try Twitter?

Social Media is about providing information and being winsome, establishing relationships and learning.

If envy is getting in the way of your being able to say something nice even when you are disappointed, you need to stay away from social media for a time.

4. Keep in mind you don’t know what success has cost someone else.

I like to remind myself that I don’t know everything about all my friends on Facebook.

While one writer may have enormous success, I do not know what that person has “paid” to achieve it.

Would I really want to have a family member suffer so I could write a successful book?

Of course not.

5. Rejoice–sometimes by praying–and cheer on others.

Rejoicing is a much easier way to live.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength,” according to Proverbs 17:22.

You may need to ask God for an honest heart to be able to rejoice with another writer, but if you do so, your spirits can lift.

Praying, for me, often makes the difference when I’m struggling with envy.

So, I focus on rejoicing with those who rejoice and–as needed–weeping with those who weep.

The point is to take my eyes off myself and my work and focus for the good in others.

Isn’t that what love is all about?

As always, the Bible has wise words on living, whether as a writer or a regular person. 2 Timothy 2:22-24 tells us how:

Run from temptations that capture young people. Always do the right thing. Be faithful, loving, and easy to get along with. Worship with people whose hearts are pure.  Stay away from stupid and senseless arguments. These only lead to trouble, and God’s servants must not be troublemakers. They must be kind to everyone, and they must be good teachers and very patient.”

Everyone struggles with temptation from time to time.

Everyone wishes their project would be admired and acknowledged.

All writers start out wanting to be published.

You’re not alone in wishing . . . just don’t let envy destroy you and your message.

Tweetables

Envy and the writer Click to Tweet

5 ways to deal with envy in the publishing world Click to Tweet

 

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Gripe Session http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/gripe-session/ http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/gripe-session/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 08:00:46 +0000 http://www.booksandsuch.com/?p=24876 Blogger: Wendy Lawton

I think it’s time for a group gripe session. Let’s get it off our chests.

dreamstime_xs_38066728Gripe #1: My first gripe is that my blog always follows Janet’s blog day and she tends to blog about really important …

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Blogger: Wendy Lawton

I think it’s time for a group gripe session. Let’s get it off our chests.

dreamstime_xs_38066728Gripe #1: My first gripe is that my blog always follows Janet’s blog day and she tends to blog about really important things– things that require a lot of research and make us think. It’s a hard act to follow. So as I felt like griping about it, I thought to myself, “Self, why not invite everyone to gripe? We can just commiserate with each other.”

Gripe #2: This is ICRS pre-week. I’m going nuts trying to get everything done in spite of the fact that we started in earnest over three weeks ago. (Have I been bikeshedding?) Besides, all my clothes look tired. And I think my suitcase is too small. And our flight leaves at 6:45 in the morning, two hours from my house.  *whine*

Gripe #3: I just saw another business sign go up in a neighboring town for Bobs Car Repair. Can someone please find out why no one can use an apostrophe correctly? They either stick them in a word as some kind of separator or else they omit them when the word is a possessive. I think there’s a good potential business opportunity here— an Apostrophe Coach.

Gripe #4: I’m still looking for that stunt memoir about a family willing to take a year-long challenge to refrain from complaining. Yep. No griping for a whole year. (Is that hypocritical?)

Gripe #5: I’m tired of bloggers and Facebookers who take controversial stands just to try to get a ruckus going. I guess I have outrage fatigue. Come on. . . can’t we all just get along?

Gripe #6: I’m not really good at griping all by myself. (I usually need my cohort, Janet, alongside to whip up a good gripe duet.)  So let’s use our community here to continue the gripe session. All in fun, of course.

What is your pet peeve these days? Do you have a grammar gripe you’d like to share? How about an agent gripe you’d like to discuss? Our goal is to get it off our chest and end with a big collective smile.

 

TWEETABLE:

Need to join a lighthearted gripe session in progress. Come on over. Click to Tweet

 

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Parkinson’s Laws and Productivity http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/parkinsons-laws-and-productivity/ http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/parkinsons-laws-and-productivity/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 04:14:24 +0000 http://www.booksandsuch.com/?p=24853 Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant

You’ve probably heard of Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the time available to complete it.

But have you heard of Parkinson’s Law of Triviality?

Both apply to those of us engaged in the publishing industry …

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Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant

You’ve probably heard of Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the time available to complete it.

But have you heard of Parkinson’s Law of Triviality?

Both apply to those of us engaged in the publishing industry and provide essential guidelines for being productive and working on the right tasks.

We’ve all seen the truth of Parkinson’s Law. The day starts, bursting with potential for productivity. Next thing you know, the clock has ticked its way to the end of your work time, and while you felt as though you applied yourself to the task, you didn’t accomplish all that much. Truth is, you probably let the work you had in mind to complete expand until the day was done.

When was the last time you not only cleared out your to-do list but also accomplished more? Probably once in a blue moon.

Parkinson’s Law of Triviality also plays havoc in our lives. By the way, C. Northcote Parkinson wrote a book about both principles in 1957, and his book, Parkinson’s Law, became a must-read among managers of all stripes.

The Law of Triviality states that the more complex an issue, the less time spent on it. Parkinson illustrated the principle with this example: A corporate executive committee finds on its agenda a discussion about building a nuclear power plant. With little conversation, the committee unanimously approves the reactor. The consensus is the issues are too confusing and the committee should just trust the experts.

But they spend considerable time arguing over far less important but much easier to understand items on the agenda. For example, should they use galvanized tin for the employees’ bike shed.row of bikes

The nickname for this concept is “bikeshedding” because of Parkinson’s example of how the principle works.

Writers bikeshed all the time. Rather than face the cold reality that you’ve failed to build a brand and that your writing career has cut a swath as wide as a cruise ship, you divert your attention to fine-tuning your WIP’s chapter outline.

Rather than talk to your agent about your plummeting sales figures, you load Hootsuite with a month’s worth of tweets.

Agents bikeshed as well. Rather than do the heavy lifting and complex work of developing inroads into a new category to represent, an agent chooses to continue trying to sell more projects into a genre that’s clearly tired and about to go on life support. Or maybe clearing the clutter out of the office moves to the front of the to-do list.

Rather than enter into complex and difficult discussions with a publisher who has added new, severe and punishing paragraphs to the contract, the agent asks the publisher to change a few minor items and then sends it on to the author to sign.

Publishers likewise bikeshed. Rather than figure out how to make publishing more profitable long-term, it’s pretty tempting to lower advances and stand fast on the royalty rate for digital books–even though, with a long view, neither choice is healthy for the industry or for the artists creating the content.

Or remaindering a book that didn’t sell up to expectations, not considering that, once those copies enter into the stream of reading, they’ll keep popping up as used books on Amazon and in used bookstores. While a small amount was made on remaindering, as opposed to destroying the copies, those used books float around the reading planet like flotsam in space. They supply individuals with cheap reading material rather than the person buying a current title, which would benefit the publisher and the author. Bikeshedding.

Rather than look for or develop new sales channels, put more pressure on the sales team to bring in bigger orders from the same outlets the publisher has been turning to for decades.

You can see how devastating both of Parkinson’s Laws are: One leaves us depleted but relatively unproductive at the end of the day. The other eschews taking a long and hard look at the future, figuring out how to move forward in the face of complex and ever-shifting challenges.

Mr. Parkinson may have called our attention to these laws in 1957, but we seem to have done little to overcome them since then. I personally want to take on the challenge and discipline myself to be proactively productive and to be brave enough to face the hard issues. Even though my answers may be imperfect, they’re preferable to focusing on the trivial or the easy.

In what ways do you see Parkinson’s Laws in action either as a writer or in the publishing industry? What will you do to avoid living out either law?

TWEETABLES

Parkinson’s Laws and publishing: Why publishers must pay attention. Click to tweet.

Has bikeshedding kept you from achieving your writing goals? Click to tweet.

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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