Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Writer's Quotes - Richard Peck

The award winning author, Richard Peck, died last week.
He said, in a speech to the Library of Congress Book Festival in 2013:

"I'm a writer because I never had a teacher who said, "Write what you know."
If I'd been limited to writing what I know, I would have produced ONE unpublishable haiku."
He added:
"Beatrix Potter never was a rabbit.
J.K. Rowling did not attend Hogwarts School."

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Thoughts from a Southern Lady

One third of the writers who wrote with me under the pen name of C. W. Bowie was Claudine Wirths.
(If she were alive today she'd be in her 90s if not reaching 100 years old, so you know she remembered how things were from a long, long time ago,)

When I was writing the biography of Marian Wright Edelman, I pondered about word use.  Because of what Claudine told me, I opted to use the terms for people of color being used in each time period - her youth, her young married life, and 'modern times' (the 1990s).

This is what Claudine told me were the 'proper' ways, at least in the south where she grew up:

"I went from Colored people
to Darkies
to Nigra
to KneeGrow (Southerners had to mentally write it that way in their heads to say it right)
to Black
to African American
to People of Color  -- which was circling back to where I started -- almost!

Sigh, I try to be PC, but am despairing"
           Claudine G. Wirths

Did my editor appreciate how careful I had been to use the correct terms for each time period?
He insisted that everything be African American, even though Marian Wright Edelman preferred to use the term -- People of Color.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

It's time to talk about rejections

The publishing world has changed from the days when writers would type up their manuscripts, slip them into large manila envelopes, complete with a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) for the response from the editor or agent, and mail it to the agency or publisher of your choice.

Now everything is done electronically and some writers flood multiple editors with copies of the same manuscript and they felt so overwhelmed that they decided to close, to not accept submissions anymore, except maybe from agents.  And the few who accepted submissions decided that, if you have't heard back in X amount of time, it's a rejection.  (leaving the writer to wonder if they even received it)

Even multi-published authors have been trapped by this closed door policy.

Laura Backes, editor and publisher of the Children's Book Insider newsletter and now involved with WritingBlueprints.com, has written a letter to editors and agents discussing this problem.
An Open Letter to Editors & Agents, It's Time to talk about Rejections.

Click on the link.  It's good.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Good Rejections

Wow. My fastest rejection ever. 
Yesterday, with high hopes, I sent (emailed) a manuscript to an agent who had come several times to talk with our local SCBWI group. This morning I woke up to a rejection. 
Fastest. Time. Ever.
The nicest thing about it was that she actually responded instead of simply deleting my email and leaving me hanging. I appreciate that.

Last week I got another good rejection. 
What was it?
It was a hand written letter from an editor.  

We writers appreciate people in the business who go that extra step to Let Us Know what's happening.