Stacy Whitman, Not Howard
Dumb mistakes, stupid stuff to not do
- Not reading the submissions guide
- Make sure you're submitting to the right market
- See Kristen Nelson's Blog http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2008/03/you-k
- If your protagonist is eaten in the first chapter by a monster, it's probably not YA (interesting, the blog has this as "it’s really hard to carry off a YA novel where a monster eats a child in the first chapter")
- You don't say my kid read this and they loved it or even my class read this and loved it.
- Wear a suit?
- Be very careful about simultaneous submissions
- Do your research
- Simultaneous queries are okay, even simultaneous chapters -- simultaneous submissions is really full manuscripts. And if two editors ask for your manuscript, tell the second one that is with another editor now, please wait.
- Keep track of where and when you have sent submissions. Also keep track of the comments they return.
- Don't try fancy paper, fancy fonts, getting an illustrator, turning pages, and other tricks.
- Let the text speak for itself
- Stacy: I have to admit I don't even look at cover letters first. I read some of the text and if it's good enough I go back and look at the cover letter.
- Stop rhetorical questions in cover letters! "Have you ever wondered if an elephant came into your room what you would do?" No.
- No editor has ever bought work because of the font or paper, but many have rejected work because of it.
- You want your writing to make an impression. Nothing else.
- Someone sent in a decoupage envelope.
- A submission in crayon
- Perfumed letters
- Sending in Author photos (before being asked)
- Hand-drawn art
- Writing in Second person present tense -- not for the beginner at least.
- Usually, one or two viewpoints, linear time (This is where Stacy talked about Holes, with many viewpoints and time jumping -- but the author had spent 20 years writing!)
Just before the break, someone (Dan?) said: Know the rules before you break them.
The second part of this will be in Writing Excuses #13.