Welcoming a Debut Author

If you aren’t a writer you may not understand the strange passion that storytellers experience when they create with words. Spending time with fictional characters may seem like a frivolous pursuit… just as frivolous as splashing paint on a canvas or producing a series of musical sounds. Trivial stuff that any child can do, right?

But for the artist who struggles to express his creativity, the passion is a byproduct of talent stirred by emotion. I’ve always believed there is a subtle difference between talent and ability, talent being an aptitude or gift and ability being more of an acquired skill.  I’m beginning to think perhaps it’s just a matter of different semantics.

Norma McGuireMy aunt, Norma McGuire, has been heard to say, “My husband was the artist; I paint.” Well, in addition to being an artist, he was a storyteller. Years ago he created a cast of characters for a series of bedtime stories that entertained his sons and later his grandsons.

After his death eight years ago, Norma began transcribing his stories, embellishing them and adding her watercolour sketches to produce a chapter book for young readers. Her goal? “I would like [the manuscript] published as my gift to all children.”

With two friends assisting her in the editing process, she went through nine drafts before beginning to approach agents and publishers. All authors know how long the querying process can take. Finding an agent who will represent you can sometimes take years, and then finding an interested publisher can take the agent many more months.

Steve Laube, president and founder of The Steve Laube Agency, and a 30 year veteran of the bookselling industry, provided this rough guide to the average length of time it takes to get a book published.

  • “From idea to book proposal to your literary agent: 1-3 months;
  • “from agent to editor and book contract offer: 2-5 months;
  • “from contract offer to first paycheck: 2-3 months;
  • “from contract to delivery of manuscript to editor: 3-9 months (sometimes longer);
  • “from delivery of manuscript to editor actually working on it: 2-5 months;
  • “from editor to publication: 9-12 months.
  • Total time from idea to print: approximately 2 years.”

My aunt will be ninety this spring, and her family wanted to make her dream happen sooner rather than waiting for an indefinite later. So… we had it self-published as a surprise Christmas gift for her.

(All photos courtesy of Ra McGuire)

(All photos courtesy of Ra McGuire)

Now that she has had time to recover from the surprise and decide on marketing details, THE ADVENTURES OF JOHNNY AND MR. FREDERICKS is available to order. Information is on her blog, ‘Nonie Grace’ and also on the book’s website here.

I hope you’ll stop by to welcome this very special and talented debut author to the writers’ community and check out her new release.

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Writers Supporting Writers

 

Two weeks ago a fellow writer, Sandi Rog, on the very day her first novel, The Master’s Wall, was released, was also diagnosed with Stage 4 T-cell Lymphoma, and began immediate chemo. What should have been a day of excitement was instead filled with shock and devastation.

 

Under her blog’s name, Dare to Dream, is the tagline, “When the world says you can’t, faith says you can.” She also has a link to the following video. I’m sure she knows God is looking out for her, but a little extra encouragement from her writing community can’t hurt. Please pop over to her blog to offer your support and good wishes.

 

(Update: I gather the video won’t play for some people, but the imbedded link should take you to the same video on YouTube, if you’d like to watch it.)

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Writing Advice Worth Remembering

Aspiring novelists are always looking for good advice to help guide them on the journey towards publication. I’ve read more books on the craft than I can count, but I’ve seldom read anything quite as succinct and astute as the words of author Richard L. Mabry in his recent interview with Jennifer AlLee.

When asked about the most important piece of advice he could give to a fledgling writer he replied,

“Every day, ask yourself, “Who am I writing this for?” If you’re doing it because you feel God’s leadership in that direction, that’s wonderful. If you’re doing it because you have a message, and the printed word is your pulpit, write on. If you’re doing it because you want to see your name in print, get a copy of the phone book.”

I chuckled and then read on to find just about everything else a writer needs to know neatly summarized in his next paragraph:

“Seriously, if you’re writing for the right reasons, then learn the craft. Attend conferences if you can afford them. Study good books on writing craft. Read the work of excellent writers, so you’ll recognize good writing when you see it. And then write, write, write. Have one book going all the time. Keep querying, so when one book garners nothing but rejections, you’ll have another option ready.”

He ended with a sentence that every Christian writer needs to remember:

“One final thought. God will change people with your writing, even if it only changes one person—because writing will change you.”

This is one savvy writer! He writes “medical suspense with heart” and his first novel, CODE BLUE, has just been released. Do I need to say how much I’m looking forward to reading it?