Friday, May 31, 2013

Why Writers Get Rejected (Part One)

You send a query out, or perhaps a full manuscript, and before you know it, you receive a rejection slip in your email box.  What gives?  Why don't we like your work?  Here are seven common reasons why we rejected your work:

1.  Too many grammar and spelling mistakes or poor manuscript formats.  Although many writers have a grasp of the basic writing mechanics, some don't and when we see constant errors, we reject the manuscript.  Solution:  Have your manuscript vetted by a writing workshop, either online or in person.  Hire an editor to copyedit your work.  

2.  Cliches throughout the manuscript.  This one seems to occur frequently.  Old sayings such as "fast as lightning," "he rubbed her the wrong way," or "raining cats and dogs," are worn out and have little meaning.  Find new and interesting ways to say them, or if it really is raining cats and dogs, show us kittens and puppies falling out of the sky.

3.  Telling, not showing.  If you write that Joe got a glass of water, that's telling me.  If you write: "Joe untangled himself from the student desk.  The stained and grooved walnut held scars from countless student pens and pocketknives from nearly a century of use.  He idly ran a finger along the groove and looked around, hoping no one would notice as he made his way toward the sink to get a cup of water..."

4.  Infodumping.  This is a common problem too.  Basically you tell us everything about the world and situation in several long paragraphs where there is no action and little characterization.

5.  Starting in the wrong place.  Your story needs to start where the action starts, often called "in media res" or in the middle of things.  Giving us background without action is boring and we don't really care if we aren't engaged with the plot and characters quickly.

6.  No plot.  Oddly enough, many books lack plot.  Plots come from characters and are the driving force of a genre book.  If your characters aren't striving for something, the book doesn't have a plot.  The book must have a climax where the protagonist must make a crucial decision that causes the tipping point in the novel.  If you can't point to that tipping point, then you have no plot.

7.  Not enough motivation.  Characters must want something, even if it is a glass of water, to paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut.  But there needs to be a serious motivation with a consequence if the character fails in his or her task.  The consequence must be huge: end of the world, blowing up a small planet, set loose a disease, someone dies,  lots of people die, someone goes bankrupt, character will end up in poverty, etc.  Most writers who come up with conflict may only have minor stakes and the situation isn't dire enough to warrant the readers' investment in that character.  

Next month, we'll continue other reasons for why writers may get rejected...

New Releases for June!

Looking for some excellent reading for the summer?  Look no further than Sky Warrior Books.  We have the best in fantasy, young adult, and historical novels.

Samurai Son by M. H. Bonham

The Fate of the World Hangs on a Young Samurai

All Akira’s life, he dreamt of being more than just a samurai. His sensei finds his martial arts inadequate, and he’s taunted by another young samurai who has killed a dragon. But Akira has a secret. He’s been training with the Tengu—magical wind-spirits who excel at fighting.

Only things aren’t what they appear, and unbeknownst to Akira, he isn’t quite human. A dragon threatening his home island reveals his true identity and he’s sent on a journey where if he chooses to use his magic, he’ll be put to death, or worse. But if he doesn’t, demons will overrun the world.

Only $4.99 at Sky Warrior Books!

Worldweavers: Gift of the Unmage by Alma Alexander

Great things have been expected of Thea, the seventh child of two seventh children, Now, with Cheveyo, a mage [of the Anasazi], Thea has begun to weave herself a new magical identity, infused with elementsof the original worlds. But back home, Thea keeps her abilities hidden and attends the Wandless Academy, the one school on Earth for those who have no apparent magical talent. It is there that Thea realizes that her enemies are hungrier and more dangerous than she knew. What's more, her greatest strength may be the powerlessness she has resisted for so long.

Only $2.99 at Sky Warrior Books!

Shield of Honor by L. J. Bonham

The only thing standing between you and home are 30,000 angry French knights.

Young Edward De Clopton is the sole surviving heir to his family's wealth and position in England, but he doesn't want the job. His father thinks he's a bumbling idiot. His enemies think he's the last obstacle to power and wealth. His mentor, one of the most renowned warriors in England, thinks he's an annoying burden. His girlfriend thinks he's a plaything.

After the murder of his eldest brother, Edward is thrown into a world of scheming lords, traitorous knights, powerful seductive women, and paranoid kings. Unwillingly caught in the struggle between two mighty empires Edward must follow his father and uncle to France to fight at the king's side while being stalked by an assassin. Can he survive long enough to earn his father's respect and save a kingdom from destruction?

Only $2.99 at Sky Warrior Books! 

Indomitus Est by Robert W. Brady Jr.

Imagine being born into the suburbs, your life strictly average. For some reason far beyond your understanding, a god named Anubis ear-marked you as his bargaining chip in a trade across realities. From the time of that first meeting and for your next eighteen years, Anubis threw everything he could think of at you, to break you, to torment you, to forge you into something to be traded. But you pass all of the tests, your life in a shambles, and then Anubis appeared and tricks you into giving up your soul to him, only to trade it to a god, named War, who by comparison made Anubis seem like a pretty nice guy. I'm Randy Morden - welcome to my world. A world named 'Fovea,' where magic is real and warriors with swords ride horses into battle, and no one catches you if you fall. I didn't ask for this life, but I promise you: before anyone ever knocks me down again, I'm going to have their blood on my knuckles, because a man can only be pushed so far!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Building an ebook business around analytics (via Tools of Change for Publishing)
AskMen, “the leading online magazine for men,” has just launched an ebook publishing program, using the PressBooks Publisher Platform to manage the front-end catalog/website, and back-end ebook production. In the year-and-a-bit since PressBooks launched publicly, we’ve worked with many traditional…

Monday, May 27, 2013

Why freelancing is always a full-time job (via Matador Network)
Freelancers like to refer to the frightening, frustrating income style we’ve insanely chosen for ourselves as “Feast or Famine”: Sometimes you’ve got more work than you can shake your sweatpants at, and sometimes checking the mail is the most productive prospect you have for the day. There…

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Survivalist Reviews - Guide to Survival EBooks and Survival Kits (via SBWire)
Survivalist Reviews helps you find good survival EBooks and 72 hour survival kits to help your family survive natural disasters Rome, GA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/14/2013 -- Things like natural disasters can cause the death of many people. Lack of preparedness in such cases is one of major causes of deaths…

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sky Warrior Books Tentative Schedule at Miscon

Be there or be square!!
M. H. Bonham (Maggie) Publisher
  • Fri 4:00 - 4:50 PM, Writers' Workshop Meet and Greet, Containment Room (Upstairs)
  • Break Fri 4:50 - Sat 11:00
  • Sat 11:00 - 12:50 PM, Writers' Workshop Great Hall, Great Hall (Upstairs)
  • Break Sat 12:50 - Sat 3:00
  • Sat 3:00 - 3:50 PM, The Werewolf Panel, Containment Room (Upstairs)
  • Break Sat 3:50 - Sat 6:00
  • Sat 6:00 - 6:50 PM, Ebooks: The Other Side of Publishing, Great Hall (Upstairs)
  • Break Sat 6:50 - Sun Noon
  • Sun Noon - 12:50 PM, Reading: M.H. Bonham, Upstairs Programming 3 (261)
  • Break Sun 12:50 - Sun 4:00
  • Sun 4:00 - 4:50 PM, Writing Yourself Into (and Out of) Corners, Containment Room (Upstairs)
  • Break Sun 4:50 - Mon 10:00
  • Mon 10:00 - 10:50 AM, Publishing Options Today, The Cave (Downstairs)
  • Mon 11:00 - 11:50 AM, Author Book Signing, Containment Room (Upstairs)

Larry Bonham (Acquisitions and Managing Editor)
  • Fri 4:00 - 4:50 PM, Writers' Workshop Meet and Greet, Containment Room (Upstairs)
  • Break Fri 4:50 - Sat 11:00
  • Sat 11:00 - 12:50 PM, Writers' Workshop Great Hall, Great Hall (Upstairs)
  • Break Sat 12:50 - Sat 3:00
  • Sat 3:00 - 3:50 PM, The Werewolf Panel, Containment Room (Upstairs)
  • Break Sat 3:50 - Sat 5:00
  • Sat 5:00 - 5:50 PM, Reading: Larry Bonham, Upstairs Programming 3 (261)
  • Break Sat 5:50 - Mon 2:00
  • Mon 2:00 - 2:50 PM, Writing Fight Scenes and Arguments, Containment Room (Upstairs)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Will E-Publication Completely Replace Traditional Material Book? (via SBWire)
Guangzhou, Guangdong -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/08/2013 -- Any debate when it comes to the present struggle between electronic and traditional print publishing starts with this question, will e-publication completely replace traditional material book? As a digital publishing software provider, FlipPageMaker…