Category Archives: Getting Published

To pen name or not to pen name

One reason I’ve been too busy to update my blog in the past six months is that I’m working on a kinda secret project. I’ve been writing in a category and genre completely different than I have for the past ten…um, twelve years.

It’s been fun to explore a new genre and to write for a new age category. Really fun. And I plan to work towards publication of this new project.secret project

Hence the big question: to use a pen name or not?

Using my real name will make promotion so much easier. I can build on the base I’ve already created and I won’t have to fear someone finding out who I really am. I won’t have to duplicate social media efforts and have multiple web sites.

But, using a pen name means I can protect my real identity and my reputation as a children’s writer. And just because I’m experimenting with something new doesn’t mean I’m turning my back on my MG and YA projects, so I do need to protect my reputation. Someday, my novels for tweens and teens will be published and I wouldn’t want to confuse my readers.

If you’ve used a pen name, why? How have you handled the marketing and promotion piece? Would you do it differently if you could start over?

If you’ve chosen not to use a pen name, why not?

I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment with your answer to the above questions or just some support. I wouldn’t have survived this long on the journey without my friends, so thanks to all of you!

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Filed under Getting Published, writing

Writers write. Period.

Writers write.writing

I’m sure you’ve heard these words. It’s how we explain what we do, our addiction or obsession or compulsion or whatever. It’s how we keep ourselves motivated.

I’ve even used them with Sprite. He told me recently he wants to be a writer when he grows up. But I never see him writing and he doesn’t express an interest in writing now. Most writers I know started as kids. We all have stories of the journals we kept or the stories we wrote in elementary school. I wrote a mystery story set on a cruise ship in middle school and entered poetry contests in high school.

For Sprite, I think it’s a matter of wanting to be like Mom. I can’t imagine why. I don’t exactly make it look glamorous. But who knows? Maybe he’ll catch the writing bug when he’s older.

While I have no trouble accepting myself as a writer, as an author is another matter. I’ve now had six books published, all freelance projects for the educational market, and one in my own name. By definition, an author is someone who writes, but we commonly use the word to mean a published writer.

So why do I find it so hard to accept the title of author?

Maybe because the freelance gigs were just jobs and I haven’t yet published the kinds of things I always dreamed of having published: novels for teens and tweens.

Is it a magic pill? Once I (finally) get a novel traditionally published, will I suddenly feel like an author? How does an author feel that’s different from a writer?

All I can do is continue on my path. To write.

To my published friends, when did you start feeling like an author?

To my pre-published friends, do you think you’ll feel differently once you’ve been published?

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Filed under Getting Published, writing

The Dreaded Synopsis

I’m currently in the process of spiffing up the synopsis of one of my manuscripts, so I thought I’d share the best advice I’ve received lately: The Essential 10 from YAtopia.

Good luck to all those in the query trenches!

What are you currently spiffing up?

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Filed under Getting Published, writing

Coming Together for Change

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I’m very excited to announce the publication of one of my freelance projects, one tiny book in a very large series for schools, aligned to the Common Core.

 

 

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I wrote this book 3-1/2 years ago, and I’ve worked on a number of other projects since then, but all of them have a pen name on them.  So this is the only thing I have, so far, with my real name. Please forgive my excitement.

 

 

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I couldn’t help asking RocketMan to take some pictures of me receiving my books. Someday, I will post pictures of my published dream projects. *wink wink*

What are you proud of today?

 

 

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Welcome to 2015!

How did it get to be the end of March already?! And now, where do I start?

My day job has been crazy since late summer. I look forward to when things will slow down, but that never seems to happen.

My boys are growing and reading and changing. A-Read is currently reading our signed copy of Jasper Fforde’s The Last Dragonslayer. Sprout is reading The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan.

Two freelance projects came out in the fall and 2 more are due in the next six weeks. Me with my first published book!

Audiobooks have continued to save my sanity, but I’ve taken a break this month to participate in a 30 Day French Immersion Challenge at work. Now I spend my commute listening to podcasts in French.

I have been writing. A middle grade manuscript is steeping and I’m revising a young adult manuscript.

And I have been reading. A friend and I are concentrating on characterization this year, so I’ve been analyzing YA novels and reading writing books that focus on character.

Okay, friends, what’s new with you in this new year (that’s not so new anymore – oops)?

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Filed under Getting Published, Reading, The rest of my life, writing

Queries

It seems like that time of year again: querying agents. Here are some resources I have used to draft queries. When you get published, you can thank me in the acknowledgements. Teehee.

*An agent rips apart, I mean, gently critiques query letters sent in by writers, on the Query Shark blog.

*Agent Nathan Bransford’s blog is full of great information for writers, including this on the anatomy of a good query letter.

*Young adult author, Elana Johnson, has an awesome e-book From the Query to the Call, that walks you through the whole process of writing a great query.

*Jane Friedman’s The Complete Guide to Query Letters that Get Manuscript Requests

*Agent Rachelle Gardner has lots of great advice about the publishing industry. Here’s How to Write a Query Letter.

*Writer’s Relief posted Anatomy of a Query Letter in the Huffington Post.

*Media Bistro offers 23 Literary Agent Query Letters That Worked

Please share your favorite query resource or advice in the comments.

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Freelance

Many of you know that I’ve spent much of the past year and a half writing freelance projects. I have written five non-fiction books for kids learning English as part of a larger series for children in grades 1 through 6. The first of these will be published at the end of this month.

It’s very exciting that soon I will see the product of my labors. Soon I will actually get to hold my own book in my hands. (And despite the freelance project I got paid for 3 years ago, but have yet to see in the real world, I will finally be able to call myself a published author.)

I used a pen name for this series. These books are different than my novels, and I want to keep that part of my writing life separate.

When I first started writing, I refused to even consider freelance writing. I only wanted to write what I wanted to write. I only wanted to develop my own ideas. But when my youngest went off to kindergarten, I needed to go back to work, and I didn’t want to lose my writing time. That’s when I looked into freelance.

I have still managed to work on novels during this time. You’ll hear more about my fiction soon.

Thanks for sticking with me throughout this long journey!

How do you protect your writing time?

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