• An Exciting Announcement

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    I feel terrible about not blogging last week, so I thought I’d update you all with some exciting news—I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be joining the talented team of authors at Moran Publishing!

    The wonderful Stephen Moran has managed to secure a spot for my debut novel Blood and Water in a local bookstore, and I couldn’t be happier. My book is going to be in an actual bookstore—and hopefully, that’s only the beginning. We’re even working on getting some posters made to sell with it, so stay tuned if that’s something you think you’d be interested in.

    Moving forward, I am confident that he will be able to help me discover a broader audience for my work and aid me in coming up with new ways to attract more readers.

    In addition to putting out new novels with Moran Publishing, I’ll also be editing various works for other writers on the team. I’m so excited and grateful to have been offered this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to the next year and many more to come. Stephen definitely knows what he’s doing when it comes to the book business, and I can’t wait to see what unique insights I’ll gain from collaborating with him.

    I want to release Reflections and Touch this year, most likely before the summer or at the very beginning of the season. I’ll keep you all posted on my upcoming releases.

    Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting me and encouraging me throughout my writing journey. I’ll be sharing my continued successes with you and keeping you updated as things change. I love you all.

    —Briana

  • Path to Publishing: Leigh K. Hunt

    Woman reading a book
    Path to Publishing is a new blog series in which I interview published authors. It’s a great way for them to get free exposure as well as help other writers who are trying to get published. This week, I’m featuring thriller writer Leigh K. Hunt.

    What’s your name? What do you write?

    Leigh K. Hunt. I write and publish fast paced action thrillers, surrounding an assassination team.

    When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

    I have always known I wanted to write. I just wasn’t serious about it until about 10 years ago.

    What books have most shaped your writing and why?

    There are a lot of books that have shaped my writing, and me as a person. In terms of thriller writers, I would say David Baldacci, Lee Child, Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton. I also read a heck of a lot of dystopian books. I also love spy thrillers, James Bond, and some fantasy.

    What’s one book you can reread without getting tired of it?

    Alice in Wonderland, and anything written by Jane Austen.

    How do you feel about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

    I feel that it’s an individual choice. More so these days, self-publishing isn’t so frowned upon as a vanity press pathway. I believe that whether you are self-published or traditionally published, the same level of professionalism needs to be maintained and adhered to. If authors want to go down either publishing pathway – then that’s their choice. One day I would love to hybrid my publishing, but who knows what’s in store for the future.

    What’s your writing like? What about your process?

    I plan. Then I research. And then I write. I don’t write in chapters – I write in sections and scenes. After I finish writing, I usually read through, send it to my beta readers and critique partners, and then on to my editor.

    How did you get published?

    I’m an Indie Author, and self-published. I have a full professional team surrounding me, to ensure that I put out the best product I possibly can.

    What’s the best advice you have for writers looking to get published?

    Just keep writing. Then get a professional editor to go over your work. No matter how wonderful you may think your first draft is – a professional editor will help you make it even better. Then get yourself a professional cover designer. You want your work to have the best branding impact out there in the published world. And you want it to look amazing.

    Where can people find your books? What about your blog or social media accounts?

    You can find me on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and my website. I’m also a cover designer with Dwell Design & Press.

    Want to be featured in a Path to Publishing post? Leave a comment, email me, or reach out via social media. I’m always accepting new authors to interview!

    Tweet tweet:

    Read @brianawrites Path to Publishing interview with thriller author @LeighKHunt. (Click to tweet)

  • Path to Publishing: J. W. Cirilo

    Path to Publishing is a new blog series in which I interview published authors. It’s a great way for them to get free exposure as well as help other writers who are trying to get published. This week, I’m featuring new adult fiction writer J. W. Cirilo.
    The Magician's Nephew

    What’s your name? What do you write?

    My name is J.W. Cirilo and I write primarily New Adult Fiction, particularly what I like to refer to as folk fiction.

    When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

    That’s actually a difficult question to answer for me. I don’t actually remember a time in my life when I wasn’t a writer. From a very early age I’d been scribbling song lyrics and poetry in crayon (albeit not very good ones). All the encouragement and praise I got growing up fostered the need to attach myself to my writing.

    What books have most shaped your writing and why?
     
    Another very difficult question. I grew up with the Harry Potter series and Lemon Snicket’s masterpiece, “A Series Of Unfortunate Events,” so I’d have to say those two series, both I’ve left unfinished because, much like Matt Smith, I hate endings! I’ve read a lot on the in-between, and there are so many influential books that have no doubt inspired and helped realize my genre and shape me into the writer I am and the writing I do, but really what shaped my writing primarily was music, not so much books. That’s probably blasphemous, what I just said, in terms of the literary world.
    What’s one book you can reread without getting tired of it?
     
    “The Magician’s Nephew” by C.S. Lewis. I’m kind of a kid at heart, I guess. There’s just something so inspired about his world, and it’s one of the very few titles in my library I find myself coming back to repeatedly every five or so years.
    How do you feel about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?
     
    Self-publishing writers, in my feeling, very often jump the gun on what they’re doing. With traditional publishing, you have gate keepers, editors, artists- whole teams of people working on making your art both marketable and personal. Self-publishing is as easy as click and post these days, especially with KDPS and Ingram, but if a self-publisher invested the time and money into meticulously crafting their book, I think that’s more personal and intimate. If working in journalism has taught me anything it’s that writing is a lot more about having your voice heard and your work appreciated than making money.
    There’s probably a huge list of artistic powerhouses not limited to the great Neil Gaiman that one could cite as traditional publishers who have remained creatively true to their craft, but I would argue even he would agree, if your wish is just to be read and not try to make a semi-stable career out of this, self-publishing probably isn’t the worst road (assuming you take it seriously). Both are incredibly difficult endeavors to partake in, so it’s really just a preferential thing; do you want to work with a company, or have the burden of the lot left on your shoulders?
    What’s your writing routine like? What about your process?
     
    My writing routine has barely anything to do with a routine, or writing for that matter. A lot of it is spent pacing around my apartment with a tennis ball arguing with myself over direction, pacing and scenes that I’m not fully comfortable with yet. Eventually something strikes me like a diamond bullet and that’s when I sit down to begin punching away at the keyboard for eight hours or more. Once I’ve started, it’s nearly impossible for me to stop. That is, unless I run out of idea or wrote something especially “brilliant’ that I just can’t top. At that point, I have to stop and come back later or the next day because everything after a great line just looks like filler.
    I need that refreshing celebration for a time, and if it means I only got a few hundred words done, that’s fine. I’m in no rush for deadlines right now, and hopefully my readers will appreciate that patience when the finished project falls on their lap.
    How did you get published?
    Funny enough, I went to school with the CEO of the company that would hire me as an editor for their quarterly magazine. It was a bit of serendipity, I suppose. We worked at the school paper together for a few months and then he asked me out of the blue to come write for them. One thing lead to another, I pitched my novel, and book deal! Not very exciting, I know, and sometimes I consider that Vonnegut queried over a hundred agents before he got a deal, and Rowling’s agent spent years pitching her first book to publishers, so I feel like I benefited from a privilege that almost makes me undeserving of a break. At those times I try to tell myself that I earned it because I was a good writer, not because the guy solely was doing me a favor, and that sometimes helps.
    What’s the best advice you have for writers looking to get published?
    Keep true. If this is what you really want, that makes you feel like you matter and what you do matters, keep true to the path your on. Don’t give up because the world can be discouraging, and don’t stop because you’ve hit a wall with rejections. We often look at the victories and successes of our heroes because they made it to the top of the mountain, but so often lost in translation is the story of their struggling climb upward. Once they were just like us, and we have to believe we to can get there too, maybe not to the same effect or level of success, but we can get there. The pride that must be yours to look upon your finished work must be something to look forward to- to stoke those fires of motivation. Keep climbing.
    What’s a common misconception about publishing that needs to be addressed?
     
    I’m still very new to this, so I’m not really sure I can give any insight about that. One thing I was surprised of was how much more complicated it was than I thought. There’s a lot of PR and marketing and meet and greets, as well as all the little details to work out. It’s not just here’s the book, six months later, it’s published. Incredibly, for me anyway, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
    Where can people find your books? What about your blog or social media accounts?
     
    As of right now, my debut novel has not been released because of the aforementioned complications, but when there’s news to be announced and all the fun stuff, you can find me on Twitter, which, for now, is the best place to get in touch with/follow for updates.
    Want to be featured in a Path to Publishing post? Leave a comment, email me, or reach out via social media. I’m always accepting new authors to interview!

    Tweet tweet:

    Read @brianawrites Path to Publishing interview with new adult fiction author @jwcirilo. (Click to tweet)

  • Path to Publishing: Alexander Nader

    Path to Publishing is a new blog series in which I interview published authors. It’s a great way for them to get free exposure as well as help other writers who are trying to get published. This week, I’m featuring urban fantasy writer Alexander Nader.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What’s your name? What do you write?

    Alexander Nader. I write mostly urban fantasy, but for some reason I hate the term ‘urban fantasy’. I like to think I write noir fantasy. Most of my stories are humorous, but I take my joking very seriously.

    When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

    I’ve always written stories in one way or another, but I decided to pursue writing novels seriously in early 2012.

    What books have most shaped your writing and why?

    John Dies at the End was the biggest reason I started writing. After high school I didn’t read books. I hated everything I was forced to read in school and I was convinced that all books were ‘literature’ and not for me. A friend recommended John Dies and it changed my life. It was the first time I realized people are writing books that I want to read. Since then, I’ve buried myself into a lot of noir. Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy and Dashiell Hammett and the like.

    What’s one book you can reread without getting tired of it?

    I’ve honestly never reread a book. There are too many wonderful books I haven’t read. If I had to choose, though, it would either be HORNS by Joe Hill or The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. Hill’s grasp of human emotion is captivating and Chandler’s super dry approach to wit keeps my entertained.

    How do you feel about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

    I’ve tried both and anyone who says one is clearly better is mistaken. The freedom of self-pub is awesome, but at the same time, the support and encouragement from a publisher can be most helpful. The networking aspect of working with a traditional publisher was great for getting me pointed in the right direction.

    What’s your writing routine like? What about your process?

    My routine is random and crazy. I work a lot so I have to squeeze in words whenever I can. The last couple novels I’ve plotted out vaguely, but my newest addition is all fly by the seat of my pants. It’s terrifying and awesome all at the same time.

    How did you get published?

    I queried a handful of publishers. I think three or four requested the novel, but I picked J. Taylor Publishing. They asked for a slight rewrite to fix a few small details. I made the corrections and sent the novel back to them. A few weeks later, they wrote back and asked how I felt about signing on for a trilogy. My response came in the form of screaming like a little kid and flailing my arms a lot.

    What’s the best advice you have for writers looking to get published?

    There’s a quote somewhere that goes roughly like this: If you have any young friends that want to be an author, do them a favor and kill them while they’re happy.

    That’s a little harsh, but a fairly accurate quote. Writing, especially writing to get published, is hard and painful and makes you want to yell a lot. My best advice is to find friends and don’t quit.

    What’s a common misconception about publishing that needs to be addressed?

    That it leads to any form of monetary gain whatsoever. Kids, don’t write for money. There’s none to be made. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of fun along the way, though.

    Where can people find your books? What about your blog or social media accounts?

    I’m everywhere…sort of. I tweet, a lot. I have a Facebook, but I’m not a big Facebooker. You can find links to all of my books on my website or you can go here to get started on my Beasts of Burdin trilogy.

    Want to be featured in a Path to Publishing post? Leave a comment, email me, or reach out via social media. I’m always accepting new authors to interview!

    Tweet tweet:

    Read @brianawrites Path to Publishing interview with urban fantasy writer @AlexNaderWrites. (Click to tweet)

  • Path to Publishing: Z.R.Southcombe

    Path to Publishing is a new blog series in which I interview published authors. It’s a great way for them to get free exposure as well as help other writers who are trying to get published. This week, I’m featuring children’s fantasy writer Z.R. Southcombe.

    What’s your name? What do you write?

    Z.R. Southcombe. I write children’s fantasy.

    When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

    At the start of 2013.

    What books have most shaped your writing and why?

    Roald Dahl – what I grew up on and made me want to be a children’s author. Also, he has a way of writing for children without being condescending, which I really respect.

    Lemony Snickett – his dry humour and his use of ‘big words’, as well as darker themes, remind me that children’s books don’t have to be wrapped in cotton wool.

    CS Lewis & Hilda Lewis (no relation that I know of!) – the depth language and old-school fantasy. Anything is possible 🙂

    What’s one book you can reread without getting tired of it?

    Only one?? I’m going to cheat and go for a series – The Chronicles of Narnia (which I happen to be re-reading right now!)

    How do you feel about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

    It’s fun. That is all.

    What’s your writing routine like? What about your process?

    All over the place! I work my day job from 3pm ish in the afternoon. Currently my routine is either morning pages or a walk, then dayjob stuff for a half hour or so, and then I have a good 4 hours for writing.

    I have decided to keep this open, depending on what’s going on. Right now, I’m spending a good chunk of that time on pre-launch activities for my first chapter book release. When I’m in the middle of a draft, I usually spend an hour or two drafting, and the rest editing or re-plotting.

    How did you get published?

    Self-published.

    What’s the best advice you have for writers looking to get published?

    Surround yourself with awesome people.

    What’s a common misconception about publishing that needs to be addressed?

    That getting published is the goal – it’s the marketing afterwards that really makes a difference.

    Where can people find your books? What about your blog or social media accounts?

    My website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Want to be featured in a Path to Publishing post? Leave a comment, email me, or reach out via social media. I’m always accepting new authors to interview!

    Tweet tweet:

    Read @brianawrites Path to Publishing interview with author @zrsouthcombe. (Click to tweet)

  • Path to Publishing: J.C. Hart

    Photo Credit: Mars P. on Flickr

     Path to Publishing is a new blog series in which I interview published authors. It’s a great way for them to get free exposure as well as help other writers who are trying to get published. This week, I’m featuring speculative fiction writer J.C. Hart.

    What’s your name? What do you write?

    J.C. Hart (Cassie Hart). I write mostly speculative fiction – science fiction, a range of fantasy, and things that are sometimes on the horror side.

    When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

    From the time I could tell stories! I’ve always spun tales and have been writing since I learned how. The desire got knocked a few times, with people telling me it wasn’t a ‘real’ career option, or to pick something more realistic/financially secure etc, but I’m pleased to be back on course.

    What books have most shaped your writing and why?

    Hm. I am never sure how to answer this one! I grew up reading fantasy and horror mostly, but that’s not always what I write. And the books I adore are not ones I think I can emulate, such as The Night Circus, and Scorpio Races, or Robin Hobbs Farseer Trilogy. It’s hard to say. I guess Stephen King’s books, in a lot of ways, there is a level of creepiness that seems to insert itself into my stories.

    What’s one book you can reread without getting tired of it?

    The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater.

    How do you feel about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

    I think that they are both viable options, and it’s wonderful that these days, you can pick the best path for not just you as a writer, but for each of your projects – different things suit different forms of publishing, and you can literally head down either path, or pick from both if that’s what works for you. At present I am self publishing because I like being in control of my career, but also because the traditional publishing scene is changing a lot, and I don’t want to get in the middle of companies closing/being sold/acquired and the sense of uncertainty that comes with that.

    What’s your writing routine like? What about your process?

    I home school my three daughters, so my routine can look fairly sporadic at times. I write when there is a lull in activity, or when they are having their play time. I do my writing by stages, so I don’t revise at all until I’ve finished the first draft and so on, and this way I can work on several things at a time, though often just one project per day (not always!). I try to make sure I get some new words down bright and early, and then do as much editing/revising/etc as I can fit into the rest of the day.

    How did you get published?

    I was first published in a short story anthology back in 2011, and since then have had several more sales in other anthologies (actually, all award winning anthos!). It wasn’t until last year that I decided to make the leap into self publishing, kicking things off with a novella. I have several more releases lined up for the coming year, and many more for the future.

    What’s the best advice you have for writers looking to get published?

    Find your tribe!! The support and friendship of other writers is invaluable, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. It’s not just the feedback and critique that is awesome, but simple knowing that they believe in you, and you believe in them. Knowing that someone has your back. Non-writers just don’t get this business the way other writers do, so find the people you click with and don’t let them go lol. 

    What’s a common misconception about publishing that needs to be addressed?

    I really don’t know how to answer this one! lol I’m not sure what the misconceptions are these days. There is SO much information out there that you can find just about anything, if you know what to look for anyway.

    I guess, one that I hear a lot is that you have to be everywhere on social media. I don’t believe this is true, and in fact I think it can be counter-productive because if you spend all that time on social media, when are you writing? That’s the most important part of publishing. Writing. Making the stories come alive on the page. Without that, you don’t have anything to publish and all that time on social media is a waste. Even big publishers don’t require you to be on all social media, or to have a massive following, though with some it does help. Focus first on creating amazing products, then do the other stuff.

    Where can people find your books? What about your blog or social media accounts?

    You can find me at my website or on Twitter and occasionally over on Facebook.

    Want to be featured in a Path to Publishing post? Leave a comment, email me, or reach out via social media. I’m always accepting new authors to interview!

    Tweet tweet:

    Read @brianawrites #PathtoPublishing interview with author @JCHart. (Click to tweet)

  • Blog Series Announcement: The Path to Publishing

    Photo Credit: PictureblogUK on Flickr

    In interviews, most writers talk about their creative process, rather than discussing in detail the steps they took on the path to publication. As a result, the arena of publishing can be difficult for other writers to navigate. Without a road map to guide them, they blunder around in the darkness, hoping to reach their intended destination in the end.

    I want more writers to open up about their publishing experience. Other writers need to know what it takes to get published. With that notion of transparency in mind, I came up with an idea for a blog series.

    One day last week, I posted the following message on Twitter and got more favorites, retweets, and replies that I ever expected:

    I’m looking for self-published and traditionally published authors to interview for an upcoming blog series! RT to spread the word!
    — Briana Morgan (@brianawrites) January 29, 2015

    Currently, I’m in the process of compiling questions in a Google Form for self-published and traditionally published authors to complete. Participating in this series is a great way to promote your work while helping other writers. 
    If you think you might be interested, feel free to contact me or leave your email address in the comments. 🙂 An enormous THANK YOU to everyone who participates!
    What do you think? Would you like to participate?
    Tweet tweet:

    Blogger @brianawrites wants to hear about your publishing journey! Find out how to get involved. (Click to tweet)

  • Writing Cover Letters for Literary Journals

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    In the modern era of self-publishing, the notion of writing a cover letter may be a foreign one to you. Most literary journals and magazines that allow submissions expect you to submit a cover letter along with your short story, poem, or essay. The cover letter serves as an introduction of your work as well as your identity as a writer. It can bridge the gap between publication and rejection. Writing a cover letter is one of the most important things you can learn to do correctly. Here’s a handy guide to insure your next cover letter receives the attention your hard work deserves.

    I’ve prepared a sample cover letter to give you an idea of the finished product:

    Kelly Wright
    Fiction Editor
    Feature Story Magazine
    123 Lane Street
    Anytown, State, Zip

    Dear Kelly Wright,

    Please find enclosed my short story “Glue.”

    I live in suburban Georgia, where I work as a student and a freelance writer.

    I enjoy reading Feature Story Magazine and am hopeful that you’ll find my story to be a good fit.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Sincerely,
    Briana Morgan

    We can break this letter down into several different points for emulation.

    • Find out the editor’s full name, and use it in your salutation
    • Your cover letter doesn’t need to grab the editor’s attention. Your work should be strong enough to speak for itself
    • Pay attention to spelling and grammar rules–the way you handle punctuation says a lot about your writing chops
    • A cover letter isn’t the same as a query, so you shouldn’t summarize your work
    • When submitting fiction or poetry, you don’t need to connect the work to your personal experience
    • There’s no reason to mention whether you’ve been published or not
    • It’s okay to add some information about yourself, but keep it short and avoid trying to prove how interesting you are

    To write a great cover letter, check your spelling and grammar, do your research, and trim the fat wherever possible. Follow the example. You can do it, I promise. Remember these rules, take some risks, and don’t give up. Good luck!