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Here is a letter I wrote to the NY Times editor:

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
letters@nytimes.com

To the editor:

It was nice to see in the newspaper an article about small businesses. The article (Small Businesses Still Struggle, and That’s Impeding a Recovery, 2/13/13) was objective and informative. As a small business owner it is nice to gain some perspectives about where the economy is headed.

At one point you make the comment big companies are benefiting from being overseas while smaller businesses are “tied to the leaden domestic economy”. That is a fact we have seen since the Clinton administration. The tax laws benefit bigger companies more than smaller ones. There wasn’t enough information in the article about a solution to this problem.

Until the economy is on the right track we will see more and more small businesses close down. The only solution is to give tax breaks and benefits to small business owners. Any kind of incentive to stay in business in our country is good for the economy.

Sincerely,

Jessica Wilson

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/business/smallbusiness/small-businesses-struggle-impeding-a-recovery.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&ref=smallbusiness

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At the last writer’s conference I had received some feedback on a manuscript from an editor from HarperCollins.  She gave me more than a page of great insight to help me write the best picture book out there.  As I sat in the conference reading her notes the lady next to me said, “Did you get any critiques back?”  I answered ‘yes’.  She then wanted to know if the critique I received was nice also.  So I let her read mine and she said, “This is really good.”  We talked about where we were in our careers and where we wanted to be in the future.  I found that I could talk to her like a comrade in arms.  We both loved the conference and felt it was empowering and had a lot of great information.

When I went to my critque group the others in the group read the critique and there were words said like “this is golden” and “oh my gosh” and so on.  I knew that the critique was good but I thought everyone at the conference was just being nice.  But now I know that these words of encouragement from the editor were more than just words.

So I took the advice of the editor and tweaked just a few parts in the picture book manuscript.  Now it is so polished it could be the sword “Sting”.  I just knew that I could send it somewhere and get it published.

Well I sent it to HarperCollins and recieved a very useful rejection letter from an editor there.  It hurt a little more than the form or generic rejections I have received in the past.  But I see now that everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Instead of getting upset I have deceided to put all my energy into finding the right avenue to have my picture book published.  Whether that be traditional or independent.

The world is changing and we are not seperated by countries or bodies of water.  Technology has made the world we “live in a planetary civilization”.  (p. 459, Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder)  Becoming published is easier than it has ever been before and the time is right for anyone to get their work out there.  People all over the world can buy e-books a lot easier than print.

So I am taking my writing to the next phase, and like someone told me recently to “just publish it.”  So keep an eye out for a children’s book with my name on it.

amazon_kindle_1118

Tell me what you think of the publishing industry?

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What Do You Think About Authors Paying for Positive Reviews? | Nathan Bransford, Author.

I really think that every author should read this. It goes against everything I believe but this is the way society is headed.  I don’t think an author should pay for a review.  They should earn it the hard way.  Who would trust a review that is paid for?

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Have you ever wished you could edit your manuscript like a pro?  Well who doesn’t?  I have been reading some editing tricks and there are many out there.  Here are a few that some authors have shared:

1.  Try looking at your manuscript from an objective point of view.  (This is not so easy because this is your baby after all!)  But if you look at your novel like a publisher would then you will likely see what they do.  Even if you have had friends or family members read your book and have given you excellent reviews they are all biased.  Only because they know you and like you already.  A stranger reading your novel for the first time is getting to know you through your writing.  Your voice needs to be unique and not annoying. “The writer’s voice sells books. You don’t get there by selling one manuscript. It takes a lot of writing to find your rhythm. Steve sees glimpses of this in beginning manuscripts.” Read more: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2010/11/14/editing-novel-steve-parolini/

2. Track your changes to the manuscript so if you don’t like the new changes then you can easily revert back to the original.  “With a huge manuscript, it’s so important to see the changes in process, and to be consistent. Using the “Edit” and “Find” tabs, I can quickly find a key phrase I’m looking for, or a character’s name, and edit from there.  If your changes are major, your manuscript’s tracked edits may end up being more confusing than helpful.  What I’m doing with DRAWN, since my revisions revolve around a few very different issues, is I tackle one type of revision at a time.” – author, Maria Lamba – http://marielamba.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/tricks-for-editing-your-novel/    Maria Lamba gives some great advice in her post on editing and she was generous in her sharing her ideas.

3.  Read your novel backwards.  Okay this might sound weird but you get a different feel of the writing.  You might find mistakes with grammar and style.  There could even be inconsistencies with a character or the plot. “This stuff is important because you want your plot to make sense logically to  the reader, your characters need to stand out from one another and the  characters’ dialogue needs to be appropriate and distinct; you don’t want all  your characters to talk exactly the same because it’s boring to the reader.”
Read more:  http://writinghood.com/writing/basic-tips-for-editing-your-novel/#ixzz1iKCfwi9f

4. Take some time away from editing and give your self a break.  Sometimes having time to think on things helps you find any loose ends when you pick it up again to edit. “Can an edit ever be finished? A book can be considered unfinished forever and you can continue making changes over and over again. But at some point the writer/publisher must decide that it is done. There is a process through rewrites, editing, proof reading, beta readers, line edit, copy edit etc but eventually it has to be put out there.” http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2010/11/14/editing-novel-steve-parolini/

Hopefully this gives you an idea on how important it is to edit before you pitch your idea to an agent/publisher.  I know when I have received a rejection letter from an agent it wasn’t until I read my query letter I understood why.  I had written some things that were a big turn off  to this agent.  Not offensive.  But something she felt would not fit in the category for which I was writing.  It is good to look at everything with a critical eye.  Because you can bet that someone else you sent it to is.

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