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What are you writing? Is it what’s in your heart?
Or your head?
Both?
Do you write to please yourself?  Or others? Or both?

Do you write for money, or pleasure? Or a little in between?

Does it even matter?

As a person who works in publishing, I read query letters all the time. The one thing I have observed in writers is lack of focus on what they write and why. Is this detail important?  Can’t a writer write fiction, and non-fiction?  Or both?

The answer is yes. The answer is no.

Yes anyone can write anything at anytime. However, better writers focus their energy on specific writing tasks. The level of skill goes up with the amount of concentrated effort.

What sells is genre-specific, high-quality writing. If you want to be published in the mainstream market and become well-known, ask yourself when you sit to write:

Where do I want to go?
What am I writing?
Will this get me there?

Helping you write your calling.

Angelfire

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Where in the world are you with writing? As a Christian writer, this question is a two-edged sword. It makes me think of the call to evangelize, and to “Be in the world, not of it.”

That statement has aways perplexed me. This morning, I asked God, “What exactly does that look like? And by the way, Jesus, did you know that when I’m in the world, not of it, I stand out like a sore thumb?”

In fact, just yesterday I shared with a family member that I have lost business, been rejected as a Christian without due cause, and even removed from work associations just by promoting my beliefs on social media.

Not to mention the spiritual warfare that has come my way too. I have felt alone and isolated in my writer journey. This makes me wonder who else is out there feeling that way too?

I wonder if other Christian writers that work and need to make a living find it to be challenging? Does the idea of writing about your faith perplex you on “How to…” become known? Increase followers? Build an audience? Sell your books? Have you been writing about your faith waiting on God to make you known, but the process has moved slowly– and not so surely?

I think that the answer lies in our action as a community of faith. We have to love in action that shows.

How can the community of faith can come through to support one another?

Get to know other Christian writers. Fellowship. Attend a conference. Download e-books written by Christian writers you meet at them. Support their like pages. Write positive reviews. Give a voice to a voice in the wilderness to show that they walk not alone. They have a family to love them as they answer their calling.

Helping you write your calling,


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It’s the New Year, and probably like me, many of you have thought about how to improve your writing for 2013. I personally had a hard time answering that question. As an editor and writer for others in the publishing world, I find it east to review and critique someone else’s manuscript. It’s different when it’s my own, I’m too close. I loose sight of the forest for the sake of the trees.

So, today during my prayer life, I asked God what do I need to improve? He is the ultimate author. I mean, who hasn’t seen a Bible somewhere? If He can inspire ancient men, why not me?

A bunch of questions came to mind…
Where do you want to go with your writing career?
Where are you headed with your desire to be a writer?
What kind of writer are you? And, do you know why?

In light of today’s competitive writing culture, these are some pretty tough questions. I know that when I first started out I just wanted an accolade and some experience. But now, a seasoned writer I know better than that. I know better than to tell my readers to aim broad. Instead, refine your focus and head straight into the direction of your calling.

What is your writing passion? Where do words come naturally in your speak-talk with others?
What is your greatest strength? Too often, Christian writers are told that it is their hurts that will be the source of their writing. Yes, and maybe no. My suggestion is to write from strengths and minimize weaknesses. Do you have an area that has been healed? What is your unique perspective and can you focus your writing on that? What fresh word can you deliver? People want hope. They want to hear of promises. Ann Voscamp is a prime example of a Christian writer who accomplished this.

Have you decided where you want to go? Is 2013 your a time to write forward? How is a past focused writing going to propel you to a successful writing future?

Something about Genesis 1:14 reminds me of the different ways writers are used in God’s Kingdom. It says, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.”

Jesus said in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill can not be hid.”

We live in a dark world. Your call to write is the same as your call to be the light.

People in darkness adjust to light differently. Some hide their eyes, others blink, and a few stare boldly into it knowing a moment of blindness will heal.

Some of us are bright lights, and others of us are stars sent to deliver the message of a heart’s cry. What is God’s calling on your writer’s voice? Is your word from God a bright message that requires boldness? Or a soft nudge? What kind of light writer are you?

This year as you seek to write? Seek to define the race that you have been called to run. And remember, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Be a direct line to God’s love. Shine bright city on the Hill. Shine for Him.

Song for the day:

Helping you to answer the call to write that is set before you,

Angelfire

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I have often heard Christian writers speak of a call to write. However, for some the call is not answered or left unfulfilled because of not knowing where to begin. So, I ask you these questions…

Are you called to write? If so, where is your beginning? Have you started and are asking yourself, now what?

A lot can be learned from scripture about fresh starts. God knows all about square one, or the empty slate that remains before eyes that long to see something amazing take place– something that mirrors the inner heart’s cry.

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God…” . Like you, dear writer, God started His creative time somewhere. Where do you want to begin? When will you decided to start? Ask yourself, “Where is my beginning?”  And more importantly, where does my beginning end?

Stephen Covey shared that the most successful beginnings start with the end in mind. But what if you only know that you have a feeling to write and the end is still unclear?  What then?

The process of creation is never an easy path to take. In fact, process is messy. Genesis 1:2 shares how even when the earth began to take shape and enter into existence out of the heart of God, it too was formless and empty…even dark.

Does that sound a lot like you when you first try to write? I know that it has happened to me. I am learning to take encouragement from God on how to navigate the process and just begin.

Write that initial idea down. If it’s a shapeless sentence made up of words without any coherency, that’s okay. God shows us that shape and form require intimacy with time and process.

Remember He “hovered” over the earth, and explored it’s form before He brought it to light. Like the beginning of God’s quest for intimacy with mankind, your writing springs from a deep desire to be known and to know. This longing comes from the soul of every human being, and it needs nurturing to form.

Stay close to your work. Hover over it a while. Leave it, and return to it with fresh eyes. Meanwhile, draw closer to God. Pray about the fact that you can’t see anything come from you that makes sense, or honors Him. Share your fears, but whatever you do, don’t let the process or fear of the unknown deter you from the task. In time, your moment of divine inspiration will come with clarity and purpose. In the end, the experience will give even more meaning to the phrase, “And let there be light.”

Helping you to answer the call to write that is set before you,

Angelfire

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Literary Agent Contracts: How To Protect Your Rights

http://www.writersrelief.com/blog/2011/04/literary-agent-contracts-protect-rights/

By on April 18, 2011  · 4 Comments ·
http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.writersrelief.com%2Fblog%2F2011%2F04%2Fliterary-agent-contracts-protect-rights%2F&layout=standard&show_faces=true&width=300&height=25&action=like&font=arial&colorscheme=light

literary agency contract

Everybody knows that literary agents negotiate contracts for you with publishers. But who is going to negotiate a contract with a literary agency for you? Many writers know what to do when a literary agent requests a manuscript. But fewer have taken the proactive step of understanding literary agent contracts before a contract is offered.

As for writers who DO know their stuff even before they’re offered a contract…well, we think that’s a pretty good indicator of future success. So use this article to learn what you’re getting into before you get yourself into it. Then, enjoy the ride!

If a literary agent offers you a contract, which legal terms and phrases should you look out for? Which terms are negotiable, and which ones aren’t? If the agent does not sell your book, how does the law say that you should part ways?

WRITE IT UP:  Tell us about the book that YOU are pitching to literary agents right now. Click Leave A Comment above!

First and foremost, we’re going to tell you the same thing we did in our article about literary journal contracts: If you don’t understand a contract’s terms, don’t sign it until you do. Never hesitate to show the contract to an attorney. We reiterate: Contracts typically favor the person who drafted them.

Second, do your homework. Would you go on a blind date without Googling your intended? No way, not in this day and age when everything you need to know about a person’s reputation is likely to be online. Before you sign a contract, research in order to confirm that the agent is reputable, experienced, and successful (with a track record of book sales), and has references that (s)he will willingly provide. Unlike the rigorous exams taken to become a doctor or lawyer, there is no test to become a literary agent.

Want to learn more about what’s important to know before you sign with a literary agent? Read this: Nine Questions To Ask A Literary Agent.

Third, know that an agent’s contract will define the scope of the representation: Does the agent represent you for one particular work, or does (s)he represent you for all of your works and future works regardless of the medium in which it is published (i.e., if your book is made into a movie)? The contract should also set a term or time limitation during which the agent will represent you and your work.

What if you discover that you and your agent do not click as a business team, but you signed a five-year contract? Before signing, you need to know the duration of your relationship with this agent. A yearly term, renewable by you after each year, is typical. Look for termination clauses with notice provisions in case either party is unhappy with the relationship. For instance, to terminate the agreement, you may need to provide your agent with 60 days prior written notice, while (s)he may not need to provide you with any.

Last, but not least, beware of fees and charges in a contract such as a reading fee, editorial fee, or marketing fee. Almost all reputable agents charge only by commission, usually 10-15% for domestic sales and 20-30% for co-agented or foreign sales (as a third party is usually necessarily involved in overseas sales). Learn more: Warning Signs: How To Spot A Bad Literary Agent: Part One.

There are many issues and contract terms we could discuss, but these key provisions and matters should get you started. While we can’t offer legal advice, Writer’s Relief submission strategists provide our clients with much-needed information about reputable agents and their contracts.

 

Read Full Post »

Literary Agent Contracts: How To Protect Your Rights

http://www.writersrelief.com/blog/2011/04/literary-agent-contracts-protect-rights/

By on April 18, 2011  · 4 Comments ·
http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.writersrelief.com%2Fblog%2F2011%2F04%2Fliterary-agent-contracts-protect-rights%2F&layout=standard&show_faces=true&width=300&height=25&action=like&font=arial&colorscheme=light

literary agency contract

Everybody knows that literary agents negotiate contracts for you with publishers. But who is going to negotiate a contract with a literary agency for you? Many writers know what to do when a literary agent requests a manuscript. But fewer have taken the proactive step of understanding literary agent contracts before a contract is offered.

As for writers who DO know their stuff even before they’re offered a contract…well, we think that’s a pretty good indicator of future success. So use this article to learn what you’re getting into before you get yourself into it. Then, enjoy the ride!

If a literary agent offers you a contract, which legal terms and phrases should you look out for? Which terms are negotiable, and which ones aren’t? If the agent does not sell your book, how does the law say that you should part ways?

WRITE IT UP:  Tell us about the book that YOU are pitching to literary agents right now. Click Leave A Comment above!

First and foremost, we’re going to tell you the same thing we did in our article about literary journal contracts: If you don’t understand a contract’s terms, don’t sign it until you do. Never hesitate to show the contract to an attorney. We reiterate: Contracts typically favor the person who drafted them.

Second, do your homework. Would you go on a blind date without Googling your intended? No way, not in this day and age when everything you need to know about a person’s reputation is likely to be online. Before you sign a contract, research in order to confirm that the agent is reputable, experienced, and successful (with a track record of book sales), and has references that (s)he will willingly provide. Unlike the rigorous exams taken to become a doctor or lawyer, there is no test to become a literary agent.

Want to learn more about what’s important to know before you sign with a literary agent? Read this: Nine Questions To Ask A Literary Agent.

Third, know that an agent’s contract will define the scope of the representation: Does the agent represent you for one particular work, or does (s)he represent you for all of your works and future works regardless of the medium in which it is published (i.e., if your book is made into a movie)? The contract should also set a term or time limitation during which the agent will represent you and your work.

What if you discover that you and your agent do not click as a business team, but you signed a five-year contract? Before signing, you need to know the duration of your relationship with this agent. A yearly term, renewable by you after each year, is typical. Look for termination clauses with notice provisions in case either party is unhappy with the relationship. For instance, to terminate the agreement, you may need to provide your agent with 60 days prior written notice, while (s)he may not need to provide you with any.

Last, but not least, beware of fees and charges in a contract such as a reading fee, editorial fee, or marketing fee. Almost all reputable agents charge only by commission, usually 10-15% for domestic sales and 20-30% for co-agented or foreign sales (as a third party is usually necessarily involved in overseas sales). Learn more: Warning Signs: How To Spot A Bad Literary Agent: Part One.

There are many issues and contract terms we could discuss, but these key provisions and matters should get you started. While we can’t offer legal advice, Writer’s Relief submission strategists provide our clients with much-needed information about reputable agents and their contracts.

 

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http://m.npr.org/story/152248901?url=/2012/05/08/152248901/fresh-air-remembers-author-maurice-sendak≻=fb&cc=fp

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