February 5, 2021– Today we’ll be doing an exercise that is going to stretch your writing muscle! I love posing these types of challenges to my writers because it’s not only fun, but it helps them grow as authors. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and we find ourselves coming up with stagnant ideas for plots and character development. This is a great tool!
Photo writing challenge: Using the photo above, please write a 1200-word short story. Ensure that you have 1 character, 2 conflicts/challenges, and wrap it all up with a bow. This sounds really difficult to do, but I know that it’s possible! Plus, if you send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org, you will get the chance to have your story featured on our blog in a future post! Also, if you want some guidelines on what publishers are looking for, check out my number 1, best selling book, here: Advice From a Publisher (Insider Secrets for Getting Your Work Published!) An Amazon Best Seller – Pandamonium Publishing House
January 31, 2019– Listen up fellow writers, what I’m about to tell you is absolutely imperative to set you on the path of successfully getting published, not only with my company but also, with other potential agents/publishers. Here’s the thing, writing is hard work, and we receive approximately 175 submissions give or take per month, so narrowing down the field of manuscripts is essential. Here is what will cause your work to be automatically rejected.
- You didn’t follow the submission guidelines. When a potential author doesn’t follow the submission guidelines that are posted on every publisher’s site, you give us the clear indication that you cannot follow instructions. If you can’t follow directions, how are we going to work together longterm? Easy answer-we can’t. Here’s a link to our submission guidelines: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/about/
- You sent your entire manuscript in an attachment. I don’t open attachments. Ever. Next.
- Your query letter/synopsis didn’t grab me. If you don’t know how to query a publisher, I suggest that you find information online that is accurate and trustworthy. Also, your synopsis is something that is your HOOK! It is exciting and makes me want to read more of your manuscript. It’s like a movie trailer for an upcoming attraction. For expert help, you can click on this link to our products page to find out how to write the perfect query: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/mini-course-crafting-the-perfect-query/
- Your opening pages were boring. The first few pages in your writing must be attention-getting not only for me but for your readers! If the opening of your story is dull, if it starts with a cliche (it was a dark and stormy night), or if it starts out as a dream, your chances of getting a publishing deal have pretty much vanished. Understand that yes, introductions to stories can be fixed, but you only have one chance to make a first impression. If I read your first five pages and I do not love it, what’s going to make me think that the rest of the book is any better? Start where the action is; the rest can be explained later and sprinkled throughout your story.
- You weren’t patient. You decided to call my bluff (or not) and say that another publisher was interested in your work, and you tried to rush me into making a decision. You needed an answer in two days or by five o’clock, or before Cinderella’s carriage turned back into a pumpkin, these things take time, and when I’m pushed to decide in a rush, my answer will always be no. Please understand that it takes between 4-6 weeks for me to review your work, sometimes longer based on how many submissions I have. Your patience is appreciated, and I will always respond, either way, so you know where you stand with your submission.
So, those are five ways to get rejected. We hope you’ll follow our advice, X LLB
October 11, 2019– What is a bullet journal exactly? It’s a system of keeping track of notes, ideas, storylines, and anything else that is important to you. It’s an easy way to simplify things! It’s a quick and simplified way of getting a snapshot of where you’re headed in your writing life.
Here are some ideas of what you can put in your bullet journal should you choose to use this method of organization for your writing:
- Writing inspiration-write down story ideas as they pop into your mind.
- Tracking your submissions to publishers-when and who you submitted to along with guidelines if applicable.
- Organizing your storyline-plotting your novel and the important events that will take place in your book.
- Managing your time-jotting down most important tasks, deadlines, and projected release dates.
Bullet journals can work really well for some writers if they enjoy this method of organization, give it a try and see if it works for you! Happy writing! X LLB
November 12, 2018– As a traditional publisher, I get a lot of questions about guidelines when writing. Sometimes I’ll receive a manuscript submission that doesn’t have the appropriate amount of content, and unfortunately for that writer, it means that it’s a no from me for picking up their script.
I want to discuss some word count guidelines in this post, but please keep in mind if you are deciding to self-publish, you can bend these rules a little. What’s that old saying? You have to know what the rules are before you break them? Sounds about right!
- Children’s Picture Book– The industry standard for children’s picture books are 28 pages of interior, illustrated pages. There are 32 pages in total, 4 of the pages are left for the first interior cover page, the copyright page, and two blank pages. The 28 page count is usually 13 double spreads (the same scene happening across 2 pages) and 2 single illustrations (where a different scene is happening on each of the two pages). 13×2=26+2=28+4 blank pages= 32. Average word length is 400-800 words and up to 1000 words maximum.
- Middle-Grade- The industry standard for middle-grade novel word counts is from 20,000 – 55,000 words, depending on the age range and subject matter, however, the word count of these books has been trending up in recent years. When writing longer works that are aimed at 12-year-olds and could be considered “tween”, using the term “upper middle grade” is advisable. With upper middle grade, you can aim for 40,000 – 55,000 words. These are books that are similar to young adult in subject matter and storytelling but still tend to stick to tame themes and avoid hot-button issues. With a simpler middle-grade idea rather than a complex one, aim lower- 20,000 to 35,000 words is acceptable.
- YA (Young Adult)- The industry standard for young adult novels is pretty flexible. 55,000-79,999 is a good range for word count. The books seem to be trending on the longer end currently which is to say that you could write well into the 85,000-word range and still be ok. Just know that you better have a good reason for going that high! Higher word counts tend to show publishers that the writer does not know how to edit their work or themselves. Don’t go lower than 47,000 words on the low end of things.
- SCI-FI and Fantasy– The industry standard for Sci-fi and fantasy are exceptions to word counts because the categories historically run long. It really has to do with the world building and descriptions used to set the scene. With both of these genres 100,000 – 115,000 words is a perfect range. On the low end, 90,000 to 99,000 is also acceptable with the ideal range being 100,000.
- Adult novels: Commercial & Literary– Here are some industry standards, again, we are talking about ranges so keep that in mind. Between 80,000 and 89,999 words is the range to aim for. This word count is the perfect range for literary, mainstream, women’s, romance, mystery, suspense, thriller, and horror. Anything in this word count won’t scare off any agent anywhere. You can have as few as 71,000 words and as many as 109,000 words.
80,000 – 89,999: Best
90,000 – 99,999: Safe
70,000 – 79,999: All right
100,000 – 109,999: Okay
Below 70,000: Too short
110,000 or above Too long
6. Memoir– The industry standard for Memoir writing word counts is the same as a novel which is between 80,000-89,999 words. Keep in mind that most people don’t know how to edit their work, and this is especially true for memoir writing. People tend to write down every little detail because after all, it did happen! On the low-end aim for 70,000-79,000 words. This shows that you know how to focus on the meat of your life and are only telling the most interesting parts!
There you have it! The more you know before submitting your work to a traditional publisher, the better your chances of getting a book deal. Here’s to your success!
May 25, 2018- Rejection isn’t easy, but it’s a natural part of life. A lot of the time editors and publishers give very little insight/info about why your work was rejected.
Usually, there are a couple of major reasons why work is rejected-I’m speaking from my own personal experience about why I reject manuscripts.
- Your work isn’t ready to be submitted but you submitted it anyway.
- You queried me incorrectly, didn’t follow the guidelines, disregarded the submission process and were unprofessional.
Yikes! I know that this sounds harsh, but you deserve the truth. Now, I’m not saying that these are the ONLY two reasons, there are others. Let’s explore some of the additional reasons why editors/publishers reject submitted manuscripts.
Reasons for rejection are totally subjective, but here are some possibilities and additional reasons why I would reject something:
- Something was recently published that is similar. Simply put, someone already thought of it, and it’s on my desk at this moment in queue for publication.
- The timing is wrong. I’ve cut back on my list or maybe I’m at my max for whatever genre has been submitted. Maybe something has changed in the market or perhaps the manuscript submitted is not saleable.
- You have no author platform or you have major controversy surrounding your online presence. This is not always something that will disqualify you from getting a deal with my publishing house, but it’s a pretty big factor.
Keep these things in mind when you’ve been rejected and remember to never give up!