#33 listening to podcasts.

M J Dees

Having already sent Living with Saci to four agents I’ve been finding myself becoming more and more receptive to the temptations of the world of self-publishing.

I guess I sent my first few chapters to traditional agents because I sought professional approval for my work but the more I learn about the traditional publishing industry and the self-publishing industry, the less convinced I am that traditional publishing is the correct route.

One of the sources of persuasion has been coming from the podcasts of the Self-Publishing Formula. I am only up to episode 9 but I have already picked up lots of useful tips.

The first thing I have learnt is that a self-publishing author needs an inventory of books, preferably a number of titles in a series. The reason for this is to enable the self-publisher to offer the first title for free in order to generate interest in…

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#32 Check grammar

M J Dees

Are you sitting down? Yes? Good. You may want to have a stiff drink or some smelling salts at hand too. You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting to this blog lately and the reason that I haven’t had many tips on how to avoid writing is that I’ve actually been doing some writing.

I know. It’s shocking, isn’t it? I’ve actually done so much writing that I’ve finished a rough draft of my second novel which I have given the working title of The Story of James and David Part 1 The Anniversaries. Not very catchy I know but it’ll do for now. It’s written and I am following the advice of Stephen King and not looking at it for seven weeks before I start re-writing.

Next week I’ll start novel number three which I feel is going to be a post-apocalyptical diary type affair, let’s see.

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#30 & #31 Get ill and try to download Pokemon Go

M J Dees

No matter how much you want to write there will inevitably be days when you just don’t feel up to it. Going on holiday seems to have had the unfortunate downside of giving me the opportunity of picking up a virus which I attempted to fight off for four days with the aid of sleep and tea. But yesterday I finally have up and went to the doctor who prescribed 7 days of very expensive tablets.

So now I’m confined to my dressing gown reduced to watching the tour de France and listening to test match special but when all that finishes at 2pm São Paulo time what else is there to do except write…Or…try to download Pokemon Go.

It took a while and even now the app has downloaded the servers are too busy to allow me to sign in so I’m probably going to have to wait until…

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#29 watch a day of sport

M J Dees

Today has been a tremendous day of sport for Britain. In the Tour de France, Britains finished the day first and second in the general classification, Lewis Hamilton won the British GP, Andy Murray was just one of Four British champions at Wimbledon and the British mens and women’s relay teams won at the European championships.

And while we’re talking about the European championships, the footy final is currently being played with Ronaldo being substituted due to a terrible moth related injury.

And it doesn’t stop there. In the cricket the first test against Pakistan starts on the 14th so there’s very little chance of writing any time soon.

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#28 go on holiday

M J Dees

For aspiring writers, the holiday is often the time when they take a break from their day to day job and spend some time writing.

For me, the holiday is an excellent opportunity for writing avoidance. This year I have chosen to avoid writing in the Sao Paulo mountains in a place called Campos do Jordao.

This is a place where the affluent Sao Paulo middle classes go to try the novelty of wearing woolens. Temperatures this week have fallen as low as 5¤C which to a paulista is pretty much Antarctica.

There is lots of scenery to walk around but most Paulistas come for a fondue and a pint of Baden Baden the award winning local craft beer.

Either way, there is plenty going on here, including mini golf, to keep an honest writer distracted for days.

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#27 Get the second rejection for the first novel and send it to another agent.

M J Dees

So the second rejection arrived. This time without any feedback so no pointers involving time consuming rewrites, just onto the next agent on the list which meant rewriting the covering letter, checking the synopsis and making sure that the sample of the novel meets the agent’s requirements, in this case the first thirty pages, which for my novel means the first five chapters.
I selected the agent on the basis that they represent an author who wrote a novel set close to the setting of my novel. Not the best criteria I admit but given that the story is set in Sao Paulo it might not be as bizarre as it sounds.

In any case, after three months, if I get no reply I’ll just send it to another agent. For my next agent I intend to follow the advice of the Women Writers website and select a new agent…

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#26 Watch the European Championships

M J Dees

There’s never been a better excuse for avoiding a bit of writing than watchIng a major football tournament. Attending the competition in perso is obviously the best option, hanging out in bars with other supporters enjoying the atmosphere of the stadia.

But watching Euro 2016 on the telly is almost as nice, even if it means that you have to put up with some pretty banal punditry. Interest in games can be spiced up by the work sweep or a prediction competition.

Sure, England are likely to disappoint, Christiano Ronaldo is bound to be annoying and the Germans will play with frightening efficiency but with an extra round this time there are plenty of games to provide enough distraction from writing for the best part of a month.

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#25 Watch your country vote to leave the European Union

M J Dees

It’s almost impossible to get down to writing this morning with the news that the UK has voted to leave the EU.

David Cameron, having got the country into this mess has decided to jump the sinking ship, Scotland is looking to a second referendum on devolution and Northern Ireland may follow suite. Even the Thatcherite MPs in the Labour party are using it as an excuse to get rid of their leader, one of the few honest polititians in parliament, Jeremy Corbyn.

The Independent has reported that searches for ‘what happens if we leave the EU?’ have increased by 250% showing that the voters hadn’t really done their research before the poll.

Interestingly, some of the areas that benefitted most from the EU, such as Wales, Hull and Sunderland voted to leave. Seimens who have invested considerably on the Humber have announced that future investment is now in danger…

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#24 Obsessively check emails, again!

M J Dees

OK, so over a month has passed since I sent my re-written first five chapters to the next agent and, even though it clearly states that they may take up to three months to respond I have already started obsessively refreshing my inbox.

A few weeks ago I faced the horrible realisation that my e-mail was full and that for the last ten days, anyone sending me an e-mail would have had it bounce back. What if, during this period, the agent had sent me an e-mail begging me to send the rest of my book. Unlikely I know, but these are the kinds of tricks the mind plays on one when one is waiting for one’s response from an agent.

The three month average wait time doesn’t expire until the middle of July so I’ll wait until then before sending a message asking if their e-mail offering me a…

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#23 Re-write the first five chapters and send them to another agent

M J Dees

The feedback I received from the first agent was very positive and specific enough for me to make some changes to the first five chapters including the addition of new chapters which revealed the backstory of the protagonist I more detail.

Sending the book to another agent meant first finding an agent who represents an author I like whose work reflects st own in some way. Having identified an agent I could then go to their web site and find out their requirements for submissions. This particular agent asks for the first three chapters or 50 pages. Given that my chapters are relatively short, I opted to send the first 50 pages.

Sending material to a new agent means rewriting the synopsis and cover letter taking care to explain why I have chosen to send my material to them.

It’s all done and been sent now so while I wait…

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