Monday, August 3, 2020

The Agent Mystique by Diane Bator

The Agent Mystique 

by Diane Bator

One of the highlights of this pandemic for me is the ability to sit in on various writing seminars. The most recent one I heard was on how to find, work with, and keep an agent. Very relevant since writers online are always asking if they need one and how to find one.

A big question on Facebook recently is:  Do I need an agent?
The easy answer is Yes and No.
Your need of an agent is directly proportionate to whether you want to be self or traditionally published. For the traditionally published path, an agent helps to edit, arranges sales, negotiates contracts, deals with the financial end of things, manages your author brand, becomes your writing partner, is your marketing team, will be the liaison with the publisher, and is your biggest cheerleader.They can also help get your foot in the door with larger publishers and have your book polished and at its best before submitting queries for you. Generally, agents receive 15% of sales once you publish and start to get paid.
If you plan to self-publish, having an agent offers several benefits. They can help with getting professional covers, editing, and walking authors through the publishing process. Agents who will work with self-publishing authors may have a standard rate for their services.
Many small publishing houses don’t usually require authors to have an agent to submit. Anyone can write a book and query as long as they follow the specific instructions on each publisher’s website. Some of these smaller publishers, but not all, offer editing services.
Self-publishing venues allow anyone to upload a novel or novella. Some may offer editing services for a fee. Mostly they will publish exactly what a writer uploads.

How do I find an agent?
There are many great resources for finding agents. Before you start to research, be sure you know what genre your book is and what your word count is. Most agents will not even consider a book that is over 90,000 or 100,000 words. Publishers won’t accept them unless you have a proven publishing record or are Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.
Some resources to use are:
·       Google
·       Query Tracker
·       Writer’s Digest
·       Writer friends or your favorite author
·       Pitch fests
·       Writing organizations
·       Twitter

What do I need to do to query an agent?
READ THEIR SUBMISSION GUIDELINES just as you would before querying a publisher.
For many agents, the submission is simple. They may ask for a brief, concise pitch about your book (like what you would write on the back cover), some information about you and your publishing background if you have one, and how to contact you if they love your pitch and want to read more. Some agents may ask for 10 – 50 pages to get a feel for your style.

What do I do if an agent wants to represent me?
First of all, Congratulations!
1.     Thank them then jump up and down like a maniac while you celebrate your good fortune.
2.     Ask for a sample contract so you can see exactly what they are offering you, how much their commission is, and what your responsibilities are to them.
3.     If you receive more than one offer to represent, compare notes between them. Just because one agent offers a better deal, you might be drawn to working with a different agent. Follow your gut! The same advice goes for publishers. The publisher who offers the most money, may not be the best fit. Find an agent and a publisher who LOVES your work.

Do I have to make the editorial changes the agent suggests?
Absolutely not. At the end of the day, it’s still your work and if they are uncomfortable making changes to the manuscript, they have the final say.
Keep in mind that your agent will have more experience with what will sell and what publishers are looking for.
Be flexible, but don’t lose your voice. After all, that’s why they signed you!

What if my relationship with my agent doesn’t work out?
Breaking up with an agent happens. Having open and honest communication with your agent is key since they are the liaisons between authors and publishers.
Sometimes things just don’t work out. In my case, my first agent and I parted ways. She found me a couple great publishers (I’m still with BWL Publishing!), but the second publisher changed one of my books to the point it wasn’t the same story anymore. She suggested I shelve it and write a completely new book. I heard the same story from a couple other authors.
Once that publisher dropped me, so did the agent. We parted ways amicably and are still friends.

There are thousands of agents and publishers out there. Be patient! It may take time to find the right combination. Or you might get lucky and find just the right agent who can link you to just the right publisher.
Just don’t give up!
Hope this helps!

Diane Bator

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Loving Summer

Imagine finding a hidden room, complete with furniture, a trunk, diary and shadows. Author, Anna Hughes couldn't wait to finish her attic room. Did the shadows hold the secret to why the room was sealed?

I've always loved summer. Well not the hot 90 degree days or the high humidity days that make it feel like summer. Those days I tend to stay inside. But I do enjoy the cooler mornings.
Hubby and I take our coffee out and sit on the patio in the early morning and watch the birds at the feeder. He often takes pictures of them. Also among the birds are squirrels and one chipmunk. I've had to block off the feeder from those two varmints or there wouldn't be any seed left for the birds. Especially the chipmunk. He gets right up there inside the feeder. 
We also enjoy watching the Humming Birds and Baltimore Orioles. We have
several orioles.  They've always had to share their food with purple finches, which was no problem although there are a lot of them. 
Suddenly, one robin has taken a liking to the grape jelly. Yes, it's only one. The others patrol the ground, looking for worms or insects, but this one particular robin keeps coming back to the oriole feeder. 
I have a round, flat, shallow humming bird feeder that the humming birds didn't seem to like, and the sugar water spoiled almost overnight, so I took the top off and put grape jelly in there.  The orioles don't go by it, but the finches and the robin love it. 
Apparently, so do the deer. In fact the deer love the humming bird food. Yes, not only am I feeding the birds, but now the deer are imbibing - well at least one deer. And he's very brave about coming up to it. It's right outside my kitchen window and he has no problem in broad daylight to drink from it.  Now I know
it's not because he's thirsty because there's a freshly filled bird bath right next to it, and it'd be a lot easier to drink from that  than the humming bird feeder. I don't mind that he's drinking from the feeder, but now the humming birds have stopped coming and that makes me sad. I love watching them. They're so pretty and delicate. Tiny little things. I decided to take the feeder down. In the heat, I was having to replace the food too often or it spoiled. Besides, she also ate my tomato plants. I only had four and she devoured the cherry tomato plant and the beef-stake plant right down to the ground. I was able to salvage the two sauce plants and they're now enclosed in screen.  And now she's eating my Rose of Sharon that are only a couple feet high.  They're never going to grow and get flowers if she doesn't leave them alone.  Just a couple doors down and across the street there's full grown ones with flowers and she doesn't bother them. Must be the young tender leaves. 
But I'm still enjoying summer and not looking forward to Fall and Winter. Not that I mind the cooler weather and snow. I just hate putting heavy clothes on, especially to go out. I dislike the bulky winter coats and I'm not too keen on driving in the snow. I'm not keen on driving to begin with, but it's a necessity sometimes. Usually, I make hubby take me places. It's the only way he gets out of the house. He's a homebody and has COPD (which he uses as an excuse for a lot of things, but that's a story for another day). 

Here's an excerpt from Shadows in the Attic  
For more books by me check out BWL Publishing

I hurried to my room, freshened my lipstick and ran a comb through my hair. I loved my new short hairstyle, even if Ben didn't like it. It didn't take hours to blow dry and style even after a shower. Chad Edwards, the contractor Connie recommended, would be here any minute. I liked the sound of his voice over the phone, all deep and masculine. Besides, he sounded as excited about the restoration as I was.
I hurried downstairs when the doorbell rang, opened the door, and my mouth darn near dropped open. The sexiest, hunk of a man I ever saw stood in front of me. His dark hair, mussed from the wind, fell over his forehead. Bushy eyebrows topped the bluest eyes I'd ever seen, and he towered over my five foot six height. A complete contrast to Ben's dark, brooding looks.
Something jolted inside me, and I swear electricity seared the air between us. Even my arms tingled. Never had a man affected me this way. What was wrong with me? I'm engaged for heaven sake. But I couldn't help it. This man stirred something inside of me. Something Ben never stirred.
"Hi, I'm Chad Edwards. Are you Anna Hughes?"
Heat burned my cheeks at my thoughts, and I held out my hand toward him, hoping my face wasn't too red. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Edwards."
"Chad, please. Nice to meet you too, Anna. You don't mind if I call you Anna do
you?" He took my hand, and my heart did a strange flip. A trembling all the way down to my toes scared me. I liked the feel of his rough hand, calloused from hard work, and was disappointed when he let mine go.
"Hi, Chad. No, I don't mind." His name flowed easily from my lips, like I'd been
saying it forever. And I especially liked the way he said my name, placing the emphasis on the first syllable—Ann-a, unlike the quick way Ben said it, more like On-na, with the emphasis on the last syllable. Kind of hoity-toity.
Chad's smile reached his eyes. Something about it made me think he was fun-loving, spontaneous and adventurous, unlike serious minded Ben. Not that there was anything wrong with Ben being serious. I just wished sometimes he'd let go a little. Darn it, why was I comparing Chad to Ben?
"Please, come in." I swung the door to let him in, and closed it behind him. He stood in the foyer and looked around, letting out a low whistle as he stared up the curved oak staircase. A picture of him, standing there years ago, waiting for the daughter of the house to join him, flitted through my mind. He seemed to fit.
I smiled at the image. "I've heard good things about you, Chad. I'm glad you agreed to look at this job."
"I couldn't resist. When I heard it was a Queen Anne style Vicky, well let's just say that's my weakness."
"Mine too. When this house came on the market I had to see it. Once I saw it, I was sold." I led the way to the attic. "Come on, I can't wait to get your opinion."
I turned the corner to the landing and looked back at him. Darn, he was good looking.
"This is the first room I want done. We'll look at the rest of the house later."
As we rounded the corner of the attic, Ben joined us. "We want this wall knocked
down for starters,” he said. “Anna thinks there's a room behind it. At least, there's a window that shows from the outside of the house."
Ben's tone irritated me. Okay, so he didn't agree with me about the renovations, that didn't give him the right to intrude on my conversation.
Chad knocked on the wall in several different places and looked at the floor space between the walls and took some measurements. "She could well be right," he said. "This room should be much larger." He turned his attention to me. "What exactly do you want?"
"I want to make a home office up here for my writing."
"You're a writer?"
Ben didn't give me a chance to answer. He came and stood next to me and put his arm around me possessively. I tried to shrug him off. This wasn't like Ben. He never touched me in public. Never even held my hand. "So, what will you charge to knock the wall down and finish this space? I mean is it even worth it?" He pulled me tighter against him and almost knocked me over.
"Just to knock the wall down and haul the material away, fifteen hundred dollars. It depends what else Ms Hughes wants as to the rest of it." Chad turned his attention back to me . "I can't give you a price on that until the wall is gone, and we see what's behind it. I'll need to know exactly what you want, wiring, lights, that kind of thing. You can knock the wall down yourself and save the money. There's no wiring or heating ducts to worry about."
"Okay, we'll be in touch," Ben said. "Thank you for coming. He guided me to the top of the stairway and waited for Chad to go ahead of us. I tried to pull away, but he held me tight against him.
"Anything else?" Chad turned toward me again.
"We'll talk about it and get back to you," Ben said, not giving me a chance to answer.
I bit my tongue. Oh, we were going to talk about it. No doubt about that. I'd say
something now, but didn't want to start anything in front of Chad. What made Ben think he could take over like that? Like I was a moron who couldn't think or talk for myself.
"Okay, then." Chad turned and went downstairs ahead of us.
Ben finally dropped his arm from around me and followed Chad to the door before I made it to the bottom step. "We'll be in touch," he said and almost pushed Chad out the door and looked at me. "I think we should knock the wall down ourselves. Then you can see what's behind it and not waste the money."
"You're willing to help knock down the wall?" Would wonders never cease? I couldn't believe my ears. I let the matter of Ben's rudeness drop. If Ben was willing to work on the attic, I wasn't about to start an argument. Not yet, anyway. But you can bet I wouldn't forget it, either. He'd hear about it eventually. I'd have my say. Oh, no, he wasn't getting off that easy.
"Sure, we can start tomorrow. Once you see there's no room up there, you can forget this nonsense of renovation."

Saturday, August 1, 2020

BWL Publishing Inc. August New Releses

For centuries, the Time Rose medallion has taken the children of a history-loving family into the past to restore the life paths of children whose own histories have been altered. When all such paths have been set to rights, a final task awaits those destined to be the final seekers, aided by some who served the medallion in the four preceding generations. From Iron Age Britain to World War II Holland, these are their stories.

As alcohol lubricates the conversation at a 30th high school reunion, Judy Bloom lets slip that she had an intimate relationship with a teacher while she was a student. More revelations follow, along with the news that the teacher kept a video camera hidden in his closet. When two classmates get to the retired teachers house, they find it abandoned with evidence he’d been dragged away.
Pine County deputies Floyd Swenson and Pam Ryan work their way through the videos, finding the victims evasive and unwilling to speak. Pam Ryan’s growing cynicism spills into her personal life, driving her to a decision point with her new boyfriend who might not be ready for a lasting relationship with a cop.

Little did Laurel Rowan know where the discovery of an injured dog would lead her. The dark world of dog fighting rings and the unsavoury characters who surround them are a stark awakening for the Alberta teen. Volunteering at a local animal rescue helps her come to terms with some of the things, but Laurel won’t stop until she’s done all she can to rescue those animals in danger.
She’s horrified to find out her childhood friend Chance is involved up to his neck in the mess, but now he’s trying to get out and help Laurel all he can. Trouble is lurking around each corner.

Ex-fire captain Gerry Ormond figures his new position as Niagara Falls Fire Chief will be an easy gig.  He not only discovers a dysfunctional department, but a corrupt one as well.  Winning each battle will be difficult, but the administration has taken away his bullets--he’s only a figurehead.  Karen, his partner, is savagely beaten by Branko, her estranged husband while Gerry is scapegoated after a tragic car dealership fire. 
Add to all that a disaster waiting to happen, as the brutal Red Mafya sinks its talons into an iconic hotel casino project.  The criminals may be somehow linked to his administration.  When he attempts to find a connection he is warned to back off.  The Mafya sends their new enforcer Branko, to change his mind.  The more Chief Ormond investigates, the more men die, as forces he barely understands push back--hard. 
Out of his league and alone amidst the carnage, he declares war.  Winning the war means dealing with the devil--Branko and the Red Mafya.

For Women Who Like Romance Cajun
“Marrying off Murphy” – (Light-hearted Romance). Like all Cajun fairy tales, it began harmlessly enough. A match-making columnist promises to turn a stuffy professor into a charming prince.  So, why does this confirmed bachelorette suddenly wish she was dressed for the Ball?
“Love Potion #9” – (Contemporary Romance). Watch what happens when you mix a traditional Creole women with a fun-loving Cajun man and throw in a Voodoo Love Potion—stand back!  The Louisiana Bayou ain’t never gonna be the same!
“A Slice of Scandal” – (Mystery/Suspense). A producer finds herself embroiled in a mystery as hot as her Bayou Cooking Show.   When an undercover cop, turned chef shows up and dishes up more heat than a bottle of Louisiana hot peppers.  Can she prove her innocence before the real killer finds her?  Or, will she become the main-course in a murder trial?
“Pirate Ghost of Gombi Island” – (Time Travel).  After a violent storm dumps a Natchitoches historian on the deck of an 18th century pirate ship, she finds herself with an unexpected decision.  Should she jump and swim to her doom, or accept the pirate’s promise of a safe haven?
“1-800- FORTUNE” – (Paranormal). Garlic hangs for the rafters, but this sexy Loupe Garou isn’t looking for trouble, or a cure for what ails him. What’s a law-abiding werewolf to do when a gypsy woman shows up with mischief on her mind?  T.A.R.A. , 2nd place Winner, Paranormal Romance.