Monday, March 16, 2009

Teaching R Us

So I spent the weekend in Eugene, sort of, as part of a three-teacher rotation doing a writing seminar for Triple Tree Publishing. The event was hosted by Rick Ramsey and his lovely wife, and I had a fine ole time blathering to the class about how-not-to-write for my session. Rick, the publisher, is also a writer, and went to great effort to take care of the writers who taught -- Larry Brooks, Eric Witchey, and me.

Because my daughter's birthday was on Saturday and I didn't have anything scheduled for classes, I drove down to Eugene Thursday, then home Friday night, then back to Eugene for an eight a.m. class on Sunday -- which ran until five p.m. Time I got home and had dinner and made it to bed, it had been an eighteen hour day -- starting at four a.m. Harder than it used to be. 

And that stretch of I-5 between Portland and Eugene is not the most exciting and scenic of drives. Rained all the way there Sunday morning, which, with a good wind, cuts about five miles per gallon off your gas mileage, did you know?

A very sharp class, six women, two men, and since I was third in the teaching rotation, a lot of what I was offering they had already heard -- twice. One exercise in writing dialog they nailed amazingly well -- several of the students were easily at a professional-writing level already.

My aunt sent me this video, and while it has nothing to do  with writing, I thought I'd throw it in ...


Dave Huss said...

I have a dog like that.

Worg said...

I'd be real interested to hear anything you have to say about writers' markets. I'm up to 8 pages per day steady and I'm writing nonfiction right now based on an agreement of sorts with a publisher but I have two novels at finished first draft stage, one a technothriller I wrote in 2005ish and the other a near-future dystopian sci fi book. I'm interested in your opinions on the best ways to go about marketing this kind of material.

Thanks as always!

Steve Perry said...

Marketing is pretty much the same as it has always been. There are houses that will look at unagented mss -- check out Writers' Markets. Some will accept electronic submissions, some won't; there are e-book publishers these days.

Agents are better, but they don't sell the book, they just sent it out. The book sells itself or it doesn't.

The way you get an agent, who will do the heavy lifting, is to check out the lists of those who accept new writers and query them. One page, who you are, what the book is about, and make the query smart, sharp, and intriguing as you can.

If you get a bite, it's usually for three chapters and an outline, if they like that, they'll ask to see the rest of it. Make sure those three chapters and the outline shine -- don't give them any reason for them to stop reading.

It's a slow business. Takes most people a while to get any traction. Months for a submission, longer for a sale and publication. Best first mystery novel I ever read in ms form took four years to find a publisher.

Worg said...

Thanks. I've got an in with a local publisher here, and my plan at this point is to continue writing for them as much as I can while finishing up my two novels and getting those out, perhaps I will have something in print by then which may make getting an agent easier.