Thank you!

On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
The authors thank you for your readership and hope you will come visit them at their personal sites via the links to the left.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fatal Mistakes

By A.J. Llewellyn

My cherished and adored friend C.R. Moss has decided to close down this blog due to her many other commitments. I am sad on a personal note because I've enjoyed this place to write and exchange ideas with my fellow authors and readers. I came to know C.R. when she came on board eXtasy Books as a new author and sent me some news clippings she'd seen on Hawaii.
She thought they might be useful for my books.
I will never forget that sweet, generous gesture.
So, since I hate goodbyes I feel I should leave this blog with a hello.
Hello to all the new budding authors out there - and the ones who are working up the courage to submit books to publishers.
In the last few weeks I've had a ton of authors ask me to read their work. I do what I can. Many times, they listen to me and get published (ask Marianne Guenon) other times I think they use my photo for dart-board practice.
Mostly, their reactions are somewhere in the middle.
I am often stumped by the presentations I receive - so here is my list of do's and dont's to get all of you published.

1. This should go without saying but even if you are asking for an opinion, send your best sample. Check your spelling, check your storyline and send your BEST work.

TIP: I cannot stress this strongly enough. Dialogue is your friend. Read it out loud How does it sound? Quite often you'll see it's stiff and awkward. Reading aloud is a wonderful tool screenwriters are taught - make it work for you. It easily reshapes a clunky sentence to smooth.

2. Don't use colorful fonts or adorn your submission with twinkling images etc. Making your submission look "pretty" will kill your chances since the reader has to remove this stuff. The prettiest thing you can send an agent/editor/publisher is a decent book.
Most epublishers prefer Book Antiqua in 12" font, in RTF format with no spaces. I read an article two days ago where writers are submitting resumes and cover letters in white font. I mean...really?

3. Read submission guidelines carefully. AND FOLLOW THEM.

4. Don't send out weird gimmicks via snail mail. One author I know sent a single shoe to potential agents and publishers saying she would "go the distance to succeed." What can anyone do with a single shoe but toss it?

5. Don't send bribe gifts, even candy. Editors, agents and publishers are strangers and won't eat the candy. They will toss them out.

6. Don't badger the editor/publisher once you've submitted. They are busy and get slammed. Be patient and start work on the next thing!

7. Think long-term. If you are going to write romance, your story must have a HEA (Happy ever after) or HFN (Happy for Now) and leave room for a sequel. I had no idea my first book Phantom Lover would take off but with 14 books published in the series and a Christmas title in the works, I am glad I observed the forumula.

8. Read. I mean it. Read good authors. It's important to read the best and that doesn't mean you have to read in the genre you choose.

9. If you get a rejection and the editor/publisher takes the time to point out problems and invites you to resub - do it!
This is probably the most difficult decision you will have to make as an author. I always think the writer should be true to the characters. If the suggestions feel really wrong and you feel strongly about NOT reworking the piece, submit it elsewhere.
You night find the next publishing house loves the piece. Great! However, if several companies point out the same problem, it's time to revise.

10. Have fun! Get published and above all WRITE SOMETHING EVERY DAY. Writing is an instrument, like playing violin or the piano. Keep your instrument sharp.

Good luck and good loving everyone - you have any tips you want to share??

Aloha oe,



CynStorm said...

I am sad that the blog is closing down. I love to come here to read what you all are up too.

AJ thank you so much for the do's and don'ts! Very useful and appreciated. :0) I am sure new authors out there will find it helpful.

See you all soon!


Serena Yates said...

I'm very sorry to see this blog closed down. It has been very interesting and I want to thank everyone for their contributions.

AJ, I always enjoy your thoughts, stories and tips and will miss them here. I hope you will pick up somewhere else?

The only tip I would add is: don't give up! Writing is hard work and it can take several rejections and more than a few months until you get your first break. And even then nothing is guaranteed. So: keep at it!


Silver Pixies said...


How do I say goodbye to what we had?
The good times that made us laugh
Outweigh the bad.

I thought we'd get to see forever
But forever's gone away
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

I don't know where this road
Is going to lead
All I know is where we've been
And what we've been through.

If we get to see tomorrow
I hope it's worth all the wait
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

And I'll take with me the memories
To be my sunshine after the rain
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

And I'll take with me the memories
To be my sunshine after the rain
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

I will miss your words of wisdom AJ! I hope you get the chance to pick up another blog to share your wisdom.

ElaineG said...

I too will be sad to see this blog go:(....It was one of the first ones I read that I decided to chime in on. As for you AJ? I will follow you, wherever you may go cause I loves ya! See you on your site...I am there all the time (which is how I learned about this amazing blog).

To CR, Johanna, Stephanie, Lynn, Erin, Courtney, Annie and Patti? I have completely enjoyed each and every post you all have made, and I will be looking up your websites post-haste. You are all amazingly talented and funny and insightful and I am so happy to have reaped the rewards of your efforts. Thanks to all of you it's been fun.

Erin Sinclair said...


What a kind thing to say and thank you! You'll be able to find me and all the rest of us all around the web so feel to say Hi! LOL

We're all on the most popular social websites, Facebook, My Space, Twitter, etc.

I'm gearing up my own blog...From My Corner and once I get it going I'm sending invites for to all my fellow author friends to participate as well as run contests and so forth so stay tuned! The reason I'm leaving is that along with pulling a full time job I'm gearing up for University and pulling a double major if I can swing it which will limit my ability to be on line consistently.

Thank you and all of the fans of The Many Shades of Life and Love for your readership and support.


I'm right there with you dialogue dialogue dialogue MUST be real. When I read bad dialogue it's like listening to really bad actors acting really badly, it makes me want to rip my hair out. :-/


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