My Submission Bounced Back. What Do I Do?

The email address for your submissions department came back undeliverable. I addressed it to [name deleted]..as I found on your [name deleted] submissions address. My question is this...I sent the first 12 chapters of my manuscript entitled "[name deleted]" to [name deleted] on Nov. 21,2011, with query letter,etc. Since then, I have completed the final chapter...#23.

Since the email came back undeliverable, I am now wondering if the manuscript even arrived at the right place. Should I send the remaining chapters, or should I just send the chapters 13-23, or should I wait and make sure this has been accepted for publication.

There are some issues with your questions. Since your email brings up several mistakes that new authors often make, I'll address each one separately.

I went to the website of the publisher you mentioned and will answer your questions according to their website submission guidelines. For other readers, please note that different publishers have different guidelines. The point of this post is to do your research on the publisher you're submitting to and follow their guidelines.

  1. The email was sent to me at the LDS Publisher email address, but addressed to me as if I were the editor at the company whose name has been deleted. I am not that person. I am an anonymous blogger. Sending this email to me here at the blog tells me that you didn't research as well as you could have. (For more information, see my mini-rant from yesterday.)

  2. Unless you met with this editor in person or you were at a writers conference where they gave you a submissions email address and requested specifically that you send your manuscript in the way that you did, then you didn't follow their guidelines. Therefore, your email may have been automatically deleted, if it arrived at all.

  3. This publisher's website specifically states that you should mail a query letter and an outline or table of contents. Mail—as in print a hard copy, put it in an envelope, and mail it to their physical address, as posted on their website.

  4. They also accept partial manuscripts of 2 to 3 chapters. Not the first 12 chapters. Unless the editor specifically requested that you send the entire book, you sent too much.

  5. Always wait until requested to send more than the query, the outline, and first few chapters.

  6. If you're sending fiction, never send a query for an unfinished work. If it's non-fiction, you can get away with an unfinished book—sometimes. As a new author, it's always better to have a finished product.

  7. Publishers and editors will need to see the entire manuscript before accepting it for publication. But generally, they don't want to see the whole thing at the initial query/submission stage.

  8. If your email came back undeliverable, chances are they did not receive it. Rather than resending the entire book, I suggest you go back to their website and find their submission guidelines. Read them carefully and then follow them to the letter.


I Am NOT the Editor at Deseret Book...

This is me.


I am an anonymous blogger who speaks to issues on getting published in the LDS industry.

Even if I were an editor at Deseret Book, I would never admit it through the avenues of this blog. Nor would I respond to emails sent to me here, but addressing me as my real-life counterpart.

The reason I'm reiterating this (and believe me REiterating is the correct usage in this case, as opposed to iterating, which is usually adequate) is because lately, I've been getting a LOT of emails addressed directly to various editors for Deseret Book or inquiring as to the status of a DB submission, but using MY ldspublisher email address.

It's not completely unheard of that someone emails me here thinking I'm a particular editor at one of the LDS publishing companies. BUT, the fact that I'm getting so many lately specifically for Deseret Book employees makes me wonder if someone hasn't posted their theory that I work for Deseret Book somewhere and said it with enough authority that others believe it to be true.

Shame on you, if you did that. Because 1) you're giving bad advice to new authors by telling them to contact a particular company in any way other than what they officially state on their website, and 2) it's just rude to try and out me!

So if you've done this—well-meaning or not—STOP IT! Correct it! And don't do it again!

Please. :)

For the record:

Yes, I do work for a publishing company. And if you happen to get it right, I do forward the email to the appropriate person.

But most of the time, you get it wrong and when you do, I am no more able to contact the correct person than you are.

And even when you do get it right, and I AM the person you need to address in real-life, the fact that you try to contact me through this avenue tells me that you're not a professional and you haven't done your homework and you're going to need more hand-holding than I really want to give. I may still accept your manuscript, but I'm going to do it reluctantly.


Wrapping Up 2011

I'm trying to get the 2011 Fiction list wrapped up and as complete as possible this week. I usually post that list over on LDS Fiction on Dec 31st, but then it's too late to encourage Whitney nominations—so I'm shooting for this Friday.

That way, you have the full list in front of you and can make last minute nominations for your favorite books.

Trust me. The Whitney people LOVE last minute nominations. They will thank you for them.

(That is only slightly sarcastic. They would really rather you nominate all year long, but any nomination before the end of the year will be considered.)

(For details on Whitneys & nominations, click here.)

But I digress. This is not a post about the Whitneys. It's a post about the 2011 LDS Fiction list. This list is for fiction titles written by LDS authors and published in 2011.

I currently have 275 titles on the 2011 Fiction list. That's a lot. But, unfortunately, I'm sure I've missed a few.

That's where YOU ride to my rescue!

Please take a moment (or 10) and go visit the LDS Fiction blog. Scroll down to view the 2011 Fiction list in the sidebar. If you know of any book that belongs on this list—and it's missing—please, please, please send me info about it. (Link to info I need.)

As far as I know, the current list is complete. I am not aware of any other books being released through the end of this year. Please correct me if I'm wrong by sending an e-mail ASAP or by posting the title of the book and the author's name in the comments of this post.

Thanks so much for your help!

Oh, and P.S. Some authors believe that if their book has a post on the LDS Fiction blog, that means they're automatically nominated for a Whitney. This is not true. My blogs have no official connection with the Whitney Awards. The LDS Fiction blog is simply to make readers aware that a book exists. It's up to the reader of the book to nominate it for a Whitney. (Authors and publishers may not nominate their own books.)


Give Books for Christmas Giveaway Hop Winner

First, I want to apologize for not being very active here this month. It's been crazy at work and everyone's been trying to wrap up the end of the year so that today will be our last official work day and we can play until January. I think I'm just about there...

And now for the winner of Stolen Christmas:

Congratulations to

Maria Hoagland

Send me your mailing address and I'll ship that right out to you.


December 2011 Prize Sponsors

Last month's prize winners announced HERE.

Please take a moment to learn more about this month's wonderfully generous sponsors.

The Death of a Disco Dancer by David Clark

One night, eleven-year-old Todd Whitman receives a terrifying but hilarious midnight visitor: his cockatoo-plumed, dementia-stricken, John Travolta-smitten Grandma Carter. In constant nocturnal search of the mysterious "Dancer," Grandma clutches her absurdly precious Saturday Night Fever album cover and giggles her way through the dance steps of her youth.

When forty-something Todd returns home to help his dying mother, he reflects on that pivotal summer of 1981: the unique relationship he developed with his grandmother, the chaos of finding his place in a large Mormon family, the near misses of impressing the one-and-only Jenny Gillette, and the utter social catastrophe of junior high.

David Clark is a terrible dancer, former fake fighter, and recovering oranger. His oranging career effectively ended when he was intercepted and physically detained in a dark alley by a victimized college football player and was then forced to either rat out his friends or have his arm broken. His friends have still not forgiven him.

He is now engaged in much safer pursuits as a corporate lawyer and formerly served as the general counsel of a major international media company, and has practiced law and lived in New York City and San Diego. He now resides with his family in his hometown, Mesa, Arizona.

Fire in the Pasture by Tyler Chadwick, ed.

"…the bounty of [this] anthology reminded me of Christ’s generosity in feeding the five thousand. Christ took real substances—a little bread, two small fish—and he created from them…food that nourished the people and made it possible for them to return to their lives both physically and spiritually renewed. Poets take matter (language, emotion, thought, experience) and make of that matter a new creation, a work of art that did not exist before the poet organized it, a work that has the potential (each poet hopes) to nourish—to make readers see what they did not see before, to offer insight, to create empathy, to provoke thought, or to express beauty, soundness, depth. To offer abundance in place of scarcity." —from the Foreword by Susan Elizabeth Howe

Fire in the Pasture includes works from over 80 poets. See complete list here.

Tyler Chadwick spearheaded the Mormon Poetry Project, collecting works from a wide variety of 21st century LDS poets. Originally from Utah, Chadwick now lives with his wife in Idaho, where he is a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Idaho State University.

Latter-day Liberty by Connor Boyack

Individual liberty is a fundamental aspect of the good news of the gospel. But what is liberty exactly, and what role does it play in our lives? Connor Boyack explores these questions and much more in this detailed analysis of historical developments, secular information, and scriptural insights. The war in heaven continues on earth today, and our agency and liberty are under attack.

A fundamental aspect of the good news of the gospel is the message of liberty. As President Joseph F. Smith said, “The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of freedom; the gospel of the Son of God is the gospel of liberty.” Men of God, both ancient and modern, have spoken on this issue repeatedly. Latter-Day Liberty: A Gospel Approach to Government and Politics provides an analysis of what liberty is and how it applies to government and politics, using logic, reason, and secular sources of information, in addition to the abundant scriptures and statements from prophets and apostles which relate to these issues.

Connor Boyack is a web developer, political economist, and social media consultant focused on advancing the cause of liberty. Best known for his blog at www.connorboyack.com, he currently serves as the state coordinator for the Tenth Amendment Center in Utah. He is a frequent guest on radio shows and regularly publishes opinion pieces in a variety of newspapers and websites.

A California native and Brigham Young University graduate, Connor currently resides in Lehi, Utah, with his wife and two children.

Monsters & Mormons by Wm Morris & Theric Jepson, ed.

Thirty Tales of Adventure and Terror.

Run the gamut of battling demons, ghosts, zombie apocalypse, aliens, golems, ninja monkeys, mad scientists, cyborgs and more!

Authors include Nathan Shumate, David J. West, Graham Bradley, Eric James Stone, Dan Wells, and many others.

Click here for a complete list of authors and story titles.

Wm Morris blogs at A Motley Vision, where he keeps an eye on the world of Mormon arts and culture. He is a PR professional working at a nonprofit, private technical college in Minneapolis. Neither the 19th century socialist poet, artist and designer nor the leviathan talent agency, but he has a foot in both of the worlds they represent.

Theric Jepson, another AMV blogger, has been blogging since 2005, but he’s been a gadfly-in-the-making for much, much longer. Most of his professional publications have been under his legal name, Eric W Jepson, but online he is better known by a variety of monikers beginning with the digraph th. You can read his personal blog at Thmazing's Thutopia.

CLICK HERE for details on how to win these books.

CLICK HERE for details on sponsoring the contest.

November 2011 Prize Winners

Here are the randomly selected winners of last month's Comment Contest.

Thanks again to our sponsors. Please take a moment to read their info here.

Hidden in the Heart


Roseanne E. Wilkins

Winner: Rebecca H. Jamison

Commenting on: "Creating Your Own Facebook Fanpage, Part 1"

NYC: Murder Brooklyn Style


Loraine Scott

Winner: Rachel Kirkaldie

Commenting on: "Haven't You Always Wanted to Write a Book?"

Pride and Popularity


Jenni James

Winner: Gina

Commenting on: "Haven't You Always Wanted to Write a Book?"

Rearview Mirror


Stephanie Black

Winner: Stephanie
(No, not the same Stephanie)

Commenting on: "Supporting Your Facebook Friends"

To claim your prize, you must e-mail your mailing address to me by Thursday, December 8, 2011.

(Unclaimed prizes will be up for grabs later.)

Click here to learn how you can win a copy of one of our sponsoring books.

Click here for details on sponsoring the LDS Publisher blogs.


Last Day of NaNoWriMo

Today's the last day to write!

I'm done, but I didn't win this year. I'm at 20,000 words and heading out of town tomorrow so I have to pack. Plus there's no way I can write 30,000 coherent words in a day.

But I had fun. How about you? Who's done? Who's still writing as fast as their fingers can type?


Give Books for Christmas Giveaway Hop!

Oh, hi. I'm doing the Give Books for Christmas Giveaway Hop!

I don't usually do things like this. In fact, I don't think I've ever participated in a blog hop before.

And I may never do it again. We'll see.

But I was invited to participate in this one through Facebook (that Facebook is a neat thing, isn't it?), so I decided to give it a try because this hop is right up my alley.

And it's right up your alley, too—because ALL THE PRIZES are BOOKS!

This seems like a great way to draw attention to your book, if you're a published author, and/or get more traffic to your blog if you're unpublished.

If you want to be a blog that people hop to, go sign up here. If you want to hop around the blogs to enter to win the prizes, just click on the links below and enter to win on each blog.

So, I'm giving away a copy of Stolen Christmas & Other Stories of the Season.

This is the first Christmas collection of short stories gleaned from the contests held here at LDS Publisher.

(Yes, there will be a second collection available for Christmas gift giving in 2012.)

Here's the blurb:
What happens when you’re so poor you have to steal your Christmas presents? Have you ever taken a punch in the face as your Christmas gift to the girl you love? Or saved Christmas while hunting were-weevils?

These award-winning Christmas stories are the best of the best from the LDS Publisher Christmas Story Contests. From Christmases past, to present, to future; from sweet and inspirational, to zany and delightful—there’s a story for everyone in this eclectic collection.

Contributing authors are: Roger Bonner, Don Carey, Laura Craner, Joyce DiPastena, Sarah M. Eden, L.T. Elliot, Gussie Fick, Melanie Goldmund, M. Gray, Taegyn Hutchinson, Angie Lofthouse, Lori Nawyn, Tristi Pinkston, Brian C. Ricks, Sandra Sorenson, Janice Sperry, and Christine Thackeray.

To be entered to win this book, you need to:
  1. Follow this blog and/or the LDS Fiction blog.

  2. Commit to giving at least one book by an LDS author as a Christmas gift this year. (List the title and author in the comments section of this post.)

Deadline to enter: Thursday, December 15, 2011.

US and International entries allowed. If the winner is in the US, you may choose either a print book or an ebook; if international, winner will receive an ebook.

Or if you can't wait, you can always purchase the book at CreateSpace or Smashwords.


Call for Christmas Stories

Nope. It's not for a contest here on LDS Publisher, but...

Michael Young is looking for 12 short stories for a Christmas anthology to be published next year. Each story has to incorporate a Christmas song.

The songs already taken are:
  • O Christmas Tree

  • I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

  • The Little Drummer Boy

Here are the details (per Michael):

12 short stories, each one based on a Christmas song. The song would also be the title.

NOTE: I will only include one story based on each song. The best way I see around this is to email me and let me know what song you will like and I will post the taken songs on my website. Any genre that meats the guidelines is acceptable.

Length: 1000 – 10,000 words

Content: No profanity, graphic violence, or erotic situations. Should be ‘family friendly’.

Deadline: March 31st, 2012

To be published: December 2012

Send submissions to thecanticlekingdom@gmail.com. Please include your full name, phone number, email address and website (if applicable).

Files should be written in 12 point font, double spaced, with pages numbered and a running headed with the author’s name and title across the top.

By submitting your work, you grant me one-time publishing rights if selected. The anthology will only go through if there are a sufficient number of entries received.

Each entry will receive feedback from me, and some may be accepted pending revisions.

Those selected will be notified no later than June 1st, 2012.

Conditions subject to change.

All the proceeds will be donated to the National Down Syndrome Society.

Michael D. Young is the author of the novels The Canticle Kingdom and The Last Archangel. He is also the author of the inspirational pamphlet "Portrait of a Mother". His work has been featured in various online and print magazines such as Mindflights, The New Era, Allegory, and Ensign. You can visit him at his website, www.writermike.com, and his facebook fanpage, http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung.


Friday Funny: NaNo Style

A salesman walked up to a Nanowrimo
participant's house and rang the doorbell.

No one answered.

~John Waverly


Finding God Among Witches, Ghosts and Serial Killers by Michaelbrent Collings

I am often asked how I come up with my ideas. The answers range. For my book RUN, I visited a working silver mine and decided that I had to write a book that had a chase scene set in a mine.

For my young adult novel Billy: Messenger of Powers, I got the idea when my wife told me in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t write something that did NOT involve people running away from serial killers, ghosts, or other malcontents (i.e., she wanted something she could read without having to put the police on speed-dial and turning on all the lights in the house first), she was going to divorce me. I took those words to heart, and wrote Billy: Messenger of Powers. So apparently ideas can come from a variety of places, and be fruitful and effective.

There is another question I am occasionally asked, however, that fascinates me even more than “How do you get your ideas?” That question is: “How do you write about such (at times) horrific things… and still claim that you are a religious person?”

The answer: Very easily.

I am a deeply religious person. I go to church every single week, I have held numerous ecclesiastical positions, and I even served as an unpaid, full-time missionary for my church. So it is no surprise (to me at least) that my faith colors everything I do… even when I’m writing about a serial killer.

Often, in fact, both the villains AND the heroes of my works are people “of faith.” Again, using the book RUN as an example, one of the heroes is a man named Adam (yes, the biblical name is on purpose) whose sole purpose is nothing less than securing the safety of humanity as a species. In so doing, he is constantly faced by choices that he must answer within his moral framework.

On the flip side of the coin, the antagonist of the book is a man named Malachi (again, not a coincidence), who views it as a mission from God to destroy all life on the planet. Together, these men serve as a kind of spectrum of theological thought, and allow me to treat religious questions from within the framework of (hopefully) an exciting novel.

Not that RUN is preachy. At least, I hope it isn’t. But I have found that as a writer, it is not only a fruitless quest to “divorce” myself from my spirituality, it actually makes for a much more interesting, layered book when questions of faith and belief are discussed. Most people, in the U.S. at least, still count themselves as people with some religious or spiritual belief, and so adding that dimension to my characters not only makes them more accessible, but more interesting and real.

Not only that, but using faith as a foundation for my writing allows me to draw on deep spiritual archetypes that would otherwise be unavailable to me. In Billy: Messenger of Powers, the main character is a young boy who discovers that he is the key player in a war between two sets of magical camps: the Dawnwalkers, who fight to perserve humanity’s freedom of choice; and the Darksiders, whose goal is to enslave all “normal” people. This consciously mirrors a key tenet of my own belief system: that God exists to give people freedom and allow them to discover their potential as His children, while the devil’s key aims are and always have been to bind human beings in chains of sin and misery. This belief is mirrored by many people globally, and having it in my story allows me to tap into subconscious beliefs that my reader’s have. This not only props up the plot of Billy: Messenger of Powers, but make it a better, deeper, and ultimately more thought-provoking and enjoyable read.

There are those who argue that the arts should be more secular – one only has to take a look at the average television network lineup to see how much religion has been stripped out of our daily lives when it comes to entertainment. But I think that art serves its best purposes when it reflects the purposes and values of the ultimate Creator. That is not to say that I believe everything has to be shiny and happy, or that every story can only have “good” people in it (I’m pretty sure that even the Bible has a bad guy or two in it).

But I DO think that it is our responsibility as artists and our privilege as children of God to create things that empower, edify, and enlighten. And the best way to do that is not to deny faith, but to embrace it and make it a living, breathing part of all that we do.

Michaelbrent is a bestselling novelist whose books RUN and Billy: Messenger of Powers have been amazon.com bestsellers. He is also a produced screenwriter and member of both the Writers Guild of America and the Horror Writers of America. His blog is at http://michaelbrentcollings.com/blog2.html, and you can follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michaelbrent-Collings/283851837365 or on twitter @mbcollings.


Friday Funny: NaNo Style

Question: Three people were sitting at the library with their laptops.

The first was typing away furiously the screen filling with words, many of them with red, squiggly lines underneath them.

The second glared at a mostly blank screen with bloodshot eyes.

The third typed a few words, then got up and browsed the shelves for a long time before returning and typing a few more words.

Which one is the true Nano participant?

Answer: All of them.


Haven't You Always Wanted to Write a Book?

Okay, I know it's not Friday, but I'm busy writing. I'm only at 5,110 words, but guess what? That's more than I did last year! How about you? What's your word count?


Tips for the Writing Mommy by Tristi Pinkston

I’m a stay-at-home mom, a homeschooler, the owner/operator of a bath and beauty company, I write blogs for Families.com, I’m the Wolf leader in my ward, and I’m an LDS historical fiction novelist. No wonder I’m so tired – after typing all that, I think I need to go take a nap.

People ask me all the time how I manage to balance everything. Well, truth be told, I don’t always. You don’t want to drop by my house unexpectedly or you’ll never know what you’ll find. We live in organized chaos. I stay up too late at night and I admit there are days when I feel like I’m chasing my tail. But there are a few things I’ve learned that I’d like to share with you in hopes that it will help make your schedule a little more conducive to writing. Or for that matter, finding time to do any other thing you’d like.

1 – Meals and Snacks

You don’t need to prepare an all-out meal from scratch three times a day. You can do cold cereal for breakfast once in a while, you know. You can also do cheese, crackers and lunch meat for lunch. I do try to prepare “actual dinners,” as my daughter puts it, and I do make breakfast and lunch, but on days when I’m seriously writing, I let mealtimes become more casual. Some ideas:

a. Keep yogurt in your fridge for a quick snack for you or the kids. Yogurt and a banana make a great breakfast, too.

b. Take a loaf of bread and make it into a whole stack of sandwiches. Then slide the sandwiches back into the bread sack. When someone needs a sandwich, they can just grab one out of the fridge.

c. Designate one crisper in your fridge to be a “snack drawer.” Fill it up with apples, cheese sticks, yogurt, etc. When your children want a snack, tell them to go get something out of the “snack drawer.” You can do the same thing in your cupboard. Make a basket with pretzels, crackers, etc. and have that be the special “snack basket.” You can take sandwich bags and break the boxes down into serving sizes and tell them they can have one, so they don’t run off with the whole box.

d. Make meals ahead of time and stick them in the freezer.

e. When I buy a package of meat, I like to cook it all up and then freeze it, cooked. That way, when I go to use it, I just have to warm it through instead of defrosting and then cooking it.

f. Make tomorrow’s dinner while you’re making tonight’s. Especially if you’re using cooked meat, you can assemble tomorrow’s dinner, cover it and put it in the fridge. Then just throw it in the oven tomorrow night.

g. Teach your older children how to make sandwiches, warm up soup, etc. They get a sense of pride in their accomplishments when they are allowed to help make a meal.

h. If you have younger children, make some sippy cups with milk, juice and water in them. Then when the child gets thirsty, they can either grab one themselves or you can send your older child to get it for them. It’s a lot less expensive than juice boxes, that’s for sure.

These are all things you can either direct from your computer or will help you spend less time in the kitchen = more time at the computer.

2 – Entertaining the Troops

a. It’s not a sin to let your children watch TV. I don’t mean to stick them in front of it for hours on end and let them watch whatever comes on; there are definite dangers in allowing entire days in front of the TV, and with the programming that’s on, you never know what they might be subjected to. But there are some fabulous programs on that are fun and educational, as well as great DVDs. My kids have learned a lot from shows like CyberChase, Stanley, Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street, The Magic School Bus, and the like. There’s nothing wrong with turning on the TV and letting your kids watch a show while you write.

b. Get some paper and crayons and let your kids “write” a book of their own while you’re working.

c. Ask older children to read to the younger ones.

3 – Adjusting Your Sleep

This one’s hard. But consider getting up earlier than your kids or staying up late after they go to bed. It will do a number on your own sleep but you’ll have a sense of contentment that may help make up for some of that lack.

4 – Housework

a. I have to get up and walk around periodically. So while I’m doing that, I’ll change out the laundry and put in a load of dishes. Usually by the time I’m done doing that, I’ll be ready to get back to work.

b. It’s not a sin to teach your children to do chores. The happiest children are the ones who feel that they are valuable in their homes and who have a sense of purpose. When you teach your children to do chores, you are helping them to feel needed. Of course, keep the chores age-appropriate. My 10-year-old can vacuum, and my 8-year-old can wipe up the bathroom mirrors and counter top. My five-year-old can unload the dishwasher. I even have my older kids stand on chairs to get the laundry out of the washer and put it in the dryer. They all love helping me make dinner. As they get older, I’ll teach them to do other things. This not only clears up five minutes of time for me here and there, but when we work together to turn a half-hour job into a ten-minute job (freeing up twenty minutes) we’re drawing closer together.

c. Reevaluate your thinking about housework. Mold is obviously not good. It’s important to have clean towels and clothes, and feeding your family is a good thing. But if you can give up something to give yourself time to write, think about doing it. Are there ways you could simplify your routines? Can you delegate more to your husbands? Can you put up with toys scattered across the floor for a little while so you can finish your chapter? Is it necessary to have all your dishes perfectly stacked all the time? When you’re on a roll with your book, it’s okay to let some things slide until you’re done.

5 – Organizing Your Time

Yeah, this tip’s not a piece of cake either. When you’ve got other people in the house and they have needs, it’s sometimes impossible to create the chunks of time you need.

a. One thing I do is to create Days. What I mean by that is, Wednesday, for instance, is Scout Day. After lunch I sit down and review what I need to do to prepare for the Scouts to come at 4:30. I’m not writing during this time, or grocery shopping, or anything else. It’s devoted to Scouts. I get ready for them to come, they come, and then after they leave, I look at next week’s meeting. I do any ahead-of-time prep work that needs doing, and if I need to buy something, I put it on my shopping list. I record what they got passed off and make notes on what they need to do next. Then, with the exception of getting whatever I might have put on the shopping list, I don’t think about it until the next Wednesday. Monday is the day I use to make the products for my business, unless I have an emergency order. When I was a Stampin’ Up! distributor, Tuesday was my prep day for that. Look at your life – are there certain tasks you can isolate to one day a week?

b. Create an errand day. I used to have the tendency to run out and do errands several times a week, and I found I was away from home a lot. Now what I do is designate an errand day. This usually coordinates with Pay Day. I’ll sit down and pay bills, and then I’ll go out and do all my grocery shopping, trip to the post office, to the bank (if needed) library, Blockbuster, etc, all at once. It makes for about a three-hour trip, but it’s better for me to get it done at once. Now, of course, in between times I still run to the library and Blockbuster (who could go for two weeks without books and movies?) and I do mail books and products as the orders come in. But I try to do it in chunks so that I’m home more often.

c. And again, with the sleep thing I already mentioned. I’m usually up until around 2 am, the main reason for this being that my husband works the night shift and so I like to stay up to see him off. But from 9:00 when all the kids are in bed (supposedly) until I wake my husband up to get ready for work, I can be at the computer, or reading a book, or watching a movie. With the book and movie reviews I write for Families.com, I need to make time for that in my schedule as well.

I think the main thing we need to do is find a way to create balance. You can write and take care of your children at the same time. I recently moved my computer into the living room (it was in my bedroom) so I could be in the thick of things. Right now, my two-year-old is five feet to my left, watching “Blue’s Clues.” I know he’s safe, I know he’s learning, and I’m writing. If you’re totally ignoring your kids in order to write, it won’t be as satisfactory to you. But if you totally ignore yourself and your own talents and ambitions, you won’t derive the kind of satisfaction from motherhood that you should. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your kids.

Tristi Pinkston is the author of eight published books, including the Secret Sisters mystery series. In addition to being a prolific author, Tristi also provides a variety of author services, including editing, coordinating blog tours, and online writing instruction. You can visit her at www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com or her website at www.tristipinkston.com.


What is a Book Bomb?

A "book bomb" is when an author or publisher asks readers to purchase a particular book from Amazon on a specific day. If enough readers cooperate, it pushes the book up in Amazon's rankings, giving it much more exposure than it would get if the same number of copies of the book were purchased over a longer period of time.

To schedule a book bomb, you use facebook, twitter, author newsletter lists, and other social media to get the word out: if you're going to buy this book from Amazon, do it on this date, please.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't—depends on how connected an author is, how much buzz they can generate, and how internet/media savvy their readership is. Sometimes an author or publisher will offer a reward for participation. Send them proof that you ordered and you're entered to win something cool, like an iPad or Kindle

A reasonable goal is to get the book to move up above 1,000 in Amazon's listing. You've done a great job if it shows up in Amazon's top 100 for it's genre. If you're really successful, it might even move to Amazon's top 100 books overall. If a book hits any these markers, it very likely that it will be picked up in Amazon's marketing and sent out in their promo emails to customers.

Some of you may have participated in the recent Book Bomb for Variant by Robison Wells. If you missed it, that's too bad. Here's what happened...

Coordinated by Larry Correia, the Book Bomb took place on Thursday, November 10th. The day before the bomb, Larry reported, "Last night Variant was at #6,068 overall out of six million some odd books, and #74 in his genre."

By the end of the day on Thursday, Variant was #57 on Amazon's Top 100 Book list, #10 in Teen Fantasy and #7 in Teen Sci-Fi.

I've watched Book Bombs play out before but I've never seen one be quite this successful. This is the power of social media in action! If you want to see the details, visit Larry's blog.


Writing Fiction: Using the Senses by Rebecca Talley

When writing fiction, it’s important to utilize as many of the senses as possible.

The more you can include the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste the more your readers will “feel” your story.

As writers, we tend to use sight most frequently. We describe what our characters see more often than any other sense. We are visual and that comes out in our writing.

The next most used sense is sound. We write what our characters can hear. This adds more dimension to our stories, especially when we combine it with sight. Usually, sight and sound seem to describe enough. However, we are shortchanging our readers when we only use sight and sound.

When I was a kid, I used to go to the beach all the time. I’d stop at the snack shop and for a few pennies I’d buy green apple bubble gum and chew it while I was at the beach. To this day, whenever I smell green apple bubble gum, I think of the beach. Similarly, whenever I smell a certain perfume I always think of my mother. Coffee and burned toast remind me of spending the night at my grandmother’s house. Think about smells in your life and how they remind you of certain events. The same can be true for your writing. You can evoke a certain mood by including specific scents.

You can also pull readers further into your story by including touch. Was something rough, smooth, cold, hot, slimy, sticky, or gritty? Including touch can enhance your scene and involve your reader more fully in your writing.

The same is true for taste. Can your character taste the salt on her lips while she walks along the seashore? What about the tinny taste of blood in your character’s mouth after he’s been hit in the face? Use taste to bring your scene to life.

To develop more sensitivity to your senses try keeping a sense journal for a few days, or longer. Write down everything you see, hear, touch, smell, or taste. You’ll find that as you keep this journal, you’ll become more aware of your senses and then you’ll be able to use them more effectively in your writing.

Rebecca Talley grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. She now lives in rural CO on a small ranch with a dog, a spoiled horse, too many cats, and a herd of goats. She and her husband, Del, are the proud parents of ten multi-talented and wildly-creative children. Rebecca is the author of a children's picture book "Grasshopper Pie" (WindRiver 2003), three novels, "Heaven Scent" (CFI 2008), "Altared Plans" (CFI 2009), and "The Upside of Down" (CFI 2011), and numerous magazine stories and articles. You can visit her blog at www.rebeccatalleywrites.blogspot.com.


Friday Funny: NaNo Style (plus something serious)

"Knock, Knock."

"Who's there?"


"Write who?"


"Uhm, yeah. You already said that. Write who?"



"Exactly, write whatever."

~John Waverly

And speaking of NaNo. Do you need a little extra support to get you going? Visit WriteChat.net.

What is WriteChat? "WriteChat is just a chat room for writers to…write. And chat. And share. And be pushed and spanked and whipped into accountability. It is for all genres and subgenres and subsubsubgenres."

Run by Elizabeth Beeton (aka Moriah Jovan), they feature 20 minute timed writing sprints, where you share your word count and a snippet of your work (if you want). According to Beeton, "It's been packed for NaNo. A couple of NYT bestsellers come in every day to get their word count in. We make sure the people are over 18 and make sure sensibilities are respected as to content and conversation. There are a bunch of specialty rooms and people can create their own rooms on the fly."

I'm going to be checking this out as I am—once again—sorely behind in my NaNo Word Count.


Supporting Your Facebook Friends

After reading Michael Young's posts on Facebook Fanpages, I hope all of you published (or very soon to be published) authors have created your fanpage.

Now it's time to spread the love.

If you have a Facebook Fanpage, paste your link in the comments. It doesn't have to be fully customized or functional yet. Just let us know it exists.

Readers, please go support your favorite authors by "liking" their fanpages.


Integrating Your Facebook Fanpage (Pt 3) by Michael Young

The last step in maximizing your Facebook Fanpage is to integrate that page into your website, blog and other social networking sites.

Phase 3: Integrating Your Page

1. Link to your new fanpage.
Put a link or button to your new fanpage on your regular Facebook profile, your blog, and anywhere else you can think of.

You can find some nice buttons and instructions for installing them at http://www.socialmediabuttons.com/. There are other places to get buttons too, but this is the one I use.

2. Sync your fan page.
If you like, you can sync many popular blogging platforms with your Facebook fanpage. I have my Blogger-based website to update my Facebook fanpage every time I write a new post with a link to that post on my fanpage wall.

[LDSP: A simple way to do this is using the Notes function on FB or an app like Networked Blogs. Both are quick, easy and automatic once you set them up. Fans can read your entire post without visiting your blog.

Or another option is to use a program like HootSuite. It takes a little more work, but it lets you schedule which blog posts to sync, including archived articles. HootSuite allows you to offer a teaser on your FB page, but then the reader has to click to your blog to read your actual article.

There are pros and cons to both options. Pick the one that works for you.]

There are many other aspects of a fanpage, but that should be enough to get you started. It is a great place to announce things and interact with fans.

You can take a look at what I have done at my page: http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung, or if you have any questions about how to set up and configure your own page, feel free to shoot me an email: thecanticlekingdom@gmail.com.

Good luck!

Michael D. Young is the author of the novels The Canticle Kingdom and The Last Archangel. He is also the author of the inspirational pamphlet "Portrait of a Mother". His work has been featured in various online and print magazines such as Mindflights, The New Era, Allegory, and Ensign. You can visit him at his website, www.writermike.com, and his facebook fanpage, http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung.


Customizing Your Facebook Fanpage (Pt 2) by Michael Young

After you've created your Facebook fanpage, you need to customize it to fit your needs and to maximize exposure of your books.

Phase 2: Customize Your Page

1. Add content to your page.
Upload videos and photos of you at book signings, readings, school visits—anything that provides evidence that “hey, I'm a real author.” I have a picture of each one of my books with a comment that has information about it and a purchase link.

Photo of my book.

2. Fill out the info section.
Include more links, and a little more about yourself as an author, including what sorts of books you like to read. I also include my author biography here.

3. Get 25 fans as quickly as you can.
You will not be able to get a custom URL for your Facebook page until you have at least 25 fans. Post on your main profile about your page, send out emails, post to other social networks—do whatever you can to get 25 fans (people who “like” your page) as quickly as possible.

4. Rename your URL with a custom name.
When you first create your page, its URL with be: www.facebook.com/pages/(something over which you have no control)

Not exactly something you can drop in a conversation or put on a bookmark. Once you have your 25 fans (likes), you can customize your URL.

To do this, click on “Edit Page” in the top right corner and then click on “Resources” on the left-hand menu. Finally, click on “Select a username”. You will then be able to choose a name, provided that it is not already taken.

NOTE: Think your name decision through very carefully. You with NOT be able to change it once you have set it.

I chose the name “authormichaelyoung” and now my URL reads http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung. Much easier.

5. Create Custom Tabs and Pages:
There are many free programs that will allow you to create custom tabs on your Facebook fanpage, which enhance the look and utility of the page. Here are a few I’ve used. (There are many more.)

  • http://www.pagemodo.com: The free version allows you to create a custom landing page that new visitors to your page will see. It is easy to customize and produces great results. (I have one for my page. If you haven’t “liked” it yet, you should see it when you pull it up. If you have, you can click on the “Welcome” tab to see it.)

  • http://www.rafflecopter.com: This is an amazing free site that allows you to create stress-free giveaways. They have instructions on their site once you have registered about how to create a “Giveaways” tab on your Facebook page. Check out my page to see what this looks like.

  • http://www.goodreads.com: If you search for Goodreads on Facebook, you can gain access to a free app that will display your books and reviews from Goodreads as a tab on your Facebook page. You need to register as an author as Goodreads.com first.

Tomorrow: Phase 3: Integrating Your Page

Michael D. Young is the author of the novels The Canticle Kingdom and The Last Archangel. He is also the author of the inspirational pamphlet "Portrait of a Mother". His work has been featured in various online and print magazines such as Mindflights, The New Era, Allegory, and Ensign. You can visit him at his website, www.writermike.com, and his facebook fanpage, http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung.


Creating Your Own Facebook Fanpage, Part 1 by Michael Young

This is part 1 of a 3 part tutorial on creating and customizing a Facebook Fanpage—something EVERY published author should have. ~LDSP

Let’s face it. As an author, you don’t necessarily want to share everything will your fans. You probably don’t want to them all to see every picture of your kids or the invite to your family barbecue with an occasional message about your writing.

Instead, you want to use your Facebook page to build your brand as a writer with a specific message to your specific fans. Luckily, building such a page is both simple and can be completely free.

Here is a list of simple steps that will take you from square one to...a much more advanced square.

Phase 1: Create Your Page

1. From your Facebook account, click on “Pages” on the left hand menu.

2. Click on the button that says “Create a Page”.

3. Select “Artist, Band or Public Figure” and then choose “Author” from the dropdown menu.

4. Choose a name and agree to the terms.

5. Choose a profile image. (The cover of one of your books works well, or your author headshot)

6. Invite your friends and announce the creation of your page on your main profile.

7. Enter the address of your website or blog and a short description that gives visitors an idea of what you write.

8. Viola! Your page is born.

Tomorrow: Phase 2: Customize Your Page

Michael D. Young is the author of the novels The Canticle Kingdom and The Last Archangel. He is also the author of the inspirational pamphlet "Portrait of a Mother". His work has been featured in various online and print magazines such as Mindflights, The New Era, Allegory, and Ensign. You can visit him at his website, www.writermike.com, and his facebook fanpage, http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung.


Friday Funny: NaNo Style

A Nanowrimo participant and her daughter were out trick or treating. A man opened the door and said to the little girl, "What are you supposed to be?"

"A ballerina," she said as she twirled in a circle. He dropped a piece of candy in her bag.

"And what are you supposed to be?" he asked the older woman who was wearing vampire teeth, had quotes pinned to her shirt, and was carrying a dictionary.

"I'm the Word Count," the woman said with a thick, fake accent.

"Aren't you a little old to be trick or treating?"

"Probably, but I'm going to need all the chocolate I can get."


Selling Short Stories (pt 2)

Do you know of any markets for short stories?

Magazines are the largest markets for short stories. Check the current Novel & Short Story Writer's Market. You can usually find these at your local library. Some libraries will let you check them out, others won't—so bring pen & paper, or change for the copy machine.

Not only does this resource book list places to sell your short stories, it also contains writing tips and hints for polishing your work and how to submit.

As for anthologies, try googling "short story anthology submissions" to find sites that are looking for stories to publish. You can also google "short story contests." Many of these contests are seeking submissions for an anthology or will publish the winners. While contests will often have a submission fee, a legit publisher simply calling for anthology submissions will not require an entry fee, an edit fee, or that you purchase published copies of the book. Some of these anthologies pay cash, others pay in copies.

A few annual contests and anthologies that are particularly interested in LDS writers are:

There are also some national contests, like:
This is a quick and very short list I found by googling "short story contests". You can also google by genre, for example "romance short story contest".

Readers, if you know of a call for short story submissions that is open right now, please put the link in the comments.