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Weekly Wrap: Taking Our Next Steps.

By Posted on 9 2 m read 746 views

Here’s a secret about me. If I don’t know what to do next, I’m happy to turn to my horoscope or use Neil Gaiman’s magic 8 ball. Why do I do this? Because moving in any direction at all is better than drumming my fingers. (Can you tell I’m an Aries?) In my experience, there are many, many right moves to make. You just have to get started and take a step.

Maybe, after finishing your manuscript, you’ve done what many do, which is to stick the manuscript in a drawer for a month so you can read it with fresh eyes. But during that month, join Publishers Marketplace and research agents. Read Miss Snark’s blog and learn tips for querying. Go to local readings and talk with the authors and editors there. Write your back cover blurb. Write your one-line elevator pitch. Work on your next book. Get yourself in shape for your book tour. And most importantly, tell people where you are in the process. You might be surprised by how many would be happy to open doors for you.

Finally: believe in yourself. You wouldn’t have wasted all that time if you didn’t have something to say. Take that next step with confidence!

P.S. If you missed this link in the comments section, it’s worth it to put those rejection slips into perspective: Joshua Bell plays in the subway.


My boys and I spend too much time lately watching Criss Angel videos on YouTube. These videos make me laugh so hard, and some weeks, I need help remembering how to laugh:


Thank you for your answers to the Question of the Week: Claire Cameron, amy, Elizabeth Alan, lance reynald, Aurelio, Ric Marion, Nicole, Lori Oliva, Silvia, A.S. King, Robin Slick, Carolyn Burns Bass, Lauren, Ronlyn Domingue, Noria, Karen Dionne, Kaytie, Simon Haynes, PD Smith, Julie Ann Shapiro, wendi aarons, Jody Reale, Juliet, Jordan E. Rosenfeld, Daryl, Suzanne, Karen Dionne, billie, Darrin, Anneliese, and David Niall Wilson.

And thank you to Lori Oliva for kicking off such a great discussion!

See you Monday with a new question.

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  • Ellen Meister
    April 20, 2007

    Those videos! Hilarious. My boys will love them. Gotta keep precious girl away, though. She’d have ten heart attacks.

    Sorry I haven’t been around much. I’m looking forward to that “finishing your manuscript” stage. I’ll do many of those things you mention … and also post on LitPark.


  • Robin Slick
    April 20, 2007

    I missed the Joshua Bell link first time around – oh my god, I was fascinated and wow…that was a brilliantly written article.

    Ha ha – that Gaiman magic 8 ball doesn’t work for me; it just reminds me what an idiot I am every time I go to shake it. I half expect it to say “Robin, you are a daft hussy. Why not grow up, stop stalking my site, and start a new novel instead of moaning and groaning and biting your fingernails off over the status of your present one.”

    Err…okay. Btw, Neil is reading in my backyard on Tuesday night at Bryn Mawr College but I think it’s only open to students and faculty. Damn! Cos’ you know I’d be there otherwise. My luck I leave for Houston the following day for a week at RT while he’s in NYC doing all those great readings with Jonathan Ames as MC, etc. which I normally would not have missed for the world, either. I’m getting really fed up with my higher power’s twisted sense of humor.

    Oh well, have a great weekend — and no one should miss Sue’s piece in Fresh Yarn this week. It’s truly wonderful.


  • Nicole
    April 20, 2007

    I think my one-line elevator pitch might need work … it’s currently:

    “I’m sorry, I need to get drunk before I can talk about my book.”

    Thanks again for a great week.

  • Carolyn Burns Bass
    April 20, 2007

    It’s all so wonderful: the big idea, the writing, the revising, the polishing, the feeling when you type THE END. Then comes the selling part.

    On a side note. It’s raining here in SoCal this morning. I am beside myself with joy. There’s something about the patter of rain on my roof that matches the keystrokes in my brain. I love to write when it’s raining.

  • Julie Ann Shapiro
    April 20, 2007

    Carol – I loved the rain too.

    This what next is a good question. I’ve trying to figure that one out as a I near final edits on my third novel. I’m for an agent wrestling with the idea of expanding a couple of my stories. I think it will be something more with animals. Whether it will long or short stories – who knows. Maybe more of a hybrid – novel in stories.

  • Julie Ann Shapiro
    April 20, 2007

    Darn – another typo. I meant looking for an agent. I guess that was obvious or maybe not. Also, looking for a small press for my first novel.

  • Julie Ann Shapiro
    April 20, 2007

    And taking a full time job again in marketing communications. There goes my cyber time – but not the writing time – they’ll always be time for that.

  • Susan Henderson
    April 20, 2007

    Ellen – I KNOW your boys will love Criss Angel. Wait till you see him go through a wood chipper! I just want to be free of any responsibility for how he influences them.

    Good luck in the homestretch with your manuscript!

    Robin – Isn’t that just an incredible article/experiment?

    (Oh, and I just shook the 8-ball specifically for you and your book deal, and here you go: I would appreciate it enormously and show my appreciation with something wonderful whenever I see you again (it will happen, eventually).)

    Nicole – HA!

    Carolyn – My favorite weather: thunderstorms. Although, lately, I’m yearning for some sun.

    Julie – Hee. Just so you know, I’m totally cool with typos. Don’t sweat it.

  • n.l. belardes
    April 22, 2007

    Thanks for stopping by la bloga…

Susan Henderson