Tag Archives: novelist

Guest Post by Marcie Connelly Lynn


My friend Marcie and her husband David live aboard a sailboat and are traveling the globe. They have one last long passage to make to complete a circumnavigation of the earth,  that last leg from Australia to the southern tip of Africa. They have sailed from Africa east past South America via the Panama Canal to Australia, where they are now–and a zillion points in between–over more than a decade.

I asked Marcie to write a guest blog, since she is a published author. She and her husband both have sold many magazine articles. Furthermore, Marcie is an accomplished (and published) photographer. She has LOTS to share for those aspiring to do the same. Read up and enjoy!!!

I must have at least four books in the works at the moment … all of them in various stages of “incomplete”. There’s a cookbook which needs a rewrite and an update; a novel based on fact; an anthology of sailing stories and another mystery novel which revolves around our life at sea. What keeps me actively writing though is our daily blog, our website and freelance writing for magazines.
Marcie and David 2012 Australia

My husband and I have lived aboard a sailboat for the last 13 years, very slowly traveling around the world. Writing has always been a passion for me, so it was only natural that I’d keep personal journals and continue writing as we sailed from place to place. Now I post our experiences daily and write articles for publication.

Want to take a stab at getting published in a magazine? Try this.

  1. Determine an area of expertise or interest. Figure out what you’d like to write about. Do you have a hobby? Are you a parent? Do you sail? Do you like to travel? Do you have pets? Are you a farmer, a hairdresser, a welder, a 50+ retiree?  Obviously, the more you know or care about your topic, the more it will show in your writing.
  2. Research what journals or magazines cater to this interest. There are magazines out there for every interest imaginable. Don’t forget to research regional magazines for your area. They’re smaller and may be more interested in your articles than national journals. Think outside of the box. We tend to write for sailing magazines because we sail and live on a boat, but I’ve submitted articles to cat magazines because we used to have a cat aboard. I submit articles to travel magazines. I’ve even submitted funny anecdotes to Reader’s Digest.
  3. Obtain the Writer’s Guidelines for those magazines of interest. This is key. Some magazines are very specific as to the length of the piece, the format in which it should be submitted, whether photos are required, their terms and amounts of their payment. The links below this post provide lists of magazines and their guidelines. These lists are not exhaustive by any means, but they’ll give you an idea of what’s out there.
  4. Get a copy of the magazine(s) in which you’re interested. Read it. See what types of articles they publish. Get a feel for the mood of the pieces. Are they serious? Whimsical? First person anecdotes? Determine what “departments” they have that might prove suitable for the article you want to write.
  5. Figure out your angle. Magazine articles usually do one or more of these things: inform, persuade, instruct or entertain. I tend to write informational/entertainment pieces on the places we visit. My husband, David, writes how-to pieces (instruction) on various topics relating to the boat. Write your article.
  6. Proper grammar, spelling, punctuation required…need I say more?
  7. Research your topic carefully. If you’re using facts and/or statistics to give some depth and color to your article, make sure you document them well and provide the source if necessary.
  8. Many magazines will accept articles on “spec”. Others prefer you send a query. I call this a teaser. Tell them in a short, succinct paragraph what you intend to write about and why it will be of interest to their readers. They’ll  review what you send them and get back to you if they’re interested. Send your best piece. Make the teaser irresistible. Then write the article. Make sure it’s ready to go.  If you don’t hear from the publisher within a couple of weeks, send them a reminder, asking their level of interest. Caution: Do NOT send the same query to several magazines at once. Be patient and submit to one publisher at a time. If two or more magazines should happen to accept your article or idea and you have to tell one of them “no”, you probably won’t get another stab at that magazine. If you don’t hear in a month after a reminder, consider it dead and move on.
  9. Don’t be discouraged if you get a “reject” notice. It’s common. Not every article received can be published. Find another magazine and send them the same teaser. We’ve had several articles rejected by one journal which were happily accepted by another. 
  10. If you get a bite and some interest in your teaser, respond immediately. Some will ask you to do a rewrite. Cut it down here…expound a little there. Get on it right away. We’ve had situations where the publisher delayed in responding and then we received an urgent email saying, “Oh, didn’t I tell you? We need your article for the next publication. Can you send it and all photos today?”  Needless to say, having the article written and ready to go was key.  We scurried, but got it done.

I doubt you’ll get rich from writing for magazines. We certainly don’t, although we usually succeed in having about six to eight articles published each year. We average ~$300-500 per article. You will, however, see your article in print, promote yourself, build confidence and polish your writing skills. Sometimes that’s enough!

About Marcie…

Marcie & David Lynn have lived aboard “Nine of Cups” since 2000. They’ve sailed over 70,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans  and visited hundreds of anchorages and ports in their travels. They’re currently down under in Tasmania. Marcie writes a daily blog www.justalittlefurther.com and maintains a website www.nineofcups.com. Both David and Marcie contribute regularly to Ocean Navigator and Good Old Boat magazines.

Www.oceannavigator.com

http://www.goodoldboat.com

Writer’s resources

http://www.freelancewriting.com/guidelines/pages/index.php

http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/markets/online-guidelinesMO.htm#MMM

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When Life Throws You a Curve Ball


It’s crazy. Just when I have plotted out my life for the next umpteen months and settled back to work the plan, Life throws me a curve ball. It shouldn’t surprise me.

Enough seasons have passed through my earth-bound existence that I should know better than to think any long-term plan will play out exactly as I have envisioned it. It must be the optimist in me, for I keep planning.

Or maybe it’s my insanity. You know the old definition of lunacy: doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome.

However, my recent roadblocks are just that–little obstacles. The unanticipated hiccups don’t really change my plans. My destination is still the same: write books. Now, I will have a few detours through unfamiliar neighborhoods. That can be a good thing, right? It adds color, dimensions, flavor to my collection of life experience.

I’ll stop rambling and be more concrete.

I make my living by farming. I make hay, cut wood, and grow vegetables for selling. This year I planned to add the sale of landscaping stone to my product line. Due to another hiccup in my life plan, my way of making a living was to be more important than ever in 2013. But. . . .

Karma has other plans. I have torn my rotator cuff. I am scheduled for surgery soon and will be convalescing for six months afterward. No farming this season. No farming means no income.

Thankfully, there is nothing wrong with my brain. So I have to ask myself, is the Universe clearing a path for me to write?

Get Money for Your Creative Project


Let me introduce you to Kickstarter, the venture capital site for creative projects. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  www.kickstarter.com

Kickstarter says it is “a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.

Since our launch on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects.”

How does Kickstarter work?

Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they’re ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.

Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

To date, an incredible 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.

Can Kickstarter be used to fund anything?

We allow creative projects in the worlds of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater.

Everything on Kickstarter must be a project. A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it.

Do backers get ownership or equity in the projects they fund?

No. Project creators keep 100% ownership of their work. Kickstarter cannot be used to offer financial returns or equity, or to solicit loans.

Some projects that are funded on Kickstarter may go on to make money, but backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not financially profit.

What are the fees?

If a project is successfully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected.

In the US, pledges will be processed by Amazon Payments, while in the UK, pledges will be processed securely through a third-party payments processor. These payment processing fees work out to roughly 3-5%. View the US and UK fee breakdowns.

Who is Kickstarter?

We’re 46 people based in a tenement building in New York City’s Lower East Side. We spend our time making the site better, answering questions from backers and creators, and finding great new projects to share with you. Every day is an adventure — we get to experience projects as they happen! Say hello or come work with us!

A First-Time-Published Story


The following is a true story by author Brad Geagley. He admits that his story makes the envious seethe. But it is the end of his tale that has me intrigued. Brad is entering the now-level playing field of the self-published. This story is a prelude to the story yet to come. Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.

Fair warning – when other writers hear my story they sometimes scream and throw themselves out their windows.  It’s the tale of how I got my first writing contract, and I don’t think anyone had ever had so easy a time of it.

When I was living in New York City, where I was VP of Production for a special effects house, I purchased a loft near Washington Square.  Instead of Escrow, as they have in California, a buyer and seller must instead use real estate lawyers to draw up the contracts.  My realtor recommended an attorney he usually worked with, a woman by the name of Judy Levin.  When I went to her offices to sign the papers I noticed that her walls were hung with posters from the New York Stage.  Some of the productions I had even heard of.  “Wow,” I said, “you must really love the theater!”

Judy, who was both the most laconic person I’d ever met and, perversely, the most loquacious, merely said, “Oh, those?  I produced them.”  It turned out that she had started her career as an entertainment lawyer, and handled the legal affairs for a variety of theatricals.  When you do that in New York you also get a producing credit.  But, as happens to many who work in entertainment, she got burnt out and retired from the fray to become a real estate lawyer.

Well, it just so happens that I was looking to option a book to turn it into a stage play.  Judy got me the book in very short order and for a very reasonable price.  Having tasted the thrill of the theater again, however remote, she then asked me, “Do you have anything else I could look at?”

Did I?!

It just so happened that I had the first hundred pages of a novel to show her, a mystery set in Ancient Egypt, which I had called generically “Ancient Egyptian Murder Mystery”.  She took it and a couple of weeks later told me, “I really like it.  Do you mind if I show it around?”

What do you think I answered?

Judy had brittle bones – this is not a segue, by the way – and had broken her foot.  She would hobble down to the courtyard of her building in Chelsea and – as I might have mentioned – Judy could talk to anyone in that same even monotone she used with me; a stranger, a dog, the clothes dryer.  A gentleman was also in the courtyard that morning, someone from her building who she had never before met.  He too was ill and was staying home from work.  In the course of their conversation he happened to mention his wife, Carol, who happened to work at Simon & Schuster, where she happened to be secretary to the legendary Michael Korda.  Korda, for those of you who don’t know, ran the editing staff of S&S since the 1950s.  “Do you mind if I give you a manuscript?” Judy asked Carol when she met her for the first time a few days.

Carol accepted the manuscript in their laundry room.  “It takes a brave woman to take a manuscript in a laundry room,” Judy said to me.  I could only agree.

But the good news was that two weeks later I had a contract not only to finish my novel, but also to write its sequel.  The first novel, Year of the Hyenas, went on to be named one of the five best mysteries of the year by Library Journal, while the second, Day of the False King, debuted on the LA Times Best Seller List.

And all because I bought a place in New York City.

Luck like that can happen only once in a person’s life, but it is also a story that could only have happened in New York.  It’s a city where you run into people you know all the time, thrust together as you are on sidewalks, in buses and subways, or by frequenting the same restaurants.

The luck began to change when Michael Korda retired, but I always knew that I had gotten to know him at the end of his extraordinary career.  When I was assigned to a new editor, she frankly told me she was not “into” historical fiction and was I interested instead in the chick-lit field…?

We severed our relationship on the spot.

I’ve gone on to write another mystery, but not set in ancient times – instead it takes place in 1957 Hollywood.  What would you do, it asks, if you were a studio mogul and your leading man happens to be a serial killer?  How would save your studio, your film – and your leading lady?

I’ve decided to go explore the self-publishing route this time; the new publishing industry is as unchartered as the wild west, but I’m game for anything.  I guess this is where the REAL work begins.

What Do You Think?


This morning I have had my first negative thoughts about the anthology project of the local writers group.

My WordPress galpal Crubin calls her negative self-talk Mr. Nasty Pants.  Apparently he is visiting me this morning. He is suggesting that my writing micro-fiction for the anthology is a bad thing because I am trying to be a novelist. I am sending a wrong message to readers by introducing them to me through micro-fiction.

I say, “Nonsense.” He is persisting in his argument.

My view is  I am new at this writing game. I have made a conscious choice to write a novel: that is the genre in which I believe I want to work. However, blogging has taught me that I like writing short pieces just as much. Then I discovered micro-fiction. It’s the haiku of story-telling. It’s fun and challenging to me.  It improves my self- editing skills. Yes, the flavor is different than the novel. But is it really a bad thing to write in more than one genre?

When I get an ice cream cone, I mix up the flavors. Each scoop is different. I eat one flavor at a time, with an occasional drip-catching lick to the others. I like variety. I like sampling. It’s my bad.

Remember. I have stated, “I am not a Hemingway.” What I mean is I have no illusion of producing classic literature that will be studied through the ages. I want to entertain, amuse, calm, nurture, persuade, tickle my reader. My works are meant to be read, mulled over for a brief duration, then shared or shelved.

If I aspired to create literature, then I would understand perfecting my craft in a single genre. As it is, I just want to be read, then read again.

What do you think? Give me your point-of-view.

The IOGEAR Mobile Digital Scribe


Gotta share news about a cool tool for writers who either write longhand manuscripts by choice or by necessity. The IOGEAR Mobile Digital Scribe translates handprinted text into digital text.

I learned about this device from http://perfectprivlisher.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/another-two-months-of-privlishing/#comment-17 .

In his post, the author explains his need to write out documents by hand. Then he uses this device to transcribe them to documents he can edit on his computer. He shows a handwritten page, then the same page translated by the device. The errors are manageable.

Check out his post for more information.

Advanced E- Learning


My Aussie e-friend at e-Learning Provocateur has posted a collection of blog sites for advancing one’s knowledge. As writers, we are a curious lot who love to learn new things, so we can incorporate those things into stories.

For you “already professional” authors, one of the blogs cited deals with social business on a global scale. If you are planning to take your book products outside of North America, you may glean some tips to speed your process along.

Another blog mentioned focuses on futurism and related trends. Syfy writers take note. The remaining topics covered in Provocateur’s list are vast — a true treasure trove. Check it out. Feed your head.

http://ryan2point0.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/my-15-favourite-australian-e-learning-bloggers/#comment-2004