* you want to be traditionally published
* you want someone experienced to help guide your career
* you want to learn how to edit like a pro
* you want to sell foreign and movie rights
* you want answers to your newbie questions 2/
* you want to self publish
* you're not willing to compromise on your edits
* you don't think their expertise is worth 15% of your advance
I... can't think this way. Literary agents have been crucial to my career. 3/
1. Have a finished, revised, edited, polished manuscript.
2. Write a query letter for your book
3. Send your query to agents who rep your genre and are open to submissions
4. Repeat steps 1-4 until you're offered representation. 4/
* revised (deep edits, big cuts, plot problems)
* edited (pass through to make sure the revision works)
* polished (drill down to sentence level to make it sing)
then you're doing yourself a disservice. Agents can tell when you're rushing. 6/
1 = seems like a perfect fit
2 = this agent would work, but they're not super into my genre or there's some other reason that makes them tier 2
3 = not the best fit, but we'll try and see
And I queried widely across all 3 levels. 15/
* I will only speak to traditionally published genre fiction here-- not poetry or graphic novels or non-fiction.
* YMMV. Every journey is different. There are always exceptions.
* Slush works. I was found in slush with no prior publishing connections. 17/
1. You can see what kind of response you get. If I got 5 form rejections, I completely rewrote my query.
2. So you don't waste 6 weeks waiting for 1 response.
3. Because fortune favors the brave.
4. Why not? It's free. 19/
1. It's just not their jam.
2. They already rep something like it or the trend is not selling.
3. Their client stable is full.
4. Your book isn't sellable-- too long, too short, doesn't fit a genre
More from Delilah S. Dawson
We thought Wake of Vultures would land with a splash back in 2015. I went to SIBA, I went to sales conference and spoke w Mario Batali. The book did ok, but not great, was never in Target or the airport, despite amazing reviews. Why? NO IDEA. No one knows! Because publishing. 2/
When you're a new writer, you think that if you just write a great book and do everything you're told to, the book will find its wings and soar. You tick all the checkboxes and wait for the world to love your book. Sometimes, even w publisher support, it just doesn't happen. 3/
As usual, this real talk isn't meant to be a downer. It's meant to let you know that THIS IS NORMAL. Your book can get 3 starred reviews and a blurb from Pat Rothfuss and still not hit list or even gain a steady following. That doesn't make it any less great. 4/
I always say that publishing success = skill + time on task + publisher marketing + luck. And there is NOTHING you can do to up that element of luck. Timing, groundswell, one of the Obama kids reading your book on film. That's out of your hands. So you work on the next book. 5/
Every now and then an idea sticks with me like that corner of tortilla chip that just won't go down your throat. It happened with SPARROWHAWK, which began as 40k of a YA story, died, and was reborn as a comic, thanks to @christopher_j_r and @boomstudios. And now... 2/
It's happening with THE WILLOWS, a short story that you'll see in @UncannyMagazine next year. This Southern Gothic horror story began as an attempt to sell my next Romance to @AbZurdity after the Blud books in 2014 or so. And she didn't buy it. Guess why? 3/
Turns out, it wasn't a Romance! It was Southern Gothic Horror. Even the bones of it screamed strangeness, not sexiness. I loved the taste of the world, but I hadn't found the right story yet. Tried to write it 2 more times and failed. Until I finally understood what it was. 4/
So I took the 50 pages I'd written and cut half of them, twisting the story around from a gothy Romance inspired by the band the Civil Wars and turned it into a spooky descent into madness. And it looked back at me from the abyss as if to say, DUH. Sometimes... 5/
More from Writing
Most agent offer calls come with a discussion about editorial support and expectations on both sides. If an agent says they work editorially, both of you can talk about what you hope this will look like. This may include:
Rounds of overall revision to plot/character/structure/setting, or tightening to a genre guideline, based on an "edit letter."
Line edits/sidebar comments by your agent. I always stress these are suggestions to achieve a goal. How author arrives at that goal is up to to them, but
I should make it clear to you what the goal of the point is: heighten emotional moment, untangle complicated scene, drive a relationship, clarify stakes, etc. I may suggest HOW and you can use my suggestion or come up w/your own solution. As long as the goal is attained.
But I'll always be honest if the changes came up short, too. It's a conversation, a development, open-door for challenge.
I DO put foot down abt blatant "rookie mistakes." Or major arc problems,sensitivity issues. I don't do this to be obstinate;but you should stay flexible too.
In Asheville, North Carolina, go buy or order some great books by authors you love (hint, hint) via @Malaprops! #NationalAuthorsDay
In Chapel Hill, NC visit @FlyleafBooks. If they don't have my books in stock, I bet they'll order them for you! This is also true for other authors! #NationalAuthorsDay
In New York and NJ visit @wordbookstores! Ask for my books if they don't have them, and also buy lots of stuff by other authors! #NationalAuthorsDay
In Washington, D.C. visit @PoliticsProse for all your #NationalAuthorsDay needs. Ask for my books and those of hometown hero @baratunde and also buy cute objects!
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It's all in French, but if you're up for it you can read:
• Their blog post (lacks the most interesting details): https://t.co/PHkDcOT1hy
• Their high-level legal decision: https://t.co/hwpiEvjodt
• The full notification: https://t.co/QQB7rfynha
I've read it so you needn't!
Vectaury was collecting geolocation data in order to create profiles (eg. people who often go to this or that type of shop) so as to power ad targeting. They operate through embedded SDKs and ad bidding, making them invisible to users.
The @CNIL notes that profiling based off of geolocation presents particular risks since it reveals people's movements and habits. As risky, the processing requires consent — this will be the heart of their assessment.
Interesting point: they justify the decision in part because of how many people COULD be targeted in this way (rather than how many have — though they note that too). Because it's on a phone, and many have phones, it is considered large-scale processing no matter what.
Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy.
Understand that ethical wealth creation is possible. If you secretly despise wealth, it will elude you.
Ignore people playing status games. They gain status by attacking people playing wealth creation games.
You’re not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity - a piece of a business - to gain your financial freedom.
Like company moats, your personal moat should be a competitive advantage that is not only durable—it should also compound over time.
Characteristics of a personal moat below:
I'm increasingly interested in the idea of "personal moats" in the context of careers.— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) November 22, 2018
Moats should be:
- Hard to learn and hard to do (but perhaps easier for you)
- Skills that are rare and valuable
- Compounding over time
- Unique to your own talents & interests https://t.co/bB3k1YcH5b
2/ Like a company moat, you want to build career capital while you sleep.
As Andrew Chen noted:
People talk about \u201cpassive income\u201d a lot but not about \u201cpassive social capital\u201d or \u201cpassive networking\u201d or \u201cpassive knowledge gaining\u201d but that\u2019s what you can architect if you have a thing and it grows over time without intensive constant effort to sustain it— Andrew Chen (@andrewchen) November 22, 2018
3/ You don’t want to build a competitive advantage that is fleeting or that will get commoditized
Things that might get commoditized over time (some longer than
Things that look like moats but likely aren\u2019t or may fade:— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) November 22, 2018
- Proprietary networks
- Being something other than one of the best at any tournament style-game
- Many "awards"
- Twitter followers or general reach without "respect"
- Anything that depends on information asymmetry https://t.co/abjxesVIh9
4/ Before the arrival of recorded music, what used to be scarce was the actual music itself — required an in-person artist.
After recorded music, the music itself became abundant and what became scarce was curation, distribution, and self space.
5/ Similarly, in careers, what used to be (more) scarce were things like ideas, money, and exclusive relationships.
In the internet economy, what has become scarce are things like specific knowledge, rare & valuable skills, and great reputations.
Here are the things I'm excited about.
🚂 Trailing commas in function/method calls!
🧵 Less disgusting heredoc syntax!
Inlining heredoc strings in any way right now is grrrosssss. Now we get sensible capabilities. Everything that was wrong with it is now fixed!
(Ignore the bad syntax highlighting)
☠️ Finally, not-so-silent json_decode error detection!
This really sucked before, now it just sucks a bit less (who wants to pass a 4th param and pass 2 default params first? (helper function anybody?)
📜 Not horrible functions for getting the first and last item (or key) from an array!
Before you either strung a bunch of functions together or messed with internal array pointers. This is a much-needed improvement.