What’s the Deal with Authors Helping Authors?

So anyway, I’ve run out of Author Helping Author volunteers. I knew it’d happen sooner or later. Oh well, life goes on. Guess what that means? This Friday is open… for me! Muhahaha. You get to listen to me ramble.

Actually, I’mΒ  just soliciting advice. So you all are safe… for now. >:)

I’m eager to do a giveaway, but I want more than a couple of entries, as sometimes happens. In the past, I’ve had success with Goodreads giveaways and doing giveaways by participating in blog hops (for example, blogomania, blogfest). Lately I’ve been wanting to try a twitter giveaway.

Anyone have success doing one of these? And if so, how did you track it? How long did the giveaway run? Did you find it successful?

This inquiring mind wants to know.

So you’re giving me a little info; I’m giving back to you.

Way back when, when I ran my first giveaway, I hadn’t a clue on how to track the entries a blog giveaway. One of my twitter buddies turned me to Google Docs. If you look back through some of my giveaways, you’ll notice I request folks to fill out a form. Google Docs, baby. I embed the form into the post, and the complete entries go to a spreadsheet. If you’re familiar with formulas, an import into Excel makes it pretty easy to generate “ticket” numbers.

And I’d be amiss not to share with you random.org. Once you have a number for all the entries, plug in the range and let it choose a winner.

Okay… now your turn! Share with me. Info about twitter giveaways or other giveaways you’ve had success with. πŸ˜€

Would it be bad to do an infomercial here? Amazon is doing a promotion for both my listings there. Shadow Cat is 1/2 off and Control Freak: Brandon’s Story is free at the US site and UK site.


Oh… and if you want to join in the Author Helping Author thing, send me an email: reenajacobs at reenajacobs dot com

I like the terms de-had’ing and de-was’ing

I’ve been so caught up in my writing goals, I completely forgot my Friday post. First things first. πŸ™‚ I haven’t drawn a winner for the Kitty Thomas Interview. Give me until midnight tomorrow.

On to new things! A few days ago, I made the suggestion to a writer to consider de-had’ing and de-was’ing his work. I know, I know: screw the rules!

Here’s the thing, “was” and “had” are not bad words to be avoided at all costs. However, a work bombarded by them is a bit drab. In fact, it turns into a laundry lists of descriptions and actions. Take the following example:

Jack stacked the last box and leaned against the fork lift. He had a smile as I approached. He was dressed like any other worker. He had on loose blue jeans and a white tank top. He was gorgeous. His hair was black and curly, and his eyes dark brown. He was average height, five ten and slim.

Straightforward enough. We got his stats. Good enough, right? Well, if you say so. Try this one.

Jack stacked the last box and leaned his five ten frame against the fork lift. A slight smile played on his lips, as he hooked a thumb into his blue jeans, drawing my attention to narrow hips. He’d trimmed down since I’d last seen him. The heavy lifting had devoured the chubbiness from high school and left lean muscle in its place. The white wife beater, which stretched tight against his chest, begged to be replaced with a shirt more accommodating to his growing pecs (not really, but hey! work with me). He flicked his head, and dark curly bangs lifted out of his brown eyes before settling on his broad forehead. With his olive skin, he was well on his way to becoming a Greek god.

Maybe not the best writing, but pretend like it is. πŸ™‚ Notice I didn’t remove every “had” or “was.” Like I said, they do have their place in writing. But by weaving the descriptions within activities, those words can be reduced while livening the writing a bit. Look here. πŸ™‚ I found a picture for you. Wanna give it a try?

She looked at the ceiling as if in deep thought. She had on a black denim dress with ruffles at the hem. Her hair was dark blond.

Querying Too Soon

A big piece of advice I read on so many blogs is: Don’t query too soon.

Sound advice, if you ask me. Did I query too soon? You betcha! You dork, some might say. πŸ™‚ So why did I do it? Honestly? Lack of knowledge. Really, there is so much advice out there…great advice! Problem is, new authors don’t always realize what they don’t know. Hey! That’s me. I know it frustrates agents; I see the blog posts all the time about some faux pas a novice writer made–a mistake I likely made over the last several months. All of them are screaming, “LISTEN, DAMN IT!” or darn it for some.

Really it’s a shame. The information is out there. Trust me! I’ve run across so much I didn’t know. And I cringe every time I pick up a new piece of information which shows I’ve flubbed again. I have so many burning bridges for Shadow Cat, I have to toss it to agents from a distance these days. Here, catch! Thankfully those bridges mend themselves when it comes to new projects. πŸ™‚

So! You’ve queried too soon. Now what? I’ll tell you what! Do more research! Make those revisions! Write more! and get back out there and query (but hopefully not too soon). πŸ™‚

Are you one of the naive ones who’s queried too soon? Share your story.

What I Don’t Know

Today I’m doing something a little different for my Friday post. I’d love to get published as much as the next writer. I research, look for leads, anything which will help me on my venture. Recently, I hit the book “The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success” by Donald Maas. It’s a free download available on his website. This book offers a not-so-quick, but invaluable overview of the publishing business. The copyright is 1996 but the information still seems relevant to my inexperienced eyes.

Now, rather than give my amateur advice today, I’m asking for yours.

The more I get into the writing business, the more I realize I have to learn. Sad thing about it all, I don’t know what I don’t know. πŸ™‚ So if you’ll share with me today, I’d be much appreciative. What type of resources have you found invaluable? Websites, blogs, books, specific workshops, groups, etc.

Impart your great wisdom upon me so that I might be wise also. Now don’t be shy. Help out your aspiring writer.