First, a bit about her exciting new book:Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.
More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.
What was January Black?
It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He's been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost...or call the king’s bluff.
And now for Ten Pieces of Great Advice for Aspiring Authors from Wendy S. Russo:
1. Bookmark "Author! Author!" (http://annemini.com). She's has an writing/submitting/marketing guidance archive dating back seven years. Her posts are tagged and searchable. It may be the closest you'll ever get to picking an industry professional's brain, and it's FREE. Schedule time for it, though. She's verbose. Also, several times per year, she invites readers to send her queries that she'll pick apart on her site. She also posts her articles to Facebook, so like her and they'll show up in your news feed.
2. Make friends. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of blogs kept by authors, readers, and reviewers. They have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. You can find beta readers and critique partners. You can win free books and get cool author swag ideas. If the secret to success is knowing people, the next best thing is knowing people who know people, so...go meet some people.
3. Before you submit to an agent/publisher, print out your entire manuscript and read it. Out loud. (From Anne Mini's site. If you take none of her other advice, DO THIS.)
4. I do my edits on hard copy, too. I get a couple of red pens and I bleed them dry. (When I'm done, I use the paper in my flowerbeds as weed cover.) I find it much easier to flip through pages than scroll through a file. I can use sticky notes. I can highlight. Scribble. Draw pictures. And Facebook isn't tempting me from another open window.
5. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest can be awfully distracting. I find that social media eats away at my writing time. (I mean, like months on end.) Set a goal...a number of words you want to accomplish in a day, and then schedule a time to write. Close your web browser. Turn off your WIFI if you have to.
6. Rejection is hard, but it's important. I recommend sending your manuscript to agents/publishers that you're certain will reject you. (In your genre, please, because wasting someone's time is rude.) Set up the initial disappointments and get them out of the way. Meanwhile, keep researching your dream agents and publishers and treat yourself after rejections. Spoonful of sugar, as Mary Poppins said.
7. Don't let other people discourage you. Well meaning though they may be, if they are not helping you reach your goals, they're not helping you.
8. Criticism is only helpful if you can use it to make your story better. Editors are people, too. Many are writers, and all have an opinion about how to tell a story. Listen when you should. Ignore when you must.
9. The only right way to tell a story is your way. Figure out what yours is.
10. Add "aspiring" to your list of curse words. If you write, you're a writer.