Tag Archives: Fur Face

Jon Gibbs’s Ten things I wish I knew before I was published #7: The Dreaded Excusitis

Beware Excusitis, or Failure Disease.

“I would have been published, but…”

“I would have finished my novel but…”

Avoid people who are negative, because you may get caught up in it.  You know that negative guy in your writer’s group who thinks the whole industry is out to get them?  The one who self-published a book of haikus about his cat’s hair balls?  Can we get rid of that guy?

Focus on what you want… your goals, and don’t let anyone drag you away from them.  Surround yourself with positive people who will be there to pick you up when you fall.

Remember: the gut wrenching stab of a rejection letter is nature’s way of telling you that you are still in the running.  By in the running, I mean that you still care.  You still want to succeed.  The people who don’t give up are the ones who are the most successful.

Also, if you get rejections, don’t always think “it’s not me, it must be them”.  Remember to change your query or manuscript to get the best results.  If you are using the same query you wrote a year ago, maybe it is your query?  Maybe your synopsis is really poor?  Think that over.  Maybe you can make a small change that will fix everything.

For instance, Jon Gibbs was sending Fur Face to YA publishers.  After a long time, one of them was nice enough to tell him “This is really good, but it’s not YA.  It’s middle grade.”  Jon had no idea.  He submitted to a MG publisher, and Abracadabra!  Publication.  Sometimes you just need to change your thinking a bit.

Note:  The above are Jon Gibb’s main speaking points, with my rambling opinions attached.

Jon Gibbs is the author of one of my son’s favorite books:  FUR-FACE, which was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award.

Jon is an Englishman transplanted to New Jersey, USA, where he is an ‘author in residence’ at Lakehurst Elementary School.  Jon is the founding member of The New Jersey Author’s Network and FindAWritingGroup.com.

Jon blogs at jongibbs.livejournal.com

Website: www.acatofninetales.com

Jon Gibbs’s Ten things I wish I knew before I was published #5: Please Sir, May I have another?

Writing and Critique groups are like potato chips – you can never eat just one.

Each writer’s group you find will offer something different.

For example, in my area there is a writer’s group that looks for odd places to write.  They set up folding chairs by the lake, for instance, looking for inspiration.  Is that for me?  Ummmm.  No.  I like my solitary computer, thank you.  But this works for some people.

Some writers groups charge a fee, but they give you great speakers in return.  If you think that the speakers are of value to you, then it is okay to pay extra.  If you are looking just to meet people, you might not want that extra perk.

Look around, and join a few if you can.  The worst thing that can happen is you make a few friends.

Note:  The above are Jon Gibb’s main speaking points, with my rambling opinions attached.

Jon Gibbs is the author of one of my son’s favorite books:  FUR-FACE, which was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award.

Jon is an Englishman transplanted to New Jersey, USA, where he is an ‘author in residence’ at Lakehurst Elementary School.  Jon is the founding member of The New Jersey Author’s Network and FindAWritingGroup.com.

Jon blogs at jongibbs.livejournal.com

Website: www.acatofninetales.com

Jon Gibbs’s Ten things I wish I knew before I was published #2: It Ain’t Easy, Baby

You will not get published by accident.  You need to go to workshops, and send your stuff out.  No one will accidentally read your manuscript.

Now, I need to admit that I have a friend who posted an excerpt from her novel on her blog, and a publisher happened upon it.  He asked her to send him a full, and he eventually published her.

It does happen, but the chances are so slim I can’t think of a number that small.

There are people out there who walk around carrying “Writer’s Market” hoping someone will see them and say “are you a writer?”  Seriously… it’s not going to happen.

You need to submit.  Press that little submit button.  I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, but it can be done.

Go ahead, stick those pages in that envelope.  Send your baby on its way.  It won’t get anywhere if you don’t let it leave home.

You need to decide if you are a recreational writer, or a professional writer.  Either one is fine, but professional writing is work.  You need to apply for jobs… no different here.

(Unless you go for self-publishing, but that’s another story completely)

Note:  The above are Jon Gibb’s main speaking points, with my rambling opinions attached.

Jon Gibbs is the author of one of my son’s favorite books:  FUR-FACE, which was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award.

Jon is an Englishman transplanted to New Jersey, USA, where he is an ‘author in residence’ at Lakehurst Elementary School.  Jon is the founding member of The New Jersey Author’s Network and FindAWritingGroup.com.

Jon blogs at jongibbs.livejournal.com

Website: www.acatofninetales.com

Ten things I wish I knew before I was published #1 (Lessons Learned from Jon Gibbs)

Jon Gibbs is the author of one of my son’s favorite books:  FUR-FACE, which was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award.

Recently, my son and I took a ½ hour trek to a local library to hear Jon speak about the ten things he wished he knew before he got published.  I love that I have the opportunity to expose my son to talks like this.  Originally, he was going to look around the library—but instead, he listened to the talk, asked questions, and stayed at the end to meet Jon.  What a great experience for a kid (not to mention for an aspiring author)

As always, rather than rambling on forever, I am going to chop this up into a series.  How many posts… ummm, let’s think… Yay to everyone who said ten!

Lesson one:  You are not alone

Most of you have already jumped this hurdle.  I know because you are here.  But it goes further than that.  You need to connect personally with other authors as well.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  There are tons of authors out there who are more than willing to share what they have learned… you just have to ask.

Look for local writers groups. (Meetup.com, FindAWritingGroup.com)  Meet others who are going through what you are.

For heaven’s sake, get yourself a beta partner, or two, or five.  There is actually a girl in my writing group who has asked me several times what a beta reader is.  Believe me… it’s scary at first, but they are worth their weight in gold.  Make relationships now, so when you are freaking out as a deadline approaches, they will not hesitate to jump in and help you at the last minute.  You will totally thank me for this advice someday.

You know what I’ve started doing, which is a hoot?  I contact an author before I start reading their novel.  I just say hi, and tell them I’m going to read it.  Most of the time, I get a reply, and we cyber-chat a little.  Then I get back to them and ask them questions when I’m done.  Pretty cool stuff.  You can find out a lot about someone, and their publishers/agents just by some friendly chat.

You are not in this alone, as scary as it might seem, take that first step forward and make an effort to introduce yourself.  You never know who you might meet.

Note:  The above are Jon Gibbs’s main speaking points, with my rambling opinions attached.

Jon is an Englishman transplanted to New Jersey, USA, where he is an ‘author in residence’ at Lakehurst Elementary School.  Jon is the founding member of The New Jersey Author’s Network and FindAWritingGroup.com.

Jon blogs at jongibbs.livejournal.com

Website: www.acatofninetales.com

Guest Post: WHERE DO YOU END YOUR FIRST DRAFTS? by Jon Gibbs

Several years ago, I heard literary agent, Cherry Weiner, give a talk at a writing group. Among the many things she shared with us that day were these wisdomous words:

When you’ve finished your story,

go back and rewrite the beginning.

Up until then, I’d always written in a linear fashion. I’d start with (what I hoped was) a killer opening, then work my way through the middle to the (again hoped for) thrilling and/or satisfying conclusion at the end, after which I’d get down to the editing. The idea of wantonly discarding the first few pages of a story, or worse, the first chapter or two of a novel, seemed counter-productive. Why write a beginning at all if you’re just going to throw it out later?

But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Despite our best intentions, stories quite often head off in a different direction from the one we originally intended. Even if, like me, you use outlines, planned ideas and sub-plots get changed, added and/or abandoned as we get to know the characters and plot better during the first draft process. Besides, who hasn’t had a critique containing a big red line several pages in, along with the words ‘I think your story starts here’? Personally, I’ve found rewriting the opening almost always leads to a better fit with the rest of the story.

There’s another positive effect from knowing you’ll rewrite the beginning from the outset, at least for writers like me. I understand the benefits to be had from getting the first draft over with as fast as possible. I want to work that way, but I fight a constant battle with my inner editor during the first draft process. When you know from the outset that whatever beginning you write will (almost definitely) get thrown out anyway, it’s easier to resist the temptation to go back and polish up what you’ve already got.

How about you?

Where do you end your first drafts?

Born in England, Jon Gibbs now lives in New Jersey, where he’s ‘Author in Residence’ at Lakehurst Elementary School. A member of several writing groups, including SCBWI, he’s the founder of NJAuthorsNetwork.com and FindAWritingGroup.com. His blog, An Englishman in New Jersey (http://jongibbs.livejournal.com), is read in over thirty countries. 

 

Jon’s debut novel, Fur-Face (Echelon Press) a middle grade fantasy about unusual friendships, unlikely alliances, and wanting to fit in, was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award. Watch out for the sequel, Barnum’s Revenge, coming in 2012.

 When he’s not chasing around after his children, Jon can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

Reining in the The Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer – A Review of Fur Face by Jon Gibbs

I found out why The Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer stopped doing reviews.  He read “Fur Face” by Jon Gibbs, and really enjoyed it.  However, he knew I wanted him to review it, but he was embarrassed to do one because he met the author at a recent book signing.

“Well, did you like the story?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

“Then what are you worried about?”

I got the lip… If you’re a parent, you know what that means.

He was just self-conscious about it because he was afraid of what he would look like in front of an author that he feels like he knows, even though his review would be positive.

Note to self:  Introduce the MMGR to authors AFTER he has given the review.

Anyway… The MMGR’s review of Fur Face was:

(I’m paraphrasing from several conversations over the last several weeks)

It was really good.  It was about this cat that can talk, who has to find a kid that can understand him to help him do what he has to do.

(Trying not to drop a spoiler there)

He mentioned an intricate plot that would be hard to describe.  There was lots of funny stuff and action, and a big mystery about animals that had to be saved.  (Right up his alley)

I didn’t get a star rating on Fur Face, but book two is on his list of “I gotta have it” books.

Now that we’re over that hurdle… The Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer should be returning to the blogosphere very shortly.  Yay!