Social Media & Being an Author

Sorry for the lack of posts lately! I was on a (much needed) vacation to California! The need for vacations to take a step back from your work is a topic for an entirely different post, but I can sum it up to this: sometimes it’s necessary to not think about your novel, to escape and have new experiences which will influence your writing, and to be in a more sublime environment so when an agent rejection pops up in your email, you take it in stride and order another wine sample! 😉

Today, I wanted to focus on a subject that has been giving me major headaches–the dichotomy between being an artist and thus trying to be a free spirit while at the same time being cognizant of the pressing need to create an online presence. This need for a writer’s platform necessitates the use of social media. Writers, as a rule, hate social media. We would rather be writing! However, our ultimate goal is to be read, and to be read and gain notice in today’s world means hashtagging and blogging our way to fame. Hopefully that prospect turns everyone’s stomachs as much as it does mine. It is a very imposing goal; in the millions of individuals out there on the internet, how do you make a difference?

It’s a question I, unfortunately, cannot answer in this post. But I do welcome good suggestions! The first step for me is simply, getting out there. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was literally: “Tweet less.” Obviously, that is not going to fly. I have been trying to force myself to tweet more lately, and have gone to excessive use of hashtags. Today, I activated a Facebook account (under much mental stress), and a LinkedIn page. I am looking into #QueryKombat, which appears to be a great way to get some exposure as well as potentially awesome contacts with agents and editors! The Internet is a crazy, intimidating place, but I hope to do my research and find some success in it.

I want to get the word out soon because I am going to be doing something very exciting here on the blog. I am going to be posting sample chapters of Capacitance! I want the novel to get exposure and hopefully build momentum. Stay tuned on chapter one coming soon!

With that being said, follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@elisemarie52), and Facebook (Elise Hardenburger)! And comment below with any tips how you got your online following started. 🙂

Writers Conference Packing List

This is a post that most likely will become a before and after comparison in two parts as I will probably need to post once I get back regarding what I forgot/should have brought. However, I noticed a couple followers mentioning they have not attended conferences, but might in the future, so I will give you a little cheat sheet summarizing my list things I plan to bring after extensively scouring the web for tips.

Of course I am bringing the obvious things: pen and paper, business cards, etc. I am also bringing three copies of my synopsis and one copy of my first ten pages. I don’t know if anyone will actually ask to see them, but I want to have them on hand–it’s better to be prepared. One other item that I stumbled upon yesterday was a One Page. A one page is just like it sounds–one page in which you state your name, bio, contact info, book title, word count, tag line, one paragraph synopsis, target audience, and series description (if applicable). I thought this was such a great idea that I immediately threw one together! I included a picture on mine, and used textboxes for blocking it out and including pops of color–best of all, I matched the fonts, color scheme and picture to my business cards for a professional, coordinated look. I plan on bringing ten copies of my one page with me to the conference as I think it will be the most distributed piece of information.

Finally, I am going to bring a copy of my manuscript. I read a lot of conflicting views on this choice, but what stood out to me was the advice to bring it along just in case. Being the type of person I am, I would simply rather lug around a 275 page manuscript all day than miss out on the opportunity to give it to an agent who might request it! My soon to be aching shoulder will probably argue me on the advisability of this decision, but I am sticking to it. On another note, I read a lot of disturbing advice saying not to stalk agents, sneak your manuscript into their bags, or corner and pitch to them in the bathroom. To me, I find this advice laughable as it is purely following the laws of common sense and courtesy…but I saw this similar admonishment on SEVERAL websites! I truly hope I don’t see any examples of that embarrassing behavior this weekend, and I can assure you all I don’t intend to be so aggressive with my manuscript. In fact, I fully expect it to stay in my purse and travel back home with me.

That’s what I will be carrying along with me in my (obviously gigantic!) purse this Saturday. As far as the outfit to coordinate with said purse…well, I haven’t gotten that far yet! Unfortunately this lack of wardrobe selection is troubling me more than my lack of pitch preparation. However, I am of the firm belief that my pitch will turn out a lot better if I am impeccably attired. With that being said, I am off to my closet to plan! I will be posting one more time tomorrow (if I am not too rushed), and then I am leaving for Las Vegas through the weekend! If anyone else is attending the Henderson Writers’ Group Las Vegas Writer’s Conference, please let me know–I would love to meet some of you!

AgentQuery.com: The Querying Author’s Bible

Exciting news today: I finally got my synopsis trimmed down to size! It’s lean enough, in fact, that I can go back and add a little more detail, which is music to my ears after the painful, stripped down process of creating my synopsis. My most helpful source in looking up how to format a synopsis was AgentQuery.com. This is a fantastic website, not only because it includes a searchable database of literary agents who are currently accepting queries, but also because of its section containing specific guidelines on how to format those queries you will send off. From email queries to snail mail queries, AgentQuery has all the specific guidelines needed to make your submission most successful. Seriously, every little detail is discussed. When I wanted to know how to format my novel title in my synopsis, I went to the section on formatting a synopsis and quickly found my answer. I also discovered that a synopsis can be up to three pages long–which was the best news I have heard lately as my synopsis was stuck one paragraph long of two pages. Now I know that is actually an acceptable length–hooray! While I am still new to the whole process, AgentQuery has by far been the most valuable resource I have found. I have already spent a lot of time perusing the agents and reading the submission and query guidelines–the amount of instructions and knowledge on the site can be overwhelming, but I like to see this as a wealth of knowledge there for my benefit. I am glad to have these myriad resources at my fingertips whilst treading the unknown waters of gaining a literary agent. I know I will be using this resource daily, and I suggest anyone working on their own query or synopsis to check it out as well!