New Friends in Old Montreal

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Am I really here? Because the lack of sleep and the temporary jolt from the caffeine this morning have left me wondering if I conjured all this up in my head. It’s possible. But my doubts fade fast, and everything becomes real as soon as the cobblestones touch the soles of my shoes, and we walk past narrow streets surrounded by historical buildings, and I hear Chad’s voice.

“This is it. This is Old Montreal,” he announces, spreading his arms. “This square is ‘Place Jacques-Cartier.’”

I inhale slowly, soaking it all in. I step forward and backward, my neck twisting and turning, memorizing every corner. I feel an instant connection to this place. Something about being here grabs me and infatuates me. I begin taking mental pictures of the narrow alleys decorated with rows of artists and vendors. I start imagining myself dining at the sidewalk cafes, sitting there with Chad during the summer, spring, winter, and fall. I get this strong desire to take off my shoes and walk barefooted on the cobblestones as if I have found my new home. But I leave my thoughts and emotions to myself. Instead, I look at Chad, who is watching me with a smile that melts me away.

How did I get here?

—HIGH by Corey M. P. (Chapter 4, New Friends in Old Montreal)

Available now on amazon.com.

Back from the Editor

I’m excited. I’m smiling and I can’t stop. I just got my manuscript back from my editor and I am thrilled to say that I received pretty good feedback. There are minor edits throughout the manuscript, like deleting a few commas, italicizing certain words, etcetera. But the overall feedback was positive. Whew. I can breathe now.

I’m glad I edited my manuscript as much as I did and that I used beta readers to help me tighten and polish my story. After getting feedback from my editor, I feel ready to finally release HIGH.

Now I’m off to the next phase—editing and figuring out when my launch date will be.

Happy writing!

My First Novel

After spending the last 6 months trying to decide between traditional publishing and self-publishing, I have finally made up my mind.

I am going to self-publish my first book, HIGH.

Based on what I’ve learned and researched, self-publishing seems to be the perfect fit for me at this time.

My aim is to publish my novel by November of this year. I’m spending the next few weeks editing and by the last week of August, I will be sending my manuscript to a group of beta readers that I have carefully picked. By the third week of September, if not earlier, I will be editing again based on the feedback I receive from my beta readers and then it’s off to an editor. Whatever pockets of time I get in between editing will be dedicated to working on my book cover and working on a marketing plan.

Yes, I said marketing plan. I wrote a book, but it doesn’t end there. Since I am self-publishing, I have to be involved in every aspect. In a way, it’s like running a business. I have a product—my book, and my job after writing the book is to get it out there. It’ll be an exciting challenge that will probably involve a lot of sleepless nights, limited breaks, a good amount of caffeine, trial and error, and a lot of growing up to do as a writer and as a person. I am aware this journey won’t be an easy one, but I am willing to give it my all. Besides, it’s for my book—the reason why I am a writer and why soon, I will be an author.

I will be sharing the ups and downs of self-publishing and the lessons I learn along the way. More about the book, plus excerpts will be posted in the days to come, so check back soon.

I have no idea what the fate of my book will be, but I can’t wait to find out soon. All I know is I have spent a lot of time writing and rewriting HIGH. I gave birth to it and raised it. Now it’s time to set it free.

My First Novel

After spending the last 6 months trying to decide between traditional publishing and self-publishing, I have finally made up my mind.

I am going to self-publish my first book, HIGH.

Based on what I’ve learned and researched, self-publishing seems to be the perfect fit for me at this time.

My aim is to publish my novel by November of this year. I’m spending the next few weeks editing and by the last week of August, I will be sending my manuscript to a group of beta readers that I have carefully picked. By the third week of September, if not earlier, I will be editing again based on the feedback I receive from my beta readers and then it’s off to an editor. Whatever pockets of time I get in between editing will be dedicated to working on my book cover and working on a marketing plan.

Yes, I said marketing plan. I wrote a book, but it doesn’t end there. Since I am self-publishing, I have to be involved in every aspect. In a way, it’s like running a business. I have a product—my book, and my job after writing the book is to get it out there. It’ll be an exciting challenge that will probably involve a lot of sleepless nights, limited breaks, a good amount of caffeine, trial and error, and a lot of growing up to do as a writer and as a person. I am aware this journey won’t be an easy one, but I am willing to give it my all. Besides, it’s for my book—the reason why I am a writer and why soon, I will be an author.

I will be sharing the ups and downs of self-publishing and the lessons I learn along the way. More about the book, plus excerpts will be posted in the days to come, so check back soon.

I have no idea what the fate of my book will be, but I can’t wait to find out soon. All I know is I have spent a lot of time writing and rewriting HIGH. I gave birth to it and raised it. Now it’s time to set it free.

Writing Tip #10: If you can skip it, CUT it.

While editing my first novel, I came across a few words and sentences that sat quietly on the pages. They didn’t hurt my story, but they also didn’t make it stronger. So after analyzing them for a while, I decided to cut most of them, and the rest I rewrote.

It’s easy to fall in love with our words and our writing, but don’t get too attached. Some sentences may appear in your manuscript, but are not necessary. Some paragraphs exist to simply fill the page or the chapter, but your story may be better off without them. Watch out for wordy sentences and useless descriptions of things that are not important.

Remember, we want our readers to enjoy our stories and to keep reading—not to stop reading, or to skip pages.

Happy editing!

 

Writing Tip #9: Use Active Voice

Active voice: The subject performs the action.
Passive voice: The target of the action becomes the subject.

For example:
Active: Lydia grabbed the phone.
Passive: The phone was grabbed by Lydia.

Using the active voice strengthens your sentences and makes them punchier. You get your point across clearly and effectively, allowing your story to flow better

Using the passive voice weakens your sentences and your story.

Of course there are some instances where the passive voice may also work. For example, if you’re writing a mystery novel and you’d like to be mysterious, the passive voice may work to your advantage.

For example:
Active: Someone stole the suitcase.
Passive: The suitcase was stolen.

Other than that, I say, stay active.

Writing tip #7: Know Your Target Audience

You’ve written a book and you’re ready to get it published. Question is, do you know your target audience?

If you say it’s “everyone”, you may have a problem. Everyone is too broad and everyone is not what agents and publishers want to hear.

To get a better idea of your audience, start by thinking of your genre. Knowing your genre can help identify your audience.

For instance, let’s say you’ve written a love story and it falls under Women’s Fiction. Now you know a little more about who your readers are: women. But let’s get even more specific.

Try asking yourself the following questions (modify these questions based on your genre):
What’s the age group of these women?
Are they single, married or divorced?
Are they mothers?
Are they career women?
What sorts of books do they read? Who are the authors?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll know exactly who your target audience is. This will help you pitch your story to the right agents. And if you’re self-publishing, this will help you in marketing your book.

 

Why We Don’t Give Up

So you’ve sent out dozens of query letters, sent out partials, received rejection letters, attended writers conferences, and still—no representation. Do you stop trying? 

I met a writer at a conference last year that told me he’s been attending the same conference for years, trying to sell his book idea to agents and editors and have not succeeded. It’s not an easy task and yet he still keeps trying.

There are many possible reasons as to why he hasn’t gotten signed. He could have an excellent story, but his query letter is poor. Or have a great story, but not a sellable one. Or have a great plot, but it’s not well written, or not edited, or he’s been pitching to the wrong agents and editors or his book is simply not ready, or we can go on speculating.

The truth is, we don’t know why he hasn’t gotten signed. But this goes for a lot of us who have patiently held on to our manuscripts for weeks, months, or even years, and have sent out queries and prayed for the perfect agent to give us that phone call that will change our lives forever and sign us and make us millionaires or best sellers, or whatever else we dream of being. In the end, we are writers who want to get published. We want our stories to make it, just like the rest of them.

But how long are we willing to wait…

Before we move on and decide that maybe the manuscript we have now is not meant to be our first book?
Before we move on and write our next story?
Before we say that maybe we don’t want to wait for a Literary Agent to dictate when we will be published authors.
Before we say that our story is good and that maybe self-publishing is the way to go.
Before we say that this is our dream, therefore it is up to us to make it real.
Before we give up.

But you see, we don’t give up. Our stories exist because we were called to write them. Something, somewhere gave us the idea and it was our job to write it down. And we did. There is a reason for that, and that’s why we are here still trying.

The thought of landing a Literary Agent can sometimes be frustrating and discouraging. The thought of self-publishing can be daunting and overwhelming, so what do we do? The reality is, we wrote a book. A book we believe in, and we want it published someday, somehow, somewhere.

And now, we must ask ourselves:
Do we want to be traditionally published or do we want to self-publish?
Do we want to control our destiny or wait for a star to fall?

I say we continue to research, network, educate ourselves, and know our options.

And while we wait to see our name in lights…we keep writing.