WRITING THE WEST


WRITING THE WEST

Natalie Bright

This month on WordsmithSix Blog we will be posting about the different genres we write in and why. This is a diverse group, and I think there will be something here for everybody.

This is my favorite topic so far this year. I had always envisioned myself as a romance writer because I am a huge fan of the genre. I also hold a great fascination for the American West and remember being enthralled with any book relating to the Oregon Trail at a very young age. When I turned my attention to writing as a professional, I reluctantly discovered that the stories in my head were not romance but set in the dusty frontier.

WESTERN WRITERS OF AMERICA

My author platform is solidly set in my mind. I’m not going to ignore the stories in my head any longer. Thank goodness I discovered the Western Writers of America organization through an author Dusty Richards. I took his writing course at the WTAMU Academy and he could not say enough good things about this group and the support they have given him during his career. The first convention I attended was held in Lubbock, not far from my home.

The most recent meeting this year was held in Tuscon, Arizona and I came away from that meeting with ideas for magazine articles relating to my research, a possible publisher for a new women’s fiction series set on a Texas Ranch, and many, many new friends. The weekend was packed full of inspiration and networking. Below, I have compiled a list of dos and don’ts about sending queries from an agent/editor discussion panel. I hope you find this useful.

QUERY DOS AND DON’TS

  1. DO NOT communicate about your work, the query, or your manuscript through Facebook.  This is not appropriate or professional.
  2. Send a very focused query letter with sample chapters. This will tell me if you’re a storyteller.
  3. When working with an editor on a possible contract, do not be afraid to ask every question under the sun.
  4. The Authors Guild offers its members a review of a publishing contract for free.
  5. Leave a one-page, short synopsis after your pitch meeting. Boil it down to three short paragraphs.
  6. Leave a business card after your pitch session.
  7. Be prepared to describe your project in one sentence.
  8. Understand what else has been published on the same topic and how your work fits in.
  9. Follow directions.
  10. Follow the proposed guidelines.
  11. Put your title in the subject line of your email, not “book”, “book idea” or “proposal”. My inbox is full of such emails and I don’t know who is who.
  12. Can you tell me why you’re the person to write this and what else is out there? Why is your project different?
  13. Do not send entire manuscript unless you are invited to do so.
  14. If you can’t write a legible, clear, concise query letter, how can we trust you to write an entire book?
  15. Always tell me if your book is finished or not and include the total word count in a query.

If  you are interested in the Western Writers of America organization, follow this link for how you can become a member: https://westernwriters.org/ and for a recap and pictures from this years conference, check out my blog Prairie Purview on the home page of my website https://nataliebright.com

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