#Nestpitch 2015 & St. Nicholas Day

19991Hi All!

Following on from my last post I wanted to talk a little today about the changes I’m planning for #Nestpitch 2015

The first is the Mentor/Team System.

In 2014 we had some AWESOME submissions however, and this is not the case for all submissions, there were several agents who, on requesting pages and query letters, were left a little disappointed that the quality/voice/lack of grammatical errors (etc.) did not translate beyond page one, two or three. Others failed in the query letter stage. While the pages may have been good, the query did not “grip” and QL’s are (sadly) part of the process. As I say, this was not the case for the majority of submissions, however, there were enough such comments to have me look at how I can improve on the submission process.

So this got me thinking. The basic process WILL remain the same, that is to say, the concept of Easter Nests & Secret Bunny Agents will remain, however the selection process will be MUCH TOUGHER – not because I’m cruel! but to get the very best submissions before agents.

snoopyeasterMentor Teams:

In 2015 there will be MENTOR TEAMS made up of a Team Leader (Mentor) and his/her Slush Bilbies (2-3 readers). Each Team will work separately but will also working with the other Teams, & select their top picks.

Selection Process:

The initial steps will remain. 35-word pitch & first 300 words but instead of the Mentors picking & featuring eight (8) submissions, the Mentors will pick “between 5-8” (plus two alternates) and of those, they will request both the Query Letter & either the first chapter or the first 2500-words. The query WILL NOT be featured but will form part of the Mentor Selection Process. The Teams, who will pick a name (e.g #TeamWinnerWinnerChickenDinner) and then read their picked queries, pitches & first chapter. They will have 3 weeks to read through, request more, send revised notes & request a revised version (the author has 5 days to reply) or reject completely. After 4-weeks each Team will feature their picks on their blogs.

The final number per Team is yet to be decided but will not be less than five or more than eight per Team. Every member of the Team will feature the selected submissions. For example #TeamWinnerWinnerChickenDinner will feature their author’s pitches + first 300-words on each Team Members Blog(although the Agent bidding will only happen on the Team Leaders Blog)

This way each author benefits 3 ways:

(i)                 More exposure

(ii)               Feedback which will benefit them in their pitch, the query letter & page requests.

(iii)             Enough time (after sending any revised pages back) to work through any repeating issues in their MS before agent requests come through.

tumblr_mfnljv4qMl1qiwqjeo2_400From The Slush-Pile:

Additional to the above, I will select my own “saved from the slush-pile” submissions. This could be as few as one or as many as five or six and is utterly at my own discretion. Basically, if I feel very strongly about certain submissions that were not picked by the Mentors, I will give these a second chance. The process will be the same. For example, if there are three I feel should be featured, all three will need to send their query letters & first chapter at which point I will read, revise, reject and request… and then make my selection.

Regardless of if there is one or more, these will form part of the Agent Round also. Essentially I’ll be looking for hidden gems that need a little bit more polishing.

Cuteness overloaded#PitchBootCamp:

In 2014 I ran a short bootcamp for 35-word pitches with the awesome Rhiann Wynn-Nolet. It was an opportunity to sharpen your pitches with feedback from Rhiann & myself as well as an open forum for others to comment & participate. I can tell you that many who were involved considered this an excellent way to prefect their pitches, not just for #Nestpitch but for other pitches.

Assuming Rhiann is available, I do intend to run this again; stay tuned.

Feedback:

As with #Nestpitch2014, I will be offering feedback to those who just missed out as I think it’s important for people who were “just about there” to know this. Sometimes the reasoning can be as simple as what else has been selected, or Agent Wish-Lists or Mentor preferences, other times it might be issues with grammar or a poor query letter that lets down the submission. This is what (I feel) author’s need to know.

cuddle bunnie kitten 1PictureBooks:

I adore Picture Books and that is why I featured them in #Nestpitch2014 however, sadly, although we had a lot submitted, very few were submission ready and none got requests. For this reason, I am unsure if we will be accepting PB’s for #Nestpitch 2015. My heart says yes so I’ll let you know in 2015.

However, all is not lost for PB’s.

Although I don’t have the time this year (too many things on before the end of 2014), I intend to run an online workshop December 6th 2015 for PB’s. Why this date? Simple, its St. Nicholas day & for those of you who know me, know I just LOVE LOVE LOVE traditions. (in fact it’s actually where the more modern tradition of Christmas Stocking filling comes from).1092157-Clipart-St-Nicholas-Day-Greeting-Over-A-Shoe-With-Goodies-Royalty-Free-Vector-Illustration

In the area of Croatia I come from there still remains the tradition of gifts for children on St. Nicholas day. In fact, for a very long time, right up until the 1950s or 1960s, that was the day children got presents while Christmas day was for family, feasts, religion etc.

On December 5th eve, children take their best pair of shoes and polish and polish and polish them. When the shoes are shiny clean they are left on the front porch, or covered stoop (remembering this is winter and where I come from if its not snowing in December it is surely raining!) Then St. Nicholas comes along and leaves something in each shoe depending on the quality of the polish and the behaviour of the child in the past year.

(i)                 Super good children, basically angels, get something special, chocolate

(ii)               really good children get a toy

(iii)             good children get fruit (oranges in winter were considered a treat)

(iv)             Naughty children get a lump of coal

(v)               Very naughty children get either onions or garlic shoved into their shoes. For many months after, each time they go to wear the shoes, the smell reminds them to be better next year.

2369d799254b142e6f62b73033ca79e8FYI traditionally St. Nicholas travelled with the Devil. St. Nicholas gave the gifts & the Devil left the coal & onions!

While we’ll ignore the coal and the garlic, in 2015 I’ll b running a PB workshop. Sometime in November 2015 I’ll be asking for PB submissions. Then, from December 6th to Christmas Eve, each day I feature the pitch plus first 100-words of various PB’s. Clearly I can only accept 18 submissions so it will be first come first serve I’m afraid.

From December 6th people will come along and leave a “gift” along with a short sentence as to why they chose an orange rather than chocolate. The 18 PB authors featured will be required to each leave a comment on at least 3 submissions between Dec 6th & 24th, & will also need to help “spread the word” for others to come along and “play St. Nicholas” thereby ensuring everyone gets feedback.

On Dec 25th the top 3-5 (PB’s that got the best presents) will be re-featured on the #Nestpitch blog. There is more to it, but basically that’s it. The idea is to help PB writers sharpen their own work while also getting feedback from the general public. Unlike a #pitchcomp this is not about agents asking for requests (although if an agent does contact me I promise to pass on the requests!), it’s about a forum for PB authors.

I’ve posted this early as I’d very much like feedback from you’all on the planned changes

and of course any suggestions would also be very welcome.

Drafy Nest Pich Logo last stage

Quick Update :)

catHi All, 

Well as many of you know, I’ve been a little absent lately. I moved house a few weeks ago and then had all kinds of issues with firstly my power connection (I was without power from Friday evening to Monday morning) and then my internet (no internet for over a week), plus the *fun* of actually moving house. However, I’m almost (sort of) settled, the cat’s very happy here & I actually went to the gym this morning (I will not admit to how many years its been, lets just say I’m already feeling it).

For those of you who know me a little better, you’ll know I’m also working on a new set of paintings, as I’m hoping to do another exhibition late next year, I have 3 manuscripts currently on the go:

(i)                 a New Adult Women’s Fiction doing the agent rounds

(ii)               an adult Dark-Historical Fantasy with a BETA reader as we speak

(iii)             a very wild and weird adult re-tell WIP which has been messing with my brain and is currently about 1/3 of the way through the first draft.

I’m also doing several subjects in a new BA I started (Professional Writing & Publishing) and I’ve applied for a few intern positions, although they are as rare as hen’s teeth right?

To add to all of the above, a few weeks before I moved, I had a hand injury resulting in hospitalisation, as I had blood poisoning (another long story, let’s just say it wasn’t fun!)

So I guess what I’m saying is sorry for being absent & I promise to get on top of everything soon. And for those wondering, yes there will be a #Nestpitch 2015. We already have several agents who have put their hands up asking to be part of the 2015 line-up, which is awesome! I should mention that I will be re-working the system just a little. As you can imagine, the first time is always a massive learning curve. Luckily for me, I had an amazing team, many of whom were well experienced in #Pitch Comps. Without them I’m sure I would have struggled :)

The new line up and procedure will be announced in early 2015 but on the whole, the idea and concept will remain the same, just better!

So, that’s it for now, short and sweet this time, I’ll be posting more soon, but for now 

~MyTheInspirationBeWithYou~

Writers Block – Is it even a Real thing?

defeatistHi all,

I’m going to caveat this post by saying I doubt very much that many will agree with me, at least initially. In fact, I’m expecting some of you, including my lovely writer-ly friends, to *up-in-arms* against me; because, hell, I’m just going to say it – I THINK THE ENTIRE CONCEPT OF WRITERS BLOCK IS COMPLETE AND UTTER CRAP.

There! I said it. Now, before you ’all jump straight to “comments” hear me out. Firstly, let’s set the guidelines and boundaries of what Writers Block is supposed to be. Below is a definition from Wikipeadia, the highlighted bits are my addition: 

Definition:

Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history, writer’s block has been a documented problem. Professionals who have struggled with the affliction include author F. Scott Fitzgerald and pop culture cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. 

The research concentrating on this topic abounded in the late 1970s and 1980s. During this time, researchers were influenced by the Process and Post-Process movements, and therefore focused specifically on the writer’s processes. The condition was first described in 1947 by psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler. 

So, if I have this straight, Writers Block is the inability to produce new work, with no time period limit? So… was Harper Lee suffering raj-feeling-sorry-for-myself-giffrom Writers Block after writing To Kill a Mockingbird? I mean, that was it for Harper… nothing else (that we know of) ever written and certainly nothing else published. Or did Harper Lee think, Yep… happy with that one, what’s next on my bucket list.” - ?

And here is my other issue… what constitutes NEW WORK? Is it an entirely new project, a brand new WIP, is it new scenes for a chapter or a totally new chapter from thin air, or is it new words that make a scene, chapter, manuscript sharp and quick… or is it JUST any old words slapped together to make NEW WORK?

The premise is flawed, and the description about as vague as the Gabor Sisters dates of birth (Magda, Zsa Zsa, and Eva – and no, I’m not one hundred years old, I just like 1940s, 50 & 60s movies).

Of course there are going to be days when inspiration hits you like a cannonball and other days when you really don’t want to get out of bed… it’s called REAL LIFE, but for some reason, artists, and writer’s in particular, demand of our brains to “please explain” – still not convinced? Let’s look at other professions.

tumblr_lsoptaXE3Q1r42ynoo1_400Legal:

Have you ever seen or attended a meeting or court session? I’m sure you are nodding yes. And when this has happened, if the matter was of a more serious nature, how often is there only ONE legal representative? Not very often. We accept this because “legal council prefers to consult before giving a reply” – also known as; “I’m just not with it today, what’s your take on the evidence?”

Medical:

Operating Theatre is the perfect example of how one doctor hands over to another, either because of expertise or because they just got the shakes, or they can’t get the God-Damn massive phone bill on their kids mobile off their minds… and their inability to concentrate might just kill the patient.

Sporting:

Depending on the arena and the level of professional play, there can be several coaches and assistant coaches… each and every one doing their bit to cover, ehh sorry, assist each other and the players.

OK, perhaps it’s not QUITE the same thing, but I assure you, in every job I’ve had, there have been days when I couldn’t grasp a concept or find an answer, and have struggled to put words and ideas together, even in say an internal memo or email. Yet, it’s not called WRITERS BLOCK if you’re an accountant thinking of the best way to tell your client they have a massive tax bill… and adding… “oh and by they way, here’s my invoice,” it’s called bad news or a shitty day –

But for writers it’s WRITERS BLOCK. I truly believe the ‘title’ Writers Block was created by an unknown psychologist in order to write a paper and get a mention.

So what am I saying here?tumblr_m4fybpLKeL1qlyiz6

Yes sometimes I struggle with an idea or a scene or an answer to a weak scene, yet I consider this part of my JOB as a writer.

Sometimes I don’t write anything new for days, even months.

Sometimes I don’t paint a new painting for days, or months.

Neither of these are a BLOCK – they are a lack of inspiration; that’s IT – nothing more, it’s not a block it’s your brain telling you to “give me a break FFS, I’m just a brain not a micro-chip.”

Interestingly enough, if you Google, “ways to overcome writers block” you’ll get a plethora of sites all with pretty much the same advice… take a break from what you’re doing and do something different; in order to refresh your thoughts and inspire you. Sorry but isn’t that just fatigue mixed with a little frustration and boredom?

When I’m not inspired, I don’t sit about complaining and whining about being “blocked” I DO SOMETHING.  And guess what, I do EXACTLY what these 1001 sites suggest. It can be as simple as getting out of the house, or the city. Or it can be doing some volunteer work, or cleaning the house top-to-toe. Or it can be reading, studying other artists, making notes, doing revision, socialising IRL and on social media… it can be going for a run, joining a gym or even paying bills (seriously), anything that gets my mind off my current annoying little pest and has me thinking, doing, acting in a different way.

let-me-love-you-sheldonI’m going to take a detour to the left here and bring up the character of Shelton on The Big Bang Theory. (FYI if you don’t like this show – opps! Sorry)

There is one episode where the character of Sheldon cannot work out the answer to one of his physics theories. No matter how much he tries, the answer evades him. And, given his self-assuredness of his utter brilliance, this frustrates him no end. He decides he needs to let his MIND REST in order to progress and takes it on himself to work as a waiter/plate collector because “there is no more menial job” he can think of to allow his brain to rest and think better. And evidently it works.

Even this WAS NOT Writers or Artists or Inventors Block – it was fatigue and stress disallowing Sheldon’s brain to conceptualise an answer to his question. Resting the brain and taking on an entirely foreign task helped clear his mind and refresh his thoughts.

tumblr_n50ewgGmzh1qfdwsio1_400We all need time-out.

Parents live by “Time-Out” rules for their children and most employers encourage their employees to “take a break” even if it’s just to get a glass of water. Classes are specifically set to be under 60 minutes because the human brain requires a break after 45-50 minutes… it’s Time Out.

If we must give the “time-out” for writers a label, must it be a BLOCK? It has such negative connotations. Inspiration is fleeting as much as it is compelling and for the better part of the day, week, year; we are doing mundane *housework* such as revisions, and editing and helping others do the same. If we were studying, we’d call it “a break” if we were doing a work-out we do “warm-ups” and “cool-downs” yet when our author brain tells us it needs a rest we make it a negative thing, referring to it as a BLOCK rather than a little nana-nap that, frankly we all should indulge in occasionally.

Devil-wears-Prada-gifs-Miranda-Priestly-Emily-Blunt9_zpsb87dd4b3Writers Break sure, in fact from here on in I will be calling this period WRITERS BREAK – hands up if you’re with me? I’ll be the first to put my hand up for that one, but, in my humble opinion, there no such thing as WRITERS BLOCK, unless you really DO need an excuse for not finishing that manuscript you’ve been half-heartedly working on for the past 5-years. In which case being BLOCKED much better suits than taking a BREAK… you’ll never have to finish what you started :)

And before I go, I’d like to thank all of you for your support.

pinkie pie party cannon

This little blog was started by me in Jan -2014 and it’s just rolled over the 13,000 hits — not bad for 9 months! – I hope you ‘all continue to get something from my posts and as always, feel free to comment :)

tumblr_mf8yzcCvsM1rwiv0vo1_250

The Foundation by Steve Vincent

MOM045_The_Foundation_Cover_150_AW

Hello All, Today I’m taking a break from talking/writing #pitchcomps and letting you know about a fellow Aussie, Mebournian and author Steve Vincent and his new novel The Foundation published with Momentum Books. I asked Steve to tell us a … Continue reading

Is the ability to create great Art in our Genes or our Perseverance?

Antlers_WiFi_2011_5_13Hello All,

This is a long-ish post so apologies to those who like short ones! I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while. And I have my own thoughts on this but I’ll share those further down, first how I came to thinking about this topic. A while ago I read on a Blog post about the 10,000-hour rule.

In 2008 Little Brown & Co published Malcolm Galwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success which, in a nutshell says that if anyone spends 10,000 hours on their preferred art-form, they will become proficient and successful at it. The book uses studies (namely the study of children learning to play the violin) to“prove” that if you practice your art, you will become something akin to a savant/genius at your chosen art.

Domonoks_7This got me thinking, is it really that easy and that hard?

Now, let me start by staying I am a FIRM believer in practice makes perfect. Whether you are a dancer, a musician, a writer, a painter (etc.) the more time you spend practising your art-form, the better you’ll become. However, I couldn’t help but question the logic.  After all, some people simply open their mouths and beautiful music comes out. Other’s put pen to paper and write amazing stories or brilliant symphonies, did they all spend 10,000 hours unbeknown to the rest of us?

Outliers doesn’t just touch on art-forms, it refers to pretty much every sort of profession, be that science, or business or web-design-genius’ such as Steve Jobs (etc.) So, given I love facts and figures as much as I love art (those that know me well will know I thrive on stats and graphs and all kinds of mathematical equations), I started looking into this. And it would appear many in the arts, sciences and business are questioning Malcolm Galwell’s “rule” as a, well… RULE.

2579886_5567648625_incon_by_ninjakato-d7r3bu2So what’s the truth? Is it a matter of clocking up the hours or is it raw talent or simply damn good timing?

Additional to reading the blog post, a few days ago I read a post on LinkedIn. The topic was the cost of hiring an editor. An author wanted to know what he should be paying and what he should be asking/looking for when hiring an editor. Most of the replies were a mix of other people’s experiences and freelance editors taking the opportunity to advertise their business. But there was one reply that had me re-visiting this TALENT vs HARD WORKquestion. Since adding their reply, they have deleted it so I can’t give you their word-for-word answer but it was along the lines of this:

…some people have natural talent, others don’t and no amount of work will change that, and people without talent should give up trying…

I found this reply really disheartening and also concerning. I don’t think the answer is to “give up” I think the answer is to work out what your motivation is and whether the drive comes from a deep passion. If it is passion then DO NOT GIVE UP.

Now I’d like to share my personal thoughts. I do not agree with that stand one little bit. However, I also do not agree with the 10,000-hour rule. I happen to think that the truth is somewhere in the middle. I also happen to think determination and perseverance play a MASSIVE part in an artist’s future, as does luck.

I’m going to ask you all to indulge me a little while I share my own life experiences as I believe this demonstrates my point.

let-me-love-you-sheldonI have been always been a duplicitous person. By that I mean, I’m constantly split between the Arts & the Maths/Sciences. And it runs in my family. My father writes poetry and sonnets (published) and paints a little. He is also a brilliant mathematician and worked as an Industrial Engineer. My mother is a wonderful artist and skilled at many hand-crafts. She won a full Fine Arts university scholarship and then went on to major in chemistry. My grandfather was a musician and singer, as well as having gone to university majoring in applied maths and physics. He worked for the government in the finance sector for a time and then (as he loved open spaces) became a forest ranger… but never stopped singing, playing and performing. There are many more examples in my family, (cousins/uncles/aunts), however you get the picture.

As for me, I have primarily worked in the finance and/or accounting sector’s but have also been writing and drawing/painting all my life. I was also interested in performing, having studied drama.

I had my first written works published when I was 13 years old (short story, local newspaper) and since then have had the odd additional thing published. I have never studied any formal writing or publishing subjects, I simply wrote what appealed to me (however, I have recently started a new BA in professional writing).

With regard to painting, although I studied the “greats” I have not had any formal art classes. This did not stop me from enjoying in indulging in sporadic bursts of painting energy.

Psychadelic-animated-gif-coloursIn 2004 I started taking my writing more seriously and began writing poetry, again, for my own benefit and without any real plan to have others read it.

In 2006 I began painting more often and in 2007 & 2008 I held exhibitions in Melbourne. In 2009, after sending jpeg’s of my artwork to several galleries in Paris & London, I was asked to exhibit in Paris – and I did, in October 2009…

The timing could not have been worse. The Global Financial Crisis had just hit, the European economy was flushing down the toilet and there was pretty much no hope my exhibition would be a success. However, I’d already booked my flight, paid for my accommodation, left my job and sent my artwork on its way to the gallery. So I was stuck with having the show and consoled myself with the fact that I’d be in Paris.

Here’s the thing. I DID sell pieces. In fact I sold enough to allow me to stay in Paris for almost 6-months. It’s also the place I started writing my first manuscript (but that’s another story).

Did I spend 10,000 hours on my artistic skills throughout my life? My best estimate 4,000-hours. Am I the most wonderful artist on the planet with an awesome talent? Hardly! Am I gifted with genes that have blessed me with a raw talent? Who knows? Personally I think my gift was the encouragement of my parents and these sage words by my father:

Remember, no one is better than you, but remember also no one is worse than you.

If you remember that you are as good as anyone but no better than anyone, you can achieve what your passion and perseverance drives you to achieve.

So how did I sell works of art, enough works of art (remembering galleries take between 40-50% from each sale) to allow me to live in Paris, without finding any other work, for six months, and also pay the rent on my place back in Melbourne?

Again, honestly, I’m not 100% sure. But I will share with you what I did, perhaps differently, to others and also what those who bought my pieces said.

First what I did to make the exhibition a success, (FYI I knew no one in Paris and my French was pretty much no existent)6af0d44337bd206bb42bfc8c47bb2636576da5f66679533e1b9329a498113b7c

(i)                 Almost 12-months prior to leaving I started forming contacts with other Aussie’s living in Paris.

(ii)               Prior to arriving I printed flyers of my artwork and my exhibition date.

(iii)             As soon as I arrived I met-up with as many people as I could from my contacts.

(iv)             Every free or super cheap event that was on in Paris, I attended. I didn’t care if they all spoke French or not, I needed to get my face and name out there.

(v)               Every single café and restaurant I visited more than three times I told the waiters about myself and my exhibition.

(vi)             At every art supplies, or workshop that would allow me to, I left flyers.

(vii)           I attended the opening nights of all three exhibitions prior to mine at the gallery. I got to know the artists and mingled with potential buyers and whoever was interested, I offered them a flyer. It was in the same gallery so there was no conflict of interest.

(viii)         A week before my gallery opening, I walked into every single shop, café, business on The Avenue des Champs-Élysées and offered any of their staff a 15% discount on any artwork they wanted to buy, all they needed to do was bring in their special flyer (I signed them) and offer it at the time of purchase.

(ix)             And this one was a bit sneaky I left random numbers of flyers at bank and post office counters all over Paris.

Wh9jLIn other words I worked my butt off getting word out. It’s called marketing. And it’s vital, no matter if you are launching your novel, your play, your bands gig or your exhibition.

As for why I sold artwork, a relative unknown in a city full of artists? Aside from literarily flooding the city with my flyers, it was my artistic style. It didn’t “fit” any label. It was uniquely me. I wasn’t trying to paint like anyone else, though naturally I was influenced by many wonderful artists. So, my work was unique in a city that was filled with hungry artists trying to recreate the masters.

So what’s my point? My point is, don’t believe everything your read and only half of what you see. The world is made up of magic and illusion. Do your own thing. Make it unique to you. Don’t try to copy or emulate others, you’ll never succeed unless you are you.

Art doesn’t lie. Sure it fakes and misleads but it does so openly, whether it’s fiction-writing or an artistic interpretation of a seascape. Be it a photo-shopped image of the Grand Canyon, manipulated for the sake of art, it openly fakes the truth and therefore it is not a lie. Don’t dishonour this concept by trying to be someone other than who you are.

As for 10,000-hours make you a success, in my opinion its a load of CRAP. There is no FORMULA written in stone for success. There are things you can do to help achieve, but they vary in style and aptitude and attitude for every single individual. What works for me will not work for the next person.anigif_enhanced-buzz-14927-1382223438-15

Yes hone your craft. Practice your art. Get involved with groups and mentors and fellow artists and learn from them, but don’t think… “OK, so I’ve worked it out, I have done 7,892-hours, I’m almost there…” because if you do get to 10,000-hours and have not achieved what you call success, you’ll feel a failure. And you are NOT. As much as it would be great to believe there is a magic number, there is not. Timing, luck, persistence, patience, positive attitude, respecting others and hard work is all part of the equation. Some people write their first novel and it’s brilliant and becomes a best seller and is made into a movie and they live happily ever after. Others may write ten novels before they break through. And still other’s many never reach the best seller list.

anigif_enhanced-26837-1398300220-21As for natural (born) talent, I’m still of two minds on this one. I truly believe everyone can draw and paint however we become conditioned to believe we cannot because when we were eight, or ten, or twelve someone was better at it than us and we began to believe we were not good at drawing or painting. Having said that, great singers, in my opinion, are born. You can improve your voice with 10,000-hours, but I don’t think you can be truly great (and I’m not talking famous, I’m talking brilliant voice) if you were not born with the right vocal cords.

I started this post asking if the ability to create great Art in our Genes or our Perseverance? The truth is, I believe, it’s both, but it is the part in our genes that doesn’t allow us to give up that makes the difference not our skill with a quill or brush or ebony & ivory keys. And it is the willingness to go the extra work, the marketing, self-promotion, mingling, learning, studying the greats while maintaining our individuality that will make us stand out, not the number of hours clocked.

Devil-wears-Prada-gifs-Miranda-Priestly-Emily-Blunt9_zpsb87dd4b3Yes do the hours. But no don’t do them as you would a class, something to “over-and-done-with” but rather as an avenue to achieving your personal objectives.

And do not let ANYONE tell you to GIVE UP because frankly, they are wrong, wrong, wrong.

Failure and rejection is part of success. I’m serious. The more times you fail, the more likely you are to know what success is. And while we are on the subject of genius and 10,000, I’ll leave you with this quote by Thomas Edison regarding inventing the light bulb:

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

How to Get a Book Review – or the Art of Launching without becoming a Nuisance!

nestpitch:

Thought this had some great reviewer links & overall useful information

Originally posted on Lost Lynx Publishing & Media Blog:

imagesReviews – Getting what you want!

I have a confession to make. I’m a bit of an internet snoop. I troll, stalk, errh check-out dozens of author blog sites, and when I say AUTHOR I mean that in very context, traditionally published fiction & non-fiction author’s, self-published, aspiring, New York Times and Major Prize Winning author’s and the little guys.. In other words, I’m interested in everyone from traditional to hybrid, to self-published to as-yet-unpublished.

All of these sub-groups of authors have numerous things in common, especially “getting-word-out” marketing needs. And lately I’ve been seeing a lot of“How do I get my book reviewed” tweets, questions on LinkedIn and on Blogs. And it’s a fair enough question. If you don’t have an agent, and/or a medium to larger publisher, you’ll need to do a lot of marketing yourself.

Let me repeat that. Even with a publisher behind…

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