My book pet peeves

Without further adieu, my five biggest book pet peeves (that’s a mouth full) are…

A book cover that features real people.

Sometimes I feel like I’m alone in this opinion, because big name publishers keep putting out books with covers featuring real people, like this one. And this one. The issue I have with this, is that it prevents me from using my imagination to conjure up a character. I don’t mind a physical description, but an image speaks too loudly.

A romance in which the characters give it up too quickly

For me, sex is an important part of a romance novel. It is the physical act of love, after all. Heh. When two characters have sex in the first third of the book, I feel like I’ve lost a large chunk of my motivation to read the rest of the story.

Too short or too long chapters

I find this happens a lot with self published novels, where the writer doesn’t put as much care into chapters as, say, a writer who has access to an editor would. One of the most recent examples is Losing It. It’s a fun, quick read, but one evening spanned seven whole chapters, when the same text could have easily been formatted into one or two.

The obsession with virginity 

In real life, young adult virginity (18-25) is somewhat rare. But if books dictated reality, I’d think it was the popular choice. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

The manic pixie dream girl

Enough said.

Bisou Bisou!

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PNWA: Creating submission packets

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to make the most of this year’s PNWA conference.

Because it’s my first big conference, I’ve been wondering about things like conference etiquitte and self promotion, and how to stand out among the hundreds of aspiring writers hoping to be looked upon favorably by publishing house reps and agents. First and foremost, it is my goal to have my manuscript completely polished and ready to be looked at by the conference. If I’m introducing myself as a writer, I want to be able to hand over something I’ve written if prompted. It simply seems professional. After all, a person isn’t much of a writer without a body of work.

Second, I got to thinking about how to present my work if prompted. I’ve heard of writers sending follow up emails containing their manuscripts, but that seems too risky to me. In today’s fast paced world, I suspect agents quickly forget about viable writers once they’ve exited the conference. So to prevent that from happening, I devised a plan. And I hope it works!

I’m going to create a submission packet to hand out. It will be neat and compact, so that interested agents don’t have to worry about lugging it around. And it will be stylish and unique, because I want to showcase who I am. I want to portray that I’m a serious writer who, while as wacky as any other artist, will work hard to earn my agent’s and reader’s respect.

Though the pictures below don’t precisely portray what I have in mind, I wanted to catalogue some type of visual. I plan to include the following:

  • The first three chapters of my manuscript
  • A synopsis
  • A CV and introduction
  • My contact info on a small, easy to read card

I’m interested in what other writers and publishing professionals think of this idea. Is it a great idea, or is it gauche?

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A bientot!

Bisou bisou!

S.C. Grice

Finding a quality internship

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At this point, it probably seems like old news to tout the importance of getting an internship in the  industry you’d like to work in. After all, most of us know that an internship can provide valuable experience and lead to a permanent, lucrative job down the line (not to mention important connections with powerful players). But, despite all of the benefits, sometimes people walk away feeling disatisfied (or even cheated). I’ve had a handful of writing gigs, and one editorial internship, so I’ve experienced myriad work places, and the things that may be contributing to a sour atmosphere. Here, I’m leaving you with one of the most important tips to know when searching for an internship: Never settle for something mediocre. 

Before you get an internship, you have to look for one. Pretty obvious, right? Well, the key to getting the RIGHT internship is to build up your bullshit meter, so that you know a good opportunity from a bad one.

What are some easy indicators that an internship is probably more about grunt work than opportunity? Look for the following:

  • It’s a new business, company, organization, etc…
  • The contact person uses a personal email account.
  • The company doesn’t have much in the way of social media
  • The hiring agent doesn’t have a clear, detailed list of what your responsibilities would be, and how many hours you’d be expected to work.

So, who SHOULD you be looking for?

Even though new businesses sometimes thrive in a short period of time, it’s a safer bet to go with a longstanding company, like Penguin. It can generally offer greater benefits and incentives, and has the budget and staff to make available to you resources that wouldn’t be available otherwise.

If you find yourself unsure about whether to apply, based on the company’s qualifications, ask to speak with previous interns. The company’s ability to give you solid references shows professionalism and a dedication to its interns.

Bonne chance!

S.C. Grice

Writers Conference Series: What to wear

July 2015 is going to be a big, important, amazzzing month. Why, you ask? Well, not only is it my birthday month, it’s the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference. So, in short, I need a few really good outfits.

I believe a writer representing herself at a conference should be dressed well and groomed. It gives the impression that she is serious in business. However, I also believe a writer should look like the artistic person that she is. I’ve shown a few options here that are visually interesting and unique, as well as professional. Now I just need to pick one, and keep in mind that I’ll have to swap out heels for flats and wear light weight fabrics because of the summer heat. Gah, so exciting!

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Fun stuff for booklovers

I recently discovered Society6, and I’m totally in love with the site’s cool, urban vibe and unique offerings. From home decor to accessories, book lovers can’t go wrong.

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Storiarts is an Etsy shop that sells scarves and other accessories with text passages silk screened onto them. I bought a pair of Pride and Prejudice gloves a couple of years ago, and I was very impressed with the quality of the fabric. I’d like to get a scarf like this:

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I don’t know about other states, but in a lot of Washington cities we have to bring reusable bags and totes into stores. Cute ones, like this guy, make it easier to remember to bring them along.

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You can’t really go wrong with a book themed candle from FrostBeard Studio. It’s the perfect accessory to a quality reading sesh. I’ve never actually bought one, so I can only assume that Winterfell would be my favorite.

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