Tales in Publishing: The Cover

Tales in Publishing: 
The Cover

As a child, I always dreamt of having my name in print. I varied from wishing it would be on the front of a movie case, to the cover of a book. Regardless, I wanted to be known--not necessarily famous--for my imagined and perceived talents.

My ability to get that name in print was hardly ever put to the test either due to my perfectionism--drafts never being ready--or fear of rejection--based on the failed attempts of my first novel. However, things have changed. Follow the journey from the beginning (TIP: AcceptanceContract).

A week ago, I was emailed the cover of the book with instructions that I couldn't reveal it anywhere until a certain date. I'm allowed to release it now! I cannot express--in proper words that would give it justice--how it felt to see my name on the front of a book. Just, wow. A childhood dream come true, even if it is only a (long) short story. I now am hoping one day to see my name printed on a book that solely belongs to me. And having now been officially published, I have more confidence that it may one day happen. Here it is!

I absolutely love this cover. The font is playful and the pink is subtle and cute with the clashing paper ball blue hearts. It fits perfectly for my story (and I can't wait to read the rest of the stories my fellow authors wrote) because my story begins with a note and a dare. The cardboard sign makes it a bit rustic so it's not overly girly. Overall, I love it's simplicity. I'd take simplicity over cheesiness any day when it comes to romance book covers. I'm pleased and excited because a cover could make or break sales.

Please stay tuned for release dates and book launch information later this summer. Thanks for your support and for reading!

Tales in Publishing: Contract

Tales in Publishing: 

Things were not feeling real. I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was beginning to fulfill my last goal I had hoped for since I was young. I already had the husband, house, and child I always wanted. I had a job I loved, but I really wanted to become a published writer. I held off on self-publishing, partly due to the stigma of some of the inferior works out there (you know, the ones not even edited or don't actually have a story arc) but also because I do not foresee myself being successful at marketing it alone.

Regardless, it felt surreal when I submitted a short story and got approval (TIP: Acceptance ). I still couldn't believe it. But then the publishing company sent me the contract. I opened it and read through carefully, wondering if I should consult a lawyer friend. However, it was pretty straightforward, had a competitive royalty percentage, and I had done my research of the market prior so everything was sound. There was no advance except in the form of free books for reviewers, but this I had come to expect from the industry unless you get in with the big time conglomerates. Since it is an anthology and royalties are split, I knew it wasn't going to be a money making endeavor, but to be published in an actual book was paramount. It will fluff my writing resume and help me get my foot in the door for my manuscripts.

All these hopes for the future were flurrying through my mind as I tried to focus and read. And then it all came to a blissful crashing reality when I electronically signed it. It was now real. I officially sold the rights to this story. I was on cloud nine. I told people. I got confident and excited. I have a reason to blog again and now renewed energy to revise the pile of manuscripts I have instead of creating more new novels to let them sit. I'm going back into the trenches and going to try to get a full-length manuscript published.

For the time being, I'm going to report on the stages of getting published, so to be continued.

Tales in Publishing: Acceptance

Tales in Publishing: 

I have many manuscripts, but rarely the ability to concentrate on finding publishers or agents to query (Not Quite Writer's Block). It's not something I love doing due to tedious research and the bitter sting of rejection that results from queries. JK Rowling faced high double digits of rejection letters until a then small company accepted the first Harry Potter novel. So for writers, rejection is a part of life. I got rejections, I had a small success, but I wanted more.

As a professor, there are times when work is time consuming and difficult, but this comes in waves; for every peak of stress, there is a lull. In one of these lulls, I decided to look for some contests publishers tend to run and came across one that sounded right up my alley. I only had two weeks to pull off 15,000 words with work and motherhood still battling over my time, but I was determined. I pounded it out in about four days, revised another, and edited one more. I honestly should've taken more time to edit, but time was pressing since papers were coming in that needed grading. I submitted not thinking anything of it.

Honestly, it felt like it wasn't my best. I thought it was good, but given more time, it could've been great. I was very surprised to get an email, less than a week later (response time was twelve weeks). I was checking my phone while helping my son get ready for bed when I saw an email come up from the publishers with the first line visible but cut off: "Dear Lisa, Thank you for your submission. We would be happy to include..."

My heart raced and my mouth went dry. I absentmindedly watched my son struggle with his pajama pants, putting both legs in one side as he hopped around the room. The email sounded good, but I had to read the entire email before I would let myself smile. It seemed like ages for the email to open, and even longer to help my son fix his pajamas, although it was most likely a minute. I read the entire email five times until I believed they were accepting my story. I made a strange squeal scream that freaked my son out and I told him my story was going to be in a book. As a lover of books, he asked where the book was so he could see it, as if it would magically appear. Then I raced in our bedroom and woke up my dozing husband who joined in my excitement despite how tired he was. Next, I sent a text to my parents.

Then I stopped it there. It seemed too easy, to good to be true. I sat on the news for a few days. I told no one else, announced nothing. Even after the publishing company gave me all their links to join their social media groups and welcomed me to the family, it still didn't feel real. I wasn't sure when it would feel real. I was stuck not feeling exhilarated like I should but wary that something would go wrong and it wouldn't actually happen. The next thing that occurred made it all extraordinarily real...

To be continued...

Not Quite Writer's Block

Not Quite Writer's 

Being blessed with a vivid imagination, I don't often get the dreadful writer's block. At least not in the traditional sense. I don't stare at a blank screen or sheet of paper with a frozen imagination. I'm not saying what I write will always be good; I scrap a lot of stuff that was only useful in the sense that I was working out that brain muscle. I have different problems that prevent me from writing, excluding the daily struggles life throws at you like a lack of time. Here's my list:

1. Ideas come in the worst places...
Pretty much the best and most vivid ideas come to me in the shower, while driving, at meetings or at my child's extracurricular activities, places where it's hard to write them down. I'm slightly relaxed in these situations, sometimes bored, and writing stories in my head helps me focus (a weird ADHD thing). The problem is by the time I get to a place, or have a moment, to write them down, they're gone or at least lost their luster and detail.

2. Too many ideas...
This seems like a blessing, but it means I move on from one project to the next, usually working on about four different manuscripts simultaneously. The problem is that only a few of the projects are actually finished before I move on. I have a graveyard of partial manuscripts. The perk in this is if I do have real writer's block, I can completely revamp one of these old scraps.

3. Writing for the love of writing...
This should not be a problem. If I love to write just because it's a passion of mine, I should not care about selling or becoming well-known. I actually don't to a point. Money doesn't mean much since I write because I have to; money feels like a bonus. But I want to share my writing and I want people to know it's mine. I'm proud of it as one is proud of any of his or her accomplishments. I love to write and I even love the revision and editing process (the English Professor in me), but getting my writing out to the public is another story. I abhor researching agents, publishers, and trying to keep track of query letters (currently have three projects I'm writing queries for). I only ever tried aggressively selling one of six completed manuscripts. I probably have about twelve novels because some are series, but haven't done anything with them. This seems a waste, but every time I settle down to work on the publishing aspects, the ideas come instead (like a cycle back to #1 and 2).

There are many obstacles when it comes to writing and querying, so these only highlight the personal struggles I have. What types of writer's block do you go through? I'd love to hear!

A Message for Aspiring Authors

A Message for 
Aspiring Authors

I'm not sure why I never called myself a writer. It was as if I thought saying so would make me a phony. Or worse, if you tell people you're a writer, their next question always is, "what have you written?" I didn't have much to say aside from telling them my plethora of manuscripts I had never sent out. Now, I suddenly feel official. And as soon as I felt like a "real" writer--after signing that first ever contract--I realized that this feeling was utterly wrong.

Of course, I should be happy. I am, but I'm annoyed I wasn't happy with myself prior. My first writings were drivel that I would hide in my nightstand drawer. They were screenplays of a sort and I would be the star leading role and some hot movie star at the time would be my love interest (usually Brad or Leo). But I wasn't a real writer yet. In high school, the melodramatic manuscripts were read aloud with my friends, acting them out, and my friends seem genuinely interested in what I wrote. But I told myself this was just a joke, a play game, that they were being nice (or worse maybe making fun of me behind my back). But I wasn't a real writer yet.

In college, I left a notebook lying around and my roommate read it and demanded more. She insisted I finish the story and was always waiting for more. There was no reason for her to fake this interest, but I wasn't a real writer yet. After I graduated and waited tables, I began focusing on novels realizing screenplays were limiting and that I could do so much more by projecting characters thoughts. I went to grad school, got a job teaching at a university, and still I wrote manuscript after manuscript. But I wasn't a real writer yet. I sent out query letters (a proposal type letter sent to agents and publishers) for a novel, and actually got three parties interested (out of like 80 queries), but since no one opted to publish my novel or represent me, I must not be a real writer. Even when I published my short story "A Jaded Life" in Circumambulations, I still felt like it wasn't enough to call myself a writer. It was only a short lived literary magazine. Only after signing that contract where I will  have a short story in an actual book do I feel like a real writer and this is wrong.

We live in a conflicting society where girls are told to be confident and that they can do whatever they set their minds to, and yet society turns around and puts women down who do achieve success. The message of "you can do it!" is too often followed by "don't get a big head!" Sadly, it has taken me over thirty years to figure out that if I see myself as a writer, by God, I'm a writer regardless of what others think. I should not have to defend that assertion with a roster of my titles.

So if you write, you are a writer no matter if you're published or not, no matter if someone says your writing isn't good enough.You are a writer! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

"It's Lit!": Blog Revamp

"It's Lit!": 
Blog Revamp

Blogging has been an on and off thing for me. Losing interest, a lack of ideas for subject content, no free time, and life's stressors seemed to just get in the way. I'm back at it again, but now with a new improved look and a slight shift in subject content. I'm straying away from discussing parenting and personal matters--they were less cathartic posts than I had hoped and didn't improve that avenue of stress. I didn't want it to be another "motherhood, woe is me" blog that you see loads of.
In addition, I will be realigning my focus on my writing for several reasons but the most exciting one is that I'm officially getting published! A short story will appear in an anthology with Evernight Teen publishing in August (so stay tuned). Check out their books! https://www.evernightteen.com/

I'm beyond excited about this and will talk abut it more in later blogs. Second fold, I'll be promoting and showcasing my work as is expected of authors in this digital age. From character sketches, writing exercises, research on the industry, inside looks about the publishing process, and all things YA, I'll be submersing myself into this world to improve my craft.
One thing I need to improve upon is blogging, so I'm setting up a plan. I'm going to write as many blogs as possible over the summer while I'm not working so that I do not fall behind. My goal is to post two a week so I've got a lot of work cut out for me (104 posts!). But I think if you're determined enough, you can make anything happen!

Please also visit my facebook page where you can leave comments to posts https://www.facebook.com/ScrapPaperCompositions/ and follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/lisabornegraves Please click the subscribe button to stay up to date. Thank you for your support!


Tales in Publishing: Query example

Tales in Publishing:  Query example I'm sharing my successful query to others in hopes it exemplifies what to do and helps other au...