Five Links 9/20/19 Loleta Abi

key, daisies and a piece of bark

Five Links 9/20/19

Loleta Abi


1. “In 2012 I published a Modern Love essay in The New York Times. The essay led to landing a literary agent for a memoir. For two years, I wrestled with the proposal, which never quite satisfied her standards. I developed a second proposal, which also failed to meet her approval. A third, same failure. There were some bizarre email exchanges and eventually, I ended the working relationship.

I failed. I’d had my chance. I had an agent, but couldn’t produce a book worthy of being published, or even shopped around. I thought this was the most discouraging thing that could happen in my writing career.

A year later, I summoned my courage and sent another round of agent queries for that third book proposal, narrative nonfiction based in Africa. I signed with a new agent! After a cursory round of edits, she sent out the proposal. An editor at a big five publisher was interested. We had an encouraging call but she came back a devastating “no.” I’ve heard of this happening. It’s hard to work through. Some people turn to self-publishing, others continue to pursue traditional.

2. “I know what you’re thinking. You see the word crisis and say, that will never happen to me. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you are wrong. As with all public figures, a reputation-tanking, book-disappearing, fan-stalking, Twitter-storm crisis can happen to any author.

And it could ruin your business and your reputation if you’re not prepared.

You need to know about crisis management.

Let’s face it, author businesses thrive or die online. Whether it’s a website, social media, our newsletters, online classes, bookstores like Amazon—whatever it is—our business and our reputations exist online. We may have lots of offline marketing going on, but the bulk of our livelihood is attached at the hip to the internet where the good, the bad, and the ugly hang out.” I’ve noted these for future use, if necessary. They sound like good, smart tips.

3. “In the past two Business Musings, we’ve discussed licensing in and licensing out, all in terms of money. The question I’m resolutely refusing to answer is How much money can I make? In fact, I’ve been telling you that a focus on money is the focus that will cost you more than you make.

The reason for that is all contractual. When you license your work out, meaning that someone else will produce whatever product you’ve decided to license, what you will earn will depend on the contract you sign.

Generally speaking, the more money you ask for up front, the more you will sacrifice down the road in rights or in control. However, there are instances where this is not true.

The first instance is the one you folks think of when you say to me But I’m not famous enough to get a licensing deal. Nope, wrong. You don’t have enough clout to get a good licensing deal with a great payment up front.

You are able, even with only one (small) novel published, to get a licensing deal, maybe even one you want. But you won’t get millions for it or, if you do, you will sacrifice almost everything else (but money) in the contract.”

4. “A Books & Such client asked a great question on Facebook recently. She wanted to know what some experienced bloggers wished they had known before starting their blogs. The majority answered that they wished they had a focus, or direction, for their blogs before they started writing. Many of the bloggers started out blogging about whatever came to mind and weren’t focused on anything specific. When they finally found the right topic, the blogging became easier.

Focusing your blog should also help to build blog traffic. The same people will want to come back to read your other posts and they will know what to expect. I read a few “mommy blogs” and I know that when I go check in, I will be reading a clever, relatable, mommy post. Here on the Books & Such blog you know you will see a publishing or writing-related post. We hardly ever (never?) post about what we had for dinner. And I try to refrain from writing about my silly kids–unless I can find a sneaky way to mention them while still talking about the publishing world.

A blog is a tool and it is most useful if you use it correctly and consistently.”

5. “As we talked about the last few weeks in Part Two and Part Three of Kris Kennedy’s backstory series, the false beliefs or guiding principles that grow out of a character’s defining moment from their backstory are key to the emotional heart of our story. Exploring a character’s backstory through their struggle to learn and overcome reveals our story’s theme and piles on emotion.

But how do we make sure our story’s plot plays well with our character’s backstory? How do we make sure the plot will push them to do all that learning and overcoming?

Kris Kennedy is back with a fantastic Part Four of her 5-part series on crafting must-read backstory. Today’s insights dig into how we can use our character’s backstory to brainstorm our plot (or vice versa), creating a compelling story filled with their struggle.

Please welcome Kris Kennedy! *smile*” Another fantastic post on Jami Gold’s blog!

Research & Fun Bits:


2. “Comfy new she-shed-like sunroom + intentional relaxation + days off = binge-watching movies.

I didn’t anticipate it also meant school. Was I entertained? Yes. Relaxed? Oh, yes.

But after a weekend of watching one movie after another in my cozy no-boys-allowed* reading nook, I walked away overflowing with impressions and ideas for what makes a story–a movie or a novel or even a memoir or narrative nonfiction–work.

It was a watch and learn from movies experience for a writer and an agent.”

3. “Today is my flex day again. I really want to be working on a couple of manuscripts, but I have other duties to attend to.

I started off with Lisa Burton Radio. I have two authors who are looking for a bit of promo, so I wanted to get their shticks out the door. I spent a couple of hours on those, then shipped them out. One of them already returned his, and while I’m tempted to work on it again, I’ll probably put it off for a couple of days.

Viral Blues got its first review, and it’s outstanding. Things like this make me glad to know that someone had a good time with the story.

I need to tour this book around, so I spent some time writing tour posts. I have a bunch more to write, but can only do so much in one sitting. Three of them were shipped out, and that’s a reasonable start.”



Some Things More Serious:


2.’s Saturday post inspired me to share a strange encounter I had with a reader last week. I loaded up the SUV for my annual trip north to appear at a 5-star library in New Hampshire (rated by Library Journal). I’ve all but given up on libraries for book signings, but this library has the coolest librarian/director I’ve ever met. She’s a walking contradiction! Inside the library, she’s quiet, polite, and super helpful. When she locks the library doors, however, she really lets her hair down, hops into her supped-up Mustang convertible and races down the streets—a quick streak of blue and white whizzing by. I adore this woman! Every signing, successful or not, ends with a hug. Which keeps me coming back year after year.

Sometimes my timing is perfect. Other times, not so much.

Last week, the local priest decided to hold his retirement party across the street from the library on the same night as my book event. Needless to say, it wasn’t my most successful signing ever. Didn’t matter. Whether we’re speaking to a packed room or only three or four readers trickle in, we still need to put on the same show. Sometimes a more intimate setting is really nice, as it gives us the opportunity to chitchat with the folks who read our books.

Unless you get an angry-looking woman in the front row who does nothing but glare at you.”

3. “In August of 2019, my husband and I drove across the Zaragoza Bridge, one of the connectors between my hometowns of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. Our trunk filled with cardboard boxes containing soap, deodorant, and sanitary napkins, my husband maneuvered the minivan around the barriers placed by Mexico to prevent guns from crossing into their country. We rehearsed the answers we would give to Mexican Customs agents’ questions about the supplies, should we be stopped: these are personal care items that are going to a migrant shelter in Juárez. Their total worth is $1,000 dollars. We are only crossing these supplies. There is no contraband in this car or on our bodies.

We crossed mid-morning, before the temperature rose to 100 degrees and my feet and legs swelled. At 30 weeks pregnant, I felt driven to bring these items, collected through the generosity of friends and strangers, to some of the women waiting in Juárez for their asylum claims to be processed under President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. The sun lay heavy on the dried Rio Grande, its water stymied by a dam in New Mexico. The fence loomed over the riverbed.

We crossed through Mexican customs without an interrogation. In Juárez, we drove by an American-owned factory where indigenous people assemble appliances bound for US markets for little compensation. We passed small businesses that pay weekly quotas to cartels, whose drugs are also bound for US markets.”



Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. “The cardinal rule, she repeated to herself, was never to forget his kindness.Even if it came attached to an arrogance that scared her.
Some relations, for the sake of a name, are built on rules, which are expected to be adhered to at all times.”



4. “It is Stream of Consciousness Saturday and this week’s prompt is a bit unusual. Let’s let Linda Hill explain it. “Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “blue.” Talk about the first blue object you see when you sit down to write your post. Have fun!”   Okay then. If you would like to have fun like this, visit Linda’s blog and read how easy it is. Here is the link.

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Sept. 14/19

Blue by John W. Howell © 2019

“Why are you sitting at your desk staring out the window?”

“I’m trying to come up with something to say for this week’s Stream of Consciousness prompt.”

“Shouldn’t be too hard. What’s the prompt?”

“To write about the first blue thing you see when you sit down to write the post.”


Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “Set in present day Washington, D.C., with all of that city’s current political drama, polarization, ferocious turf battles and paranoia-inducing intrigue, Deep State introduces 25-year-old West Wing intern and ex-Army veteran, Hayley Chill.

Hayley discovers the body of the White House chief of staff on his kitchen floor and a single clue suggests her boss has died from something other than natural causes. With a resolute pursuit of the truth and at ever-increasing personal peril, Hayley begins to uncover shocking evidence of a wide-ranging conspiracy. Code-named Operation Shady Side, the plot is orchestrated by a half dozen long-established government figures, members of the eponymous ‘Deep State’, united in their effort to undermine a newly elected and highly controversial president who threatens their accumulation of power.

Without a single ally whom she can unequivocally trust, Hayley is compelled to rely on her own resources to solve a deepening mystery while at the same time evading detection”

2. “Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you a multi-award winning author, Jan Sikes. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.

I recently read and reviewed one of Jan’s books, “Voodoo or Destiny – You Decide.” I loved this book, so make sure to check out my review HERE.

First, please meet my guest, Jan Sikes:”

3. “They persecuted her as a child. Now they have to face her as a woman.

In the house of Gnaeus, a daughter is born, though when a mysterious
mark appears on her face – the father instantly rejects her. Scorned
and isolated by those at court, she grows up in the shadows, unaware
of the tragic events that caused the defect in the first place.

Unwavered by kinship and severing all ties, Gnaeus strips away his daughter’s
identity, removes her from court and banishes her to the wilderness forever.

Cast out with her mother, they find sanctuary with the clans. Here she
forges a new life, learning new skills, gathering knowledge and
finding love. No one can harm her again this far north. No one knows
who she is.

Until the day an old enemy appears on the horizon.

Now a grown woman, and a formidable warrior, she knows she must defeat
this enemy and seek the truth.

That she is Ajeya, Crown Princess of Ataxata, heir to the subject kingdoms
of Ataxata and all the colonies of the southern most territories.

Because if she fails – she will remain as the forgotten heir forever …




4 responses to “Five Links 9/20/19 Loleta Abi”

  1. Thank you for the link, Staci

  2. Thank you for including my book review link from Colleen Cheseboro’s blog!!!

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