During Tiffany Schofield's second session at OCW in Eureka Springs, she talked about her unexpected journey into the world of publishing with Five Star and how her journey can parallel that of a writer.
Her discussion focused on three traits she believes writers need to succeed:
* As an example of tenacity and persistence, she pointed out mystery writer Agatha Christie, who was rejected for five years, but who ultimately has had two billion books in print (second only to Shakespeare). Tiffany shared a story about a conversation she had during a writing event with best-selling author Jeffrey Deaver, who told her he received 138 rejections for his first manuscript. One rejection letter was even marred with boot stamps, as if someone at the publishing house had walked on his printed submission. Yet, Deaver never gave up. And the boot-stamped manuscript? It eventually got published, as did scores of other of his novels.
* To be dedicated, Tiffany said that a writer must do more than dream of becoming published -- a writer must "leap off that cliff and get started."
* For community, Tiffany encouraged writers to engage in fellowship with others with similar attitudes, interests, and goals. She suggested that writers connect with their readers, attend conferences (like OCW), join or start a critique group, give back to the writing community, and be part of something more.
She wrapped up with a few quotes from Benjamin Franklin. Here's one I jotted down: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
To encourage writers to "leap off that cliff and get started," she directed writers to pick up copies of handouts with Five Star's submission query guidelines. I picked up a copy and have summarized them below.
Five Star Publishing, a part of Gale/Cengage Learning:
* Does not accept or review a project based on a query only.
* Accepts and evaluates completed manuscripts that are unsolicited, as well as agented submissions, in the following genres:
** Mystery (set in any time period; manuscripts within 65,000-100,000 word count range). (Mystery subgenre examples: cozy, hard-boiled, private eye, traditional, psychological, crime, police procedurals, suspense, thriller, historical, humorous, contemporary Western mystery, romantic suspense, etc.).
** Westerns (set during 1800-1899; manuscripts within 55,000-100,000 word count range). (Western subgenre examples: traditional, lawman, action/adventure, etc.).
** Frontier Fiction (set during 1700-1920; manuscripts within 60,000-130,000 word count range). (Subgenre examples: historical thriller, frontier mystery, frontier romance, frontier women's fiction, frontier fiction with YA crossover ability (coming-of-age themes), alternate history, frontier SF/fantasy, pioneer settlers, etc.).
* Does not accept previously published materials (including print or eBook).
* Does not accept simultaneous submissions.
* Only accepts author's own original work.
** Five Star does not accept: nonfiction, poetry, memoirs, autobiography, short story collections, or children/YA literature.
E-mail submission query requirements:
* Send an e-mail to FiveStar@cengage.com
* In the subject line type: SUBMISSION QUERY, Your book title by Author Name
* MUST include in body of your e-mail:
** Your full name (pseudonym if applicable)
** Address/contact info
** Manuscript title
** Manuscript word count
** Specific subgenre of your submission
** Short synopsis about your project
If you have any questions about Five Star's submission guidelines or need clarification of the above, e-mail FiveStar@cengage.com
Five Star Publishing is located at 10 Water Street, Suite 310, Waterville, ME 04901
Back to Tiffany's presentation. In addition to tenacity, dedication, and community, I believe writers need talent, patience, and timing to succeed.
How about you? What traits or qualities do you think writers need to be successful?