Dec 31
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New Year's Evephoto © 2010 Allan Chatto | more info (via: Wylio)
Writ­ing to wish every­one a joy­ous cel­e­bra­tion of the turn from 2010 to 2011!

The occa­sion does present the oppor­tu­nity for a brief spelling/punctuation les­son, how­ever! This fes­tive night is not spelled “New Years Eve,” nor do we cel­e­brate “the New Years.” GAH!! I’ve heard and seen both of those too many times already! Here are our options:

  • New Year’s Eve (the eve of the new year, thus the need for an apostrophe);
  • Happy New Year! (we only cel­e­brate one at a time, so there is no “s” on the end);
  • New Year’s, as in “We’re cel­e­brat­ing New Year’s at…” (I’ll give you this one, reluc­tantly, but only with the apos­tro­phe included to show that “Eve” is implied).

Just a tip to take with you into Jan­u­ary! For oth­ers like it, along with a wide range of pon­der­ings, I invite you to stop by this blog through­out 2011. I look for­ward to shar­ing new ven­tures with you!

–Heidi

Dec 3
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What 185,000 words looks like, copyedited manuscript for MAKERS, the office, Clerkenwell, London, UK.JPGphoto © 2009 Cory Doc­torow | more info (via: Wylio)
Found this post through Writer’s Digest at a Guide to Lit­er­ary Agents blog. Go there for the full arti­cle by Guest Writer, Lit­er­ary Agent Mol­lie Glick:

7 THINGS AGENTS WANT TO SEE INQUERY

1. An enter­tain­ing but polite and pro­fes­sional tone
2. Mul­ti­ple forms of con­tact infor­ma­tion
3. Proof that you have researched and hand-picked an agent. (If you’ve got a con­nec­tion, were referred by a client or met the agent at a con­fer­ence, make sure to point that out early in your let­ter.)
4. Espe­cially for non­fic­tion: An author bio that demon­strates your plat­form and why you’re the right author for this project
5. A quick, catchy hook or “ele­va­tor pitch”
6. Mak­ing a case for the book’s built-in audi­ence
7. Espe­cially for non­fic­tion: Show­ing why your exper­tise and media con­tacts make you the best author for your project

9 THINGS AGENTS DON’T WANT TO SEE INQUERY

1. Ask­ing what the agent can do for you, rather than demon­strat­ing what you can do for him/her
2. Ask­ing for a phone call or in per­son meet­ing before the agent has requested one
3. Query­ing for mul­ti­ple projects at the same time
4. List­ing per­sonal infor­ma­tion unre­lated to your book
5. Giv­ing ref­er­ences from peo­ple out­side the pub­lish­ing indus­try (such as say­ing your writ­ers group, your con­gre­gants, or your mother’s next door neighbor’s cock­erspaniel loved your book)
6. Com­par­ing your book to a commonly-quoted best­seller
7. Mak­ing broad claims that you can’t back up
8. A pitch for an incom­plete nov­els. (It’s OK to query with an unfin­ished non­fic­tion project, as long as you’ve writ­ten a pro­posal, but nov­els should be fin­ished before you start con­tact­ing agents.)
9. Overly famil­iar, aggres­sive, or incor­rect salutations

Jul 15
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Whew! After quite a few days of frus­tra­tion, I learned yes­ter­day (through Sab­rina Gib­son, my social-media coach) that Host­Ga­tor was the place to go to work out my Word­Press kinks!

See, though I don’t really under­stand it and prob­a­bly can’t explain it well, Host­Ga­tor is what enables me to have a “self-hosted” blog — to take my domain name (Final­Touch­Proof­readin­gAndEdit­ing) and use Word­Press blog­ging fea­tures with­out hav­ing my name buried inside a Word­Press URL. Don’t worry if you don’t under­stand that; I just fol­lowed Sabrina’s direc­tions for set­ting it up (and if you have a busi­ness you want to blog for, you might find it use­ful to learn more about this — I can put you in touch with the right people).

Until this morn­ing, I’d been tear­ing my hair out. See? It’s a lot shorter now than it used to be! 😉 Com­pare this — before the glitch –

Heidi with longish hair

Heidi with longish hair (Photo cour­tesy Gabriel Mann, age 5)

to this — after I’d yanked out half of my locks!

Heidi with short hair

Heidi with short hair (Photo cour­tesy Gabriel Mann, age 5)

(Of course, it was a wel­come change for summer.)

Any­way… my point is that Host­Ga­tor turned out to be the place I needed to go for answers! What’s more, they are so strong in the customer-service realm that the three issues I brought to the Live Chat tech­ni­cian (and one more that I added in along the way) are now all resolved, so I am out of panic mode and back into lov­ing my blog!!

So, you should see more of me in the near future! (And I just may become a Host­Ga­tor affil­i­ate, but for now, FYI, I make no “com­mis­sion” off of pro­mot­ing them here, other than the fun of pass­ing along a great tip and resource to my friends!)

Oh, and the change in the look of the blog is “col­lat­eral dam­age” from all the tech prob­lems. I may end up chang­ing it back, or chang­ing to some­thing a bit fancier, but for now, I’m just glad to be here, back with you!

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