Tuesday, February 28, 2012
We've been talking it up for weeks, and now the day is finally here! As of 12:01 am EST, February 28, the Orpheus GLBT Fiction Contest is now open for entries. Here's how you enter:
Send a brief query-length summary of your GLBT work (at least 20,000 words), including title, genre, and word count to orpheus.fictioncontest @ gmail . com with the title ORPHEUS FIRST ROUND. (EDIT: Please include your pen name if you have one.) We will remain open for entries through March 8, 2012, so get those entries in!
If you're looking for pointers on how to write a query summary, check out this post.
ONLY ENTRIES SUBMITTED TO THE CONTEST EMAIL WILL BE CONSIDERED. If you send your query to our normal submissions email, you will get stuck in the slush pile!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
As an editor, I will happily tell you that a well-written query drastically increases your chance of having your story considered in what might be called a favorable light.
(Likewise, as a reader, if a book blurb is awkward or confusing, I'm not going to buy the book.)
But the bitch of it all is that everyone just expects you to know how to write these brilliant summaries. This is your most important sales tool to hone, because once you have the hang of it, I guarantee you'll be zipping through these bad boys in no time.
So, since the Orpheus Fiction Contest is opening for query entries, let's talk--remember, your queries will be voted on by everyone, not just editors!
A query is a letter, like a cover letter you would attach to a resume or a job application. After all, writing is a job, and -- if you're very lucky -- you'll get paid for it. So your query should consist of three parts: introduction, brief summary, and qualifications. Between you, me, and the whole wide Internet, if you're brand new to writing professionally, this is the part where you say "I look forward to hearing from you soon..." like in any employment letter.
Some Dos and Don'ts of Query Writing
- DO make sure you hit the high points: who is the main character? What does he want? Why can't he have it? What happens when he tries? Flesh that out and you'll have the majority of that brief summary right there. It's up to you how much of your plot you reveal here, but remember, the goal is to interest your reader enough check out your manuscript.
- DON'T use rhetorical questions. Save those for the blurb if you really want them.
- DON'T treat the reader like they know what's going on. If you're writing fantasy or space travel, there will be unusual place names, and if you're writing a crime procedural or action, there may be acronyms. Throwing jargon around with no explanation will only frustrate and alienate your reader.
- DO PROOFREAD. In fact, if you can have a friend go over it for you, more the better.
- DO BE PROFESSIONAL. This is a business. You wouldn't go into an interview acting casually, would you?
- DO visit places like Query Shark and Pitch University if you're not sure your query is strong enough. These websites are invaluable teaching tools just from the examples alone. If you're looking for more community interaction, AbsoluteWrite is the place to go. There are a lot of very smart, very helpful people there.
Now that I've typed the word "query" enough times that I'm sure I've been misspelling it all along, I think that about wraps it up. I can't wait to see all the fabulous queries you'll be sending in next week for the Orpheus Fiction Contest (and beyond that, too), and I wish you all the best of luck!
Monday, February 20, 2012
The winner of the prize for the Erato stop in the I Love Musa Blog Hop is...
(the Internet kills so much tension...)
Congratulations, Ducky! You'll get any Musa book of your choice as your prize -- check your email for details.
And to everyone else who stopped by, thank you so much. We'll continue to do blog hops to keep offering everyone a chance at Musa goodies in the future, so stay tuned. And remember, we've got the Orpheus Fiction Contest coming up, with a grand prize of a TWO BOOK CONTRACT with Musa. So much awesome yet to come!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Welcome to my stop! Grab a seat...
My name is Elizabeth Silver. I'm the head editor here at Erato. I do write, but my life these days is editing, and I couldn't be happier. I mean, seriously... I get paid to read all day! I'm a genuine bibliophile, so that's pretty much my idea of heaven.
Speaking of reading, here are a couple of my favorite books from Musa. I couldn't list ALL of my favorites, because we'd be here a while!
Oh, and stick around to the end. I've got a contest for you...
Prodigal by AM Arthur
I love a good suspense, and I love creepy tales with suspense. I especially love male/male romance, so bundling it all together was a win/win for me. Or maybe a win/win/win.
Ms. Arthur reveals the plot carefully, one layer at a time and without dragging her feet, so you learn each detail exactly when you need to know it. Then, at the very end, you can look back and go dang, I need to read that again, it was just that good!
To me, that's an instant recipe for a book rec. :)
Buy it here!
Now, I wanted to recommend one of the books I've edited, but it was darn near impossible picking one. It was like trying to choose a favorite niece or nephew, made all the worse because I can't normally tell you what my absolute favorite book is on any given day, anyway! So I used a spreadsheet, a random number generator, and...
Mr. Forever by Sarah Daniel
What I absolutely adored from the very beginning about this book was that Caleb is damaged and imperfect, but he always, always tries to do what he thinks is for the best. And Olivia is warm and loving and everything Caleb needs, and she is amazing with him, even when he's... not so amazing. The plot is full and multi-faceted, and one of those beautiful stories you just fall into so hard you catch yourself shouting at the page.
Er... Not that I... *ahem*
Also. Kids. I am an absolute sucker for romances with kids. Always have been. You should have SEEN my book collection when I was 13/14.
Buy it here!
A little bit of promotion for my most recent projects:
Sometimes words on paper are magical, especially when lovers meet again and again.
Love is never a lost cause, and sometimes all it takes is a few special words written down to make all the difference in the world. Wayward cupids, lonely vampires, long-lost loves, and mysterious strangers come together in this collection sure to warm to your heart and steam up your screen. Read our Love Notes--four Valentine's stories from four outstanding romance authors Sam Cheever, Helen Hardt, Sloane Taylor and Xakara and then maybe write a few letters of your own!
Cupid Only Rings Twice (Sam Cheever)
When lonely cupid Damios falls for Rori Foster, the young woman he’s supposed to seduce with the perfect love note, magic and romance aren’t far behind. Can he save her from the Love Demon without ruining his chances at her heart?
Reunited (Helen Hardt)
Twenty years after leaving her hometown and her first love behind, Kathryn comes home to find that she was never forgotten by the man who has always mattered. But there’s more than just lost time between them…
Its Sweetest Form (Xakara)
Eaton is a Vampire with a problem; he’s in love with his roommate and best friend, Tessa. Tessa’s in love with Eaton… and also their Werewolf roommate, Brahm. Can they all three learn how to express their feelings before everything falls apart?
Masquerade (Sloane Taylor)
When she meets the man of her dreams on her way to a masquerade ball, Clancy throws herself into the evening – and Vittore’s arms – with abandon. But with her time in Venice coming to an end, Clancy has to make a move for more, or give up her dreams yet again.
More Love Notes
Love always has perfect timing.
Across battle lines, foolish games, and conflicting tempos, love always finds a way. From rock and roll to symphonies, modern day geeks to 19th century soldiers, this collection of sexy and romantic stories shows even the loneliest of moments can be made right when the perfect note is delivered. Let More Love Notes find a home in your heart, a reminder that love happens all over, any time, any place. Written by four of the hottest authors in gay erotic romance--Lydia Nyx, Scarlett Parrish, Viki Lyn and Jenny Urban--these stories will definitely add an edge of spice to your Valentine's night.
Blue-Grey Lines (Lydia Nyx)
Wendell Davis is a rarity in 1864 Missouri–a man of eligible age and good health not fighting in the Civil War, thanks to his cruel mother’s manipulations. However, Wendell’s lifelong lover, Declan Kelly, is away fighting on the side of the Union. Parted for two years, communicating only via letters and bombarded by the horrors of war even on the home front, Wendell is starting to lose hope. The only thing that can bring light back into Wendell’s gray world is a reunion with Declan–something he’s going to have to fight his own war to achieve.
Burn (Scarlett Parrish)
Austin Lombard is desperate to forget a bad relationship the night he goes out with only one rule in mind: no names. But when he meets a gorgeous, irreverent Scotsman, Austin’s resolve is put to the test again and again as the night goes on. “James” is smart, a great kisser, and everything Austin would want in a date. But Austin resists; he’s had enough of names, and enough of relationships. Hasn’t he?
Lover’s Trill (Viki Lyn)
Ten years ago, Leo walked out on his classical piano training and his violinist boyfriend, Andre. Now a successful rock star, Leo runs into Andre in Vienna. Can they find a way to bring their polar worlds together, or will the remembered hurt be enough to drive them apart forever?
The Heart is a Stringed Instrument (Jenny Urban)
Cellist Brandon has never wanted a relationship or seen the point in tying himself down to that one someone he’d have to live with. When a series of random hook-ups with the hot new guest conductor becomes about more than sex Brandon finds his world changing, even as Mark’s time at the orchestra winds to a close.
So... who wants a contest?
I will give, to one lucky winner, any Musa book of your choice. You name it, it's yours. Pretty cool, huh?
You can enter up to three times. Here's how:
Once you've done that, comment here and tell me what user names you used to enter, and what book you would like. Make sure to leave me some way to get in touch with you about sending you your prize! The winner will be announced on Monday, February 20.
And when you're done entering, check out some more of the stops on the hop:
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Come, venerable, various, pow’rs divine, with fav’ring aspect on your mystics shine;
Bring glorious, ardent, lovely, fam’d desire, and warm my bosom with your sacred fire.
Orphic hymn LXXV TO THE MUSES
Erato GLBT is proud to announce our first ever fiction contest! Open to all GLBT fiction, the Orpheus Fiction Contest gives all writers a chance to skip the slush pile and go for the grand prize of a two book deal with Musa Publishing!
At Musa, we believe in finding the best stories, no matter where they might come from. And in that spirit, the Orpheus Fiction Contest is open to all genres; speculative fiction, romance, YA, literary and more. This contest is for our GLBT imprint, so your main character(s) must be somewhere in the spectrum, but other than that, show us what you’ve got!
What makes the Orpheus Fiction Contest different from other contests is that you, our readers, writers, and friends get to pick which manuscripts the judges will read. Here’s how it works:
March 12-19: Get those votes! Tell us what book you most want to see make it to the semi-finals.
March 22-29: Ten semi-finalists will send in their first three chapters or fifty pages. Only half of them will stay.
April 2-10: The judges will read and score the complete manuscripts for our five finalists.
April 16: Our winners will be announced!
Don’t know how to write the perfect query? Not sure what judges (and editors) look for in sample chapters? Stay tuned to the Erato blog in the coming weeks to find out what you need to know to make your entry shine.
Complete rules and details here