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Macungie, PA 18062

Website of author and professional editor Rachelle M. N. Shaw. Find information about her books, her editing services, and her blog, From Mind to Paper: On Writing and Editing.

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From Mind to Paper: On Writing and Editing

From Mind to Paper is a blog for writers, editors, and those interested in the English language. It covers a multitude of writing topics, from punctuation and grammar to plot development, character development, and world building. In addition to in-depth articles about various writing topics, this blog also has a number of series posts, which are currently being transformed into a nonfiction series on writing.

Filtering by Category: Publication

#PitMad

Rachelle M. N. Shaw

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this event, #PitMad has been filling the feeds of Twitter today! It’s an event where authors get the chance to pitch their book to agents and publishers and get instant feedback. Fellow Twitter users are able to retweet their favorite pitches that authors post, and publishers and agents will favorite any pitch they like, giving the author an instant “in” for submitting their manuscript! Pretty cool if you’re a new author who doesn’t have many connections in the way of the publishing.

If you haven’t gotten the chance to check it out yet, just do a quick search for the hastag #pitmad on Twitter, and you’ll get to see a bunch of cool pitches by other writers. The event will be wrapping up soon, but those of you who want to participate but missed this one will get another chance soon. The event is held quarterly every year; the next one takes place in September, and the last one this year will be in December. For more details and an explanation to all the various subtags, check out this site: http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/.

The Eyes That Moved - Cover Reveal!

Rachelle M. N. Shaw

It's finally here! Today I get to share the cover of my short story with you guys. :)

My short story is available for pre-order on Amazon and has an official release date of May 16th. It will be available elsewhere (Smashwords and such) later in the fall, but I'm participating in KDP Select for the next few months, so it will be exclusive to Amazon during that time. However, it is available through Kindle Unlimited for free and can be shared with another person through Amazon's lending program.

Blurb

Kendra is a young girl who has a knack for spotting unusual trinkets and abandoned houses that hold treasures of their own. When she meets Adam, a fellow sleuth and collector, they decide to embark on their biggest adventure yet: the Whitson house. The house is a marvel, and its secrets are even juicier than Kendra had imagined. The third and final floor of the house holds something Kendra has been waiting a lifetime for. But she may have signed on for more than she bargained. There's a darkness in the house that wasn't there before, a pair of eyes in every corner, watching, waiting for her time to come. And Adam isn't at all who he claimed to be.

"The Eyes That Moved" falls under the paranormal/horror genre. It revolves heavily around the psychological aspect of some of our most basic childhood fears with a modern twist.

If anyone is interested in a review copy, let me know! You can contact me via my website, Twitter, or Tumblr to request one.

 

5 Reasons a Literary Magazine Will Reject You

Rachelle M. N. Shaw

Striving to get a piece accepted by a literary magazine is a great way to get your foot in the door as an author. It helps get you recognized and gives you credibility. During the time I worked with the online literary magazine The Corner Club Press, I got the chance to see what it was like on the other side. I saw just how overwhelming all the submissions could be, and I was able to experience firsthand what it takes to put an issue together. I was lucky enough to work with some amazingly talented folks, and I can honestly say we saw some pretty bizarre submissions at times. So I wanted to share with you guys the biggest mistakes you can make when submitting to a literary magazine. These won’t just earn you a few negative points; they’ll likely get your piece thrown out!

1. You don’t follow the guidelines. This is by far the biggest issue I saw with submissions while working for the magazine. Most literary magazines receive hundreds—and sometimes thousands—of submissions. They don’t have time to read each and every piece they receive the full way through, and they definitely don’t have time to sift through your email or attachment to find your name, the title of the piece, and other information they might need. So guess which are the first to go? If you don’t follow the guidelines for submissions, you’re likely to be out of the running pretty quickly. If you want your piece to outshine the others, start with the basics and follow the submission guidelines. It’s that simple.

2. Your introduction doesn’t hook the staff. The submission process is pretty much like an interview. You need to be polished and present your work well to be considered for hire. The same is true for a magazine. If you don’t have a captivating cover letter for your piece and your email isn’t well constructed, your submission will blend in with the others. Your story may be the greatest work of all time, but if you don’t present it professionally, it could be passed up for someone else’s.

3. Your piece hasn’t been edited or has numerous punctuation errors. There’s nothing that irritates me more than a potentially good story that looks like a third grader wrote it. I’m not saying it has to be totally flawless (though you want to get as close as possible before submitting anything for publication), but if your story looks more like a draft than a final work of fiction (or nonfiction), it’s time to take a step back and patch it up. Magazines are looking for pieces that are publication ready. They typically undergo light editing only. Unless you come across an exceptionally kind and generous staff willing to guide you through a more rigorous editing process, your work with likely be passed up for something a little more polished.

4. Your story has too intricate of a plot. All stories are not created equal. That is especially true when it comes to writing a short story vs. writing a novel. The biggest difference is that short stories are tales that can easily be wrapped up in 5,000 words or fewer. They generally revolve around one or two main characters and one event or short sequence of events. The direction of the outcome is clear in the end, and that outcome usually involves a change in one or more of the main characters. Think everyday circumstances that have potentially monumental results. If your story’s ideas are too vast or complicated to be captured in a just a few pages, they probably don’t fit the frame of a short story.

5. You don’t respond to an acceptance email. This one is the hardest slipup to swallow. I’ve seen some incredibly awesome stories that were accepted but not published simply because the author never responded to the acceptance email—or because they responded outside of the required time frame. Without the author’s final consent on edits and permission for their piece to be published, magazines have little choice but to reject the piece and replace it with another one. It takes time to format an issue and finalize it for publication; magazines can’t wait for weeks on end for a reply.

Added bonus: To really make your piece stand out, give it some extra touches to improve your chances. Address the editor directly, talk about the magazine and how you came across it, and mention specific pieces that you’ve enjoyed in past issues. If you show that you’ve gone that extra mile and really done your homework before submitting, the staff will be thrilled. Your story might even get bumped up to the top of the slush pile because of it!

Here is also a helpful article on constructing a great cover letter: http://www.thereviewreview.net/publishing-tips/your-perfect-cover-letter

(Edited from original post to update and correct point number two.)

New Site, an eBook, and a Giveaway!

Rachelle M. N. Shaw

Promotion posts aren’t usually my style, but I’ve had a lot brewing behind the scenes lately, so I wanted to share the results with you guys. First, I've redesigned my site so that you can now find my main blog, information about my editing services, and snippets from all my current writing projects all in one place. I’ve incorporated an events calendar where I’ll be posting cover reveals, Q&A sessions about writing on Twitter, giveaways, and upcoming blog topics. More book reviews and author interviews are coming this year as well.

Second, I’m happy to announce the upcoming publication of a short story of mine that I’ve been working on for the last few years. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the story both from magazines and beta readers, but ultimately, I’ve decided to publish it as a short e-book this spring. So here are the details!

 

Synopsis for "The Eyes That Moved"

Kendra is a young girl who has a knack for spotting unusual trinkets and abandoned houses that hold treasures of their own. When she meets Adam, a fellow sleuth and collector, they decide to embark on their biggest adventure yet: the Whitson house. The house is a marvel, and its secrets are even juicier than Kendra had imagined. The third and final floor of the house holds something Kendra has been waiting a lifetime for. But she may have signed on for more than she bargained. There's a darkness in the house that wasn't there before, a pair of eyes in every corner, watching, waiting for her time to come. And Adam isn't at all who he claimed to be.

A cover reveal will be made in the next few weeks, and the release date will follow. It should be available for pre-order on Amazon within the next month. It will then be available on Smashwords and other e-book retailers later in the year. I hope you guys will get the chance to check it out, and I’ll be holding another Tumblr giveaway later this year as well! The giveaway will include a free copy of my e-book and some other cool writing swag, so you definitely don’t want to miss it.

In the meantime, you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter for more updates.

Just as a quick end note, the whole reason for this blog is you guys. I know that some authors tend to get a bit overzealous with their promotion posts, and I promise I won’t be hounding you guys with those. I started this blog a few years ago to share tips, tricks, and general writing advice based on my experience as a writer and an editor, and I will continue to do that. I never could have imagined connecting with so many awesome writers, and you guys have been incredibly kind with all your messages and replies, so thank you for being such amazing followers!

February 2014 Issue - The Corner Club Press

Rachelle M. N. Shaw

As some of you know from my previous posts, I'm working as the graphic designer/layout artist for the literary magazine The Corner Club Press. The latest issue (Issue 12, Volume 3) has now been posted, so head on over and check it out! Here's a direct link to the issue itself for those interested: http://bit.ly/1hmVqby.

Also, we're looking for art submissions (drawings, paintings, photography, etc.) for the next issue, which will be released in the spring. If you're interested, you can check out the submission guidelines on the CCP website.