Saturday, September 29, 2018

Author FAQ: Tips on Writing Non-Fiction

Q: I have a question for you regarding book publishing. I finished my personal book which I am
considering, sending out. Can you give me any tips on this? I first poked around the bookstore to
get names of publishers that already publish books in the same category as mine. -- Tom K.

A: Well, first off, that's a great place to start. It certainly makes sense to look around for publishers of books similar to yours since, in theory, they're already open to that kind of work. As you know, my

area of expertise is in children's books. I assume your personal book is not a children's book but non-fiction, maybe an autobiography? There are a number of publications that can point you in the right direction for getting your adult market book looked at. There's a magazine called Writer's Digest that contains useful tips. They also offer several publishing bibles. The one for kid's books is called Children's Writers & Illustrators Market. I'm guessing they have a similar title for the type of book that you've written. These bibles are printed yearly and contain contact names and submission information (do they require a query letter first, how many chapters a particular publisher likes to get, etc.). Very useful, but kind of pricey (c.$25) -- you may want to do your research with them at the library.

Another option would be to look into going the self-publishing route which is currently the path I'm following. I've covered that subject in a good number of previous Author FAQs so a quick search of my site's archives should help you find the info you need. The Archive Search is in the right-hand column.

Have you poked around online, yet? That's what I did when I first tried to figure out how to submit my kid's books. Online research lead me to the website of a trade group of children's book publishers that listed all of the contact info and whether or not a certain publishing house was accepting open submissions, etc. I submitted to a number of them and the fine folks at DIAL BFYR were the first to bite. I'm sure there's a lot of helpful info for non-fiction books within the vast expanse of the world wide web.

Best of luck with your personal book!

Thoughts about the above question or about writing books in general? Leave them in the comments or send them to me via the CONTACT tab. Thanks!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018

TORN ROOTS: A Hawaiian Storm Mystery by Scott Bury

Chapter 10:
Person of interest

Thursday, 12:00 p.m.

Sam felt furious with himself. He stomped his feet with every step as he walked home. Why did I tell them all that? I practically drew them a map to where Rowan is, and they did not believe that she’s innocent. Not that big goon, Dekker, anyway.

The heat was too intense to let him stay furious. He slowed his pace as he reached the point where Ha’u’o Road branched off the Hana Highway, 

“There was no other way,” he said aloud to a small brown bird with a white circle around each eye, perched on a branch just over his head. It cocked its head and chirped, as if answering him. 

“I had to give Rowan an alibi, which meant I had to say she was with me all night.”

The bird chirped again and flew off the branch, flitting ahead of Sam along the edge of the road.

“Big help you are,” Sam said.

Sam rented the last house on the dead-end street, a tiny bungalow made of what looked like scrap wood. As he passed the last koa tree that blocked the view of the house from the end of the road, he saw an unfamiliar, new truck in his neighbor’s driveway.

The shiny new, black Ford SUV, fully loaded with running boards and an extended cab, was out of place. What was especially strange were the tinted windows, almost as black as the paint on the body.

Sam continued up the driveway as if he were going into his neighbor’s house, then cut across the lawn where bushes blocked the view from his own house. He pushed branches away until he could see his house. It was quiet.

He crept around the bushes silently toward the back of his house, and his breath caught in his throat when he saw his back door standing open. Did I leave it like that when I ran out yesterday? he wondered.

That was when he heard the first crash. 

It came from inside his house. Another crash followed and the walls seemed to shake. When he heard glass shatter, he ran around the bushes hiding him and across the small yard to his house, taking the three steps to the porch in one stride. 

He halted beside the big bookcase when he saw Rowan and Dekker sparring. 

Dekker held his fists in front of him, legs apart in a boxer’s stance. Rowan was in taekwondo ready pose: knees bent, shoulder facing her enemy. Her long hair streamed around her like a bridal veil as she again spun, kicking high at Dekker’s collared neck.

Dekker dodged, stepped and jabbed at Rowan. She ducked, did a shoulder roll out of reach, and Dekker’s enormous fist hit the wall, shaking the little house again.

Torn Roots

Vanessa Storm thought her first week on the job as an FBI Special Agent in beautiful Hawaii would be about settling in. But she’s immediately sent to Hana on Maui's rain-soaked shore to find a kidnapped woman. 

Throw in arson, strident environmentalists bent on stirring up strife between local rights activists and foreign property developers, a chill local police lieutenant, a taciturn geologist, and top it all off with a rogue, unpredictable Homeland Security agent. 

The case becomes a labyrinth twisting through the jungles on Maui’s volcano. Vanessa knows this case will explode into an international incident and lives will be lost if she doesn’t find answers fast.


TORN ROOTS is wonderfully rich with plot and setting, but it was Mr. Bury's command of the story's pacing that impressed me most.”—Eden Baylee, author of Stranger at Sunset

“I made the mistake of picking up this book and could not stop reading.”—Frederick Lee Brooke, author of Doing Max Vinyl

Made me feel like I was there in person!”—Sue Devers

“I have never been to Hawaii but reading the detailed descriptions of its beauty in this book has made me feel like I've actually been there.”—Joy A. Lorton

About the author

Scott Bury
Scott Bury is the author of 13 books who can’t stay in one genre. His first published novel was thehistorical magic realism novel, The Bones of the Earth. Then he wrote a spoof in the form of an erotic romance, and then a biographical trilogy, The Eastern Front series. He wrote five mysteries and three thrillers over the next three years, and is now working on a sequel to his first novel.
His favourite authors range from Raymond Chandler to Samuel R. Delany to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mark Helprin and J.R.R. Tolkien.
He loves to cross genre boundaries in his books.
Born in Winnipeg, he lived in Thunder Bay and Toronto, Ontario. He now lives in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.
In addition to writing, he loves traveling with his beautiful wife, hangin’ with his mighty sons, downhill and cross-country skiing, swimming, whitewater canoeing, hiking, music, food and travel. He muses occasionally about learning how to cook.
You can find more about Scott and his work on his website, Scott.Bury.Author. Connect with him through Twitter @ScottTheWriterLinkedIn or Facebook at Scott.Bury.Author.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Animation Writer FAQ: Getting Started, Pt.2

Q: (follow up to Pt. 1) I'm currently doing all the things you suggest both in the FAQ and your email. I suppose patience is the next thing I have to practice. I'm continuing to write spec scripts for pretty much every cartoon show I see, from Gravity Falls to Littlest Pet Shop to Spongebob and more. I have not done any live action spec scripts, though, so I suppose I should try one or two of those. Would you recommend living in LA as a requirement for success? Right now I know a few people (hence how I got the agent) but I know it's always a good idea to meet more. 

A: Yes, definitely add some live-action scripts to your collection of writing samples. You never know what the folks who do the hiring might want to read. 

As to whether or not you should move to LA, far be it from me to advise someone to completely uproot their lives on the "chance" of getting work in your chosen/dream profession. But... if you're serious about writing animation, you have to live where the work is. 

While there are small animation production companies sprinkled throughout the US and Canada, this is where the big boys and the networks (WB, Disney, CN, Hasbro Studios, Dreamworks, etc.) are concentrated. NYC has a healthy animation scene, too, but I'm not very familiar with the setup there -- maybe one of my East Coast friends could comment. 

Bottom line: Your chances of getting work increase exponentially when you're available to drive over to Burbank to meet with a Warner Bros story editor who's giving out freelance assignments.

Thoughts about the above question? Got a questions about animation writing in general? Leave them in the comments or send it to me via the CONTACT tab.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Avatar: The Last Airbender was truly excellent -- one of my all-time favorite animated series. I'm optimistic the same production team will create more magic with The Dragon Prince.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Animation Writer FAQ: Getting Started, Pt.1

Q: I thought you might be able to offer some advice to a writer jumping head-first into the animation industry. While I've been a writer for some time, I've just now been able to gain representation for screenwriting. Would you have any advice for a writer just starting to get work? Should I rely solely on my agent to get me jobs on shows? How would you recommend getting started with work beyond the commercials and website things I've thus far been hired in? I know it's a tough business, but I'm excited to put the work in and willing to take the advice of those who've been there and succeeded.

A: By getting an agent, you've already taken the biggest step toward gainful employment. Having an
agent is vital as they set up pitch meetings for you and submit your writing samples to the different shows. To answer your question, no, you should not rely (solely) on your agent to get you work. An agent is better viewed as a team member, a person who helps you get work. In the meantime, network and do your best to make personal contacts. The old saw that it's "who you know" has a lot of truth to it. I find the longer I'm in the business, the more work I get from people who've hired me before.

Another bit of advice would be to keep writing script samples for sitcoms, screenplays, anything that your agent can use to submit you for jobs. The more practice/skill you have in writing scripts, the more confidence you'll gain and the more likely you are to get work as a writer.

Good luck!


Pt.2 of this FAQ will be a follow up to this question.

Thoughts about the above question or about animation writing in general? Leave them in the comments or send it to me via the CONTACT tab.

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