Saturday, 12 August 2017

Scissone or Grand Jete? Research your subject!

The audience gave an ooooooooh of appreciation as the ballerina in the frilly net skirt and tippy toe shoes- Hold the phone! Hey... what?

If you intend to write about a particular subject in your novel, know what you are talking about or study it. If the book/chapter/paragraph involves, for example, ballet, research dance terminology and get it right. Google the info you need, and if you are not absolutely sure, talk to an expert.

Ballet slippers, ballet flats, toe shoes, pointe shoes? Did she leap, jete, grand jete, scissone? Maybe it does not matter for the purpose of the story, but sure as eggs anyone who has an interest in the subject will pick up on your errors. And then they will tell everyone else. And they will write a scathing review. 

Sometimes even your best attempts can go awry. Best idea is, if you are not entirely confident, don't write about it.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Ready... Set...

Can't wait any longer. I am going to take my manuscript and offer it to as many agents and publishers as possible. It's a great read and I refuse to leave it lying on the shelf whilst I wait for people to get back to me one at a time. 

What I find difficult to believe is that a lot of publishers don't even bother to reply when you follow their guidelines perfectly and send in your manuscript. You take the time to be perfectly polite, respectful and considerate...and they won't even give you the time of day. Rude. On the other hand there are a bunch of professionals who at least take the time to contact you with their decision. Even if their response is negative, they have my respect.

Regardless, I will not sit around here waiting. Praying for a little help as I get started. Firstly I will invest in a guide to publishers, then it begins...

Rewriting that chapter

What did I type in that last chapter? That was the question I asked myself when my laptop bit the dust last week. I managed to recover all of my latest novel barring the last chapter I wrote. That in itself it fine – it’s not too difficult to retype 4000ish words.

Then came the fun part – what did I actually write in that chapter, and can I successfully write it again?

Well, turns out I can.

Started typing the first few words of the missing chapter, and lo and behold, it all just poured out onto the screen. And if anything, I did a better job second time through.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Desperately Devious Deeds - No sneaky business when submitting your manuscript.

You are about to send your manuscript to your chosen literary agent or publishing company. You carefully read the requirements for submission and, to your dismay, you notice you are only allowed to send in your first three words.

Ok, perhaps that's a very slight exaggeration. But most likely they only want your first chapter, or your first 3000 words, or a selected chapter from your manuscript. When you work out your first 3000 words, you find it ends two pages before a dramatic, engaging, exciting, disturbing, hilarious event that the agent or publisher simply MUST read!

Your eyes skip down to where the requirements state, "2.5 inch margins, 12 font, double spaced". 

"Ah ha!" you think triumphantly. "I will make my margins 2.4" and my font 11.75 and reduce the line spacing by the tiniest, teeniest, fraction of an inch. Then I can fit more in."


They will know. And it just makes you look sneaky, as though you take them for fools.

They are not.

Sadly, your manuscript, equally as good as Tolkien's of course, might be cast aside onto the, "can't follow the rules" junk pile.

If you are planning this kind of desperately devious deed, instead go back and rewrite your first chapter. Make sure that your first chapter reaches into your readers’ chest and grips their heart.

What you are trying to do is win your agent or publisher over by the quality and appeal of your first chapter. If you can’t win them with your first chapter, it needs re-writing.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

So here goes… I am about to send in my manuscript for the first book in my middle grade series. The book is called The Shadow Village and the series is The Ruby Key.

Why did I choose Allen and Unwin?

After seeking advice from someone “in the industry”, Allen and Unwin were recommended to me as an excellent and professional publishing company.

In 2016, Allen and Unwin was voted “Publisher of the Year” for the thirteenth time!

They publish a huge array of award-winning children’s books and have a new submissions system called The Friday Pitch, which allows writers to send in their manuscripts following specific guidelines.
Check out their rather impressive website:

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Waiting for an Agent to respond? How long is too long? When do you move on?

I read a post where an author waited 8 months to hear back from a literary agent. Whilst that made me feel a little sad, we have no choice but to be patient, suck it up and deal with the fact that most literary agent receive so many submissions it is going to take a long time for our chosen agent to get down through the pile to our submitted manuscript. I had a look back to see how long ago I submitted my manuscript to Corvisiero Literary Agency. My initial contact happened only about 10 weeks ago, which is not too long. Corvisiero Literary Agency offer international representation and cover a huge range of genres. They have the capability of matching an author with the publisher best suited to your work. Can’t wait to hear back from them. My enthusiasm has only grown as the weeks have crawled by, causing me to crumble and made second contact by email - which I am sure is a no-no! Too late, I hit the send button.

So how long is too long? Well… how badly do you want to get published? If you want it badly enough, you will be prepared to wait. To endure the long haul. Regardless of how long it takes. 

So for me, the answer to the question, ‘How long is too long?’ is… 

I’m not dead yet!!

Get Dan O'Sullivan's Trilogy on Amazon

Book 1 - The Fallen
Book 2 - The Guardians
Book 3 - Child of a Guardian and of the Free

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Waiting to hear from a Literary Agent or Publisher? Here is a handy "To Do" list to keep you busy while you wait.

What do you do when you are waiting for an agent to respond to your manuscript submission enquiry and even a few weeks seems to take forever? When you so badly want to hear from your first chosen agent, but the silence is deafening? When the overwhelming desire to email in and ask if they received your enquiry is barely held in check by general politeness?

Here is what I am doing whilst waiting to hear from Justin Wells of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

  1. I have set a new record on how many times a day a person can look for an email from an agent.
  2. I have had my laptop die, making me restore entirely from my backup. Grrrrrr. On the upside, my five year old laptop seems to be working better than the one year old laptop every worked.
  3. Started three blogs, one on fantasy adventure, one on getting published and one on self-publishing. Never half do things.
  4. Updated my Website www.osullidan.comNow it’s almost too cool to view.
  5. Updated my Amazon Author page. Mainly because I seem to be two people on Amazon and the other Dan O’Sullivan is, I am certain, a lot brighter than me judging by what he is publishing. 😉
  6. Posting on Twitter and several Facebook pages. 
  7. I am now on Youtube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, so you may now address me as “You Instant Twit Face”.
  8. Sending out info to those on my email mailing list. They love me. Truly. I’ll just keep on telling myself that. 💜💛💚💙
  9. Dusted off exercise bike and ab-roller. Stared at them miserably for a long time. Decided the only way to stay on an exercise bike is watch old re-runs of Star Trek. It works!
  10. Watching an entire series of Dr Who. Sitting up late each night with extremely freaked-out daughter after watching Dr Who. 😨
  11. Continuing with book 4 of my original self-published series. This is my favourite thing to do by a long shot.
Here are some other suggestions:

  • Start a new blog on something stupid like “50 ways to annoy your sleeping cat when you are bored.” Include safety tips and suggestions for protective clothing.
    • Dust off your exercise bike and ab-roller. The exercise bike is possibly that contraption in your back room that has two handle bars, one generally used to hang ironed clothing and one to hang un-ironed clothing. Do not use the bike, just put it in the lounge room to impress your friends.
    • Watch an entire series of Dr Who. Or Star Trek. Or Frasier, or All Creatures Great and Small.
    • Start writing a new book in a genre you don’t particularly go for. For me, that would be romance.
    • Try for a world record in chocolate consumption
    I highly recommend the chocolate solution.

    Get Dan O'Sullivan's Trilogy on Amazon

    Book 1 - The Fallen
    Book 2 - The Guardians
    Book 3 - Child of a Guardian and of the Free