The goal of The Unpublished Author's Boot Camp Manual is to serve as a guide to for unpublished authors to assist them to reach not only competency, but to excel in every area of publishing and prepare them to take the next step in their career.
As you review each section and subsection, you must be able to list a measurable goal that you reached before you can consider yourself proficient.
To help you evaluate your progress each section is also scored. Add up your scores to see how close you are to passing Author Basic Training.
Passed with Honors = +145
Passed with Honors and Edging To a First Sale =+200
Does The Unpublished Author's Boot Camp Manual guarantee a sale? No. But it does ensure you are prepared to take your writing to the next level in a logical and systematic manner using training tools pulled from over 1,000 Seekerville posts and other sources. We've pulled some of those posts but there are many more in our archives.
Is The Unpublished Author's Boot Camp Manual exhaustive? No, there are far too many topics to cover. This is a primer covering the basics (that's why it's called Author Basic Training).
Is every section necessary? Not at all. There will always be success stories that bypassed "traditional" methodology. The Unpublished Author's Boot Camp Manual philosophy is that the more sections you can master the stronger author soldier you become.
Have you mastered these basics?
A. (5 pts) Point of View
Do you understand POV? Deep POV? Can you transition point of view smoothly and logically?
B. (10 pts) Conflict (Internal & External)
Can you explain the difference between internal and external conflict? Does your story have strong internal and external conflict that doesn't fall apart half-way through the manuscript?
C. (5 pt) Characterization
Characterization is how you create your characters using dialogue, narrative, pov, and interactions with other characters. Are you able to create strong and vivid characters?
D. ( 10 pts) Plot
Plot is your story structure consisting of goal, motivation and conflict. Define the GMC for your story.
E. (5 pts) Theme & Premise
Can you describe theme and premise separately?
Stanley D Williams describes theme as a universal truth.
Premise would be your story line.
F. (5 pts) Hooks
The catalyst that grabs the reader. Does your story have an opening hook? Chapter ending and beginning hooks?
G. (5 pts) Show vs. Tell
Can you define show vs. tell? Showing is expression through dialogue, action and the five senses. Showing enables the reader to see your story.
- Some Deep Point of View Tips
- Confessions of a POV Queen
- Why I love Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation & Conflict
- Conflict in Every Line
- Two Dogs. One Bone
- Conflict~Gotta Love How They Hate Each Other
- Characterization with Madame Zelda
- Your Hero's Fatal Flaw
- Carla Stewart on Characterization
- Getting Into (Too Much) Character
- Plot Storming. Preparing for a Writing Spree
- From Idea to Plot with Nancy Kress
- Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure
- Dr. Stanley Williams, The Morale Premise Guy
- Hooking Your Reader
- The Tease...Great Scene/Chapter Endings to Lead Your Readers
- The Perfect Pickup Line...Or How To Hook a Reader
- A Telling Example
- Show Not Tell Part I with Shirley Jump
- Show Not Tell Part II with Shirley Jump
Exhibit A-The Manuscript
A. (10 pts each) Completed Manuscripts
How many have you completed?
B. (2 pts each) Partial Manuscripts
A partial manuscript consists of three chapters or more. How many do you have?
C. (5 pts) Synopsis
A summary of the story and plot outline.
One page story selling synopsis or a multiple page plot outline synopsis.
D. (5 pts)Editing & Revising
Editing is a surface polishing or the mechanical cleanup of your story. Revising is structural cleanup for consistency and clarity of the GMC.
E. (10 points) Critiques (groups, one-on-one or professional editing )
Points are only given if you submitted material.
- Putting Your Baby To Bed
- Your Best Writing Time
- Synopsis Writing-Your Voice
- Diana Cosby: Writing the Synopsis
- Manuscript Triage by Erica Vetsch
- When It Comes to Writing...Sometimes Less is More
- Please Welcome the Grammar Queen
- Dare Your Reader To Risk Reading Your Book
- Secrets of the Slush Pile
Contesting: (scoring for 2010 only)
( 2 points per contest for entering- five points per contest for finaling-ten points per contest for winning. For section C multiply entering points, finaling points and winning points x 5. An additional 5 pts for every request generated from a contest, IF you actually submitted the requested material.)
A. Contest with no synopsis
B. Contest with Synopsis
C. The Quadruple Crown (The Genesis, The Golden Heart, The Maggies, The Golden Pen)
- How To Support Your Contest Habit
- Contest Feedback Glossary
- Pimp Your Contest Entry
- Obsessive Contest Disorder (OCD)
- Should You Enter Contests? With Merrillee Wren
The Submission Process
A. ( 2 points) One Sheet
Multiply times the number you have written. Add two more points for every one you have actually given out to an editor or agent. BONUS: five points if it generated a request AND you submitted.
B. (10 points) Query Letter
Multiply times the number you have written. Add two more points for every one you have actually mailed or emailed to an editor or agent. BONUS: five points if it generated a request AND you submitted. No points for failing to submit.
C. (10 points) The Pitch
Multiply times the number you have pitched. BONUS: five points if it generated a request and you submitted.
D. (2 points per agent) Agent Due Diligence
Two points for every agent thoroughly researched.
E. (2 points per publisher and/or editor) Publishing House Research
Two points for every publisher thoroughly researched.
- Kaye Dacus: The Pitch Sheet and the One Sheet
- The One Sentence Hook
- Creating a Pitch
- Pitch Perfect
- The Pitch
- Query Letter Workshop Part I
- Query Letter Workshop Part II
- Top Five Mistakes Authors Make in Proposals
- Savvy Submission Strategy
- The Great Agent Hunt
A. (10 pts) Conferences
Award yourself ten points for each conference attended in 2010, no matter how small. All day workshops are 5 points each and chapter meetings are 2 points per meeting.
B. (2 pts each item) Author Platform
Internet Presence (Webpage, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, other Social Networking)
Branding (tagline created, business cards, stationary, promotional material, professional photos)
C. (10 pts) Career Planning
Have you created measurable goals with steps toward those goals?
Do you have a five year plan?
D. Balancing Life and Your Career.
Unscored. This is the quest for 25 hours in each day.
- Things to Bring to a Writer's Conference
- What You're Probably Forgetting To Pack For Conference
- Jacqui Jacoby: Schmoozing 101
- The Hardest Contest
- Author Branding & Author Tags
- The Power of Author Branding with Jenn Stark
- Blogging For Promotion
- Writing As a Business: How Do You Rate?
- How Do You Achieve Balance?
- What I Wish I Knew Before I Sold a Book
- Don't Be Stupid, Pilgrim
- Working Ahead of the Curve
- Who Ran Off With My Cheese?
- The Writer's Guide to Self-Sabotage
- Hurry Up and Wait
As your DI (Drill Instructor) I am willing to reward you for taking the time to evaluate your Author Basic Training and share your results with Seekerville. Here's what's up for grabs.
1. One query letter critique.
2. One ten page critique.
3. One five page critique.
4. One copy of The Rancher's Reunion
Offer valid until January 31st. Please specify you would like to be entered and do not enter if you are not ready to submit your pages. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.
Now give me twenty, Soldier.