Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


How NOT to Pitch

I’ve gotten to know Lisa Buffaloe through her website, her radio show, and through mutual friends here in Dallas. She seems like a true kindred spirit. While zealous for the Lord, she also has such a fun personality and a clever sense of humor!

This video of how NOT to pitch at a writers’ conference made me laugh! Tweet this! Continue reading


Publishing from a Newbie’s Perspective: What’s Next?

Traditional publishing requires stops and starts, but waiting doesn't have to be involved.I have to tell you, I feel like I’ve learned a decade’s worth of information in the last year about publishing, social media, marketing, and all that goes with them. Enough to know that I have a LOT more to learn.

Trite – I know – but way too true for my comfort level. See, I grew up with the Saturday morning mantra that “Knowledge is Power.” (Anyone remember that intro to Schoolhouse Rock?) I figure if I can understand something or at least know about it, I can handle it/fix it.

But that isn’t reality for so many pieces of my life.

  • A dear new friend was shot on Saturday night. I don’t know what’s going to happen to her.
  • My son graduates from college next spring. He has no idea what he wants to do.
  • I have a book to sell, but I don’t know when or how that will all come about – though I believe it will.

And those are just the things I’ve thought about in the last 5 minutes! God never promised me that I would know or understand what I’m going through – in fact, just the opposite.

Who then can understand the thunder of his power? Job 26:14b

So here’s where I’m at on the path to traditional publishing. I have contracted with an amazing agent who I’m growing to adore! I’m meeting (through a Yahoo group) all of his clients, my new agency-mates, and learning so much from them as they interact with each other. I’m reading much in my genre and focusing on books that are similar to Cat’s Eyes (my Christian Romance-Suspense) for reference.

Traditional publishing has so much that goes into it, but that doesn't mean waiting around for published books to happen.But that’s not all. I’m nothing if not determined and waiting around for publishing just doesn’t fit into my worldview. So I’m working on business cards, one-sheets, and pitches for the conference that I’m attending next month. I know I’ll have at least one interview with an editor, possibly two. I want to put my best foot forward in every situation. That means I need to be practiced and researched about who’s who and what books they have published and how those stories compare to Cat’s Eyes. I’m also looking forward to meeting other publishing professionals, agents and established authors, so I want to educated myself about what they write or represent and what agency or publishing company they are with. I’m really exited about meeting other newbies like myself and a few authors whom I’ve enjoyed chatting with online.

Aside from my prep for the conference, I’m working on other projects. Though I hesitate to do novel work, so I won’t get confused when I have to talk about Cat’s Eyes, I’m writing many short stories and articles for a variety of submissions, to keep warmed-up and as extra financial opportunities.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still totally giddy about having an agent! Squee! I’m just not willing to sit around watching the ink dry, thinking I’m done achieving my goals. Publishing my first book is my current goal and I’ve received a huge blessing – a giant step in the right direction, but I’m nowhere near the end of my path. Just keep stepping.

Your turn: What is your current goal? What steps are you taking to achieve it?


Writing Life: Changes

You’ve read the articles before. Writers who report, “I got the call!”

Well, I got an email.

Funny how God knows just what I need when I need it, because had I been on the phone when I squealed I might have burst the eardrum of my new agent. Not such a great way to start, you know!

This truly showed God’s moving. I asked several close friends to be prayer partners for me and sent out queries. I wrote to my prayer team and shared that the wait could be substantial, but this was patience training time. Less than 18 hours later I had a request for a full manuscript. Funny thing was, I’d just printed it out and sent it off with a proofreader. I asked if I could send it in early the next week, after the scrubbing.

Then, after submitting the newly washed manuscript, I again wrote my prayer team. This truly would be patience training as I had heard that manuscript-reading could take up to six months. I settled in for a long wait and thought about my next project … for a few hours.

Opening my email as my daughter fixed a snack on the counter next to me, she heard me gasp.

“Mom, is everything all right?”

“I have an email.” I stared up at her and she understood immediately.

“Do you want me to read it for you?”

I didn’t even let her get the words out before I digitally tore into the note. I read the words “recommendation” and “represent.” That was it. I started hollering and giggling and dancing a jig. Both twins joined me and my Labrador just knew it was all on account of him. He jumped and danced and barked along with us.

Then I had to stop and fully read the email … uh … but my computer had been busted in our reverie. No doubt by the huge hound.

Couldn’t get to my redhead’s computer fast enough. Not only to actually read (and reread and reread) the email, but to respond, hopefully in a professional manner that didn’t reflect the unsophisticated, uninhibited joy and revelry we’d experienced.

I’m feeling more like an author every day. I’m even listed under the “Our Authors” link at the Hartline Literary Agency where I’m now represented by Terry Burns.

I’m still giddy!