Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


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Dealing with Rejection

I’ve been watching some of your Facebook posts and it seems like this is a season of decision. The agents and editors have reached the bottoms of their piles from the ACFW conference and are attempting to clean off their desks before Christmas. I’m not speaking fact, just my take on what might be happening. Suddenly there are little bits of good news here and there and lots of rejections.  Continue reading


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Attitude is Everything

Last week I did something mean, and you can read about it here. I’m contritely sorry if I robbed you of sleep when I didn’t reveal the most important thing to bring to the ACFW conference. But I told you I’d share the topic today and here it is!

The most important thing to bring to the conference is … ready? Continue reading


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Top 10 Things for the ACFW Conference

Last week, I shared the suggestions from Christian Publishing experts at what to bring to conference. Many suggested items of personality that I didn’t originally think about. And since I wrote the article, I’ve read several others that echo the need for one thing in particular. I wonder if you can pick it out from my conglomeration list of the ten main things I’m bringing to the ACFW Conference in a couple of weeks. Continue reading


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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?


Secrets are Meant to be Shared!

I read non-fiction from time to time; Bible Studies, devotions, teacher editions and writing manuals. Seldom do I actually read any of these books from cover to cover. I leave that enjoyment to my accountant hubby who only discovered an enjoyment of fiction when the kids were young and he read the Little House books aloud to them. Until then, his leisure reading included computer manuals and all of Chuck Swindoll’s and Max Lucado’s books.

Anyway, I broke with tradition last weekend when I came across the new nook book from Mary DeMuth, 11 Secrets of Getting Published. Not only was the book informative, but it was terribly challenging. Her chapters addressed some of the most overwhelming areas to a novice writer, such as crafting the story, understanding what goes into publishing and marketing, and navigating writers’ conferences.

I’m in the early steps of, what I hope to be, a publishing path, so I expected to focus mainly on the first few secrets, convinced that the last ones wouldn’t really apply to me. Boy, was I wrong! The info and advice in this book just got juicier as I went along, and I confess, I didn’t just read it. After every section I was pulling out my note pad and making lists of the next things I needed to do. In fact, after reading her first secret, I went through my novel for a 5th and 6th revision, going through every stinkin’ sentence to check for her list of things I should avoid.

She designed her book in an article format, using postings she developed over a number of years on her retired blog, WannabePublished, and it’s easy to see why that blog was so popular. Filled with plain-speaking, direct advise, 11 Secrets would be beneficial to anyone hoping to pursue publication of any sort.

What was the last non-fiction book you read? Did you finish it? What was valuable about it?