Just gave the keys to frank, the guy that is renting my apt in Venice for June. I feel so good!!! #roadtrip #hondaelement #distributing #promoting #writing #takingpictures #printing #publishing #surfistastravelogue #book1 #travelogue #travelguide #buybooks #travel #surf #print #printedinLA #buylocal #diy (at element)

It’s been seventeen years since Judy Blume published a book for adult readers. Her latest, In the Unlikely Event, brings that streak to an end. In the Times, Caroline Leavitt reviews her new book, which depicts a small town in the fifties reeling in the wake of three consecutive plane crashes. FYI, our own Lydia Kiesling wrote an essay on Blume’s book Forever.

Secret issue preview!!! This is by @emilysoto :) we’ve had a minor delay in production, so the magazine will now be out on Wednesday instead of tomorrow.. But we thought we’d lighten the blow with this beautiful shot :) we are SO excited for you to see this issue ❤️ pre order it at theatlasmagazine.com/store #atlasmagazine #fashion #fashionphotography #magazine #editorial #inspiration #love #publishing

Writers and athletes are both in the business of narrative. As any sports fan will tell you, winning is not what makes a great game; the outcome is mostly irrelevant to the grace of the sailing pass, the coy swish of the net, the steam engine hook sending a fan of glittering sweat from the dumbstruck face of a falling opponent. Yes, we know from the beginning that Humbert Humbert will be found out, but, oh, how those sentences dazzle! The coiling clauses, the bubbling rhythms, the promiscuity of meaning — that is the material of literature. No writer writes merely for the ending, just as no player is simply in the game to see themselves on the other end of the clock.
—  Tracy O’Neill, Game Six: On the Sport of Writing
I’d also like to see young adult fiction expand the possibilities for LGBTQ characters. There are many more positive representations of LGBTQ teens now and that’s a great development, but I’d like to see YA allow these LGBTQ teens to be imperfect; to be ‘unlikable’; to make mistakes and be the conflicted young adults they often are. I want LGBTQ characters to be human as well as LGBTQ.

Malinda Lo, to Publishers Weekly for their feature on LGBTQ Publishing in 2015

PW asked many LGBTQ authors (including me) and authors of books with LGBTQ characters about what they hope to see in the future. It’s really interesting to see the variety and breadth of responses.

Manuscript Formatting & Submitting Sample Pages

Most literary agents will ask for a few samples pages to go along with your query letter, or will eventually ask for you to send along sample chapters. These pages are an extremely important part of the querying process. While the initial query letter is meant to attract the agent’s attention and make him/her want to read your manuscript, the sample pages you provide show off your writing style.

I’ve had many writers ask me how they should format sample pages and requested material. If you are asked to paste sample pages into an email as part of the querying process, make sure the format isn’t messed up after copying and pasting from your manuscript document. Double-spacing and paragraph indents are not necessary when manuscript text is in the body of an email. The more stylistic changes to the text, the higher the chance something will mess up on the other side of the exchange.

When you’re sending in attachments (like requests for partials or full manuscripts), you want to make sure you follow these guidelines:

1. Double space your manuscript. This makes things so much easier to read on a screen (and most agents read manuscripts on a computer or an e-reader).

2. Use a plain, common font like Times New Roman. Don’t get fancy.

3. Don’t do anything weird to the page layout. Use regular page margins and include page numbers if possible.

4. Include your query letter as the first page of the manuscript document. This is really helpful to agents.

5. Name the document the title of your manuscript. This is really important. Do not use my name as the document name; this may help you keep things organized, but it is confusing for the agent. I download way too many requested partials and full manuscripts that are named “Maria Vicente” or “P.S. Literary”. The document should be the title of your book.

And a few tips when it comes to submitting sample pages:

Follow the directions. If an agent’s submission guidelines ask you to submit the first five pages, then submit the first five pages. Ignoring the agent’s request is a mistake made far too often. If your sample pages end in the middle of a sentence, I’d suggest including the next few words to conclude the sample (but don’t include one or two extra pages of text to end a chapter). If you’re asked to submit three chapters, then only submit three chapters.

Edit more than once. 
Your manuscript should already be revised (never submit to literary agents unless your manuscript is polished), but you want to go over your sample pages again before sending anything to an agency. These few sample pages gives a first impression of your writing style, so you want them to be free from errors.

Consider the strength of your first chapter. 
Too often writers will submit pages from the middle of a manuscript because it is a “more interesting” scene or “shows off the writing” better than the beginning of the book. Your manuscript should shine from the very first paragraph. Of course the story is going to improve as someone reads along, but your opening pages should be captivating. If you picked the book up at a bookstore and read the first page, would you want to continue reading?

Remember that your query letter is only the first step to winning over an agent. Your sample pages need to deliver what your query promises, so you need to spend extra time critiquing and editing those pages before hitting send.

10 Steps to Overcome Writer’s Block

Find yourself looking at a blank screen a lot lately? It happens to all of us. (I have to write proposals, catalog copy, and pitches too!)

So what do you do when you’re stuck? Here are some great tips for overcoming the dreaded writer’s block.

Join the club that knows how to defeat those obstacles and has learned to look forward, not back:

1. Acknowledge the feelings and try to get to the root of them: Are you nervous, anxious or unsure about your story? Are you scared that it won’t live up to reader’s expectations? Are you looking at the clock and–knowing you have limited time–watching the hands move around? If you’re truthful about your reservations you can recognize and move past them.

2. Forgive yourself a perfect draft: No one writes a clean first draft. It’s called a “Shitty First Draft” for a reason. Read some Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird is a must!) and learn that perfect doesn’t exist. Especially in art.

3. On a separate piece of paper drill down on your true intentions: What are you truly trying to say? Can you boil it down to an overview? Be clear about your goals and try to sort out a new way to tell that truth.

4. Build a new routine: No one says that the routine that’s worked for you in the past is always going to work. But forcing yourself to work is the only way you’re going to get there. Gillian Flynn, author of GONE GIRL, says: “I could not have written a novel if I hadn’t been a journalist first, because it taught me that there’s no muse that’s going to come down and bestow upon you the mood to write. You just have to do it. I’m definitely not precious.”

5. Embrace free writing or stream of consciousness: Give yourself permission to get off track, with the purpose of it getting you back on track. Learn about free writing and let your mind wander where ever it wants to go. Reignite your imagination. Write about dreams, memories or ramble off a stream of consciousness.

6. Set deadlines to get work to your agent, critique partner or writing group: Internal deadlines can work for some people, because we don’t want to let others down.

7. Write something, anything: Like free writing, Maya Angelou says: “What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’”

8. Solve the problem in your story: Go back and see what you’re hung up on. Do you not believe yourself? Then re-write that section again until you’re happy with it and can move on.

9. Butt in chair: Many successful writers (with deadlines) believe the only way to get things done is to tell yourself that you’re going to do it. Barbara Kingsolver says: “I learned to produce whether I wanted to or not. It would be easy to say oh, I have writer’s block, oh, I have to wait for my muse. I don’t. Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done.”

10. If forcing yourself to sit at your desk doesn’t work, then take a creative break: A creative break is one where you go do something else, but keep your mind open and give ideas space. Instead of watching a movie or TV, meditate or take a walk. Don’t fill your head with someone else’s words, fill your head with your own and let the words come to through the open window of this “creative break” opportunity.

Further reading:

10 Great Writing Tips, in Quotes

85,000 Words, Written One at a Time

#EDSAwareness - Something incredible happened today… It’s almost surreal. A few key happenings behind-the-scenes led to this very moment:
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About Diversity and foreign books

 About 90% of the Brazilian young adult market is composed of foreign books. Of those, most are from United States, a few are English and one or other are French or German or something like that. Books written by Brazilians are a huge trend now, but they don’t amount to a lot of the titles published here (yet, I’m an optimist). We are still stronger on the middle grade market, with the amazing books of Coleção Vagalume and Pedro Bandeira’s Os Karas series, among other titles.

This leads to a serious problem: we grow up surrounded by american culture, not only in books, but in movies and series as well, and strangely, our expectations of high school are highly based on those from United States - when our system couldn’t be more different. Our classes are from 7-13, we are obsessed with Vestibular and almost everyone aims to enter one of our highly ranked public universities. We can choose to vote when we are 16 and we only learn how to drive when we’re 18, the same age as we are allowed to drink. We kiss and make out before going out on a date – for some people, it’s crazy to go out with someone you have never kissed. We greet people with kisses on their cheeks and tight hugs. Most of middle and high class teenagers study in private schools that doctrinate them that YOU HAVE TO GO TO UNIVERSITY OR IT’LL BE THE END OF YOUR LIFE. The others go to public school, and have difficulty to access higher education for free, ending up in private universities. Medicine and Law are the most wanted undergrad courses, and some people spend five or more years trying to enter in a Medicine course.

None of this is reflected in the books we translate, but still, it’s better for our publishing houses to bet in a book that was previously tested in a market as robust as the American. There’s also this crazy prejudice that Brazilian Books are bad and lame, a prejudice that is being slowly decomposed by the rise of new authors like Paula Pimenta and Thalita Rebouças, among others. There’s now an opportunity to young Brazilian authors in our market, but it’s still a dwarf sized share of the market. Every time someone reads one of my books and says “Oh, I loved your book, it doesn’t even seem Brazilian*” I want to go back to bed and cry, but I smile and say “Oh, this is amazing! NOW READ THESE OTHER 34 AUTHORS”. Sometimes I’m on a fair and someone passes by, grabs my books, asks me a question, finds out I’m the author and says “Oh, I was interested, but you’re Brazilian, so it’s bad”, I want to scream and shoot something, but I just smile and wave. Anyway, this text is not about this.

Cue to the diversity discussion of YA books in the US. There’s an amazing Ted Talk by Chimamanda Achidie about the Dangers of a single story, and what she says about being an kid in Nigeria and reading mostly American and British Books applies to being any Brazilian too (earlier version said “any other nationality”, but I don’t know other markets as deeply as mine). We grow up with this vision of those countries, these visions of stories that seems right to us. We think their systems are better just because the books never care to show other sides, other voices, never make us reflect on what we’re reading. There are people here that know more about Pensylvannia (How do I even write this?) than about one of our 26 states and our federal district. When you, Americans, talk about diversity in your books, indirectly you’re talking about diversity in the books our kids will be reading – and this is one of the reasons why I engage in the discussion actively, that’s one of the reasons I try to bring awareness of these movements here. We need diverse books everywhere in the world.

This is why I’m writing this text today: I KNOW there are diverse people writing and producing and trying to publish in the US. I know where they stand on the market and I’m aware of all the difficulties, all the hardness. But I want to add one more perspective to the discussion: why nobody talks about translating books from other countries, with other views, in addition to all of these? I see so many readers saying how they love to read books that are set outside US, so why not translate more books? Why not look outside the box and try to bring YA by latin authors, by african authors, by asian authors that are set in their countries, with their culture? Manga has been a huge success in US since the beginning of this century and they’re heavily infilled with Japanese culture, why not give this chance to books?

So, this is a conversation starter. I don’t want to stole focus from the main discussion, that I find fundamental for everyone. I want to invite people from the international community to talk about this, about the books they love that could be translated to english and people would love too. I also want to understand pros and cons of translating books in the US market, because I see so few translations. Is this a cultural think? There aren’t as many translators as in other countries? Sometimes, translating to english is one of the only ways of other countries to translate books, or for people from other countries have access to some books. For instance, I’ve always wanted to read the Three Body Problem, but I know zero chinese. I speak French and English, in addition to portuguese, so I rely heavily in translations to have access to some texts - and I actually celebrate when they get translated. 

I also want to know from people from countries other than US/UK, what are the YA books written by authors from your country that you would recommend? That you would want the world to read? (This will be also an attempt to build a list for my project for next year - not reading anything by US/UK authors, as much as I’m not reading any fantasy written by men this year)

*This is textbook microagression, by the way. PEOPLE, I KNOW YOU WANT TO MAKE A COMPLIMENT, BUT IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THIS.

[W]hen your worldview is solely shaped by men, you are missing out. And like it or not, your taste in music, books, television or art says something about you: it sends a message about what you think is worth your time, what you think is interesting and who you think is smart. So if the only culture you pay attention to is created by men, or created by white people, you are making an explicit statement about who and what is important.

Part of the problem is that while art or books that white men put out is portrayed as universally appealing, culture produced by women or people of color is seen as specific to their gender or racial identity.

As an Editor-at-Large at Interview Magazine, Christopher Bollen has talked with everyone from Joan Didion to Renata Adler to Michael Stipe. Last Friday, he became an interview subject himself, sitting down with Tom Barbash at Salon to talk about his new novel, Orient. Sample quote: “I know I’m supposed to have the young characters constantly on Snapchat and Instagram and every adult is falling asleep at night to a Netflix marathon.”