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Embrace Waves of Change...
...While Recognizing the Ocean They're In.
Hello friends! Last week sucked up a lot of my marketing brain. I wound up creating three or four To-Do lists and just combined them. In the midst of this, I've been putting the finishing touches for my upcoming interactive fiction release via sub-Q magazine. Today, I'm happy to reveal the title is "Underwater Memories". The game will be free to play and was designed as an experience. More than that, I dare not say! Huge props to my editor Stewart C. Baker for entertaining and helping me make my vision a reality.
Today, I want to talk to you about pitching from a creator's perspective.
Pitching is a direct line of communication between you and a decision-maker. That person reviews your pitch to see how it fits with their business model. I want to underline the words "business model" here, because I hear a lot of confusion about why someone rejects a pitch. A pitch isn't a guarantee, it's a door that's opened slightly so you (and the other party) figure out if your work is a good fit for them. Sometimes, you could have a kick ass pitch and be rejected because it's not what they're looking for or the timing isn't right. Other times, your pitch was somewhat close to what they wanted--but it wasn't precise. That can happen, especially for producers/publishers who get 100s of submissions. In other words: there's a lot of off-page factors that impact pitch approval. If you're really worried about pitching, take a hard look at your email. Read it to someone else. Are you subconsciously self-rejecting? Are you over-promising? Are you unwittingly straying into licensing issues?
Calls for submissions can be found in a lot of different newsletters and websites. They can and do happen on social media; Facebook groups is one source of info and Twitter can be another. Those calls are typically repeated on that venue's site or through other lists to cast a wide net. Often, it's the decision-maker's choice how they want to accept pitches, but it's in a creator's best interest if a pitch is also listed on their site. You want to nail that pitch and to do that? You need more information. You need to know the fine print. Submission guidelines aren't just to format materials similarly; they also highlight who is reading and following the site's content guidelines. Having that information for the pitch will help, because now the sides of your box are forming. You also want to know if there's legal implications for your pitch.
The other bit you want to think about is where and how to send your pitch. #dvpit is a hashtag on Twitter, for example, where marginalized voices can pitch their stories. That event works because decision-makers are vested in what authors are pitching and they can form that initial handshake before proceeding. Posting something outside of that in the off chance someone sees it, on the other hand, is going to decrease your chances of that pitch being seen. Besides the fact that social media usage is down, the algorithms don't show content in order nor do they present all content to everyone you're connected with. You want the person who's making a decision to review your pitch. To do that? Go to them. Your chances of success will increase if you not only follow those submission guidelines, but if you do a little homework to figure out who's accepting pitches, who's not, and when to send them. In publishing (as in life) timing is everything. We may not always get it right, but we can absolutely try.
Big newsletter with lots of information today! I'll stop for now. Dealing with... UGH... MORE SNOW. I would love a small blizzard, but alas that isn't in the cards this time.
Be well--and STAY WARM! - Monica
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In the 01/23/2020 edition:
By Monica Valentinelli on Jan 22, 2020 09:02 am
Hiya, do you love playing games? Ever want to write your own or for someone else? In this class, join industry veteran Monica Valentinelli for insight on how to write your own game or for your favorite type of game. Monica has worked on mobile games, IF games, card games, tabletop games, and more! Questions welcome!
I will be a guest instructor at Cat Rambo’s Academy for Wayward Writers on Saturday, March 28th. To sign up for the class, visit: Intro to Game Writing. The class fee and sign-up details for the two-hour workshop will be on that page. Materials will be provided, but if you have questions about working in the industry? Please bring them.
Don’t forget to check out the other classes that are now available!
By Monica Valentinelli on Jan 20, 2020 09:19 am
I am pleased to announce that we’ve been working on the Hunter: The Vigil Second Edition Kickstarter. When I talk about the game on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I’ll be using the hashtags #htv2e and #ttrpg. Hunter: The Vigil is a modern horror game where you–YES, YOU!–secretly hunt monsters with your friends. It’s a fan favorite and beloved Chronicles of Darkness tabletop RPG that has so much lore! To celebrate this new game, I’ve reached out to my team and asked them for interviews which will be posted on FlamesRising.com.
Here on my blog, I’ll be announcing when the Kickstarter goes live, when we’ve achieved funding, and when it has ended. I’ll sneak in some links to those interviews I mentioned pending their publication as well. If you want to ask me about the game, the best place to do that will be in the Kickstarter itself.
There will be other posts I offer during that time, too, and I anticipate a few more announcements in the coming weeks. If Hunter is not your jam, totally understand. I hope you do find a game or [insert fandom you love] and have a blast with it!
‘Til next time!
By Monica Valentinelli on Jan 17, 2020 04:04 pm
Heya! I want to blog a bit more. As I mentioned in my newsletter, I have NO idea what that means or what form that will take, in part because all of my sage advice can be summed up thusly: Do what works for you. I trust you will figure it out. If you don’t know what works for you, experiment to find those results. (I write this with no irony whatsoever… None at all…) It is the way. There may be a lot of discussion about the “right” way to make art, but there isn’t one singular process that works for everyone.
Today, as I embark on a new manuscript, I am reminded why I did not start this particular story before. Two reasons. First, I wasn’t ready to. And second? I have no idea what is going to happen after it’s done. I don’t mean this in a “Oh, that’s just how the business works!” sort of a way. I mean there’s a good possibility it might not find a home and it shall gather dust on a shelf and be forgotten. Or, the exact opposite could happen. It’s a crap shoot. Experienced novelists used to writing for themselves will likely read this and know exactly where I am right now with respect to my personal storytelling. I’ve been here before, multiple times, but never like this. This story requires the kind of trust I didn’t have before. The faith that this story needs to be told even if it’s never read by another living soul.
I have what I need now, because eventually I figured out I had to make peace with the unknown. My current status allows me to carve time out of my day to work on something for myself and it’s uncomfortable as f***. TRUTH BOMB!
Gratitude Writing Exercise
To help me remain focused, my friend Shveta Thakrar has a wonderful writing exercise we use to ground ourselves before writing.
Simply, list five things you’re grateful for. It’s quick and takes far less time than an A-to-Z gratitude exercise would. Having those five things in writing really crystallizes things you’re happy about and it does help when venturing off into the unknown.
Ham and Green Chili Casserole
Winter is a great time to make casseroles. They are also good for another reason–they help carve out time so you can write. The prep for this mega-Midwestern casserole takes about ten minutes. You can make this for breakfast or have it for dinner.
1 pound cubed ham
1 pound sour cream
1 16oz container fried onions
1 pound shredded cheddar
1 4oz can diced green chiles
Large bag frozen potatoes (cubed)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the ham, sour cream, cheddar, and chiles together in a bowl. Spray nonstick cooking oil in a 9 x 13 pan. Spread the potatoes down first in a layer. Then, take your goop (that’s a professional term, by the way) and spread the mixture evenly across the potatoes.
Bake the casserole for thirty minutes uncovered on the middle rack. Remove, then spread the fried onions across the top. Place back in the oven for twenty minutes.
Serves an army.
Mark the Date for sub-Q Magazine’s February Issue!
Join My Worldbuilding Panel at Midwinter!
Critiquing The Witcher Season 1
My 2019 List of Publications
Update on Make Art Not War Challenge and Future Plans