A Writer’s Interview on … Writing

January 21, 2010

Maralys Wills recently sat down with West Coast Writers blogger Laura L. May Hoopes to discuss the ups and downs of a writer’s existence: from writing techniques to marketing and literary agents and, of course, finding success in the publishing industry.

Words of wisdom:
Writing is like creating a brick wall. You want people to see the bricks, but not the mortar. Yet it’s the mortar that holds everything together. All those hidden techniques that nobody notices. Even the smartest readers don’t necessarily know about the mortar. Writing technique is what you learn in classes and critique groups. I wish I’d started taking classes years before I did.

Read the full Q&A here.


Rejection Comes with the Territory

April 20, 2009
By Maralys Wills

This morning I was turned down for a corporate speech. Another rejection. I should be used to rejection, but I’m not.

You never get used to it. You never just pass it off. Not entirely. Still, you don’t scream and yell. You don’t run around telling people how bad you feel. Instead, you tell yourself, I won’t let this ruin my day, and you give yourself a few minutes to feel rotten, and then you think about something else.

But the rejection is there, like a thorn, from time to time giving you a small stab. No, we never get used to it. But above all, we never “get even,” we don’t turn on the people who rejected us. We thank them and go on. If you learn anything in life, it’s the futility–the stupidity–of burning bridges.

When rejection overwhelms you, and it does occasionally, you think about Abraham Lincoln, who was rejected endlessly–who “lost” at least once, in nearly every political office he aspired to, yet became such a venerated man his inspiration has lasted over a century.

My response to rejection works for me. I say to myself, “What do THEY know?” and tell myself–actually communicate with my soul–that some day that person will wish he’d taken me on, that eventually I will surprise him and he will regret the day he turned me down. I take the “long view.”

And you know what? Most of the time the “long view” comes true.

Do You Need An Agent?

December 17, 2008

Literary agents are absolutely required if you expect to sell fiction to one of the big New York publishing houses. These publishers won’t even open unsolicited or unagented submissions.

Smaller and regional presses will vary in their acceptance of agented vs. unagented work. Some only accept manuscripts from agents, while others perfer to work with authors directly. Non-fiction authors usually find a warmer welcome, sans agent, especially if they are a recognized expert in their field. Again, the bigger the house, the more critical the agent’s role.

Las Vegas attorney and author Tami Cowden recently addressed the Las Vegas Writers Group on the subject of agents and how to acquire representation. LVWG “scribe” Megan Edwards provides a useful summary. The LVWG is a warm and welcoming organization to authors in all stages of their writing careers, from unpublished beginners to multi-book veterans.

The summary can be downloaded here.

What’s with the Colors?

October 28, 2008


The real truth? We couldn’t decide which color we liked best when the designer presented these vibrant options. Debating back and forth (author Maralys loved the coral while publisher Carolyn championed the bright green) we had a Eureka! moment — LET’S USE THEM ALL! Book jackets are usually printed in what’s called “four color process”. Because the strong and simple imagery of the waste basket and wadded up rejection letters could be printed in black ink, we could justify printing each 25% of the print run in one of the four colors. Books were then packed in cartons with an equal amount in each — they look terrific on the bookstore shelves.

News Flash!

October 21, 2008

Just announced: DAMN THE REJECTIONS is the 2008 USA Book News National “Best Book” Award Winner in the Business/Publishing & Writing category!

USABookNews.com, the premiere online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalists of THE NATIONAL “BEST BOOKS” 2008 AWARDS (NBBA) on October 20, 2008. Jeff Keen, President and CEO of USABookNews.com said winners and finalists traversed the publishing landscape: Simon & Schuster, Tarcher/Penguin, HarperCollins, Hyperion, St. Martin’s Press, McGraw-Hill, John Wiley & Sons and hundreds of independent presses contributed to this year’s outstanding NBBA competition. Keen adds, “NBBA’s success begins with the enthusiastic participation of authors and publishers and continues with our distinguished panel of industry judges who bring to the table their extensive editorial, PR, marketing, and design expertise.”

Six finalists were named, with Damn as the top winner. Kudos to author Maralys Wills, along with the “village” it takes to nurture a book from manuscript to bookstore shelf, including editor Ray Newton, designer Sue Campbell, coordinator Stacey Fott and assistant Krissy Hawkins. Yay team!

A Writer’s Wise Words

October 21, 2008

Oft-published author Maralys Wills shares trials, tribulations, and plenty of tips in a far-ranging interview with Paula B. on The Writing Show. The hour-long audio interview can be downloaded from the site or via the podcast section on iTunes.

Says Ray Newton (former National Coordinator for Reader’s Digest Writing Workshops): “Wills takes readers of the fast-paced freeway into the colorful scenery of a bumpy, but genuinely educational secondary roads to show them the realities of the highly competitive writing and publishing industry. The book is possibly one of the best professional road maps on the market.”

Rejections are the predictable bane of the writer’s world. Maralys not only tells of her own sometimes unconventional approaches that have resulted in published books, she shares her wisdom of twenty-plus years teaching novel writing at the college level. Damn the Rejections is an adroit interweaving, chapter by chapter, between the BUSINESS of writing and the CRAFT of writing.