Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Arg! April 11, 2012

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:25 am
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Your priorities are

not my priorities.

Your time is

not my time.

Your hopes are

not my hopes.

Your deadlines

are not my deadlines.

But all

of mine,


on yours.


the longest month September 12, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:06 am
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I’m starting to feel like I’m nine months pregnant.  The ninth month of pregnancy is the longest month.  You mothers out there will know what I mean.  When you get to a few weeks from your due date, people start calling you up to see if you’re still pregnant or whether you’ve got a baby in the cradle yet.   As you pass your due date (as I did every time) you get even more concerned calls.  All the affectionate interest begins to get a little wearing.  You want that baby out more than anyone else, and every well intentioned question emphasizes the delay.  You watch the days pass on the calendar and when the next person asks if you’re still baby-less, you want to scream, “I will ensure the whole planet knows once junior has arrived, please leave me alone to agonize in peace over this miserable delay!”

Welcome to my experience with publishing!  I hear I am not the only one who has discovered that those in the publishing industry have their own time vortex.  They say ‘2 weeks’ but that really means ‘2 months.’   They say  ‘soon’ when they really mean ‘later.’  I hope having named a month, they don’t mean the one NEXT year, since the one named has already passed.  

I once heard of a writer who was waiting to hear back from his agent.  Being used to long delays and poor communication, he just waited patiently.  He didn’t want to be an irritating pest, after all.  Eventually he wrote, and discovered his agent had been dead for a year already!  Oh dear.

It’s a waiting game, and I’m in the longest month.  Pretty soon I’m going to have those contracts in my hands and the adventure will be undeniable.

Or maybe I’ll be sending flowers to a  funeral.


The publishing process August 26, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:37 am
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I was just asked by a budding novelist to tell something about the publishing process. Here was my rather abbreviated response:

The best suggestion I can give you is to spend a lot of time on reading articles and chatting on the forums. A subscription to the magazine is also very worthwhile. It’s an excellent manual to the process of getting published in a variety of genres.

In my About Me section there are links to some writerly organizations you may want to check out.

My own personal experience with the process is given at   See the article (link at the bottom of the page) called The Story of Grace.

The simplified version of the process goes something like this:
1. write your novel
2. edit your novel 20 times, cutting 10% each time
3. leave the novel for a year
4. read it again, re-write all the parts you now realise are crap
5. send out query packages to agents and/or publishers (cover letter identifying your credentials and a bit about the novel, a one page synopsis of the novel, a 10 page sample of the novel)
6. get a lot of rejection notices in the mail- make particular note of any suggestions given by professionals about your manuscript, fix them
7. get an offer to publish
8. negotiate a contract, get a cheque for your advance
9 (at this point, the publisher may leave your ms in limbo for years. It might never actually be published, even though they paid you for it)
10. edit with the publishers’ editors. They will force you to make painful cuts
11. see a published copy!!!
12. work with the publishing house marketing team to publicize your novel
13. wait for royalty cheques to roll in! 😉 (One friend tells me he sometimes gets royalty cheques for amounts like $1.32)


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