Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Monthly Archives: January 2016

Publishing 101 with BJ Muntain, part two: Querying


Back on January 23rd I re-blogged Part One of this 101 of Traditional Publishing :-)

Kelsey J. Mills

So what is querying?

Querying is trying to sell an agent (or publisher) on your book. You do this by sending a query letter. Some agents only want the query letter, some want a synopsis, some want to see the first 5, 10, 50 pages. Send them what their guidelines say they want to see.

A query letter is a creative business letter. It’s a business letter because you want to do business with the agent. It’s creative because you are selling your creativity, and effective selling takes creativity. You want your query letter to entice the agent to read your novel.

When querying, DO:

  • Read and follow the guidelines.
  • Address the query letter to the agent’s name. Agents cringe at “Dear Agent”. You don’t want the agent’s first impression of you to be cringe-worthy.
  • Make a good impression.
  • Keep the query letter to one page, double-spaced. That’s about 250…

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#WORDS ~ 42 of Our Weird Little Friends :-)


My Best Friend, Jane Watson, shared two very interesting lists with me that I’ll share with you.

I was happy she shared them because, as you can see from the image, this blog has had visitors from many countries… 

Visitors to this Blog

Dots are Visitors Since November, 2012 ~ Total Visits on Map = 55,310 — Total visits to this blog since January, 2011 = 94,158

You’ll have to go to the links I give you to read about all the words but I think it will be worth your time, for entertaining and educational reasons :-)

First is 23 Awesome Foreign Words We Need to Start Using in English.

Here they are (read about them at the link…):

1. Kummerspeck — German
2. Luftmensch — Yiddish
3. Tsundoku — Japanese
4. Chi Ku (吃苦) — Chinese
5. Toska — Russian
6. Kreng-jai — Thai
7. Pochemuchka — Russian
8. Goya — Urdu
9. Esculhambação — Brazilian Portuguese
10. Koi no yokan — (the site listed no language for this word…)
11. Backpfeifengesicht — German
12. Hanyauku — RuKwangali
13. Verschlimmbesserung — German
14. Pålegg — Norwegian
15. Cwtch — Welsh
16. Sisu — Finnish
17. Inat — Serbian
18. Mokita — Kivila
19. Won — Korean
20. Yakamoz — Turkish
21. Waldeinsamkeit — German
22. Lítost — Czech
23. Culaccino — Italian

Second is 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World.

Here they are (read about them at the link…):

1. Toska — Russian
2. Mamihlapinatapei — Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego)
3. Jayus — Indonesian
4. Iktsuarpok — Inuit
5. Litost — Czech
6. Kyoikumama — Japanese
7. Tartle — Scottish
8. Ilunga — Tshiluba (Southwest Congo)
9. Prozvonit — Czech
10. Cafuné — Brazilian Portuguese
11. Torschlusspanik — German
12. Wabi-Sabi — Japanese
13. Dépaysement — French
14. Schadenfreude — German
15. Tingo — Pascuense (Easter Island)
16. Hyggelig — Danish
17. L’appel du vide — French
18. Ya’aburnee — Arabic
19. Duende — Spanish
20. Saudade — Portuguese

Were there any words in those lists from Your country’s language??
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Top Ten Ways to Match Books to Readers by Dana Johansen and Maureen Mooney Corbo


Today’s re-blog might seem like it’s for teachers only…

Nope — most of the ten tips will work just as well for your friend or neighbor :-)

Nerdy Book Club

A child comes up to you, hope in her eyes. She asks the one single question that has the power to strike simultaneous excitement and fear in a teacher, parent, or librarian- “Can you recommend a good book for me?”

We know our students, children, and the books we have on the bookshelves. So what are we worried about? We worry that we will get it wrong. We worry that we will let down a reader. We want to make that divine match, the one that will create a lifelong, passionate reader, so badly that we put a ton of pressure on ourselves.

But never fear! Over the years, we’ve generated a list of strategies that help us match books to readers. When one strategy doesn’t work, we try a different one.

  1. “The Investigation” – Get ready to do some detective work! Ask, “What’s the last book that you enjoyed?”…

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Amazon Seems to Be Playing Fair, after All . . .


Five days ago, I published the post, Do We Have to Worry about Amazon Being Heavy-Handed Again? Amazon Label Warning

I reported on a story about Amazon putting warning labels on e-books that have typos and other errors; but, I expressed my wariness about what was being said in the quoted article from goodEreader

I also asked for a heads-up if anyone saw more about this issue

I saw more

First, was an attempt at damage control by the author of the article I’d blogged about—What authors need to know about the new Kindle warning system.

The information in that last linked-to article should have been in the first article

Then, I saw that author John Doppler, in his post, Snark: Amazon’s New Warning Labels, has a wonderful graphic about the warning issue (which you’ll have to take the link to see)—it could be worth a visit, you may have a couple chuckles :-)

In the text of that article, John links to his other article, No, Amazon Will Not Penalize Your Book for a Typo.

Let me first point out that John (in the caption for an image of the author of the first two articles I linked-to) wrote this:

Good E-Reader’s founder, Michael Kozlowski, has a history of posting inflammatory clickbait.

So, my suspicions about Mr. Kozlowski’s first article seem correct (though, I’m a bit embarrassed that I took up a whole blog post about it…) and my judgement about his second article feels justified.

Mr. Doppler sums it up nicely:

“If Amazon’s screeners confirm that a book has issues, there are two possible actions.

“For errors prominent or numerous enough to detract from the reader’s enjoyment, Amazon will place a warning banner on the product’s page alerting customers that the item is under review. Authors and publishers will then have an opportunity to correct the issue and promptly remove the warning banner. (Amazon has already been doing this for years; they’re just expanding the conditions that can trigger an alert.)

“Errors that render the book unusable or incomplete or books that violate Amazon’s Terms of Service will be removed from sale.

“That’s it, friends. Nothing malign, nothing alarming. Just an improvement to quality control that won’t affect any professionally edited and formatted book.”

Thank you, John :-)

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I recommend that writers check out John’s site
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

The British Library


Some re-blogs pack more punch than others…

This one’s packing a huge load of goodness :-)

M.C. Tuggle, Writer

Isaac NewtonSir Isaac Newton memorial at the British Library.

Wish you could explore the world’s largest library whenever you wanted? Imagine being able to leaf through ancient books, view online exhibitions, and feast your eyes on some of Britain’s most treasured objects. Can you think of a better way to inspire your next story?

You can do just that, and you don’t have to leave home. This resource pretty much tumbled into my lap in the form of an email request from the British Library:

Hello Mike,

My name is Bryn Roberts and I’m contacting you on behalf of the British Library. I noticed recently that you have a mention of Bald’s Leechbook on the following page: http://mctuggle.com/2015/03/31/the-1000-year-old-solution/

This text is now featured as one of our online exhibits, available for all to browse on our website: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/illmanus/harlmanucoll/m/011hrl000000055u00001000.html

The manuscript is unique and sadly can no longer be handled…

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