Publishers


I have a synopsis. I’m working on my cover letter and I realise I need a hook. Only problem is some places advocate a hook should be no longer than a couple of lines. I was reading Jilly,Rabbit and these hooks appear more of a synopsis.

The only difference is they have more of a selling edge. Can anyone clear up this confusion? What is the difference between a hook and a synopsis? Do you need both? Is it the same as the blurb on the back cover?

Nikki

I have noticed a trend in the past few years, scam artists are getting smarter in the modeling biz! Years ago there were only a few and it was obvious who was what. Lately, even I have been shocked at what these crooks have cooked up. These individuals have gotten smarter and realize new faces in the industry are more educated, thus they have gotten more creative in their attempts to hide the real deal.

Here are a few reoccurring scams I’d like to point out to help all of you save time and money!

By far, the most popular scam is what we call a photo mill.

This is an agency that makes their money by sending models to photographers that are ON STAFF to shoot expensive photos and produce a comp card.

Robbie Mac

These agencies don’t make their money by booking work only selling pricey photography. They sign up anyone with a credit card and book few jobs.

Be suspicious of any company that forces you to shoot with a certain photographer. Normally, that means someone is getting a kick back!

A legitimate agency will give you what they call a testing list. This is a list of all good photographers in your area that you’ll be able to contact and pick on your own. A good agency shouldn’t force you to use their printing company rather suggest one but let you do it on your own should you choose to.

Also, a brand new model should never print more then 500 cards at one shot. If you’re new, chances are your first card isn’t going to be strong. It’s simply just a way to introduce you to clients. You’re going to want to keep shooting to gain experience and update your cards within a few months. So, 500 cards isn’t a good idea. 100-200 cards are enough to get started and they shouldn’t cost more then $1.00 per card to produce.

You shouldn’t have to write your check out to the agency, rather to the printing company directly.

However, this scam does not apply to only the modelling profession, it will also apply to actors, dancers, singers etc.

While transferring hard copy files from the dinky cabinet to the new, shiny monster occupying the corner of my office, I came across a draft pitch sheet with some old novel ideas, like this one:

Hell on Wheels

Paraplegic Mike Anderson becomes stranded during a vacation rafting expedition for the handicapped on the American River. His only help is a newly-blind woman, former neurosurgeon Rebecca Stark. [Stuff happens, they survive.] Back in Florida Keys, Mike helps Becca accept the disability that ended her career, while she secretly arranges for an operation that may restore the use of Mike’s legs [twist: Becca’s eyesight is restored, Mike remains in the chair.] ECD: mid-2002

In those days I always took a pitch sheet with me to any publisher event (something I made a habit of after being cornered by Gina Centrello at a national conference and going completely blank-headed.) At the bottom of this particular sheet I wrote: “Polish, keep in purse.” That came in handy later, when my editor took me out to dinner and asked me what else I was thinking about writing next. I made her laugh when I took the polished version out of my purse and simply handed it to her.

Hell on Wheels was my favorite of the eight premises I pitched to her that night. I had wanted to do a book featuring Mike Anderson, a wheelchair-bound secondary character from my first romance, Paradise Island. I was advised by a RWA friend that the idea it would not fly because both of the main characters were not beautiful, perfect, abled people. I figured that was its strong point.

But my friend was right — my editor didn’t like handicapped heroes or heroines, or the idea that the ending was (in her view) less than happy for one of them. She nixed all seven of the other premises, too. Some were better (as in more mainstream, less risky) than Mike’s story, so it puzzled me.

I found out why when the editor told me the publisher only wanted me to continue the storyline from the trilogy I’d just wrapped up that June. Wrapped up as in finished, done, over, no more stories. Being the cooperative soul that I am, I went home, filed away all my new ideas in my unwritten archives and wrote up what they wanted. Those books became the Jessica Hall novels, which made my publisher happy and added greatly to the savings account.

Stuff happens. You adapt, you compromise, you keep working. Or you don’t. Those are the choices we sometimes have to make between creating art and making a living.

What’s in your unwritten archives?

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