Neil O'Donnell

Neil O'Donnell

About Me

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Buffalo, New York, United States
Nationally certified career coach with expertise in writing résumés and cover letters for professionals around the world. 15+ years of focus helping new graduates and seasoned professionals find good jobs.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Special shout out to local reporter

I just wanted to take a second and say thank you to Jennifer Lysiak, a reporter for the 'Lancaster Source,' a local Buffalo-area newspaper; she wrote a story about my book that was incredible.

I have to admit that I've felt as if many local news outlets couldn't care less about authors other than national celebrities. It's reporters like Jennifer that remind me there are those in the news-media that care about local authors/artists. Thank you so much for your time, Jennifer!

Best regards,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jeanne L. Drouillard

Our next interview is with Jeanne L. Drouillard.

Jeanne L. Drouillard graduated from Madonna University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business with minors in French, computers and Sign Language. Other recognized studies and experiences have included handwriting analysis, bible studies, love & logic parenting, attachment disorder and other adoptive issues, listening skills as well as various seminars in leadership, self-improvement and psychology. She has published many articles dealing with the positive side of human nature and emphasizes what can be accomplished with a strong belief system coupled with tenacity. Her first book, Thinking Out Loud, was conceived because of her fascination with the world of thought and how it relates to our lives. Sammi Evans, her heroine, is in a unique position to study the inner and outer environment of people and to monitor their success and failure while relating it to their thought world.

1) Which 3 authors would you recommend all writers read?

A must read for all writers are Agatha Christie, Margaret Mitchell and John Grisham. These different styles and techniques give a well rounded and educated view that can only enchance your talent.

2) Which authors impacted most on your writing style?

Agatha Christie, Margaret Mitchell, John Grisham and Ernest Hemmingway.

3) What is your favorite element in your book (character, theme, setting, etc.)?

I love to keep building on a theme, making it come alive and keeping the reader wondering if the theme is plausible.

4) What was your favorite part of the writing process?

My favorite part of writing is the creativity, especially not always knowing where I'm going and yet being able to tie all the parts and clues together at the end.

5) What about the publishing process most shocked you?

The most shocking part was the fact that most publishers won't speak to you unless you have an agent. And most agents aren't interested in you unless you have been previously published.

6) What advice do you wish you’d received before you started searching for a publisher?

Be sure to connect with the Editors and Preditors website to ensure that a publisher is legitimate. Also check out your chosen publisher as carefully as you can.

7) What advice would you give to writers trying to publish their first book?

Keep trying. No matter how many times you get rejected, keep trying. You have to believe in your work and if you do, don't give up.

Thanks to Jeanne L. Drouillard for answering my questions.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

True Courage

Check out this blog detailing the journey of Jessica Watson, who is attempting to sail around the world unaided (by the way, when she reaches her goal, she'll be the youngest person to have accomplished this feat).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bill Connor, Publisher for Argus Books

Bill Connor, publisher for A-Argus Books, answered some questions recently regarding the publishing industry. His advice should be of great value to authors, particularly authors just starting out.

1) As a publisher, what are you looking for in a query letter?

“The first five sentences in a query letter dictates if I read the complete query letter or not. If the letter is well written, relatively short, and the author can capture my attention in the first paragraph, it is likely we will request the completed manuscript. That is, providing the manuscript is of a subject in which we have an interest.”

2) What are query letter mistakes authors often make?

“The major mistakes that a writer makes in his or her query letter is to try to tell what the story is about rather than telling about the story. At Argus Enterprises, we receive over fifty queries a day, so you can imagine how many manuscripts are available. The query letter needs to have a dynamic opening and quickly address the subject. Finally, the author needs to include a limited amount of information about himself or herself, including publishing credits, if any.”

3) What advice would you give 1st time authors?

“My advice to the first time author? Write about something of which you have knowledge. Either that, or research carefully the subject matter. Don't include an elecric coffee pot if the era is the 17th century. Also, keep writing and keep believing. Finally, have patience and realize that a successful author isn't born, it doesn't happen by accident. To generate a reasonably successsful novel, 15,000 copies or so, requires a tremendous amount of work by the first time author. No one, outside of family and friends, even know the author exists, so it is necessary to tell the world.”

4) What has been the most enjoyable part of being a publisher?

“The most enjoyable part of being a publisher is the sharing the thrill of an author's first novel. Whether it's a million seller, or only sells ten copies, there is a certain amount of sheer joy that an author receives when he or she sees their effort in print. There is also a great amount of enjoyment watching an author grow as he or she pens a second or third manuscript. It is easy to see the growth, as professionalism begins to take over and the amateur mistakes become fewer and fewer. The knowledge that you, the publisher, had an input into that growth is not unlike a father watching an off-spring succeed in their efforts.”

* Thanks to Bill Connor for taking the time to answer my questions

Friday, November 6, 2009

Argus Authors - Robert B. Marchand

Robert B. Marchand, author of 'Caylen's Quest,' made a career in the Canadian Armed Forces. Following that twenty year career, he began a second fifteen year career as a Municipal Public Works Director before beginning his third career as a building manager and a writer of novels in British Columbia, Canada .

His book, 'Caylen's Quest,' follows the adventures of a boy, Caylen, who is forced to become a man at an early age. In a seemingly helpless situation, succor comes from an unusual source; dreams that pervade Caylen's mind, dreams of an old Indian shaman and a huge black wolf. Was the call from the old Indian only a dream? Caylen and Lora was certain that was the situation, and that the Indian and the wolf were merely a dream. But, was it? Suddenly, as Caylen opens the cabin door, a black wolf cub is at his feet. Can the vision from his dream and the mystical promised by the Indian sage lead Caylen to success in his quest for a rich goldmine, justice for his family, and the love of a beautiful Indian maiden?

Interview with Bob Marchand:

1) Which 3 authors would you recommend all writers read? Jean M. Auel, Kathleen O'Neal Gear and Dan Brown

2) Which author impacted most on your writing style? Lean M. Auel

3) What is your favorite element in your book (character, theme, setting, etc.)? I had two favorite elements in my book. #1 was creating "Farris Lubak" the villian, in which I had to create a slang usage of his volcabulary. #2 was the native research I did to create the character "Sania" the native Hopi indian Medicine man.

4) What was your favorite part of the writing process? Describing the boy's (Caylen) adventures in the remote wilderness in the 1900's.

5) What about the publishing process most shocked you? That not all Publishers are created equal. Make sure they also promote and help sell your book.

6) What advice would you give 1st time authors? Go to the website of "Preditors and Editors" and see what they have to say about different Publishers.

My thanks to Bob for taking time to answer my questions.