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[Critique services] Marketing the Muse (Marla Miller)

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pfinucan

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Wow, I think it is amazing how far removed unpublished authors are from editors now. How is there a market for help just to get an agent. An agent who isn't even the person buying the book.

They say, in the old days authors would sell books to editors.
 

roseangel

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????
Have you ever used her crit service? If so, was it any good?
What about her writers classes? If so, how were they?
What do you think of the services she offers? Are they reasonable? Are there any red flags?
 

Old Hack

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I don't share the views Ms Miller expressed in the thread Terie has linked to:

Just saying:
If people think agents are only interested in talent, they haven't hung around this industry long enough----
It's who you know as much as anything else---otherwise, we wouldn't have SCADS of mediocre to poor reading books out here....
Marla Miller
www.MarlaMiller.com

That's both disrespectful to the writers who have got published, and the agents who represent them; and it's simply not my experience. The agents I know are all keen to find talented writers.

I note from her website that Ms Miller has worked as a psychiatric nurse practitioner/teacher, and was Assistant Director of Santa Barbara Writers Conference for some time (how much is not made clear). She also writes,

My personal life includes leaving a longtime marriage that produced three fine daughters, now young adult women. I'd like to think that all the writing I did during their 'wonder years' will eventually find the light of publishing day

That implies to me that Ms Miller has not yet had a book published: so I'm not entirely convinced that she's qualified to teach others how to do it.
 

Terie

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That implies to me that Ms Miller has not yet had a book published: so I'm not entirely convinced that she's qualified to teach others how to do it.

According to her bio, she's had one book published (by S&S), and looks like a large number of magazine articles.
 

Momento Mori

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pfinucan:
Wow, I think it is amazing how far removed unpublished authors are from editors now.

It depends on what you mean by editors and who they work for. There are a lot of small/independent publishers out there who will still look at unsolicited submissions from writers, but you need to be prepared to wait because they'll be working through the slush pool.

However if you want to be published by one of the Big 6 and you don't have an agent, then your best bet is to go to a writers conference where named editors from the Big 6 are attending. Many such conferences offer pitching sessions where you can meeting them and pitch straight to them and in the YA market, I know of 3 authors who got their deals that way.

Your best bet though is still to try and get a good agent because sadly, there are so many writers out there trying to get deals for their manuscripts that a degree of filtration is necessary as the big publishers simply don't have the time or the manpower to go through their slush piles.

pfinucan:
They say, in the old days authors would sell books to editors.

And in the really old days, authors could serialise their novels through magazines and pamplets so what's your point? Times change. Writers need to move with them. If you're not prepared to do that then you can always investigate self-publishing. A lot or authors are going into self-publishing these days with varying degrees of success.

Terie:
she's had one book published (by S&S), and looks like a large number of magazine articles.

Her books credit was in 1999 for a non-fiction book about the US women's football team (which looks to have been a tie in to their victory in the Women's World Cup). I'm not picking up anything since then in terms of book writing credits but it looks like she's been active in writers' groups and events in California.

Whether that amounts to a qualification for helping write query letters ... I dunno. I think her response to the question raised in the thread that Terie linked to are plain wrong and, in fact, demonstrate that she didn't read the OP's post correctly. There is no use in mentioning a second cousin who's a famous writer in a query if you don't know that cousin and they aren't prepared to vouch for your work.

MM
 

shaldna

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That website is horrible to try and navigate around. It's not very user friendly, and doesn't have a lot of useful content. I spent ten minutes just trying to work out what the point was.


EDIT: Okay, I FINALLY figured out what was on offer - it's under the 'store' page on the webiste, where there are a list of 'crits' available for 99c

However, on closer inspection they don't appear to be individual crits, but rather a crit of another authors query letter. Not sure how much use that would be to the individual, and is probably nothing you can't get for free elsewhere.
 
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Old Hack

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Indeed. There's the fabulous Query Shark, for example, where you can not only read other people's queries, you can find out what a leading agent thinks of them, and how she'd rework them; and you can join in with the resulting discussions, too. All for free.
 

writersMAMA

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don't like this reply-

you have no reason to say this and it's also not very nice--I'm have a great reputation in the writing community--please don't say negative things about me that you have no base for saying.
Marla Miller
 

writersMAMA

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hurtful thread--

Look, I don't care if you think i'm good enough to help all of you or not-I offer a good service and am widely respected---
that you all like to take potshots says WAY more about you than me. I have 25 years of freelance writing which means I've pitched queries for that long; long enough for established magazines like The Writer to run my columns for last 8 years--
sorry that i'm just trying to get my services out here---being unkind and demeaning me may make you all feel better but it won't get you closer to publication.
don't be mean to other writers-it's bad karma-this business is tough enough.
Marla Miller
www.marlamiller.com
 

roseangel

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Yea, I'm not the greatest at grammar and punctuation, but your posts, Marla, kinda make me cringe.
Also, what makes you better than QLH or QueryShark?
How many of the queries you've critted have gone on to material requests?
 

BenPanced

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Look, I don't care if you think i'm good enough to help all of you or not-I offer a good service and am widely respected---
that you all like to take potshots says WAY more about you than me. I have 25 years of freelance writing which means I've pitched queries for that long; long enough for established magazines like The Writer to run my columns for last 8 years--
sorry that i'm just trying to get my services out here---being unkind and demeaning me may make you all feel better but it won't get you closer to publication.
don't be mean to other writers-it's bad karma-this business is tough enough.
The questions that have been raised are only the sort that have been raised over other publishers and critique services. More often than not, the people running these businesses have come here and answered the questions with grace, style, and dignity. They've also come here and accused us being big ol' meanie boo birds without offering a rebuttal, so now's your chance to let us know why we should consider your service. Yes, your queries have gotten work for yourself but who else has benefited from your critique? Have they gone on to be published? With whom? I would think that you'd rather mention those credits.
 

CaoPaux

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Indeed. There's the fabulous Query Shark, for example, where you can not only read other people's queries, you can find out what a leading agent thinks of them, and how she'd rework them; and you can join in with the resulting discussions, too. All for free.
And for those wanting an editor's POV, there's the likes of Evil Editor.
 

Katrina S. Forest

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Marla,

I know plenty of people who contribute huge amounts of time to their local writing communities and are very much respected by said communities for it. Time and dedication are wonderful things.

However, if you're going to sell people a service, the number of years you've been writing doesn't matter nearly so much as how much success you've had. If you told me you'd only started writing five years ago, but you'd sold three novels for five-figure advances in that time, that's a lot more impressive than writing fifty years but selling zero.

As this is a background check forum, people are going to be blunt about whether or not they think a service is useful to writers. And while you may be a wonderful, dedicated person to the writing community, I agree with the above that I could not recommend your service to people here.

The command of grammar in your posts is weak, and your website states "basics of queries" that simply aren't true. For example, here you claim that a query letter should be 500-600 words:

http://www.marlamiller.com/mtm-curriculum/single-entry/query-letter-fundamentals-lesson-one#extended

600 words wouldn't even fit on a single page. If you do not know the proper length for a query, you should not be taking money for a critique service, no matter how long you've been writing.
 

Momento Mori

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writersMAMA:
Look, I don't care if you think i'm good enough to help all of you or not-I offer a good service and am widely respected---
that you all like to take potshots says WAY more about you than me.

Marla, your very first post on this community was to promote your query letter abilities. If you're going to try and use this community to promote yourself for a paid service, then you should be aware that you're going to get scrutinised for it. If you don't like it, don't post.

writersMAMA:
I have 25 years of freelance writing which means I've pitched queries for that long; long enough for established magazines like The Writer to run my columns for last 8 years--
sorry that i'm just trying to get my services out here---being unkind and demeaning me may make you all feel better but it won't get you closer to publication.

If you're trying to get your services out there, do yourself a favour and pay lip service to capitalisation and punctuation. It's your friend.

As regards your experience, I don't doubt that you're got a lot of experience within writing magazines but your actual publishing experience seems sparse. I can't find anything on your website about writers who got an agent thanks to your query writing advice - that should be there because it goes to establish your credibility.

Your advice on the other thread you posted in here was simply bullshit. If that's the kind of advice you give to people and charge them for, then they're not getting value for money.

Finally, if you're going to slag off people here for criticising you with snide comments about getting published, you should make sure you do your research first. There are a lot of people on this thread and in these forums who have been published, work in publishing or have agents. I'm one of those writers who has an agent and I didn't have to pay someone to help me write my query letter in order to get one.

MM
 

Filigree

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I apologize for my initial harshness, Marla. It was too vague and subjective. As I have never intended any of my grocery lists to become viable money-making products, I've never sought paid critiques of them.

We're here on AW to share information. To cut through the endless levels of bullshit, rejectomancy, magic formulas, and snake-oil sales that plague the newer writers' quest for publication. I personally love it when an editor or agent offers clear, rational reasons for the value of their services; verifiable backgrounds, qualifications, and associations; and open lists of their clientele. Finding an agent is like a job interview for both agent and writer. I wouldn't trust my artwork to an ignorant or unscrupulous gallery owner who might vanish overnight with it. Likewise, I wouldn't trust an agent or editorial consultant who didn't have a great reputation as well as vast knowledge of their industry.

Oh, and informative as writers' magazines can be, I run their positions through a lot of fact-checking, as I would any industry-subsidized trade magazine.
 

Theo81

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-i won't be bothering you again--
Marla Miller
www.marlamiller.com

I would strongly recommend that you do. It's not going to be long before this thread appears on the first page of Google search results for your name. The board is read by plenty of people who aren't AW members. You are not doing anything to help yourself here. This thread exists and it's not going away. If you want to run a business, you have to control your reputation - we all do it, too - and having a flounce on a message board is not what I want to see from anybody asking for my money. Why would I want to work with anybody like that?

You haven't had an 8 year column with a magazine through luck, so what are your qualifications? You obviously think you have the expertise to charge for your services; tell us more about what makes you know more than I, who offer my opinion in return for having a place to procrastinate, do.

If you offer a valuable service, this is a great place to get known and find business. I would submit to Musa Publishing in a heartbeat if I had anything suitable, simply because I have a huge amount of respect for Mscelina.
I hope you are feel able to come back and become part of this community. We're not here to rail on you, we're here to gather the information which allows us to make informed decisions about what we're doing with our work.
 

shaldna

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Marla,

I'm going to assume that you are still following this thread, even if you decide to no longer respond.

Here's the thing, we see a lot of services like yours every day. The first stop is to look at the website, see what's on offer and to check out the people involved to see what sort of experience and / or qualifications they have to offer said service.

In your case there were questions asked because you website is not clear, and the 'services' on offer appear to be pay-per-view videos critiquing other people's query letters, rather than assessing the individual that comes to you.

Now, you may well have other services that you offer which are more tailored to the individual, but I, for one, was unable to find these on your website. The services that you do offer are ones that are available eslewhere on the internet for free, so, as potential customers or clients, we would want to know what you are offering that is unique. So far I have drawn a blank, but please correct me if I am wrong.

In terms of qualifications and experience, your bio and a rather exhaustive search on Google provides me with the facts that you have been involved in organisation of literary festivals and have published many magazine articles. But what I am seeing is a lack of experience as a professional editor, or a literary agent, or, to be honest, book publishing in general. So I would like to know what makes you qualified or experienced to provide this service?

Finally, when touting your services on a board that is populated by professional writers, editors, publishers and agents it would be wise to bear in mind that those potential clients will be judging you on the editing skills you claim to possess. Your posts, however, have not been kind to your professional repuation. A note you may wish to bear in mind.

When people here, very politely and with interest (bar one or two exceptions) raised queries or concerns or questions, you chose to attack rather than to answer them in a professional and couteous way.

The internet is forever, and these forums always come up very high on Google searchs, and I doubt you would want anyone searching your name to see your attitude here, which has been less than professional and certainly has not been friendly.

Just saying.

Now, if you choose to address any of the concerns, queries or questions that have been raised than I, for one, would be most grateful. If not then that is entirely your perogative.

There were concerns raised over some of your posts in another thread, which called into question your understanding of how the publishing industry actually works, and as such called into question your credibility to be providing such a service. That particular thread also contained responses from professional and widely respected agents, who, one would assume, know what they are talking about and what they, being agents, actually want.

Perhaps you should spend some time getting to know the people here before you shoot them all down.

If you feel that people are taking potshots at you then I'm sorry, but as I said above, the vast majority of people who responded to your posts raised questions that a potential customer really should get an answer to.

The post below is an example of what I mean. It's not helping your reputation, and it's not helping to mark you out as someone with the capabilities to be critiquing professionally, given the scattershot punctuation and random line breaks.


Look, I don't care if you think i'm good enough to help all of you or not-I offer a good service and am widely respected---
that you all like to take potshots says WAY more about you than me. I have 25 years of freelance writing which means I've pitched queries for that long; long enough for established magazines like The Writer to run my columns for last 8 years--
sorry that i'm just trying to get my services out here---being unkind and demeaning me may make you all feel better but it won't get you closer to publication.
don't be mean to other writers-it's bad karma-this business is tough enough.
Marla Miller
www.marlamiller.com
 

LindaJeanne

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f you offer a valuable service, this is a great place to get known and find business. I would submit to Musa Publishing in a heartbeat if I had anything suitable, simply because I have a huge amount of respect for Mscelina.
Likewise. Nothing inspires confidence like watching someone handle a worst-case scenario with grace and aplomb.


On the other hand...
Look, I don't care if you think i'm good enough to help all of you or not-I offer a good service and am widely respected---
that you all like to take potshots says WAY more about you than me.
...nothing erodes confidence like someone having a pout (followed by a flounce) because people on the internet dared ask for clarification on why they are qualified to offer a service they are charging money for. And to ask for clarification on specifically what service is being offered.

People in this thread have raised valid questions -- questions that anyone contemplating using your services is going to want to know the answers to, but those answers aren't currently findable on your website. This thread is a wonderful oppertunity for you to clarify what you are offering, why you are qualified to offer it, and answer any questions or concerns that potential customers might have.

It's your choice whether you make this thread positive marketing or negative. People aren't going to judge you based on what other people ask or the tone they take; they are going to judge you based on how you respond.
.
 

Filigree

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What Linda and Shaldna said. Yes, I admit I was harsher than needed, but I'd just spent 15 unproductive minutes looking through the Miller website and checking references.

Bottom line: if I can, with only the effort of reading, sort through query examples on QueryShark, AW's QLH, my local library, and other free sources, why am I going to pay to see an analysis of *someone else's* query? From a source whose very advertising posts don't inspire confidence in her grasp of language mechanics?

Like most newer writers, I know I need help with many issues. But I want to learn from sources I can trust, too.
 

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