Archive for the ‘Traditional Publishers’ Category

Are you looking to test your literary skills? Do you think you can capture me within a few short pages. Are you interested in entering into the Urban Fiction genre? What ever the case learn if you have what it takes by entering the Urban Fiction Flash Fiction Contest.

Urban Fiction Contest Rules and Guidelines

This contest is to help fiction writers sharpen their skills. All stories must be flash urban fiction which means stories must be between 5 to 10 pages long. Must have beginning, middle and clear ending. Entries must be submitted before March 4, 2013

Urban fiction must be written in an urban setting to be considered urban fiction. No restrictions on language or dialogue. The grittier the better. Please register for the contest by sending me an email with


Email address:


Entry Date:

Please send story as attachment. Now on to the good part.

Three winners will be awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd place based on character development, storyline and creativity. An email will be sent to the winners

Winners of the contest will receive a free copy of my Ebook “The No Bull Method to Publishing”  A step by step guide to Self-publishing, Marketing and Promoting your Fiction and Urban Fiction. No fluff or frills It is actual steps needed during each phase of publishing and links to get you to where you need to go in your literary success journey.

Winners will also be Interviewed on my blog and their work displayed beneath the interview with a $25 Visa Gift Card.

Good Luck and Remember to spread the word!!!!

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Thinking about writing an Urban Fiction but not sure how to start? Good urban fiction writing has a few necessary elements to make it great. Sure anyone can conjure up a good tale but urban fiction is a bit different. I have studied urban fiction and know what I like to read and I’m also writing a juicy urban fiction tale titled “Platinum Dust” I will attempt to share a few tips that I’ve learned on creating a page turning urban tale.

Urban Fiction Background

When thinking about creating an urban fiction novel you must remember “urban” literally refers to the streets or the background for your story. Though I have not lived in housing projects or the ghetto I have friends who have and my neighborhood was lurking in the near distance. Street life is its own sub-culture so getting a feel for the streets is essential in this style of writing. You should know city blocks and which areas are the most dangerous if you want to capture the essence of urban fiction. Not that you need to visit the mean city streets for an in your face lesson but simply being open minded enough to hear the experiences of others who live it.

Urban Fiction Characters

Urban fiction characters are those that the reader loves to hate. They must appeal to both my interest and my disdain. A cliché character is the one that is a “good guy” trying to run from  a bad situation or the bad guy provoking bad situations. Either way your characters must reflect realism. Readers of this genre can pick up on a fake. Learn your character, I do this by writing a bit about them on a separate sheet of paper. Include who they are, where they come from and what their struggles are. This gives them a bit of reality that readers enjoy.

Urban Fiction Dialogue

This element can make or break a good story. Dialogue is important and using it correctly is vital to the tone of your story. Slang words, ebonics and bad grammar is all apart of the streets and it is welcome. Unlike traditional editing urban fiction falls under a different ball game. You can use aint and for sho (for sure) because it reads like it sounds and provides authenticity to your urban fiction writing. Readers will quickly put down your work if you use proper english in your dialogue. Crazy I know!

Urban Fiction Drama

Urban Fiction Drama is a bit more over the top than traditional tales. It is filled with he said she said, gossip, long prison sentences, baby mama drama, theft, murder and lots of adultery and cheating but these twists and turns is what the readers long to hear. Readers want the most outrageous tale, they want it to jump out at them and give them the juicy tidbits they will share with friends and family. A good writer will engage their reading audience enough to get them talking. Your book should read like “All my Children” or “As the World Turns” only in book form.

Urban Fiction Sex

Writing about sex can be very tricky especially if you’re submitting your book to a traditional publisher. You have to be more expressive with flowery words that are typically not used in an urban setting. The beauty of urban fiction sex is that you get the raw, passionate truth written explicitly. Writers must be careful though, You have to provide the reader with what they want but you must also keep your reading audience in mind. Not all readers like the juicy pornographic details and its your job to learn about your target audience. Ask readers of the genre what they want and then create your love scenes accordingly.

Urban Fiction Storyline

Now that we’ve gone over the details of what makes up an urban fiction tale the most important part of the story is its storyline. You have to tell a story it should have a clear beginning, middle and an ending. Ending  should be juicy but also provide closure not a cliffhanger unless it’s apart of a trilogy. Please avoid writing all over the place (meaning) don’t start on one scene and midway change it with no warnings. It causes confusion for your reader and if you are changing characters, use indicators.

Hope this was helpful and that you all enjoy writing your stories and getting them to your target audience!.

In the world of traditional publishing you need a middle man or a representative to get your work in the door. They are better known as literary agents. Their job description in a nutshell is to weed out potentially great authors from authors who don’t have a shot. They know what publishing companies are looking for and try to only accept works that have a better chance of being picked up. They are also responsible for shopping around your title and potentially getting your manuscript read by the big boys.

Are they important? Yes, in the world of traditional publishing. However, in the world of urban fiction they may not be all that necessary if you are trying to get your book published through self-publishing. Depending on your goals and the realistic timeframe you expect to be published going the traditional route will help you determine if a middle man is essential or a waste of your time.

Are Literary Agents Necessary?

The real answer is no they aren’t for urban fiction authors. Many of the game changers went the route of self publishing, which allowed them to bypass literary agents all together. They found the strategies that worked best for them and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The attention their titles generated brought traditional publishers toting six figure offers. This ultimately means more money in the writers pocket as they now do not have to pay a commission or fee to a literary agent also.

Self-Publishing & The Literary Agent

In recent years self-publishing has become increasingly popular and less taboo. With the growing amount of writers taking their literary fate into their own hands it leaves little room for literary agents. The one thing to remember is the publishing industry is a money-making industry. It’s a business so it produces titles that has the best chance of generating revenue. Literary agents are middlemen or gatekeepers so to speak. However, to the writers who venture out into self-publishing and make it big literary agents are no more than an unnecessary expense.

Technology is opening many doors in the publishing world. It is creating opportunities that were never available to the average joe. It is also letting the unknowns get into places that were once reserved for the “elite” or special few who made it traditionally.

So you’ve finally finished writing your urban fiction novel. You even took it a step further and had it edited (because you are serious about your craft) and now you’re thinking “Now What?” Do you give it a swing with a traditional urban publishing house or do you pay for self publishing? Decisions, decisions well before you even think about submitting to the big boys in urban publishing you first need to know what they expect from you. Every publishing house is different, which means they all have different requirements. Though they vary there is a few requirements that are standard practice with most of them. Below is a list along with explanation of each requirement and how not following one of them will surely get your manuscript thrown into the trash.

Query Letter

Most urban publishers and traditional publishing houses generally want a query letter. Query letters are formal introductions of you and your work, without this type of letter you are considered a solicitor. unsolicited work is equal to receiving a telemarketing call during dinner time, unwelcome. A great query letter will have your contact information (generally at the top left hand corner) include name, address, email address and best contact number. It should also include a brief intro stating who you are, if you have been previously published and a brief summary of your title. Your final paragraph should be brief explaining why you think their publishing house is a good fit for you. You’re a writer but please keep it brief it should never go beyond one page or you may lose your audience.

Sample Chapters

Sending sample chapters can be tricky and you should only send the recommended amount. Never and I do mean NEVER send your entire manuscript without being asked. I know, I know its great, awesome a pure masterpiece but it will never be read if you send it unsolicited. Generally speaking the first three chapters is acceptable, some companies may request five. Sample chapters can be included with a query letter. Sample chapters are the bait that will catch a big publishing opportunity. Your best work is done in those first three chapters because they have the power to determine if the reader will want more. If after reading the first three chapters the publisher isn’t interested you will either get a rejection letter or no letter at all. Try to eliminate any grammatical, spelling or tone errors in these three chapters. First impressions are usually lasting ones and its hard to do a comeback when someone has already made up their mind about you.


For many of you new or first time authors a synopsis is a condensed version of your story. It tells the publisher beginning, middle and end of your story in two pages or less. It can be difficult to share the ending of your story when shopping around for a publisher but you must do it. One of the many complaints publishing companies have is that authors don’t want to give the ending of their story in fear of it being stolen. That or authors think they will be able to entice the publisher by giving them the beginning and middle but not the end. (A quick word from the wise, well ME don’t do it) Publishers are turned off or more politely annoyed with a synopsis that doesn’t give it away so to speak. Many urban fiction publishers don’t require a synopsis but be prepared if you find one that does.


One of the most important urban fiction publishing requirements is formatting. Not following this step will provide your manuscript with a one way ticket to the garbage can. Standard formatting means Times New Roman, 12′ font size, double spaced one side of the paper. Margins should be 8.5 x 11 Microsoft word already sets that up for you but double-check before submitting your manuscript.

Word Count

I get a lot of questions about word count for urban fiction novels. 75,000 words generally adds up to about 256 pages which is standard for a fiction novel. First time authors should steer clear of writing anything over 80,000 words. To many words can work against you and not just because your audience may lose interest. Books longer than 80,000 words cost more money to put into print, which equals less money for you in the long run. Unless you are writing a novella you may also want your story to be more than 40,000 words. Having too few words can cause you to be overlooked also.

I hope this list was helpful and that it gets you on the right track for literary success.