<![CDATA[The Brielle Agency - News & Events]]>Sun, 24 Sep 2017 03:14:59 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Taking the Leap]]>Mon, 03 Jul 2017 20:30:16 GMThttp://thebrielleagency.com/1/post/2017/07/taking-the-leap.html
I started my writing career by documenting the humanitarian journeys of women of African descent. That was a fulfilling time in my life. What I enjoyed the most were the interviews, listening to these women open up about their lives and their quests to leave their mark on the men, women, and children they sought to impact. It is no wonder that in recent months, I have found myself missing that experience of storytelling. 

So when the thought kept coming up, again and again, to seriously pursue ghostwriting, I did not hesitate. After giving it much thought, praying about it and accepting it as a viable addition to the services I would like to provide, I took the leap. And tell you what: I had barely put it out there when I started receiving requests for my ghostwriting services.

To cut a long story short, ghostwriting is now one of the services we provide at The Brielle Agency. The services will focus on nonfiction (such as, memoirs, business/entrepreneurial journeys, and self-help). I am excited about the new road that lies ahead and I look forward to successfully telling some very impactful stories and meeting and interviewing some really interesting people along the way. As much as I love editing, I find that what I love most is the skill of storytelling; using words to create images of a person's life, portraying their challenges and spurring people to action through their triumphs. I know this to be the aspect of writing and editing that leaves a greater impact on my life (and purpose) and in the world at large. So I look ahead with hope for a new chapter in The Brielle Agency story. Contact nicole@thebrielleagency.com if you would like to discuss a book you have burning deep inside you. 

<![CDATA[Thorns and Roses]]>Mon, 06 Mar 2017 16:28:24 GMThttp://thebrielleagency.com/1/post/2017/03/thorns-and-roses.htmlPicture
In October 2016, The Brielle Agency was contacted by Amaka Azie, author of Melodies of Love, requesting an edit for her second novel, Thorns and Roses. Of course, Nicole did not hesitate to say yes. She worked with Amaka on her first novel and was excited to have her satisfied and passionate writer back with a second book. Work on Thorns and Roses began on October 3, 2016, and was completed in about 5 weeks, (including a second round of editing and proofreading). It was an honor to work on Amaka's second novel. She is a passionate, creative writer who takes her craft very seriously, and can tell a moving story. We look forward to working together with Amaka again in the very near future on her third novel. Read the synopsis for Thorns and roses below (and purchase a copy at the following links):

Book Synopsis:
Ifeoma and her sisters escaped an emotionally abusive father to start a new life in Lagos. She is determined to never let another man have control over her, even if that means never falling in love. That is until she meets Chuma, a wealthy and domineering man who is exactly the kind of man she is determined to stay away from but somehow can’t seem to keep away from. An unlikely relationship develops, taking them from joy to a devastating loss and finally to betrayal. Ifeoma must decide, but she is torn between her painful past and a chance at a future with Chuma…

Chuma is a cutthroat obsessive financial mogul whose sole purpose in life is to make his family name great. And he is determined to let nothing distract him from achieving his goal. But when he meets Ifeoma, an elusive, hardworking chef, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to her. They embark on a turbulent journey of friendship and love, which is eventually shattered by tragedy. Chuma wants to heal the rift that has grown between them and will go to any lengths to do so. However, he encounters secrets from her past...

<![CDATA[The Broken Hedge]]>Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:50:40 GMThttp://thebrielleagency.com/1/post/2017/02/the-broken-hedge.htmlPicture
On June 22, 2016, Jessica contacted Nicole of The Brielle Agency for editing services for her novel, The Broken Hedge, a book of short stories. Jessica was referred to us by Tolulope Popoola, owner and publisher of Accomplish Press. After a bit of negotiating back and forth, work finally began on The Broken Hedge, on August 5, 2016, and was completed in about 5 weeks. The Broken Hedge is Jessica’s first novel and a must read for all. Working with Jessica was truly an exciting experience; she is passionate about her work and serious about being a writer, and it is an honor to have worked with her. We wish her much success with The Broken Hedge and pray she keeps going because there are lots of stories residing within her. The Broken Hedge is now available at the following online stores:

<![CDATA[How to Manage Your Editing Expectations]]>Wed, 01 Feb 2017 17:31:32 GMThttp://thebrielleagency.com/1/post/2017/02/how-to-manage-your-editing-expectations.html
I have been editing books for publication for quite some time now, and while it is a fulfilling mission, I find that clients come to me with such high expectations - some of which are almost impossible to meet, no matter how experienced an editor is. In this post, I will outline some of the main misconceptions I have found that writers have about the role their editor plays in their journey to getting their book published: 
  1. It is an Editor's Job to Organize Your Manuscript for You: Now, editors are a lot of things (good editors); brilliant, attentive, patient, and quite anal, but one thing we are not, are magicians. Is it possible to turn a crappy manuscript into gold? Absolutely!  But it is an unreasonable expectation that your editor will dig through your disjointed sentences and polish them into sparkling diamonds. It takes work to guess what a writer is trying to say, work that costs time and money. So if you have such an expectation, then expect to pay the golden rate. An alternative is to self-edit until it is ready to be seen by an editor, or hire a developmental editor, writing coach, or a ghostwriter all of which also costs money.
  2. Your Editor Works for You: I have had a few clients who made me want to run for the hills with their incessant phone calls, daily check-ins, and micro-management. Chances are that most freelance editors left traditional publishing or branched out of corporate jobs to be on their own, to escape these very same constraints. Personally, I find that my clients are secure in knowing that the work is being done when I offer them weekly updates via email. I don't consider this checking in, jut a courtesy to allay any fears they might have. I find that after I have worked with a client once, they are pretty much relaxed the second time around.
  3. Your Editor Must do All the Work: Nothing is more frustrating than to painstakingly go through a manuscript, track changes, make comments, and suggest changes, only for the client to send the manuscript back to you exactly the way you sent it back to them. Yes, you are paying your editor to polish your work and to care about it, but an editor can't care more about the state of your manuscript than you do. A writer's work does not end when you type "the end." That's actually when the real work begins - the editing stage. 
  4. Your Editor Must Produce Perfect Work: While perfection is the thing we all strive for, writers must know that producing a perfectly error-free document does not exist. Especially in a 100,000 word manuscript. It took me a while to figure this out. I always strive for perfection when it comes to my clients' work, but "to err is human" as thy say. So the goal now is to produce work that is as close to perfection as possible. If I can get my clients that, I am assured that my work is done - that I have done my best. 
  5. Your Editor Owes You Unlimited Revisions: When you're an editor starting out on your own, you learn through trial and error. Some of these errors can get expensive, which is a good thing because you learn to cover your bases and to set reasonable expectations of the clients who come after that expensive error was made. But even if your editor has not taken the care to lay out what they're offering, it is unreasonable to expect an editor to spend six months going back and forth over your manuscript with you. Once a job has been paid for and done, expect that any other changes you approach your editor to help you make will require extra fees - unless your editor doesn't mind doing it for you as a courtesy.
  6. Your Editor Will Help You Land a Publishing Deal: Unless the editor is marketing this as part of their service, never expect that your editor will be the one to help you through the publication process. Your editor's job is to help you polish your manuscript and make it a marketable piece you can pitch to agents and publishers, but it is not your editor's job to get your manuscript into the hands of a publisher. 

The key to a successful author-editor relationship is to have reasonable expectations on both sides. This can easily be explained in a contract or hashed out in the initial discovery phone call. The end goal is to work together to produce a book you can both be proud of.  
<![CDATA[5 Reasons Why You Might Need a Developmental Editor]]>Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:39:39 GMThttp://thebrielleagency.com/1/post/2017/01/5-reasons-to-hire-a-developmental-editor.html
Did you know that there are different kinds of book editors? And that depending on the stage of your work, there are different editors who are skilled to help you at each stage? Copy editors are your grammar police. They check for spelling and grammar, punctuation and style. Line editors are your most-hated, red-pen wielding teachers. They go through your manuscript line by line, marking off your page and hurting your feelings. They are also the ones who tell you if certain sentences and paragraphs don't make sense, or if you are overusing a particular word or phrase. In most cases, a line editor doubles as a copy editor. Developmental editors, on the other hand, are entirely different types of editors. Developmental editors help writers who are struggling to gather their thoughts before and during the writing process. They are very useful in cases where a writer has a story in theory but is struggling to put the pieces together on paper, and can't seem to find a starting point. If this is you, here are 5 reasons why you might want to consider hiring a developmental editor:
You Need Help Getting Started: A developmental editor helps you gather your ideas, helps you with researching the essential elements of your story, and points you in the right direction to help you get started with putting words on paper. 

You Need Personalized Coaching: In some ways, your developmental editor will serve as your writing coach, guiding you and pushing you and helping you in your journey from start to finish of your first draft. It beats struggling to do it on your own for 4 years.

You Need Help with Your Plot and Character Development: Sometimes, coming up with fluid, interesting characters who drive your story can become a difficult task. A developmental editor will help you to develop your plot, theme, mood, pace and so much more to bring your story the life that it lacks.

You Want to Save Time: When hired early on in the writing process, a developmental editor can save you the good amount of time you'll be wasting on rewrites if you are struggling and choose not to hire one.  

You Want to Saves Energy: The writing process can be a tedious one for a writer who lacks direction and guidance on how to get to the end of a story (or how to start). If you have no idea how to get from point A to point B, you'll find yourself frustrated, expending energy and effort on unnecessary editing and rewrites before you even hit the "End" button on that last page. 

A developmental editor can help you in ways that will cut down on your frustrations and your moments of doubt and fear, and lead you safely and sanely through the process, and to the end.  If you are struggling to get started with that book idea that has been passionately burning inside you, or you have started and feel stuck, or are wondering if your story even makes sense and if it will sell, then consider hiring a developmental editor. Doing so will save you so much in the end, leaving you with a publish-ready manuscript by the time it reaches a copy editor's desk. At which point, all you'll probably need is proofreading and nothing more. 
<![CDATA[Why The First Chapter of Your Book Matters So Much]]>Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:16:37 GMThttp://thebrielleagency.com/1/post/2017/01/why-the-first-chapter-of-your-book-matters-so-much.html
Before I decide to take on a new manuscript, I first ask to review the first few pages. This is typically either the first chapter or the prologue (if there’s one). I do this because these first few pages are the most important parts of any manuscript that comes across my desk. It lets me know whether the writer has 1) self-edited, 2) paid close attention to hooking their readers, and 3) understands the essence of the story they wish to tell.  The beginning is always the most important part of any storytelling process, whether it is a work of nonfiction, fiction, self-help, a movie script, or a play script. Here are a few reasons why you should pay close attention to the opening lines of your manuscript:
To Grab Your Readers’ Attention
Personally, if I can’t get through the first few lines of a book, I immediately lose interest. That means I am not buying the book, and if it is free, I am not making it past those pages to get to the interesting parts, and, I will not be recommending that book to anyone else that I care about. In her article, 8 Ways to Write a 5-Star Chapter One, Elizabeth Sims likens a good Chapter One to a delicious appetizer served at a restaurant. As she puts it, it’s “small, yet so tremendously important. And so full of potential.” That is such a precise description of how you want your first chapter to read. 

To Keep Your Reader Interested In Reading Chapter 2
A client recently said to me: "the good part is in the middle of the book, that's where the action begins!" While I agree that there is no problem with having the action in the middle of the book, the point of the chapters preceding the middle part where the action is, is to keep the reader wanting more until they get there. Again, if a reader doesn't get through your first chapter, there's a chance they won't get to the second or the third or the fourth chapter in order to get to the "good part where the action is." 

Your First Chapter Sets the Tone for the Rest of the Story
From personal experience, I can safely say that the hardest part of writing a story (any story) is getting started. If you are confused by your beginning, then your next chapters and the rest of the story are going to confuse you too. With a good, solid opening, however, you will find that the rest of the story flows throughout. 

The First Chapter Sets The Standard For Readers' Expectations
Whether those expectations are high or low all depends on how good of a job you do on that first chapter. This is why it's very important to keep the momentum going throughout the story. Don't lead the reader on if you have no intention of delivering what you promised in Chapter One. In other words, you can't write a terrific first chapter and second and third, only for things to go downhill from there - meaning the middle to end are a huge disappointment and you come across as a fraud. A book should be either good or bad throughout. If it starts off good and ends badly, you're a fraud. If it starts off bad but ends well, you're an amateur whose book is never getting read; at least not by people who don't really give chances.
<![CDATA[A Message on Persistence for 2017.]]>Mon, 02 Jan 2017 15:33:47 GMThttp://thebrielleagency.com/1/post/2017/01/amessage-on-persistence-for-2017.html
My goal was never to become a business owner, I like to say that it happened by accident. 

In 2013, I took the biggest chance of my life by quitting my corporate job and moving out of state without having another job lined up. Now, some people call that stupidity, and at the time I thought so too, but I was too determined to care. Naturally, I had a backup plan in terms of finances although I assumed that things would work out because I had never had trouble finding a job.
Well, all that was about to change. For a year, I went on interviews only to go home and never hear from them again. My phone calls were ignored, my voicemails were not returned, I began to feel disrespected by the very people who had smiled at me and walked me out the door with a handshake and a "you'll hear from us soon." I could not understand what was going on. It hurt. I cried so many times, and my self-esteem took a serious hit. It does not feel good to be rejected.

On one particular interview I will never forget, I was given a grand tour of the office space after meeting with the major decision-makers of the corporation. Why else would they do that if they were not thinking of hiring me? So you can imagine my surprise when the manager walked me to the elevator, shook my hand, and told me she would be in touch in a few days, and I never heard from her again. That particular rejection was a big blow to my confidence because I was so sure that I had the job. The only email response I ever got back was an acknowledgment to the thank you emails I sent after the interview that day. After a few weeks of my attempts to follow up on their decision passed, I knew I was never going to hear from them - not even a courtesy email to say that they had decided to go with someone else. I was devastated, but it was also my wakeup call.

While I was interviewing, I was also working on The Brielle Agency, taking on projects when they became available, and attending networking events. As a matter of fact, I had been editing as a side-hustle even when I held a full-time job; I had just not considered that it was a sustainable business idea. 

Then one day, while I was wallowing in my funk, my husband (fiancé at the time) suggested that I take a break from job searching and focus on turning my editing side-hustle into an actual business. He offered to carry the financial burden alone, and support the process in any way that he could. Let me mention just how important it is to marry someone who supports your dreams. I know I could not have pursued my dreams without the support of my husband. While he got up and went to work every morning, I stayed home, occasionally working in coffee shops, pounding the virtual pavement.

Building a business hasn’t been all peaches and roses, I'll admit that. There have been hard times, months at a time when I had no projects coming in, moments when I've been so frustrated that I considered going back to interviewing for jobs (that alone should tell you how bad it had to be for me to consider going back to that). But every time, my husband was my voice of reason as he reminded me that success does not happen overnight, that no one else can do what I do the way that I do it, and that we will get there someday if we persist. It was what I needed every time to stay focused.

We are not there yet. There have been days of harvest and then dry days for weeks at a time in 2016, but things have greatly improved. In the last four months alone, there has not been a month when I did not have a new contract coming in. And with the inquiries coming in at a rate faster than I can keep up, 2017 is already off to a good start. The month of January is fully booked.

I’m not here to paint a rosy picture, no, I’m simply sharing my journey in the hopes that someone will be encouraged to stay on the journey they have already began. We all know that persistence pays off, and yet many times we are too impatient to persist. We look at the present and allow that to dictate the future, when the truth is that neither you nor I know what is going to happen tomorrow. We seek immediate results, today, this very minute. We lack faith, and so we give up just when things are on their way to getting better. 2017 will be my fourth year in business and things are a lot better than they were four years ago, so I can see success on the horizon. Everything takes time, you will reap the benefits if you put in time and stay the course.
<![CDATA[New Offering to Our Clients - Free Publicity!]]>Sat, 31 Dec 2016 17:32:19 GMThttp://thebrielleagency.com/1/post/2016/12/new-offerings-to-our-clients-free-puublicity.html
Here at The Brielle Agency, we are always looking for new ways to help our clients on their journey to publication and success, which is why the editor-author relationship does not end once a manuscript has gone through the editing stages. We keep in touch, see how we can help on the journey to publication, and help spread the word as soon as the book is published. And this is why we have updated our portfolio page with individualized entries for each book we edited that has made it to publishing and online sales. 
Our new portfolio pages feature a brief summary of how we were contacted, why we accepted to work with the author, and how long it took to complete the project. Once the book has been published, we update the page with links to the various stores where the book can be found online and share the news on social media. This is a free service that we provide to all of our published authors as our way of saying "thank you for trusting us with your book babies!" We hope that in our own small way, we can help to get the word out there and boost sales because, when our authors succeed, we all succeed,
<![CDATA[Melodies of Love]]>Fri, 16 Dec 2016 14:40:53 GMThttp://thebrielleagency.com/1/post/2016/12/melodies-of-love.htmlPicture
On May 12, 2016, The Brielle Agency was honored to receive an inquiry from first-time author, Amaka Azie. Amaka needed a professional eye to spot the missing details in her story and reached out to The Brielle Agency at the recommendation of the publisher at Accomplish Press. Of course, Nicole, TBAG’s founding editor, was thrilled to take on the challenge and reviewed the manuscript. She immediately knew this was a writer she wanted to work with. Amaka Azie is a writer who is on a journey to longtime writing success.  Her storytelling abilities are raw and authentic, and has the ability to touch the hearts of readers. Melodies of Love was published by Accomplish Press, and is now available for sale.

Find it Online:

<![CDATA[Write & Sip 90-Day Writing Challenge]]>Wed, 07 Sep 2016 15:27:25 GMThttp://thebrielleagency.com/1/post/2016/09/write-sip-90-day-writing-challenge.html
Where: Virtual (write wherever you are). A private Facebook group will be set up for participants to post updates, do daily check-ins, and to keep the rest of the team motivated and encouraged. 
When: October 1, 2016 to January 1, 2017. (Because serious writers don't know what holidays are. Yes we'll be writing our way through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all holidays, so that we have something to toast to come New Year's Day!)
Why: Because our stories need to be told. We want our stories to be told.
Who: Serious writers who have already began working on a manuscript but find themselves stuck, unmotivated, and uninspired to go on. Participants must be hungry to come to the end of their story. 
What: I am looking for FIFTEEN (15) serious writers to join me on this 90-day writing challenge. The goal of the Write & Sip challenge is to complete an unfinished manuscript in the next 90 days. 
How: We will commit to writing for an hour every day for the next 90 days. The goal is to complete an unfinished manuscript. There must be no editing or revisions along the way; just free-style writing. Write the most error-ridden book (typos and all) you have ever written. We will worry about revising and editing once we have the full story on paper. At the end of the challenge, those who make it will start the self-editing challenge (part 2 of the challenge. Details coming later). At the end of the self-editing challenge, The Brielle Agency will offer free sample-edits and manuscript reviews to assess how ready your book is for publication. 

This challenge is for you if:
  • You already have words on paper (an unfinished manuscript)
  • You are serious about completing the story
  • You are willing to dedicate time to the process
  • You are dedicated to the success of others. 
  • You are excited to be part of a team. This will be a team effort. We will get to know each other and be each others' cheerleaders throughout the entire process. Please don't join if this is not something you think you can do. 

This challenge is not for you if:
  • You have no words on a page
  • You cannot commit to completing the challenge
  • You are solely seeking feedback on your work
  • You are looking for a writing coach
  • You don't like being part of a team

If you think you have what it takes and you got a fuzzy feeling just thinking about the possibilities, then sign up below. You will be notified and added once the Facebook page is setup and we are ready to start sipping and writing until the very end:

    Yes, sign me up for the Write & Sip Challenge! I'm in!