Tag Archives: #PitchWars

#SATurdate: Book Release, Stranger Things, A Thousand Pieces of You, & Swiss Army Man

23 Jul

What I’m Writing:

First and foremost, Dreammare—my YA fantasy—moved on in Adventure’s in YA Publishing’s Red Light / Green Light writing competition! That means I’m in the TOP FIVE! I am thrilled to be here, and I’ve loved reading everyone’s work so far. Next week, the winner is announced, and honestly, these manuscripts sound bomb. Check them out. Also, you’ll get to see more of what Dreammare is about.

I’m writing Bad Bloods 3—July Thunder/Lightning—and though I’m aiming for it to be one book instead of two this time, the Bad Bloods books are generally 600-800 pages long, which is why it has two titles like November Rain and November Snow. If you’re reading Bad Bloods: November Rain—because it’s OFFICIALLY OUT—then you might pay attention to the wall separating the Highlands and the outskirts. Bad Bloods 3/4 will focus on this part of the political spectrum. If you’ve read Bad Bloods, then you know a huge factor of my latest work was WWII and the horrendous genocide of many types of people. The next Bad Bloods book is no different. I’m definitely influenced by major political events of the world and history, so the Berlin Wall largely affected this next segment. If you want to learn more about the Berlin Wall—because something I quickly realized while writing this book is how much I DON’T know about the Berlin Wall—watch this short documentary. I will try to release new information about the book every week. I’m currently 10,129 words in and on July 4, 2090. Also, I wrote Blake’s origin story for the FREE Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad, so if you ever wondered how a blond-haired, blue-eyed baby boy ended up in the Northern Flock (and how a preteen flock handled it), it will release July 29. My goal is to also have a prequel for July Thunder/Lightning, because trust me, you’re getting a whole new cast of characters there, too.

What I’m Publishing:

RELEASE99cBAD BLOODS: NOVEMBER RAIN IS OUT! (Is all capitals reasonable? I think so!) For release week only, you can get Bad Bloods: November Rain for only .99¢! That’s quite the steal…especially since Bad Blood: November Snow releases THIS Monday!

What is the latest reader saying?

“I was in love with this novel right from the first page. It’s such a page turner and definitely a unique concept. I haven’t read anything like it so far. I love how fast paced and intense it is.” –Teen Book Lit 101

Bad Bloods: November Rain OUT NOW!

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads

Bad Bloods: November Rain book reviews

Bad Bloods: November Rain book reviews

What I’m Reading:

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

I picked up and finished A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray in one sitting. This book is sci-fi perfection. I cannot believe I waited so long to finally read it, because it is officially one of my favorite reads so far this year. I already cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel, but I highly recommend this book if you love YA sci-fi, multicultural casts, and romantic subplots. Also, dimensional travel! Are you kidding me? This book is awesome. Basically, you jump from dimension to dimension—worlds only slightly different from ours—and you jump straight into yourself. So, you control your other life…which has some interesting effects. Though the premise and protagonist is interesting enough to propel the story forward, the overhanging mystery of a murder is engaging and thrilling. The ending is satisfying. I absolutely recommend this read. Favorite Quote? I meant it when I said I didn’t believe in love at fight sight. It takes time to really, truly fall for someone. Yet I believe in a moment. A moment when you glimpse the truth within someone, and they glimpse the truth within you. In that moment, you don’t belong to yourself any longer, not completely. Part of you belongs to him; part of him belongs to you. After that, you can’t take it back, no matter how much you want to, no matter how hard you try. Read my full five-star review here.

I’m also starting An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, so expect that review next week.

What I’m Listening To:

The female protagonist of Bad Bloods: July Thunder/Lighting picked her favorite song, and she has not let go of it.

What I’m Watching:

Like everyone else this week in the Netflix world, I binge-watched Stranger Things, and I LOVED it. I mean, I wished we had more small town stories in fiction. Considering 90% of the US doesn’t live in Chicago, New York, or LA, I’m amazed that 90% of fiction seems to only take place in the big cities. Watching this Indiana paranormal/horror tale was awesome, and I loved how nostalgic everything felt. Down to the cinematography, Stranger Things FEELS like the 80s. Definitely recommended.

Stranger Things on Netflix

Stranger Things on Netflix

To celebrate release day, I went to the theatre and saw Swiss Army Man. Honestly, I had no clue how I would feel seeing this movie. (Farting is not my type of humor.) But without a doubt, I would recommend this movie to pretty much anyone. It’s hilarious, it revolves around philosophy, and the ending is phenomenal as much as it is emotional. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the ending is both fantastic and sad—and it opens room for really important discussions. A must-see film.

Swiss Army Man movie

Swiss Army Man movie

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

As per tradition, I baked chocolate chip cookies on book release day.

What I’m Wearing:

I wore my Pokemon T-shirt this week, which was really bizarre. I mean, I wear this shirt all the time. I bought it two Halloweens ago, and nearly everyone scoffed at it. Now that Pokemon Go is out, I couldn’t be cooler. I even had a discussion with a stranger at the grocer store about it, which basically went like this.

Stranger: “I mean, everyone’s into this stuff now.”

Me: “I’ve always been into this stuff.”

Stranger: “You don’t look like someone who would be.”

Awkward pause as I considered not responding

Me: “I’m not sure there’s a ‘look’ to someone’s hobbies. I mean, I have a Sailor Moon collection at home.”

Stranger: “REALLY? No way.”

Me: “…Yes. What’s the big deal? Not everyone is going to like Game of Thrones. Not everyone is going to like Pokemon. We can all just like what we like and get over it.”

Stranger: “Good point.”

Conversations like this really throw me off guard. I’ve always loved what I love. I feel sorry for those who don’t. I feel sorry that we live in a society that shames people for liking things like books, arts, and movies.

So, I hope you’re enjoying something you love today.

What I’m Wanting:

Well, obvs. I want Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

There was this magical world divided into four sections, but the ones discussed were basically heaven, hell, and earth, though they didn’t work like our belief system. You could visit any of them at any time, and it had nothing to do with death and life. It was more symbolic than anything. Though, I played the part of this blond girl who’d been turned into a vampire? Which meant I had to live in hell, of course, and my best friend needed to escape to heaven, so we were going to escape together. We built this crazy slingshot, but it only shot him into heaven and I got stuck in hell. Yepp-ee! Eventually, I made more friends, and we moved to earth legally and without any problems, but my best friend didn’t know I was a vampire somehow? So when he came down from heaven to see me, he was shocked but ultimately didn’t care, because his sister was missing. (I know. This makes no sense.) So, we all went on this otherworldly adventure to this fairy’s house, and we had to climb a bunch of gigantic flower pots that had miniature water falls. And the entire time I kept thinking, Of course this would be a fairy’s house…and it’s really not handicap accessible. Which is messed up. But we finally got inside, where the fairy was throwing a birthday party for her daughter. (I also noticed this home plan was completely open, no walls, no room unattached from another.) Most curious of all, the fairy didn’t know why we came in through her garden. The front door was easier. ::facepalm:: I woke up.

What Else Is Going On:

I went to the bookstore to get my hands on Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray, but Barnes & Noble didn’t have it in stock, so I told customer service about it. Why? Because bookstores and libraries largely design their bookshelves based on what readers ask for. If you visit a store and they don’t have a book you want in stock, please tell them! It helps authors, publishers, bookstores, and YOU out. ❤

~SAT

#WW How To Get A Literary Agent

6 Jul

How do I get a literary agent? This is a popular question among aspiring writers, and to be honest, signing with a literary agent is a long and complicated process but well worth it for many. That being said, signing with a literary agent isn’t the only way to get published, but today, I’m only covering literary agents since that was what I was asked when I helped host a writer’s group this past month. Okay, now for the answer.

First and foremost, make sure you have a completed, polished manuscript ready to go. You want to be 100% ready. This means you’ve written, edited, listened to beta readers, edited again, and polished. Now that your novel is ready, you are ready to search for an agent.

1. Research Your Book and the Marketplace

Research, research, research. Understand your book’s genre and two-three great comp. titles. (Comp. Titles = Comparison titles = Recently published books that can be compared to your book, and not huge ones like Harry Potter or Twilight) Think: What books would B&N put my book in between on the shelves? If you can’t think of a comp. title, don’t force it, but honestly, that might be a sign you need to read more. There is always a good comp. title out there.

2. Research Agents and Agencies

Once you understand your book, research agents to see what genres they represent and how to submit to them. MSWL (ManuscriptWishList.com) is a great place to start, but you can also look out for “New Agents” via Writer’s Digest, subscribe to Publishers Marketplace (and Publishers Lunch), or follow agents via Twitter by looking in the Acknowledgements sections in similar books (like those comp. titles we just talked about). An important rule to remember is that agents should never charge you for anything. Agents make money through your royalties once they sign your book. AAR is a great place to verify agencies. So is Absolute Writer Water Cooler. Be diligent and careful.

3. The Query Letter and 1-Page Synopsis

Write a query letter and a 1-page synopsis (and probably a 2-page synopsis, too). What’s a query letter? It’s a one-page business letter that includes your book’s title, word count, genre, comp titles, and a small synopsis, along with why you picked that agent and any publishing credentials you might have. A great way to learn about this process is QueryShark. I’d go as far as to say to submit to QueryShark and see if Janet Reid gives you advice, but definitely try to get advice from credited sources before e-mailing. If you follow agents online, they sometimes open competitions where you can win a query critique. Also, read #tenqueries and #querytip on Twitter. Also, #MSWL is the Twitter version of ManuscriptWishList.com, so you can see what agents are looking for. Do NOT query agents via Twitter. Look up their websites, read about them, and query according to their submission guidelines.

Websites for Finding a Literary Agent

Websites for Finding a Literary Agent

4. Now Query

Once you have a list of agents you’re interested in (and all the necessary materials), query a few at a time (3-4) and see if you get any partials or fulls. (Partials is when an agent asks for 50 pages, while fulls are full manuscript requests.) If not, rewrite your query, and then, try a new batch. If you get partials but no fulls, reevaluate your novel. Use QueryTracker to keep track of who you’re talking to and why and what was said. Generally, giving “exclusives” should only happen if the agent gave you specific rewrites they want you to do, but other than that, shy away from them. Querying is a slow, slow process, and most agents understand you’re querying numerous agencies at once. Just don’t spam and make sure you’re genuinely querying them due to his or her interests. If you get a full, congrats! If you get an offer of rep, double congrats, but in the case of getting an offer of rep, you should e-mail all the current agents considering your work and tell them (whether to close out because you signed or because you have a 2-week limit for counter offers). If querying isn’t working, check out my next tip.

5. Don’t Forget Other Opportunities

This includes pitch competitions on Twitter—such as #PitMad and #PitchWars—and conferences. Here’s a Pitch Competition Calendar. If you can travel, conferences are great tool to network and learn. But there are online conferences as well! If you feel stuck in the query trenches, remind yourself it’s a long process many writers go through, and you will get through it to the other side if you work hard. Querying is difficult, but don’t hesitate to ask for help or hire a credited source for a critique. And, of course, don’t forget my last tip.

6. Finally, Keep Writing!

Most writers don’t sell the first piece of work they ever finished. Most writers don’t even sell their second. Keep writing. It will help you stay focused and moving forward, and if you do get that awesome call from an agent, you’ll be able to share numerous projects. Plus, writers love to write. Give yourself time to continue what you love.

Good luck!

Originally posted in the Facebook writer’s group, Twice the Jennifers

~SAT

Today I have 4 giveaways, but first, check out my latest interview with Discover New Authors

Q:  It is said that writers will always put a bit of themeselves into whatever they are writing.  Is that true for you?  Do you relate to any of your characters?

A:  Most definitely!  Serena in particular is a lot like me.  She struggles with memory loss–and so do I–but her determination to keep her friends and family safe is a trait I hold dear to my heart.  That being said, we definitely have differnces.  Serena is liliterate, and writing from a character’s perspective who cannot read when reading is such a huge part of life was extremely difficult.  I also relate to Catelyn’s love for cats and Melody’s playful imagination and Jane’s steady determination, but in the end, all of my characters stand on their own.

Win prizes this Friday on Facebook via CTP’s Sizzling Summer Reads!

You can win a signed Bad Bloods book, Blake’s teddy bear, two skull flower jars, signed swag, and stickers of hearts and snow flakes. Click here to see a photo.

CTP's Sizzling Summer Reads FB Party

CTP’s Sizzling Summer Reads FB Party

Kindle Giveaway

Kindle Giveaway

Clean Teen Publishing also announced their July giveaway, and it’s epic! They are giving away a Kindle Fire‬ and up to $200 in cash!!! Check out the details and yes, this giveaway is open for International contestants. They’re hosting a Goodreads Giveaway for Bad Bloods: November Rain as well. You can also win a Bad Bloods eBook through the Bookie Monster right now. What did they think of November Rain? “This is one of those ‘you can’t put it down’ books. Thompson is a masterful storyteller.”

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

 

#WW Pitch Competitions

4 Nov

Although many of you know me as an author, I work a full-time day job as an editor and marketer. I also give publishing advice and help writers with their websites. It was during this job one of my clients asked me if I had ever participated in a #Pitch competition.

If you don’t know what this is, don’t worry! I didn’t either. Not at first anyway. In fact, I embarrassingly admitted to my client that I once participated in the Twitter feed to talk to other writers without realizing a competition was going on. (This is actually okay, since it’s about making friends, but the Twitter feed is generally for those who have entered or plan to enter in the future.)

All of the Pitch competitions are different, but they generally have a theme, are run by a number of agents and mentors, and at the end, a couple of lucky authors get to skip the slush pile and apply to agents and publishers directly. Most of them you apply to via email (following all the rules!), and then you have daily discussions via Twitter while the agents are picking winners. That’s the basic rundown.

Now, after I talked to my client about this, I told them I would do some more research and figure out how to join the next one and what to do during it. Huzzah! #PitchSlam and #NoQS (Nightmare on Query Street) were taking place about a month in the future. (These events happened in October. Isn’t this time warp thing crazy?) I found the rules via the hosts’ blogs, and I relayed all of the information and deadlines. I told my client everything, but they still weren’t sure. They wanted personal information from someone with firsthand experience.

So…I joined.

At the time I was struggling with approaching my own publisher with my pitch for my latest manuscript, so I figured why not get advice from people in the industry? I was too close to the manuscript—much in a way that an editor can’t edit his or her own writing alone—and I needed help from someone else.

I entered #PitchSlam

One of my favorite PitchSlam tweets

One of my favorite PitchSlam tweets

I am going to start out by saying, I LOVED this entire experience. Not only was there an awesome theme surrounding Harry Potter, but there was also three separate days of events and support from the agents and the community. On day 1, 200 lucky writers received feedback on their 35-word pitch. On day 2, another 200 lucky writers received feedback on their first 250 words. I was super lucky. I was picked on both days, and by the end of the week, six mentors had helped me fine-tune my project.

I was through the roof. And from reading the feed, so were many other writers.

Pitch competitions are priceless. I made friends in the writing community I might not have ever made, and I learned a lot from those around me. I had fun, and I never once saw someone feel defeated by “losing.” Because there is no “losing” in these competitions. There’s just friendship, support, understanding, and teaching.

I highly recommend trying one out if you have a completed manuscript and you’re looking for an agent/publisher and/or honest/professional feedback on your work (or even if you just want to make some writer friends)!

Just to help you out, here is some extra information on upcoming ones:

  • Follow @Michelle4Laughs on Twitter for information on Sun versus Snow, a query competition coming in January. Info.
  • There’s another PitchSlam in March of 2016 as well. Info here. It’s a bi-annual contest. Here’s a list of the PitchSlam Profressors. Follow them for future updates.
  • News on PitchWars: They’ll have news on the next one after the New Year: Info.
  • Pitch Madness starts in February: Info

So get ready for the next one! I’m sure it’ll be fun. And of course, I wish you the best of luck. (And of course, be sure to follow those rules!)

~SAT

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