chasingthecrazies

Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

FIRED UP FRIDAY: An incredible publishing journey from Laura Heffernan November 11, 2016

 

In a Monday Musings post a few weeks ago I talked about how too often we see negativity in the writing community. I’m tired of opening social media and seeing authors tear each other down when we should really be building one another up. Supporting each other.

 

With that idea in mind, I reached out to some friends who have had AMAZING publishing journeys and asked that they share (in their own words!) what they went through before they saw their publishing dream realized.

 

My hope is that these posts will light a fire in each and every writer who may be struggling. Who wonder if they can take another month in the query trenches. Or those feeling low from being on submission for what feels like forever. Each post will be proof that if you hold onto that dream, it CAN and WILL come true.

 

 

 

Fired Up Friday – A Post By Laura Heffernan

 

 

Publishing is a roller coaster. Sometimes it feels like there are more downs than ups. Sometimes it feels like you’re stuck, waiting for everyone else to get on or off before you can move at all. Compared to some people, my journey may look like riding It’s a Small World After All. Compared to others, it was a race through Space Mountain. Sometimes I felt like I was spinning on the teacups (and trying not to throw up). And that is one reason everyone will tell you not to compare yourself to other writers. It doesn’t help.

 

 

In October 2013, I started to write the manuscript that would become AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR. My book debuts on March 7, 2017 – three and a half years after I wrote the first words (which have long since been deleted and replaced).

 

 

I’m a fast writer. I started querying in December 2013. Little did I realize that this was a terrible idea, because everyone was querying their unedited NaNoWriMo projects, and while I’d read through my manuscript a couple of times, I didn’t know what a critique partner was. I didn’t have beta readers. No one else read it. And, shockingly – none of the agents I sent it to wanted to read it, either. But, I started researching. I joined Twitter. I met other writers, and that’s where I found out there were contests for writers who were looking for agents. One of the writers I met in that very first contest is a dear friend and critique partner today. One of them is an agent sister.

 

 

Anyway, by some miracle, when I entered Sun vs. Snow that January, Michelle Hauck picked me as an alternate and decided to host a query critique workshop on her blog. This was where–while hanging off a balcony to read my email in Mexico at my sister’s wedding–I learned that I needed to swap with people, get opinions, grow. That was also how I learned how to write. Not just through getting critiques, but from reading and critiquing other people’s work.

 

 

People didn’t like my main character, so I revised. I scrapped the beginning, swapped with a new critique partner…and got an email three days later that it was so boring, she couldn’t read it. That was it. No suggestions on how to fix it. No commentary on the scene beyond the one she objected to. Nothing. Back to the drawing board. I did #CPMatch and I found someone to help me. In March, I entered another query contest. Like the first contest, I sat glued to Twitter while slush readers tweeted out hints. One of them mentioned my plot and said they didn’t like it. Ouch. Even though there were multiple readers choosing for multiple blogs, it hurt. My critique partner got in, but I didn’t. After the picks went up, another reader told me that my main character–who I’d spent many, many hours editing to make nicer and more likeable–was a doormat. Oops. Apparently, I went too far in trying to make her likeable. The most frustrating part was that I knew once people got into the story, it was good. I just couldn’t manage to get to the part people wanted to read.

 

 

Finally, finally, finally, I got a beginning that seemed to work. In April 2014, I was chosen for NestPitch. I got no agent requests. But I had a decent query and a better beginning, and I finally started getting requests from regular queries. I started to feel pretty good. Then I entered Query Kombat, where I was wiped out 7-0 in Round 2. I still haven’t gotten over the judge who said she liked my book, would prefer to read it over the other one – but she was voting for the other entry. No, I don’t know why.

 

 

Not so much a nice ride on the Monorail, is it? (At some point in this blog, I decided I was publishing at Disneyland. Sorry. Just go with it.)

 

 

Anyway, I got some great feedback from Query Kombat, and in July, I got not one, but two agent offers. That was awesome. Savor those small victories. (Side note: I later made a spreadsheet so I could check off the little things as I achieved them. Sometimes we need the reminder of how far we’ve come.) It wasn’t that I queried for an excessively long time, but there were a lot more downs than ups on that road. Over the course of about 7 months, I sent 67 queries.

 

 

Finding an agent gave me newfound faith in myself. Things were great. I was the first person in my small group of writing friends to get an agent. Once we did some revisions, I was so jazzed up, I was certain we’d get a quick sale to a Big 5 publisher – maybe even at auction! Yeah… not so much. Rejections trickled in, most of them the same. Editors liked the book, but didn’t want to buy it. It wasn’t big enough. (I still don’t know what that means, and I’ve heard it about a quadrillion times.) No feedback.

 

 

And then, around the time my critique partners started getting offers from agents, my agent stepped down, and I was transferred within the agency. I was thrilled to work with the other agent (who gets me in ways I never dreamed, even when I’m being weird), but at the same time, I wondered – if my book were better, if it had sold faster, if it had been something editors wanted to read, would my first agent have stayed? (Yes, I know this is stupid but it came on the heels of someone I queried with getting a three book deal despite going on sub after me and another friend getting buckets of money thrown at him after less than a week after his book went out so I was just a swirl of nasty emotions. Plus, it was January. It was dark, it was gross outside, I work from home, and I basically was miserable.) I found out around the same time that every editor who had my book during the first round of sub had turned it down. It had been out several months at that point, so I kind of figured, but – it hurt.

 

 

Anyway, I started working with my new agent. My poor, wonderful agent who had to deal with the stress ball I’d turned into when she hadn’t even subbed my book yet. I spent probably 4 months wondering if someone made her sign me, or if she only took me because she felt sorry for me. (My agent is lovely and wonderful and did nothing to cause any of these feelings. I was just really down, and nothing was picking me up.) We did more revisions, the book went out again and… we waited. We waited and waited and waited. Waiting is agony. Still, we got no useful rejections. No useable feedback. Nothing.

 

 

All this time, in the background, I kept writing. An entire manuscript while querying. A third right after my book went out on submission. A fourth started in January, much darker than any of the others. A fifth started in the summer. A sixth, two weeks after my one-year anniversary on sub. That last one…. doesn’t even make any sense. I wouldn’t begin to know how to fix it, and it’s not even worth trying. I was just in the wrong place to write it.

 

 

Finally, in January 2016, we decided it was time to call it. My agent nudged the editors reading for the last time, and we turned to editing what I thought was the most marketable book I’d finished during the last year and a half (I write fast. We had too many options). While my agent was compiling a sub list–seventeen months after the first submission went out, only days before we planned to start trying to sell something else–she got an offer. When I got an email from her, I actually checked to see if it was April Fool’s Day.

 

 

But it wasn’t! We had an offer. Finally. Then I had to be quiet and keep it all a secret for almost three months until I was allowed to announce it. But now I can happily say that AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR will be the first book in a three-book series, coming from Kensington’s Lyrical Shine on March 7, 2017, with SWEET REALITY and an untitled book to follow. Sometimes I still pinch myself when I get an email from my editor. I’m thrilled with the way things worked out.

 

 

 

AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR

 

SEEKING THE SMART ONE

 

Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash, it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.

 

Luckily The Fishbowl is all about puzzles and games, the kind of thing Jen would love even if she wasn’t desperate. The cast checks all the boxes: cheerful, quirky Birdie speaks in hashtags; vicious Ariana knows just how to pout for the cameras; and corn-fed “J-dawg” plays the cartoon villain of the house. Then there’s Justin, the green-eyed law student who always seems a breath away from kissing her. Is their attraction real, or a trick to get him closer to the $250,000 grand prize? Romance or showmance, suddenly Jen has a lot more to lose than a summer . . .

 

 

 

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AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR is forthcoming from Kensington/Lyrical Shine on March 7, 2017.

Pre-order today!

AmazonBarnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | Apple iBooks

 

 

 

44vc7pg3_400x400Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off: AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR, the first book in the REALITY STAR series, is coming from Kensington’s Lyrical Press in March 2017. When not watching total strangers participate in arranged marriages, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

 

 

Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, and reality TV. Follow her @LH_Writes or visit her website, http://www.lauraheffernan.com/

 

 

Laura is represented by Michelle Richter at Fuse Literary.

 

 

W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Tracey Neithercott September 21, 2016

 

 

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Every writer has their own path to publication. Some paths are long and winding. Others are a straight shot. No matter the tale, the journey always involves ups and downs, caution signs, and for some, serious roundabouts, but what always remains is the writer’s commitment to their craft and their enduring dream to see their work on bookshelves one day.

 

 

In bringing you the W.O.W. series, I hope as a writer you will learn that no dream is unfounded. That with time, patience, perseverance, and commitment to your craft, it is possible to cross that finish line and share your story with the world.

 

 

Today, I am pleased to share Tracey Neithercott’s writing journey…

 

 

 

 

Amy: When did you first begin seriously writing with the intent of wanting to be published?

 

 

Tracey: About the time my parents shot down my acting dream (“You want to end up a drug addict?”), I realized I wanted to write for publication. Journalism seemed like the best way to do that because A) I enjoyed it and B) I’d gotten it into my head that only the special people wrote books. Like, people with talent handed down from the gods or something. I was well into my career as a magazine editor and writer when I dared to give fiction writing a go.

 

 

 

 

Amy: How many completed YA manuscripts did you query before one garnered interest?

 

 

Tracey: Two. I’m one of those people who collects piles of information before she ever makes a move, so before querying my first novel, ALIVE, I read just about everything the Internet had to say about publishing and querying.

 

(That’s a lie. If I did that, I would never have finished my book.)

 

I queried that book and got a surprisingly great response considering what I now think of it. But while I was querying those agents, I was also writing. By the time I’d sent out 10 queries for ALIVE, I’d fallen in love with THE MURDER MYTH. So I stopped querying ALIVE and finished THE MURDER MYTH. That’s the one that landed me my agent, Sarah LaPolla.

 

 

 

 

Amy: How laborious/frustrating was the query process for you?

 

 

Tracey: It was … not the most fun process. I developed a somewhat disturbing dependence on my Agents list on Twitter. It wasn’t pretty.

 

That said, what got me through it was focusing on my next WIP. A week after sending a query, I was able close my mind to the old book and focus on the new. The key is to always keep looking forward. So when it’s time to shelve a book, you have a brand spankin’ new one that you’re even more excited about.

 

 

 

 

Amy: From beginning (first draft) to end (signing contract), how long was the process of getting a deal for GRAY WOLF ISLAND?

 

 

Tracey: A little over a year. I started writing GRAY WOLF ISLAND when I was querying THE MURDER MYTH. It was an agonizing first draft. I think it took me about 20 billion times longer to write GRAY WOLF ISLAND than either of my previous two books.

 

I was still writing GRAY WOLF ISLAND when I signed with my agent (because for a while there I was never not writing GRAY WOLF ISLAND). I was still writing GRAY WOLF ISLAND when I went on submission with THE MURDER MYTH. If my life were a movie, there would’ve been a really fun montage with uplifting music at this point.

 

About the time my agent brought up doing a second round of submissions for THE MURDER MYTH, I finished my first draft of GRAY WOLF ISLAND. I knew two things: 1) I was by far the slowest writer in the universe and 2) this was a million times better than THE MURDER MYTH.

 

So I decided not to do another round of submissions. (Title of my memoir: Am I a Quitter or Do I Just Follow My Gut?) Instead, I revised GRAY WOLF ISLAND, which was a surprisingly quick process. I did another quick round of revisions with Sarah before we went on submission with it.

 

That was January 2016. By early March, I had an offer. It was shocking how fast it all happened once the book was written. (Also, in case you’re curious: In the time it took me to write the book, I revised it twice, sold it, signed my contract, and even received my edit letter from my editor.)

 

 

 

 

Amy: What one thing are you looking forward to most as a debut author? 

 

 

Tracey: Hearing from a reader who loved by my book. At least, I’m really, really hoping that happens!

 

 

 

 

 

Amy: What was your “call” like with Sarah LaPolla? How did you know she was the right agent for you?

 

 

Tracey: Oh goodness—it’s mostly a blur. I think I spent the entire call only partially listening to her because the rest of me was in full-on freakout mode.

 

What I loved about Sarah from the start was that she believes in my writing. She liked it with the first manuscript I sent her, even if the book on a whole wasn’t a good fit. I immediately got the sense that regardless of what I wrote next, she’d champion it.

 

Our working styles also really clicked. I prefer email (much to my mother’s disappointment), and Sarah mentioned that email was her preference, too. That said, she’s super open to chatting on the phone when we need to discuss an idea or my revisions.

 

 

 

 

Amy: What one piece of writing advice did you receive early on in your career that you still use today?

 

 

Tracey: Here’s a crazy concept I learned just before I wrote my first story: Unwritten novels don’t sell. I mean, I suppose they do if you’re J.K. Rowling. But the rest of us actually need to write the book first. As someone who really struggles with fear while drafting (My characters are flat! My plot is missing! My idea is the worst of the worst!), I’m constantly reminding myself that there’s nothing to a book without words on the page.

 

 

 

 

 

tracey-neithercott-fullTracey Neithercott’s first book was written by hand and illustrated with some really fancy colored pencils. It was highly acclaimed by her mother. Now, she writes YA stories of friendship, love, murder, and magic. (None of which she illustrates—you’re welcome.) She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, who suggests improving her novels by adding Star Wars characters.

 

She is the author of GRAY WOLF ISLAND (Knopf, Fall 2017), a YA novel about the truth, a treasure, and five teens searching for both. For more on Tracey, head to her website, or follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Facebook.

 

2016 Sun vs. Snow Contest-Introducing the Agents January 15, 2016

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Agents lead very busy lives, so when Michelle and I reach out to see if they’ll participate in Sun versus Snow, we are never sure how many we will get to participate. But every year, without fail, agents step up to the plate and agree to join us for this very fun contest.

 

HUGE thanks to the 17 agents who found time in their busy schedules to make this contest happen. You are all AWESOME! On this blog I have 7 out of the 17. To discover who else will be perusing the entries this year, head over to Michelle’s blog.

 

Please tweet your thanks to this great group by using the hashtag #sunvssnow and let them know how much you appreciate them!

 

 

 

 

NoahB

Noah Ballard

 

 

Noah Ballard is an agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. He received his BA in English from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and began his career in publishing at Emma Sweeney Agency where he sold foreign rights for the agency in addition to building his own client list. Noah specializes in literary debuts, upmarket thrillers and narrative nonfiction, and he is always on the look-out for honest and provocative new writers. Noah has appeared across the country at graduate programs and writing conferences speaking about query letters, building nonfiction platforms and submission etiquette. He lives in Brooklyn.

 

 

 

 

 

Kirsten Carleton

Kirsten Carleton

 

Before joining Prospect Agency in 2015, Kirsten learned the agenting ropes at Sobel Weber Associates and the Waxman Leavell Agency. She fell in love with working on writers while getting her B.A. in English with a Creative Writing concentration from Amherst College, and cemented her fascination with publishing with a Graduate Certificate in Publishing from the Columbia Publishing Course and internships at Charlesbridge and Liza Dawson Associates. As an agent, she gets to be a champion for the author throughout the challenging publishing process. She loves sharing an author’s vision for the book, working to help him or her uncover it, and finding a home for it with editors and readers who also feel that connection. Beyond the individual book, she wants to develop satisfying and successful careers that celebrate great talent.

 

Kirsten is currently seeking upmarket YA and adult fiction with strong characters and storytelling, across speculative, thriller, and literary genres. She’s drawn to books that capture her attention early on with a dynamic plot, and innovative storytelling that blends or crosses genres. In particular, she’s interested in novels that bend and blur genres; literary takes on high concept worldbuilding; diverse characters in stories that are not just about diversity; antiheroes she find herself rooting for; characters with drive and passion; girls and women in STEM fields; settings outside the US/Europe; well-researched historical settings; YA noir/thriller/mystery; stories that introduces her to a new subculture and makes her feel like a native. Follow her on Twitter: @kirstencarleton

 

 

 

 

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Caitlin McDonald

 

 

Caitlin McDonald joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2015, and was previously at Sterling Lord Literistic. She represents adult and young adult speculative fiction, primarily science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and related subgenres, as well as contemporary fiction about geeky characters. She is always looking for fun, clever projects featuring badass women, diverse worldbuilding, tropes and genre-bending, heists, and LGBTQ protagonists. She also handles a small amount of nonfiction in geeky areas, with a focus on feminist theory/women’s issues and pop culture. Caitlin grew up overseas and has a BA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. You can read more about her on her blog or follow her on Twitter @literallycait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JaidaT

Jaida Temperly

 

 

Jaida is actively building both her Children’s and Adult list!

 

She has a particular love for all things Middle Grade, especially those that are a bit quirky, strange, and fantastical (a la THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY, ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY, SNICKER OF MAGIC, CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, etc.) She’s also open to YA submissions (all genres), and picture books by author-illustrators with completed dummies.

 

For all other fiction (both Adult and Children’s) she has an affinity for magical realism, historical fiction, and literary fiction, as well as stories with a strong mystery and/or religious undertones (THE WESTING GAME, A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, THE DAVINCI CODE, JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL, OUTLANDER, THE RULE OF FOUR, etc.)

 

On the non-fiction side, she’s actively seeking topics that are offbeat and a bit strange (STIFF: THE CURIOUS LIVES OF HUMAN CADAVERS, SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES, etc.), as well as photography projects that offer unique insight into the human experience (HUMANS OF NEW YORK, THE SCAR PROJECT, ETC.)

 

Prior to joining New Leaf Literary, Jaida grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, studied classical ballet, and briefly attended medical school. She loves art history, traveling, logic puzzles, horticulture, and numerous other topics that come in handy for Trivia Night and crossword puzzles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carlie Webber

 

 

Carlie Webber is looking for a wide variety of fiction genres in adult, YA, and middle grade, including contemporary, lighter fantasy and science fiction, adventure, horror, women’s fiction, romance, mystery, suspense, thriller, and westerns. She especially loves fiction that pushes the envelope and encourages conversation (or controversy), but she’s also open to light reads and humor. In all genres and age ranges, she wants to see interesting plots, strong voices, and memorable characters. (She’d love to find the Cookie Lyon of women’s fiction!) Her current wishlist includes high-concept YA and stories with creepy gothic settings. For more info, check out the CK Webber website.

 

 

 

 

 

JuliaWagent

Julia Weber

 

 

Julia is specializing in representing international authors of unique and captivating commercial children’s and adult fiction, namely Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, Women’s Fiction, thrillers, and romance. Julia’s not too keen on sci-fi and futuristic stories, and Fantasy should be set in the real world. Other than that, she’s open to all sub-genres. A hooking plot, engaging characters, and a fresh voice are a must.

Twitter: @jawlitagent; Agency website: www.jaw-litagent.com.

 

Julia also offers freelance editing over at www.jaw-editing.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Roseanne Wells

Roseanne Wells

 

 

Roseanne Wells joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2012. Previously with the Marianne Strong Literary Agency, she has also worked as a proofreader and a special sales and editorial assistant. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with degrees in Literature and Dance. An avid reader, Roseanne discovered her passion for book publishing during her internship at W. W. Norton, and she approaches agenting as a writer’s advocate, editor, and partner. She is a member of SCBWI and a volunteer for Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in Soho, NYC. You can find her on Twitter @RivetingRosie.

 

Currently Roseanne is looking for: strong literary fiction that emphasizes craft and style equally, and doesn’t sacrifice plot and character for beautiful sentences; young adult of all genres; very selective middle grade of any genre that connects me to a strong main character; science-fiction and fantasy; con/heist stories, especially featuring art, jewelry, and tech; and smart detective novels (more Sherlock Holmes than cozy mysteries).

 

I’d also love projects that blend genres that I’m interested in; have unique narrative structures that add meaning and enhance the storytelling; unreliable narrators that are unreliable for a reason; and books that include the LGBTQ experience without the central conflict focused solely on being queer.

 

 

If you want to participate in the contest, the submission window opens February 1 at 4pm EST. Find out more here:

https://chasingthecrazies.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/2016-sun-vs-snow-details/

 

And don’t forget to head to Michelle’s blog for the rest of the amazing list!!

 

Cover Reveal: Michelle Hauck’s GRUDGING October 15, 2015

Filed under: Blog,Cover reveal,Writer — chasingthecrazies @ 7:08 am
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Today it is my distinct honor and privilege to share the cover reveal for Michelle Hauck’s book, GRUDGING!

 

Michelle is an amazing friend and extraordinary writer, and I’m thrilled to be able to share the reveal with all my readers today. Her book, which is the first installment in the Birth of Saints series, will be released November 17, 2015.

 

Check out the gorgeous cover below and enter for a chance to win an e-book copy.

 

So without further ado here is the cover…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grudging Cover

 

 

 

 

A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

 

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

 

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

 

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power.  And time is running out.

 

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.

 

 

Available November 17, 2015 via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

 

 

 

Want to win a copy? Check out this great giveaway for a chance to own the e-book : http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTIzODliYTI4ZTEzMGVjODBhNzA2MmFmMTU3YWM3OjM1Nw==/?

 

 

 

MichelleHMichelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

 

She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.

 

Her epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant’s Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer’s Double Edge. She’s repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

 

For more on Michelle, check out her website, follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or Goodreads.
 

 

 

Monday Musings: The Waiting Game March 16, 2015

Filed under: Literary Agent,Publishing,Query,Writer,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 8:13 am
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I have a confession to make: I suck at waiting.  No matter how hard I try to have patience, I’ve realized over the years I wasn’t built for it.  When I was young, I hated waiting for the swings on the playground. My little feet trudged back and forth in and out of the sand, eyeing each playful student until someone finally got tired of my laser-like stares and gave me their swing.

 

 

In high school when I tried out for teams, I wore  a hole in the dirty blue carpet, pacing in front of the coaches office waiting for them to post the junior varsity or varsity list.

 

 

There’s an irony in all of this –  that I chose writing as a career – the most notorious of job paths for waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

 

 

I wish I could say I’ve gotten better over the years. Matured enough to let the impatience go, but “refreshing my inbox” has become second nature to me. What I have learned is there are things I can do to get my mind off what feels like an incessant path of silence.

 

 

1) Focus on other things in life: family, hobbies, travel, health. These are things that often get put to the side as you’re writing, revising or editing a project. Take a break. Take a breath. Letting go of the worry might allow your brain to rejuvenate and come up with some brilliant new plot ideas.

 

 

2) Reach out and help others: Be a slush reader in a contest, offer to beta read someone’s work, help tweak a friend’s query. By lending a hand, you may learn something new about your own craft.

 

 

3) Think about other things beyond writing. Interested in publishing? Check out how you can be an intern for a publishing house. Want to learn about being an agent? Look into ways to get onto the ground floor with an agency. Help with public relations or social media.

 

 

4) Check  out local and national writing conferences or even an online webinar. Constantly improving your craft is a great way to get your mind off the waiting game.

 

 

5) Last, but not least – WRITE SOMETHING NEW. I hate to say it, but what you have in the pipeline may not catch fire. It’s a reality we all must face – but don’t let that get you down! Tackle a new project. Write something fresh. It will direct your focus away from your worries (and waiting) and inspire you to keep going.

 

 

What about you? How do you handle what can seem like a long path of silence? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

 

 

 

The Sun is Still Shining: Critique Blog Hop is On! February 13, 2015

Filed under: Blog,Writer,writing,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 8:47 am
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Welcome to another party! Sun versus Snow is over but new contests like Pitch Madness are coming!

 

Many people didn’t make the entry window for Sun versus Snow. And many more didn’t get picked because we were limited to thirty-two picks. So Michelle Hauck and I wanted to offer an opportunity to get some feedback on your contest entry before the new contests begin.

 

All you need is a query/35 word pitch and first 250 words… AND A BLOG. Your manuscript can be unfinished because there are no agents here. This is simply to polish up your work for future contests. Anyone can enter.

 

All you need to do is post your entry on your blog. Take the url link from your post and add it to the linky list below. (Click on the button in the post, not in the comments.) Use the list to critique the five people above and below your listing. If you are number 6 then you would feedback numbers 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10,11 on the list. Please leave constructive criticism, but also say what you like about the entry. Don’t worry if it’s not your genre, just do your best to give your thoughts.

 

If your entry falls at the beginning or ending of the linky list, wait for the list to close and then give feedback to the other end of the list. For example if you are number 1, you would critique 2 through 6 then the last five links at the very end of the list once the hop closes. 

 

You are welcome to update your entry with revisions. The linky list will remain open through February 21st. After that time, you may not join. 

 

Please make sure to critique the five entries above and below your spot. This is a give and take process and everyone loses if writers don’t do their part.

 

Of course you may also get super enthused and critique more than ten. Feel free to jump around and help out as much as you can! Need more critiques? Advertise your willingness to give to get feedback on twitter under the hashtag #sunvssnow

 

I will try to visit some entries and leave feedback on whether I would or wouldn’t pick it for a contest.

 

Now here’s an example of formatting:

Title: GRUDGING

Genre: YA epic fantasy

Word Count: 90,000

 

Query or 35 word pitch:

 

(Include all of your query, even the bio and greetings/closings. Do try to keep it within 250-350 words. Put space between the paragraphs and single space.)

 

First 250 words:

 

(Put space between paragraphs and single space. Play it like a real contest and stick to the 250 word limit. Don’t end in the middle of a sentence.)

 

Now let’s see how many people we can get to play along! Let the fun begin!

 

Here’s the link:

http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=494542&r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.michelle4laughs.blogspot.com%2F

 

 

 

BLAST FROM THE PAST MONDAY: THE BIRTH OF QUERY 101 December 15, 2014

 

 

 

Query 101B

 

 

When I started this blog I had three goals:

 

1) Connect with other writers

2) Learn about the publishing business

3) Share what I’ve learned along the way

 

While I’ve always kept these goals in mind with each post, sometimes I veer off the path. I share personal stories or provide in-depth interviews, hoping they will inspire writers. One thing that came up as I began to post more frequently was the ups and downs I was experiencing during the query process.

 

As I limped through the trenches with my fellow writing comrades, I made many mistakes. Sending a query before it was ready. Addressing the query to the wrong agent (oops!). Spelling an agent’s name wrong (oops again!)  And even including bio info that had nothing to do with writing (an easy newbie mistake to make.) Once I got a firm handle on the process, I knew I wanted to share what I’d learned and QUERY 101 was born.

 

Below I’ve added the links for each and every post in the series. If you’re just starting the process or have more in-depth questions, I hope they can be answered here. If not, please leave me a note in the comments. I’m sure I, or one of my writing buds, can find an answer to your question.

 

 

 

QUERY 101

 

 

After writing an amazing book, one of the most daunting tasks in publishing can be crafting a query. For beginning writers this task can seem overwhelming. Not only do you have to sum up your book in 1-2 paragraphs (which is mind-boggling), but you have to craft it in such a way to convey both the story and voice of your main character.

 

Before I connected with my agent, I was in the query trenches off and on for two years. I know how overwhelming (and scary) the process can be. There is a ton of information on the internet about how to craft a perfect query and people offering all kinds of advice. With this in mind, I decided to begin Query 101 to help make the process of writing, researching, and sending a query a little less daunting.

 

The series will have ten installments and will cover: query basics, researching the perfect agent for your project, handling that uncomfortable nudge, and much more.

 

I plan to post this series every other Friday (when possible). As always, I am open to helpful suggestions that will provide important information to writers who are planning to make the big jump into query trenches.

 

Here is a list of scheduled posts in the series:

 

1) Query Basics – Where Do I Begin?

 

2) Query Structure

 

3) The Body of a Query (Character, Conflict & Cost)

 

4) Research

 

5) The Personalization Quandary

 

6) A Thoughtful Strategy Before Hitting “Send”

 

7) Handling A Request/Manuscript Format

 

8) Nudging Etiquette

 

9) Handling “The Call” (Guest Post by Literary Agent Pooja Menon)

 

10) Dealing With Multiple Offers (Guest Post by MarcyKate Connolly)

 

 

 

 
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