Showing posts from October, 2009

Happy Halloween!

May the holiday be an inspiration to your writing. Or at the very least, may you enjoy an abundance of chocolate and cider! Whether you're playing tricks or out searching for treats, everyone have a very safe and happy Halloween!

Flash Friday On Twitter

I've discovered yet another great way to network on Twitter, or rather, it discovered me. Emma Newman started following me and I went to check out her Twitter page. Her bio said: writer of YA post-apocalyptic fiction by night, web content writer by day. I was intrigued. There was a lot of talk on her page about Flash Friday, which mentioned writers a lot. Even more intrigued. So I clicked on her link, which took me to a great page and an explanation. First for non-Twitter users I'll have to explain what a hashtag is. When you're on Twitter's search page you can search trending topics either by words or the popular hashtag, which is basically just the words plus a # in front of them. Such as #flashfriday. Everyone who Twittered with the phrase #flashfriday will show up when you do the search. So what if flash Friday all about? Promoting your writing! Writers write a short story, Twitter the title, the link to the story, and the hashtag #flashfriday. Everyone who looks up

Know What Your Audience Wants

So you've finished your novel and are ready to submit it. Are you sure it's something your audience wants to read? That's the burning question that will determine whether or not an agent and/or publisher is going to pick it up. How are you supposed to find out what your audience wants? First you must make sure you know your audience. Where will your book be found in a book store? What shelf will it sit on and next to what books? These are fairly easy to answer. Take my book for example. It will sit on the young adult (or teen as some bookstores call it) shelves close to (gulp) Stephanie Meyer (no pressure). Go into the bookstore and find where yours will sit. With the easy part over, how do you find out what your audience wants? Don't leave the book store or young adult (insert your own genre) section yet. Look at the books that are hot, look at the New York Times bestsellers. What are they about? There you go. That is how you find out what your audience wants. That doe

Twitter Tuesday

This week I'm spotlighting one of the first people who found me on Twitter. When I saw he was following me I stopped by his page and was immediately interested in what I read. He's a published author who's range runs from vampires to angels. Sounded intriguing. I had to know more. Upon checking his website I saw that he's a writer, producer, and ninja. What's not to love about that?! At that point I knew I had to follow him. He was too interesting not to. So who is this mystery guy? His name is Jon F. Merz and he's an accomplished writer who has drawn the interest of Hollywood--and a nice guy to boot! Whether you read or write, be sure to check him out. Here he is on Twitter: And his website:

Monday's Muse

This picture is of the Aillwee caves in Ireland. They were formed by an underground river that was fed by a melting glacier. So why did a picture of an ancient cave inspire me and what could it possibly have to do with werewolves? You'll have to wait to find out! The good news is, my agent is happy with my editing and we're moving on to the stage of submitting to editors! I'm so excited I had to cut back on my coffee intake. So what's keeping me sane during the wait? You're looking at it. Writing my third book. Check out the Aillwee caves here: Since it's the last Monday in October I thought I'd spotlight the books that have inspired my muse this month. I'm a firm believer that writers have to read to keep up on the trends and new voices in their genre. This month I started with Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. Honestly, I didn't expect to like it. The cover was great but I thought the title was awful. However, after read

News on the Book Price Wars

The American Booksellers Association is throwing down the gauntlet over the Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart's bestseller price wars. The ABA believes it's illegal predatory pricing that will hurt the book industry. They could be right. Think of it this way. When a movie first comes out you won't find it below $15 anywhere, not even at Costco. In fact, it's quite a while before it drops below that price, if ever. Why? Because the price is controlled. All parties involved get the chance to profit off their product. Up until this announcement by Target, Amazon, and Wal-Mart the price of books was pretty steady at the release of the book. You might get a discount if you had a bookstore card or went to Costco, but otherwise not. This gave the publisher, bookseller, and the author the chance to profit off their product. It seems odd to me that big conglomerates who don't even specialize in books are trying to seize the book industry and squeeze the blood from it. The worst p

What If Your Agent Isn't Working Out?

Unfortunately just because you landed an agent doesn't mean that the two of you will have a good working relationship. It finally hit me a while back that things weren't working out with my first agent. But what was I supposed to do? The idea of parting ways with him made me sick. Could I get another one? Should I? There are a few other questions you should ask yourself first What should you expect from your agent? What's normal and what's not? What are red flags that things aren't working out or legit? These are all questions that go through your mind when you're searching for an agent and after you first land one. Having had two agents I've had two completely different experiences. One bad, one good. My first agent was for my adult fantasy series. My books would be one of their first ventures into the fantasy genre. That was a red flag but I didn't know it at the time. They had represented some excellent authors so I figured they knew what they were ge

Book Price Wars

If you're a writer or a reader you've probably heard about Wal-Mart and Amazon's plan to offer new hardback books at only $9. If not, grab your coffee and sit down because you've got to get in the know about this. For readers this could be great news. For writers, not so much. Authors only get typically 10% off the cover price of a hardback. Suddenly makes a $25 book not look like such a great profit huh? Now knock that down to a $9 book. That more than cuts an authors profits in half. Ouch. Not such a big deal for the authors who sells hundreds of thousands of books but what about for those who only sell tens of thousands, or even just thousands? For readers this is great because everyones wallets are thin in this economy and who couldn't use a break when it comes to their entertainment costs? You can pick up some great titles at a discount price. In the end, it's better for authors if readers buy the hardback regardless of it's discount because we get typi

Twitter Tuesday

Today I'm spotlighting the first two people I followed when I jumped on Twitter, Aprilynne Pike and Sarah Rees Brennan. I had the privilege of attending a writer's retreat with these two fantastic ladies in 2008. They're both creative, funny, and supportive of those in the writing industry. If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting them at a signing you know how incredibly nice either of them are. And yep, they're really that way all the time. Both Aprilynne and Sarah's first books debuted this year. Aprilynne's book, Wings , shot immediately onto the New York Times bestseller list. It's a young adult novel about a young girl who discovers she's a fairy. Disney has since bought the movie rights. Sarah's book The Demon's Lexicon stormed the European market before landing in the U.S. It's a story about magic and demons that would no doubt make J.K. Rowling envious. If taking the literary world by storm isn't enough reason to follow th

Monday's Muse

Okay, so part of me picked this picture last week because of the proximity of Halloween! But for the most part I picked it because I'm at a really dark place in my book. It's one of those moments where my main character does something that will change her life forever-or so she thinks. Hard chapter to write but so rewarding and worth it to see her growing. While this book is fun it is anything but light when I compare it to the last two. As for music this last week, I've been listening to some dark things as well. Hey, it's a theme and it gets me into the right mood for the chapter! Here's a link on why your manuscript can get rejected to start your Monday off right:

Sequels and Submitting to Editors

Sorry about my absence this week. I've been crazy busy getting things ready for my agent! Even before I submitted to agents I wondered what to expect if I've written a sequel to the book I'm submitting. Not much at the agent stage really. At that point you want to focus on your first book. If you don't get someone interested in it they aren't really going to care about what comes after. However, once an agent takes you on then things change. First and foremost you have to get your first book ready. Which means revision even after you get an agent. They want to make sure they have something polished and ready to go before considering more. Once I'd got through the revision stages with my agent I asked him what I should have ready in case editors ask about the sequels. At that point he was very excited to hear about the sequels. He wanted to know how much I'd written. I've completed the second novel (and revised several times) and am about half way through

Progress With Editing

Today I had an excellent phone call with my agent. Sounds like I've revised to his liking! Yay ! Now I have to work on a cover letter to editors. Yikes. I'm thinking a root canal might be easier. But the good news is I'll have help from my agent. And I had an idea of where to start thanks to agent Kristin Nelson's blog. Check her out here: She posts letters to editors that she's written, among many other wonderful things. Just goes to show, an agent doesn't have to be your agent to help you. With the basic idea in mind I wrote a rough draft based on what I read and the material that's in my query letter. So far it seems a query letter to an editor isn't much different from a query letter to an agent. Your trying to sell the same thing after all. We'll see what my agent says when he kicks the first draft back to me! For those who need an extra boost of confidence in the recovering literary field, check this out. My last

Twitter Tuesday

Some wonderful friends of mine over at gave me the idea to start Twitter Tuesday. Rather than steal their idea completely I'm using the title and doing something slightly different. Be sure to check them out though. They're a fantastic group who reviews the hottest new young adult titles. The stalk Twitter for the best tweets from the best writers out there and they come up with some great stuff so be sure to stop by their page. I'll be talking about some of the great people I've found in the writing industry, and perhaps some who've found me. If a week goes by that I don't find anyone new, I'll find something else to dazzle you with! This last week I met Kami Garcia, co-author of the soon to be released Beautiful Creatures. She's a great gal and the book is going to be excellent! Check her out on twitter at: and I also met the up and coming young

Monday Muse

I thought I'd change my weekly 'Last Week's Writing Inspiration' post to Monday Muse. It has a nicer ring to it and is shorter to type! On Monday's I'll be posting whatever inspired me the week prior, in hopes that maybe it can inspire you! Last week my muse drew power from this picture. These are the cliffs of Mohr in Ireland. I've had this picture stuck away for some time and was saving it for when I reached this stage in my book. The moment I saw this picture I knew I had to write about this place. It hit me on a visceral level. I started researching the cliffs immediately. The more I found out the more fascinated I became, and the richer my story became! I posted it a while back when I first found it but now that I'm at this point in my book I just had to post it again! As for ear candy last week, my muse has been snacking on a lot of Irish music and Loreena McKennitt!

Secret To Getting Published

That's easy, write a great book and get discovered! While accomplishing that is very complicated, the answer to the question really is that simple. So how do we achieve this? Well, relax. Great books don't start out that way. Like all things in life, it takes work to get them to the stage where they are publishable. Don't be afraid to write a rough first draft. You will be revising, a lot, so save that part for later. Get the words on paper or into a computer. Once you've finished then you can go back and start making it great. Don't expect to do it in the second draft either. You'd better really love this book because you'll likely end up re-writing it so many times you'll lose count. I felt like my novel started out great and I've still re-written it so many times I've lost count! Don't get discouraged by the revision process. Uncovering a diamond takes time and hard work. As for getting discovered, I've talked a lot about queries and c

Blogger Book Reviewers Beware!

The Federal Trade Commission has just flexed their muscles to make bloggers who review things disclose whether or not they received it for free or were compensated for their review. This will include books! If you picked up an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) at a book festival for free, you'll have to disclose that! If the author sent you their book because you're a friend or 'reader', you'll have to disclose that! It is the FTC's intention to give the consumer a clearer picture of whether or not the review may be biased. I get what they're trying to do. This works on say, diet pills. But not so much on books! Yet books get lumped into the mix with everything else. Lawsuits and fines can be involved, though I doubt we'll see much of that in the book industry. But in a sue-happy nation, one cannot count it out. There is a bit of a clause that may or may not help out bloggers who review arc's they picked up at a festival. It says a blogger who receives a fr

More On Queries

Often the hardest part of a writer's job is learning how to sell themselves. This all starts with the query letter. It's a careful balance of professionalism, knowing your audience (the agents), enthusiasm for your work, and knowing how to put it all together. Learning how to mix all this and come out with an outstanding query letter is not easy. Don't confuse enthusiasm for your work with overconfidence. Saying things like, 'there isn't another book like this on the market', or 'this will blow away Twilight', are red flags, not good points. If your book isn't like anything on the market then an agent is going to wonder if they'll even be able to sell it. You do want to express it's uniqueness but also touch on what it is similar too. Making a statement like the second one is arrogant and may come back to take a chunk out of your posterior. When doing comparisons be respectful of the author's work and make sure your accurate. When it come

A Weekend With My Agent Critiqued Manuscript

I absolutely stalked my mail box waiting for the hard copy of my critiqued manuscript to arrive from my agent. I've never been so excited to receive a package, seriously never. Not that my life is dull, just that I was dying to see what he liked and didn't like about my baby. When it arrived on Friday I abandoned all my other worldly duties, tore open the envelope and dove in. So what does it look like when an agent critiques your manuscript? That depends on the agent. This I must say though, they are not your own personal editor so don't expect them to catch or correct all your grammar mistakes. That wears on them and they don't like it. I always feel horrible when I read through a critique and find a bunch of grammar mistakes my agent has fixed! My first agent sent only bullet points, no printed out manuscript. Things did not work out with him but I think that had more to do with the book than with him. That book is on a shelf awaiting a serious re-write. This time

Last Week's Writing Inspiration

Despite being on pins and needles waiting to get my manuscript back from my agent last week, I continued to write the sequel. Idle hands would have drove me insane and writing another book seemed like a good alternative to a straight jacket. The picture above helped inspire me and keep me focused. It was taken in the Lough Key Forest in Ireland and it took my breath away when I came across it. Quite a bit of my latest book takes place in Ireland and that's all the news I'm going to dish out about it, for now! :)

Book Industry Is Recovering And YA Is Moving Front and Center

There are a lot of signs that the book industry is recovering and children/teen books seem to be moving front and center of all the talk. Even if you don't write either of these genres take heart that the next generation are reading, despite the state of the economy, and will likely do so the rest of their lives. It's one of the many reasons I write for children/teens, they're the future and our world's future has never looked brighter. Just a week ago records were shattered at the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. with over 130,000 attendees! Among the authors in attendance were such great names as Judy Blume and Holly Black. Over 70 authors attended and many of them were children/teen authors. Booths were packed! At the Midwest Bookseller Association's Meeting and Trade Show teen books stole the limelight as well. Booksellers seem to be looking for the next Stephanie Meyer as many new young adult novel