Friday, September 27, 2013

What Power Does a Blog Have?

We write blogs to get our words out. To communicate with others. To build a base or reach out in social media.

But I don't think those are the main things. I think, at least for us writers, it's all about the community.

Blogging is more like socializing to me. I write up my posts, and, usually, when it's published, I go around and comment on the blogs of bloggers I enjoy. It's a friendship thing for me, a "How are you doing?"

I mean, let's be honest here. Blogging might be one of the least efficient methods to getting people to buy your books (other than Twitter, of course). You might get a dozen or so people to buy your book if you have a great blog, but the hundreds of others won't buy it. It's not efficient. There will always be exceptions, of course (Alex Cavanaugh, anyone?). And the amount of time we put into blogs -- a hour or so every week, and even more for the more productive bloggers -- can be used in other venues, other methods of social outreach. Because, most book-buyers are non-writers. How can we attract non-writers with mostly writing-centered blogs?

That's why I don't really blog in order to increase the sales of any future book I have. That's not my main goal; if it was, I'd be doing something else to achieve this goal.

I blog because I love communicating with other writers. I love hearing and talking and sharing with people going through the same frustrations that I am, people who share my dreams and understand. It's not that I love writing blog posts; I love commenting and getting comments so much more.

Let's not forget that writing books is very much about the journey. Sure, most of us want to be bestsellers, but let's have fun getting to that level. Let's enjoy being with other people on our same path.

Other than actually writing, blogging has been one of the best things I've ever done, writerly-wise (another best thing was joining Agent Query Connect). I love it, I love it so much (even though I'm sometimes tired when I write up posts, if you read my last post, hehehe). It's a great feeling to know others are with you. So thank you so much for being here :)

If you blog, why do you do so? Do you enjoy the company of other writers?

Monday, September 23, 2013

What is it with Overdue Books?

I got two books right now that are due today. I went to renew them last night but both reached their max renew limit.

Now what if I want to read these books, because I'm started both of them and am more than halfway through the other?

And they are sort of old books; I doubt anyone really is waiting on them.

Now, after work, I have to go and return these books on the opposite side of town and then come back at eightish. Not fun, not fun at all.

Why can't I renew them more?


Why oh why why why?

Sorry. I get weird when I'm sleep deprived. For some reason, I get more excited, more energetic, but it's a jittery, insane energy. Like, "GOOD GOSH I REALLY NEED TO SLEEP BUT I'M NOT TIRED" energy that makes you want to cry and smile happily at the same time.

Yes, I told you. I get weird when I'm tired.

SO GOODNIGHT!!!! Maybe. If I get sleep. Or I'll just be more crazy and end up wasting hours on the Internet.

And I love the library. I just needed something to blog about today, and I was in a weird mood, and I found out about my books, and.... yea.

All right.

G'night! (Or morning, or evening, or whatever time it'll be when you read this.)

Do you have any fun/exciting/thrilling renewal/overdue material stories?


(Please, please, someone. Give me a day off so I can just sleep.)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Agent Reveal for "Nightmare on Query Street!"

Feel the fear because here they are! The agents of Nightmare on Query Street, live and in the flesh. 

If you haven't heard the news yet, Michelle, Mike, and I are at it again with a Halloween contest called Nightmare on Query Street. You can find all the info here! It's gonna be awesomely spooky and we hope you help us make this a success.

Be sure to take a look and see if your genre is represented. 

Currently, we have EIGHT agents signed up for the contest. With any luck, we'll have more come October 19th. Now, for the moment you've all been waiting for...the agent list.

Thanks a million to all the agents who found the time in their busy schedules to make this contest happen. You are all AWESOME. Seriously!!!

Tweet your thanks to these awesome agents using the #NightmareQuery hashtag on Twitter.

PS: Don't forget Mike is holding a flash fiction contest to secure a spot in the 100 entries we will accept. He's already got some great entries. He'd love to read yours!

Jordy Albert is a Literary Agent and co-founder of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. She holds a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University, and a M.A. from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with Marisa Corvisiero during her time at the L. Perkins Agency and the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Jordy also works as a freelance editor/PR Director. She enjoys studying languages (French/Japanese), spends time teaching herself how to knit, is a HUGE fan of Doctor Who, and loves dogs. 

She is looking for stories that capture her attention and keep her turning the page. She is looking for a strong voice, and stories that have the ability to surprise her. She loves intelligent characters with a great sense of humor. She would love to see fresh, well-developed plots featuring travel, competitions/tournaments, or time travel. Jordy is specifically looking for:

* Middle Grade: contemporary, fantasy, action/adventure, or historical.
* YA: sci-fi, dystopian/post-apocalyptic, contemporary, historical (Though I am open to looking at other sub-genres, I'm looking for YA that has a very strong romantic element).
* Romance (contemporary and historical).

Molly has been working closely with Folio authors’ projects since 2008, and is an Associate Member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR). In addition to building her selective but growing list of clients, Molly utilizes her editorial background, previous work experience in the e-publishing industry, and intimate knowledge of the Folio list in her position as Folio’s Co-Director of International Rights. She actively pursues sales of international and audio rights and attends all major international book fairs, helping Folio clients’ books reach wide audiences in as many formats as possible. Molly is an avid reader, and when she’s not devouring manuscripts, she can usually be found camped out in the aisles of the Union Square Barnes & Noble (until they kick her out at closing time).

* Middle grade and YA fiction. Interest in paranormal

Pooja Menon joined Kimberley Cameron & Associates as an intern in the fall of 2011, with the aim of immersing herself in the elusive world of books and publishing. She soon realized that being an agent was what she was most drawn to as the job was varied and challenging. She represents both fiction and non-fiction for Adult and YA markets.
Her passion for reading inspired her to acquire a BA in Literature and Media from England. Her love for writing then took her to Los Angeles where she pursued an M.F.A in Fiction from the Otis School of Art and Design.
In fiction, she is interested in literary, historical, commercial, and high-end women's fiction. However, she's most drawn to stories with an international flavor, vibrant characters, multi-cultural themes, and lush settings.
In fantasy, she's looking for original, layered plots with worlds as real and alive as the ones that were created by J.K Rowling and Tolkien.
In YA, she's looking for stories that deal with the prevalent issues that face teenagers today. She is also interested in fantasy, magical-realism, and historical fiction.

Bridget Smith began her career at Dunham Literary, Inc. in June 2011.

Previously, she was an intern at Don Congdon Associates, worked at a secondhand book store in Connecticut, and evaluated short story submissions for under Liz Gorinsky and Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

She graduated from Brown University in 2010. While there, she studied anthropology and archaeology, worked as a radio DJ, fenced on the varsity team, and helped design an experiment that she later performed in microgravity at NASA.

A lifelong fan of children’s books, she’s looking for middle grade and young adult novels in a range of genres, including fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, romance, and contemporary, plus anything that bends the rules of genre. She is actively seeking books with underrepresented or minority characters.

She is also seeking fiction for adults, especially fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, and literary women’s fiction.

In accordance with her college degree, she’s interested in informational, literary nonfiction, especially science or history written by experts for a general audience.

Sarah Negovetich is fully aware that no one knows how to pronounce her last name, and she's okay with that.

Her favorite writing is YA, because at seventeen the world is your oyster. Only oysters are slimy and more than a little salty, it's accurate if not exactly motivational. 

Sarah's background is in Marketing. FYI, your high school algebra teacher was right when they told you every job uses math. She uses her experience to assist Corvisiero authors with platform building and book promotion.

Sarah is only accepting MG and YA fiction manuscripts.

She is open to any genre within those age groups, but prefers speculative fiction.

Contemporary is not her favorite, but she will look at it. She is not interested in seeing poetry, novels in verse, short stories/novellas or anything focused on saving the environment (she's all for recycling, but doesn't want to represent it).

Victoria is currently representing only digital-first titles.
I was born and raised in Queens, New York and graduated from the City University of New York, Queens College. Before joining the Bent Agency, I completed internships at Serendipity Literary and the Carol Mann Agency. In my spare time I can be found teaching dance classes for young students or watching re-runs of The Office.
I love books that teach me something, whether it be about a culture I don’t know, event in history or about the dynamics of a tumultuous young romance. I want to root for your characters -- connect with them and the problems they face. I'm looking for characters as complex and interesting as those I meet in real life.

Historical Fiction
New Adult
Contemporary Romance
Women’s Fiction

Rebecca Scherer’s time at JRA began as a part-time internship during her junior year at the Macaulay Honors Program at Hunter College. She was working toward a degree in Political Science and Literature as she busily debated which law schools to apply to when the time came. As Rebecca fell for the agency’s charm, she took on more responsibilities and quickly realized that she enjoyed novels more than legal briefs and plots more than torts. When she expressed her reservations to Jane Berkey, the response was simple: “Well then you’re going to come work for me for real now, right?” And with that, Rebecca happily accepted the siren call to join the fabulous Rotrosen team full-time after graduation. She now works for Meg and Andrea as an associate in the editorial department, enjoying all aspects of the job, from queries to contracts to the whimsical wallpaper throughout the office. Rebecca’s favorite genres include women’s fiction, thrillers, and literary fiction, with a particular interest in historical and geopolitical events.

Emily Gref is an Agent at Lowenstein Associates, as well as our contracts and royalties manager. She also handles foreign and subrights. Her interests are wide and varied. In Young Adult and Middle Grade she is looking for all genres, but has a weak spot for fairy tale, folklore, and mythology retellings. Emily is also interested in fantasy and science fiction, as well as literary and commercial women's fiction.

This will be FANTASTIC. We have awesome agents on board and the contest is bound to be spooktastically fun! Make sure you know what your main character's greatest fear is, AND GET READY FOR OCTOBER 19TH (start of submissions).

WOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holiday-themed contests are so fun :)

Are you excited?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Taking the World By Storm

Today I'm part of an exciting buzz-business thingy to promote the work of an amazing member of the online writer's community. What Alex Cavanaugh has done for this community, with his blog hops, IWSG, commenting on HUNDREDS of blogs, and everything else, more than makes him deserving of all the buzz he's getting! He's an incredible person.

His final installment in his sci-fi series is soon to be coming (September 17th!) and so, the people participating in the blog hop asked him questions. Mine was:

"...what will you do next? What writing is in the works?"

His answer: "I have an idea for another space opera, but I don’t have plans to dive into it anytime soon, if at all. My guitar playing has consumed many of the hours I used to spend writing. But that’s all right, because I enjoy jamming!"

By Alex J Cavanaugh
From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.” – Edi’s Book Lighhouse

“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

Find CassaStorm:

Barnes and Noble
Amazon Kindle
Book Trailer

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Website/Blog (Comment on Alex’s blog this week for a chance to win a Cassa mug, mousepad, magnet, and swag!)

CONGRATS, ALEX! And all the best!!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Why I'm Anonymous

First, I'd like you to read my favorite poem by one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson. It really is important to read the poem to understand the rest of my post, so please do read it. (And read it slowly, don't rush through it :D I think many writers will be able to relate to it).

"Have you got a brook in your little heart," Emily Dickinson

Have you got a brook in your little heart,
Where bashful flowers blow,
And blushing birds go down to drink,
And shadows tremble so?

And nobody knows, so still it flows,
That any brook is there;
And yet your little draught of life
Is daily drunken there.

Then look out for the little brook in March,
When the rivers overflow,
And the snows come hurrying from the hills,
And the bridges often go.

And later, in August it may be,
When the meadows parching lie,
Beware, lest this little brook of life
Some burning noon go dry!

I have a brook in my heart, and my brook is this.

Writing. Blogging. Interacting with writers and living the writerly life.

I love it. I love this so much it is hard to convey to any non-writer other than the fact that without writing, I would... I shake even to think of it. Writing saved me, it really did.

But this place, this heaven, is for me and for you and for us. It's my refuge and my delight and I don't want 'real' eyes to cast their gaze on its sunlit land, its quiet delights.

Almost no one in my 'real' life knows I do this, including all of my closest friends. No one knows in my 'real' life that I have this blog (unless they found out without my realization). I'm free in this world, open to say and speak and be whoever I want without explaining and hearing laughs from people who wouldn't understand. "O-oh, well, I-I really love writing." I mean what can you say? What can you explain?

I love my family and friends so, so much, but they're not writers. They'd try their best to understand, but... you know? It's not the same. And if I tell them, I'd have to think about what I write, knowing they'd be reading.

I'm trying not to brag but I'll do it anyway; I sort of feel I'm almost luckier than many writers who are open to the 'real' world. I'm able to write without having to confront someone in real life, someone who didn't know I write, someone who would share comments like, "Oh, well what's your real job?" or look at me so tragically and say, "So you really, really love writing, huh?"

 I can write what I want to without having to say to people who thought they knew me, "Yes, this is who I am, I do have these thoughts, I do enjoy writing about desperate people, and I'm not just being pretentious or anything."

And I don't want to have to censor myself about my writing because I'm afraid of what my 'real life' will think. I am so wonderfully free here, so happy and me. (Surprisingly, in 'real' life, I'm slightly more unreserved and outgoing, personality-wise, than I am here. Irony.)

Sure, I have a more concrete reason I'm anonymous but my little brook reason is more important than that logical one. By staying anonymous, people can't find me here, can't trace me, and I'm free free free free free. I feel at home here.

(Don't get me wrong, I love my 'real' life as well. They're just two different lives. Yes, I'd probably pick my 'real' life over my writing life if I had to in some life-and-death scenario, just because my family and friends and loved ones are there. But I'd be broken, severely shattered.)

Emily Dickinson's poem is my favorite because she understands so wonderfully why I love being anonymous, why I feel so fantastic to be here, where I can shout and scream and gloat for my love of writing and my love for this community.

"And nobody knows, so still it flows," Yes yes yes yes yes. "And yet your little draught of life/Is daily drunken there." I LOVE IT. And I bet it applies to so many writers too!

I didn't think this post would be deep or in depth; I was literally very tired and trying to think of a blog post, and while brushing my teeth, I remembered this poem. I meant to only share it with you but soon it turned into what this poem means to me.

I hope you did enjoy this post, and I hope you now know a little more about me. I want to be as open as possible with you guys without having my 'real' life chase me down. I feel so, so happy after this post because writing it has made me realize just how free I am here, how wonderful this anonymous experience is (which I've been taking for granted). I'm throwing in some smileys because I'm so happy XD

Thank you guys for being here!!!! Can you relate to Emily Dickinson's poem?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Announcing "Nightmare on Query Street" - Writerly Contest!

The QK Crew is back with an awesome Halloween-themed query contest, Nightmare on Query Street!!!!!!!!! Don’t have a scary manuscript, DON'T WORRY. This contest is about fear. What is your main character really afraid of?

I know. It's scary.

The Details:

The submission window opens at 12 noon (EST) on October 19th. The window will close at 8pm or when we receive 100 entries, so please please please send early. (If there is a great demand of people in different time zones wanting to have two submission windows, we'll talk about it.)

Michelle, Mike, and I will make ten picks each, and those ten picks will go up on our blogs from the 25th through the 27th, where agents will make requests :DDD

We are accepting all age categories and genres, excluding picture books and exotica. But be sure to check our list of agents when it goes live to see if they represent your book's genre.

If you plan on participating in the contest, you have to be following all our blogs (MichelleMike, and I).

It's pretty simple, actually. But there's a catch.

Along with your query and 250, you must write a SHORT paragraph (no more than 100 words) about your main character. This is the question you must answer:

What is your main character most afraid of? 

The Format:

Send all your submissions to nightmareonquerystreet (at) yahoo (dot) com. Only one submission per email address or person is allowed.

Here's how it should be formatted (yes, include the bolded and everything!). Please use Times New Roman (or equivalent), 12 pt font, and put spaces between paragraphs. No indents or tabs are needed. 

Title: MY FANTASTIC BOOK (yes, caps!)
Genre: Adult Awesomesause (no caps; age category AND genre)
Word Count: XX,XXX

My Main Character's Greatest Fear:

My MC fears potatoes.


Here is my fantastic query!

First 250 words:

Here are the first 250 words of my manuscript, and I will not end in the middle of a sentence, even if I hit 252 words :)

And that's it! Send in that email during the submission window and you're ready to go :) There will be a confirmation email!!

This should be FUN. This is a Halloween-themed contest, so please please please, spend time on the MC's Greatest Fear paragraph!!!! It should be a LOT of fun. If you're writing a funny book, make a funny twist on the question, or say your MC is scared of strawberries or something. If it's a serious/sad book, you should have a field day, because the MC's fear might be so heart-wrenching.

Make us want to know more about your MC, to spend hundreds of pages with them because they are so interesting. This is a new way to pitch, so have fun with it (and don't stress out over it like its a query or something).

So go over and follow our blogs (MichelleMike, and I) and our Twitters (MichelleMike, and I) (we're Tweeting under the hashtag #NightmareQuery) to stay in touch with all that we're doing. 

I AM VERY VERY VERY EXCITED. I can't wait to see your answers to the question!!!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

What's Better: More Sales or More Reactions?

I've been thinking about this for a while.

 I was looking at the stats for my posts on this blog. Two of these posts displayed a trend that was...interesting.

My What Do You Do When Life Gets in the Way? post got ten comments, some of the comments running to more than a page double-spaced. The comments were insightful, thoughtful, and the authors gave up time to put down their thoughts and discuss them. (Comments are my favorite part of blogging, seriously.)

My Interview with MarcyKate Connolly, on the other hand, got only one comment, but it had almost three dozen more views than the post I mentioned above!!! People shared this link, they were interested in it, and they read it.

This might be explained by the timing of the posts, my own venturing and commenting on other blogs, etc. and granted, big-comment posts usually have big view counts. But you'll be amazed to see that many of my lowest-commented posts are viewed more than an average SC Write post.

But which extreme is better? What will you strive for in your writing? More reactions out of people (but smaller sales) or more sales (and less reaction)? Of course, you can do both and be like Harry Potter, but that's really hard. What do you want?

I think, deep down, authors know this answer, but it's difficult to bring out, and right now, I honestly can't come up with which one I'd want more than the other.

I'd LOVE for people to talk about my book with me, discuss it, share it with others, all proof that it made a big impact on them (that'd be amazing). I want my book to make an impact. I'd be devastated if it didn't. And also, low-selling books usually aren't the ones that live on decades after, so my heard tells me that this would be the extreme I'd like.

But I'd also love knowing that many people are reading my book. My story is traveling and people, strangers, are reading it, and they heard and read my story even if they didn't outwardly react to it! Can I just trust my own story and believe that the readers are internally affected? And although I wouldn't complain, I wouldn't like my book to be famous and beloved after I die; the idea tears my mind apart right now.

So do I want a smaller but more devoted audience, or a bigger but less reactionary one?

It's really something to think about, because the answer to this question can help guide you in finding out what you want your book to be. What you want out of your writerly career. Yes. It's a big question. (And hopefully, we all can achieve the best of both these worlds/audiences!)

The big question: What do you think?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day! Today in the USA, it's a holiday to celebrate all the laborers and workers of our country.

Thank you so much, everyone. It's amazing to think of all the nice jobs, all the diversity that comes in answers to the question, "What do you do?" That's so incredibly wonderful to me, especially the fact that it'd be chaos if even one sector of our workers decided to vanish. Everything is so important and everyone is as well.

We writers have some of the best labor to do (or so we hope, if we ever can support ourselves by our writing)!

Happy Labor Day, guys! And keep working, even on those manuscripts - because we are writers as well!