Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Anyhoo, if you're not following Veronica Roth's blog you totally should be. Today I'm going to share with you her latest post Equal Opportunity Preparation because it's awesome and she says a lot of things I would love to say, so much better than I could say them. So go check it out!
Also I'm typing up this post from my very own brand new 13" Macbook Pro! This is take two with the Macbook since the first one I ordered from the Apple Store arrived the day the new Macbooks were released. To say I was a little upset about this would be an understatement. Fortunately Apple was kind enough to allow me to return my Macbook - at my own expense - and then take over two weeks to refund the money so that I could buy another much better one! Ah, Apple, so thoughtful!
This is my dedicated writing computer. Scrivener you better be worth it! It's small enough that I can take it anywhere and I'm not going to put anything but writing software on it so that I don't get distracted doing other things. Wish me luck!
Any Mac users have any tips for me? It's all new to me, I'm still getting used to it. (Not to mention my eyes are adjusting to coming down from my 19" monitor!) I wish I could have widgets/gadgets on my desktop. Is this possible?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
As someone who is about to jump into the query process headfirst, I wondered how I would know if an agent had a good handle on this subject? An aspiring author wants an agent who can negotiate a contract to the best possible advantage of the author, and this has many implications for an author's long-term career. Now, the three agents in this session were clearly made of awesome. But if you're querying someone that you researched online, it's harder to tell from an agent's listing or website if they fully grasp the complexities of industry change. NOTE: Nathan Bransford is another agent who definitely understands this issue - it's one of his favorite blog subjects and he makes my eyes cross on a weekly basis.
The question I'm adding to my "Things to Ask an Agent List" - What are your thoughts on reserving multi-media rights in a contract? Seriously, I added it to my list of questions for potential agents. I actually came up with this question and wrote it down while the panel was speaking, and then a conference attendee asked the panel something similar, so I know I wasn't the only one thinking it. If an agent gives you a comprehensive, knowledgeable response (even if you don't fully understand it), then at least you know the issue is likely something they've handled. If their response is "huh?" you might want to rethink choosing that person.
Here's the thing. As a writer, you want to focus on writing the best book you can. Yes, you'll also have to focus on marketing and publicity, but that's just how it goes these days. You want an agent who has your back and is uber-competent at their job, so that you can focus on what you do best. So, yes, my eyes still cross at this subject but after that session, it made me even more resolved to find an agent made of awesome. Much more PPW Conference wisdom to follow in the coming weeks...
I know it was a big conference weekend. Anyone else have any great tips to share?
Monday, April 26, 2010
First off, Melissa Marr rocks! Seriously. I went to her book signing at the coolest bookstore in Denver, The Tattered Cover, and listened to her speak about her books and writing journey -- and Vince Vaughn. NOTE: Anyone who talks about Vince Vaughn has my attention - I love hilarious people - and he's producing her Wicked Lovely MOVIE! The best part is that when she was told he wanted to produce it, her response was "Who the f*$k is Vince Vaughn?" Anyway, I digress. She's cool, smart, gracious, and funny which is my favorite kind of person. So, next Monday (5/3), I'm giving away SIGNED copies of her amazing Wicked Lovely series. Yes, the ENTIRE series. Her newest book, Radiant Shadows, will be given away here and her first three will be given away on my other blog, so enter both for the chance for all 4. I also have Wicked Lovely bookmarks and wristbands that I'm giving away too - don't you just love swag?
Cool Contest of the Week:
Querytracker contest with Chris Richman of Upstart Crow Literary. This is an awesome pitch contest for those of you who write MG and YA. It starts tomorrow (4/27) and there's no limit to the number of entries he's accepting within the specified times. This is great news for the technologically-challenged peeps out there (like a close 'friend' of mine), who maybe have been unable to enter contests in the past because the contest is full before they figure out how to navigate the system. Also, for pitch tips, check out my prior post on The 2-Minute Pitch. Good luck!
I also believe there's a contest out there on Twitter having to do with the incredibly talented author, John Green. It sounds amazing for those of you who Tweet or Twit or whatever, unlike my close 'friend.' :) Until tomorrow...
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Obama is in town! And no, I am not braving the already insane traffic of NYC to go snap pictures like a fangirl. He's the president, folks. Not Mark Twain.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Winner. What does it really mean? How can you "win" a subjective contest. And that reminded me of a an idea I've kicked around since my acting days. The idea that there is no competition especially not when it comes to art. (And writing is art, just in case you didn't know.) How can anyone win anything that's based on personal preference? The ten of us selected in this month's Secret Agent contest appealed to that agent at this time in her life. Another agent might not have liked any of the entries she chose.
It's the same with the stories you tell. What resonates with some people won't resonate with others, but does that mean that the story that a million people relate to is better than the one that only five people love? No. Especially if those five people love that book with their whole heart and soul.
Sure you can look at things like how much money a book made, how many copies it sold, but even that doesn't mean much. Books don't start on a level playing field. Some will have bigger marketing budgets, or people who really "get" the story and who it's for.
The point I'm trying to make is that if you base your idea of success on the money you make, the number of books you sell, or the awards you receive, you're going to live a frustrating and disappointing life. Because there's always going to be someone with more opportunities than you, or who's "better" than you at something. And when you focus all your energy on distilling what the "winner" did into a formula and executing it just to beat that one person or thing, you rob yourself of the freedom to create what speaks to you most. The thing that could be your own personal biggest success ever.
Besides, a win for one writer is a win for us all because it means people are buying books!
With that, I leave you with two quotes I came across in the awesome book The Art of War For Writers by James Scott Bell
- David Morrell
Don't worry about trying to be better than someone else. Always try to be the very best you can be. Learn from others, yes. But don't just try to be better than they are. You have no control over that. Instead try, and try very hard, to be the best you can be. That you have control over.
- John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
So on Friday, in between cake, presents, and general mayhem, I looked back and realized that in the last 6 months, I've written my first YA novel and started two others. Crazy, huh? I've also met the most amazing writers, bloggers, authors, critique members, and Sisters - seriously, writers are the coolest, most supportive people in the world. Whatever happens, I know this year will bring great things just in time for my next non-birthday.
On that note, this post is a brief one as I'm off to revise (again) to get ready for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference this weekend. If you've seen the movie, A Few Good Men, and remember Tom Cruise's drunken scene where he questions everything he knows, you'll know how my revision night is going. Anyhoo, I'll post about the conference and my first live pitch experience in the weeks to come. Wish me luck! Happy Birthday to all the Aries out there - and may your next year be fabulous!
Monday, April 19, 2010
More about Chris Richman
In his own words:
My love of books started at an early age. In the second grade I fell in love with the gross and wonderful works of Roald Dahl. On career day in third grade I carried a book and called myself an author. In the fourth grade I was sent to the principal’s office when the teacher discovered me reading Stephen King’s Pet Sematary in the back of the room.
After that first Stephen King book, I spent years reading books for adults until, in college, someone handed me the first Harry Potter and promised me it wasn’t just for kids. Within a handful of pages I was hooked.
Suddenly a new world opened up for me, a world full of wonderful books for children that I’d ignored since my own childhood. Here were books that appealed to adults, too. Lemony Snicket could take a weird old count and some orphans and make me laugh. Louis Sachar could take me to the desert so I could sweat along with the digging boys. Jerry Spinelli could introduce me to a kid everyone called Maniac and make me long for butterscotch krimpets.
It took a few years before I landed in children’s books. The opportunity to find the next big thing, the next work that will transport me to a Narnia or a Hogwarts or even to places that we’ve all visited, made it completely worth the wait. I want to work on books that inspire children like I once was inspired.
There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
Friday, April 16, 2010
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (March 9, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385736843
Monday, April 12, 2010
My fabulous and lovely Sister, Lacey, is having a contest on her blog to celebrate hitting 500 Twitter followers. Confession: I still don't do Twitter, but I do know that 500 is a lot of followers! She's giving away a hard copy of Beautiful Creatures with an autographed sticker, so enter here. And if you're a follower of THIS blog, mention it in the comments of Lacey's blog for an extra entry!
The hilarious Roecker sisters (Lisa and Laura) are throwing a 'Totally Epic 500 Follower Contest' AND it involves arm-wrestling. LIVE arm-wrestling. You get to place your bet on who will win. I'm scared of both of them so I'm not picking sides! Head on over to their blog to enter. Hurry, the live arm-wrestling event is on Wed. NOTE TO MY SISTERS: As much as I love you, I will never arm wrestle you. I suck at it. However, if you want to have a coffee and Diet Coke drinking competition, I'm so there!
ADDITION: Anna is celebrating reaching 100 Followers-yay, Anna!!! Win a copy of Mockingjay or Linger!!
Happy Monday to all! Now, I'm off to grab more coffee. :)
Friday, April 9, 2010
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 9, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385736827
- ISBN-13: 978-0385736824
A New York Times Best Seller
In Mary's world, there are simple truths.
The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village....
Thursday, April 8, 2010
C.S. Lewis, creator of The Chronicles of Narnia was rejected 800 times before he made his first sale! How is THAT for inspiration!
C.S. Lewis Quotes: courtesy of Inky Girl
What you want is practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter what we write (at least this is my view) at our age, so long as we write continually as well as we can. I feel that every time I write a page either of prose or of verse, with real effort, even if it’s thrown into the fire the next minute, I am so much further on.
I am sure that some are born to write as trees are born to bear leaves: for these, writing is a necessary mode of their own development. If the impulse to write survives the hope of success, then one is among these. If not, then the impulse was at best only pardonable vanity, and it will certainly disappear when the hope is withdrawn.
Quote from one publisher’s rejection letter:
…an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Here's what The Universe says about achieving your most daunting goals:
Invariably, when big dreams come true, and I mean BIG, there is a total metamorphosis of one's life. Their thoughts change, their words change, decisions are made differently, gratitude is tossed about like rice at a wedding, priorities are rearranged, and optimism soars.... Yeah, they're almost annoying.
You could have guessed all that, huh?
Would you have guessed that these changes, invariably, come before, not after, their dream's manifestation?
Isn't it amazing how sometimes things are so obvious but we never think about them that way? The Universe has spoken! Now, go! Dream BIG!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Why I'm Wondering About This?
One of my amazingly talented Sisters is going to be published in short fiction and I'm so excited for her. She even passed along a short story opportunity to me that involves the exact same topic as a novel I recently completed. I even got a cool idea that would work as a short AND worked as a companion to my novel. Yet, I stared at my computer and all that went through my head was I.Don't.Want.To. I realize many authors love writing short stories but I'm not one of them. I'm completely obsessed with my new YA ms and am spending every spare minute working on it. I may still do the short story as a sort of self-imposed challenge but it will feel like work, not fun.
I've said many times what a research nerd I am. Seriously, statistics are like crack to me. I especially love it when research supports what I'm already doing -- like the studies that show how drinking coffee and eating dark chocolate are good for you. So when I came across this study conducted by author, Jim C. Hines, I got excited. Out of 246 published authors who participated in the study, 116 sold their first novel with zero short fiction sales! My takeaway is that while short story publications can help, it's not impossible to get a novel published without them.
So what are your thoughts? Any published or soon to be published writers out there want to give their own experiences?
Monday, April 5, 2010
The wonderful Shannon Messenger from Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe is having a huge contest to celebrate signing with her dream agent, Laura Rennert. She's giving away signed copies of some amazing books including The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (among others). Contest ends April 10th so head on over there.
The Fourth Installment of the Dear Lucky Agent Contest involves a 10-page critique by agent Regina Brooks from Serendipity Literary. The contest ends April 14th. Good luck!
This last one isn't a contest but I thought I'd include it anyway. Andrew Karre from Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing, is seeking completed YA manuscripts through April 30th. They normally do not accept unagented submissions so this is a great opportunity for YA writers out there.
Feel free to add any other cool contests in the comments. Have a great week!
Friday, April 2, 2010
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Dial; 1 edition (March 9, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0803734956
- ISBN-13: 978-0803734951