Publishing

Query Muse and Turn the Page

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in Contests, Publishing, Query, Writing | 3 comments

Query Muse and Turn the Page

When Kristen and I originally started Pen & Muse, our goal is (and has always been) to help writers. It’s that simple. Which is why I spend hours out of my week to write helpful blog posts, contacting guest posters and more. I want to help you. I want you to succeed. Earlier this week I wrote a Peptalk called Don’t Give Up. Check it out if you’re a writer or if you’re someone who has ever considered giving up on a dream. I know I have. With that peptalk in mind, I’ve been wanting to roll out two FREE author services for a while and I think this is the perfect opportunity. Here are two more resources for writers to get feedback, offered completely free from moi!   Since Pen and Muse is devoted to writers of all types and genres, I present to you two new weekly posts features run by yours truly. World, meet Turn the Page & Query Muse! Click To Tweet   World, meet Turn the Page & Query Muse!   Every week, on FRIDAY, I will be featuring either Turn the Page or Query Helper. What are these magical things? Glad you asked! Let me tell you.   Turn the Page Details: Not sure if your first page is ready? Want honest feedback on your manuscript? As you know, an enticing first page is SO important when you’re submitting your work to be published. A sub-par first page can be the reason that an agent rejects your manuscript. Send me the first page (not middle, not end, not something else) from your manuscript and I will tell you, based off the first page, if I would turn the page to keep reading. Our readers will also be able to provide feedback on the first page and let you know what they think. All genres, all writers welcome, as long as it isn’t creepy / inappropriate. Name, title, genre and first page will be posted unless submitter asks us to not disclose the author name. All submissions will remain in the queue in order of receipt unless you ask us to delete your submission. You will be notified when yours is selected. Submit your work to Turn the Page     Query Muse Details: A good query letter can be hard to come by! I know. I used to sift through slush when I worked for a publishing house. That’s why I’m here to help you make it great! Send in your query to Pen and Muse and I’ll give you my opinion and feedback on how to make it better. Readers will also be able to comment and give advice as well in the comments. Author and book details will be posted along with query unless you ask us not to. Each submission will remain in the queue and reviewed in the order it was received. You will be notified when yours is selected. Submit your work to Query Muse   Now taking submissions for Query Muse and Turn the Page! Click To Tweet A few more things… If you want to be featured in either column fill out the form for Turn the Page or Query Muse, fill out the fields completely, and wait patiently for yours to be selected. You may enter your work simultaneously for Query Muse and Turn the Page. Yes, you may enter more than one project. Submissions are reviewed in the order they are received. If you enter more than one project, I will give priority to first time submitters over your 2nd, 3rd, 4th submission.   Special Note: PLEASE do not submit your work until it’s...

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Tip Thursday: How To Add Your Book To Goodreads

Posted by on Feb 12, 2015 in How To, Publishing, Tip Thursday | 0 comments

Tip Thursday: How To Add Your Book To Goodreads

Most of you know that I’m a huge Goodreads fan. I think their free services to authors and readers are invaluable. Not to mention how awesome I think it is to have a digital library with bookshelves, my want-to-read books marked, etc. According to Goodreads it is a “free website for book lovers. Imagine it as a large library that you can wander through and see everyone’s bookshelves, their reviews, and their ratings. You can also post your own reviews and catalog what you have read, are currently reading, and plan to read in the future.” If you’re self-publishing or you have to do most of your marketing, I want to show you today how to add your book to Goodreads. It’s free, easy, and will be a big help in getting your book in front of new audiences and at the very least, in the hands of new readers.   Check first to see if your book is up on Goodreads –  If your book is being published through a publisher, they might add it for you. Before you add your book and accidentally create a duplicate, make sure that you check to see if your book is already up on Goodreads. You do this by searching for your book on the site. Type in your title into the search bar and hit enter, as shown below. The results will show up below.     If your book is not already there, it’s time to put your book up on Goodreads! Be sure to have information ready about your book for when you add it, such as the cover art, the blurb, publish date, publisher, etc. If you have the information and you’ve searched your book and it isn’t already there, choose the option to the right on the screen that says “Manually Add a Book.”   Once you click “Manually add a book” it’s time to add your work of art! Fill in the information on your book, such as title, author, isbn, publisher, number of pages, format, edition, official URL, and book blurb under description. It doesn’t require all of the fields to be filled out but fill out as much as you can. Once you’ve entered all needed information and upload your book cover (link on the right hand side of the page), select “Create Book.” When you’ve hit the “Create Book” button, VOILA! Your book has been created on Goodreads! The nice thing too, is if you add your book to Goodreads before it comes out, users that have added your book to their To-Read list will receive an email when your book comes out reminding them to pick it up. You can’t beat that!   My book is uploaded. What now?   Once your book is uploaded, there are a ton of different ways to promote your work as an author. Make sure you join the Author’s Program: If you’re not sure how to create an author profile, here’s a How-To. Run a Goodread’s giveaway! Get your book into the hands of eager readers! Information on how to run a Goodreads giveaway is here (and actually this whole slideshow is super helpful for any author). Enjoy Listopia! Go a step farther by adding your book to Goodreads lists. There are a million and one book lists such as YA romance or Adult Vampire Books, or whatever the niche your book may fall into. Add your book to as many lists that qualify and it will help with your book’s visibility.   If you have any questions or have anything to add, let me know in the comments below! I’m happy...

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How to Find a Literary Agent

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in Publishing, Query | 0 comments

How to Find a Literary Agent

And so it begins. The search for a literary agent. The person that can help forge you a path in publishing. The person who can make all of your dreams come true! The person who will be your own personal genie in a lamp, ready to grant your wishes. Right? Well, maybe. But it’s much more complicated than that. Many un-agented authors may see landing an agent like they’ve won big on a slot machine but really, it’s not. Publishing is a business. Agenting is a business. A for-profit business. And being an author, well that’s a business too. Which is why you need to do your homework. Research well. And make a smart, educated decision when it comes to which agents to submit to. I’ll be blogging more about this in the coming weeks (so make sure you’ve subscribed if you haven’t already), but today we’re just talking literary agent research. If you’re just beginning the search for an agent now, be sure to read my post The Secret To Getting An Agent & Getting Your Work Published. There’s some invaluable information, truth, and I share some of my personal experiences on my path to publication. Now that you are ready to publish your work and you’ve decided to forego the self-published r0ute, here are some of the several ways you can find a literary agent. Next week, well be talking how to make sure that a literary agent is right for you.   How to Find a Literary Agent     1. The internet is your friend! Use sites like AgentQuery.com or QueryTracker.com. Query Tracker requires you to have a login, but the membership is free. On both sites you can search agents by their names or by the genres that they represent. Usually these sites are up to date, but every once in a while I notice that something isn’t correct (such as an agent recently moved agencies is still listed under an old agency, etc.). Just double check your sources before you fire off that query letter. These sites are VERY helpful and I highly recommend looking through them to find and create your list of who to submit to. QueryTracker even has a comments section where other hopefuls can post about their experience with that agent and response time so that you can have a better idea of what to expect.   2. Go straight to the source. Most agencies have a website. Go to that website! Look at the “About us” section. Normally you can learn more about the agency, the agents, and what they’re looking for. Normally under the submission tab you can double check the agency’s submission guidelines, such as whether to include only your query letter or add a few sample pages. You can also find most agents on Twitter, where you can get more information on what they are looking for straight from the source. But please do yourself a favor and do not pitch straight to the agent on Twitter (unless the agent is running some type of contest and asks you to).   3. Contests! I admit, it’s not exactly traditional but more and more authors and agents are finding each other via contests. There are several agent contests around the web. To find them, you can merely ask Google. A fantastic resource for these is Brenda Drake, so follow her on Twitter. Amy Trueblood is co-hosting Sun vs. Snow, another pitch contest. I suggest you also look into #PitMad and #PitchMas, as both are fantastic agent pitch contests. Also, Carissa Taylor is amazing and made a solid list of upcoming online and...

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Crowdfunding? Can This Work For Authors? By Kayleigh Webb

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Guest Post, Marketing and Branding, Publishing | 0 comments

Crowdfunding? Can This Work For Authors? By Kayleigh Webb

For those of you who don’t know crowdfunding is a relatively new business model that creative people of all types have been using to get their work out into the world. There are different ways to do this, including Kickstarter and the various other sites that use a similar format; Patreon; using a website; or mixing and matching the available options to create something that works for them. I’m a crowdfunded writer. Although it was an easy choice for me to make, because I readily admit that I am a control freak, it’s not something I would recommend for anyone who writes. Sometimes I wonder if it would have been simpler to take one of the paths that have been walked by other people, but there are reasons for the choice that I made that I feel make it the right one for me. My first reason, and possibly the most important, is my love of people getting involved. What I want is for the worlds I’ve created to be fascinating enough for my readers to join me in whatever way they want to. Fanfiction is something I’d love more of, and fanart, and people creating worlds they want me to write in or characters they want to place in one of the already available settings. I do have a worlds that have been created by my readers, just not as many as I would like, unfortunately, as the hardest thing with this, for me, has been to get people interested enough to do that. That, for me, has been one of the hardest things. Most of the time I don’t write for other people, because I mostly write what’s been nagging at me the most, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want someone to comment on a story and say they like it, or they didn’t like it, or they like the character and want to see more of them, or just tell me they read it. When you have your own website one of the hardest things can be looking at your site stats and realising you have no visitors. Of course they could be reading elsewhere – but sometimes it’s incredibly disheartening. If you’re going to crowdfund that is something you have to be prepared for. Not writing for other people is probably what’s kept me going some days. I love writing, so I keep going, no matter what. The second reason I chose crowdfunding does mix in with the first, and that is the fun I have with experimenting with different ways of getting people interested. I offer character adoptions and setting rentals, where the purchaser will get a number of stories sent to them over a period of time with a word count of their choice. Buying 1000 words means you’re likely to get a fragment of a story, but it’s simple enough to have them extended. Some will end up being much longer than I expected. Some will be short and sweet, and often with the chance of seeing what comes after that one, as the one thing I have worked out about what I write – there is never really an end. One story almost always leads to another. Another thing I offer is story bundles. Buy stories for all of your favourite characters and have them sent to you together. This gives the reader much more freedom to get what they want from me, including putting a character from one of my worlds into another one. I love doing that myself, or seeing what would happen if they made another decision,...

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Up & Coming Author Stars To Watch Out For, Part I

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in Publishing, Writing | 5 comments

Up & Coming Author Stars To Watch Out For, Part I

You know when you talk to another writer and either 1) They have the best ideas and writing style ever or 2) They have insane drive or maybe they have both and you just know that they will make all of their dreams come true? That’s what I want to celebrate. I’ve hand chosen several of my absolute favorite writers to showcase here. Some of them already have books out and some of their releases will be coming in 2015. Shine up my crystal ball and call my Miss Jolo because I’m predicting nothing but success for these babes. Watch out 2015 because you may not be able to handle the glow of these stars! Amy Trueblood This chica has more talent in her pinky than I do in my whole hand. I’ve read only snippets of her work but let me tell you, she is insanely talented and her writing is incredible! Not to mention that she’s also super kind and a salsa fiend like I am, so naturally I think she’s fantastic. Follow her on Twitter Check out her website      Riki Cleveland The amount of drive and determination that Riki has, including the million different things that she’s involved in make me feel like the sky is the limit for this lovely lady. She’s driven, intelligent, hilarious, and just one of those genuinely fantastic human beings that make you want to be a better one yourself. Watch out for Riki. She’s coming at you fast and furious (but not really furious, more like sweetly with puppy cuddles). Follow her on Twitter Read her blog    Mari Wells Mari is one of the coolest most incredible people I’ve met. Not only is she insanely driven and dedicated but she is always writing and coming up with the coolest ideas. She’s also super helpful and the first person to offer help when you need it most. She is destined for great things. Follow her on Twitter Read her blog      Kristen Strassel This woman is a writing machine! Every time I feel good about my word count I look over at Kristen and she’s already left me WWAAAYYY behind in the dust. Kristen is basically my superhero of the writing world. She’s a fantastic writer and she’s one of those people that MAKE IT HAPPEN. Hats off to Kristen and a successful 2015! Tweet her Follow her blog    Cara Vescio Cara is one of those people who is a triple threat. She’s not only a fantastic writer, she’s driven, AND she’s one of the most talented graphic designers I’ve ever seen! The average novel length for this chica is like 100,000 words and she simply blows my mind. Did I mention that she finds her own models for the books she’s writing and photographs them? How cool is that?! She’s destined for (even more) success! Tweet her Read her blog   Last but not least… Julie Hutchings Julie is one of my favorite writers ever. Her writing style is smoother than silk and her ideas are mind blowing. She’s been kind enough to let me read one of her current novels and I’ve been honest when I say that it’s my favorite book since Harry Potter. So let that sink in because there’s literally nothing I love more than Harry Potter. Not even coffee. She’s mega hilarious and kind, not to mention super busy, but she still finds the time to be kind and awesome. Favorite author alert here people. 2015 will be just a tiny stepping stone in her success. Follow her on Twitter...

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Five Rules for Engaging Readers of Young Adult Fiction + Giveaway

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Publishing, Writing, Young Adult | 1 comment

Five Rules for Engaging Readers of Young Adult Fiction + Giveaway

Do you write young adult? Ever wish you could get advice from a top literary agent? We’re guessing yes. Today we have a special treat of an excerpt from Regina Brook’s novel WRITING GREAT BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADULTS to help answer those questions of yours. Bonus: we’re giving away a copy! Don’t forget to enter to win. Five Rules for Engaging Readers of Young Adult Fiction by literary agent and author Regina Brooks   Before you even start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), there are some issues that need to be addressed. A lot of writers out there think writing YA fiction is easy. It’s not. Some mistakes you might make will condemn your book to languish on the slush pile forever. So before we even talk about the nitty–gritty of how to shape your book—-character, plot, setting, point of view—-we need to talk about the five key elements that can make or break you as a YA writer.   The Holden Caulfield Rule—-Don’t Be a Phony! Imagine traveling to a planet where your survival depends on hiding out among the inhabitants, where being recognized as a phony would mean instant annihilation. In that situation, you’d want to study the locals until you knew just how to look and sound and respond like them. It is the same in YA fiction. In this case, sudden death occurs when the reader, stumbling upon a false image, loses interest. The book closes with the splintering sound of a fatal bullet. It’s no exaggeration. Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, was always railing against the phoniness of other people, particularly adults. The enduring popularity of Catcher in the Rye demonstrates that teens today are the same way—-they despise fakes. YA Fiction Rule #1: The life of the story depends on the writer’s ability to convince READERS that the protagonist is one of them. The key to writing a successful YA novel means knowing kids well enough to channel their voices, thoughts, and emotions. (“Kids” is used as an operative word here. The official YA audience encompasses twelve– to eighteen–year–olds, but it is expanding as children’s book publishers work to attract readers as young as ten and eleven, and adult publishers reach to capitalize on the growing market.) While some of your readers may be a little younger than the twelve–to–eighteen target—-children aged ten to twelve tend to read above their age—-and some may be a little older, keep in mind that you have to convince all segments of your audience that you know what it feels like to be a young person today. If you can’t convince your audience that you know how they feel about the world today and express yourself the same way, you will never reach them.   Avoid the Preach ‘n’ Teach Whether YA readers attend elementary or secondary school isn’t an issue when it comes to the importance of YA Fiction Rule #2. YA Fiction Rule #2: Don’t be condescending to your readers. Young people won’t abide stories that suggest that their turmoil or idealism will pass when they “grow up.” Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club, says, “I’m a big believer that kids are smarter than we think they are.…I think kids can handle complexity and nuances, and the advantage to writing that way is that the book appeals to both teenagers and adults.” Many adults read fiction as an escape—-teens are no different. Imagine spending a long day in school, learning boring lessons ’cause you’re supposed to, having everyone from parents to teachers to employers telling...

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