Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Do you have what agents are looking for?

Time for another IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) session. This month, I'm spilling my guts about how to snag an agent. Uh, no. I haven't snagged one yet myself, but I did snag an editor/publisher. Similar, yet more difficult. Agents are a different breed.

Soon I will be asking myself if I have what agents are looking for when I venture out with my latest WIP. I feel like I have to start over. Maybe that's why this one is taking me so long, not looking forward to the tsunami of rejections ahead of me. But nothing is guaranteed in life, right? Change comes whether we like it or not, we just have to deal with it.

So, I wanted to offer a couple of ways to peek at what agents are thinking...

First, is the very insightful: #MSWishList - where agents spout off story ideas they'd love to see written and offered to them. Trouble is, you have to have what they're looking for right then because sooner than you can write your first draft, they'll come up with a new twist, and yours will be so last month! The best approach is to see if anyone is seeking something you've already written or started.

Second, enter Twitter pitch contests. Like:
#PitMad - where writers tweet a 280-character pitch for their completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts. Agents and editors make requests by liking/favoriting the tweeted pitch. Every unagented writer is welcome to pitch. All genres/categories are welcomed. Upcoming dates are:

June 6, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EDT)
September 5, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EDT)
December 5, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EST)

and
#PitchWars, schedule is as follows:

6/24 Mentor Applications Open
7/8 Mentor Applications Close
8/12 Mentors Announced
9/11-25 Mentor Wishlists Posted
9/25-27 Submissions Open
11/3 Mentees Announced
2/5-10 Agent Showcase

and the IWSG has a pitch event as well! Missed it this year, but the next #IWSGPit contest will be in January 2020 (Date - TBA, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm EST)

Last - Research. Always do a search for agents in your genre. Almost all of them have a list of what they are seeking on their websites, though some don't update them as often as they should. And many do interviews where they talk about the industry as well as what they're looking for, like on Writer's Digest.

So good luck to us all. Expect the worst and you won't feel as bad from the rejections. But hang in there, your perfect match agent will find you! And we will all do the silly celebration dance for you!


via GIPHY

Happy April! And yay for Spring!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

We have a Cover! - Why a Fantastic Cover is Crucial

First, I want to share my totally awesome, shiny new WINDY HOLLOW Cover!


I'm so enamored! enchanted! encouraged! I have to thank my wonderful, talented cover artist Ricky Gunawan--he's a genius! Covers are vital. Even for ebooks. Covers set the mood of your book, give a glimpse of what adventures await inside, and help readers make up their minds to buy it! So for IWSG this month, I decided to share some tips for great covers...

"Remember: Most people in book publishing believe that a cover is a book’s No. 1 marketing tool." Writers' Digest

Cover Tips I love, from Writers' Digest, KoboWrititngLife, and 99Designs

  • TITLE - Big and easy to read. Keep it simple. And pick a solid font--nothing too fancy or silly, unless your book is a joke book!
  • ART - hire a professional. Or pay for a photo. Don't chintz! Don't frame images. Don't scare readers with crazy colors.
  • AVOID CLICHES - No sunrises, no sunsets, no ocean beaches or fluffy clouds...
  • THINK LIKE A READER - and know your audience. Take a poll on social media.
  • LURE READERS IN - make them feel something, send a message without spelling it out
  • GET FEEDBACK - keep an open mind, listen, and go with your gut

Sounds easy, right? No, I know. It's immensely hard! Your vision isn't the same as your friends or readers. And these are just guidelines to help. If your book is set on a beach -- a beach on the cover works!

Yes, I have a cover, but I don't have a release date yet. Here's hoping and here's the blurb...

WINDY HOLLOW, Beast World: Book 3

Gabe just can't stay out of trouble, even when he's just trying to help.

It's summer break and the young beasts are riding dragons across the Great Sea for a week-long wedding extravaganza. But Gabe suspects Professor Hardaway is up to something more serious behind all the festivities. Sneaking around and eavesdropping, Gabe discovers news of a human village across the mountains--Windy Hollow--and they might be in trouble from the mysterious activity at the old castle above the Mist.

Despite the professor's warnings, Gabe and his friends venture over, risking more than they realize when they get caught up in the dangerous experiments of a deranged scientist who's recruited a large, vengeful beast. Gabe wonders if he's gone too far this time, but he's in too deep to quit. It's do or die, hopefully not die!

And lastly, more encouraging NEWS!
I was honored to be featured in, not one, but TWO high school newspapers!


  • The school where I'm currently teaching is Badin High School -- article
  • Mason High School is where my older boys graduated, and I sub frequently there -- article
Thanks for hanging out! Enjoy the rest of the month. I'm cutting back on posts until things settle down with work and getting Windy Hollow published... Hope things are well with you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Read all about it!

Time for IWSG February installment. I'm really struggling to figure out what to do about my books. I'm trying to stay positive that my 6th book will be published SOON, but it's very difficult when so many of my compadres are in sour spirits!

Then finally, I got some GOOD NEWS!

Firstly, I went ahead and commissioned the new cover for WINDY HOLLOW myself with the same artist who creatively crafted the covers of the first two books in the series. He's fabulous! He already sent me a terrific sketch and he captured the image I pictured perfectly. Can't wait to share it (and hopefully set a release date SOON!)

Good news #2 - I entered another Janet Reid Flash Contest--and I came in the top five, with some much needed positive feedback! And I also won a book--Yay! It was great to see Madeline Mora-Summonte got honorable mention in the contest too!

Then I realized that Ms. Reid is the best at giving authors cold hard facts and solid advice that works! So I sent her a question as I debate what my next step will be with my books... Basically, I asked if another publisher might be willing to pick up my series. I have a feeling that since my sales are but a trickle, it would probably be a No. But I look forward to her advice--Here's what she said...


So my dear IWSGers, the writing business has its ups and downs and we just have to deal with it and keep going. There are times when things get downright depressing. Then there are the moments of wonderful and surprising uplifts, so don't give up!

Keep Writing!