Monday, May 30, 2011

Doctor Who: The Stages of Rejection

The waiting is over. An email sits in your inbox holding a thousand promises:

You open it and read:


Was that a rejection? You read it again:

[Doctor Who Gifs]

And the sadness rains down on you:

The hurt kicks in:


But you don't quit.

Rejection is part of the process.

No. You send out the next query:

Because next time it might be something that makes you do this:

Never give up.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spinning Plates: Writing, Reading, Critiquing, Revising

Picture from this site

Do you ever feel like this guy? 

I do. 

Except in my case, it's more like the plates, symbolic of my priorities, are strewn about the floor in chips and pieces. I'm the least qualified person to talk about writers and priorities, which is probably why I feel drawn to the topic. 

*whispers* I don't even have a set time to write every day. 

That's right. I said it. I'm a lump writer. I write in huge lumps when I 'get the time.'

And I know you're just as busy as I am, if not more so. So how do you do it? I'm looking at you, Kiersten White. And you, Elana Johnson. And you, Blogger buddies.

In our line of work, there's a near constant need to be doing something, whether it's writing, reading, revising, or critiquing for someone else. Each of these activities requires the mind's whole focus, so you can't exactly multi-task like these plate spinners, right? How do you cope with the feeling when you're reading that you should be writing? Or the feeling while you're critiquing that you should be reading? Or the feeling while you're writing that you should be cleaning? Or making dinner? Or calling your mom? 

Seriously. How do you spin all these plates and keep them in the air at the same time? 

Or is it more like this guy who does his level best, but can only keep them all running for a few seconds?

How do you decide what comes first? And what do you do when you don't feel like doing any of it?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Keeps You Going?

I came across this quote the other day and just loved it. It describes exactly how I feel toward my projects.

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything. 
— Virginia Woolf 

This is exactly how I feel at the start of a new project. It's like that giddy rush you feel when you first fall in love. I love my story, I can't get enough of it. Then, something maybe doesn't work exactly how I want it to. I have to work a little harder, move things around. My words don't seem as brilliant. The polish isn't as shiny. 
But, if I care about it enough (and heaven knows there are enough manuscripts I've shoved in a drawer and have never looked at again) then I keep at it, working at it until it's everything I wanted it to be.

The giddy rush comes back when I write the end and begin to edit. That also fades after a while as the work becomes more intense. And then it's done and a new giddy rush hits :)

And Ms. Woolf is right - it's that determination to not give in that keeps me going. If it wasn't for that, I'd never finish a book.

How about you? Do you feel that initial rush of first love that eventually dies down? What keeps you going?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Guest Post: Jessica Bell Talks Self-Publishing

Today I'm excited to welcome the awesome Jessica Bell to Operation Awesome. 

There has been a lot of talk about self-publishing floating around the blogosphere (and internet in general) lately. With authors like Amanda Hocking (who since self-published 8 books in April 2010, has sold over 185,000 copies) landing huge deals it seems like self-publishing is a good idea. Jessica has just released a self-published collection of poems, Twisted Velvet Chains, and has come to chat about self-publishing. 

Take it away, Jessica... 

To self-publish or not to self-publish.

To be honest, I was hesitant to self-publish this collection of poems because of that horrible stigma related to self-publishing. Due to my debut novel coming out with a traditional publisher this November, I was worried that people were going to think that the novel will be self-published too. See? WORRIED. Why was I worried about such a silly thing? Because of the STIGMA. That horrible green worm that burrows its way into our heads to try and make us think something isn’t worth reading or spending money on.

PEOPLE!? Let’s destroy that immediate feeling we get when we realize something is self-published: “It mustn’t be up to par with what I’m used to reading. I want quality, not something some author was desperate to get into print.” That is what we all think, right? Well, I’m hoping that this poetry collection can be a teeny-weeny stepping stone towards thinking the opposite. Well, it certainly is for me, from the point of view of an author who has more often than not felt the same way about other self-published books.

I’m not going to beat around the bush. I’m really PROUD of this poetry collection. I believe it’s different and powerful and worth reading. People who have never even read poetry are getting into it, and I think that’s something really positive. I just want to share this book. And I also want to ignore that need to have a publisher validate my work. I don’t want a publisher to validate it. I want to be confident about it on my own. I want to trust myself.

And let’s face it. Poetry is hard to sell. Even well-known poets are lucky to sell 50 copies of their collections. There just aren’t enough people reading poetry anymore. So spending all my time and energy seeking out a publisher who would probably only print about 100 copies anyway, just didn’t seem worth the effort. Because in the end, what would be the benefit? The only benefit would be that I get to “say,” my book is being published by a reputable name. That’s all it is. A name. Just like Prada is to fashion. So I bit the bullet and self-published a poetry book. I hope you can all give poetry a chance. You never know, you might really enjoy it and start writing some yourself!

Do you read and/or write poetry? If so, what sort of poetry do you get into? Have you read any poetry lately that you would willingly recommend others read? What made it worth the recommendation? 

Jessica Bell Bio

Jessica writes literary women's fiction, and poetry. Her debut collection of poems, Twisted Velvet Chains is now available and her debut novel, String Bridge, is scheduled to be published by Lucky Press, LLC, late 2011. You can follow her blog here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Linktastic Monday! (contest, auction, and giveaways)

Happy Monday! I love it when life converges to bring the awesome on a Monday. It makes an otherwise exhausting day much more endurable. :)

Here are some things going on today that you might not know about:

Teenreads Beach Bag Contest! This includes a bunch of 2011 faves like DIVERGENT, NIGHTSPELL, and SUPERNATURALLY. And as if the contest weren't enough, several of these have excerpts and "search inside this book" links so you can read the first few chapters of books that haven't come out yet. I'm currently reading the first bit of Kiersten White's sequel to Paranormalcy, SUPERNATURALLY. 

All 4 Alabama Disaster Relief Literary Auction! 
This is ongoing, but tonight at 8pm Central Time, all bidding for Day 6 items ends, and this includes our own Michelle McLean's pre-released picture book--signed! I bid on it, and I'm perfectly happy to win it, but I'm torn because I also want to share the awesome and promote the charity bidding. Here's the blurb for A Magical World by Michelle Raynor (pseudonym), Illustrated by Toni Wilson.

Alex and his sister Izzy are stuck inside during one stormy, rainy week. But, they still manage to have the most spectacular adventures. They sail the seven seas on a pirate ship, swing on jungle vines, swim through the ocean, roam with the dinosaurs, and visit many other fantastic places! Just how, they never tell a soul. They simply smile and wink and zip their lips, and then disappear into their room. Into a wonderful, magical world.

Here's my brief but glowing review of A Magical World (or rather my four-year-old son's review):
My 4-year-old son asks for this every day at nap time.
One day after we read it, he said, "I don't have a little girl" (meaning little sister like Alex has Izzy in the book) "I just have my Layne." *cheesy little boy smile* 
So I know he's imagining himself playing pretend with his little brother like the characters in your book, seeing himself as the brave big brother, Alex!
The sense of wonder this picture book inspires is exactly what I want for my kids as I'm introducing them to literature and a lifelong love of reading and imagining. 
Michelle's debut nonfiction book, Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers, also went up for auction yesterday. It's an incredible resource for teens and adults faced with the challenge of writing school papers. And it's funny, to boot!

Afterglow's Beginning of Summer Giveaway!
From all of us at Afterglow Book Reviews to all of you, here's a fun way to celebrate the onset of summer. We've got ten books, including ARCs and signed copies, that could be yours. 

And now, to keep the cheeriness going, what's your favorite thing about Monday?

My favorite thing is the return to normalcy, like putting on an old pair of jeans.

Friday, May 20, 2011

When Characters Come Alive

Katniss brought to you by Entertainment Weekly

For obvious reasons (see above), I've been thinking about the relationship between characters and readers. We hear all the time in this business about that relationship, whether it's, "I just didn't connect with your main character," or, "I can't wait to find out what happens to [insert character name here]." 

But it's even more clear how personal that relationship is when the big screen reenacts a beloved book. From Pride and Prejudice (all twelve versions) to Twilight to Eragon to The Hunger Games, literary fans become hyper critical movie fans. Why? Because nobody can reach into your imagination and pull out the character you envisioned. Nobody. And to expect that, we know, is folly. 

And yet, when I saw these stills of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, a little happy butterfly leaped and fluttered in my tummy. I can't say it's exactly how I saw her, but it's SO close. Even better is the exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly that goes with this mag shots wherein Katniss--I mean Jennifer--talks about how hard Oscar season was for her with people putting dresses on her and doing her makeup, how she'd just raise her hands over her head when they wanted to try another dress, and then pout her lips when someone wanted to apply lipstick. It was soooo Katniss. 

It's really fun to see this series come alive in the film medium. So what is it that makes a connect-able character like Bella or Katniss? (And please don't say Bella is a blank slate because I totally disagree.) Dig deeper. I want to know what it is you loved about these two heroines who are so vastly different from one another and yet have garnered a similar level of fan-doration. 

The floor is yours, ladies and gentlemen. 

What makes a beloved character beloved?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Journey Lessons From My Kids

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a post on my personal blog about the things I've learned from watching my kids. You know, the bits of wisdom that drop from their tiny mouths just astound me sometimes. And while the things they do are innocent and focused on their own small worlds, there is a lot I can learn from them, and even apply to this whole writing/publishing thang. Here are a few of them:

1. Just because you haven’t crossed the finish line doesn’t mean you don’t know how to get there.

My kids were racing on their bikes. They picked a starting point, and they picked the finish line. On your mark, get set, GO! They were off. Now, they are just learning how to ride a bike, so getting to that finish line took a while. But they knew how to get there. They just had to work at it.

I’ve sort of made it to the finish line in the NF world. But fiction is my real passion. And I can’t even see the finish line in the fiction world just yet. But I know how to get there. I know how to write. Sure, there’s a lot of things about crafting a story I still need to learn. I don’t think I’ll ever know everything there is to know. But in general, yeah, I know what I need to do. I know I need to write and revise, and revise again, and query, and query some more. I know what I need to do and how to do it, and even though I haven’t yet plowed through the ribbon at the end of my race, I still know exactly what I need to do to get there. I just have to keep focused on my goal and do it.

2. Get up every time you fall down.

My kids fall down…a lot. But they always get back up. Sometimes they are broken or bloody, and they usually need a big hug and kiss from Mom, and occasionally an ER visit, but they always get back up. If there is one thing I’ve learned in the publishing world, you are going to fall and get knocked down…a lot. Some of those critiques or rejections you’ll receive are going to sting like nothing you’ve ever felt before. And having someone (or a group of someones) to run to for comfort when it gets really bad makes the boo-boos sting just a bit less. But you’ll never achieve your goal if you stay on the ground and cry. You gotta get back up and try again.

3. Be a good sport

My kids were playing a Wii game the other day when the miracles of all miracles happened – my four year old daughter beat my six year old son. Now, he could have yelled and cried and thrown down his paddle and quit (as my daughter will often do when she loses). But he didn’t. He was disappointed, sure. And for a second, I didn’t know how he’d react. But then he smiled and screamed “Woohoo! Nanas won!” and laughed and gave her a high-five. (Nana is her nickname, by the way :) I like eccentric names, but I’m not that mean) :)

You aren’t going to win every game you play. You aren’t going to cross the finish line first every time. And it’s okay to be disappointed when someone else gets there before you do. But you’ve gotta be a good sport about it. It would be easy to get bitter and angry in the midst of a pile of rejections, especially when others are flying over their finish line miles ahead of you. But what good will that do you? This is a tough, tough game. Being a bad sport about it just makes it that much harder. It’s okay to be disappointed, but don’t let that disappointment ruin the game for you or anyone else. If you can’t play nice, don’t play at all.

4. If you want dessert, you have to eat dinner first.

My son has a short attention span when it comes to dinner. He wants to get in, get it done, and get to the good stuff. Which means he often takes two bites of dinner and starts asking for dessert. As much as I’d like to chuck my dinner and dive into the chocolate cake with him, that’s not very good for either of us. We need to eat the dinner first. Then we can get our reward.

When it comes to writing, it’s easy to focus on the “good” stuff – getting an agent or publisher, seeing that book on the shelves, attending signings and release parties. Sometimes we get so focused on the “dessert” that we try to skip dinner – ignore vital lessons every writer should know because they take too long to learn and execute well; fly through revisions and call them done because we are so anxious to query and get that agent; skip over that plot hole because fixing it would open a whole can of worms we don’t want to take the time to deal with; sending something out that just isn’t ready because we are too excited and anxious to wait any longer.

But that isn’t the way to grow a strong, healthy writer, any more than it is to grow a strong, healthy child. You have to eat your dinner first – gotta ingest the stuff that’s going to help you grow in your profession, before you can enjoy your reward. Dangit ;-)

What have you learned in your journeys? Ever learn something from an unexpected source?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Spy A Trend.

Yesterday I came across a post by the awesome Mandy Hubbard. You remember Mandy, right? She was one of our uber-awesome Mystery Agents! 

Anyway. After meetings with a lot of editors (37), Mandy Hubbard ended up with a post about trends in YA/Mg/PB. And it's a goldmine of information. Click here to read it in full. 

I'm not a writer who chases trends. I'm not against trends, but I don't write to them. I write what I want to read and, usually, what voice screams the loudest until I write the darn thing down. But it's important to remember what's hot now might not be when you come to query. After all, publishing a book can take two years (by which time the trend that was on the way out could be back 'in' again). 

Does that mean you shouldn't write (or stop writing) that paranormal, dystopian, historical, sci-fi or *insert trend here* novel? No! 

It's important to remember that, trend or not, an original plot, voice and character will stand out regardless of the trend du-jour. 

Good storytelling is forever. 

What do you think about trends? Any thoughts? Leave them after the beep.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

What American Idol Taught Me About Writing

So. American Idol. It is a TV show with:

One host

Three judges

And as of today, three contestants.

Last week, however, there were four contestants. One of them was...

James Durbin

Resident metal fan. Or, as I like to call him, Captain Awesomesauce.


Last week, after singing "Love Potion No. 9" and "Don't Stop Believin'", Captain Awesomesauce received the following feedback:

"Beautiful!"--Steven Tyler

"That was... uh-MAY-zing..."--Jennifer Lopez

"Dog, that was HOT! James is IN IT TO WIN IT!!!!"--Randy Jackson

The next night, James got eliminated. 

Which leads me to the writing tip of the century

Never. Get. Comfortable.

Finished your sixth draft? 

You can do better.

Struck by a brilliant Shiny New Idea? 

You can do better.

Did you brainstorm ways to add more characterization/conflict/depth/whatever else? 

You can do better.

Feel like giving up after that last query? 

You. Can do. Better

James got excellent feedback throughout the competition. He was rumored to be the future American Idol. But he wasn't. Sure, he always topped himself, did much better than the previous week, and he still didn't win. 

Is that stopping him from pursuing his dream?

Heck to the no.

And neither should you :)

Oh, and in case you're wondering how I felt after James's elimination, le demonstration:

Now tell me, blogging buddies: are there times you feel like giving up? How do you convince yourself that you can do better?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Literary Rock Star Interview with Lindsey Leavitt

Pic and bio from her website

Lindsey Leavitt is a former elementary school teacher and present-day writer/mom to three (mostly) adorable little girls. She is married to her high-school lab partner and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is the author of the PRINCESS FOR HIRE series and SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD. 
We're thrilled to have Lindsey Leavitt on Operation Awesome today to answer our questions, especially given her tremendous recent accomplishment of releasing two books within months of each other! Both The Royal Treatment and Sean Griswold's Head are new releases. Without further ado, here's the amazing author's interview:

Katrina: What was the first story you ever remember writing?

Lindsey: THE WINDOW SCENE in 4th grade. It’s about a girl who dreams about scary stuff out her window, wakes up and that scary stuff is there, and then she dies. The End. I still have it, and often read to classes I visit to prove I have a dark side.

Katrina: I just devoured the first two books in your Princess for Hire series. See my gushing review here. How many books do you have planned for the series? And is a third book in the works? (I know, I’m so impatient, but it’s just getting so good for Desi!)

Lindsey: Thank you! Yep, third book is in the works, out next summer (sorry it’s not sooner. The robots I pay to write only type so fast). The third book will be the final adventure for Desi, but I’d be open to writing from another character’s POV or maybe writing something else set in the world.

Amparo: You've mentioned shelving Princess for Hire's first draft to work on something else because it was too "cute" and not "literary". How did you finally come to terms with your love for writing novels for a younger audience?

Lindsey: The more and more I read in the tween genre, the more I realized how much depth and goodness is hiding in these girly books. A friend of mine, Lisa Schroeder, also once wrote me an email suggesting I think about why a reader would want to read my book, that maybe that girl would want something light and funny to help her get away from reality for a bit (I’ve since received fan mail confirming this!) Seeing the value in writing simply for entertainment really helped me embrace the pinkness of Princess for Hire, and these books have since been a delight to develop.

Amparo: Sean Griswold's Head, in my most humble opinion, sounds amazing.  As both a writer and reader of the genre, what do you think makes contemporary YA awesome?

Lindsey: Strong voice and strong characters. I don’t think these elements are exclusive to YA contemporary, but that’s what draws me in. It’s a broad genre—from the sweet and funny to the gritty and raw—and yet those elements are evident in most great contemporaries. I especially like when there is a mix of funny and angst, like in FLASH BURNOUT by LK Madigan. Also check out a great group I’m a part of, for more fabulous books.

When writing, I love getting to know my characters and making observations from their world view. In SGH, the main character is super-organized, and it was a treat getting into her little neurotic head even though I can’t even organize my own sock drawer (actually, I don’t even have a sock drawer, just a basket of unmatched socks)

Lindsay: How did you approach your research for Sean Griswold's Head as far as understanding the disease (MS) and the family issues surrounding it?

Lindsey: I knew something of MS because my father-in-law was diagnosed when my husband and I were friends in high school. Although my FIL is more open with his kids than Payton’s parents, he doesn’t always communicate how he’s doing, and so it can be hard to know what he’s really going through. So I used that as a base, and also I did lots of research online, mostly through The National MS Society and chat rooms. My husband has also done a few bike rides for MS, so that’s furthered my exposure to the MS community. I’m not an expert, but it’s been really amazing to have readers reach out since the book released and tell me how close or different their own experiences have been.

Katrina: What’s next for you?

Lindsey: I’m working on revisions for the third princess book right now and drafting my next contemporary, AUTHENTICALLY VINTAGE, about a girl who deals with her boyfriend's online cheating by "going vintage"--quitting 21st century technology and accomplishing the goals her grandma once set at age 16. That should be out in 2013, based on how the robots do.

Awesome answers, Lindsey!! Thanks so much for joining us. 

Op Awesome peeps, (if Blogger let's you) shout out to Lindsey in the comments. And if you haven't yet, I highly recommend you read her books. (They also make great gifts to the girl in your life.) 

Happy Friday, everyone! May the Blogger be with you!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

To Bury or Unbury......

So, Nathan Bransford's post yesterday got me thinking a little bit. (He wrote about putting a manuscript in a drawer). See, the project I am working on right now is actually a major overhaul-total rewrite of my very first novel. A manuscript I have shoved in a drawer and pulled back out again more times than I can count.

This book has tortured me for years. I just can't leave it alone. I want to sometimes. It makes me feel a bit like a one trick pony to keep reworking the same book over and over instead of spending my time on something new. However, considering how ridiculously close I came when I first wrote this book, and how much people who read it, love it....and how much I love it...I just can't let it die.

So I pulled it out of the drawer again a few months ago. I don't think this is the way to go for all shelved manuscripts. I have several that will never see the light of day again :D But this one....this one I think has the characters, the voice, and the story to make it.

I've learned so much since I first wrote this book. And every time I pull it out, I'm filled with ideas on how to improve it. This doesn't happen with some other projects of mine. I read some, shudder, and rebury it as fast as possible.

But this one....this one wants to make it. So out of the drawer it came again, and it will hopefully be on its way to my agent very shortly :)

How do you decide when or if to bury a manuscript? And how do you know if unburying is worth the time or just denial?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How is an agent like an eReader?


So I'm thinking of doing the thing that I, as an I'll-love-the-feel-of-real-books-in-my-hand-forever-and-ever type person, dread... I'm thinking (I've been 'thinkin' for at least 6 months, I can't rush these decisions. It's not a cookie) of getting an eReader. Why? My books are threatening to overtake my room like the Triffids in that movie. 

Problem: The options are astounding. There's the Kindle, the Nook, the Nook Colour, the Sony eReader, iPad, and other various brands out there. And everyone seems to have a preference to a certain type. Most agents seem to talk about reading submissions on Kindles. Then there are the iPad devotees. 

Buying an eReader takes a lot of research. I've trawled the interwebs for reviews, the varying prices of eBooks & the readers themselves. It's hard.

It's a little like researching agents.

You read Query Tracker, Literary Rambles, Agent QueryAbsolute Write (and the other various sites out there). You read agent interviews, look at the clients they represent, query preferences, books sold *insert long list of variables here* You settle on a few, taylor your query and hit send.

You get rejections. You get requests. 

Then the miracle happens, you get *all the numbers* offers of representation (No subtext here I'm afraid). They call you. They love your writing. You are their Kindle/Nook/iPad of choice. You chat. You ask for referral from an author/s perhaps (lets call those your product review) and you sit back and think...

Are they the right agent/eReader for me? 

And the answer? As with most things it's personal preference. 

Just like choosing an eReader. You pick who fits you the best. 

Over to you. Do you have an eReader? How do you decide to choose an agent to query? 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Win a Kindle!!!

No, we aren't giving away a Kindle. :o)
But I thought I'd share some Kindle opportunities out there this week.

Opportunity #1:  Angry Robot.
Win a Steampunk Kindle. Contest closes on midnight on May 15th

From their website: 

Send us your examples of cool Steampunk stuff – maybe it is a photo of you in your leather and copper get up, or a picture of a day-to-day item that you have converted into a glorious piece of Steampunk tech. Maybe it is a quick sketch you jotted down in a notebook. Hell – it could even be a Steampunk inspired song you have written and performed – or perhaps a Haiku that has been spinning round the inside of your skull for the last few months.

Pretty much anything Steampunk is eligible. Except – and this is important – for novels or short stories.

Cool huh?

Opportunity #2: Nathan Brandsford
In honor of his book's release. Contest closes tomorrow!

From his website.

Here's how to enter to win the Kindle with Special Offers:

Step #1: Follow me on Twitter (click this link)

Step #2: Re-Tweet the official contest Tweet (click this link)

Step #3: Post a tweet about how you know when you're in trouble. You MUST include the exact hashtag #YouKnowYoureInTroubleWhen

#YouKnowYoureInTroubleWhen you break the universe.
#YouKnowYoureInTroubleWhen you land on a planet that smells like burp breath.
#YouKnowYoureInTroubleWhen you sit on your cat.

Here be the rules:
  • Do not post the same Tweet more than once. 
  • Use the hashtag however many times you want, but only the first entry will be considered for entry into the sweepstakes.
  • The sweepstakes closes Wednesday at 7pm Pacific time
  • I'll randomly select a potential winner and notify that individual by Direct Message
  • You must be a resident of the United States, age 18 or older in order to enter (Sorry international readers! Sweepstakes rules!)
  • Please follow the full contest rules HERE

Personally, I'm going to make a go at that Angry Robot contest. I'll share with you next week what I did. (grin)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Invincible Summer Contest WINNERS!!

So. Last week, Operation Awesome had another uber-successful Mystery Agent contest, and today I'm celebrating with more winners. This time, it's the three lucky people chosen for Hannah Moskowitz's Invincible Summer giveaway!

Ze winners are...

Erica (screen name: erica and christy) wins a SIGNED BOOKMARK!!

Joana wins a SIGNED BOOKMARK!!

and the grand prize of an Invincible Summer copy and a signed bookmark goes to...


*tosses confetti*

Congrats, y'all!!! Please send me your addresses to OperationAwesome6 (at) gmail (dot) com!!!

Thanks to all who participated. If you didn't win, don't fret. There are MORE contests in the works ;)

Now tell me: any writing goals this week?? Or books you've recently bought?? 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Contest Surprise #2 :D Mystery Agent Revealed!

Okay, well, we realized after posting yesterday that we couldn't keep our Mystery Agent a secret because we needed to let the finalists know who she was so they could send in their pages. Soooo…we figured we’d let the rest of you in on the secret as well :)

Our May’s Mystery Agent is none other than my own supremely fabulous agent.....

Krista Goering!!!!
I have absolutely loved working with Krista and am so excited for our finalists. Good luck to all of you!!!

I asked Krista a few questions which she was kind enough to answer :)

Is there anything specific you’re just dying to get your hands on?

I love mysteries and thrillers – and would love to get my hands on a great one. I’m also interested in paranormal, romance and historicals, including alternate history novels. 

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to queries or submissions?

My biggest pet peeve is being addressed as “Dear literary agent” or (worse) “Dear editor” or (worst) “To whom it may concern.”

Are there any concepts that you are seeing way too much of?

Too many Twilight clones, too many “guardian” paranormals.

What is your favorite part of being an agent?

After working with an author to bring her book into the world, my favorite thing is holding that book in my hands for the first time.

Do you have any exciting client or agency news? 

I recently had an editor suggest a nonfiction book to me that he thought was a better idea than the one proposed by my client – and it turned out that my client and I agreed with him. The new proposal is getting a lot of attention. You just never know where the great idea will come from.

Any last thoughts for queriers?

When you write your short pitch (25 words) make sure you’ve captured the excitement of the novel, not just the basic who/what/when/where/why.

Thanks so much for joining us this month, Krista! And congrats again to our finalists!

For more information on Krista and her agency, check out her website HERE. Krista is interested in:

Nonfiction of all kinds, including:

Mind/body/spirit titles of all kinds
Innovative health/wellness/nutrition/diet books
How-to books of all kinds
Self-help titles from top-platformed authors
Anything that brings an innovative or fresh perspective or format to long-standing parenting topics
Books related to college admissions or college survival
Books about movies or TV
Narrative nonfiction titles by platformed authors
Interesting, nichey cookbooks

She is also actively looking for novels, including mysteries, thrillers, paranormals, and romances.

Thanks again everyone! And stay tuned for other mystery agent contests, coming soon!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Contest Announcement!!!

We have a seriously awesome surprise for everyone....our uber fabulous Mystery Agent has already picked her three finalists!! The finalists get to send their first 30 pages and a synopsis. From the three finalists, our agent will choose a grand prize winner to send their full manuscript!

We are going to keep her identity a secret for just a little bit longer - until she reveals the grand prize winner :) But for now, here are the three finalists.

Congratulations to:


Joanne Huspek with VIRTUALLY YOURS

and S. Kyle Davis with BLACKBIRD

Please shoot us an email at OperationAwesome6 (at) gmail (dot) com and we'll give you instructions on where to send your first 30 pages and a synopsis. 

Congrats again!!!! Stay tuned to find out which of our finalists gets to submit a full manuscript as our grand prize winner!

Monday, May 2, 2011

May Mystery Agent Contest!!

Contest is now closed! Thanks and good luck to everyone who entered! :)

Here are the details:

1. Please submit a 25 word pitch in the comments below. If your pitch is over 25 words, it will be disqualified, so please stick to 25 WORDS :D

2. 50 entries will be accepted. Don't worry about the comments number. Not all comments are entries. We'll post when the contest is closed.

3. Genres = YA, adult, and adult non-fiction. Especially mysteries, thrillers, paranormals, romances, and suspense. No MG, poetry, short stories, novellas, plays, screenplays, or essays.

4. Please only enter once. Everyone is eligible as long as your novel is COMPLETE and you stick to the 25 word pitch limit.

5. Three finalists will be chosen from the 50 entries to submit 30 pages. Of these three finalists, one grand prize winner will be chosen to submit their FULL MANUSCRIPT!

6. UPDATE: Please also list your title and genre (these do not count as part of the 25 words). If you've already listed your entry without this info, don't worry, YOUR ENTRY IS ENTERED AND COUNTED, no need to repost the entire entry, just post another comment with this info. Thanks!! 

We will close the contest once we've received 50 qualifying pitches. BEST OF LUCK TO EVERYONE!!!