Monday, January 31, 2022

World Read Aloud Day 2022
Librarian reading aloud

LitWorld, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy, created World Read Aloud Day in 2010.  World Read Aloud Day is held on the first Wednesday of February, which this year is February 2, 2022.  On this day, grab a book and read it aloud!

It's also Ground Hog Day and each year my family tradition is to watch the Bill Murray movie.

Do you celebrate either of these days at your house?



Friday, January 28, 2022

Query Friday/ Query Tools

 Writing a book is a huge accomplishment. If you've written "The End" you know how bittersweet it is to move onto the next stage, you may even resist, but if you are hoping to traditionally publish at some point you will have to query.

The query takes a whole separate set of skills. It is, in essence, a sales pitch and many of us are not salespeople.

10 Sales Pitch Ideas to Boost Your Close Rate | Sales Pitch Examples

Nevertheless, many of the same elements that lead to an effective sales pitch will lead to a good query letter.

First is connection, and I'm not talking about the author bio. While it may be nice that you both went to the same college, or share a love of knitting, that is rarely enough to make an agent take an interest in your project. But you can make them take an interest in your characters. Presenting a compelling main character from the beginning, that they can become invested enough in to journey through your first 5-10-30 pages is a great start.

Next, is the product your selling. How is this magic sauce different from all the others? Your conflict and stakes are going to make your story stand out from the others. Show them off, so vividly they can almost taste them. Spicy!

Just like sales, you have to market your product. Who will your story appeal to? What's the word count? Where will it fit on the shelves. This is your genre, age group, word count section. Some agents like to see this upfront so do your research and make their lives easier. 

Finally, I'd include the author bio. Why are you the best person to write this story/sell this sauce? Maybe here you can drop in, your story is about an elderly spinster who saves the world from alien invasion with a pair of knitting needles, and you just happen to be the resident expert on knitting needle throwing. It works!

I hope to provide you with a bunch of resources to add to your query toolbox. YouTube has a wealth, and two of my favorite are:

Alexa Donne's channel - wealth of videos and I particularly love this one on queries

How to Write a Bada$$ Query Letter

And the BookEnds Literary Agency Channel. Again, an amazing collection of great informative videos and I found this one on queries especially helpful:

The Anatomy of a Perfect Query Letter

Happy querying!

-B Hape Fix It Kid's Wooden Tool Box and Accessory Play Set : Toys  & Games

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Dear O'Abby: Can I adapt my favorite book as a screenplay?

 Dear O'Abby,

I've been obsessed with a particular book for years, and I have been waiting and waiting for someone to make a movie of it.  So far, no one has and I don't get it because this book has everything a great movie needs - cracking dialogue, interesting characters, exotic locations, the whole nine yards.  So I'm thinking about adapting it myself.  I've done some screenwriting classes, and made some short films that have been screened at film festivals, so I'm not a rookie.

What I was wondering is if I need permission before I write the screenplay?  At this point I'm just a writer without a director or producer or any financiers attached and I am not expecting to get any of these things in place before I finish writing the script, so do I need permission to write it?



Dear Adapting,

It really depends on the book. Generally, you need permission to adapt a book into a screenplay.  There is often money involved and often you will only get to "option" the book for a certain period of time.  If the book is a really popular one, the amount of money involved is likely to be considerably more than for a book that is less popular.  There is little point in investing the time and effort into writing a screenplay that you will not be able to pitch to a producer or distributor.  Best to get all the rights ironed out before you start writing.

The best thing to do is to contact the publisher of the book you'd like to adapt.  Most big publishing companies have a whole rights department to deal with requests like this.  Don't be surprised if the rights are already with someone else.  Find out when their option expires if you can, and make sure you enquire again before that date.  Whoever holds those rights may wish to renew their option, but if you're in there with a fresh offer, you may be able to get them.

Alternatively, if you can find out who holds the rights, you may be able to buy the option from them.  If it's a property they've had hanging around for a while without the project progressing much, it may not be that difficult.

If the book is out of copyright and in the public domain (see Operation Awesome: Public Domain 2022), you will not need to obtain the rights before writing your screenplay.  

I hope this is helpful and good luck with your adaptation (if you manage to get the rights).

X O'Abby

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

OA's Debut Author Spotlight seeks #2022 #DebutAuthor

Operation Awesome Spotlight #13Questions of #NewBook Debut Author posted by @JLenniDorner of @OpAwesome6 2022

13 Questions shine
Operation Awesome's Spotlight
2022 Debut Authors

Hi! J here, of Operation Awesome. I run the Debut Author Spotlight.
I'm always looking to interview authors of debut books.
If you're releasing your first publication, please get in touch with me.
@JLenniDorner on Twitter is my preferred method of communication.

~ Or

Operation Awesome had about 137K views last year. Normally we have about 2k views per month. The below images show how many comments and views 24 of our recent Debut Author Spotlights posts recieved and from where.

OA 24 stats OA 2021 stat map

Please share this post or the above tweet to spread the word!

Monday, January 24, 2022

Public Domain 2022
Original Winnie-the-Pooh artwork from 1926

In the US, January 1 each year is PUBLIC DOMAIN DAY.  On January 1, 2022, US copyrighted works from 1926 entered the public domain.  This includes books, films/movies, songs, and other works which are copyrighted.  What this means is they are free for all to copy, share, and build upon.

What entered the public domain this year?  Examples are Winnie the Pooh and Bambi.  [Because of prior acts of Congress, Mickey Mouse enters the public domain in 2024.]  Be careful though!  Just because the original character is in the public domain, the Disney rendition may NOT be.  And if the character is protected by trademark law, it may still be protected that way.

Learn about what entered the public domain here:


Friday, January 21, 2022

Flash Fiction Friday


 It's Flash Fiction Friday! For this week's contest, go to HuffPost's Weird News page and write a short piece based on a headline! 

Catching my eye this week is: