If you’ve ever wanted to publish a book traditionally, then you know (or maybe you don’t) that getting an agent is an essential part of the process. There’s no formula for querying effectively, some of it is hard work, some is luck. But I think if you do everything you can to make sure the parts you CAN control are as good as they can be, it’ll go much better than just winging it or throwing queries out there without researching the process.
I’ve put together a video with all the tips I picked up along the way to signing with my own agents, and I hope it helps you! If you find the video helpful please like, and subscribe to my channel for more writing and book related videos 🙂
It always amazes me when I read headlines about kids not reading any more. As someone who travels to library and international book fairs for a living, I’ve seen teens line up for hours to meet their favorite authors, or run through a convention center trying to nab an ARC or poster from a series they love. I’ve seen kids look at a brand new book with tears in their eyes, and tell me about how much they adore reading and in some cases, would love to write a book themselves one day. My trip to Cuba was no exception. If anything, it only intensified my belief that reading among kids is not only not dead, it’s thriving.
As I set up our display, made up of books from 40 US publishers (a first in Cuba), I was asked, begged, even bribed for some of these books. They were only for display, but trust me, it was hard not to give them all away (I might’ve given away a few I’m not a monster.)
“We don’t get those books here,” one of the girls told me.
“I would love to be able to read this. I wouldn’t find this book anywhere here,” said one teen with his eye on a book about the NY Yankees.
I met an author who asked me what I write about. I told her, “Witches in the 1980s.” And she replied, “I write about werewolves in the 1990s!” We both squealed a lot after that.
A gif of the line to the Mexican Pavilion. The video goes on for a few minutes!
Next door, the Mexican Pavilion had a line that went to the other side of the square and around the corner. And that line didn’t go away for the three days we visited the Havana Book Fair. I suspect it was there for the whole ten days of the event. And guess what? It was mostly kids. They were excited to get new books, like One Direction fandom on Tumblr excited, okay? It was intense, and awesome. I wished we could share our books with them. That they could read the thousands of amazing books by authors in the States, and that in that exchange we could maybe learn a little more about one another.
I’m not the kind of person to get political online (because I’m not the kind of person who likes strangers yelling at her online) but surely, we can get together to make sure these kids, and their parents, get access to the books they pored over at our stand. I’m proud to be among the first to sign the petition to allow US books into Cuba, and I hope you’ll help out with this cause and add your name to the list. Also I am pretty sure I’ve never asked you guys for anything before so, you owe me.
More About the US Mission to Cuba
In February 2016, a delegation of approximately 40 American publishing industry representatives met with their publishing counterparts in Havana, Cuba. The two days of meetings, held with the support of the Cuban government, represented an historic milestone. Its purpose was to build bridges of understanding and explore opportunities for greater cultural and economic collaboration.
The American delegates included authors, publishers, distributors, literary agents, service providers, consultants, and independent booksellers. Cuba was represented by officials from the Cuban Book Institute, the Ministry of Culture and the Cuban Writers Association, as well as Cuban authors, publishers, academics, and students.
We know President Obama wants the economic embargo lifted, yet Congress isn’t yet on board. We also know, as documented at https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/cuba the President has already exercised his executive powers to make special accommodations and exceptions to the trade embargo. We know the American people are on board. According to a Pew study last year (http://www.people-press.org/2015/07/21/growing-public-support-for-u-s-ties-with-cuba-and-an-end-to-the-trade-embargo/), 72% of Americans are in favor of lifting the economic embargo against Cuba, and fully 59% of Republicans are in favor.
With recent actions taken by the President to reestablish political relations and lift travel restrictions, with the American overwhelmingly supportive, and especially with President Obama’s historic state visit to Cuba this coming March 21-22, we believe the time is right to call for special accommodations for books considering the critical role books play in freedom of expression and economic development.
I’m happy to share a trailer for the new YA contemporary romance, THE TRAGEDY OF LOVING JAMIE CLARKE by Rebecca R.Cohen. Book trailer and cover by me 🙂
You can preorder it now on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019DFLYQ6/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_SaBCwb0MG6KPA
My good friend Megan is one of the best writers I know and I’m lucky enough to have her as a beta reader for my projects. If you’re currently working on a manuscript follow the cool infographic below to make sure your story isn’t full of plot holes! Also make sure to visit http://www.ExtraInkEdits.com for more tips from Megan and if you need help on your WIP she’s a fantastic resource! My book certainly wouldn’t be the same without her input and I am sure she can do great things for yours 🙂
I’m in NYC for this year’s BookExpo America and BookCon. For those of you who can’t be here I have an awesome giveaway going on! As per usual I’ll be getting tons of ARCS at this year’s show and posting pictures of all the goodies I get along the way. The best part is, if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr I will enter you to win a giant prize pack! Just follow me on any of my social media sites below and then Tweet me, leave a comment on the giveaway video or inbox me on Tumblr and I will put you on the list! If you follow me on all three I will enter you a a total of FOUR times giving you a bigger chance to win!
Since the show hasn’t started yet I can’t tell you exactly which ARCs I’ll be getting but in other years I’ve gotten advanced book copies from Harper Collins, Harlequin, Hachette (including titles like Dorothy Must Die and Red Rising to name a few) and More! Follow along on my social media accounts to see what will be included in the prize pack but hurry, the contest will be closed on Monday, June 1st!
If you have any problems following me or any questions please email me at Claribelortegaauthor@gmail.com, yay!
Sheesh this thing is big (that’s what she said). Thank you for everyone who has put up with me ignoring them and having that crazy glazed look in my eye! There are a few more months left to go of all that so its not over yet! Reading through this printed draft then sending to betas, then one final edit and I AM QUERYING AGENTS ( aka crying & eating copious amounts of green tea ice cream). In all seriousness I am stoked to be making so much progress on my book, I hope in time to share Emerald’s story with you all and I hope you all love her as much as I do. Thanks for all the support, encouragement and excitement (even if it’s pretend I don’t care!) about this project. It means a lot to me to bring this story to life, and to give a voice not just to the characters and their plight but to the bigger issues tackled in the book (not to mention having a diverse and kickass group of witches as my protagonists). I’m proud and nervous about what’s to come but putting in as much work as I can so that Riddle of The Timekeeper gets it’s best chance! Will update on the next round of edits, back to the writing bunker I go 🙂
Hi guys! So I wanted to update you all on where I was with my book. I have finished first draft edits (YAY) and am working on second draft edits which are a lot less work thankfully. I still have a ways to go, as I’m only on chapter ten (and there are 38 total) and there is still a lot of work to be done to get it ready for the next phase. I’m shooting for having this round of edits done by the end of this month, and into the hands of my beta readers by beginning of June. Then I’m hoping to get their feedback in time for one more round of edits and then I will start querying agents end of August/September (fingers crossed). I am excited about querying in the fall, because I LOVE the fall and even if I’m sad from all the inevitable rejections along the way to getting an agent, at least I’ll have cozy sweaters, and cute boots, and crisp fall air and turning leaves. That’s enough to keep me semi happy (especially if there’s wine). Thank you guys for all your support throughout this process, I can’t wait to share Emerald’s story with you! I’ll be posting my chapter names this weekend hopefully, and another blog post on mean authors (!!!). Also, for all my fellow writers there’s another installation of #pitmad coming up June 4th so make sure to get your pitches ready if you’re querying!
It’s been a great year for my book and my writing and I want to thank you all for your continued support of the series! As it sometimes happens, my creative process hasn’t always been a smooth one and recently I’ve run into some setbacks in the way of the dreaded writer’s (or in this case editor’s) block. Sometimes, the best solution for this is taking a step back and letting things happen organically. Although I took a break for about a month, I am once again preparing to embark on editing the 400 pages of book one, Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of The Timekeeper. I am hoping to have the completed manuscript in literary agent hands by this spring and that will be, I’m sure, a whole other adventure. Thank you again for your support, it means a lot to me and I can’t wait to update you again this spring!
The Beauty Writer Blog and Youtube Channel!
My new side project!
I’ve started a beauty/hair blog which you can read here as well as a Youtube Channel! This is something completely different and new for me but something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time! If you have a chance please take a moment to subscribe and like/comment on my videos. Would me a lot to me as I build my audience!
Update from 1/21/2015
I haven’t written a post in a while but I wanted to give you guys an update on where I am with my manuscript. I have been editing steadily for the past two months (more so this month than last) and I am on track to be done with draft one at the end of January. *Pops champagne*
Once I finish this first draft, I’ll be sending out to betas and continuing my edits through February and March. I am hoping to have a nice clean MS by April or May to send out to agents, so wish me luck!
I am really excited about submitting my book to agents, and eventually getting my book out there to all of you. Please check out a summary of my series HERE and follow me on Twitter (@Claribel_Ortega) for more writing updates!
I’m happy to be participating in the very awesome Valia Lind’s cover reveal for Pieces of Revenge! Please see below for more about the book and to check out the rad cover 😀
A weapon. A broken life. A humanity lost.
That is all Anastasia knows, that is all that she is. As an eleven-year-old, she witnessed her family’s brutal murder and she’s been on the run ever since. She’s spent her life training and planning for the day she can take her revenge.
Kallos Enterprises is a well respected corporation, set on improving the genetic structure of an individual. Or so they say. Anastasia knows, first hand, what kind of monsters lurk behind the pretty walls of those skyscrapers. Armed with combat skills and a beyond perfect memory, she heads to Chicago to uncover the answers to questions that plagued her for years.
After arriving in the city, she meets Logan, a boy from her past who changes all the rules. She doesn’t remember him, but he remembers her. His position at Kallos Enterprises is useful, his presence is unnerving, and he makes her question everything she knows about herself to be true. If her perfect memory can’t remember Logan, what else about her past is wrong?
Time is running out. Anastasia has nowhere to turn, but to trust the one person who’s a memory she should have, but doesn’t. With a madman threatening their every step, Anastasia and Logan must uncover the truths behind Kallos experiments and hope that the answers they find won’t destroy the world forever.
Release Date: November 20th, 2014
Author. Photographer. Artist. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valia Lind always had a love for the written word. She wrote her first full book on the bathroom floor of her dormitory, while procrastinating to study for her college classes. Upon graduation, she has moved her writing to more respectable places, and have found her voice in Young Adult fiction. You can visit her online at www.valialind.blogspot.com or follow her on twitter, where she spends way too much time, @ValiaLind
AHOY readers, today I am happy to bring you an awesome cover from an even awesome-er author! Yeah, I know awesome-er is not a word, but I don’t care! That’s how excited I am about this cover. Please check out the loveliness below and then go Pre-order the book which comes out in just a few short weeks!
Title: The Land Uncharted
Author: Keely Brooke Keith
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Edenbrooke Press
Lydia Colburn is a young physician dedicated to serving her village in the Land. Day and night, she rushes by horseback to treat the ill and injured, establishing a heroic reputation as the village’s new doctor.
Naval Aviator Connor Bradshaw is flying over the South Atlantic Ocean on a mission to secure any remaining sources of fresh water in a 2025 world torn apart by war. A malfunction activates his aircraft’s ejection system, parachuting his unconscious body to the shore of a hidden land.
Lydia risks her safety to help the injured outsider despite the shock of his mysterious arrival and the disastrous implications his presence could have for her peaceful society, which has gone undetected for seven generations.
Connor searches for a way to return to his squadron, but his fascination with life in the Land makes him protective of Lydia and her peaceful homeland. And while Lydia’s attraction to Connor stirs desires she never anticipated, it also pushes an unwanted admirer to stage a dangerous attempt to win her affection.
As Connor tries to keep the Land off the radar, he learns the biggest threat to Lydia lurks in her village. But when Lydia’s greatest passion and darkest fear collide, will she look to the past or the future to find the strength to survive?
Have your ebook of The Land Uncharted signed via Authorgraph!
Advance Praise for The Land Uncharted:
“Not only is Keely’s writing beautiful and full of vivid detail, but the story and characters are incredible! I love the way she crosses genres and how well it all blends together.” -Christina Yother, author of Reverie
“The Land Uncharted captured my interest from the opening lines. Keely Brooke Keith skillfully weaves an engaging story that explores the possibilities of a simple, peaceful existence in a society set apart from a world ravaged by conflict. Equal parts suspense and romance, this debut novel is a compelling read.” -Heidi McCahan, author of Unraveled
Keely is a bass guitarist and lives on a hilltop south of Nashville. When she isn’t writing stories or playing bass, Keely enjoys dancing, having coffee with friends, and sifting through vintage books at antique stores.
Visit Necole Online!
India Eisley for Kale Barlow
Eddie Redmayne – Leon
Brant Daugherty – Colum
Thanks Lara for participating!
Visit Lara online:
Buy her book:
In the midst of the August heat, keeping warm this winter is probably the last thing on most people’s minds. But the reality is, “for the now nearly 15% of Americans living in poverty, a warm winter coat is a budget “extra”, and an estimated 671,850 Americans experience homelessness on any given night.” (source)
That’s why we’re excited to announce a new initiative starting this fall at the Pennsylvania Library Association conference in Lancaster, PA, to help donate coats to those in need.
In hopes of helping others keep warm this winter, The Combined Book Exhibit is launching project #ReadandStayWarm . At six of our Fall and Winter library shows, CBE will be collecting new and lightly used coats for those who need them most. Below please find a schedule of the shows where CBE will be taking donations, and please help spread the word on twitter, FB and any social media you have by using #ReadandStayWarm.
* Please note, all coats donated at ALAMW will go towards our second Fall/Winter 2015-2015 campaign.
I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by DiversityYA on my book Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of The Timekeeper. Read the interview below and please let me know what you think! Also, please note I will NO LONGER be releasing EKROTK at New York Comic Con. I am going to begin seeking agent representation for this manuscript SOON, so for now it is under wraps 🙂 My pubslush is still on for The Skinwalker’s Apprentice though, so follow the link in the article to donate! Hope you enjoy the interview 🙂
1) Can you tell us a little more about Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of The Timekeeper? What inspired you to write it?
Riddle of The Timekeeper is about a teen witch living in New York City during the nineteen eighties. She’s rebellious, pierced and pink haired and early on we find out she’s kind of lost and confused about what her future will bring. She’s one of only two witches living in New York, the other being her aunt Nora. On her last day of High School, which was a struggle to achieve in itself because of her penchant for trouble, her aunt vanishes before her eyes. Emerald then receives a message from the past, “Find The Timekeeper, Solve The Riddle,” and she is introduced to a NYC she’s never known; equal parts magical and dangerous.
I really wanted to write a story about New York that not only incorporated magic, but also history. There are many characters pulled from the headlines so to speak, like Goody Garlick who was accused of witchcraft on Long Island a good thirty five years before the Salem witch trials and even The Timekeeper himself who was inspired by New York University’s beloved John Votta. He was nicknamed The Timekeeper because he stood on a corner of Washington Square Park yelling the time to passing students. I took inspiration from these real life people and weaved them into my alternate, magical New York City.
2) Many of your characters struggle with mental health issues. Was that a conscious choice, or did that just happen? Why is diversity in fiction important to you?
One thing I wanted to explore was the real world ramifications that being a witch would entail. For Emerald, the only other person who she can identify with fully is her aunt Nora. Aside from that, her mother passed at a young age and her father abandoned the family shortly after. Many times we find these tragic characters who have been through so much, yet mentally they don’t seem affected in the same way any of us would be, despite the inferences that they are very much human in addition to be extraordinary.
Emerald is the manifestation of what I believe would happen to someone who was dealing with the death of a parent, with abandonment and with being so completely different they felt they had no where to turn.
Diversity in fiction is important to me because as an author of color I know first hand that having a character you can relate to in a book as a kid can be a great thing. I have always been a reader, I was obsessed with books as a child, but rarely did I find a character that looked like me, that came from any of the same kinds of neighborhoods I lived in. The books that I could identify with (Like The House On Mango Street) I read close to a million times. They were important to me because I could see myself in the pages, and it made me feel like I was understood in some way.
It’s my hope that readers feel they can identify with my characters, and that it helps them realize they’re not less than because of how they look or what they’re struggling with.
3) How did you prepare for writing about mental health issues? How did you conduct your research?
Read the rest of the article here.
My day job is pretty cool. I work for a book marketing company (The Combined Book Exhibit) as their social media manager. It means I get to tweet, and post things on Facebook all day and blog. My latest blog is about gaining readers via Instagram for authors. If it’s something you’ve wondered about, read on!
With over 200 million active users and 1.6 Billion likes daily, Instagram is perhaps one of the most powerful social media apps available for authors to market their eBooks.
However, how can something used mainly for sharing pictures help readers find their way to you?
It’s true there are limitations to Instagram (or IG as it’s sometimes abbreviated), most glaring of all the inability to share hyperlinks.
When setting up your profile, you are able to add one link which can be reserved for your official website or a link to purchase your book, but beyond that your followers will need to copy/paste any links you share…something they’re not likely to do.
The key is making and sharing content that will get them interested in your book, so interested, they will go to your profile and find the one link you are allowed to share, or search for you on Amazon using your book title. The secret to driving traffic via Instagram has to do with engaging your audience, and using visually appealing pictures to help sell your story. Below I will share a few ways that have helped me reach more readers, and some great examples I’ve seen other authors use on Instagram as well…
As if it’s a big surprise, I love eighties music. It was one of many reasons I decided to set my books from The Empire Witch Series, in that era. As I write, I compile a playlist of songs which are mentioned in the books or inspired my writing. You can listen to The Skinwalker’s Apprentice (currently a FREE Ebook on Amazon!) playlist on spotify here.
I am currently putting together the playlist for Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of The Timekeeper (book one) and the below song has always been one of my favs which made the cut! Listen and enjoy the smooth sounds of ‘Til Tuesday in today’s Song of The Day!
Please check out the cover reveal for author Devyn Dawson! I was lucky enough to get to host this on Rad/dom so please read the below from the lovely author herself! 🙂
Killing Me Softly – A Broken Souls Novel
Hey everyone, I have a new book coming out in June. I’m so excited for this book to get in your hands! It is a New Adult book about a girl who was always told to stay away from military guys. Her dad lived in fear that one day a military guy would come along and break her heart. I grew up by Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City, Oklahoma and we were always warned about military boys. I met my husband 22 years ago while he was stationed at TAFB. This story isn’t about anyone I know, but it’s about everyone I’ve ever met. Not everyone is given the chance to live a charmed life, especially Holland. Read below for the synopsis of this dear to my heart book. Not every guy in the military is a killer, or angry, no, there’s so many good guys looking for a good girl. I know, because I found one.
Please do me a huge favor and add it to your TBR list on Goodreads and share on Facebook. It is how authors like me get the word out! Thank you so much!!!
Facts – My best friend died six months ago. My mom bailed on me when I turned 13. My dad is mentally ill and a permanent fixture on our couch. We live on his disability and my meager paycheck. I take online college courses so I can work full time to pay for the electric bill. I’ve fallen head over heels for Tate Cook, he’s in the U.S. Air Force.
I’m Holland Clifford, I’m 19, and this is my life.
Once upon a time, I was whole… and then I was shattered. Tate’s picking up my pieces and putting me back together again.
The teaser/prequel to my series about witches is out now. Only .99 cents for the eBook, so go buy it and help me not be poor. Book one will be out in the fall and it’s going to kick ass. Read about the prequel below, and book one here.
The Priestess was brilliant. But she was also extremely curious.
Margo Pennyfeather is being hunted. The 16-year-old witch has always been an outcast, in her home back in England, and now in the village of East Hampton New York where her family has settled. No one but her family has ever cared for Margo, but now the most important witch in the magic world wants her as an apprentice, giving her a chance to bring her family out of poverty.
Before long, Margo realizes things aren’t what they seem, least of all, what kind of witch she really is. Now, the young witch must face a terrifying monster on her own, and the reverberations will reach farther than she could have ever imagined.
More than three hundred years later, in 1984 Emerald Kipp is a high school senior in New York City. A troubled teen with a rebellious streak, Emerald can’t seem to figure out what to do with her life, and unfortunately for her, “witch” isn’t one of the available career choices in her guidance counselor’s office. As she struggles to figure herself out, Emerald is faced with the threat of being stuck in school and missing her final summer with her three best friends. Her last year of high school is turning out to be the worst yet, and Emerald thinks it can’t possibly get any worse. Unfortunately for her, she’s dead wrong.
And there’s something else, something far more sinister stirring in Emerald’s world, and she’ll have to believe in herself if she wants to get through it alive.
The Skinwalker’s Apprentice is a prequel to the upcoming novel, Emerald Kipp and The Riddle of The Timekeeper, a terrifying magical scavenger hunt through the gritty streets of 1980’s New York City, set to a killer soundtrack, and perfect for fans of Harry Potter and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Part of The Empire Witches series.
*Available NOW on , Apple iBook, Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Nobles and more!
Writing a scene set in the famous nightclub Danceteria tonight for Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of the Timekeeper.
This book is about to be the weirdest thing of all time. Magic and witches in 1980’s New York City, drag queens and music, talking cats and a witch doctor who looks like a toad. Welcome to my brain.
Interview on Living Arts Westchester (click link below):
Book Signing at The American Library Association’s Midwinter Book Fair in Philadelphia
Book Signing at The Hudson Valley Gateway Experience, Cortlandt Manor NY
Blog tour schedule: