Posted in Publishing, Querying Help, social media, Twitter, VIdeos, Youtube Video

I Got My Agent on Twitter! 10 Tips for Online Pitching Contests like #DVpit & #Pitmad

Most authors get their agents through the slush pile. That is, sending their query to an agent’s email inbox and standing out among the thousands of other writers in there. But there are other ways….

tumblr_obl20ay0nw1tq4of6o1_500

 

dvpit12

This little tweet here got me my literary agents. I posted it on Twitter last April during #DVpit, a Twitter event created to showcase works about and especially by marginalized voices. By May I was signed to Fuse Literary. Sounds easy, but remember this came after years of writing, revising, crying and a few months of querying. #DVpit has more specific rules but there are other contests such as #Pitmad that are open to everyone.

83rgztq

During these events you will pitch your book using the indicated # for the specific contest and then identifiers like #YA (for young adult) or #UF for urban fantasy. Usually you can only tweet one pitch per hour, then wait for an agent or editor to fav your pitch and send them your query and sometimes opening pages depending on their submission guidelines. This is useful because many times agents read requested materials from these events first and it allows agents to find YOU instead of the other way around. A full list of rules and mechanics for each event is posted on their respective websites.

conan-this-should-be-fun

While Twitter pitch contests like #DVpit & #Pitmad aren’t replacements for traditional querying, they can definitely help you bypass the line all while improving your book pitching skills.

trap

I would also like to point out that the agents/editors and publishers participating during #Pitmad aren’t curated so PLEASE make sure to do your research before you submit to them! I have a story on what happens to you when you don’t and it’s not pretty.

tumblr_n8gzdck9af1rbpjjlo1_500

If you’re planning on participating in #DVpit or any of the other contests out there please check out my video! I gathered a collection of tips from authors and agents on pitching via Twitter events that will be super helpful for any querying writers. Make sure to like and subscribe to my channel for more videos & if you have any questions about these events leave me a comment on YouTube and I’ll do my best to answer it! Good luck!

 

Posted in Advice, am writing, Books, Claribel Ortega, literary agent, MSWL, Pets, Publishing, query, querying, Querying Help, Uncategorized

Query Tips: Advice for Authors Seeking a Literary Agent

gob-letter-throw
Querying, a Gif

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 🙂

 

Posted in AmQuerying Series, query, querying, Querying Help, Uncategorized

The Query Letter That Got Me an Agent

Dear (Agent name spelled correctly),

      Reeking of cigarettes and sneaking into her window after last night’s Smiths concert, Emerald Kipp watches as the sun dips backwards into the sky. The sixteen-year-old witch can’t decide if she’s still hung-over or if she really did reverse time. Coming from a lineage of Caribbean and South American witches, Emerald has always known she was magical, but after rewinding time like a VHS tape on her last day of high school, she discovers she’s also a Timeteller – a class of time-bending witches so powerful, they were hunted to near-extinction long ago.

     When Emerald’s only relative Aunt Nora vanishes, Emerald must venture into the dangerous Magick World, tucked within the NYC alleyways and subway tunnels to save her. Her only clue into her aunt’s disappearance comes from a message from the past—find The Timekeeper, solve the riddle.

     Despite the watercolor sky and talking neon signs, the NYC Magick world is a treacherous one, and skinstitchers , a class of witches who kill and absorb the power of other witches, soon make Emerald their target. With power hungry skinstitchers  hunting her, Emerald must rely on an underground network of Magicks to help her on her journey. Solving the riddle requires not only trusting her new friends, but overcoming her crippling anxiety enough to trust herself.

   As the mystery of the riddle begins to unravel, Emerald learns that more than Aunt Nora’s life is at stake if she can’t beat it. Armed with a book of magic, her still-broken Walkman, and her trusty lock pick set, Emerald sets out to solve the riddle before time runs out–and she, along with everyone she knows, is erased from history. This might be a little harder than Saturday detention.

RIDDLE OF THE TIMEKEEPER is a 99,000-word YA Urban Fantasy set in 1980’s New York City. It combines THE CRAFT with SHADOWSHAPER and  is a standalone novel with strong series potential. I am querying you because (brief explanation). Below please find my first twenty pages and a brief synopsis.

     I work as a marketing director and social media manager at The Combined Book Exhibit, which displays books at library and trade shows such as The Frankfurt Book Fair, worldwide. I am also a graduate of the SUNY Purchase Journalism program and a former reporter in Westchester County, NY.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Posted in query, querying, Querying Help, Uncategorized

Woah,This is Heavy – How to Keep Your Cool While Querying

34509-woah-this-is-heavy-how-to-keep-your-cool

  1. Work on something else

tumblr_lntmmtTffO1qbw3a4o1_500.gif

Everyone says this one, because it’s true. Once you start working on a new idea, a new plot, new characters — the queries you have out won’t seem as urgent. That’s because you’re not betting it all on one book. You have something else to work on and query if your other MS doesn’t end up getting you an agent. And if you used CPs, Beta readers and edited the Bejesus out of your WIP like I did, chances are the next book you write is going to be a much better one anyway.

 2. Use Query Tracker in Moderation

mobile-age.gif

Query Tracker is a great tool for…keeping…track of your queries. Duh. It can also drive you insane, if you let it. Make sure you’re not becoming hypnotized by those little purple offer of representation faces, discouraged by the red faces of rejection or obsessed with the green ones that equal requests. I’ve also seen many people lose hope for agents based on their response times and close them out when not much time has passed. Just remember not everyone is on QT, and not everyone logs every single query and response they get. That means the data you’re working with is not 100% accurate, so try not to make assumptions based off of it. No news is no news, unless it’s been months and months with no word (and even then sometimes good stuff happens), anything is possible. Sure you can keep track of where your agent is on their timeline, and see if it looks like they might be getting closer to you, but you won’t really know anything until you get a response (hellooo not everyone uses QT.)

hellooo.gif

3. Let it go

letitgogiphy

You can only check your email so many times before you have to accept there’s literally nothing you can do about the queries you have out right now.  Refreshing every seven seconds won’t make that response come any quicker, live your life and take care of yourself. Obsessing over how long it’s taking will make it seem like a lot longer of a wait than it actually is. There are, I’ve noticed, a large amount of writers who insist on nudging all the time/way to early/the moment they have had enough of waiting. I would say to err on the side of caution with this one. Though it’s true some agents appreciate a gentle nudge, and even ask writers to do so sometimes,  it can get tricky-especially if they already requested pages. The rules for  query wait time versus a partial, or full can change from agent to agent. Don’t sit there counting down the seconds till the agent said it’s okay to nudge on their website. Be patient.

4. Don’t overshare on Twitter

tumblr_mrqp06L5ko1sakpa3o2_r2_500

Maybe this is just me, but I think it’s sort of weird when writers share every rejection, full request etc. on Twitter. For one, it’s not a great idea to let agents know you’re being rejected. Sure, they might assume it’s happening but let them think everyone loves your work. Don’t list the ten rejections you got this morning or talk about how stupid/blind/cruel the agent is for rejecting you. Similarly, announcing fulls, page requests and every last thing that goes on when you query might be somewhat of a turn off for agents. Will you be able to keep your cool & be discreet when your book is out on submission with editors? Will you complain about a rejection from a big publishing house, publicly? If you’re doing it during the query process, it could lead agents to believe you’d do it on submission. It’s better to celebrate/vent about the process in a smaller group, on Gchat (where all the juicy stuff goes down) or you know, not where everyone can watch your every move.

5. Have a support group

fearofrejection12

Having writer friends who get what it’s like to be rejected, is so crucial. You could try to tell your normal, non-writer/non-weirdo friends about the process, but by the time you explain what a “full” is you’re going to regret it so hard (probably.) And even if they get the technicalities, they will never understand what it actually feels like to write a book, to work so hard on something and watch people reject it over and over and over again. And to keep sending it out anyway. Get a group of writing friends, start or join a FB group or email chain, exchange numbers with your CP (sup Anna send me some emojis, girl)  and text them updates. Trust me, it helps.

6. Keep busy with stuff other than writing

650a828b-8713-4edc-91ea-eaa5feec2300

Exercise, play some video games, go to the movies, do something fun that’s not about your book, or querying. Read, knit your grandmother a scarf, teach your dog to dance and go on X Factor. Go outside for once, you hermit. Don’t be a writing robot. It’s boring for you and for the rest of the world that has to put up with you. If you’re doing other, fun stuff you’re less likely to be driving yourself mad thinking of that dream agent you’re waiting for a response from.

7. Know it’s a long process for almost everyone

better-get-used-to-these-bars-kid

Anybody who’s worth anything as a writer starts by sitting down and working hard on something. They’re passionate about writing, and pour everything they have into those pages. The thought of being published might set your heart on fire, but that makes you no different than 99.9 percent of us. The process is going to be hard. Period. At some point it will be a challenge, and this is true for anyone you speak to. Get used to the idea that it will be many, many months before you get any positive response from agents. Then, even if it’s not that long of a wait, you will be pleasantly surprised. But do not expect to send out a batch of queries, or send out five or six, and have an offer of rep in hand by next week. That’s just not how it works for most of us, so it’s best to be prepared for the long haul. Don’t put negative energy into the universe and say I WILL NEVER GET AN AGENT, either but be cautiously optimistic.

 

8. Be mentally prepared to revise

20-facts-about-back-to-the-future-1985-1990-that-will-blow-your-mind-442393

I have an agent friend who gave me some advice once. She said, if they’re rejecting without asking for pages, it’s your query. But if they’re asking for pages and rejecting after that, it’s your pages. Be ready to receive feedback from agents, and to tool around with your MS should you get a number of people pointing out the same thing. Or maybe you’re just not getting any response from your query and you need to rework it and run it past some new readers. Whatever it is, beginning the querying process doesn’t  mean you won’t be editing again (because even after you get an agent you’ll be editing, honey.) Mentally prepare yourself to hear, “this needs work,” and have a game plan in mind for getting that work done.

 

9. Participate in contests

77171292-57f5-417d-8f8a-55e26a1cea7d

Not only can you get agent requests during contests like #Pitmad and #SFFPIT but you can also make friends by seeing who is participating and adding them to a writing friends list on Twitter. For contests like Pitch Wars, you can get feedback from fellow authors and the camaraderie is fantastic. I found a buttload of friends + my CP through Pitch Wars last year and because of them my book is seven trillion times better than before I entered. These contests are also a lot of fun. Here is a list of the upcoming 2016 pitch events.

 

10. Go to conferences

roads

Going to conferences can be such a moral boost. You get to meet other writers in person, sometimes pitch to agents, and hear industry professionals give helpful and encouraging advice. Plus, you’ll be so busy trying to eat your ham sandwich before “Pitching a Picture Book” in hall three, you won’t even remember to refresh your email app. It’s a great way to practice pitching in person as well, and many an offer of rep has come from authors meeting agents at conferences. It’s a great way to make the querying experience a positive one, instead of just being stressful.

 

A special thank you to my boo Andrea Contos for helping me with some suggestions for this post, go follow her on Twitter!

 

 

Posted in querying, Querying Help, Uncategorized

#SFFpit is today! 12.10.15

For those of you looking for a literary agent, today is #SffPit on Twitter! Don’t know what that is? Like #Pitmad you can pitch your completed,polished MS on Twitter in hopes of getting the attention of an agent. Unlike Pitmad it’s only for SF or Fantasy authors! There are new rules this year, so please make sure to check them out before participating. Here are some graphics I made as a friendly reminder:

sfffantasywatermark

sffpitgraphicSCIFIwatermark

For more info please visit DanKoboldt.com !

Posted in am writing, Book Update, querying, Querying Help

Query Ready Checklist + Riddle of The Timekeeper Update! October 2015

when
Friends asking me when the book will be done.

It’s been close to three years *cries* since I began writing ROTK, and it looks like the end is near. I’ve said this before…so many times I’ve thought “I AM DONE” only to realize I was a filthy liar and not really done.

kristin-cavallari-not-really

But this time I am closer than I ever have been before, and with all the new things I’ve picked up after my pitch wars experience, I am setting a March 2016 deadline (flexible because you know how I feel about hard imaginary deadlines) to begin querying.

Me to made up deadlines
Me to made up deadlines

That gives me about six months to polish my MS for the fifth and hopefully final time before sending it out to agents. I am really excited, because despite my false starts, this time I realize just how far off I really was from being query ready, and now I know what my MS needs to get there or at least, pretty darn close. Here are a few things I recommend for making sure your own MS is ready for agent eyes:

  1. At least two edits after your first draft – I know it’s pretty easy to believe that all you have to do is write the book and send it off, or give it a once over for grammar etc but unless you’re a seasoned writer (and honestly even if you are) your book is probably not even close to ready after  the first draft. It’s probably a big pile of crap with potential. So you most likely need at least two (or three more realistically) edits before you get it into better shape.
  2. Take a Closer Look at your Plot: Using the note card feature on Scrivener is a great tool to make sure each of your chapters are necessary and help move the plot forward. If you don’t have Scrivener, using a word document or real note cards works just as well. This technique is also great for getting your pacing sorted (or if your word count is too high/low and you need to find places to cut or beef up your MS)
  3. CP Help : Having critique partners is a great way to catch small mistakes, plot inconsistencies and weak points in your book. Running your MS through one or two CP’s before moving on to the next step is a great way to find out of if your MS is ready or close to it.
  4. Beta readers: Once you’ve self edited and gotten feedback from your CP’s, get a good group (three is a good number) of readers to give you their impressions on the book overall. Beta readers usually help more with big picture stuff, but I’ve had my beta’s point out more specific issues here and there as well.
  5. One more read through! – Just in case yo.

If you haven’t done this, at a minimum, you’re probably not ready to query. I would say most writers don’t go through all this fuss for their books, which makes sense considering the high amount of agent rejections/people who are new and still learning when they query. Querying too soon is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen among writers, take your time and make sure your MS is as tight as possible before sending it out. Don’t take the “Let me just see what happens” approach when you know you haven’t done as much as you should. I can tell you right now, “what happens” will probably be you not getting an agent. Sorry if that seems harsh but it’s better to consider these things NOW and not after you’ve queried.

sorry

I will be going to the Frankfurt Book Fair this month, and trying to work on the book whilst there though I probably won’t get much done with the crazy schedule. I’ll be blogging helpful stuff for authors from there/posting pictures on my Instagram so follow me if you’d like to see my face + beer and German food. I’ll blog another book update closer to the half way mark, so be on the look out for a Christmas time ROTK update. Thanks for reading!

tumblr_m70jvwl4MO1rzapx4o1_400