Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jodi Meadows Query Critique Winner

Before announcing the winner, I want to remind you that Jodi's book Incarnate came out today! I'm running to B&N right after work to grab my copy :-)

This is what you should look for at the bookstore today ;-)

The winner, as chosen by Random.org, is:

Some Screaming Fan Girl!

Her answer to what she would want to be reincarnated as is... interesting:

I would like to be reincarnated as a sloth. Why? Just to see how fast the world moves for them. Or if they as bloodthirsty as we believe...

Thanks to everyone who entered and thanks to Jodi for stopping by! The winner will be emailed shortly.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Entangled Pitch Contest Winners

I'm so glad I didn't have to judge this contest because there were some great submissions. Remember, if you didn't get chosen as a winner, you're invited to submit a query using the link below! Without further ado, here's the message from Entangled:

Thanks so much for hosting us, YAtopia! There were some really amazing pitches here, and I hope we see a sale from our requests.

All requests are for full manuscripts. Please send them as an RTF attachment to your e-mail, and include your cover letter in the body of the e-mail. Also, make sure your subject includes the title of your work and “Requested Material.” Don’t forget to mention YAtopia in your cover letter.

If your pitch was not chosen, and you think we’ve made a mistake, we encourage you to submit a query and sample pages according to our submission guidelines here: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/submission-information/

Stacy Abrams (stacy at entangledpublishing dot com) requests:
Light Sister, Dark Sister – SC Langgle
Last Wish – Kelly Daniels
First Time – Alicia Caldwell
That Succs – Larissa Hardesty

Heather Howland (heather at entangledpublishing dot com) requests:
Minotaur – Alexandra Singer
Triangles – Kimberly Miller
The ACADA Chronicles – Sarah J. Schmitt

Adrien-Luc Sanders (adrien-luc at entangledpublishing dot com) requests:
Serious Game 2.0 – Loralie Hall
Queen’s Rebellion – M.E. Applegate

Josh Vogt (josh at entangledpublishing dot com) requests:
The Second Sign – E. Arroyo
Steel Horizon – Gwen Cole

Kerry Vail (kerry at entangledpublishing dot com) requests:
Witch Weigh – Caroline Mickelson

Libby Murphy (libby at entangledpublishing dot com) requests:
Awaken – Shelley Watters

Kerri-Leigh Grady (kerri-leigh at entangledpublishing dot com) requests:
Just Desserts – Tricia Quinnies

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Writing Therapy

Obviously I love writing. I've always loved writing. Ever since I was little I've used writing as a form of therapy. In my teen years it was poetry. I can't tell you how many broken hearts, unrequited loves, BFF fights, or parent issues I have worked through with poetry. I even have a few old journals to prove it.

The older I got, the less poetry I wrote. Still, when something major happened, I still pulled out my journal and a pen. When my dad died, that's what I did. I listened to his favorite song over and over and I wrote a poem for him. I shared some things we'd never talked about in real life and it helped.

When I started writing books, things changed a little bit. I was writing mostly to tell my characters' stories. I mean, I used little things here or there that I'd seen or dealt with, but that's all.

And then I got an idea for a book. I didn't even realize how much that book would come to mean to me. The more I wrote, the more I realized that part of it was my story. Not all of it and though the situation was different, in some ways, it was still mine.

An amazing thing happened, because it helped me too. Helped when I didn't realize I needed it. It was a way for me to get out the feelings I'd held in. A way for me to share an experience. A way for me to work through emotions I didn't realize I still had.

In other words, it was therapy.

Amazing the things reading and writing can do.

Has a book ever felt like a form of therapy for you?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Giveaway ends tomorrow!

Because I love you fellow YAtopians so much, I don't want you to miss out on one of five chances to win any 2012 debut release of your choice. Head on over to my blog for a chance to win and it's so simple and easy and it ends tomorrow.




Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Entangled Pitch Contest!

This contest is now closed! Thanks so much for your participation. Winners will be announced within a week!

This is GO TIME, writers! We will have eight editors (three senior editors!) from Entangled Publishing taking pitches here today only.  

Pieces can be for any age-range, any genre, and lengths from 10k to 120k words.

"Entangled is a boutique publisher of romance fiction. We pride ourselves on quality stories and commercial covers, and our innovative business model offers our authors the best of indie and traditional publishing. To find out more, see our website. And don't forget to look through our current open submission calls.

Any level of heat works as long as a romance is central to the story, and the plot is intimately entwined with the building romance. Stories must end HFN or HEA."

Before posting your pitch, you may want to check out the Imprint Guidelines on their website.You can also check out each editor's full bio on our original pitch announcement post.

To enter the contest, leave the following in the comments of this post. Entries will be accepted from now until midnight EST tonight.

Word Count

[Two-line pitch]

[First 100 words]

You do not have to indicate which editor you are pitching to; all the editors will read all of the entries. Each editor will choose at least one winner, from whom they will request the full manuscript.* Winners will be announced within a week - keep an eye out on the blog here and on our Twitter account for the announcement.

You can post up to two different pitches, but each pitch must be written in a separate comment.

 *Editors reserve the right to not choose a winner, based on quality and quantity of submissions.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Challenges of Being a Writer and an Extrovert

We all know the stereotype of the lone writer, laboring away at his opus in a dark corner, shunning all human contact. While it’s not completely accurate for most of us, this stereotype exists for a reason: Many writers are introverted. An unscientific poll of my Twitter writer-friends revealed that 92% of those who responded consider themselves introverts – and these are people who choose to interact on social media daily.

I am so far away from that “I,” I honestly cannot imagine what it’s like. I can academically know that introverts prefer less social activity, but I will never truly understand it. Just as introverts can never truly understand my rampant need for human interaction, how I feed off the energy of others working around me, how I only take pleasure in knowing or enjoying something if I can share and discuss it with others.

Introverts “recharge” by quietly drinking tea at home and I “recharge” by surrounding myself with and talking to as many people as I can manage.

My ideal writing situation is sitting at a table in a public place with 2-4 other writers tapping their keys along with me. As you can imagine, my extroverted tendencies present some serious challenges to my writing:
  • I CANNOT stand to sit at home alone. I fidget. I’m easily distracted. My blood pressure literally rises. I call friends for dinner, lunch, watching a movie, anything. It’s like the opposite of social anxiety.
  • I’m a joiner and belong to a lot of groups. I also like to organize so I end up organizing a lot of groups. Bye bye free time.
  • I want to accept every social invitation that comes my way. And since I (by design) have a lot of friends, there are no days without social invitations. Every day I am not at a social event, it’s a conscious hard-made decision.
  • But the biggest challenge about being an extrovert is: The rest of you are not! I want to meet you in person, have coffee and talk about books. I want you to meet me at the library and sit in a group while all of us write, feeding off each other’s creative energy. Like, every day.
Twitter is a great middle of the road for us, but it’s not nearly the same. It’s like when you’re craving chocolate and all you have is a tootsie roll.

I just wanted to leave you with some tips about how I handle being an extroverted writer, for the handful of us out there. And let me know how you handle it, too!
  • Join a local writers group or three. Yeah, that two hours a week is the upper limit for a lot of introverts and is barely an appetizer for us, but it is much better than nothing. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find someone to have in-person writing sessions with.
  • Put a strictly-defined limit on your socializing. Depending on the week, I’ll tell myself that I can only plan/accept social invitations three or four nights that week. Something else pops up that I really want to go to? OK, I can go – if I write for no less than an hour before I leave.
  • Don’t limit your working partners to writers. There are other people – like web designers, students, graphic artists, programmers – who also have quiet work they can do from anywhere. Having one of them working next to me is just as effective as a writer.
  • Fake it. If you can’t find anyone to write with you, go to a crowded starbucks, mall food court or cafĂ©. For me, it’s not as good as working “with” other people, but it does help ease my anti-social anxiety. 
  • If ^ that's not possible (because, for example, you're a night owl and all these places are closed when you're writing), try writing with the TV & music on. It sounds crazy, I know, but it helps me sometimes.
  • Remember: the time is going to come for a conference or for you to promote your book. You may envy the introverts while writing, but your preferences for human interaction are really going to help you shine when those opportunities arise.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow to pitch EIGHT editors from Entangled Publishing!

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Interview with Author Jodi Meadows - plus Query Critique!

    Today I have the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate, which releases next week!

    Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut.
    *A Kippy is a cat.

    See the bottom of this post to read more about Incarnate and to learn how to win a query critique from Jodi!

    You're very active in the blogging/tweeting world. Any tips for other authors out there?
    Sure! Best tip: only do it if it's fun for you. Social media can take a lot of time, and if you're not having fun with it . . . no one else will either. (But don't let it be TOO fun. Remember: your job is to write books.)

    Pantser or plotter?
    Both. Sort of in the middle. I used to write organically all the way. With INCARNATE, I tried plotting beforehand. This was incredibly useful and I've embraced it for all my projects since. But I still leave room for new and unplanned things, because sometimes they turn out to be everyone's favorite parts. (See: masquerade scene.)

    You're represented by Lauren MacLeod; can you tell us how that came about?
    I got Lauren the old fashioned way. I admired her agentness on Twitter, queried her, and then sent her manuscripts until she said yes.

    What's the first thing you did when you found out (ERIN) INCARNATE was going to be published?
    Stunned silence. I have not spoken a word since. (Kidding.)

    You used to read submissions for a literary agency; how do you think this has affected your writing and path to publication?
    It definitely gave me a perspective few authors get. I understand a lot better why agents and editors say no, even to good projects. (No love.) I understand why they may take on flawed projects. (Intense love.) It also gave me a good idea of just how many people out there are writing books (a surprisingly large number!) and how many of those books are similar to the latest big hit (ditto).

    If you had a past life, what do you think you would have been?
    When I was a kid, my sister and I used to pretend we were princesses in past lives. These, of course, were princesses that never existed. As children, we weren't so into the idea of research.

    What would you like to be incarnated as?
    A unicorn! Or a ferret! Or a cat. Or -- no, definitely not a book character. Never mind.

    You collected unicorns as a child, right? Any plans to include them in a story?
    I did! I was easy to shop for on Christmas and birthdays. And one day they'll make it into a story of mine.

    You've said you wanted to be an astronaut (like on Star Trek) when you were little. If you did serve on the Enterprise, where would you like to go first?
    If I actually served on the Enterprise, I'm afraid I'd be a red shirt. You know, the character who comes on for that episode and everyone seems to like . . . and dies by act three.

    Rapid Fire:
    Favorite color?
    Favorite mythological creature? Unicorn.
    Vanilla or Chocolate? Chocolate.
    Kirk or Picard? Picard -- he's who I grew up with.

    I just wanted to say thanks to Jodi for stopping by YAtopia! Read more about Incarnate below and find out how you can win a query critique from Jodi!

    Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

    Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

    Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

    Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.


    As a former literary agency submissions-reader, Jodi knows a lot about what works in a query. Though she no longer does her fantastic "Query Project" posts on her blog, she is giving away one (private) query critique (up to 400 words) to one lucky commenter!

    How to enter: This one's easy. Just make sure you follow YAtopia via GFC or email and leave a comment below saying what you would want to be reincarnated as before 11:59 PM Eastern January 30th. The winner will be chosen by random.org. Make sure to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win!

    Spreading the word is not required, but greatly appreciated. You know how it is... Karma :-)

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Betaing yourself up

    Most aspiring writers have heard of the term Beta editor or Beta Reader - someone who you send your draft MS to go through and provide feedback on.
    But why is it so important to have them?

    Perspective. A good Beta reader will give you a perspective on the flaws in your manuscript. It's easy to be so in love with your characters and your plot that you don't see what's missing from your MS - or what's in there doesn't need to be.

    Listen to the feedback and learn from your writing buddy.                                            

    Another benefit of this is preparing you for the editorial process if you do get an agent and/or a publisher. I haven't heard of an author that has been traditionally published who hasn't made some changes under the guidance of their agent or editor.

    You need thick skin in the publishing game and getting constructive feedback from people you can help you get used to your precious process being picked to pieces.
    So why should you be a Beta editor?

    Well, for starters, if you're asking someone to read for you, then you should offer to return the favour.
    But it also can help make you a better writer. I've been doing a fair bit of Beta reading lately for some writer friends and I've noticed two things.
    Firstly, I see things that I'm missing in my work. It makes me want to aim higher with my writing.
    Then, sometimes I see what's missing from my friends manuscripts. When I see missing character development or plot holes, it makes me think about my work and if I've done the same thing.
    Giving and receiving feedback makes you a better writer. To find out more about being a good Beta reader here and ways to connect with other writers here. And tell us about your Beta reading experiences in the comments.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Teentopia: Taylor and Amanda

    For the first Teentopia, we have two incredibly intelligent sisters answering our questions and indulging in our curiosity!

    Meet Amanda:
    I’m 15, in 10th grade, and homeschooled. I am a Christian; I walk with Christ. Art, of many different forms in general, is a huge interest of mine. I’m also looking into going into the field of medicine, but still debating.

    And introducing Taylor:
    I’m a high school senior with various interests and passions. I tend to love anything relating to the arts or the human mind. My purpose is to live like Christ, glorifying God and serving others.

    What are some of your favorite recently-read books?

    Amanda: Some of my favorite recently read books would be: The Hunger Games trilogy, The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Pendragon Series, The Outsiders, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

    Taylor: Definitely on my top list of recent books would be Mockingjay (the last book in the Hunger Games series), Book of a Thousand Days, The Shunning, and The Confession (sequel to The Shunning).

    How do you find out about and choose books that aren't assigned in school?

    Amanda: I usually find out about new books and book series by word of mouth; from friends and relatives. I also learn about or becoming interested in reading new books through seeing movies made off of books and books written by an author I like though.

    Taylor: I ask for recommendations from my friends and family, or I just discuss good books with them. Sometimes I even get into conversations about books with people I just met or barely know. Good books make for good discussions, and when someone’s description of a book they love captivates me, I have to go out and read it for myself.

    On a related note, do you read reviews before you decide to read a book? Where?

    Amanda: No, I actually don’t really end up reading any reviews until after I read a book, ironically. When I do read reviews though, I usually read them through school related websites.

    Taylor: About 20% of the time I will read reviews about a book before I read the book myself. I only read reviews if I’m seriously debating on whether or not I want to read a particular book. Everyone’s view is biased, so when I have my mind set on reading a book, I will read it no matter what I’ve heard about it. Most of the time I just skip the reviews; I don’t want another’s view of the book to affect the way I will perceive it. Nevertheless, whenever I do happen to read the reviews of a book, I type the name of the book and the word “reviews” into Google. I don’t remember any particular sites I’ve used the most for reviews, but I do know that I’ve used Amazon a few times.

    Do you read author's blogs/facebooks/twitters? If yes: before you read their book or after - and what kind of content do you like to see?

    Amanda: I don’t recall having ever read an author’s facebook or twitter, and I don’t read many authors’ blogs, but I have read a couple blogs for some of the authors I really like. I usually read their blog after I’ve read their book or books however. What I usually like to see on an author’s blog kind of varies. I like to read about updates on books, inspirations for writing certain works, their personal interests or random activities; things like that.

    Taylor: I’ve read an author’s blogs a few times, but I don’t do it often. If a series is really, really good, I’ll read some of its author’s blogs on the book’s website or on blogspot.com. So far, the only two authors whose blogs I have read are DJ Machale (Author of the Pendragon series), and JK Rowling. What I’d like to see in their blogs are any current books they are working on, if any plans are being made for a movie in the future (I was dying to know about this with the Pendragon series), and things about their lifestyle, perspective, and surrounding influences and how those things have shaped the book(s) that they have written.

    What kind of covers draw your attention?

    Amanda: Vivid or creative covers really draw my attention. Since I’m really into Art, neat pictures or graphic designs catch my attention pretty quickly.

    Taylor: I have a tendency to be drawn to covers that portray depth and meaning, because those are the types of stories I like to read. Anything from a simple cover of a girl with a conflicted expression to a complex cover of a confusing maze of graphic artistry can draw me in – it just all depends on if I feel depth from the cover. It can be a confusing scene that I want to figure out, or a sad person whose story I want to hear, or a cool design that shows creative sophistication. Whatever it is, it has to make me want to get lost in its story; it has to move me in some way. That being said, a book’s cover doesn’t even have to have illustrations for me to be drawn in – I’m often drawn by the title of the book itself. I think the title of a book is just as important, if not more, than the illustration. Oftentimes, the title is what gives me the most sense of depth and meaning, which, in turn, draws my attention.

    Do you feel like YA books accurately represent teen culture? How so? Is there anything (themes, character types, genres, time periods, etc) you'd like to see more of in YA books?

    Amanda: I feel that YA books do a pretty good job at representing teen culture. There is a good variety to their books, and a lot of them do seem targeted towards teen audiences. I’m not sure I’d say there is anything I’d like to see more of in YA books.

    Taylor: Sadly, yes. I say “sadly” because I feel that a majority of YA books focus on drama, sex, relationships, and image. From what I’ve seen of the teen culture, and what I’ve experienced myself, most teens seem to focus on these four things. I like books that have these things, yet send out morals as well, such as the fact that these things are not all there is to life. However, a lot of books I’ve read seem to have excessive drama without meaning, sex for entertainment, and characters that, even by the end of the book, think that having a boyfriend or girlfriend is the most important thing in life. Can’t we have more books that focus on these things but also show meaning and morals and depth too?

    I would like more Christian books, or at least books with Christian themes like loving others, forgiving others, and using your own suffering to help those around you. In other words, I want more wholesome books that you can gain beneficial morals from. I’d also like to see more books about teens struggling with mental disorders. I’ve read one about a guy with autism, but I have yet to read about a teen struggling with an anxiety disorder (like me). Basically, I’d love to see any books about the outcasts, or people that aren’t the norm. We already have enough books a

    Anything you want to see less of?

    Amanda: Personally, I would like to see fewer books that primarily consist of teenage high school relationship drama. I just feel like I see and read so many books like that, and it begins to get a bit boring after a while. Not that books like that can’t be great, I would just like something new is all.

    Taylor: YES. Please, let’s cut down on the drama, relationships, sex, and image obsession. I understand if they are added to progress an idea or theme in the book, but when they are added solely for entertainment purposes, I cannot stand it! I need to see the meaning!

    How do you read books? (paper, e-reader, phone, audio, etc)

    Amanda: I like to read actual paper books. I like the feeling of being able to sit or lay down and open my book up. I don’t really read books on the computer or anything unless I’m required to. I have enjoyed listening to some books on tape, but I still prefer paper books.

    Taylor: I read paper books, and have tried a few audio ones too. I don’t read electronic books because they just don’t have the same feeling – I can’t flip the pages with my hands, use my special bookmarks, and make notes on it. I can’t even drop the electronic “book” without it being damaged (yes, I’m clumsy)! I prefer paper books all the way, and I prefer them over audio too because I like imagining the voices myself and reading at my own pace.

    What do you think about all the YA books that have recently been made into movies?

    Amanda: Most of the books that are made into movies are ones that I really like coincidentally. I personally always find the books better then the movies.

    Taylor: For most of the ones I’ve seen and read, I think that the movies have done a pretty good job at portraying the original books. Of course, I still think that a lot of the movies cannot compare to the books (such as the Harry Potter series). When something is so good and masterfully written, the movie can only become second best no matter how hard it tries to fully capture its predecessor. As for the selection of books that are made into movies, though I’m not too fond of all of them (Twilight, for example, is decent), what I like is that when a book seems to have a huge fan base, companies strive to create a movie out of it. I like this because it makes a lot of people happy. I know the excitement of finding out that your favorite book will soon be a motion picture; it’s quite an amazing feeling.

    What book have you read that you think deserves more attention?

    Amanda: Definitely the Pendragon Series. It’s one of my all time favorite series and an amazing read. I don’t hear about a lot of people that have read the series though.

    Taylor: I think The Shunning and the two books that follow it deserve more attention, quite simply because… they’re just so good! Not only do the books portray a unique perspective and story (they delve into the Amish life, telling of a girl adopted into an Amish family, who struggles with her heritage and seeks answers in the “outside world”). The characters in the story are as dynamic as can be, with flaws, regrets, failures, successes, dreams, quirks, and beautiful characteristics of all kind. The relationship between the main character and her adoptive parents, as well as the various friendships throughout the story, are realistic yet uplifting. Even though the series hugely reflects Christian values, I would recommend it to anybody. It is informative of a culture, it shows a variety of different perspectives, it delves into complex relationships, and it masterfully portrays the struggle of self-discovery and acceptance.

    What novel are you most looking forward to in 2012?

    Amanda: Surprisingly, I haven’t currently heard about many books coming out in 2012 that I’m too interested in.

    Taylor: At the moment, I can’t think of any books coming out in 2012 that I’m most looking forward to, but I do know of some that have already come out that I’m dying to read. First, I can’t wait to read The Reckoning, which is the third book of The Shunning. Also, I’m really looking forward to reading the Game of Thrones series, which was recommended to me by a friend, and the I Am Number Four series, because I enjoyed the movie.

    Do you use any book-specific sites to keep track of what you've read?

    Amanda: No actually, I’ve never really used any kind of site like that.

    Taylor: No I don’t, though that is a really good idea. I’ve always wanted to start keeping track of what I’ve read through a book site, so I plan on doing that soon.

    What's the most important element to you: characters, plot, writing style?

    Amanda: I honestly think all three of those are incredibly important in a book, but if I had to choose one, I would have to pick the characters. Just one insanely amazing character can make you fall in love with a book.

    Taylor: That is a tough question. What usually makes me get into a story the most is when I fall in love with its characters. However, the plot is also incredibly important – it paces the events and shows the story’s purpose. But writing style… I would have to argue that the writing style is the most important out of all of these. I believe that your writing style determines all other things. The ability to organize a good plot is dependent on writing style. The ability to create lovable characters with depth is likewise dependent on writing style. You need to know how to write in a way that will captivate the reader and make him or her feel what you want them to feel from the story. You need to find your own unique voice – one that no other author has. That voice can only be shown through your unique writing style.

    I'd like to thank Amanda and Taylor for being my guinea pigs on this new monthly Teentopia feature! Also, the girls said that they will be able to stop by this week and answer your questions, so please leave your questions for them in the comments!

    Don't forget: Come back on January 25th to pitch EIGHT editors from Entangled Publishing. Young Adult or Adult; Novels and novellas! Details here.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    On Needing One Another

    You know what I'm thankful for? Every single one of you. (No, this isn't a late Thanksgiving post haha). But do you know why I'm thankful for you? Because I need you. Yeah, that's right. I need you.

    I need my online friends to provide a reprieve away from the stresses of my offline world.

    I need authors to write books that take me away from everything for a while. Make me so immersed in their world that I don't ever want to leave. Make me fall in love with fictional characters so badly that I want them to be real.

    I need reviewers to write reviews so I can check out a book before I spend my hard earned (and not nearly enough!) money on it.

    I need bloggers and blog readers to provide an interaction that I can either join in with or watch, but both give me a sense of belonging.

    I need my agent - who talks me down off the ledge when I'm having a panic.

    I need my editor who helps make my work better and wants to see it do well as much as I do.

    And when I didn't have an agent/editor, I needed to want one because it made the quest to publishment that much realer.

    Get where I'm going with this? We all need each other. Right? Reviewers love to read. You can't read without authors writing. Authors love to write. You can't write without an audience to write for. Editors love to aquire books and agents love to represent books, but you can't do this without authors querying/subbing to you.

    What I need most of all, though, out of everything up there (well maybe not more than my agent - she rocks!) is for everyone to respect each other. Stop bickering. Stop writing personal things about one another on public networks. Stop writing unhelpful, scathing reviews and expecting authors to appreciate them. Can we all just hug now?

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Internet Etiquette

    So this is going to be a short post today on Internet Etiquette, and here's the thing: I know it's a double edged sword. Because those who have good internet attitude are the ones reading blog posts like this already. The ones who don't need someone like me to come along and tell them how to act. But if I can get one person this post refers to to come along and read this and learn from it, I call that a success. Right?!

    I spend a lot of time lurking around. Lurking in forums, lurking on twitter, lurking on blog posts, lurking on Facebook etc. Sometimes I comment. Sometimes I don't. But I watch. I watch a lot and what I see coming from some individuals is seriously appalling.

    The beauty and problem in the internet is that you can be everywhere from the comfy spot on your sofa or in your bedroom. In fact, you can be anyone, if you want. This means that people have this sense of security. You can say whatever because there's not going to be any physical repercussions. No one's going to come to your house and call you out face to face. Which is a cowards way of thinking. These same people are the ones who leave malicious reviews on Goodreads. They are the ones who leave anonymous comments on blog posts. They are the ones who create Twitter accounts just to heckle people. They are the ones who send abusive emails and purposely create arguments on forums.

    It has to stop. There is an etiquette we should all be following. And here's what I think it is:
    • Be respectful. Sounds simple enough, but often, people say nasty things to others without thinking of how that's going to make that person feel. How would you like if that was done to you?
    • Be graceful. Okay, your dream agent rejects you. Grumble to yourself as you read through the email again and MOVE ON. There is no point in replying with abuse. It isn't going to get you anywhere and it'll end up blacklisting you with other agents because, guess what, AGENTS TALK.
    • Be civil. This goes for everyone. Starting up hate campaigns on Twitter or blogs or forums about an author, a book, an actress, a wrongful querier isn't the most mature or civil thing to do. You have an issue with someone? Moan to your friends, in private, and get over it. Things happen. A book isn't for everyone. A querier might have been rude. But dedicating your time into publicly humiliation? You're better than that.
    • Be positive. I see a lot of people who only comment to be negative. On a forum, someone will post about a new agent they have found and want to share. Mr. Negative will come along and begin to grumble and complain that this agent has no sales. Well duh! They're new. Of course they won't. This same Mr. Negative will reply to agents/editors/authors to disagree with whatever they have posted. It's fine to disagree. It's fine to have a different opinion. But it's not cool to set out just to be negative about everything.
    • Be Real. If you wouldn't say or do something to someone's face, don't do it online. If you would be scared to go up to a writer and tell them that their work sucks to their face, then don't write a blog post about it. Just be you and remember that a computer is not for hiding behind.
    And that is my etiquette list! Sorry if this is a downer post, but I've seen a lot of bad attitudes around the internet globe as recent and I fell like I have to do something about it. Agree with my list? Disagree? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

    Have a nice day!c

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    2011 and all its changes

    So we've reached our awesome one-year anniversary on YAtopia. We haven't lost any members, blown anything up, or created a max exodus from the internet. Unfortunately, we also haven't taken over the world or cured the common cold...so I guess that about breaks us even.

    All of us YAtopians had a busy, busy year. Between book deals, agents, new group blogs, etc, plus—getting to take all of you on our journeys with us. I read more books last year than I had in the five years put together before that. My total was 50, which is really small beans compared to what some people read (150?! Geeeeez). I'm keeping my goal the same for this year, because I came really close to not reaching it in 2011 and I don't want it to become something I stress about.

    But, within those 50 books, I found and fell in love with some amazing stories, characters, and authors. Sean Olin, Isaac Marion, Hannah Moskowitz, Maggie Stiefvater... I will be a loyal fan of theirs and read anything they release, because they're amazing.

    2011, I also made a big leap into contemporary fiction. I read some paranormal, not much dystopian, but a lot of contemporary—namely, thrillers and horror. Which is a pretty big change for me.

    (At the end of 2011 and into 2012, I'm slowly, very slowly, starting to draw again. Which is both frustrating because I'm so out of practice, but happy because I've missed putting my characters down onto paper in the form of pictures.)

    All in all, 2011 contained a lot of changes, new things, and surprising things for me. What new stuff did you encounter in 2011? New authors/series you fell in love with? A new type of book you tried and loved (or didn't love)? Even non-book related. Did you get into any new music, movies, hobbies?

    Last but not least, I hope everyone is getting their submissions and pitches ready for the session with eight Entangled Publishing editors on January 25th. See this post for more details. The date is creeping up fast, so hurry!

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    When life throws you pomegranates

    Huh? Pomegranates?  Yip, pomegranates.  You see, on those days when the lemons hit the fan, and the blades slicing through the peel are spewing bitter juice into broken skin and sensitive eyes, the first thing to cross your mind is, I guess it’s time to make lemonade.  Well actually, that’s not true. The first thing to cross your mind will be, OUCH!, followed closely by, Who the hell did that? But before you start squeezing the crap out of sour lemons and adding tones of sugar in an attempt to make them palatable, take a closer look.  Sometimes the lemons are in fact pomegranates. 
    Pomegranates are quite big, so they really hurt when they’re pelted at you.  They’re an odd fruit.  I find the seeds exceptionally irritating and the pith leaves a disgusting aftertaste, but if you scoop away the flesh from the bitter pith, and juice it to remove the horrible seeds, you are left with the sweetest and most uniquely beautiful, rich elixir  There’s no need to add sugar, it’s sweet enough on it’s own.  It’s also a fantastic antioxidant.  Yup, it will help rid your body of all those nasty toxins that get under your skin and fester. What might surprise you is the amount of goodness these pomegranates can hold, and the pleasant effect they can have on your general wellbeing. The pith and seeds will be rotting in the composter while the benefits of the sweet bits are still working their magic.
    So remember the next time the world throws you lemons, pause and take a closer look.  With any luck, that fruit that just smashed off your head and hurt like hell,  might actually be a pomegranate.

    I hope 2012 is treating you well.
    All the best and talk soon.


    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Pitch Contest Update!

    I just wanted to throw up a quick update to let y'all know that we have added two (and a half?) more editors to our pitch contest with Entangled Publishing. This means, on January 25th, you'll have the chance to pitch six editors in one shot!

    Check the original post for contest details, and make sure to scroll to the bottom for the two additional editors' profiles.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    2012 Goals. I Have Some. Do you?

    Well, my dear YATopians, 2012 is upon us and, quite frankly, I don't know what to think about it. Where did 2011 go? I mean, really. Time is always disappearing from me, always slipping right through my fingers. On one hand, I'm really sad to see the past year leave us because so many wonderful things happened. But on the other, I'm excited to see what the new year has to offer.

    So, in order to keep my spirits and enthusiasm high, here are a few of my 2012 goals:

    1. Finish another novel. I've been struggling for the past few months to get anything done, so overcoming my writer's block is the number one priority.

    2. Get in shape. <-- This is mostly because A) I'd like to feel healthier, haha and B) because I'm going to be doing a lot of walking while in New York for the Book Expo.

    3. Promote Hunted some more. In fact, right now, I'm hosting a giveaway for a signed ARC of it! Yay!

    4. Go out more. I'm the introverts of all introverts, but it's time for me to put myself out there and try new things.

    5. Be a better blogger. Since Hunted's release, I've fallen behind in my reading/reviewing and I love sharing my thoughts on amazing books, so I hope to get back to a regular posting schedule.

    6. Get an agent, or at least start querying. But I need to complete Goal #1 first.

    Well, those are my goals. What are yours?

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    2011 Wrap-Up, Anniversary, and 2012 Changes

    Greetings, YAtopians!  And welcome to our One-Year Anniversary post! It’s hard to believe that a year’s gone by since the eight of us came together (thanks to Kelley Vitollo). At that time we were eight unpublished, mostly unrepresented writers full of hope and aspirations. Leigh Fallon and I both had “secret” contracts with HarperTeen at that point but were sworn to silence. None of us had any idea what 2011 would hold. It turned out to be quite eventful for our lot. Here are some of our contributors’ highlights:

    Kelley York’s YA thriller, HUSHED, was picked up by Entangled Publishing and became available December 6th.  Reviews for her debut have been amazing!

    Kelley Vitollo obtained representation with literary agent Ethan Ellenberg. Her YA contemporary romance is currently on sub, and I have very high hopes for her in 2012. J She also joined a new contemp blog called For the Love of Contemporary. I’ve got to brag on my bestie here for a minute. Kelley completed two YA novels in 2011, along with a collab novel, another novel completely rewritten, and two adult novellas!

    Sarah Nicolas became an intern for Entangled Publishing, and she won a spot as a YA Rebel contributor. She’s rocking the cyber world, and I think she’s one to keep an eye on in 2012. I’m expecting huge stuff from this awesome girl!

    Sharon Johnston’s short story, GROWTH, was published in THE BASICS OF LIFE. She took 2nd place in the Australian Literary Review’s YA short story competition, and has been invited to write alongside Michael White for THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHESTER LEWIS anthology.

    D.J. DeSmyter’s YA paranormal romance, HUNTED, was picked up by Pendrell Publishing and became available August 9th.

    Leigh Fallon’s YA paranormal romance, CARRIER OF THE MARK, was a BEA Buzz Book, and became available October 4th, followed by releases in Italy, Poland, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand with deals signed for further releases in Turkey and Brazil in 2012. She signed a contract for the 2nd in the series, which will be available late 2012/early 2013. Leigh joined the Supernatural Underground blog, and signed to be part of a compilation of dark retellings of Mother Goose stories for 2012.

    Chanelle Gray accepted representation with literary agent Victoria Marini in January, and sold her novel MY HEART BE DAMNED to Mitchell & Morris Publishers (kNight Romance imprint) in September, to be published October 2012.

    Wendy Higgins’s urban fantasy romance, SWEET EVIL, was revealed for publication on May 1st, 2012. I (sorry, it’s weird to talk about myself in 3rd person) also completed two novels this year - the sequel to SWEET EVIL and a separate, stand alone book.

    YAtopia has been a lucky charm for the eight of us this year! We can’t wait to see what treasures 2012 holds.  We’d love to hear about your 2011 successes and your hopes for the New Year!

    2012 Changes/New Posting Schedule:

    Due to the craziness of life, but our desire to stay together, we’ve decided to each post once a month instead of twice. There might be contests and special features to look out for between posts, but otherwise here is our new schedule:

    Date - Blogger

    1st - Wendy Higgins

    4th - D.J. DeSmyter

    8th - Leigh Fallon

    12th - Kelley York

    16th - Chanelle Gray

    20th - Sharon Johnston

    24th - Sarah Nicolas

    28th - Kelley Vitollo

    Hugs, Wendy