creativity

For writers: FREE resources on query letters, nonfiction book proposals, finding an agent, and social media from Eric Smith

Eric Smith from his website https://www.ericsmithrocks.com/

Hello, lovely writers. Do you know Eric Smith, author and agent extraordinaire? If not, please get to know him because he’s a ray of light in the writing community. As both a successful author and agent, he understands both points-of-view and helps demystify a lot of things in the writing and publishing world that many other people don’t.

It’s incredible how much wonderful advice he puts out into the world for authors for FREE! There are a lot of organizations out there who want to charge you a lot of money for this advice—I’ve paid some of them for it and I can promise you I should have just read Eric’s website because the advice I paid for was exactly the same as what Eric offers. 

Here’s a summary of what he has on his website:

Query letters
The good ol’ query letter is what we put together when looking for an agent or publisher who accepts unagented queries. You can read the query letter that helped me find my publisher for my Emerson Page young adult adventure trilogy here. Eric offers up 17 successful query letters from authors he’s worked with and he also explains why their pitches worked so well. In my pitch to my publisher, I did so many things that conventional wisdom said not to do. If you’d like to read my article on that, it’s here: A Publisher Bought My YA Novel Trilogy — Here’s Everything I Did Wrong.

Crafting nonfiction book proposals
I’ve been working on a nonfiction book proposal for about 6 months and Eric’s advice has helped me tremendously. He provides several successful nonfiction book proposals from authors he’s worked with and again offers his explanation of why they worked for those authors. There are definitely paid services out there that could be valuable for you to use but I recommend you try following his advice to create your proposal first, send it out, and see how it lands with agents and publishers.

Author and editors whom you can work with
If you’ve decided you’re at the point where you need an author or editor to look at your work and offer specific advice on your manuscript, proposal, or query, Eric has a long list of recommendations of people he trusts. He’s used the services of these people himself, as an author and as an agent. 

Looking up literary agents
Eric’s blog, which he updates regularly, is chock full of other advice for writers. One question I always get is, “How do I find an agent?” If you’re in the market for an agent, it takes legwork and research to find them. Eric offers advice on looking up agents and reaching out to them in this blog post.

Social media for authors
Ah, social media for authors. Do you love it? Do you hate it? It matters, and it doesn’t have to take over your life. Eric offers all kinds of advice on what to share on social media, platforms to use, and how it’s helped him as a writer and as a person. 

Building a platform
“You have to have a platform.” I have heard this for years and I still hear it all day every day to this day. Platform matters. It can also be fun to build one. There is so much to learn. There are so many people in the world doing really interesting work. While building your platform, you’ll meet and befriend so many terrific people you may not meet otherwise. That’s certainly been my experience and it’s brought me a lot of joy over the years. Eric offers up advice on building a platform as well

If you’re in need of writing and publishing advice (and who among us isn’t?!), hop over to Eric’s website and use his free resources for writers to the max. Happy writing and I can’t wait to read your stories!

books, creativity

Joy today: What happens to an author and a book when a publisher goes out of business?

Emerson book cover with awards sealsI got some unfortunate news on Friday night: my publisher for my novel is going out of business on September 30th. As of October 1st all the publishing rights for Emerson revert to me. Because the book has been reviewed well, received several awards, and is still up for a few more awards, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to find a new home for her story that will include the existing novel and the sequel. If you’ve been through this type of situation or know someone who has, I’d love your advice on approaching this process and taking next steps, I’d love to hear it. Thanks, all!

creativity

A Year of Yes: Write the book you want to read

“How did you know what to write about that would sell?” someone asked me this week.

“I didn’t write a book that would sell,” I said. “I wrote the book I wanted to read.”

“But didn’t you look at trends?” he asked me.

“I started writing my book eight years ago,” I said. “Trends from eight years ago wouldn’t have helped me today.”

He was frustrated. He wanted a silver bullet, and there just isn’t one when it comes to any kind of creative work. All you can do is follow your curiosity, do your research, listen, and then get it all down as well and as honestly as you can.

You absolutely cannot make everyone happy. Some people will want the book to go faster, and others will want it to go slower. Some people will want more detail, and others will want less. Some people will say the book is too long while others will stay it’s too short. It’s all incredibly subjective.

Just know this—over the course of writing, rewriting, editing, and publishing your work, you will read / view / listen to it dozens of times. Maybe hundreds of time. You have to nurture it, love it, and then give it all away for someone else to interpret. That is the rub of creative work—you pour everything you have into it, and then it belongs to the world. It is all a labor of love.

creativity

In the pause: A momentous weekend as a writer

A great big day today: my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, had nearly 2500 downloads on Kindle this weekend, hit #1 in its Kindle categories, broke into the top 100 Kindle books across all categories on Amazon, and the incredible Dan Fortune landed me a huge interview for the end of this month. I am literally floating. Thank you to everyone for being a part of this wild literary ride. I love you. Keep dreaming.

creativity

In the pause: Writing breakthroughs in longhand

On Friday and Saturday I had a few writing breakthrough in my second book in the Emerson Page young adult book series. And they didn’t happen while I was writing. I was actually reorganizing my closets. I was folding my sweaters when a very strange person showed up in my imagination, an old woman whom I have never seen before. I closed my eyes and listened to what she had to tell me about Emerson’s story, and I got it all down in longhand as honestly and as quickly as I could before it evaporated. And the story just kept flowing into the evening while I sat in a coffee shop on the Lower East Side waiting for friends to go to dinner.

I never saw this coming —this character, this plot twist, this revelation, this truth that was both painful and freeing. It explains so much that needs to be explained in due time. You won’t meet her until book three, which will be the final piece of Emerson’s story. I originally thought this series would be nine books, and had mapped it that way. Now I see that this portion of her story wraps up in a trilogy because of this new character.

In book two, Emerson will be exploring Iceland, Ireland, and Spain—three countries connected in odd and mysterious ways that will shed some light on Emerson’s path to her goal. I’m just glad to be able to tag along for the wild ride she’s about to take.

creativity

In the pause: Thank you for the love on my Pub Day

20171101_163312Yesterday was a marvelous Pub Day. Thank you for all the love, and I send it right back to you!

The book reached its highest sales rank ever on Amazon in the 6 weeks since it was put in pre-order status. Emerson got some wonderful reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, with more on the way. Some great plugs on social media, and a big exciting festival acceptance that I will be able to publicly share in December once the communications embargo is lifted. And I started the draft of Emerson’s second book as part of #NaNoWriMo2017.

All in, a banner day that filled my heart with gratitude, exactly 3 years after I started writing that first draft. It was made all the better by knowing that the best is yet to come. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Emerson is now on sale in paperback and e-book at amzn.to/2lgZykV.

 

creativity

In the pause: Giving away 2 signed copies of my book on Goodreads

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 6.04.08 PM.pngI have a giveaway running over on Goodreads for my novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, and two signed copies are up for grabs. Here’s how to enter:

1.) Go to this link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/259791-emerson-page-and-where-the-light-enters
2.) Either sign in to Goodreads or quickly create an account
3.) Click “Enter Giveaway” button

Good luck!

 

creativity

In the pause: What does Pub Day feel like for authors?

My Pub Day is fast approaching. People have been asking how I’m feeling. Honesty, I’m curious and hopeful. I’m curious to know how her story helps others. My great hope is that she inspires people to live the lives they imagine. She’s brave, powerful, and kind. I hope she makes a difference in the lives of others who get to know her. She’s certainly made a difference in mine.

I’ve lived with Emerson in my heart and mind for 8 years now. She’s a part of my every day living. I’ve protected her, nurtured her, and prepared her as best I can. Next Wednesday, she’ll belong to the world, and she’s ready for that.

On the day the book launches, I’ll begin NaNoWriMo 2017 and write the first draft of Emerson’s second book by the end of November. No rest for the weary, and that’s fine by me. Emerson and I have a lot of ground to cover so we better get moving. We have to make the most of the time we have.

creativity

In the pause: Reading With Your Kids—a podcast for readers and parents of readers

132943Last night I had the great pleasure to chat with Jed Doherty. We spoke about my young adult book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, that will be released on November 1st. With his podcast Reading With Your Kids, Jed is on a mission to promote children’s and young adult literature as well as the act of parents and their kids reading together and discussing books. I’m so honored to be a guest on his podcast, and our interview will be published soon. In the mean time, listen to many of the other fantastic interviews that he’s has done with authors including Lizette Lantigua, Brent A. Ford, and Jenny Ford.

 

creativity

In the pause: Chapter 1 of the prequel to my novel is arriving in inboxes right now

I’m so excited to announce that Chapter 1 of the prequel to my novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, is arriving in inboxes at this very moment. I created it to send as a free gift to everyone who signs up for my mailing list. I’ll deliver a new chapter on the first of every month between now and October as we lead up to the launch of the book on November 1st. The only way to get the prequel is to sign up for the mailing list.

Each chapter will be told in the first-person and from the perspective of a different main character. All of the chapters take place on the same day so readers will be able to see this critical event in the book from many different angles.

Chapter 1 is a diary entry from the perspective of Nora Page, Emerson’s mother, as she makes the decision that will change Emerson’s life forever. Simply sign up for my mailing list and I’ll send it right over to you!