#Pitmad

New Book Deal Alert!

Five years ago, I got a story idea that stubbornly clung to my psyche until I unleashed it onto the page. It became a true labor of love, as it was inspired by my then-6 y/o. When my husband read the first draft he said, “This book will change your life.” It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever written. Today, I’m signing a publishing contract with Immortal Works that will help get this very story — BOY ON HOLD — out into the world.

Pop the bubbly! Cue the fireworks! Woo-hoo!

Yes, this is a new publisher. Lots of people ask me about the publishing process. How I found this publisher is, in itself, an interesting story.

Back in March, I took part in a Twitter pitch contest called #PitMad. Basically, you pitch your story using hashtags to indicate genre and theme. If an agent “likes” your Tweet, it’s a request to see more. It’s a fun way to query a bunch of agents at once — and practice the art of a the modern-day elevator pitch. (Note to writers: the next #PitMad is September 6, 2018! Get your pitches ready!)

Here was my pitch.

Some pitches got lots of likes. The most I saw on one pitch was 17 likes.

Me? My pitch for Boy on Hold got one like. ONE.

Blugh. My first thought: “Well, that was a waste of time. I’m never doing that pitch contest again.”

That one like was from Immortal Works. Not an agent but a publisher. They requested the first page.

Blugh. My next thought: “Only one page? This was seriously a waste of time.”

So I sent the first page and didn’t give it much thought.

Almost 3 months later — (yes, 3 whole months) — Immortal Works got back to me, complimenting the quality of my writing . . . and asked to read the entire manuscript.

That made me sit up a little straighter. My next thought: “Oh! Okay, let’s see where this goes.”

As I sent them the MS, I also sent it to my Kindle since it had been a year (or two) since I read it through myself. While on vacation with my family, I read it on my iPhone, highlighting all the parts that I thought needed work. I couldn’t help but get excited about the story all over again. When I got home, I got to revising right away with renewed energy.

Then, a surprise. An email from an assistant editor at Immortal Works saying she “loved it.” That she “totally cried” at the ending. She said it reminded her of To Kill a Mockingbird but with schizophrenia instead of racism (Whoa — !!). And she wanted to recommend it for publication.

My thought at this time? Let’s just say, I was jumping-out-of-my-chair psyched. I had to hold back not to tell everyone — even strangers in the grocery line. Instead, I settled for a celebratory happy dance with my husband and kids.

About a month later, they officially requested to publish my book. The contract was in my inbox the very next day. Today, I signed!

Now, I’m beyond stoked. I’m FLOORED. I can’t tell you how gratifying this is. To have a publisher as excited as I am about my story. That’s when you know you’ve found the right match. They LOVE the book. And “totally cried” at the ending. Her last email to me said that she got “chills” thinking about it as she ran errands. Squeeeeeeeeee!

Writer friends who are slogging through the noise to get your work noticed, keep up the good fight! Keep querying! Keep pitching! Remember this: it only takes one like.

 

Reclaiming Twitter

Twitter is getting a bad rap. Every news station is splashing Donald Trump’s latest tweets and using it as fodder for news. No one would be surprised to hear that Trump’s tweeting is not exemplary in any way shape or form. He’s not doing himself any favors by creating all this social media noise. Even his wife has said she’s tried to talk him out of tweeting late at night but . . . (fill in the blank on that.)

Twitter does not have to be a channel for wannabe politicians to bully others or spew their offensive propaganda. It can be useful. I’d like to help rebrand it a little. Here are the ways I’ve been able to make it work for me:

1.Find your lane.
For me, it’s writing and publishing. I joined Twitter in March 2013 in preparation for launching my debut novel. It was part of my book launch plan, along with establishing platforms on all social media. I’m sure to some extent I hoped joining Twitter would ultimately result in book sales, but what’s it done for my writing career has brought unexpected benefits.

I don’t follow celebrities. I follow authors, publishers, agents — big and small. It’s provided a community of support and encouragement, but also it’s offered valuable information. I find more articles on writing, the writing process, writing tips than I do through Facebook. I’ve also found really cool contests that exist only on Twitter, like #PitMad or #Pitmas and I really can’t say enough about the awesome and revolutionary #MSWL (Manuscript Wishlist) Their Twitter feed and also their website has redefined the query process.

Other fave writer’s hashtags: #amwriting #writerslife #writingtips

And my most recent faves: #WIPjoy (celebrating our works in progress throughout the month of January) and of course #janowrimo (January Novel Writing Month)

2.Craigslist on crack.
Through Twitter, I’ve found more than one editor to help bring my book(s) to the next level. Recently, Twitter helped me find a great query reviewer — Christy Morgan — who has opened my eyes to what my query was missing. (Guys! find her @xtymorganbooks or her go to her website)

Another awesome content editor I’ve hired TWICE for two different books is the very talented @cassdunn Cassandra Dunn. 

3.Accountability.
Writing a novel is a huge task. It can feel overwhelming. For most of the process, you’re completely alone — living with the story in your head and on your computer. It may be *years* before it gets to beta readers and you can finally talk about it with someone. That’s why we need to set ourselves up with small rewards along the way.

I’ve heard author Jonathan Mayberry‘s keynote speech at more than one writing conference, and one takeaway for me was how he held himself accountable. He would reward himself after reaching his daily word-count goal. Early on, he’d put some money in a jar and when his first draft was done, he’d take his wife out to a nice dinner. Now that he’s a huge success, he moves money into a special account and when the draft is done, his wife gets a nice vacation. (Something to aspire to, gang!)

I’m not putting money in a jar or moving money, but I am using Twitter to keep myself honest. It doesn’t really matter that not many people will see my tweet. The fact that I put it out there to the world, makes it matter somehow. I’ve recorded it, documented it. It makes it official. I’m happy to report that my tweets do seem to be gaining some traction. Other writers are liking. It doesn’t hurt that my publisher is my most avid retweeter. Shout out to Xchyler Publishing.

Which reminds me . . . sometimes the best connections you find on Twitter are those you already have. Just another way to keep in touch, perhaps.

Let’s reclaim Twitter and make it work for us in a positive way.