Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Today I'm excited to participate in Patty Blount's blog tour for her debut book SEND. It's about a timely subject: bullying. And it's unique because it's told from the point of view of a teenage guy who was a bully.

Here's a description from Goodreads:

To keep his secrets, all he has to do is listen to the voice in his head and just walk away... 

On his first day at his new high school, Dan stops a bully from beating up a kid half his size. He didn't want to get involved. All he wants out of his senior year is to fly under the radar. But Dan knows what it's like to be terrorized by a bully-he used to be one. Now the whole school thinks he's some kind of hero, except Julie Murphy, the prettiest girl on campus. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn't really Daniel.

Doesn't that sound good?

Patty's joining us today to share some tips from what she's learned before SEND was released. So here's Patty!

Five Things I Learned Before SEND's Release

Writing is hard work and I’m still learning the ropes.

Plotting, developing compelling characters, finding the time to write, revising, editing, and then – finally, finishing.



At some point in your writing life, you’ll push back from your desk and smile at your manuscript and think, “This is it. This is The One.”
And then, you have to learn all about things like querying agents, developing pitches, writing synopses, getting blurbs, writing the back cover copy – GAH!

Like I said; writing is hard work and I’m still learning the ropes. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the last year.
  • 1. The query letter is critical. The goal is to entice a busy agent into wanting to read more. You don’t need gimmicks and fancy stationery and flattery. You just need a good story and the ability to condense it down to a few paragraphs. Involve friends and family. Find a good critique group. I joined YALITCHAT, whose Query Kickaround Group really helped me nail the right voice in my query letter. I studied everything on Janet Reid’s Query Shark website and even took a few courses offered online by Writer’s Digest. When I felt I was ready to query, I shifted gears and began researching what each agent wanted. Some wanted a few chapters sent with the query and others wanted a synopsis. I made sure I knew each agent’s requirements.
  • Don’t query your first novel. You finished a book and that’s great! But careers are built on delivering a steady stream of good books. SEND is my first and only YA title. *gulp* All of my previous finished novels are romances.
  • 3.       Ignore that nasty little voice inside you. I almost deleted SEND when my nasty inner critic nearly convinced me it wasn’t worthy of lining a bird cage. Even with a bunch of positive reviews and an excited publisher in my corner, it’s hard for me to believe I have even a modicum of writing talent. I learned that a lot of writers I greatly admire – even the multipublished ones – battle their own inner editors.
  • 4.       Read! When you’re busy writing novels, query letters, synopses and blog posts, it’s easy to fill up your free time and forget to do the one thing that inspired you to do all this work – read good books. Read bad books. Just read. Whenever I am struggling with a difficult scene, I take a reading break and return to my work in progress re-energized.
  • 5.       Join Twitter. Whenever someone asks me how I got published, I say, “Twitter.” Yes, it can be a huge time suck but if you use it well, it’s the perfect way to connect with industry pros. Here’s how it happened for me. I joined Twitter and found a bunch of writers to follow. From them, I found other writers. We chatted. I learned volumes about our craft from the links they tweeted, or the opinions they posted. For example, I learned about YALITCHAT.org and Query Shark from Twitter (see #1). I learned nearly all writers have nasty little voices (see #4, above), which made it a lot easier for me to ignore mine. I found a friend willing to read the manuscript and provide unfiltered and unbiased feedback, which encouraged me NOT to delete it. I also discovered the RWA has a local chapter in my area. A Twitter friend invited me to their meeting. I joined and as a member, attended the chapter’s annual luncheon, where I met my editor. It all started on Twitter.

Like I said, I’m still learning this writing gig. What do you think of these tips? Do you have tips for me? 

Thanks Patty for sharing all your great advice. You can find Patty at her website and on Twitter @pattyblount.

Patty's publisher generously offered a copy of SEND for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by September 15th. I’ll announce the winner on September 17th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. This giveaway is open to US and Canada only.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. 

Don't forget to enter my other contests, including SKYLARK, a fantastic fantasy/dystopian by debut author Meagan Spooner. You'll love hearing about her amazing road to publication. The link to her contest and the others I'm running are at the top of the blog.

Here's what's coming up next.

Next Monday is Labor Day so I'm giving us all a break and not posting anything. But Wednesday next week I'm sharing ENDLESSLY by Kiersten White and giving away my ARC. It is such an awesome end to her series. Trust me, you want to stop by and enter the giveaway contest.

Next Friday, I'm participating in Jessica Shirvington’s Blog tour and giving away an ARC of her new book ENTICE .I can't wait to share it with you.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you next Wednesday!


Angela Brown said...

Congratulations of getting SEND beyond that nasty inner critic. Boy can those IC's be royal pains in the you-know-what!

A story told from the POV of a kid that was once a bully is also very intriguing. Will update my TBR list and add this.

Patty Blount said...

Thanks, Natalie for posting this! I hope you and your readers enjoy Dan's, Kenny's, and Julie's story. :)

Bethany said...

this sounds fabulous! hope I win!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Yes, the inner critic can be quite nasty. Many times, I have to lock him up, else I wont be able to write.

Send sounds great.

Shiela Calderón Blankemeier said...

This book sounds great! I'll read it regardless of if I win it or not :) I also love to hear other writer's journeys. Thanks for sharing!

Lydia Kang said...

For me, it was blogging more than Twitter that helped me get published. But now that I'm more active on Twitter, I can see how it could have happened the other way around. SEND sounds awesome!

Natasha Hawkins said...

First, love your POV! Second, love all the advice. As a writer currently searching for an agent for my YA paranormal romance, I can use all the advice I can get my hands on. I think getting on twitter better be my first priority. In fact, I better go...

Cheers! Here's hoping to win a copy of SEND!



Stina said...

This sounds like my kind of book!!!!

Great advice. It doesn't matter how busy I am, I always find to to read novels. That's the one thing I can not give up.

Theresa Milstein said...

I like the idea of a former-bully being a protagonist.

Sound advice. I feel about blogging the Facebook the way Patty feels about Twitter.

Rosi said...

I really want to read this book. It sounds great! Thanks for the interview and for running the giveaway.

Natasha said...

Sounds like a great read!! Thanks for the interview and the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Linda A. said...

I look forward to reading Send. As a retired school counselor, I think reading a book from a former bully's POV sounds far more interesting than studying bully prevention curriculum. I think students would agree too. Please enter me in this contest.

Yolanda Ridge said...

Love the premise of your book, Patty! Sounds intriguing. Congratulations.

Christina Kit. said...

Awesome tips! And the book sounds so great - a very different take on bullying:)

Thank you:)

GFC Christina Kit.

ccfioriole at gmail dot com

Julie R said...

Great advice. The book sounds interesting. julierupert@gmail.com

crysb0503 said...

Thanks for the advice, and giveaway!! My email address is crysb0503@gmail.com. I am a GFC follower as well.

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Ooh! That premise does sound good! And great advice too!

E. Arroyo said...

Congrats! I started blogging first and gradually went into twitter. Twitter is where I found my publisher. =) You just never know.

Liesel K. Hill said...

Great post! The book looks really good! Thanks for the giveaway as well! I'll have to check it out! :D

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wow, SEND sounds like a great read!!!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read this - I love that little hook at the end. Thanks for all the tips...I just can't seem to join the Twitter world yet though!

Andrea Mack said...

I've always thought it would be interesting to read a story from the perspective of a bully. Great concept!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great read. Thanks. I'm off to visit the author's blog now.

I am not, however, on twitter. In fact I'm not even on FB or anything social media related. I financially am forced to live a minimalistic life :)
Hopefully in future that will change. And if not, I'd hate to think I'm cheating myself of writing successes that way. For now, I'm in the old fashioned camp :)

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend. And thanks, thanks for those tips, Patty! No need to enter me in the contest as I have the ARC in my to read pile!

Martina Boone said...

Thanks Natalie and Patty for those great tips! SENDS sounds like a great read from a really fresh perspective. I especially love the reminder to keep reading. That's so important!



Matthew MacNish said...

Sounds like a great book!

Jessica Salyer said...

Thanks for the helpful tips and the book sounds great!

Jessie Humphries said...

Oh Twitter! Deep down I know you're right. Dang it :) Good luck with SEND.

Beth said...

Great tips. I'm on Twitter, but I think I underutilize it. Thanks for the suggestions!

Kiera Paul said...

Glad to have a book like SEND out here for our young people. It's needed! Thanks for the giveaway.

Wendy said...

Thanks for the giveaway! Interested to see your take on the male POV.
wgreenley (at) comcast (dot) net

Emily R. King said...

Her number three advice is exactly what I needed to hear. I've been avoiding hitting the send button on some queries, but now I'm going to. Thanks!

Samantha Jean said...

I would love to win my own copy of this book. I put in a request to my library for this one and they agreed to get it but it still hasn't shown up on their catalog. Thanks for the chance to win what sounds like an awesome book. Also, love the start of the post. Awesome advice!