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?
- 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.
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.
Hope to see you next Wednesday!