Monday, January 25, 2010

Spooky News

Story Secrets: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst from Holly Cupala. Peek: "I wrote this book as a love letter to my husband. It's about true love... the kind of love where you'd go east of the sun and west of the moon for each other. So this novel is very closed to my heart. It's also about polar bears, one of the coolest animals ever. No pun intended."

The Call (Yes, the call. With the agent!) by Kristina McBride. Peek: "I had spent two years writing three novels, countless hours researching agents to query, double that in time spent on perfecting the query letters, and finally, after everything, I was going to speak to an actual, real-life literary agent sitting in one of those crazy tall buildings in NYC! After freaking out for a few hours, I decided that I needed a plan."

Before Accepting Agent Representation by Kathleen Temean from Writing and Illustrating: Sharing Information About Writing and Illustrating for Children. Peek: "Don't skip this crucial step because you're worried that questions will scare him off, or that the offer won’t last. This isn't a TV promo, it's a potential business partnership. His offer is on the table, waiting patiently for your consideration and ultimate response."

Interview with Nancy Holder by Malinda Lo from The Enchanted Inkpot. Peek: "It's just as hard to write a short story as a novel, and harder to write a comic book. The comic book form is incredibly difficult, and I'm humbled by the artistry of my betters (and grateful for my great artists). I used to prefer writing short stories, but I like the sense of continuity and flow that I can get from working on a novel. But really, what I like to do is write. "

Stages of Revision by Natalie Whipple at Between Fact and Fiction. Peek: "The plot is your base—your story relies on this as a firm foundation. If you have weak areas, you risk readers putting down your book. Because of that, my first revisions always revolve around tightening the plot." Souce: Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent.

Social Networking: What a Children's Publisher Expects: A Conversation with Donna Spurlock from Charlesbridge Marketing by Harold Underdown from The Purple Crayon Blog. Peek: ""It's always been the case (even at Charlesbridge) that a few books are your 'lead books' and they get the majority of the marketing dollars. Here it's been more of an even distribution, but when a book starts to pull ahead in sales, or we know going in that a Jerry Pallotta or Mitali Perkins is going to be working overtime to promote the book, we get behind them more financially. Authors need to do the legwork to get to that point. And it's their personality that's going to do it." Read a Cynsations interview with Harold.

How to Write a Great Query Letter: An Example That Worked by Cheryl Klein, editor at Arthur A. Levine Books from Brooklyn Arden. Peek: "Gbemi [Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich ] has kindly allowed me to reprint her original letter here and annotate it...."

Top 10: Selling Your First Children's Novel by Jen Nadol from 2010: A Book Odyssey. Peek: "54% of Tenners got an agent with less than 10 queries, but 17% of us queried more than 40 agents before getting an offer. As one of that 17%, I can vouch that persistence (read: stubbornness) pays a point. "

Looking at the Agent Search by Lisa Schroeder from Crowe's Nest. Peek: "I didn’t whine publicly about the rejections. You never know who might be reading, so it’s important to keep that frustration under control and always be professional. Have writer friends you can vent to, or set up a special locked LiveJournal account for friends to read only." Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

Key to Marketing Your Book: Time Well Spent by Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. Peek: "Needless to say: unless you were born with more hours in the day than the rest of us, doing everything is not possible." Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Be Kind to Failure by Tami Lewis Brown from Cynsations. Peek: "Creativity is all about moving into new directions. Taking chances. Being risky. Breaking the rules. And when you break those rules you're upsetting the applecart, for others and for yourself. You're grabbing failure by the neck and giving it a good strong shake."

The Writer’s Page: Hot Dog, Katsa! by Kristin Cashore from The Horn Book. Peek: "Writing fantasy happens to be all about limitations. It's about keeping to the rules; it’s about building a world that’s believable to the reader because it’s both comprehensive and consistent; it’s about assembling a body, a structure, that stands up on its own."

Official Jekel Loves Hyde Book Trailer Contest from author Beth Fantaskey. Awesome first-pace prizes include meeting the author! Deadline: March 15.

Whole Novel Workshop for Fantasy with authors Laura Ruby and Anne Ursu from May 1 to May 8 from Highlights Foundation. Peek: "The Whole Novel Workshop offers writers the rare opportunity to have the entire draft of a novel read and critiqued prior to the workshop, followed by a week of intense, one-on-one mentoring."

Expert Scoop with Agent Jennifer RofĂ© of Andrea Brown Literary Agency from The Brown Bookshelf: United in Story. Peek: "Ten percent of my clients are 'people of color.' Though this isn’t a primary factor in my selection process, I do find myself attracted to stories featuring multicultural characters where race isn't the issue."

In Which I Am the Bearer of Very Bad News by Kiersten White from Kiersten Writes. Note: Kiersten is the debut author of Paranormalcy (HarperTeen, 2010). Peek: "Expect submissions to be hard. Expect to be something of an emotional wreck. But expect to succeed. And work toward this success by being smart about things. What should you do while you're on submission?"

Screening Room

In the video below, YA author Lisa Schroeder talks about How to Do a Drive-By Book Signing. Short, sweet, and nicely illustrative. Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

Check out the book trailer for Darklight by Lesley Livingston (HarperTeen, 2009). Read a Cynsations interview with Lesley.

Check out the book trailers for Hearts at Stake (The Drake Chronicles) by Alyxandra Harvey (Walker, 2009).

Thanks to reader Clandestine Mariane from the Philippines for creating this fan book trailer to celebrate Eternal (Candlewick, 2009, 2010).

More Personally

I'm thrilled to be back at Cynsations after my winter hiatus teaching at the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults winter 2010 residency in Montpelier! Note: VCFA is now accepting applications from international students!

While in Vermont, I was honored to learn that I'd been featured as Author of the Month at Fully Booked Bookstores in the Philippines! It was such a thrill to hear from so many new readers because of that great news.

Thanks to D.L. Keur from The Deepening: World of Fiction for featuring Eternal (Candlewick, 2009, 2010).

Austin Area Events

Congratulations to the incoming Austin SCBWI regional advisor Debbie Gonzales on her new leadership role in the chapter (and to the members, who'll wildly benefit from her efforts).

Author Bethany Hegedus will speak on "scene and structure" ("If You Build It, They Will Read") from 11 a.m. to noon Feb. 13 at BookPeople in conjunction with Austin SCBWI. Note: "bring a notebook and get ready to examine Aristotle's Incline and the 7 Key Scenes every book needs. Please be familiar with Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, 2000)..., as Bethany will discuss the Seven Key Scenes used to build this gem of a book."

More Cynsational Events

The Greater Houston Teen Book Convention is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 10 at Alief Taylor High School, and admission is free! Speakers include keynoter Sharon Draper and: