Monday, December 30, 2013


Crusty pink scabs. Explosive diarrhea. Black, swollen bumps. These symptoms aren’t just the stuff of gross out stories and horror movies. They are real symptoms, caused by real diseases. And some people are suffering from them right now.

Doesn't it sounds gross? I love it.

It was scary research, but so interesting. I'm so grateful for my editor Jennifer Besel at Capstone who pushed me to get the voice of this book to the right combination of high-interest and authoritative.

This is my fourteenth nonfiction book (my 11th with Capstone Press) and is available early in 2014.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Paths to Publication: A Hybrid Author Panel -- January 25, 2014

I'm thrilled to be serving alongside Brendan Halpin and Ansha Kotyk for a panel discussion on bringing your work into print in today's market at the Writer's Loft in Sherborn, MA on January 25.

Just a few years ago, I couldn't have imagined having enough experience to offer anything to this sort of presentation. At this point, however, I've published a picture book with a small press, I've published nonfiction for the school library market, and I've got a YA novel coming out with a traditional (digital) press.

I also have a lot of experience with querying--so I'm happy to answer those questions as well.

If you're in the area, we'd love to see you on January 25 at the Writer's Loft in Sherborn, MA. Both Brendan and Ansha bring their own different experiences to the table, so between the three of us, we have a wide range of experiences. In 2014, there are MANY ways to bring your work to market.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Every Wins!

Happy New Year--everyone wins! I just looked at the comments from my last post, and I wanted to give everyone who made a comment (and who wanted one), a query crit. Email me krisasselin (at) gmail (dot) com with "query crit contest winner" in the subject line!


p.s. I realized I made a mistake in my email address, so this is an edited post! Please feel free to send your query if you commented on my post last week!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

After the Twitter Pitch Contest Request participated in #pitchmas or #pitchmad or some other twitter pitch contest. Halleluiah, an agent or editor favorited your pitch!!

This is a great way to start a dialogue with publishing pros. Be aware, now that you're on their radar, they are going to be looking at your twitter feed, and likely your blog as well. Be sure you're presenting yourself in the most professional way possible. The way you conduct yourself online might make or break you at this point.

Jump up an down. Have a glass of wine. Be excited. But wait...Oh my gosh. Now what do you do?

Clearly you had a great short pitch. But here's what you need to do next.

Take a breath. You don't need to get them something the second after they request. However, you do need to get them something within a professional period of time. My rule of thumb would be within a couple of days, maybe a week at the most. This is why you really want to be sure your work is complete before you pitch.

After someone requests your work, you need to have something to send them.

1. You need to have a query letter--yes, you still need a professional query/cover letter.
2. You need to have a completed manuscript -- please make sure you have a completed MS before you pitch!
3. You might need a synopsis, not everyone requests a synopsis, but it's a good idea to have one.
4. When you're ready, send the query and whatever the requesting person has asked for (partial, synopsis, etc.). Be sure you mention the #pitch request in your subject line and the query. Be specific--there are a lot of these things happening these days. Remind them of the date and the hashtag. 
5. It's okay to send to your work to more than one person. If you have editors requesting, as well as agents, be sure to disclose that. I'm a big believer in full-disclosure.
6. As a general rule, you shouldn't be querying editors and agents simultaneously. My only exception to this rule is when something is specifically requested--but use your best judgement when it comes to submitting. In other words, if you're querying agents, and an editor requests from a twitter pitch contest, I would submit it to them and then tell the querying agents that it's with an editor as requested.

Now you wait. Good luck!

As a congratulations to anyone getting a request from a pitch, I'll do a query critique for someone who comments on this blog! I'll do a random number selection on Christmas Eve -- Tuesday -- at noon.

Kristine Carlson Asselin is a writer of contemporary YA & MG fantasy. She's the director of SCBWI-New England 2014. Her debut YA is due from Bloomsbury Spark in 2014--and the initial contact with Bloomsbury came from a twitter pitch contest. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Bloomsbury Spark Launch List Seven

Today, Thursday, December 19, is Launch Day for Bloomsbury Spark. All of these titles are now available for purchase! 
I have been so fortunate to get to know these fabulous women through my association with Bloomsbury Spark. These are the Launch List Seven. I'm so happy for each of them as they embark on being part of the launch of this great new imprint.

I asked each of them how they planned to celebrate Launch Day for their Bloomsbury Spark debuts. Here are their answers…and links to their websites and goodreads pages for each of their books.

“I am celebrating with a great book blitz that is going on right now with a $50 Amazon gift card giveaway And also, a glass of champagne with some good friends.”

“With Frankie Brown (author of Until We End) at Avid Bookstore! And a book blitz.”

“Partying at Avid Bookshop with all closest friends.”

“Packing to travel the next day & probably some bacon cheeseburgers My book tour, #12daysoffalling, is happening now & I might do something in person in the new year.”

“I'm kicking off 12 Days of Scotland on my blog, getting a massage, and meeting some friends for wine and chocolate that night. The perfect blend of pampering and play!”

“Kicking off my release with a big facebook, twitter and goodreads blitz and shoveling out from this snow storm we're having today!!”

“I'll be packing, and hanging out with the family! I'm excited to travel for the holidays and see family and friends!”

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review of THE ART OF FALLING by Jenny Kaczorowski

In honor of the launch of Bloomsbury Spark, the fabulous new digital imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, I've been given the opportunity to preview several of the launch titles. Of course, as fate has it, I haven't had enough time to read them all!

Because it's Contemporary YA, I read THE ART OF FALLING by Jenny Kaczorowski first.

Goodreads blurb: For seventeen-year-old Bria Hale, image is everything. She’s a militant vegan with purple hair, Doc Martens and a permanent scowl. Kissing captain of the football team Ben Harris? Definitely not part of that image.

Now with each secret kiss, she’s falling deeper for the boy every girl at Oceanside High is crushing on. Throw in a few forbidden bacon cheeseburgers and she’s facing one major identity crisis.

Ignoring Ben should be easy, but when a flashy display of artistic spirit lands her in close quarters after hours with the boy she’s too cool to like, she can’t keep pretending those kisses meant nothing. With her reputation and her heart on a collision course, Bria must either be true to herself or to the persona she’s spent all of high school creating.

First of all, the cover. Isn't the cover gorgeous? It's such a great image and so true to the book. Second of all...the writing. This is a lovely, YA romance. I loved the main character. Jenny does a superb job of crafting a a complicated, strong, and utterly charming protagonist. And yet like real life, Bria isn'tperfect. I loved everything about her. Her friends are awesome. The boy for whom she falls in love is awesome too. And none of them are perfect. Just like real life. 

I wanted to fall into the book and hang out with them.

The book is available on Thursday! Add it to your "to read" list on Goodreads here:

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Need an extra Christmas or Holiday gift? Let me know, and I'll personalize a copy of WORST CASE OF PASKETTI-ITIS. Cost: $11.00. I'll ship it for an additional $1.50.

It's classified as a picture book, but it's the shape and size of an early reader, so it would be perfect for a child who's ready to start reading herself. I've been told picky eaters relate to it! 

DM me on twitter or leave your email address in the comments.

Happy Holiday! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Things I learned from NaNoWriMo 2013

I won my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My "official count" was something like 50,004, so basically, I limped across the finish line and fainted in the middle of the road.

But I did it.

Here's what I learned.

1. I can do it. You *CAN* do it. Really. If *I* can do it, anyone can do it. You just need the proper motivation. You need to figure that out for yourself.
2. It doesn't have to consume your life for the month. My strategy was to get up at 5:30, make coffee, and pound out between 1000 and 1500 words. Somedays I had time to do more later in the day. A couple of times, I sprinted and put out 3000 or more.
3. It's okay if the words are crappy.
4. It's okay if the POV changes tense.
5. It's okay if some of the words are backstory or your characters "talking" to you.
6. If you get stuck, walk away. Call a friend, go for a walk. Ask your characters what they want. Ask them what they need from you.
7. Did I mention, it's okay if the words are crappy?

I once heard Cynthia Leitich Smith speak at a conference. One highlight I remember very clearly is hearing her talk about her first draft. She writes the first draft and then hits delete. HITS DELETE. There was an audible inhale of breath from the crowd as we all imagined hitting delete.

But here's the thing, I get it now.

Don't panic, I'm not going to delete my NaNo book, but I am going to rewrite the whole thing. There's not one thing that won't get revised/rewritten. I understand what Cynthia was talking about now. This is the warm up. This is the clay from which I will sculpt. This is *not* the book. This is the crappy first draft.

And I love it. I'm *never* not writing a book this way. It was brilliant. I love fast drafting. It took me four years to write a passable first draft of my first novel. And then the revision started. It took me one month to write this first draft. I'm much less attached to the crappy words. Much more willing to make the hard choices and hard changes that revision requires.

Because revision *does* require hard choices. Now, I'm going back to the revision cave. How did you all do at NaNo this year?