Sunday, January 26, 2014

Happy Anniversary Sub It Club

About seven months ago I discovered a Facebook group and Blog Community called The Sub It Club. Today, I get to congratulate the group on their One Year Anniversary!


It's a wonderful, sharing community of writers of all genres. I love that it's a place to share triumphs and set backs. Lots of great advice, free critiqueing from fellow members, and tons of commiseration. If you're querying, you should check it out!

Special props to Heather Ayris Burnell, Lisha Cauthen, Dana Carey, and Veronica Bartles for being the engine behind the SUB IT CLUB for the past year.

 For the Anniversary, there are a TON of prizes from authors, and agents. What are you waiting for...Go enter now!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cover Reveal: SWEET UNREST by Lisa Maxwell

Icey Books ( is doing a fabulous giveaway! Enter to win a New Orleans-inspired necklace (now) and one signed copy of the book when it’s available (w/swag):

Bio: Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest   (Flux, October 2014). When she's not writing books, she teaches English at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

Lucy Aimes has always been practical. But try as she might, she can’t come up with a logical explanation for the recurring dreams that have always haunted her. Dark dreams. Dreams of a long-ago place filled with people she shouldn’t know…but does.

When her family moves to a New Orleans plantation, Lucy’s dreams become more intense, and her search for answers draws her reluctantly into the old city’s world of Voodoo and mysticism. There, Lucy finds Alex, a mysterious boy who behaves as if they’ve known each other forever. Lucy knows Alex is hiding something, and her rational side doesn’t want to be drawn to him. But she is.

As she tries to uncover Alex’s secrets, a killer strikes close to home, and Lucy finds herself ensnared in a century-old vendetta. With the lives of everyone she loves in danger, Lucy will have to unravel the mystery of her dreams before it all comes to a deadly finish.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How Many Queries Does It Take To Get An Agent?

It's a trick question, because the answer is that it's different for everyone.

This afternoon (1/22/14) on Twitter, I asked authors how many queries it took to sign with their agent. Here are the results for the curious. I'll be adding to this post -- feel free to comment, if you're interested in sharing!

Thank you to everyone who replied--I think these results will be interesting for anyone currently querying. In no particular order:

#1 - 9 queries before shelving, 50+ before shelving, 5 to sign with 1st agent, 20+ for 2nd agent
#2 - 2 queries before shelving, 44 before shelving, 8 queries w/ 6 offers
#3 - 15-20 queries to sign
#4 - 70 to sign with 1st agent (2 MSs), 10 for 2nd
#5 - 4 books over 3+ years, over 300 queries in total
#6 -  82 queries to sign with 1st agent, 30 for 2nd.
#7 - 67 queries to sign with 1st agent, 17 for 2nd, and 40+ for 3rd.
#8 - 10 queries to sign
#9 - 40 queries to sign with 1st agent, 30 for 2nd, and 6 for 3rd.
#10 - 50-60 before shelving, 36 before shelving, 16 queries to sign.
#11 - 160 for 3 different projects
#12 - 85 before shelving, 12 queries to sign
#13 - 400+ for three different projects.


#14 - 90+ queries to sign
#15 - 42 queries before shelving, 20 queries for 1st agent, 1 query for 2nd

Now this is a very informal, nonscientific poll. But these results came in about 15 minutes of my initial post on twitter. And it tells me a couple of things:

You MUST have a thick skin because if you're like most, you're going to live with a significant amount of rejection. If you want an agent, you MUST persevere through this.

Only two out of thirteen signed with less than 20 queries in one process. Three had two query processes—for two different agents—with over 70+ queries for the first round, and significantly fewer for round two. Seven queried three or more times, either for different projects or for multiple agents.

Second processes took fewer queries, because we learn from it! (I know this from experience, my own process is #7, and for me this doesn't count the 50+ queries I sent for picture book projects before switching over to write YA and MG).

If you're querying, you've got to take the personal out of it. This is a business and you must realize that there are lots of different reasons why an agent would decline your work, and it's not always because the work wasn't good.

Note: all of these authors who went through this more than once, went back and revised, and tried again.

Perseverance. I think it's my word of 2014.

I also want to note that there are many reasons why authors and agents part ways, it's not something discussed much, but it's something that happens, as is evident from this poll.

FYI, I'm putting together a workshop on Querying that I'm presenting this spring in three different places.

Come back tomorrow for the cover reveal of Lisa Maxwell's SWEET UNREST!

Cover Reveal: CREED by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie

CREED – November, 2014 from Flux
Three days.
Three of us went in.
Three of us came out.
None of us even a shadow of who we once were.

Pre-order CREED here: Pre-order through amazon  

Before I reveal the Cover, here's a little bit about CREED.

Dee Langley is seventeen and mere months away from total freedom and a life where state social workers, counselors, and foster parents don’t dictate her every move. She has spent years trying to eke out a normal existence, hiding from her past and walking the tenuous line between denial and self-preservation. A weekend away with her boyfriend, Luke, and his brother, Mike, seems like the perfect opportunity to forget and start over. Little does Dee know that she's just trading one hell for another.

When an unexpected storm and a lack of gas force their car off the road, Dee, Luke, and Mike find themselves with no other choice but to wander into the nearby town of Purity Springs for help. But it’s not good Samaritans they find, but rather complete and utter silence, every store and every house abandoned. Forced to seek shelter in one of the deserted homes, they uncover a disturbing book with explicit instructions on how to correctly rear a child, complete with a hand written record of its use. It’s not until the next morning, however, that they discover the alarming truth – the town isn’t abandoned; it is populated by a deadly cult, and the leader, Elijah Hawkins, has plans for the three of them. The group’s only hope for survival lies in the hands of Elijah’s son, Joseph. But is Joseph really their ticket to freedom or is his game just as deadly as his father’s?

Vote for it on the 2014 Debut Authors Challenge:
 About the Authors:
Trisha Leaver resides on Cape Cod with her husband, three children and one rather excitable black lab. She spent most of her childhood living inside her own mind, creating characters and stories that only a child's imagination could dream up. She now spends her days breathing life into those characters, writing realistic fiction for young adults. Today, Trisha is a free-lance editor and a proud member of the SCBWI, YA Scream Queens, The Horror Writers Association, TheBookYards, and OneFourKidLit, a community of authors with debuts upcoming in 2014. More information about her solo and co-authored projects can be found at the links below.
Lindsay Currie lives in Chicago, Illinois with one incredibly patient hubby, three amazing kids and one adorable, but irreverent Bullmastiff named Sam. She graduated from Knox College in the heart of the Midwest and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She is a freelance editor for young adult, new adult and middle grade fiction, and is a proud member of SCBWI, The Horror Writers Association, The YA Scream Queens, The BookYard and OneFourKidLit, a community of authors with debuts upcoming in 2014.
If you want to Pre-order CREED, you can do it here: Pre-order through amazon
 Without further ado...I give you the Cover for CREED by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie. Isn't it awesome??

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Jr: Civil Rights Leader

I was honored to have the opportunity to write this book for ADBO Publishing about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader

This biography examines the remarkable life of Martin Luther King Jr. using easy-to-read, compelling text. Through striking black-and-white images and rich color photographs and informative sidebars, readers will learn about King’s family background, childhood, education, and inspirational work as a leader of the civil rights movement in the United States. Informative sidebars enhance and support the text. Features include a table of contents, timeline, facts page, glossary, bibliography, and an index. Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. Essential Library is an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company. 

It was some of the most intense, emotional research I've ever done for a nonfiction book project and I'm immensely proud of the result. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My YA Life: A Revision Meme

This meme started as an experiment on January 8, 2014 by Kristine Carlson Asselin. The idea is to tell an anecdote from your own young adulthood—and how you would revise the true story if it were a novel. Something true – good or bad – that harkens back to the days when you were the star in your own YA. It can be written however the author wants—no rules, except to include how you would revise the actual event.

Tag five friends to write about their own. Here’s my first entry. If you tweet about it, please use the hashtag #MyYALife. And feel free to tag me, and I'll RT! @KristineAsselin

I’m tagging Laura Pauling, Lisa Maxwell, Jenny Kaczorowski, Christine Duval, and Trisha Leaver.


The arctic blast, polar vortex, whatever-you-want-to-call-the-damn-cold-weather reminds me of his eyes to this day. They were ice blue and even though he looked straight through me every single day—not once really seeing me--one glance and my heart fluttered. My knees went weak. My throat constricted. I had it bad. Crush, Obsession, Lust.  My feelings ran deep.

His voice was a dusky, baritone. It didn’t really mesh with the blonde hair, blue-eyed, slight build. But it was sexy, so it didn’t matter. I probably said less than a dozen words to him after Freshman year. It didn’t keep me from thinking…no, knowing…that he was my soul mate. My one true love. The one for whom I should save myself.

I even named a certain type of weather after him. You know, the bright blue sunshiny day when from your living room looks perfect? But when you go outside the cold takes your breath away and you have to gasp to breathe.

Just like today, in fact. Today is a Jason Day

If I could revise #MyYALife, I’d make the MC bolder. More confident. Able to speak to the object of her affection. Or better yet, I’d make her realize he wasn’t worthy of her affection. I’d make her look again at the sophomore who watched her shyly all during Junior year, and whom she blatantly ignored. I’d make her shake her dream world and live in reality—whether or not her heart got broken—I’d have my heroine take a risk, rather than waste so much time dreaming about someone who was never going to be the right one.