Monday, February 25, 2013

Pitches: A Reader's View

Today I come to you with my WriteOnCon Pitch Fest Blogger Cap.

If you head over to WriteOnCon's blog, you will find all sorts of posts from various agents giving advice on writing a pitch. AND, if you go to the WriteOnCon Forum (open until March 10), you can get your pitch critiqued.

So, about pitches. Sometimes, I think we forget their purpose. We think it's supposed to tell people what happens in our book.

Wait . . . what? Isn't it? I can hear the questions already.

The real purpose of a pitch is to entice readers to read more.

The irony of it all is this: As a person writing a pitch, it's easy to forget that. As a person reading a pitch, that's all you think about.

So let's pretend: You walk into a bookstore unsure of what to buy. So what do you do? You read back cover copy (and maybe a line or two of the beginning) until something grabs you.

First book you grab: The Hero's Guide to Saving your Kindgom

This could be good, you think, so you flip it over:

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Obviously, every person will have their own reaction to this pitch here is mine, Twitter style (just because):
  • Prince Duncan? LOL! Except now I want some cake.
  • 4 fairytales in 1??? Where do I sign up? I *heart* Fairytales.
  • "Lousy bards" *snort* I do like me some snark.  heehee
  • That's why they're all named "Charming"!!! I've wondered for years! Ha!
  • What?! Prince Charming rejected? Low blow Snow White. Low Blow.
  • Trolls, check. Bandits, check. Dragons, double check. Witches, check. You go Prince Charming . . .er, Duncan!
And of course, what do I do? I buy the book (yes, I bought this one in real life, not just our pretend adventure).

So how might this help you?

First, realize that pitches are subjective. Not everyone likes the same things. I happen to love fairytales, and this pitch is absolutely aimed at people who like fairytales. If you have an intended audience, make sure they know this is for them.

Second, voice. It didn't take much to set the tone, but "lousy bards" told me this would be a voice I'd appreciate. Work the voice from your book into your pitch.

Third, hook. This particular book plays off the fact that all of the princes in fairytales seem to be named Charming. Absolutely something I have laughed at for years. That is the line that sold me on this book. What is the hook of your book? What about it will make others connect to your story and want to read more?

Writing a pitch is not easy. The pitch I shared is a mere 112 words, and I guarantee those are some labor-intensive words. But try to look at it as a reader:

What in a pitch makes you go, "Ooh! I want to read that book!!"?

Best of luck to all you pitch writers!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Leigh Moore Is at it Again!

If you haven't heard the news, my friend (and member of the uber-cool Hacky Sack Club), Leigh Moore, just released a companion to The Truth About Faking. And if you missed that one, seriously go find it.

But in the meantime, here are the deets:

A companion to The Truth About Faking (not a sequel; the books can be read out of order), The Truth About Letting Go (link) takes readers back to Shadow Falls, or more specifically Shadow Creek, with Ashley Lockett as she learns about real friendship, love, and letting go.
Get me
The Truth About Letting Go (link) by Leigh Talbert Moore Ashley wants to smash everything in her once-perfect life. Charlotte wants to walk in Ashley's seemingly charmed shoes. Colt wants to turn Smalltown USA on its ear--with Ashley at his side. Jordan wants to follow his heart... but Ashley is the one sacrifice he never expected to make. Up until now, Ashley Lockett has always followed the rules. She's always done the right thing, played it safe, and then her ideal life is shattered when her dad dies suddenly. Fueled by anger and grief, she vows to do everything opposite of how she lived before. She rejects safety, the rules, faith, and then she meets Jordan. Jordan has big dreams, he's had a crush on Ashley for years, he's a great kisser... but he's also safe. Enter Colt. He is not safe, and he's more than willing to help Ashley fulfill her vow. Get it today on Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes * Kobo Add it on Goodreads.

Excerpt: I feel Colt laugh, and he looks down into my face. That’s when he seems to realize what I’ve been acutely aware of for the last several minutes—our bodies are pressed together. “It’s awesome, yeah?” he says. “Adrenaline rush.” “Yeah,” I breathe. “I guess.” I’m not sure if he’s going to kiss me until he does. His mouth covers mine, and energy mixes with the alcohol flooding my body. Our tongues slide together, and I grip his shirt so I don’t collapse.  Every single bit of this is wrong, and there’s no way I’m stopping it. It’s back, that good feeling. The sadness has been pushed out again, and in its place is this rush, this rush of adrenaline like Colt said.  He pulls back and smiles at me. “We’re going to start dating. Now. You’re my partner in crime.”

About the Author:
Leigh Talbert Moore is a wife and mom by day, a writer by day, a reader by day, a former journalist and editor, a chocoholic, a caffeine addict, a lover of YA and new adult romance (really any great love story), a beach bum, and occasionally she sleeps. -The Truth About Faking is her debut young adult romance (on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo) -Rouge is her first New Adult romantic suspense novel (on Amazon). Leigh loves hearing from readers; stop by and say hello! Blog * Facebook * Amazon Author page * Goodreads * Twitter * Tumblr

Monday, February 18, 2013

Twitterpated, Part 3

Apparently, my knowledge of Twitter is a secret weapon of some sort, and the evil Twitter gods don't want me to share, because THIS weekend, my computer took a hit. Like, we had to go get a new computer type of hit.

But I WILL NOT BE THWARTED! (Though I may be brief in my revolt).

So first, I just want to say, I hope my learning will help new Twitter users, or anyone contemplating taking the leap into twitterpation. Old Twitter pros: just go leave a comment giving us your best Twitter advice. :)

After a year of using Twitter, I discovered that I went into it with completely wrong expectations. I expected instant insider tips. I expected SECRET knowledge. I expected to FINALLY GET GILLIGAN OFF THAT ISLAND! . . . Oh, wait. Wrong blog post . . .

What I now know is that Twitter is not so much about getting information (though you can), rather, it's about making connections to people. Through Twitter, you have access to people in a way that simply isn't possible with blogs. Instead of well-thought out posts, you get the-thought-of-the-moment. You get a 140-character insight into taste and personality. You get improv instead of a script.

The thing is, when Twitter is one-sided (i.e. you lurk instead of participate), it’s kind of lame. The BEST way to make Twitter a useful tool is to respond to people.

And the beauty of Twitter is that it won’t take you long because you CAN’T send a hefty reply. 140 characters. It’s BRILLIANT, I tell you!!

But even then, if you aren’t up to words, you can still interact quite easily: If you like what someone tweets, Favorite it! If something makes you laugh, send a quick “LOL” in reply. Find a quote that inspires you? Retweet it!

Yes, it's limited, and it’s hard to imagine much coming from such a response, but do you know how cool it is when someone Favorites your tweet?!?

Really cool.

And do you know how much my esteem goes up for someone who responds to me (in any way)?

Yeah, like a lot.

(True, I just admitted my need for outside affirmation, but no judging. We all have it to some degree.) ;)

Okay, not as brief as I planned. So for now, my advice is “Interact.” It makes everything better. In the next series of “Twitterpated” posts, I plan to talk about my mistakes and how to avoid them.

In the meantime, how do you interact on Twitter?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lost: A Writer's Tale

So eep. I spent a bunch of time this week writing my planned blog post: Twitterpated, Part 3. For once I actually sat down before Sunday night and organized my thoughts and had the thing all ready to post for you. And my post was actually going to be useful (or so I told myself in my massively narcissistic mind).

I just wanted to add a picture.

Just a picture!

And then, oh yeah, I needed to add this other link to Twitterpated, Part 4, because yes, I was just that organized this week.

Happy, no?


No, it was not happy at all.

Because when I closed Part 3 (after SAVING it!), Blogger ate the post and then spit out a second, identical copy of "Twitterpated, Part 4."

The thing is, I don't really need 2 copies of the same post. And I betting you don't either.

So I flailed in woe for a minute. Made my husband put his book down to come make sure I wasn't going crazy. Then stubbornly refused to try to rewrite the thing.

And in the end, I thanked my lucky stars I only lost a blog post instead of a chapter (or worse, a whole book!).

Still. Blogger and I? Not on good terms right now.

Have you ever lost a piece of your writing? Tell me about it to console my frustrated little heart.

And maybe by next week I'll be over my Blogger tantrum and try to reconstruct my Twitterpated post. *sigh*

Friday, February 8, 2013

"Luck 'O the Irish" Pitch-Fest!

So if any of ya'll haven't heard, WriteOnCon is coming out of hibernation this winter to host the "Luck 'O the Irish" pitch fest.

I happen to be a HUGE fan of these things (can't imagine why . . .), so I jumped in with two feet and beggedapplied to be an official book blogger for the thing. Hurray! They accepted me, and now I have a shiny new badge over there on the sidebar.

So. Here are the deets:

We here at WriteOnCon are organizing a mid-winter "Luck 'O the Irish" pitch-fest, where agents, book bloggers, and authors will team up to read and vote for the best pitches of 2013.

You read that right! A pitch-fest! At WriteOnCon!

The details:
--Pitch-fest runs from March 18-22. Authors, book bloggers, readers, and our fabulous literary agents will be voting on the pitches. The favorites in each category will win prizes, including some great agent feedback or membership in the official WriteOnCon mentorship program!

--There will only be a limited number of pitches accepted. That number is unknown at this time, because it depends on how many agents attend. We're still recruiting agents and will let you know the final numbers as soon as we do! Pitches will be selected randomly, so it doesn’t matter what time zone you live in.

--The agents have selected their top three genres, and pitches will ONLY be accepted in those genres. Again, all genres are unknown at this time as we're still finalizing agents, but don't worry. We will make announcements about genres and numbers as things solidify (sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss a thing!). At this time, we are only focusing on the children's market, so you can know now that this pitch-fest will focus only on middle grade and young adult genres.

--We're announcing this now, before all details are finalized, because we're running a "perfect your pitch" workshop in February. This will take place in the WriteOnCon forums, and will work much the same as the query critique boards do during the annual WOC. You will post your pitch, and your peers will critique it. We will have posts from industry professionals on writing pitches and genre classification.

We're doing this for a good reason. We want your pitch to be as perfect as possible once the submission window hits in March. We will only be accepting your entry for the pitch-fest one time. We will not change your genre or edit your pitch after it has been submitted. This workshop during February is the time for you to fine-tune your pitch and get feedback about which genre your novel really belongs in.

--Only one pitch per person. Put forth your best work.

--Pitches should be for polished and query-ready novels only. That means if you haven't finished your novel yet, you shouldn't pitch. Still revising? Don't pitch. The agents attending are looking for material, and when they request, you want to be ready to send out your novel. We're announcing early to give you time to finish!

Dates to know:
February 18-March 10 - Forum peer pitch critiques (Carolin has the forum boards built! Check them out HERE)
March 11-13 - Submission of final pitches (this will be done through a Google form, NOT in the forum--details to come!)
March 14-17 - We build the boards in the forum (they will be hidden until March 18)
March 18-22 - Voting and commenting by literary agents, mentor authors, and book bloggers

We can't wait to see you at the Luck o' the Irish Pitch-Fest! Watch the WOC newsletter and site for more updates as we get closer to liftoff. Yeah, that was totally a mixed metaphor.

Hope to see you all there!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Twitterpated, Part 2

Phyllis the Groundhog in Twitterland
A little over a year ago, I took the plunge into Twitter, and talked about it in THIS post. I always meant to do a follow-up when I got a hang of the thing.

Yep, so here we are, 1 year later and I finally feel like I have something to say on the subject.

The thing about Twitter is that it's kind of like going to a ginormous party during a blackout where you can only hear snippets of conversation, and all the conversations mingle together into a vat of confusion.

 I spent many months tweeting a random comment here or there, and feeling like I was shouting into the emptiness of the Grand Canyon. And then, whoah . . . someone replied to one of my tweets, and it was like, "That was cool."

And then I connected with an actual friend and we had silly conversations in 140-character-spurts or less. And I started with the head bobbing. "Maybe Twitter isn't so bad."

And THEN, I finally got up the courage to respond to something with a tweeter I didn't know. . . .

And HOLY COW! They replied! And suddenly I started actually enjoying Twitter. Looking at it more than once a month. :)

The point of all this is that I finally have concrete thoughts on how to make twitter a useful (and FUN) tool. And I plan to share those thoughts, but just not this week, because I revel in brevity and this post is getting too long.

So while you wait for the exciting 3rd installment of "Twitterpated," feel free to share your thoughts about Twitter. And if you're on Twitter and I'm not following you, please leave your handle so I can! Because seeing what friends are posting is my favorite part. :)

And P.S. My handle is @MsVerbose.