Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Am I a Bestseller or Not?

Tip of the Day: According to an editor/friend of mine....here's how the terms are used:

bestseller - noun
best-selling - adjective

Or you can see it here on Dictionary.com


Am I a best-selling author?

Technically, yes.

My books - every single one of them - have hit multiple best-seller lists on Amazon.

Whoop dee doo.

Maybe I'm snobby. Maybe I'm too critical. But I'm not going to prance around the internet claiming best-seller status with hitting the top of one of Amazon's gabillion lists. I've even hit the top 100 on Amazon overall (paid, yes, I've hit the top 10 overall free multiple times) and I'm still not willing to flaunt it.

I don't think I'm snobby or critical. I just think I still have my head in the clouds.

I want to be a NY Times Bestseller or a USA Today Bestseller. I want to hit the big time, baby. Small successes are definitely worth celebrating. I've posted many a FB picture of my books on prominent Amazon lists. Yet...I won't let my cover artist put that coveted title next to my name.

What do you think? Am I a bestseller? Or still a wannabe?

In the meantime, pick up my YA contemporary novel, Shucked. It's free today on Amazon. :)


Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

Friday, December 6, 2013

Long Time, No See (or What I've Been Doing While Not Blogging)

Hello A2A Readers! Oh my goodness, it has been way too long since I've blogged. But I have been busy busy busy and while I do not yet have a book contract, I have been doing many other very cool Librariany and Writerly Things.

Like what?

Let me share a la list format!

Reality Boy1. After the amazingly awesome Greater Rochester Teen Read Week starring A. S. King, I got a mention in School Library Journal! How awesome is that for our fourth year of GRTRW? Thanks again, Amy! (And if you haven't read her REALITY BOY yet, omg you must!)

2. I got offered a gig writing monthly reviews for board books through YA lit! (I will say more when my first review goes live, because, ya know, I'm slightly paranoid like that.)

Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon3. I presented K-12 book talks with my two amazing colleagues at Library Leadership Academy yesterday for Wayne County/Finger Lakes BOCES -- and got to see Steve Sheinkin do a hilarious/telling keynote lunch speech! Last year I raved about BOMB and was so excited when it won FOUR AWARDS. Getting to hear Steve talk about how this book came to be was so exciting. And he seems like such a cool, real guy who has not let medals on his book cover go to his head. I would love to sit around and talk history with him. Fortunately, I believe he is coming to my town this winter to talk at the middle school.

Punctuation Takes a Vacation4. Last night I attended the RACWI (Rochester Area Children's Writers & Illustrators; a local division of SCBWI) holiday party, and what a fun, hilarious, and inspiring night it was. I nailed my "talent" for the talent show (named all 44 presidents in order -- boo yeah!), and chatted with the lovely Robin Pulver about characters with special needs, the prolific Vivian Vande Velde about what she's working on next, the strong Marsha Hayles, the vivacious Linda Sue Park & tall M. T. Anderson about the Rochester Teen Book Festival (no, M. T. is not from Rochester, but was in the area for a school visit so of course we "let" him come as Linda Sue's guest!). I enjoyed spending time with all the other writers and illustrators in attendance as well at my beautiful crit partner's house.

5. My siblings came to visit over Thanksgiving and stayed at my house and we had so much fun! This may not appear to be directly related to the world of librarianship and writing, but you see, they are both writers as well: my brother the professor publishes his research in journals, and my sister the LMT writes original books and continuing ed material so others can keep their certification. They are very talented and cool and we all "get" each other's crazy humor.

6. I finished reading a draft of Megg's adult fantasy dragon novel. I can't wait for everyone to read it! (Head to her website for more info!)

And now it is nearly the second week in December. WOW. I will get back to cranking out the rewrite of my MG novel that takes place in an old mansion-turned-library and keep my fingers crossed that someone wants to buy my insane asylum MG!

What have you all been up to?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's Your Standard Writing Day?

It's that time in the book cycle where I'm filling out a gazillion interviews before a book launch (this time it's the launch of the paperback for My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours- 12/31/13) and a common question I seem to get is describe your typical writing day. I like this question because I'm always curious how other authors work. So I'll tell you guys my typical day as a writer and you tell me yours okay? Here goes:

6:15am- get all the rugrats up, fed&dressed, and then off to school by 7:45.
8:00am- breakfast and errands with the littlest rugrat who has afternoon kindergarten. Then home to work on all book marketing related things- contests, promotions, interviews, social media, you name it.
Noon-drop the little off for kindergarten and back home to write like a maniac until it's time for pickup at 2:35.
3:00pm- all the homework/activities and so on, dinner, and kids to bed between 7 and 8.
8:00pm and on- catch up on e-mails and and book marketing related tasks still to do.

So it seems like my time is pretty split between writing and doing promo stuff. Is this how it is for everyone else? I see people say things like they write all day and I wonder how they do it. Maybe someday I'll get to that point but I'm pretty comfortable with my current schedule.

What about you?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

P.S.- Stop by my contest between now and 1/15/14 on my blog for a chance to win the Fake Boyfriend Prize Pack. Lots of goodies!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Stuck? Read Lyrics

All writers have been there - you're writing, or editing, and you cannot move on because you're searching for the perfect turn of phrase or a clever metaphor, and the only words your brain supplies are "duh" and "blah." Nothing sounds good. You have simply run out of words and creative ways to use them.

For some authors, they re-read beloved passages from favorite novels, hoping to spark their creativity. Not me. I head for my favorite song lyrics.

Think about it - in three minutes, a musician must tell you a story. Not just any story, but one that grabs you around the throat until your emotions spill out in song. The best songs force you to sing along (no matter your level of talent). You sing because somewhere deep inside, the lyrics have spoken a truth to you.

To me, that is incredible power.

Some of you may ask, "Why not just read poetry?"

I don't know if it's the way my brain is wired, but poetry puts me to sleep. I don't understand it a bit. But put poetry to music, and suddenly my brain clicks on. Maybe it's the same reason I obsessively listen to music while I write.

So who are some of my favorite musical poets?

Nina Gordon - you may remember her as the lead singer of Veruca Salt. Nina put out a couple of solo albums and it's just the type of music I like to drown in.


"Now I'm bleeding like watercolors
Keep me dreaming in pale blues and greens"

Alanis Morissette - Say what you will, I think she's a modern poetic genius. I love all of her music and can't wait for another new release.


"I have been running so sweaty my whole life
Urgent for a finish line
And I have been missing the rapture this whole time of being forever incomplete"
- Incomplete

I could go on for a long time, but that's not helpful to you. For all I know, you're reading these and thinking, "These are terrible. They don't make any sense to me."

And you're justified in thinking that. lol. The beauty of this exercise is that we all have our own favorites, so next time you're stuck, read the lyrics of some of YOUR favorite songs. If it speaks to you, then it will help. Trust me.

Good luck!!!!!


Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Who Is That Masked Man? (or What Movies Do for Book Characters)

Tip of the Day: The Greater Rochester Teen Read during Teen Read Week with A. S. King was amazing! Thanks to all the teachers, librarians, teens, and Amy(!) for making it a success! You can also check out a new interview with me in the YALSA blog for winning the YALSA/Dollar General TRW grant.

Some might say that movies/TV shows based on books are not as good as the written versions. In many cases I agree with that.

However, as Halloween approaches and costumed enthusiasts make their party appearances, it is clear that without Hollywood making our book characters visually concrete in our heads, many a costume would go unrecognized -- or unimagined.

Can you tell who this character is?
How many people dressed as Katniss before THE HUNGER GAMES became a movie? How about Legalos? Or Deanerys Targaryen? :)
How often do you think a movie that flops hurts the book it was based on? If potential readers see the movie first and then don't even try the book?
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Boy Swap Release Day!

Yay! Boy Swap is out in the world today! Get yourself a copy on AmazonB&N, and soon itunes and Kobo!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fourth Annual Greater Rochester Teen Read! (or GRTR during TRW with ASK!)

Tip of the Day: Need to buy some books this week? Wait til Saturday and order through Barnes & Noble book fairs to benefit the 9th Annual Rochester Teen Book Festival!

Guess what time of year it ALMOST is?

Teen Read Week!

And what does that mean?

It is also almost time for the Fourth Annual Greater Rochester Teen Read! This year our feature author is A. S. King (Amy) and her novel Everybody Sees the Ants!

I am particularly excited about GRTR this year because not only did we book Amy for three Monroe County Library System visits, one Monroe County Children's Detention Center visit, three school visits, AND as a special guest for the Read-A-Thon at B&N, but I ALSO got the YALSA/Dollar General TRW Grant! That means three more MCLS libraries can be a part of TRW activities by showing the documentary Bully, do giveaways of EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS and the essay book DEAR BULLY edited by Carrie Jones and Megan Kelley Hall, and pay for Amy's flight. Phew! 

If you will be in the Rochester, NY area from Oct. 12-17, please check out this website to find out where you can meet Amy and hear her talk about why bullying sucks and how things will get better!

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?

I love my job!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Espressologist Trailer

I've been quiet on the blog lately too (which means I'm busy writing, right? :-) ) but I wanted to quickly share this awesome trailer Alloy Digital put together for The Espressologist web series. I LOVE it!

Espressologist Trailer from Alloy Digital on Vimeo.

Naming a Character...Roller Derby style

Tip of the Day: the library person in me can't help but mention it's Banned Books Week, so support your right to read by checking out a commonly banned or challenged book from your local library this week!

I've been extremely quiet on the blog lately, merely because there hasn't been much going on or things to discuss. But I'm coming out of hiding because I have a favor to ask.

I know...I know...selfish of me.

But...our blog readers are some of the most creative people I know and always have wonderful suggestions, so I thought you'd be the perfect group to poll.

Recently, I got up enough guts to try out for something I've been wanting to do for a very long time...Roller Derby. I used to watch the old banked track matches on the TV with interested and then got really interested in the sport as an adult after watching the "Rollergirls" reality show about the Lonestar Rollergirls league in Austin, Texas. As I got older I really wanted to try it, but never lived near enough to a place with a team, until now.

I have a new appreciation for the sport and it's athletes, since it's one of the hardest things I've done. My currently two very injured knees are proof. But it's a great workout and I've loved meeting all my new teammates. I'm slowly, very slowly, improving and I've found muscles that I never knew existed!

Learning a completely new sport as an adult is fun and a bit crazy. In fact it reminds me a lot of when I started writing fiction. It's lots of fun, but tons of work and at times I frequently find myself asking the question: "What on earth did I get myself into?"

So here comes the favor part...

Most of you know that Roller Derby members have a fun "derby" name and I'd really love to play off of a literary name. However, most of the names I've come up with are taken by other skaters and you can't really pick a name that anyone else has ever registered.

So names like:

* Pain Eyre
* Katniss EverMean
* Lady Gwen A Fear

While they are fun and ones I'd love to use, I can't. So, I'd love name suggestions in the comments section. If I end up picking yours I'll even send you a $10 Amazon giftcard, so you get something in return, besides my gratification. If you want other ideas, there's a whole list of names here. Just remember it can't be too similar to any of the names on the list.

It can be a spin on an author, character, or book related. It can even be library related. I really don't care. My only qualifications are that I like it, the name fits me, and that it's not taken.

So...got any suggestions?

Photo from: http://battlefieldrollerderby.org/

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Super Easy Weekend Giveaway! (or Enter Here for a Chance to BLACKOUT!)

Tip of the Day: Will you be in the Rochester, NY area on Friday, October 4? If so, make sure to check out Blue Falcon's EP CD Release Party! (Yes, they are one of Leo's favorite bands in BLACKOUT.) If you don't live in the area, just go to the link and check out their music. Their rock groove with witty lyrics promises to entertain.

Curious about BLACKOUT but don't have the extra cash, or B&N or Amazon or iTunes account?
Well now is your chance to enter to win a free copy in the format of your choice! (Even PDF if you want to read it on your computer.)

Just comment on this post between NOW AND MONDAY, SEPT. 16 AT 9PM EST saying you would like to enter to win (leave an email address or link of how to contact you). With the power of the Random Number Generator, I'll select a winner who can let me know which file type they would like to read.

That's it! Super easy, super quick.

Feel free to spread the word to anyone else you think may be interested.

And if you need a reminder as to what BLACKOUT is about:

When 17-year-old musician Leo and his 15-year-old scientist sister Jenny wake up in a ditch with pains in their hands, they wonder what happened on their drive home from their father’s house in rural Pennsylvania. Their only memory of the past twelve hours is of bright lights flashing through their windshield. Then the blackout.

Leo is content to chalk up the missing memories and throbbing hands to a concussion and nerve damage, but Jenny won’t let it go. Soon the siblings uncover clues that they stumbled upon a dangerous and illegal alternative energy project in the Appalachians – and that their father is involved. If they don’t discover the truth, Leo’s burning hands will destroy his music career before it begins, and Jenny will never know if her father is the mentor she's always trusted or a mad scientist who will stop at nothing for the success of his work. Not even if it means sacrificing his own children.

Available for $2.99 wherever ebooks are sold.

Thanks again for everyone's support!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Sunday, September 8, 2013

E-Pub Excellence (or Electric Feels*)

*with apologies to MGMT

Tip of the Day: Time Warner is now carrying Showtime again -- get ready for Homeland Season 3 on Sun, Sept. 29 @ 9PM! It is a great lesson in character development, plot twists, and cliffhangers.

When I bought my Nook in December 2011, part of my excitement was that I could easily purchase and read self-e-pubbed books. And since then I've read some really great ones -- including those by my critique partners (Theft of the Star Tracker by Lisa Tiffin) and my A2A Misses (Paparazzi Project by Kristina Springer and Sleepers by Megg Jensen). Today I'd like to mention some and here they are, in no particular order:

I read Shana's first traditionally pubbed book, SOMETHING TO BLOG ABOUT, when it came out in 2008 and found it hilarious. Earlier this year I read The Rules of You and Me and wow, Shana has grown as a writer with this beautiful realistic tale that fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy.

I've read traditionally pubbed books by both Cyn and Mandy, so when I saw this book written by both of them for only 99 cents, I couldn't pass it up and I'm glad I didn't. Getting Caught is a clever school story of girls who have been best and worst friends.

I won a copy of Dolphin Girl from the author and put off reading it for a bit because I thought it was a paranormal romance. Not so! It is another lovely contemporary YA school story with a great setting and well developed main character.

I'd heard Megg mention Wool numerous times on Facebook and I finally purchased the first installment -- and flew through it. I immediately bought the whole omnibus. While it has been bought by a trad publisher for its print book form, Hugh's work was originally an amazing self-e-pubbed adult novel with an intriguing sci-fi setting and captivating chapter endings.

I know there will be many more great self-e-pubbed works in my future! Which ones have you read and loved lately?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What I Did On My Summer Vacation (or What I Learned On My Summer Vacation)

Tip of the Day: If you are planning a Pacifc Northwest vacation, don't skip Vancouver. The views from Grouse Mountain and Stanley Park? Amazing.

 Vancouver, BC
While visiting Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland, I did and saw and ate many fabulous things, but for the purpose of this blog I shall narrow it down to kidlitish stuff. So, to focus, a list!
1. Read SAVE THE CAT: The Last Book On Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. I heard of this book for the first time when Jessica Brody talked about it at Rochester Teen Book Festival this past May. I'm so glad I finally picked it up -- something about it TOTALLY CLICKED in my brain! I love the 15-beat scheme! And his tricks for nailing a logline! Wow. I got off the plane with 3 pages of novel notes for my MG that is nearing submission and an MG that is in rewrites, and a reason to return home to write after vacation.

2. Went to Powell's Bookstore. Twice. And bought eight books. Including SAVE THE CAT because I'd read a library copy on the flight there. Yes, it is the best bookstore EVER! It was also SO BUSY and awesome to see tons of people buying books!

3. Read two YA novels on my Nook and learned that I will skim a book very quickly on it if I would otherwise stop reading a paper version of the book. I'm not sure what this says about my reading habits, but I am glad I finished the two books I may have given up on otherwise.

What did you do this past week?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Book News! New YA Release Coming this Fall!


Boy Swap: The secret to sisterly love and scholarly bliss.

Research shows that seven out of ten girl fights are over a guy. The Boy Swap Club fixes all that. In an effort to spread around male cuteness and minimize fights and backstabbing, they just share boyfriends. And Brooke Thomas, consummate band member, has been asked to join the super secret club because the president of the club has the hots for her guy.

Brooke doesn’t want to share her boyfriend. I mean, who does? But how can she say no? She, a second chair flutist in the school band, finds herself sitting between the Varsity Cheerleader Captain and the Homecoming Queen at the first meeting. Her friends will never believe this in a million years.  Too bad she can’t tell them. But she knows. This one event can change her entire life. What if she becomes actual friends with one of these girls? It might be worth sharing her boyfriend. 

Besides, he'll always love her best, right?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Why I Now Like Book Trailers (or Video Killed the YA Book Star*)

*with apologies to The Buggles

Tip of the Day: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Mini Pretzles are dangerously delish. (9 servings per bag? How about 4?)

As A2A readers undoubetly know, a few years ago book trailers for YA and MG novels started becoming more popular. Many discussion cropped up on if they were worth having.

Personally, I watch trailers that:

a. get a lot of buzz,
b. are by authors I know, or
c. are for books I'm planning on buying/reading anyway.

In other words, I have never been swayed to buy/read a novel because of the trailer even though I have been entertained by them.

One of the first trailers I remember thinking was cool was this one for Carrie Ryan's THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH:
But because it has actors and spoken dialog, it feels more like a movie trailer than one for a novel.

A recent favorite is this amazing animated trailer for THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani:
It is also very cinematic, and way too expensive for a novice like me to ever do.

When I decided to self epub BLACKOUT, I didn't originally plan to produce a book trailer. But my husband was writing new tracks for his band Blue Falcon around the time I was formatting my novel and I thought it would be cool if he created original music for a trailer. Once he agreed, I was excited!

While I enjoy some of the cinematic book trailers out there, I wanted mine to be more in line with the experience of reading a book. I also knew I needed it to be about 45-60 seconds long. I watched Lisa Schroeder's trailer for THE DAY BEFORE for inspiration as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBnbubgIMJA

I love the filming that Lisa did for her trailer, but that is more work than I wanted to put into it so I went with the photo that was used for the cover as a backdrop for the whole thing. The rest was my husband using the limited options on iMovie.

But honestly the best part of having a book trailer? I can hock my wares by giving people an experience -- a free taste of music and atmosphere for BLACKOUT -- instead of just a link where they can buy my book. As someone who is not into self-promotion, it makes talking about my novel a lot easier.

I don't expect my trailer to be the one that transforms people like me into those who buy books based on them. But if the music and atmosphere at least entertains those who click on the YouTube link for 60 seconds, I've done my job.

What are your thoughts of book trailers as a viewer or as an author?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Free eBook, Anyone?

It's like a game of hide-and-seek. Where's Megg? Why does she keep popping up and then seemingly disappearing?

If you're on Facebook with me, you know a bit about what's been going on in my real life, yanno, the one I live when I'm not writing.

Here's a basic breakdown:

September 2012 - the toilet in my kids' bathroom overflows, causing MAJOR damage in my house. We're talking months of construction. Oh, and we also had to pick up our new puppy. Great timing. I spent the next three months basically living in the basement as our house was being reconstructed. Who knew a toilet could do so much damage?

January 2013 - My hubby, who has a history of back problems and one spinal surgery already under his belt, re-injures his back. Weeks of therapy didn't help. He ended up in the hospital for a double spinal fusion. It wasn't that simple, though. Due to the pain medication he was on, he couldn't drive for almost two months. My life was turned upside down as I played the role of single mom and caregiver (no complaints, just the facts).

This lasted through March. I had about 60 days of quiet where I published Shucked, a contemporary YA novel I'd had bouncing around my head for years (it's a miracle I got any writing done during the time).

May 2013 - We got some news about our kids' private school that caused us to put our house on the market so we could get into a better public school district. Anyone who's tried to sell a house in this market knows how stressful that can be. And the CLEANING, OMG, I had to make the house we'd built and lived in for 11 years look like something out of a magazine.

The house sold. The first day. For cash. But we had to be out in two weeks. TWO WEEKS. Oh yeah, and the hubby was still in recovery from back surgery so it was up to me to pack everything by myself. Did I mention I had only two weeks?

From June 10th - July 5th we were basically homeless. On the weekends we lived with my parents an hour away and during the week we lived in hotels near my hubby's job and my daughter's swim team. My computer was in storage and, really, who can write on an iPad in a hotel with two stir-crazy kids? Not me.

Here I am, August 7th, the house is 90% put together. I (finally) find myself with time and the mental capacity to sit down and write. Five days of drafting and I've written 6,709 words. I know my output will at least double when the kids go back to school. The story is flowing and I'm letting my imagination run wild. It's an exciting time.

The next ebook is a high fantasy, similar to the others I've published, but this one is an adult fantasy, not YA. That means a little more sex, a little more violence, and no love triangles. lol

I feel like I'm making a comeback. I was never totally gone, but, to be honest, I haven't been as committed to work as I should have been for almost *shudders* a year. I can't believe it's been that long.

So here's the good news. The SCBWI-Illinois reps have asked me to be the regular self-publishing columnist for the Prairie Wind. I'm really excited!!!

To celebrate, I'm giving away one of my ebooks to anyone who is signed up for my newsletter by August 21st. All the details will be in the newsletter I send out, so if there's a book of mine you haven't read yet, sign up!

Thanks to all of my fans for sticking by me over the last 11 months. My life has been a roller coaster, but knowing I had all of you waiting on the other end was a big motivator to never give up on my writing career!!!!!


Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

Monday, July 29, 2013

Time to BLACKOUT (or Release Day is Here!)

Tip of the Day: Verla Kay's Blue Board is so amazing that it is merging with the SCBWI message boards! Go Verla and BBers!

Four days early, my YA novel BLACKOUT is out in the world*!

It is only $2.99 (what a deal!) through the following retailers:
Also, my super talented husband wrote original music and put together this awesome book trailer. I love it!

For a reminder on why I decided to self e-pub BLACKOUT, here's my blog post from April.

Thanks to all the A2A Misses and critique partners past and present who helped bring this book to life!

If anyone has any questions on the e-pubbing process from a first timer, feel free to ask them here. And if they are beyond my ability to answer, I will forward them to the epub master, Megg. :)

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

*Except for through slooow iTunes and delayed Kobo.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A2A Chat: Lisa Tiffin and the THEFT OF THE STAR TRACKER

Tip of the Day: If you get requests for partials and fulls but no offers of rep from the first couple dozen agents you query, keep going for a few dozen more! It only takes one.

Today I would like to welcome Lisa Tiffin, independent publisher of Apple Cart Books and author of the Eagle Ridge Prep middle-grade novels, starting with her first release, THEFT OF THE STAR TRACKER! And yes, this book is available now through Amazon.com!

(Isn't this cover fabulous?)
What is THEFT OF THE STAR TRACKER about, you may ask?
When their highly technical science project is stolen, brothers Drew and Alex Richfield are thrown into an action-filled battle with bully, Brett Larson, who always seems to be just one step ahead of them.
Drew and Alex must learn to work together to stop Brett from registering their GPS Star Tracker as his own in the Annual Science Fair. At stake are the brothers’ reputations, their relationship and the Grand Prize!
Full disclosure: Lisa is one of my critique partners and a reason I have grown so much as a writer these past few years. I read THEFT OF THE STAR TRACKER as a draft and knew it would have an audience. Now that it is available as an ebook, I am thrilled to see it find its readers!

And onto our A2A chat!

1. Tell us a little about yourself. An About the Author if you will.
Sure, start with the hardest question! I think story was always part of my life. When my siblings and I were young, instead of reading to us our dad would make up stories to tell us. Later, I got involved with theater. I loved to bring a story to life through a character to entertain an audience. I suppose writing is similar though hearing and seeing the reactions are a bit delayed. In my work as a freelance writer, I often have to get a message or a brand across, but when I write fiction, I can focus more on entertaining readers. And that all ties back to what our dad did for us – entertain!

2. What was your initial idea for
It all started with a conversation with my older brother. He was frustrated with the lack of great books for his boys. As a mother of twin boys, I knew my own sons would soon be in the same position as their older cousins were. Somehow that conversation ended up with my brother challenging me to write the kind of books that we both wanted for our sons: entertaining, smart adventures capable of holding a boy’s interest.

I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but I outlined and wrote and wrote. I actually sent each section to my nephews with questions for them to answer about the characters, plot and interest level. I paid them with Legos, if you can believe it! After that, the book went through a revision workshop, my critique group, and several industry professionals before it was ready for prime time.

3. What made you decide to self-epub?
This book is really close to my heart. Maybe because my family was the catalyst that propelled me into writing it, maybe because it is the book that taught me I really do love science (as long as that science is technology related!) or maybe because it was the book that really sealed the deal for me as a children’s author.

The book has come really close to traditional publication (it was once under contract with a small publisher) and has had a lot of good reviews, so I just felt like it was time to get it out there into the world. I’m hoping lots of kids will enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

4. What else do you write?
I’ve written a few picture books, other middle grade novels and short stories for adults. In fact, I love short stories and am working right now on a YA book of short stories about Haiti. I’m not sure how that will ultimately play out, but I like what I have so far. In my day job I write newspaper articles, essays, magazine articles and lots of business copy like Websites, brochures and newsletters. So pretty much everything. J

5. What are your thoughts on self-epubbing and traditional publishing?
Great question! With our economy in tenuous shape and the ever-changing landscape of traditional publishing, I feel like agents and editors are all looking for that one, breakout, NYT best-selling novel. Unfortunately, a lot of competent and even brilliant writers are penning good quality, midlist, dependable novels. I think self publishing and e-publishing open the field for authors to get their books into the public’s hands. Most readers don’t care who published the book if it’s something they want to read, something of quality and something that will entertain and enlighten them.

6. Any last thoughts for our readers?
Thanks for having me and thanks to all the readers out there who care about books and what they represent. Our culture thrives on stories, and I love the interdependence between writers and readers. I’d love to hear your comments or answer questions about that relationship, e-pubbing vs. traditional pubbing, my book or anything else!

Thank you, Lisa! And you heard her, readers: What questions do you have about the various types of publishing?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Things Are Happening (or "Is It Really Happening?")

*with apologies to Marky Mark and M. Night Shyamalan

Tip of the Day: Another reminder that WriteOnCon is happening August 13-14. Don't miss this free online kidlit writing conference! Thanks, WriteOnCon team!

Readers! Things are Happening!

Wanna know what? OK. Keep reading.

1. You may remember that in April I decided to self-epub my YA novel, BLACKOUT. This plan is moving forward and I am set to release my first novel on August 1st! It will be available through Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Smashwords. Here is the cover, designed by the talented Shana Norris.

I love the artwork and can't wait for it to be out in the world! I plan to epub the sequel, DESERTED, in 2014 and can already picture the companion cover.
2. To go along with my book release, I have a website. I've owned www.DeenaLipomi.com for years. I mean, I had to reserve it early since I could tell people would be fighting over that domain name one day. Now it is finally live! The site still needs some embelishments, but you can learn more about BLACKOUT there.

3. Four out of five of the A2A Misses are meeting up later this month for gossip and writing and let's face it, more gossip! We invited Megg, but since she just closed on a new house, she can't make it but we'll send her love from Ohio. This will be the first time that Tina and Em are meeting Kate. This will be a fun union and reunion.

4. I have some good buzz on the agent front and hope to be able to make something official later this month! This had made me want to spend days revising my next MG novel and dive into another idea. Writing mojo is kicking in!

What summer writerly things are happening for you?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Droughts & Monsoons

Tip of the Day: Got a grammar question? Head over to Grammar Girl for all the answers. I <3 that blog. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/

I haven't written in weeks. How many? Three...maybe four. I'm not really sure.

After Kristina (yes, the same one that's an A2A girl) sold her house, my hubby & I thought, "Hey, maybe it would work for us too." So we called Kristina's realtor (yes, we know each other IRL) and he managed to sell our house the first day it was on the market. Best part? Cash deal. Worst? We had to be out in two weeks.

We built that house and lived there for nearly 11 years. Packing up in two weeks meant suspending everything else in my life to get it done. You may remember that my husband had a double spinal fusion back in February and he's on BLT (bending, lifting, twisting) restriction until the end of August. The heavy lifting was, quite literally, solely on my shoulders.

In the process, I managed to break a finger and a toe. Yes, I am that talented.

In the midst of packing, we chose a new house, but can't move in until July 5th. So now we're adrift, homeless in a sense. With the majority of our belongings in storage (including 40 boxes of books), we're living out of bags. Some nights we're in hotels; others we're on my parents' farm - more than an hour away from our work, friends, and activities.

At first it was glorious. I was happy to just live moment-to-moment. I didn't even miss writing. Which both pleased and upset me. Pleased because my computer was packed up and typing on my iPad is a PITA, but upset because I worried that maybe my writing mojo had disappeared. That's a disturbing prospect for any writer. I decided not to push it. No pressure. Que sera, sera.

This week my husband jetted off to Pennsylvania for work. The kids & I have spent the whole week at my parents' farm. Even though there's plenty to do, I started to feel that familiar itch. I took copious amounts of notes on my iPhone. The plot for my next fantasy is coming together quickly. It's expanding faster than I can barely keep track of.

The writing isn't gone. It only went dormant. I didn't have time to write anyway with the move, but now that I'm close to moving into a new house (hopefully our forever house) I'm dying to get back to work. I want to tell this story. I'm desperate to tell it.

And, really, isn't that the best feeling in the world?!

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Favorite Room (And news about Espressologist the web series and a book sale at the bottom!)

Hey Author2Author readers!

I've been MIA for quite awhile. It seems I can't to do too many things at once. We moved in mid-April and the process of getting all of the stuff for 6 people packed and moved was enormous for me! I barely got any writing done. Ok, I didn't write at all during that process. But we're all moved in and I'm getting back to work now. I've been working on the first book in a middle grade series, making notes on a new middle grade book that I'm super excited about, and starting edits on a young adult book. And of course enjoying summer with the kids.

I wanted to share my favorite room in our new house: the library. I've always wanted a library! And this one comes with a coffee bar so I'm hooked (ok, they used it as a library/wine room, but you know me: coffee, coffee, coffee!). Anyway, it's a little room right off of the family room and the kids (and me) love to go in here to read. Here are some pics.

 (looking in)

 (the coffee bar)

(cute window to sit by)

(kids fave place to read)

(up close of the books. Still a work in progress as I keep finding boxes of books in the house)

In other updates, in May Alloy Digital announced the web series, Espressologist, at Digital Content Newsfronts, which was SO cool!. You can read about that here. They included some new details about the script:

"Based on the popular book by Kristina Springer, The Espressologist mixes one part Central Perk from Friends with a splash of Jane Austin’s Emma to create a series brimming with humor and heart.

Working at her neighborhood coffee shop as a barista, twenty-something Chelsea has a front-row seat to people and their crazy, entertaining lives. Always an astute observer of human nature, Chelsea stumbles upon a methodology that makes a love connection between her customers’ personalities and their drink orders. This comedic series follows Chelsea as the stakes are raised and her bizarre dating formula leads to more people (namely friends and co-workers) looking for Chelsea to replicate her success. But will she ever make a match for herself?"

So excited to see the book come to life!

There is also some great sales on my books this week. On Amazon, the paperback of The Espressologist is only $3.60. Just Your Average Princess in hard cover is $6.40. And The Paparazzi Project is on sale for 99 cents at B&N and Amazon.

Thanks for reading all the way through this lengthy post. More soon from me, I promise!

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Friday, June 14, 2013

Why Blog? (or What's the Use?)

Tip of the Day: WriteOnCon is happening again this year! Mark your calendars on August 13-14 for this free online kidlit writing conference. Thanks, WriteOnCon team!

A few weeks ago, agent Michael Bourret blogged about why he hasn't felt like blogging lately. To paraphrase, he wonders if there is anything left to blog about that hasn't already been said -- sometimes better -- by someone else. He also speculates that there is so much internet "noise" out there that he doesn't necessarily need to add to it.

I understand where he's coming from. From someone who used to blog weekly on Author2Author, and periodically on my own LiveJournal where I now only post book reviews, I am definitely in blog fatigue. I also have a FaceBook page that I use more to keep up with my friends than talk about myself, and I tweet for my library @bmlkidsteens when I have time or am so inspired. Now that I am preparing to self epub my YA novel, I need to get a website up and running -- but it feels like a daunting prospect (another web presence to keep up with!) and redundant (I'm already on the web in four different places!).

Similarly, I used to bookmark blogs from writers, librarians, and other kidlit industry pros to check daily, or follow them on LJ or through RSS feeds. Now, though, I don't have time because there are so many out there, and also the "groundbreaking" stuff tends to find its way to me through other means.

So, what purpose does blogging serve me now? And what purpose do others' blogs serve me?

My answer? I now look at blogs as part of a "body of work" rather than an up-to-the-minute view of one's life.

To expand on that, if I want to stalk someone -- and come on, we all do it -- I will check out their recent tweets or FB posts. But if I want to see substantial information about a person, or learn more about their writing or life pursuits, I will go through multiple blog posts on their site at one time. In other words, I will read their body of work in one sitting and most likely not "follow" the blog after that once I've learned what I need to know.

So when I'm researching agents, I don't check in every day with the blogs/tweets/posts of all those I'm considering querying; instead I just find one person, read all I can to feel informed, send the query or not, and then move on. If I get a request for pages from the agent, I might dig a little farther.

And that is how I'm thinking about my own blogging now. If I query an agent who wants to learn more about me, he/she can click on the link to this site and see my "body of work" here. That is more imporant to me than showing that I am capable of posting a few paragraphs every week.

This is a place to get to know me, my style, my sense of humor (hopefully!), and that I do enjoy social media but am not devoting my life to my presence here.

At least, this is how I'm thinking today....

How is everyone else using their blogs these days?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Read the Book (or Teen Book Fest #8!)

Tip of the Day: The best time to visit Rochester, NY, is in May during our annual Lilac Festival and Teen Book Fest! We were extra lucky this year and even had perfect weather today.

Wow. Where do I even start? With my gushing or back story?

OK, first one, then the other.


Phew, OK, got that out of my system. :)

Now to backup.

Eight years ago I was starting to write teen fiction, and had just completed my MLS where I learned that I needed to be a teen services librarian. I began reading tons of YA lit, including SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. Needless to say I fell in love with that book. Soon after I went to her webpage and nearly fell over when I saw that she was going to speak at a Teen Book Festival in my very own Rochester, NY.

I went that to TBF that first year as an attendee and was blown away by the amazing authors presenting there (Lauren Myracle! Nancy Werlin! about 12 in total?), and was thrilled that another Fest was planned for the following year. In 2007 TBF was a bit bigger, and I went again as an attendee. Then in 2008, I got my YA Librarian job and worked TBF as a volunteer -- and have ever since.

What has also been amazing to watch over these past eight years?
--the growing number of presenting authors
--the increasing size of the attendee crowd
--the number of teens devoting an entire Saturday to volunteer with authors and talk about books
--the number of authors who come back to TBF again because they had such an amazing time before
--the care the TBF Committee takes in making each author feel like a rock star
--the number of publishers that now sponsor their authors' visits to TBF
--the number of authors (and illustrators!) who hear other authors talk about TBF, making them want to come too
--the time Nazareth College takes in making the authors and teens feel at home on their campus
--the dedication of Stephanie and her TBF Committee who devote so much time to this amazing event so it becomes more organized and successful every year

I know I'm forgetting some of the thoughts that struck me today as I looked into the crowd of teens, authors, illustrators, teachers, parents, and librarians, but suffice it to say I am lucky to live in a city that really knows how to rock out to teen books.

And a special shout out to my author panel, who have now increased the size of my TBR pile by talking about their current and forthcoming titles! (Forgive me, I was too busy to take pics of the actual event, but check out tweets and retweets from @TBFLive for some great ones.)

And a high-five to the other authors who I chatted with, hugged, and who also made my TBF pile taller:

 Thank you, again, to everyone who made this awesome day possible.

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Living on Hope!

Tip of the Day: Shucked is on a book blitz this week, with 77 bloggers signed up. You can enter to win a copy - all the details are on my blog.

Shucked is the book I queried. It's the book I wanted to traditionally publish. I queried only eight agents.

Not a whole lot, I know. The chances were infinitesimal. And I got rejected by six of them. The other two are we-don't-contact-you-unless-we're-interested agents. I'm assuming they didn't want Shucked.

The whole time I was waiting on responses, I prepped Shucked for self-pub. I'm not one to sit around waiting, but I was respectful enough to wait to hit the publish button until I knew Shucked was passed on. Anything else is unprofessional.

I'm happy knowing I queried my dream agents (the three I wanted most were the first three to reject me, which lessened the sting of the others). I wouldn't settle for just any agent anymore (not like in 2010 when I queried 50-something agents for Anathema). Self-publishing is a better choice, for me, than going with an agent who I feel meh about.

What am I hoping for with Shucked? I want it to be traditionally published. Yes, still. I've epubbed Shucked and put it up for free in its entirety on Wattpad. How will this help? Well, let's say on the off chance people love it (some do, and some already don't, lol). It gets popular. There's word of mouth and buzz. Then maybe someone will want to pick it up for print rights, or foreign, or film. You never know.

Don't tell me the book is dead if it's already out there. That's simply not true anymore. And if Shucked does nothing more than live on as an ebook, I'm certainly not going to complain. I've already sold enough copies to cover the money I spent on it. I'm making a profit and I will never turn away a paying customer.

So let the dream carry on! No book is ever dead. :D

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Decision Is Made (or Time To Publish)

Tip of the Day: Check out my husband's new music by his band Blue Falcon! I am biased but I highly recommend his tunes, particularly the humorous "Internet Celebrity."

So, I'm going to do it.

I'm going to self e-pub a YA novel.


This is a huge step for me -- actually getting my work Out There for real readers to read -- but I'm excited! I've hired a cover artist, and just picturing my book with professional art and my name on it makes me very happy.

Why did I decide to go this route? For a few reasons:

1. Some of you may recall my post from last month where I listed all of my MG, YA, and NA works. I know some of these books need to remain in the trunk, but I also know that others are really good and I can't keep fiddling with them -- not when I have so many other ideas I want to write. In order for me to be able to move forward, I need to publish some of my "back list" and call them DONE. And if publishing companies aren't asking for them, it's up to me to pub them myself. So I will -- and I am!

1a. I have to add that I'm glad self epubbing was NOT a viable option when my first, second, oh heck first 7 manuscripts were completed because they were NOT ready for the world and I might've put books out that, well, sucked. But I'm so glad that it IS a solid option now.

2. I love writing YA, but the market is so tight that it feels extra hard to break in. Recently, I found myself shying away from new YA ideas because of this. While I've loved working on my MG novels instead, I didn't want to give up on my YAs -- and I have to say it has been so nice and freeing and fun to polish up my YA without worrying if it is "good enough" to sell to a publisher. Instead I know that I WILL get it out there for consumers to buy and read and enjoy or hate, but the power to publish is mine and the choice to read it will be in the buyers' hands.

3. I'm not getting any younger.

I am in no way giving up on traditional publishing; I'm actively working on getting my MG novel out to agents, and I have another MG waiting for revisions in the wings.

I'm also sure my passion for writing kidlit will only grow as I get my books out there for ebook readers.

Stay tuned for my first YA novel to be published in late summer...details will be coming!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Soft Book Launches

Tip of the Day: My new book, SHUCKED, debuted yesterday. Check it out on my website.

In self-publishing, ebooks are forever. My first day, week, month don't matter in the grand scheme of things. No one's going to pull my book down in shame if it doesn't hit the top of the charts right off the start line.


I'm not one of those authors that has rabid fans foaming at the mouth for my next book. Okay, maybe I have a few, but not enough to drive me to #1. So here's my strategy for book releases....

1. Facebook. That's where I have the majority of my followers. Generally, they are the ones who will buy my books when they release. Not thousands of them (wouldn't that be nice?), but quite a few.

2. Book Bloggers. I maintain a separate mailing list for bloggers. When I have a new release, I send them a message, asking if they want to read my book. I've had a handful of requests, which is great.

3. Fan Newsletter. These guys get the good stuff. Look, if you want people to sign up for your newsletter, give them a reason. With my announcement, they all get the chance to win 1 of 15 free ecopies. They can also be the first to receive signed bookmarks in the mail. Yes, that slows sales a bit at first. If they don't win the ebook, the bookmark in the mail will remind them about my book.

4. Book Blast. I want to sign up for one. I've contacted one blogger, but she hasn't gotten back to me yet. If she doesn't by tomorrow, I'll contact another. This is a one-day blast on bloggers' pages about my book. It's a good, cheap, way to get the word out.

While it's a goal to sell, I also have a bigger goal - to entertain. I put a lot of my heart and soul into this book. I hope people enjoy it. :D

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Give the Muse Fairy a Vacation!

Tip of the Day: Looking for cover art? My friend Traci directed me to morguefile.com - it's an incredible database of stock photos!

I'm a frantic writer. Once I get a golden idea, I write constantly. Evenings, weekends, in the car, in bed, in the bathtub - doesn't matter where or when, I must write until the book is done.

It's not an easy way to live.

Give the Muse Fairy a Vacation!
courtesy of Microsoft Clipart

And once I've vomited out the first draft of a book, the last thing I want to do is write. In fact, every time I finish a book I quit. I tell my husband I'm done. I look for jobs online. I consider other careers. I dream about going back to school and getting my MA in Museum Studies (my BA is in medieval history with a minor in evolutionary anthropology).

So how do I get the writing mojo back again? I do something new or something that makes me happy - and here's the key - it has nothing to do with writing. Writing prompts annoy me. Begging the muse to come back is futile (even muse fairies need a vacation once in a while).

Here's how I recharge:

1 - I read - but only books outside of the genres I write. This means no YA and no epic fantasy. I love drowning in thrillers (James Rollins), detective novels (Joe Konrath), romance (Tracy Garvis Graves), scifi (Ernest Cline), classics (Chaucer), nonfiction (Dian Fossey), and mystery (Elizabeth Peters).

2 - Day trip - I visit museums, zoos, and aquariums. These are some of my favorite brain vacations.

3 - Volunteer - I help out at my kids' school or with my local Friends of the Library.

4 - Catch up on TV shows - Right now I'm loving Vikings. I've also got Game of Thrones, Season 1 on Blu-ray waiting for me.

5 - Clean my house - Okay, so I'm not a clean freak. I don't clean anything but the bathrooms on a regular basis. So when I finish a book, I tend to look away from my computer for the first time in weeks and see that the house really needs a good scrubbing. I organize, donate, and toss.

By the time I've worked my way through a combination of these stress busters, I always think, "OMG, I really miss writing! Why have I been wasting my time with all of this other crap when there's a novel waiting to be written?"

You may have already guessed by now...I'm not the writer who says you must write 1,000 per day every day of the year. When I'm in the writing groove, I frequently pump out 3,000 to 4,000 words a day. It works for me. The books get written - and that's the most important part of being a novelist.

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

Friday, March 22, 2013

So Many Manuscripts, So Little Time (or Born of Frustration*)

*with apologies to James

Tip of the Day: Don't move to upstate New York if you are against the possibility of snow through the end of March...and into April.

All right, readers, it's INVENTORY TIME! Let's see what Deena has buried in her trunk of manuscripts!

1. character-driven YA that was the first novel I ever wrote, and has since been revised and rewritten about 5 times over 9 years. I love this book very much but think the fact that it is not plot-driven in today's market makes it a tougher sell. ***

2. character-driven YA, the second novel I wrote, that I still like the root of, but I know it would need lots of work to fix, and it would need a new ending since I now hate the "easy" way the "mystery" is solved. Will remain in the trunk for now.

3. fun, light, plot-driven MG with many characters that I think is cute, but needs to much rewriting now an will stay in the trunk.

4. YA that has good bones, but never quite came together the right way. Will remain trunked.

5. historical MG with twinges of magical realism. It got me my first agent, has been heavily revised twice, and I am now querying agents on it again. I love this book and really hope it finds a home! ***

6. contemporary MG that got me my second agent. At the time an element of it was not overdone, but since I wrote it a lot of books have come out with that type of family business. I also think it has one too many sub-plots going on. I still love the idea of it and the relationship between the two main characters, and may revise it at some time.

7. paranormal YA with a setting I love but characters that definitely need more development. I turned it into....

7a. a New Adult novella that I would love to develop into an e-serial series at some point. ***

8. contemporary YA with a great hook, but that got lots of rejections from editors who all wanted it to be something else than it was. I still love this book and have tweaked it and sent it out on my own to some new editors. ***

9. YA thriller with pseudo science fiction elements and dual pov. This is my first truly plot-driven novel, my first novel with more than one pov, and my first male narrator. I love it. I am revising it again next month (a few tweaks to the science and girl's chapters) to prep it for self e-pubbing this summer/fall. I also wrote... ***

9a. 50 pages of the sequel, which I can't wait to get back into. I plan to self e-pub that as well by the end of the year if all goes as planned. ***

10. I am about 7k words from the end of a fast draft of a new MG light mystery. What I thought would be a simple story has of course gotten headier than I expected, but I can't wait to have it finished, let it sit, and then return to it when the timing is right. ***

10a. I am also almost done with a New Adult realistic/contemp novella that I do want to finish. ***

*** means I want to actively work on these projects. As you can see by the number of *** on this page, I have so many ideas and not enough time to devote to them all! I also have two new YA ideas I am jonesing to write....realistic story of a small town based on an actual health case that came up in my area over a year ago, and a realistc story of a girl who has been brainwashed about a certain thing for her whole life, and finally learns to think for herself after being scarred.

I LOVE my day job as a YA Librarian, but there are definitely times where I wish I had even  just one month to completely be a full-time writer.

Can someone just transport me to a Hawaiian beach for six months every year with my laptop so I can bang out some pages? 'Cause, ya know, I'm sure that's exactly what I would do once there.... :)

What's in your manuscript trunk that you are dying to get back to?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing