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

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Being Ben Affleck

Tip of the Day: Looking for a great way to advertise your book when it's on sale? Check out BookBub - they have over 1,000,000 subscribers. (No, I don't get anything for linking you there. I had two good sales there, so I thought I'd pass it on.)

When I'm frustrated or annoyed with writing I repeat this mantra to myself: Be Ben Affleck.

Thanks to, Ben & I are a cute couple
I've been in lurve with Ben Affleck for most of my adult life. He's tall, dark, and handsome. He's married to a gorgeous, down-to-earth woman, and he appears to be a great dad. But beyond that, he's an artist who didn't give up.

Early in his career, he won the Oscar for Good Will Hunting. Everyone wanted a piece of him - including Jennifer Lopez, which lead to the disastrous Gigli. That movie and relationship was like a pair of concrete shoes. Ben tanked and we didn't hear much from him, except for the occasional political statement.

He moved on with his life, but he never left the industry. He worked quietly behind the camera, producing some pretty great films. Then came Argo. The little film that couldn't.

It did.

And even though the academy (FOOLS!) ignored him in 2012, he was handsomely rewarded with pretty much every other directing award out there.

What does this have to do with me & writing?


We, as writers, cannot expect every project, every book, to be a hit. It's unrealistic. I wouldn't call The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling a hit. I have yet to meet one person who enjoyed it. Does that diminish the success of the Harry Potter series? Of course not. But, it's more proof that we're all human. We all err. Our stories sometimes struggle to find an audience.

It's okay.

I think that's the part people forget. It's totally fine to fail once in a while. It's not the end of the world if your sales tank. There is still another project. A novel you haven't even thought of yet could be your next big hit.

My point? If you love writing, don't give it up because you're going through a tough patch. We all have those moments. Last year, my sales were soaring. I was on top of the world. This year sales have slowed. I've found myself getting really depressed about it - but then I remind myself, Be Ben Affleck. I smile. I start typing. I remember why I started writing in the first place: love of the written word.

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How Do You Discover Teen Books?

Tip of the Day: The Paparazzi Project is on sale for .99 cents! Check out this great review from Mundie Moms.

Sorry I've been MIA for awhile! I've been in the midst of selling my house, packing it up, and getting ready to move to a new house next month. It's become an all-encompassing project so writing has gone to the back burner for awhile. I'm looking forward to getting back to it once we're settled though!

I came across this post on facebook. Author Veronica Roth is asking her readers how they first discovered her book, Divergent. This is a great question and interesting to all YA authors really. I often wonder how people stumble across my book. On Amazon or Goodreads? A blog review? In the bookstore? Library recommendation? 

In the comments of that post it seems to me that the most people find their YA books by browsing at the bookstore. I do that too. This is when I find my impulse buys. I don't tend to go into a bookstore with a shopping list but stumble upon books that sounds interesting and have a great cover. And I hope the remaining bookstores can keep open for as long as possible so that people can keep finding books there. Though the bookstore is really only a peek into whats available out there. A large number of printed books never make it into the bookstore. Or if they do they're only there briefly - for 60-90 days.

So where else do people find them? A lot answered that they browse on Amazon or Goodreads. I can't say I spend much time looking on Goodreads for a new read. But I will browse Amazon a lot. Although, unless you come up in the first hundred or so in rankings (YA, YA Romance etc.) I probably won't find you. Most of the time the way I get turned onto a book is through word of mouth-- either over twitter or facebook or a friend or librarian recommendation. I also depend on reviews of the book. I like when they're at a central location like on Amazon, even if I don't buy from there.

How do you find your YA books?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fear and Loathing in Writing

Tip of the Day: If you have been experiencing depression or disturbing thoughts and/or feelings, see your doctor. There is NO SHAME in this.

*all names have been changed to protect myself from losing friends*

Many moons ago, my friend Figgy Fuzzbudget texted me. The following is a dramatic interpretation of real texts.

FF: I think I'm clinically depressed.
MJ: Why?
FF: I saw that commerical for Abilify. That's me. They're talking about me.
MJ: Shut up. You're fine. You're a writer, we all go through those bouts. Now get back to your manuscript.

If I had any indication at all that one my dearest friends was seriously clinically depressed, I wouldn't have treated the text so casually. I know Figgy well and while, yes, there probably was some depression, there wasn't anything alarming going on.
Microsoft Office Clipart

We writers tend toward the dramatic.  We spend the majority of our awake time running crazy scenarios through our heads. When I was younger, I thought there was something wrong with me. Turns out there are thousands upon thousands of others out there like me. They're commonly referred to as creative people. So much for being unique...

When you have that uncanny ability to think of devastating scenes on a regular basis, it's bound to take a toll on your real life. Channeling them into writing helps, but I venture every single writer out there would grudgingly admit they apply their overactive imagination to real life on occasion. And that's when we get depressed and wonder if there really is something wrong with us.

This career, while magical and amazing, is also easily devastating. Everything is subjective. One person loves your book. The next person hates it, accuses you of trying to negatively influence readers with your outdated, ignorant agenda (despite the fact you didn't even gave a thought to that while you were writing). Readers don't mind spewing hatred in your direction. They don't mind taunting you if your next book wasn't as incredible as your last. They turn on you at the drop of a hat, not stopping to think that your very soul was poured into creating that book they just ripped apart.

Putting out a new book can be an incredibly frightening endeavor - forcing you to question everything about yourself. Not just your word choices, but your weight, your relationships, and what you ate for breakfast. We creative types tend to overindulge in drama - not because we want to, but because we're hardwired to do so. If we weren't, we'd be accountants (not slamming accountants, I have three in my family). It's simply a different mind set and ours is sometimes set to bonkers.

What you need to is find other like-minded writers. Bitch when you need to and be supportive to your friends when they need it. Give yourself a day or two to stop hating your latest book before deleting it from your hard drive forever (as I've considered doing more than once). Take a day off of writing if you need to.

Just know you are not alone. We all escape to those dark, devastating caves. If you can't see a light, or fail to find your way out, seek professional help. If you can see the light, but want to give it the finger, chances are you just need a shoulder to cry on for a while.

And I know I said at the top names have been changed, but I only told one story. So here's a list of other writers I frequently commiserate with: Sally Stickleberry, Patty Poopypants, Frank Fuggedaboutit, and Golly Geewillikers.

Be that shoulder. Be honest about your feelings. Help your friends see that they are not alone.

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber