Friday, March 22, 2013


I'm thrilled to share a very special book cover with you all today. LIBRARY JUMPERS by Brenda Drake will be published by Month9Books in February 2014. Get excited people, this book is going to be fabulous!

Many of you may know Brenda Drake from all the wonderful opportunities she provides for writers through contests and workshops. Not only is she a sweetheart, but she's a terrific writer as well. And guess what? Today is her birthday!!! So if you follow Brenda on her blog, twitter, or facebook account, make sure you wish her a happy birthday!

Without further ado, the cover.....

Totally epic, right?

As someone who dreams about what my own book cover will look like one day, I'm always curious about an author's cover design process. We all know each publishing house and imprint handles the process a little differently and Brenda was kind enough to answer a few questions about her experience. 

Did you have any ideas of what you wanted your book cover to look like? I had ideas in my head about what I'd like my cover to look like, but this one went beyond my expectations. 
Wow, what a calm  and totally non-control freak kind of approach. Note to self...get rid of the horrible cover designs you drew and have hidden in your desk drawer. 

How much input did you have? Month9Books has a sheet for their Authors to fill about their characters, and what they see for their book cover. Georgia sent me pictures to see what I thought. There were only a few suggestions (real small details) from my part because I loved what she and the book cover designer had created. So I guess we didn't talk about but just wrote up that sheet about it.
Seems like a fantastic way to get an author's preferences. Way to go Month9! 

How early in the publishing process did you start talking book covers? It was right off the bat, and then I got to see the plans for it in January. To me it seemed like eternity from signing the contract to seeing the book cover, but it actually was early in the scheme of things.  So that's a year before publication. 
And now we can all drool over your cover until it comes out! 

What did it feel like when you first saw the cover? And how was it revealed to you? Georgia surprised me in January with it, and I wasn't expecting it.  I was asleep when she sent me a surprise text and said she'd be emailing me ideas for my book cover. I jumped out of bed, ran down stairs, and turned on my computer. I was ecstatic and extremely happy with her vision for it. 
YAY! What an amazing feeling! Congrats on the cover, it's gorgeous! LIBRARY JUMPERS will be added on GoodReads soon, so keep an eye out for it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The CALL Questions & Etiquette

I've had quite a few people ask me about what to do when an agent offers, what questions to ask during the call, the proper etiquette on contacting other agents, etc. So I thought I'd share some of those answers here with you today.

Okay, so you get an email from an agent about your manuscript that says how much he or she loved it and that they want to set a time up with you to talk about representation. (Some agents may just call you without warning, but that doesn't happen very often.)

Cat running around in a circleSTEP ONE: BREATHE. This is it. It's what you've been waiting for. Jump up and down or run around the house if you need to.... 

After you've done something like this, email the fantastic agent back and set up a time to chat.

STEP TWO: The Call. Again....breathe! Agents are people too and they may be just as nervous to talk to you as you are to them. This call is supposed to tell you what it would be like to work with them as your agent. 

I couldn't not use this, it called to my aviation nerdness. 

You certainly don't have to ask every question below, but they're a good start. And some of these questions may be answered naturally in conversation without you having to ask. 
  • What are your thoughts about the book? How ready is it?
  • What are the MS’s strengths/weaknesses?
  • Are you an editorial agent? What are you thinking in terms of revision?
  • Do you see series potential?
  • How many clients do you have? How many clients do you intend to have?
  • What are your recent sales?
  • After I sign on, what happens next? What's the expected process? 
  •  Do you have a plan for submission in mind already?  Which houses/editors do think will be a good fit for this project?  How many editors do you plan to submit to initially, and how many do you plan to submit to overall if it does not sell as soon as hoped? How do you feel about small presses? (<--These questions are need to make sure you and your agent have the same vision/goals.)
  • Will you keep me updated as rejections and offers come in?  Will I see the rejection letters?
  • What happens if you leave the agency?
  • Would you still support and represent me if at some point I wrote outside of my current genre? 
  • What are the terms of the representation being offered? Is there a time limit? Is it for one book, or is it open-ended?
  • What are your commission rates?  Are they the standard 15% domestic and 20% foreign/film?
  • What is your preferred method of communication? How often are you in contact with your clients? How soon can I expect an answer to any given e-mail?
  • What happens if either the agent or client wants to end the relationship? If the relationship is terminated, what is the policy for unsold works the agent has represented?
  • Would you allow me to contact a couple of your clients? And more specifically, can I talk to a client of yours that hasn't sold? (****This is a question I don't see asked often enough! We want to know how an agent treats their unsold clients!)
  • Will you be billing me for any submission costs (supplies, etc)? If so, what should I expect? <----I see this question everywhere for suggested THE CALL questions and I'm not sure why. In this day and age everything is done digitally, meaning there should be NO COSTS to you.

STEP THREE: You need to contact all the other agents who have your manuscript and those you've queried. Your email to these agents should look something like this:


I just wanted to let you know that I received an offer of representation for MS NAME and that I told the offering agent I’d get back to him/her by DATE (typically 7-10 days after offer of rep). If you are interested in the manuscript, please feel free to get in touch.

Best Regards,

STEP FOUR: You'll probably get a bunch of responses from agents after this email is sent. It's a crazy fun week. You may get a few passes or others asking to talk to you as well. So you just might repeat THE CALL all over again...

STEP FIVE: Determine if the agent(s) you spoke to are the right agent for you. I think you'll know it in your gut after having spoken to the agent(s) on the phone. After you've decided, email/call the agent to let them know you'd like to accept their offer of representation.

STEP SIX: Email any competing agents about your decision. May look something like this:

Thank you so much for taking the time to read MS NAME and for sharing your thoughts with me. I wanted to let you know that I've accepted another offer for representation.

Your enthusiasm and notes on the story were wonderful and I am truly honored to have received an offer from you. (or some sort of personal note) Ultimately, I went with what I felt was the best fit.

Thanks again.

And voila, you have an agent! Now it's time to dance!

I know that was a lot of info, so feel free to drop any specific questions you may have in the comment section below and I'll do my best to answer.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pitch Madness- I'm a Slush Zombie!

Check it out! I'm a slush zombie for Pitch Madness and will be diving into the slush to pick out the most tasty pitches. We zombies like brains so hopefully your entry is smart. If you don't know what Pitch Madness is, it's a contest to showcase the top pitches to some fantabulous agents. You can get more details here: 

Here's the Pitch Madness schedule:
March 1: Submission windows announced.

March 8: Introducing the slush readers

March 12: Introducing the blog hosts and their teams

March 13: Introducing the agents

March 15: Submission windows open

March 15-18: 1st round - slush readers

March 18-23: 2nd round - 60 winners chosen for the game

March 24: Rules of the Game

March 26-28: Pitch Madness Agent Games

March 28 @ noon: Agent bids released (all ties go to a sudden death round)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rae Carson Book Giveaway

Hi Everyone!

Things have been pretty crazy between the 3yo, writing, house showings, and contest stuff. So to make up for my absence and because I <3 you all, I'm hosting another giveaway. 

Like YA fantasy? Then you're going to love this!  A Girl of Fire and Thorns and
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson is up for grabs. Get started on this fantastic series just in time for The Bitter Kingdom release on August 27th, 2013.

*Enter by using the widget below. Contest runs from 3/5/15 to 3/12/15 midnight. Winner will be contacted via email on 3/13/12. Please also note that I will only mail to a U.S. address.*  

a Rafflecopter giveaway