July 2015.

Thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview. I really enjoy hearing about the journey other take in getting their books published. I did a little searching and found that you have three books out, Witch in the Woods, Clearly’s Corruption, and Blood Moon Ritual. Can you tell us a bit about this series?

Thank you for having me. My Witch in the Woods trilogy takes place in the year 1601 and is about a professional witch hunter named Victor Steep. He takes on a case in a small town called Beth’s Hollow, believing it to be a normal case. However, Victor quickly discovers that this witch is not like the normal witches he hunts, and that she was the last witch his father tried hunting before he died. Meanwhile, as he searches the woods of Beth’s Hollow, Victor meets a mysterious young lady by the name of Clearly, befriending her and promising to find a cure for her cursed brother named Fabian. Things only get more complicated for Victor as he tries to finish the case and save those he holds most dear. Throughout the trilogy, battles are fought, secrets are revealed, and sacrifices are made in a battle against good and evil.

What inspired you to write these books?

I originally wrote Witch in the Woods as a short story for my creative writing class in high school. My fascination with the Salem Witch Trials and my love for the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales were my biggest inspirations for Witch in the Woods.

What other titles are similar to your books?

I really haven’t seen any other books that are similar to mine. I really tried to make mine unique, but I have been keeping an eye out for anything similar that may come along.

Tell us a bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you choose that image/artwork?

I illustrated the cover art for all three books in my sketch pad, and then edited them on the computer. I wanted my covers to be beautiful, dark, and a little mysterious. For me, book covers featuring silhouettes have all those qualities, so I felt it was the right design for my trilogy.

Witch in the woods creataspace   Clearly's Corruption cover art (1)   BloodMoonRitual1

Other than writing, do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I grew up in a very artistic family, which gave me a passion for the arts. I am especially fond of drawing and am very much influenced by the Japanese manga style. I also enjoy working in the kitchen to making crazy desserts, like a giant S’mores brain.s'morebrain

I see that you’ve been working on a new book called Desolation. Is it a fourth book in the series?

I just recently renamed “Desolation” to “Forlorn”, which is actually a standalone novel set in modern times. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy about two young adults named Gabby and Nathan, who meet while hiding from the aliens who’ve just invaded and are wiping out everyone on Earth. They fall in love while on the run, but their responsibilities threaten to separate them and even put them in danger of being captured by the aliens.

Being an indie author isn’t easy. What’s one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in creating your books?

I didn’t find anything very surprising while creating my books, but what I did find surprising was the amount of supporters out there. It’s not just friends and family giving encouragement to keep creating, but other indie authors, artists, and readers too. The amount of indie supporters out there is amazing, and I love that we all can support each other.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Readers can check out my blog, Facebook page, and Twitter profile. They can even find me on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, or check out my boards on Pinterest.

Website/Blog: http://witch-in-the-woods.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Taylor.Ann.Bunker

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ann_bunker

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/taylorbunker12/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Ann-Bunker/e/B00JGEXVCU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1437409950&sr=1-2-ent

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7558024.T_A_Bunker

 

What draws you to the genre you write in?

Fantasy and the paranormal have been lifelong interests of mine, so I was always looking to read books with those themes! They take you to another world full of adventure, suspense, romance and conflict. They add magic to your everyday life, and let you experience things that are rare or does not exist in our world. Those are what draws me in and makes me want to be part of that genre.

Give us an interesting fact about one of your books?

In Witch in the Woods, Fabian was originally named Gabriel. He wasn’t going to appear in the series until the second book, as was going to be the new antagonist. Yup, Victor’s best friend was originally going to be his enemy.trilogymain

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m extremely excited to say that I’ll be having a cover reveal for Forlorn on my blog very soon. Thank you so much for the interview, I really enjoy your website. It’s been a pleasure talking with you.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Best of luck with your writing!

Katherine Dell

 

Write On! Indie Book Review #6: These Books Have Cooties. By Christina McMullen

The other day I realized it has been a long time since I’ve written a Write On! Review post, even though I’ve read a whole lot of books recently. Well, part of that has to do with the fact that I’m actually woefully behind in posting reviews to both Amazon and Goodreads and part of that has to do with the fact that I’ve spent the last month in social media limbo after my tablet blew up. (For more on that, read my guest post about techno-dependency on S.K. Thomas’ blog)

So… To make up for this, I’ve decided to do a super-sized Write On! and yes, as the title suggests, these books are written by men. For those just tuning in, Write On! has traditionally been reserved for reviews of science fiction and fantasy books by female authors. Every so often I’ve allowed a dude to sneak in under the radar, but this time, I’ve opened the gates. Of course, because every once in a while I let a male author sit at the girl’s table, I’ve also put female author on this list as well. What follows is a list of super authors that I’ve recently enjoyed that you should definitely check out.

D. E. Morris, author of Aliens in the Gift Shop
Looking for fun, lighthearted and quirky science fiction that reads easily yet still packs in the science? Then this is the book for you! Aliens in the Gift Shop tells of two alien scientists on an exploratory mission to earth that goes slightly awry, as well as the human woman (and owner of said gift shop) who gets caught up in their shenanigans. Once you read, you’ll definitely want to see more of Marcy, Quigbat, and Zort, so lucky for you, the sequel, Aliens and the Race to Earth is coming out on July 20th!

Dwayne Fry, author of Ladybug Boy and a whole mess of other stories.
Okay, picking just one of Mr. Fry’s stories out of the nearly two dozen he’s published is incredibly difficult. Like so many of us, Fry decided to indie publish because he didn’t want to be shoehorned into a single genre. While I would say the majority of his stories are satire, there’s also quite a few horror, general lit, and now he has paranormal as well. Ladybug Boy falls into the category of general lit and I picked this one because I’ve just recently finished and have yet to write a review. The tale takes place in the mid eighties and made me incredibly embarrassed as I realized that my awkward junior high period was probably even more awkward than poor Lola’s, but that’s exactly what I loved about it. This particular story is part of a series that will eventually lead to a full length novel and I’m looking forward to reading soon.

Ryan Guy, author of Atomic Aardvark
Still looking for quirky? The last two authors not quirky enough for you? Well, how about the story of an epic battle between a skunk and an aardvark, each of whom acquires super powers from a combination of a meteor shower and toxic waste? Oh, and there’s also a pair of star crossed internet dating app users who may or may not be able to get their heads out of their own butts long enough to figure their love life out, but really, this story is all about Aardy, the Atomic Aardvark.

Riley Amos Westbrook, author of Breath of Titans: Little Black Stormcloud
There’s something about epic fantasy that I simply don’t like and it has everything to do with the snooze fest that is Tolkien. It’s pretty obvious that Westbrook loves Tolkien and was heavily influenced by his work. Lucky for us, he’s not a giant bore and writes fun characters who are not full of themselves (mostly because they are full of intoxicating spirits) and are interesting enough that we care what happens to them. In a world of orcs and fairies, a half-dragon half-elf named Lov must quest to find out what happened to his mother and find the one who killed his father. Lov is easy to… Well… Love. He’s young and wet behind the ears. He’s also impulsive and given to fits as most teens (and I suspect most dragons) are, but that is all part of his charm. That, and there are fairies. Fairies who seem to exist for no other reason than to annoy Lov’s uncle Nord, who is also a fun character. Seriously, even if you aren’t a fantasy fan, check this one out.

Charles Hash, author of Nascent Decay
Are you a fan of space horror? Did you love the film Alien? No? What’s wrong with you? Nascent Decay has all of the elements of classic horror, but tells a unique tale of what happens when the human mind is pushed beyond its limits. The heroes are flawed and the antagonists are utterly merciless, as is the author in lulling the audience into a false sense of security before gutting us once again. A sequel is currently in the works. Until then, I recommend checking out Mr. Hash’s short stories as well.

David M. Kelly, author of Dead Reckoning and Other Stories
Looking for sci-fi of a more classic variety? How about tales that would be at home in the Twilight Zone? Then this is the collection you’ll want to read. There’s everything from the chilling title story of karma coming ’round to bite you in the butt, to the heart wrenching How Much is that Doggy, to one incredibly groan worthy pun. Sadly, it isn’t out until July 28th, but before then, you can check out Mr. Kelly’s other short works, some of which will be featured in the collection.

V. M. Sawh, author of Cinders
This is not the Cinderella story of your childhood. Here you will find no Disney princess. Instead, what you’ll find is a gothic tale that in many ways is much closer to the original and mostly morbid original Aschenputtel. What you’ll also find is a darkly beautiful tale and expert storytelling. Cinders is part of the Good Tales for Bad Dreams series, which puts a very different spin on these well known stories.

Kat Caffee, author of Out of the Darkness
As I said, to keep things fair, I had to put a female author in with this group of fellas. Sorry Kat, hope you’re immune to cooties.
In all seriousness, this series is one to watch. On a very basic level it it the tale of a gladiator, born into slavery, who fights his way to freedom and must learn to adapt to a whole new set of rules as a free man. But really, it’s so much more than that. The storytelling is superb. Despite the heavy subject matter, there’s some lighthearted elements that crop up at the right times. As of right now, there are two books in the series available with a third coming  soon. I’ve actually had the pleasure of beta reading the third, so I can say that the story just keeps getting more interesting.

Keep watching for more Write On! book recommendations! Next time, we’re bringing the ladies back for some good old fashioned fantasy fairytales!

5 Things Nobody Tells You About a Writing Career

Business

 

When I published my first short story in Redbook after winning a prize, I thought my career was set.  I was my MFA program’s star (that year, anyway); I’d made a lot of money for a graduate student through the prize and the magazine; I was getting fan mail and queries from agents.  But even though I’d spent over two years in the program, nobody told me what my career could be like.  When I got my degree I was completely ignorant of key aspects of the writing life, with no idea what was ahead of me.  I learned five key things the hard way.

You need to accept from the start that you have very little control.  You can polish your work as much as you can, read everybody and educate yourself as an author; attend seminars; find a terrific mentor; network like crazy; get a top agent and even land a book contract with a great publisher–but what happens to your book once it’s born will seem completely random at times.

Other books just like it will swamp yours.  Books that are far worse will get great reviews or better sales.  Your book may simply be ignored by reviewers of all kinds for reasons you will never know.  So you have to focus on what you can control: being the best writer you can be; enjoying what you do while you do it, plan it, revise it, and research it.  And then, try to let go and move on to another project.

Writing is a business.  It always was and always will be.  Expect pressure from all sides on you to sell, sell, sell. When I started out, bookmarks and other petty swag were in.  Then I was urged not just to attend conferences but to advertize in conference programs.  Later came building my web site, book trailers establishing a Facebook and Goodreads presence, blogging, tweeting, blog tours.

There’s always something new which is the magic answer to making you successful.  But the competition gets fiercer all the time and you can find that promotion is a rat hole.  It’s important to establish parameters for yourself since you can’t do everything and be everywhere.  Never let promotion be more important than writing itself, and just because something works for someone else is no guarantee it’ll work for you.

The writing life will be lonelier than you can imagine despite all the writers you might meet and hang out with, and they’re not always the easiest people to be around.  Let’s face it, are you?  Ask your significant other.  As paradoxical as it might seem, do not let writing take over your life.  If you haven’t already, start build a life for yourself that has other compelling interests.  Travel.  Learn to play an instrument.  Study a foreign language.  Garden.  Train for a Triathalon.  Get a dog.

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as writing isn’t the be-all and end-all of your existence, because those days (or weeks or months or even years) when things go south you’ll feel you have nothing.  And make sure you have plenty of friends who aren’t writers so that you’re not constantly talking shop.  Normal people can be interesting, too.

Exercise is crucial for people like us who spend so much time sitting hunched over a laptop.  It’s important to break away on a regular basis and walk, swim, jog, lift weights, do Zumba, take Pilates, anything that gets you out of your head and into your body.

There’s nothing like physical activity to give your mind a rest–it’s almost as good as napping!–and surprisingly, you’ll often find that when you might feel stuck, instead of obsessing about it or heading for the fridge, the best thing to do is get out and get physical.  let your subconscious take care of the writing problem and solve it for you while you’re taking care of your body.  You’ll also be breaking the isolation of the writer’s life and may even get some good story ideas along the way.

Be prepared for surprises in your career because they will come.  Good surprises.  Your career will take you places you would never imagine because your imagination is boundless if you have the courage to let it be.  I started out as a short story writer and novelist but one day suddenly had an idea for a psychological study of Edith Wharton, one of my favorite writers. After that came a mystery series which got me my first New York Times Book Review.

And gradually over the years, I’ve published in about a dozen different genres, books I never would have guessed I’d write, including a vampire novella, a memoir about what Germany has meant to me as the son of Holocaust survivors, a historical novel set in The Gilded Age, a children’s book and many more.  Don’t rule anything out, and don’t be a genre snob. One of my favorite authors, Henry James, gave this advice to a young writer: “Try to be one of those on whom nothing is lost.”  It may sound a bit formal to our ears today, but it’s advice that I’ve never forgotten since reading it years before I ever got published.

 

 

Lev Raphael is the author of Writer’s Block is Bunk and 24 other books in genres from memoir to mystery which you can find at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Check out more of Lev’s work on his blog, Writing Across Genres.

Check out his newest book Assault With a Deadly lie at http://www.levraphael.com/

 

It seems these days that a lot of people treat Twitter like their own flashing neon billboard. Buy this! Re-tweet my post! Join my team! Be my ultimate fan! Sure, Twitter is a great platform to promote yourself. I promote my self and my writting all the time on social medias, but it’s easy to get turned off of it when a good chunk of it is a tidal wave of people’s spammy ads. Now, before you all get discourage in Twitter-land let me share with you a few real people I’ve meet in the Twitter-verse.

 

Cristen Iris: https://twitter.com/CristenIris

She’s a nonfiction creative writer, freelance editor, speaker, and aspiring literary agent. She has an incredible zest for all things literary and is very interesting to chat with on the topic of publishing and author platforms.

Kurt Chambers: https://twitter.com/emailmanROCKS

Kurt hails from across the pond, and is the author of the Truth Teller fantasy series. He has a wealth of Twitter tips and is a pleasure to chat with online. His BlogSpot Genius Bordering Insanity is also a very witty read!

Adam Dreece: https://twitter.com/AdamDreece

Adam is the author of the YA series, The Yellow Hoods, and fellow Calgarian. I met Adam at a book signing. The store manager said I must meet this this genius of indie author marketing, and I’m glad I did. If you can catch him between zealous writing spells and energetic comicons, Adam likes to chat ‘books’ over the strongest cup of coffee know to man. No correlation to his writing speed I’m sure.

Kelly Charron: https://twitter.com/KellyMCharron

I recently met Kelly on Twitter. She’s not published yet but she’s one to watch out for! She writes in the YA, with genres including horror, psychological thrillers, and urban fantasy.

B.K. Raine: https://twitter.com/BK_Raine

A wonderful person who loves her vampires! B.K. writes dark erotic urban fantasy. She also writes an upfront and interesting blog. Check it out https://bkraine.wordpress.com/blog/

 

There are many more I could have mentioned on this blog… but it would have gotten too long. I encourage you all to make your own list of ‘real Twitter people’. Don’t get discouraged. Start treating Twitter more like a water cooler than a flashing ad and you might be surprised at what an enjoyable pace to hangout Twitter can be.

Happy Tweeting

Katherine

 

So nice to meet you Betty. I’m glad we could do this interview. Looking over your Goodreads profile I see that you’ve published three books: Discarded Faces, Mistress of the Topaz, and Mistress of the Land and Sea. Which one of your books is your favorite and why? Tell us a bit about that one.photo of betty for interview

 

I don’t have a favorite, so I’ll summarize all three. Discarded Faces is a YA dystopia centered in a viciously homophobic police state where if you’re gay, they send you on a one-way trip to a concentration camp. The heroine is a Lesbian teenager from a family that’s always supported the government, for a different set of reasons. When she finds out about the underground resistance movement that some of her friends are in, she joins.

The other two are Mistress of the Topaz, and Mistress of the Land and Sea, which form a two-book fantasy series. The mistress in question is a 19 year old Queen whose father used to govern most of the planet, but there was a rebellion and he died with only one odd corner as his domain. The Topaz in question is a magical gem that answers her questions. Her opponent is a 30-something woman who belongs to the ruling council of the kingdom that is now dominant. The young queen is fighting to restore the Hegemony (her father’s global empire), but the older woman counselor has the power to manipulate other people’s thoughts. Both magical powers have limits, and the two novels show how two ambitious women might use them. At the end of Land and Sea, the battle has been resolved.

discarded-faces-DD-cover-art  mistresstopaz-pub-cover    mistressoflandandsea-510

The books you’ve written are science fiction/fantasy for young adults. What draws you to this genre you write in?

It’s what I like to do. I developed a taste for science fiction from watching the original Star Trek series when I was a teenager–because, yeah, I’m that old. Before that, I was very interested in science but turned up my nose at science fiction. “The future won’t be like that,” was my attitude. Since then I’ve realized that sci-fi isn’t really about predicting the future. It’s about present possible futures and asking us how we would respond to those altered conditions, both as individuals and as a society.

The Lord of the Rings introduced me to fantasy, although before reading it I was wishing such a genre of fiction existed. Fantasy takes the settings of traditional folklore–elves, dwarves, magic rings, dragons, and kings who actually do something–and presents us with a world that never existed and probably won’t, but forces us to consider the uses and misuse of the magical powers that the characters we have, but we have not and never will.

I don’t think I’ll ever write so-called “realistic fiction.” It’s just not my calling.

Having published three books, you must have some advice for writers just starting out? Give us a few tips or pointers that you’ve learned along the way.

Don’t lose the momentum. Write every day. Don’t worry about inspiration. That will come to you in the course of your work.

Write in the format you’re most comfortable with. You don’t have to write short stories first. That might help, but results vary. I find my stories are by definition novel length.

If you have writer’s block, try writing two stories at once, alternating between them.

Write the kind of stories you’d love to read if somebody else wrote them. Don’t just imitate what’s selling right now.

 I’ve read on Goodreads that you’ve ‘weaned your TV watching habit’. I myself read more than I watch TV but I’m always curious… If one of your books became a TV show or movie, who would you cast as the main characters?

 First of all, a book with complex world-building, like all of mine, works best as a TV miniseries. A single two-hour movie isn’t long enough. Eight or ten hours of television programming would work fine. Then you could put them on DVD and rent them out through Netflix.

Characters? That’s tough for me, because I’m 65 and don’t get little exposure to up-and-coming young actors. I know who I’d cast for the young Queen in my fantasy books–Jennifer Lawrence. She can already ride a horse and use the bow and arrow. Just die her hair red, give her some hand-to-hand combat training, and she’s good to go.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Blog

Facebook Page

Goodreads

Twitter

As an indie author, what’s your best marketing tip?

Social media. It’s never been easier and cheaper to publicize your books.

Are you working on anything right now? Can you tell us about it?

Yes, Discarded Faces is now officially a trilogy. The second volume, already submitted, is Dispelled Illusions. The third is the one I’m writing now. It’s called Unleashed Hopes. I call the whole set The Danallo Chronicles.

TLDR: After the dictatorship is overthrown, the rebel alliance (not its real name, of course) breaks down. Everybody has their own agenda and nobody trusts anybody else. The rival factions contend with each other. Sometimes they settle their differences through elections. Other times, not.

Tell us a bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that image? (Just pick one cover to describe)

mistresstopaz-pub-coverOkay, let’s pick the cover of Mistress of the Topaz. I found my own artist, and sent her some jpg’s showing her how the Queen’s armor looked, what her face looked like, and the shape of the window I wanted in the background. I described her magical gem, the Oracular Topaz, and described the scene in a general sort of way. She did the rest. There was some feedback along the way. I forgot to mention at first that the Queen has six fingers on each hand. Also, it took us a while between us to figure out where and how she hung her sword. We succeeded in avoiding the sword-hanging-down-the-back cliché. I’ve had many complements on the result.

 

Other than writing, do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I read a lot–mostly YA these days since that’s what I write. I like to watch movies, but I prefer to do that through Netflix or buying the DVD.

Who is your favorite character from one of your books, and why?

Hard to say. I really like Peb, Balk, and Kanath from The Danallo Chronicles. I like the World Queen from my fantasy books too. Underneath her boundless ambition, there’s a lonely, but humanitarian, heart.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

You’ll never know whether your good at something or not until you try.

 

Why Do We Really Write? – By Michael Cody

In this new age of writing and self-publishing, many people who only a few years ago, would have few choices in route to publication. now have a cheap and easy method. Indie authors now publish at a rate of maybe hundreds of new titles a month. For whatever reason, it’s pretty hard to meet someone who has an idea for a book, a story they think is new, or just something they want to say! Why?

This was brought home to me just this week. When I first got into writing, I thought it might be a great and interesting way to not only use that creative spirit I seem to have, but maybe even make a little money! Yes I’ll be honest, I AM in it to try and make a little money, maybe even a living at some point! I’m sure I’m not alone in this but it obviously is not the only reason people write. Frankly, writing is not the easiest way to pay the bills. It’s work!
I have seen quotes from famous authors including J.K. Rowling who say they are “driven” to write. I’m not sure I am driven, although I DO like to tell stories and when I am actually working on one, I feel that compunction to see what happens next, To keep going if only to see what these characters of mine are going to get themselves into!
But I think, at least for me, it was all brought home just a day or two ago.
Great suspenseful thriller
ByBob Wigleyon April 14, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Mr Cody is a very talented author whose discriptive style helps the reader feel and visualize the scenes with the characters. Well researched and conceivable plot. A few surprises and turns keep you on your toes. Characters are well developed. Looking forward to more of the authors works.

 

 I got a review for my newest book. A five star review. No, it’s not my first one, but it was a very nice one. The person even went to the trouble of mentioning it directly to me on Facebook! And right then it really dawned on me… THAT’S the best part. Someone else enjoying something I created! Something that did not exist until I sat down and wrote it! Wow, what a great feeling to give someone else a few hours of entertainment…
So what about you? If you write or create, why do you do it?
Till next time… keep writing!

As much as I ‘d like to lock myself in my office and write fantastical prose to the wee hours every night, it’s not very feasible. Not only will I get nothing else done, but my family and friends will start to wonder if I’ve become some writer-hermit. Sooo, every now and then it’s good for a writer (or anyone) to step away from the keyboard and do something else. And no, I’m not talking about that pile of laundry that’s been haunting you. I’m talking about really stepping away!

As a chronic work-o-holic, I’ve been known to take very few vacations. I like the idea of taking trips, but am not easily convinced to go on them. I’ve always been like that… Now that I think about it, I’m not sure why.

So, this year I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf because hey… nothing good ever comes from your comfort zone, right? I’ve taken a trip to Mexico and Kelowna so far this year, and I have another two and a half weeks planned in trips coming up. When I go on my trips, I leave the work at home. I take a real, honest break from writing and I’ve never been more productive! Who knew!

So next time your feeling burnt, I’d recommend (if you can) take a trip, big or small. Go for hike in a local park or fly somewhere far where your email can’t find you.

 

Well… back to work for me.

Katherine

 

 

Getting Published–Kurt Chambers

I was in the process of submitted Truth Teller to a possible Publisher. I’d like to share my experience with you of the first time I did this. I’d just spent two years of my life with a pen and a notepad permanently at my side. I had a story to tell, and I took every opportunity to scribble down a few more paragraphs as the story played out in my head. It was very, very exciting. I was going to be the next best thing, I knew this for certain. This story was just SO great. It didn’t matter that I knew absolutely nothing about writing, and even less about the publishing industry.I was sitting at the side of the road having a tea break in my builders van when I finished the last chapter. I laughed out loud …Ha!… What a fantastic ending, I congratulated myself. My mate, Mick, rolled his eyes. “You’ve finished then?” he remarked in a casual tone. “What happens at the end?” Like I was going to tell him. I suggested he purchased the book when it went on sale. He rolled his eyes again …lol…Once I finished spell checking and making everything just right, I set about finding out how to get published. Yes, admittedly, this wasn’t the best way to go around things, but what did I know. I read so many articles on the internet that I thought my head would explode. I was sure I knew what to do and went for broke. I found an agency in New York that looked like the next best thing since sliced bread. Yes, I thought. Let’s do this thing. I sent a sample of my work and sat back to wait. Man! I can’t ever remember checking my email so many times …lol… I was like a man possessed. People were starting to avoid me in the street so they didn’t have to suffer any more book talk.Then it came…the reply. I remember staring at the computer screen with my mouth gapping open. I just wanted to cry. In truth, I think I did cry a little. How could this be? Why? I must be mistaken, I’ll have to read it again. It read the same.Dear Mr.Kurt Chambers.

We would like to thank you for submitting your material to our agency. After careful consideration I am pleased to tell you we would like to offer you representation with our agency. Please find a copy of our contract attached to this email.

It’s all a bit of a blur now. I vaguely remember some screaming involved and can just about recall waving a copy of this email I had just printed out in my wife’s face …lol… I had made it! The first novel I had ever written was sent for the first time to an agent, and I had been offered a contract. What was the chances of that happening? After two of the most wonderful days of my life, a light-bulb went off in my head. What WERE the chances of that happening? I’d better check this out. I’d read there were some dodgy agents out there. After some more research, I discovered the Preditors & Editors web site.

I remember staring at the computer screen with my mouth gapping open. I just wanted to cry. In truth, I think I did cry a little. How could this be? Why? I must be mistaken, I’ll have to read it again. It read the same.

STRONGLY NOT RECOMMENDED!

There is a moral to this true story. Always, always…ALWAYS…do your homework!

 

Whether it be in an actual elevator or a chance meeting at a party, someday, somehow, someone is going to ask you… “So, what’s your book about?” You have about 30 seconds of their attention and you need to be prepared with a short, yet informative answer. Something that will spark their attention, not loose it.

Crafting an elevator pitch has been a difficult challenge for me. I can be long winded in my stories… So when I’m asked to sum up my full-length novel down to a few sentences, it can cause a bit of anxiety. But, I did some research online about how to pitch a book and craft a spiel and I’m feeling good about what I’ve come up with.

There’s a tonne of ways to go about it but here’s the method I liked the best.

Your pitch should have three parts:

  1. The hook.
  2. A killer logline
  3. A short synopsis

The Hook:

There are different ways to write a hook. My favourite is the Hollywood Pitch. You take your book and compare it to other well-known books that are similar.

E.g., My book is a YA fiction, coming of age novel, that’s a bit Stephanie Meyer’s, The Host, meets Chris Van Allsburg’s, Jumanji.

 With a hook, your trying to create one line that peaks people’s interest so they want to know more. You could also try these ways of starting a hook.

Give a time and location:

E.g., It was the summer of 1982 in rural Mississippi…

Set up your main character:

E.g., A fast paced thriller, staring a bumbling 60-something detective…

Variations of when:

E.g., After years of hardship and political unrest…

 After you get your hook down pat, you’ll want to craft up a killer logline. A logline is two sentences (or close to that) that explains your main character, their goal and the conflict in the story. Even though a logline is short it can take forever to write. Here’s one I wrote for my book, Harmless.

A disconnected high school senior searches for closure after her brother’s tragic death, and parents’ divorce, all the while coping with the unwitting release of an ancient spirit that has possessed her friend. To save her friend, and heal her own conscience, she must accept a reality she never could have imagined to be true.

Now… If you’ve gotten someone to listen to your hook and logline and they still want more, this is when you give them your short synopsis. A short synopsis is your whole story summed up in about two paragraphs. I haven’t completed this yet for my book. Surprisingly, I found the one and two sentence summaries much easier to write.

Here are some suggestions I have to writing your synopsis.

 

Read the synopsises of other books.

  1. Read articles on how to write a synopsis. Here’s one I found helpful. http://carlywatters.com/2013/11/04/how-to-write-a-book-synopsis/
  2. Try not to drive your friends crazy asking them to read it.
  3. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite until it’s perfect.

 

 

After you’ve finished writing these three pitches, memorize them! Practice in front of a mirror so you don’t sound canned or loose your place.

 

Good Luck and Good Writing

 

Katherine