Hello folks! I know. That title is like, whaaa? Those things don’t go together at all! Well, you’re right. So let’s get to it. I am doing great. I went to a small writer’s conference in Topeka, KS this morning and got three free ARCs (Advanced Reader’s Copies) of some fantasy books. One was a sequel though, so now I have to find book one. And I realized another one is book three in a series. Sheesh. :^D
But they had some good talks. One was on writing what you know, but taking yourself out of the story, by Bryn Greenwood. And Jenn Bailey gave a crash course on using Twitter and knowing your audience. She’s a children’s author and an editor. Contact here here. I had a great time and met up with a great friend there, as well. I highly recommend looking in your area for free writing courses and conferences at your local libraries. Great for networking.
So, how’s the writing coming? Fan-freakin-tastic. I am about done with the third book in my trilogy now, and I will be sending it to beta readers soon. Probably the first of September.
What’s a beta do? This:
This week I worked on making sure the chapters were alternating correctly, but also making sense. I had him wondering about the castle before he ever got a report that it was there. duh. I split up some long chapters and wrote a few new chapters in the life of the bad guy, who is still way more interesting than my protagonist. It makes me chuckle. I do worry that my antagonist chapters might be a bit too dark, though.
Actually, as something different, this week I am going to post my first chapter and it’s your job to tell me if its too much. Ready? Go!
Chapter One of The Final Rescue
Gasten walked with purpose. He strode through the tunnels with the ease of ownership. He was looking forward to tonight. Keeping the peace in Alloy City just happened to benefit his cause. With his metal army, he would charge through new dimensions and steal their power for his own. Once he had the machine, of course.
“Damn her.” He remembered the visions he’d seen of her. Getting her apartment, stopping the fight for that guy… He wished he could have seen Fale defeat his best men. She was a mystery to him. But as much as she fascinated him, like a beetle-on-a-pin, he hated everything she stood for. And he wouldn’t stop until she was dead.
Caverns in the lowest levels of the industrial plant glowed dimly yellow. Furnaces vomited their heat in shimmering plumes that chased the whirling shadows. The heat was repugnant to the Source Wizard as he wore his ceremonial robes for this induction. Tonight’s agenda was a man who had aided Fale’s group and could not escape punishment. He had worked for the Control Agency under Gasten’s own influence, and yet helped the mages’ cause by sheltering the group and proving himself a traitor.
“Good evenin’ Sir.” One of his cronies appeared as he found the right cave. He knew by the pleading.
“Please, have mercy. I didn’t mean any harm. Where’s my wife and child?” The man lay on a silver table, his body naked and bound by his wrists and ankles. By the time they were done he would be one of Gasten’s elite army. A soldier with human insides, a human face, but the rest made of a valezsan alloy, the strongest metal on the planet. He would be taller, broader, heavier and a great addition to the guards in Garrith.
“Ah, Teague. You know very well that they await you. Your wife is already recuperating, and you will be sent to Garrith together. I will induct you myself. Don’t feel too bad if you don’t recognize each other, though.”
“What of my daughter?” Teague’s eyes were wide with fear, like a horse in a storm. It gave Gasten a little thrill to be the source of his fright.
“The girl didn’t survive the transfer.”
A sob hiccupped through the man’s body. “You are a cruel, heartless … monster.” Teague spat the words at him but couldn’t stop the tears from running down his temples to pool in his ears.
Throwing his head back, Gasten laughed heartily and then wiped his eye. “Why yes, I am.”
He was already beginning to have fun. This transfer would be the highlight of his week. The woman, Teague’s wife, had only lasted through the removal of the first few strips of skin before passing out, and she remained silent throughout the procedure, apart from some whimpering. No fun at all.
One of the men rolled in a cart. Gasten checked over the tools. Knives mostly, and metal parts that would be grafted to Teague’s muscles, a planer for the skin, and the glass enclosure for his heart that would be visible in the chest of his new mechanical body. Teague looked at the cart and started to cry.
“I can help you. I can contact the mages and tell you where Fale is,” Teague said, his voice jerking—nostrils flaring—with each panicked breath.
The man with the cart raised his hand to strike Teague, but Gasten held his hand up. His robe was suffocating him in the feverish cavern. He pulled back the hood, running his hand through long black hair that brushed his shoulders, his thick rings glinting silver in the flickering light.
“Where is she?”
“I—I—don’t know right now. The m-mages have her I … I could find out, but I’d have to do it tomorrow. I c-can call someone. Yeah, I know just who to call.” Teague’s head was raised, and he nodded in encouragement.
The Source Wizard Gasten tilted his head in thought. If he knew where she’d gone, he could go after the machine. The power he would have. He would visit every dimension in existence and dominate them. I alone will steal their power. His army was growing, and he would need them all. Keeping slaves in so many places would require a master with ultimate power.
But surely, she’d already found the machine. It had been months since he’d seen her vision. She’d never leave him a clue, of course–she would burst in with the machine and capture the slaves in Garrith … then she would come for him. He’d know when she appeared. He had men out hunting for her. If they found her, they’d find the machine and bring it back to him. He had to have faith in his men. He almost snorted then.
He’d found his men in a dimension of idiots. He was surprised some of them even knew how to procreate. But they were loyal, and they were afraid, and that’s all he needed. They did all the manual labor in the wizard compound, and anything else he told them. They knew the alternative; it wasn’t a difficult choice.
“No,” he said lightly. “I don’t think so. We’re here now and you will help me by becoming the next captain of my army… You have betrayed your last human.”
“No—” Teague dropped his head back to the table and it made a thud.
“Please save your strength.” Gasten whispered a few words and ran his ringed finger across Teague’s forehead.
“Why can’t I move?” Teague’s panicked eyes were wide. He could speak, but his body lay paralyzed.
Gasten chuckled. “It makes working easier if you can’t move on your own.”
“No. No, please. Please, you can’t—” Teague screamed as they sheared off the first six-inch-wide ribbon of his skin.
That’s it. What do you think? The book goes into detail about why he is the way he is, but I wanted that first paragraph to just put his evilness on display. Did it work? (It is a YA novel, but it is 16+.) Of course, they don’t specify age ranges with most books in the young adult category, but many of them are for an older age. I remember when A Court of Thorns and Roses came out by Sarah J. Maas and it had some pretty mature content; but then I saw that it was marked for 16 and older. Though it was published by a Children’s Publisher, which was surprising to me.
Today at the conference, they talked about the importance of using hashtags on social media, whether that be Twitter or Instagram (which are the two biggest places you will find the various levels of the literary community interacting online). If you are a writer, this is a big deal. Some time ago, I listed in a Twitter post, all the pitch events I could find. I wanted to know what was out there, so I thought other writers would want to know as well.
You have to think about what you’re doing, though. Don’t just use any old hashtag for whatever post you send. Target your audience. That means, if you are looking for writers to network with, you need to know to go to places like #WritingCommunity or #Writerslife. Like the posts, see what people are saying, and make posts yourself. If you want to put your book before readers, however, you are going to want to go to places like #ilovebooks, #readmorebooks, #amreading, or #bookaddict. You don’t want to put your new book ad on a writing hashtag, unless you want advice or to show it off to your friends. You want to put that ad in front of READERS.
When you post on Twitter, you will appear in the feed of your followers and whomever Twitter wants to expose you to, but when you use a hashtag, your post goes in with all the others in (listing) that hashtag. Why is this good? Exposure, networking, making sales, finding services… You can use the hashtags Twitter suggests when you start typing them, and/or make up some of your own. If you are an author, you should hashtag the name of your book, and your own name, as well. Maybe even the name of your MC, if you have cool things to tweet about them or from them.
So, one type of hashtag is a “pitch.” In a pitch, you tweet a blurb about your book, with the appropriate hashtag on a scheduled day. Agents and publishers troll pitch events. I can tell you this first hand. I signed an author to a New York based agency from a #Pitmad pitch. * Let me say it again: People DO receive contracts through Twitter pitch events.* Once you post the blurb about your story, if an agent/editor likes your “pitch” enough to want your query information, they will click on the heart icon to “like” it. That means you are now free to send your query to that agent with the subject heading: Twitter pitch request. For many agents, this puts you at the top of the slush pile. Agents give priority to manuscripts they have requested to see more of.
Let me caution you here, just because someone says, “Hi, I’m Suzie Agent and I love your pitch, send me everything!” DO NOT just run to your email and shoot them your query. Why not? Simple. Anyone can say they’re an agent. There is no school, no license, no certificate; you can say you’re an agent one morning and have your first client by lunch. It happens people.
Please check on who “likes” you. Google their name, then go to their agency website, and any others that are listed for them. Go to Publisher’s Marketplace and it will tell you under the “Deal Makers” tab (that is only there if you have a subscription*) if that agent has ever sold a book or not. As well as what genres they have sold and what houses they have sold to. If you want a contract with a big house, you need to find an agent who has contacts with big houses. Either they’ve already sold to a large house, or they belong to an agency who does so regularly. In which case, they likely have access to the same data base and can refer each other. Some agents do not track their sales on Publisher’s Marketplace, but the reputable companies generally do. So keep that in mind. (*A subscription costs $25/month, with no contract, on a month to month basis, so you have nothing to lose. If you’re querying, pony up the $25 for one month and do your research.)
What do I do if I want to participate in one?
First, you look up the pitch hashtag and find out the days it’s active and any rules they may have. Some events have their own pages, or websites, but most do not. I will list them below. When you’re on the right day, go to the hashtag and make a post. Type out one of your pitches, I suggest having several; then follow it with the hashtag for the event (listed below). Next, add one for the type of reader:
(i.e. #PB = Picture Book
#C = Children’s
#CB = Chapter Book
#MG = Middle Grade
#YA = Young Adult
#NA = New Adult
#A = Adult )
And finally your genre:
(i.e. #AC = Action, #AD = Adventure, #BIZ = Bizarro Fiction, #CF = Christian Fiction, #CON = Contemporary, #CR = Contemporary Romance, #E = Erotica, #ER = Erotic Romance, #ES = Erotica Suspense, #F = Fantasy, #FTA = Fairy Tale Retelling, #GN = Graphic Novel, #H = Horror, #HA = Humor, #HF = Historical Fiction, #HR = Historical Romance, #INSP = Inspirational, #MR = Magical Realism, #M = Mystery, #Mem = Memoir, #MA = Mainstream, #LF = Literary Fiction, #NF = Non-fiction, #P = Paranormal, #PR = Paranormal Romance, #PM = Poetry Collection, #R = Romance, #RS = Romantic Suspense,
#STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, #SF = SciFi, #SHRT = Short Story Collection, #SPF = Speculative Fiction, #SH = Superhero, #S = Suspense, #T = Thriller, #TT = Time Travel, #UF = Urban Fantasy, #VF = Visionary Fiction, #W = Westerns, #WF = Woman’s Fiction)
This is the list of pitch parties that I know of, but I know there are more. A few are linked:
#Adpit, #canlitpit, #DVpit, #faithpitch, #ficfest, #GUTGAA, #IWSGpit, #kidlit411, #kidpit, #kisspitch, #nestpitch, #PBpitch, #pit2pub, #pitchAmerica, #pitchmas, #pitchon, #pitchslam, #pitchwars, #pitdark, #pitmad, #pitmatch, #querywin, #revpit, #SamWritersClub, #SFFpit, #sonofapitch (#SOAP19), #tenqueries, #WCNV, #Wepit, #pg70pit, #PitchCB, #PitchMadness, #pitchfest, #writepit, #SunVsSnow, #querykombat, #NoQS, #Pitchtopub, #Writeoncon, #CLCBSD, #writeinthemargins, #someofourvoices, #hotsummerpitchfest, #xmasinjuly, #JustPitchit, #mysteryagent, #pitchsqueak, #TheWvoice, #secretshop, #pitchtopublication, #RTslap, #thewriterstank, #agentmatch, #NLpitchperfect, #teenpit.
There are certainly more and there might be a few that have become defunct. Let me know if they are. Some may be contests, too, so make sure to read the thread for a bit. I am working on a spreadsheet with the hashtags, their dates, who they’re for, and the rules. But it’s also not my first priority right now. :^D
This is an example of what I might pitch for the WIP:
Wyll gets pushed through the door to a dark, steampunk world created with a magic pen, by a madman calling himself king. With the pen, the king is creating tortures for resisters and keeps him like the princess’s pet, but she’s the one trying to get him out. #pitmad #YA #F #AD #R
Good luck! If you know of more events, leave them in the comments. And let me know what you thought of Chapter One of The Final Rescue. One more post after this and we should be back to writing the bestseller! Yee! I’m excited to get back to the WIP. I had two new story ideas this week. Maybe we’ll talk about them next week! Keep scrolling for more pitch parties!