Category Archives: Publish

YA or Adult?

I have been struggling with this question for well over a year… Where to categorize my book Terra Incognita… I always felt it fit better into the YA category but, unfortunately, my MC is 23 years old. Hm… conundrum, indeed. Of course, I have (very briefly) considered changing her age… but that would involve a number of other changes, especially to her backstory… so, in effect, I would be changing WHO she was and not just her age… At least, that’s the way I see it. So, while I believe the story should be the defining factor in determining whether it is YA or adult fiction, most people in the publishing world go by the protagonist’s age (for YA, ages 12-18, approximately).

I’ve been doing research into this over the last year and have somewhat recently discovered a fledgling category that St. Martin’s Press (as well as a few other publishers) had/has been trying to push since a contest they held in 2009: New Adult. After reading as much about this as I could find, I realized it is the perfect category for my story.

A step up from YA, it still focuses a lot on the “coming-of-age” theme because – let’s face it – we aren’t automatically adults just because we’re no longer teenagers.  There’s a lot to deal with in the late teens and early twenties: college, relationships (old ones end, new ones begin), being out on your own for (most likely) the first time, etc. … etc.  Anyway… not nearly enough stories focus on this “in-between” phase, the necessary step between being a teenager and being an adult…  New Adult is about becoming an adult and finding our place in the world, whether it’s reality-based or fantasy.

Based on the blog posts I’ve found, it would seem New Adult would be a welcome category for both readers and writers.

Find out more about the “New Adult” category and judge for yourself.  Here are a few links:

Postadolescent or “New Adult” Fiction – even if you go to no other site, visit this one.

In Support of New Adult Fiction

2012 “New Adult” Reading Challenge

New Adult Fiction – the missing genre?

I’m Okay with YA protagonists that are over 18 years old…

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Ah… It’s that time of year again…

Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (ABNA) 2012!

Very exciting… in about an hour, I will be submitting my novel (Terra Incognita) – this is my second time submitting but with the same novel. The deadline for submissions in February 5th, 2012. Every unpublished or self-published novel is eligible, as long as they meet all the requirements (length, etc). The prize (in two categories – young adult and general fiction) is a $15,000.00 publishing contract with Penguin USA. Of course, many people have had success without winning.

Another thing I enjoy about participating in this contest is the community of writers it connects. The forum is extremely helpful and… entertaining, at times.

The contest requires a Pitch (no more than 300 words), Excerpt (first 3,000 – 5,000 words of novel), and the full manuscript…

Last year, my pitch made it through the first round but my excerpt didn’t make the cut in the second.  I’m hoping for a different outcome this year (one where I make it further, that is).  Of course, I wasn’t all that happy with my pitch from last year so I wrote a completely new one.   I’ll wait until the first round winners are announced before I post it (just to be on the safe side).

If any of you have a completed novel (self-published or unpublished) I suggest you look into this contest.  Check out the rules and requirements to determine if it’s right for you… it doesn’t hurt to try.  Plus, it’s free!  😉

Good luck to everyone who enters!  See you on the other side!

Also, if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them!

Oh, how could I forget…

… Yet I did…

I have posted most of Terra Incognita on authonomy.com and have received some feedback… some nice things really. I like that a few people seem to have enjoyed reading it and thought (if any of you were interested) you might want to take a look at it, too. I probably will not post the last few chapters, since I’m hoping to publish it one day, but you can get a nice taste of it here.

I hope you enjoy… and I promise to post again soon.

Love you guys!
Heather

Query, logline and pitch, oh my!

Hey all… Oh, look at me… two posts in as many days… woohoo! Yeah, anyway… I thought I would post my new reworked “pitch.” I think it works a lot better than the one I posted under “Works” and, maybe, I’ll replace that one with this. It’s a little more succinct, which it needed to be in order to use it in my querying, and, I believe, more interesting. It seems to me that an actual query pitch has different requirements than the pitch I had to use for ABNA 2011. For instance, ABNA asked for more information; they wanted to know about character growth within the story and more details about the plot, at least I gathered that from everything I read. Of course, that wasn’t easy in the amount of words I could use, but I did the best I could to work everything in they required. Now, when it comes to querying, a writer needs to try to gain interest in the story in as few words as possible. Most people suggest you write a “logline” or first sentence that grabs their attention and tells the agent (or publisher) what the story is about. Then, you follow it up with the pitch (or summary that “sells” your work). I hope I described that correctly. In any case, here’s my logline (first sentence) and pitch:

“In the midst of grief, a young woman, transported to a future dominated by pale creatures that prey on humans, discovers she has a power both groups covet. After the mysterious and violent death of her beloved aunt, Haylee Wells returns home to pick up the pieces. However, when she is attacked by a strange pale creature and finds herself thrust into a future world she barely recognizes, she discovers a centuries’ old truth – a truth that goes beyond explaining her aunt’s demise and creates further questions. Now, taken in by a group of humans driven into hiding by these “Pale Ones,” Haylee must realize the power within herself – literally – or face consequences much worse than never returning home. Because, if she fails to do so, she risks becoming a slave to the “Pale Ones” and a pawn in the deadly game they have forced humans to play.”

But, yeah… Originally, I had been introducing the genre and word count and whatnot first, then my pitch. However, I read recently that the way publishing is nowadays, you need to catch their attention much sooner. So, now, I start with the logline and pitch. Of course, they probably still need some work. After the pitch, I state title, genre and word count and, then, include my short, relevant bio. Of course, I tweak it a little bit for each agency I send it to, because they all have different requirements.

Maybe this will help someone… I don’t know. I hope so.

I’m still alive…. I promise!

Uh, so yeah… It’s been way too long since I posted. That’s an understatement, I guess… Anyway, here I am! Yay! I’m sure my millions of fans have missed me – er, what’s that? I don’t have millions of fans? Huh. I could’ve sworn… No? Oh well, we’ll just have to fix that! One day, anyway…

So, back to the post. Been pretty busy the last few months, though (unfortunately) nothing book-related. I’ve barely written anything, actually… Well, that’s not completely true… I have done some work, lots of editing and changing of Terra Incognita and rewriting of query letters and synopses… but only a tiny bit of anything new. In any case, we’ve been having fun at my house fighting colds and sinus infections. Of course, the main thing we’ve been working on is a new home and getting ready to move… a lot goes into that. It’s been one delay after another, but I suppose that’s pretty typical. So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve been a little distracted… Then again, that’s not too difficult for me. 😉

So, now I’m getting back into things. Though I’ve gotten rejections from most of the agents I’ve queried, I still have plenty remaining on my list. My latest query was to the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, to Miriam Kriss. I’ve read wonderful things about her. I’m a little nervous though, because (besides the normal reasons) their submission guidelines page states that once you have sent your query, “you should receive an automated reply.” However, I did not receive said reply, but my email does say that it was sent, and I did a little research and found others have had this problem in the past. I figure if I don’t hear back in about two weeks, I’ll re-query just to make sure. I’m thinking that maybe “should” is the operative word there… Let’s hope. I keep checking and rechecking my email, even though my phone is right beside me and would let my know if I’d gotten anything new.

I’m hoping my reworked query letter is more appealing and am sure (eh) that my rewritten first chapter is so much better than it was before. Of course, I’m also very sure that it could always use more work… I’m hoping that someone out there will at least see some potential in my work and want to represent me based on that potential… that they’ll be willing to work with me to make it the best it possibly can be… because that’s what I’m willing to do… if someone would just give me the opportunity, right?

I think that’ll be all for now. I’ll try not to go months between posts next time, though I can’t guarantee anything since the move is imminent.

Thanks for listening, er, reading…. Love ya’ guys!

Ah, Rejection…

Hello, all! I do believe it has been a little too long in between posts… I know, I know… Shame on me… Anyway, I thought I would take this time to update you on the status of my agent querying. As of my last post, I have now been rejected by six of ten agents (one of whom was speaking for their entire agency). Wow. Now that I actually see the numbers, I’m not so worried. It seemed like so much more before I really looked at it… Pretty much all of them have been form rejections, meaning a set letter they send to pretty much everyone the agent rejects. Usually, they will insert your name… but not always. 😀 Anyway. I know I shouldn’t get discouraged… This is a big step in my career as a novelist… BUT even with this small number I was beginning to doubt myself. To doubt my work. And I know that many of you may be experiencing similar dilemmas. So, I wanted to share a blog with you that I found particularly helpful and interesting.

I hope it helps alleviate some of your doubts.

Until next time, keep on writing… and, of course, querying!

Got a Bite…

Since I last posted, I have queried three more agents… after receiving a rejection from the Linn Prentis agency. I have now queried Andrea Somberg at the Harvey Klinger Agency, Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown LTD, and Jodi Reamer of Writer’s House. I sent all of these last night and have heard back from Andrea Somberg this evening, requesting the first 5 pages of my manuscript. Though there is a great chance my style won’t appeal to her, my hopes are high for now. If she doesn’t like it, I shall soldier on. 😀

I’m so excited… even for this little bit!

I’ll post more at a later date.

To all you aspiring authors out there: keep on writing and querying. Success is just around the corner… I can feel it! 😉

Edit: I have since discovered that Andrea Somberg requests that the first 5 pages be sent along with queries… so much for following my own advice on research, huh? Anyway, I’ll still take it as a good sign. So a little more advice, I suppose… If you find the agent within a given agency, it is probably best to find out if that specific agent has differing submission guidelines from that of the agency in general. I found her website after googling her name, so google is helpful in this case. Once I didn’t find a link on the agency’s website, I should have googled her right away… But, oh well, things are going alright so far. 😀