While most of the time we wish our life could be like a book, we often watch a movie and think, “Gee, I wish my life was like that.” In Kelly Fiore’s latest book, Just Like the Movies, two girls set out to bring a little movie magic into their lives. Today, Kelly dishes on which movie she wished mirrored her own life and what she thinks now.
Summer Escape With Teen Authors! Susan Dennard, Aimee Carter and Courtney Moulton…
Start: 07/24/2014 7:00 pm
Where: 2660 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Susan Dennard, author of the Something Strange & Deadly Series; Aimee Carter, author of The Goddess Test Series and more recently, The Blackcoat Rebellion Series; and Courtney Moulton, author of the Angelfire series will lead a panel discussion on their books & writing for the young adult audience.
Leila Sales at Viking has acquired world rights to Dear Dragon by Josh Funk (l.), to be illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo. The picture book is about two boys who befriend each other through a writing assignment and learn to look past superficial differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath. Publication is set for winter 2016; Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency represented the author, and Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media represented the artist.
Life is composed of moments and decisions — some good, some bad. In Erica O’Rourke’s latest YA book, DISSONANCE, she explores alternate universes and the choices people make every day. Today, Erica shares her own “what-if” story and wonders what her life would have been like had she chosen a different path. Take it away, Erica!
Any author will tell you: stories begin with a “What if …”
It’s human nature to wonder about the road not traveled, the choice not made, the life almost led. Sometimes with regret, sometimes with relief, always in hindsight, with a shake of the head and astonishment at the power of a single moment. What if, what if, what if.
What if, for example, I hadn’t looked out the window?
My senior year in college was perfectly planned. Graduate; find a job teaching English; marry my long-time boyfriend. I’d spent my first day back on campus sweltering in the late-August heat, unpacking while I waited for my boyfriend to arrive. For no particular reason, I looked out the window just as he pulled into the parking lot in his shiny new car.
He stepped out. Stretched. Then he stopped, studying the beat-up blue sedan in the next spot, cocking his head. The gesture seemed off, somehow — too tense and cold for a lazy summer afternoon.
I could have gone downstairs to meet him. I could have finished shelving my overpriced textbooks. Instead, five stories up and unnoticed, I watched.
He grabbed the side of the door, as if to close it — and then slammed it into the other car, the impact jolting his body. The sound carried across the parking lot, metallic and deliberate. I flinched as he did it again. Then he closed his door, locked the car and ambled inside. The entire scene took less than ninety seconds.
“What was up with that car?” I asked after I let him in.
“What car?” He leaned down to kiss me. I put out a hand to fend him off. “The one you hit.” He shrugged. “They would have dinged my door when they left. I got them first.”
It was the act of a bully, casual and cruel. If I hadn’t turned my head, I would never have spotted it, or seen that side of him. I would have carried on exactly as before, following the map of my perfect life in perfect ignorance.
But choices can’t be undone; sights can’t be unseen. My tiny choice led to a bigger one. A short time later, we broke up. My carefully planned world reshaped itself into something infinitely better.
Was it fate? Random coincidence? A warning from the universe, or an isolated mistake? I’ll never know. Sometimes, I wonder: what if hadn’t looked out the window? I don’t think I would like that life very much. That temper would have turned on me, and I would have turned into someone else entirely.
I wrote Dissonance because I’m fascinated by the might-have beens and the what-ifs. I wanted to explore how lives could change due to a single decision and what, if anything, stayed the same. Delancey Sullivan has grown up witnessing the power of choices; unlike the rest of the world, she can move between those what-ifs and possibilities. And while the circumstances may change, some things — family, and first love and secrets – are constant.
I'm looking for some good books to use as comps for the YA Fantasy I'm writing. My book isn't urban fantasy and has no "real" world references. I've read tons of adult fantasy. And I've read tons of YA. But the YA stuff has been dysutopian or urban fantasy. Is it okay to compare my book to those? Or to adult fantasy? If not, could you please tell me about some successful YA Fantasy books I can read to see if they are good comps for mine? (Thank you!)
Yes. My favorites are (these are all first books in a series)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M Lee (out 8/5!)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (out 2/2015)
Also Epic Reads put together a great list of YA Fantasies. I haven’t read all of these of course, but they’re working checking out: http://www.epicreads.com/blog/25-ya-books-for-game-of-thrones-fans/
Do New Adult manuscripts require a heavy romance subplot? Are they always set in the real world (contemporary fiction)? Everything I've read in that genre says YES, but others have said NO because the genre is growing.
I would love to see NA expand, but in terms of sales, the NA books doing the best are contemporary with a heavy (sexy) romance subplot.
I'm a querying writer in the U.S. Does it complicate things if I sign with an agent outside the U.S.? I'm wondering what would happen if the agent sold my book to a U.S. publisher. Does that count as a foreign rights deal and therefore mean the agent's commission is higher?
It really depends on that agency’s contract and their process in terms of submitting to the US. If they work with a co-agent, yes the commission will be higher. If they sell direct, probably not.
I hear 'sick-lit' is out, and I get that (there's quite a bit of it out there recently)! What if a character has a medical condition that isn't life threatening but the surgery to remove it is, and that isn't the entire story?
If you could represent any author in the world, who would it be?
I already represent my dream clients :)
I don’t know this is a fair question. I can tell you what books I love by other authors but I don’t really know anything about them or their working relationship and I do think that in the end that’s just as important as a good book.
Here are some of my favorite authors that I don’t represent:
George RR Martin
I’m also a little obsessed with this blog: http://www.thelondoner.me/ She’s not an author of books (yet?) but she’s definitely a favorite.
What is your opinion about pitch conferences? I'm editing the novel I want to pitch but the hundreds of dollars it costs to go to the conference is hard for me to manage. IS it worth it?
I sort of hate pitches. I request everything because just because someone can pitch doesn’t mean they can write and vice versa. So I request that they query me. (I know, I’m lame).
I think the one on one time can be valuable and I’ve converted pitch appointments to 10 min query workshops where I make notes on queries. I think that is invaluable.
Conferences can be really inspiring and informative. I do think they’re valuable and wonderful. The Chicago North RWA conference I went to this spring did a great workshop session at night. I sat in and I feel like I learned something. I just don’t believe a pitch is going to necessarily find you an agent any easier than a query.
If you are writing in Scrivener and have the ability to compile into mobi format, should you mention this in your query? I don't know if agents ever read the manuscripts on kindle, but it seems it would be pretty convenient.
I don’t know what this means.
I think you might be thinking a little too hard about this. Most agents ask for the ms in .doc format which is pretty easy to load on any e-reader.
I've given up on the idea of a "dream" agent. The "dream agent" for me is someone I think I can work with, who will believe in my work, and someone I will trust and respect. That said, can you give general advice on when you see an agent who is looking for the same kind of thing you've written--but not in all projects? What happens then in a client/agent relationship?
I hate the idea of the “dream” agent because you’re absolutely right! A “dream agent” is someone who loves your work and shares your vision for your career and that you work well with. (yay!)
It doesn’t hurt to query them. If they’re interested and considering offering representation, you can tell them about some other ideas you have and gauge their interest.
If one of my clients wrote a business book, I would work with them on it. I’d pull in the lovely Mackenzie Brady to help me since nonfiction isn’t really my thing, but we’d work it out.
Sorry if you've been asked this before, but is YA high fantasy dead right now? I was told by a lot of my friends how hard YA fantasy is to sell right now. I'm currently working on a Graceling--meets--Game of Thrones-esque novel about pirate lords and since I don't ever really see pirate books...I was wondering if they weren't that hot. Thanks.
I don’t think so.
Everything is hard to sell right now, but a great YA fantasy that’s unique and has good worldbuilding could be a winner.
An agent (not you) reviewed my full ms and passed with a very nice personalized rejection, stating that ...talented writer...loved voice...but they don't think they can sell UF/paranormal YA right now. My ms is adult UF. Do you think that's more likely a typo or that they think my ms reads as YA? Should I assume it's a typo and let it go or is that something I should ask about?
I’m sorry, I hate to ask this, but… are you sure it’s personalized? Or is it a form where they wrote in your title and a few key details?
I would assume it’s a typo. Adult UF isn’t running away with the market either. But send this agent your next project.
In researching agents + agencies, hands-down I read, "dystopians are dead." Fantasy + sci-fi gasping for breath. (And so forth). So, when I look at the websites that show what Agents are looking at & requesting? YA Fantasy, dystopias, and so forth. It's very confusing.
Ah, a lot of those websites are updated and maintained by other people and as a result, they’re usually a little behind the curve.
I don’t think Fantasy is gasping for breath if it’s good.
So a while back, you guys said that it was good to have an internet presence, and that you sometimes would check up on the authors online before you made a deal. My name isn't common, but there's one other person with my name who has all the usernames with my name and I'm concerned that that an agent might mistake them for me, as they come up first with a google search. I am worried about this because they don't have (to put it nicely) the most classy photograph, posts, ect. Any words on this?
Include your social media links in the query (at the bottom, in your signature). Don’t worry, no one will hold that crazy person against you :)
Hi! I am developing a query for a fantasy novel. I co-wrote this novel with my sister. Where in a normal query letter I would use the pronoun "I" should I change it to "we" and sign it from both of us? Or should I sign it from one of us and mention it was co-written? Thank you!!
Since most of the query is about the book, this should matter too much. If the email is just from you, you can say “I” and mention it’s co-written with your sister. Or you can say we and say it’s from both of you. Make sure both your email addresses are on the query though (cc her if you’re sending and vice versa).
Is it true that, "editors have no idea what agents are looking for?" I read that in another blog--and it struck me as odd. I thought it was the other way around; that agents more or less serve the wishes of editors.
That strikes me as odd too.
I had lunch with an editor today and we talked about what he’s looking for and what I’m looking for in addition to weather and living in NY and summer vacations and listening to books on audio and lots of fun stuff.
Formatting questions: Some agents ask for sample pages/chapters pasted in the body of an email. For this format, do you include the typical title page (contact/title/word count) then start the MS halfway down the page? Does the title/first page count as a full page or should you go based on the 250 word estimate? Would the word count on the title page be the word count for the selection provided or the full work, if included at all? Thank you!
Are you in the mood for love? It’s what makes the world go round. And also: all you need. As well as that thing, in addition to war, in which all is fair. Here, TED Talks about this most basic of human emotions.
Hannah’s emotional and honest discussion of leaving love letters for strangers will move you in the best possible way.
Check out this great listen on Audible.com. There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girl - or so the story goes. But it’s just possible that the danger may be a little bit closer to home. This story is a companion folk tale to Leigh Bardugo’s debut novel, Shadow and Bone.
After a few rejections on partials, I'm starting to doubt my writing and wondering if I need more formal writing education. What percentage of clients that New Leaf Literary represents have an MFA? And do you think it's harder to get published without one?
You don’t need an MFA. If you want one go for it. But if you don’t — you don’t necessarily need it.
I would say more of our clients don’t have one than do.
If you want to improve your craft, read more, taking a writing class, go to conferences, join a writing group. There are a lot of things you can do.
IT JUST TAKES ONE YES TO START YOUR CAREER. Okay, whichever agent wrote that today (7/17), I put it on a sticky note and taped it to my forehead. Now, every time I go to the bathroom and see my reflection, I have an encouraging note. (Helps to be dyslexic).