WriteOnCon Rocked!


WriteOnCon may have only lasted two days, but it’s taken me almost a week to process everything that took place during this incredible online writer’s conference. Between live events, critique forums, essays by industry insiders, Q & A sessions, and discussions I feel like I got a crash course in the world of publishing!

A week before the conference officially began, I posted my query letter on the Young Adult Query Critique forum. As many of my readers know, I’ve been working diligently on my query letter for months, so it was a big step to release it into the wild. Overall, the response was pretty good. Readers commented on the layout, but I expected that because I opted for a less traditional query format. Much to my relief, the synopsis and story idea both received positive responses. Overall, the advice I received  was very helpful and I think I made some good changes. Many thanks to those who took the time to read through my letter and offer suggestions.

Aside from multiple learning moments, I walked away from WriteOnCon with a little victory. On the first day, I participated in a live Twitter pitch event. Two editors from Spencer Hill Press were on hand to consider pitches of 140 characters or less. Not only did writers have the chance to pitch directly to editors, but there was the benefit of seeing their initial reaction to the pitch via video chat. On the surface, I found this terrifying, but the opportunity was just too good to pass up.

Thanks to Jennifer Eaton’s query letter critique, I worked on creating a stronger hook. Minutes before they opened the live chat, I made one last change to that hook and used it as my Twitter pitch.

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As the event began, I watched the live feed with a knotted up stomach. What if they hated it? What if I set myself up for the ultimate humiliation? I had to keep telling myself that being a writer means having thick skin. Even if the response is horribly negative, I still believe in my story. Of course, there was also the chance that my pitch would be ignored altogether. Then, at the 4:57 mark, I got the shock of my life when they read my Twitter pitch.

I couldn’t watch the screen. I stared at my keyboard and held my breath as I waited for the response. I almost screamed when the first editor reacted immediately with “Oh, I like that.” She went on to request a query letter, which almost made me scream again, (I was in a public place when all of this went down, so screaming was not an option).  The other editor was not impressed, but something I’ve learned over the years is how subjective the publishing industry can be.  Instead of taking it personally, I respect her opinion. Regardless, I managed to pitch my book to an editor who loves muses. Seriously, what are the odds??

My happy dance moment can be seen on youtube, (it starts at 4:57). However, the entire event is worth watching as these editors hold nothing back and offer fantastic insight and advice on the art of pitching.

I have since sent a query letter, so now it’s all about waiting for a response. Even if nothing comes of it, I’m still immensely proud of myself for taking such a huge step forward. This entire experience has reminded me that good things can happen if I’m brave enough to take a chance.

Thank you to the organizers of WriteOnCon for offering such an amazing event!

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c.b.w. 2013

Gearing Up For WriteOnCon


I will be somewhat absent from the blogosphere this week as I jump head first into WriteOnCon. While the conference lasts only two days, it is jam packed with events – most of which I’ll be attending via forums and social networks. Needless to say, the time usually devoted to blogging will be given to WriteOnCon!


Over the last week, I’ve been working on my query letter, first five pages, and first 250 words. I submitted my query letter to the Young Adult Query Critique thread, which was quite scary, but I’m getting some good advice on how to make it better. To me, those responses have already made this a worthwhile experience.

“Ninja Agents” will be perusing all forum threads starting August 13th, so it’s imperative that I get my best work possible posted. I’m hoping to get some sort of feedback, although I’m cautiously optimistic. Just like the industry as a whole, it’s like trying to be the one face noticed in a crowd of millions.

This is the first time I’ve released anything as specific as a query letter for Novel #2. I can’t begin to say how nerve-wracking it was to let my baby go, but I am encouraged by the fact that it was not slammed with critical scrutiny. I don’t know if that has something to do with the old adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” but I’m choosing to believe it doesn’t suck.

Wish me luck as I wade into unfamiliar territory. Hopefully, I will come out of this with thicker skin, a little wisdom, and ready for the next step.

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c.b.w. 2013

2013 Goals: July Status Report


July is one of those months that got away from me! Between working feverishly on lesson plans and taking a vacation, I fell a little short of completing my goals for this month. However, instead of beating myself up over it, I am choosing to be thankful for some much needed rest.

While some things were pushed back on the to-do list, others remained front and center. Even with so many distractions, my writing is never far from view.

1) Complete final draft of Novel #2.

As of yesterday, the third draft of Novel #2 is complete! All clean up edits are done and I now have a relatively polished manuscript. YAY!

I am admittedly behind on this goal (I wanted to be done by early July), but I’ll still take the victory. Next up, I’ll be doing another read through, but I don’t anticipate many changes. I’m at the point where I’ve done all I can on my own. It’s time to put it out there and see what happens.

2) Work on converting Novel #1 into first person.

Still on the shelf (and that’s okay).

3) Submit 5 pieces of writing.

This goal is still technically on the shelf (to allow time for Novel #2), but as with last month, I am still writing a lot of poetry.  Photographs I took over the summer continue to be an enormous source of inspiration. Perhaps, a poetry contest or a journal submission is on the horizon.

4) Submit three query letters for Novel #2

My mini-goal for July was to complete the short synopsis for Novel #2, but unfortunately I only have half of a synopsis. However, I made some good headway on something I struggle with, so it’s not a complete failure!

Despite struggles with the synopsis, I am still happy with my query letter draft. During the month of August I’ll be putting it to the test. See Goal #5 for details.

5) Continue building author platform

Last month, I thought about spending more time on Twitter. Then, I realized it was more of a distraction than a pathway towards my goals. Twitter has it’s benefits, but I’m in the process of deciding how much of a role it will have in my future as a writer.

Facebook, however, has proven to be a great way to connect to other writers and promote my blog. I love reading about the successes of fellow writers and I find their stories to be very motivating. I may spend a little too much time on Facebook, but in many ways it’s time well spent!

Aside from social media, I’ve decided to participate in WriteOnCon this year. On August 13-14, WriteOnCon opens with forums, online conferences, query critiques, and advice from agents.  With a section dedicated to YA, I figure I have nothing to lose by submitting my query letter for Novel #2. Agents from well-known agencies visit the forums, while also participating in online workshops. This is a great opportunity for exposure, so I’m going to jump in with both feet.

My Facebook Page has grown from  312 to 322

On Twitter, my followers have gone from 534 to 531 (understandable, seeing as I really haven’t been tweeting)

Thanks so much to all my followers. Your support and encouragement means so much!

As with June, this month was another good one for new blog subscribers. While my daily stats are low, watching the subscription number rise is motivation enough to keep posting.

6)  Read three books on the writing/publishing process.

I’m still happily entrenched in the world of Maisie Dobbs. I’m probably going to stay there until I catch up to the latest installment!

7) Inspire others to keep writing.

As always, I can only hope I am a positive presence!

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How are you doing on your 2013 goals?

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c.b.w. 2013