Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Winners of the Contest with Agent Carrie Pestritto!!

So Agent Carrie was fast judging, huh? We have the winners by now! (Actually she sent the email yesterday, but I was already asleep. :P) (And yes, winnerS as in not just one!)

But before, let me thank you all for helping me spread the word and for participating. I just love this community. <3
Without further ado... the winners are:

-Talynn Lynn with TOUCH OF DESTINY!
-Kristin Lenz with ON THE FRINGE

CONGRATS!! I'll email you soon with the details of how to submit your partial to the awesome Carrie Pestritto. =)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Contest with Agent Carrie Pestritto of the Prospect Agency!

The contest is now CLOSED. Thanks for participating!! 

The Agent-Judged Contest starts NOW!


1) This contest is ONLY OPEN for GIRLY YA manuscripts. (Only FINISHED manuscripts.) For more information, click HERE.

2) This is for unagented writers only.

3) You should post your query pitch (not the whole query) on the comment section of this post. The entry should read like this:
-Your Name
-Title of your book
-Word-count of your manuscript
-Your email
-The pitch (just the meat of the query)

4) Please, spread the word. I’m not going to haunt you if you don’t, but it’d make me REALLY happy if lots of people came to participate.

5) Since I’m doing this to help, you don’t need to be a blog follower, but I’d love it if you are. And I’d love it you'd follow me on Twitter too. ;)

6) The contest will open at 8 AM EST on 2/18/13, and will be open for 24 hours. 


Monday, February 11, 2013

Erin Kelly and Her Road To Publication

Meet Erin Kelly!  Her debut novel  APPLE UNPLUGGED--a Filipina student who has been ridiculed in her Louisiana high school finds her revenge by reinventing herself as the leader of her own band--will be published by Greenwillow/HarperCollins. And this is HER SUCCESS STORY!


From the time I was a little girl scribbling in notebooks and banging away at my father’s
typewriter, I wondered: Where will I be when I find out someone wants to publish my
book? What will I be doing? And, of course—will it ever happen?

The answers: at home alone on a sunny day in May; having nicotine fits; and yes.

The surreality (is that a word? I’m making it a word) started in mid-morning and lasted
well into evening because not only did I get one offer from the Big Six, I got TWO!
So I actually had to choose. Me. Choose. Between two of the biggest publishers in
publishing house history. I spent much of the day staring at the computer, phone and
BOOK? Because no matter how hard I’d worked, no matter how many years I’d written,
no matter how many books I’d read or how many small successes achieved, it still
seemed unbelievable to me that someone – someones! – actually wanted to publish my

It was a long journey for a girl who wrote her first book at seven (my 10-page debut,
“The Two Orphans,” was critically acclaimed by Mom and Dad), but it didn’t feel like
an arduous one because I was doing something I loved. Even when all the NOs came
in from agents, I didn’t cry, pull my hair or shake my fists at the air. I just kept reading,
learning, hoping – and, most importantly, writing. I kept going until someone said yes.
Eventually, someone did.

When I went on sub, the cycle started again, except now the NOs came from editors who
sent feedback along with their chorus of rejections: I couldn’t relate well to the main
character / I loved the main character, but … / The characters aren’t well-developed /
The characters are wonderfully developed, but …

Meanwhile I waited. And wrote. And waited. And wrote. I allowed brief moments of
panic and frustration with each rejection, but then I wrote.

And then the news came. I paced, called people, panicked, fidgeted, asked questions. I
signed contracts, saw my listing on Publisher’s Marketplace, got an actual check. But
until I see that book in my hands, it still feels unreal.

I’ve learned that patience is an extremely valuable skill in this craft, perhaps just as
valuable as being a good writer, because things move slowly. People in publishing say
this all the time, but you don’t really appreciate it until you’re one of the people waiting.

I waited years for someone to publish my first short story. Then I waited months for an
agent to pick up my novel. Then many more months for an editor to pick it up. Now I’m
waiting until the day when I can hold an actual copy of my book – the same book I wrote
at the kitchen table of my apartment. Now THAT’S surreality.

Meanwhile, I write. Always.


Psst... Erin is on Twitter too... here's her handle: @erinkellytweets

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Agent-Judged Contest Announcement!

So. YAY! Another contest. Guess that by now you already know how much I love these, huh? Anyway. I’m going to host a contest with agent Carrie Pestritto of the Prospect Agency on 2/18/13. 
Click here to read her interview.

This will be a VERY selective contest—not every manuscript can participate. Now Carrie is actively looking for girl teen fiction with a fresh voice and unique hook—something that has something new to offer the genre, not just another rich-girls-in-high-school book.  She’s open to fantasy elements, but would like to stay away from straight sci-fi/fantasy. She would love to see something with some kind of adventure element in tangent with great girly aspects, a la ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine or (of course) THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass, which is the book she blogged about.

If your manuscript fits that description—girly YA with a fresh voice and unique hook—then you can participate. If not, then stay tuned for other contests in the future.


1) As I said above, this contest is ONLY OPEN for GIRLY YA manuscripts. (Only FINISHED manuscripts.)

2) This is for unagented writers only.

3) On the 18th, you should post your query pitch (not the whole query) on the comment section of the contest post (not this post). The entry should read like this:
-Your Name
-Title of your book
-Genre (i.e. Contemporary YA for girls. OR Magical Realism YA for girls, etc...)
-Word-count of your manuscript
-Your email
-The pitch (just the meat of the query.)

4) Please, help me spread the word. I’m not going to haunt you if you don’t, but it’d make me REALLY happy if lots of people came to participate.

5) Since I’m doing this to help, you don’t need to be a blog follower, but I’d love it if you are. And I’d love it you'd follow me on Twitter too. ;)

6) The contest will open at 8 AM EST on the 18th, and will be open for 24 hours. 

She'll request the first 100 pages of your manuscript for consideration. 

Let me know if you have questions on the comment section of this post. ;)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another The Writer's Voice SUCCESS STORY!

I'm so excited to post this--it's Heather Clark's success story in her own words! It's a lovely story, isn't it? :)

Monica, thanks for inviting me to share my agent success story. You guys were a huge help. Without The Writer’s Voice I’d probably just be starting another round of queries right now.
I’ve been scribbling starts of novels in notebooks since my teens, but I didn’t get serious about writing until two and a half years ago when my friend and I formed a critique group. Since we started, I completed a contemporary YA manuscript, co-wrote a middle grade mystery with my husband, revised my contemporary manuscript, had another baby, and started a new YA novel.  Without my writing group, I doubt I would have finished my first draft of my first book.
Last year I queried my MG mystery to twenty agents and received thirteen rejections and seven no responses. I also queried JUST THIS ONCE to several small publishers, who all rejected it. My favorite rejection letter said that my writing was exceptional but that they felt that my story had no hook, was not unique, and that I should limit my MC’s internal musings and learn to write authentic dialogue.Ouch! I wonder what they say to authors when they don’t feel their writing is exceptional.
Last May I entered The Writer’s Voice. Monica was the last coach to announce her team,and when she chose me I couldn’t believe it. It was the first positive feedback I’d had about a query. Her coaching really improved my query and first page.
Near the end of agent voting, Kevan Lyon and Louise Fury nearly gave me heart failure by choosing my entry. I sent partials to both of them, and a full to a third agent who requested it. I got quick rejections from two agents and no response from Louise.
But at the end of December I got an alert that Louise Fury was now following me on Twitter. Um… why would an agent who’s had my manuscript since May follow me? It had to be nothing, right? But FIVE MINUTES LATER I got an email requesting the full manuscript. LOUISE FURY and her intern loved my voice and were excited to read more. Breathe. Must. Breathe.
I calmed down and sent it to her. And pretended to forget about it.
On New Year’s Day I got her next email. I was heading to bed, and Louise thought she’d make sure I didn’t sleep. Ever.Again.
She said her team had read my book and thought I was a “seriously talented writer.” (This phrase is burned forever into my brain, incidentally.) She wanted to talk on the phone the next day. It is amazing that I didn’t fall down and die. 
The next day was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. It was like a fairy tale. I told myself to keep my expectations low for her call. I let myself fantasize about her offering representation.Our conversation was better than anything I could have dreamed up.
For every question I asked, Louise’s answer showed she was the perfect agent for me. The way she thinks about my manuscript and respects my vision for my story, while helping me to improve it with clear, incisive feedback is amazing to me. In the month we’ve been working together, we’ve done two full sets of revisions and she has already helped me so much. Now I’m immersed in my WIP, and my book is in her capable hands while we prepare for the next step—submission.
I have learned that for those of us pursuing the dream, we are closer than we know. The line between an agented writer and someone in the slush piles trying not to give up is a fine one. It’s a matter of finding the right person at the right time who can see what they are looking for in your work. Simple?Maybe not.But achievable. I know. One month ago I had never had any requests for fulls or partials from any of my queries. Today I have an amazing agent who is passionate about my manuscript. 
As writers, we often downplay what we do as a frivolous hobby until someone else validates our work. I can’t tell you how many days I’ve worried I was wasting my time with something that would never benefit anyone but me. Don’t give up on your dreams. Just keep networking and querying and believing and WRITING! And don’t feel bad because no one is currently reading what you’ve written. If you write, you are a writer. You can do it! All the uncertainty and lack of control is worth it.
Heh… I’m telling you this as a writer who doesn’t have and may never have a book deal. I’m your friend, on my laptop just like you, frantically trying to help another MC out of this or that disaster. And hoping that someday someone besides my critique partners will know that she figured out the secrets of life and found love.
So in the meantime, does anyone have suggestions for names for my romantic hero’s new band? And what do you think would be a meaningful way for me to show mother-daughter bonding between my MC and her new foster mother? And… excuse me. I’ve got to go write.