Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Pitch Has Been Pitched!

What a weekend that was (I know it's already Thursday and I'm just now blogging about it, but I've been recovering and catching up on sleep)! I've almost got my voice back too. Nearly a week playing hostess to my critique partners proved to be more than my little vocal chords could handle, and I went hoarse pretty quickly. Hopefully the agent I pitched to didn't think I was trying to sound seductive or anything. I promise I wasn't. o_O

That's right! I pitched to an agent! A real, live rockstar of a literary agent! With the help of my critique partners, I memorized a two sentence pitch but she started asking questions halfway through the first sentence so a lot of good that did me haha. I'd been a bundle of nerves all day, but once I sat down with her, I instantly relaxed. She was so nice and enthusiastic about everything I had to say, I couldn't help feeling like I was chatting with someone I already knew. Our ten minutes together flew by, but I had a minute at the end to ask a couple quick questions. On the whole, I learned a great deal at the conference, and I'll take this opportunity to encourage you to attend a conference if you haven't been to one before. Break out of your comfort zone and meet with an agent in person. If I can do it, anyone can. Seriously. It's worth the nerves going into it.

I know you're wondering, but no, I'm not going to reveal who the agent was. I make a point not to get into specifics on social networking sites at this stage of the agent hunt. And I know what else you're wondering. This agent had everyone who pitched to her send a query and sample pages with the conference as the subject line. Less than two days later she requested the full! EEEEEP!

Are you querying right now? How's it going?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Anastasia Forever Trailer Release! Check it OUT!

I am so excited to be a part of the exclusive ANASTASIA FOREVER BLOG TOUR!  Only a lucky few have the chance to debut this trailer, and I’m beyond thrilled to see where Anne’s dreams lead her in the third and final installment of the DREAMING ANASTASIA Series.  Will she unlock the secrets of the past before they destroy her future?

Here’s the scoop on the DREAMING ANASTASIA Series!

There is so much to love about this series as Joy brilliantly blends Russian history, romance, magic and mythology into an enticing adventure.

In DREAMING ANASTASIA, Anne Michaelson begins to have unusual dreams and discovers that she is the only one who can save the daughter of the last tsar of Russia, Anastasia Romanov.  Believed to be dead by the world, Anastasia has been kept captive all these years by the Russian witch Baba Yaga, and only Ethan, a handsome and mysterious 18-year-old, can help Anne free Anastasia. 

Anne once again leaves behind her ordinary life in HAUNTED to join forces with the mysterious and gorgeous Ethan as the journey with the Romanov continues.  This time she is haunted by classic figures from Russian mythology, a rusalka, , a Russian folklore mermaid with a malevolent streak –  and a particular interest in Anne,  who tells her that Anastasia is still alive.  As she and Ethan team up, Anne’s search for the rusalka’s identity reveals deep and startling secrets - including the true source of Anne’s powers.

Now in ANASTASIA FOREVER, having survived Baba Yaga and the Rusalka, Anne finds herself bound by the witch to undertake a journey into past, present, and future that will determine her destiny - and that of everyone she loves.

Catch a preview of the danger, romance, and magic await Anne in this exciting glimpse ahead of ANASTASIA FOREVER by taking a look at a special sneak peak with the first three chapters here!

Are you ready to see the trailer?! Are you? Huuuuuuuh??? Check it out HERE!

ANASTASIA FOREVER comes out this August, be sure to look out for all things Anastasia at Joy’s website 

Monday, June 18, 2012

This is THE WEEK!

This week, I'll be playing hostess to two of my critique girls, Kristi Chestnutt and KM from One Page at a Time! We're going to a conference together this weekend and I'm confident we're going to have a GREAT week of writing, sightseeing, shopping and cupcake eating. We're also meeting up with Kim Franklin for a day of shopping at the largest outlet mall in Texas! It will be SO great to finally meet all these girls face to face for the first time, ALL AT ONCE!

Now about this conference... I'm still working on my live pitch, and wow it's lame. I can already tell what's going to end up happening. I'll give up on writing a word for word pitch because everything I write sounds stupid, so I'll bullet point everything, get in there and start rambling, mixing them all up so my pitch makes no sense whatsoever. She'll smile politely and nod with a bubble cloud over her head that says, "Not another one...." Then I will run to the bathroom and throw up.

But at least I'll have my girls with me! :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Five: The Query Resource Edition

I'm just going to be honest here (like I'd lie to you anyway). When you're in the midst of querying, you can't help but think about it. All. The. Time. Even though you know worrying about it and refreshing your email account won't make those responses come any faster. There's a lot of research involved in making that list of agents to query. You have to make sure you choose ones that are actually looking for works in your genre, if they're open to submissions, if they prefer direct emails, sample pages, the synopsis, etc. It really can make your head spin.

If you've queried before or are querying now, you're probably using these resources already. But for those of you that have yet to partake in the joy, these could be helpful tips for you.

1. Read the acknowledgments page in your favorite books in your genre. Authors almost always thank their agent. I've added quite a few to my list this way. The way I see it... if I've heard of the book and have even read the book/it's sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, their agent did something right.

2. Query Tracker - this FREE database is a gold mine. They let you build your list, keep track of it, mark when you queried who, when and what the response was, etc. You can also search by author to see who reps/has repped them. Become "pen pals" with your friends that are also on there, and you can see each other's lists of agents they've queried. You never know who they found that you haven't, and vice versa.

3. Literary Rambles - Casey and Natalie run quite the blog here. It's FULL of interviews and a series called Agent Spotlight that pretty much tells you what you need to know about each lit agent they spotlight, complete with links to interviews and other goodies. This is my go-to info site next to agency sites, and if the agent I'm researching isn't on there...

4. There's always Google. Just a search of the agent's name turns up interviews, client announcements, sales, etc.

5. Twitter. I know, I know. But if you haven't caved yet, my bet is that you will. Check out the agent's tweets and see if you like their vibe. I like to get a handle on their personality and see how/if they interact with authors, clients, other agents, etc. Are they helping to promote their clients/other people's clients? Do they feel like someone you could work with?

There are lots of tools out there at our fingertips. We just have to put in the work and use them! Good luck to everyone querying or gearing up to start!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Verbal Pitch to Agents

When I signed up for the conference not this weekend but NEXT weekend, I really thought I had all the time in the world. Months and months and months. I was nervous about the idea of a verbal pitch, but figured that was mostly because I hadn't even written my query letter yet. Well now I have. And the conference is in less than two weeks... (how did that happen?!) and one minute I'm pumped, the next minute I'm filled with regret for signing up. Sure agents are just people. But they're important people. The gatekeepers. So I'm still terrified.

After I catch up on the more pressing photo session edits, I'm going to really sit down and research the agent I'm pitching to, read a book in my genre by one of her clients, and figure out what exactly happens in this ten minute time slot. I'm hoping it will make me go into it more confident, but I'm horrible at job interviews (I literally get so nervous I say things that aren't true... not with the intention of lying, I just talk and talk until what I'm saying is no longer accurate. It's sad, really), so hopefully it will feel nothing like that.

Have you done a verbal pitch to an agent? Are you planning to soon? Advice?

And I must give big thanks to Deana Barnhart for sharing some of her resources to help me be better prepared! *UPDATE - GO TO DEANA'S BLOG TO SEE HER BIG NEWS!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What I've Read Lately

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Allow me to gush for a second. I LOVED THIS BOOK. KM has been trying to get me to read this for AGES, I tell you, AGES. But it's SO THICK I kept putting it off. So glad I didn't wait any longer. It's different, it's funny, it's creepy, it pairs a cheerleader with a goth! And I couldn't read it fast enough. Varen completely won me over. Need. Book. Two. Now.

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

I read this while I was on vacation, and it was perfect because it's a story about a girl traveling through Central America. I was just in Florida (and mostly on the beach), but it felt fitting to enjoy this story somewhere other than my couch. Great descriptions that make you feel like you're there, unique characters and MC development. Loved!

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

This was a super fast and fun read. If you're intrigued but serious zombie books like The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan are too much for you (it was the only book to ever give me nightmares, even though I devoured the series), this hilarious book is for you.

Candor by Pam Bachorz

I read this book intending to pay attention to the male POV for WIP research, but the story was SO interesting, often I forgot to do that. I suppose it's considered a dystopian, but it didn't feel much like one to me. It's set in modern times, in a community that uses subliminal messages to control formerly rebellious kids and teens. And what an ending. I still don't really know how to react to that...

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

I was SO excited to meet Shannon Hale at TLA in April. I adored Austenland, so getting my copy signed and picking up the newest one was a treat. I was a little worried that MiA wouldn't live up to my hopes, or that it would feel like a different version of Austenland, but they really are completely different. This one had so much excitement, a mystery, murder!, AND romance that you and the MC don't know if it's real or not. I hope she continues this "series." She's definitely set it up to keep going.

What have YOU read lately that you recommend?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Resurrecting the Old WIP

I'd heard that when you're querying one project you should start working on another. Now I understand why. You need a distraction. Otherwise you'll be hitting refresh on your email every 5 seconds. That email ain't comin' for a long time because those agents are busy (and this week they're at BEA), many of them a month or two behind on their query inbox. This is a s...l...o...w process with a lot of turbulence, that's for SURE. I'd almost queried once upon a time (2009/2010) but I'm very very very happy I refrained because that book was so not query-ready, and deep down, I knew that. But I've gotta say, I'm glad to finally be in the query waters with this book.

I pulled out the WIP I'd put on the back burner last year when I started the one I'm querying now. I'd already written 20k words on it, and reading back through, I find that I still really do like the story and I'm excited to be working on it again. Emphasis on work. I'm a much stronger writer now than I was when I started drafting this WIP, and it's also in past tense so as I'm going through line by line to make it sound more like me, I've got tense to deal with. It's actually been a fun exercise this past week, watching something old become new and prettier. Breathing new life and a stronger voice into my characters, especially the male POV now that I'm learning how to better portray him.

 So what do you work on when you're querying? Something new? Something old? How do you distract yourself from email refresh madness?


Drum roll please!!

The winner of the Fated ARC is


The winner of the Love and Other Perishable Items ARC is

Read, Write, Read!

Congrats!!! I'll be contacting you soon to get addresses. 

*throws confetti*