Category: agents

Blogging is rough work (or I think it would be if I did it more often)

agents, conventions, genre fiction, Habeas Corpse, idols, KillerCon, marketing, Mistresses of the Macabre, publishing, release, World Horror September 30, 2013

Hey there intrepid readers!

Seriously? Have I been so remiss about posting that I haven’t actually written a blog entry since February??

*puts self in blogger time-out*

I’m equally bad about tweeting. Twitter is overwhelming to me, so I generally don’t use it. I do like Facebook, so if you like my blog, come like my FB author page, too (just click the link there). I am a little better about posting to my FB page than I am here.

So anyway… things have been busy since I last posted. Lots of writing, plenty of editing, a motorcycle accident that left me with a broken elbow and some awesome bruises, a couple of conferences, a retreat, the loss of a dear friend. I’ll spare you an epic post and just write about one thing at a time. You can come back for more later.

In June I went to New Orleans for World Horror. This was my third HWA convention, and I always have a blast. I did not, however, enjoy New Orleans. The whole trip started off wrong when my flight down was canceled (this has never happened to me… like, a complete cancellation) due to poor crew scheduling. How does that happen? Anyway, the flight was canceled, which meant two whole different flights, and I got in almost six hours later than I was supposed to. I think I got to the hotel around 1AM, and I was feeling pretty pissy because I’d actually gotten up at 3AM to make the flight that was canceled before the airline (*cough* United) even contacted us. It was hot (like REALLY hot… New Orleans in June…) and the smell in the French Quarter was… was… Let’s just say every time I left the Hotel Monteleone I said to anyone standing within earshot “WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT SMELL??” My best guess is it had something to do with the fact that the French Quarter is below sea level, so nothing drains, there’s trash out 24/7, human *substances* in the street and it’s all mingling and baking that incredible heat. I have what might be called an acute sense of smell, perhaps to make up for my terrible hearing, and it was torment.

That said, the Hotel Monteleone was gorgeous. The beignets were oh so yum. The company was second to none. I had the opportunity to speak with some of my writing heroes and they knocked my socks off. The panels were great, particularly the women in horror panel. I spoke with an agent who’s interested in seeing some of my work, and I’m hoping to have good news on that front in a few months. I was asked to sign a few copies of Mistresses of the Macabre at the mass book signing, which was an awful lot of fun, and I finally got to meet Lori Michelle, my editor for Mistresses. Here are some pictures from World Horror Con 2013:

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Panel on writing dialogue with some of my peeps.

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Panel on working with an editor with my own fab editor, RJ Cavender.

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And a panel on women in the horror genre with Lucy Snyder.

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The Walgreens in New Orleans carries alligator heads.

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Sign on Bourbon Street.

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Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop and Bar. Really just a bar. It was built between 1722 and 1732 and is believed to be the oldest building in the US used as a bar. No electric lights. Questionable odor and the guy in the banana hammock out front really added pizzazz.

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Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo.

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The Hotel Monteleone has no 13th floor. Where is it?!?!

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Random view of Bourbon Street.

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Cafe Beignet, just a block away from the Hotel Monteleone.

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My husband and mentor/brother-from-another-mother waiting for beignets and coffee.

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BEIGNETS!! I tried my first one and proclaimed, “It’s a funnel cake!!” (I was raised in Pennsylvania Dutch country). Scott promptly gave me the smackdown and said,”NO! It’s a BEIGNET. If you call it a funnel cake, it’s a SNACK. If you call it a beignet, it’s BREAKFAST!”

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I tried to keep my nose buried in a cup of coffee most of the time so I didn’t have to smell the air.

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My new friend.

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How can a writer NOT like a place called THE BACK SPACE BAR?

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Here we were waiting to take a vampire tour, which I was convinced would be full of delicious cheesiness and perhaps people jumping out and yelling boo, but ended being the highlight of the trip.

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See why I thought the vampire tour would be cheese-a-licious? Nope, he was very knowledgeable about NOLA history and gave a fantastic tour.

World Horror Con is always super awesome, and besides the odor of New Orleans, this year didn’t disappoint.

I’ll write a post on the SHU In Your Write Mind later and also one about KillerCon, which I’m just recovering from.

I do have some excellent news on the publication front… we have a release date for Habeas Corpse! On November 2, 2013, the world will meet Theo. Write it on your calendar and buy a copy! Buy three! Buy one for your mom! I’m really excited, and even more so since I met Marc Ciccarone and Joe Spagnola of Blood Bound Books at KillerCon. They’ve been great to work with and are genuinely fun guys. I’m glad to be working with them.

So NOVEMBER 2!!

Till next time!

Twitching

agents, marketing, writing and technology, writing life March 19, 2012

No, not the muscular kind, although my left eyelid has been giving me fits lately. No, I’m talking about a Twitter-pitch.

Tweet, tweet.

The term “twitch” has been coined (as far as I can tell) by Kim Lionetti of BookEnds literary agency. Recently she held a “twitch” contest in which the winner was awarded a critique of the first three chapters and synopsis of their manuscript. Anyone interested pitched their novel to her in Twitter’s less-than-140 character limit.

Could you do it? Could you find the right few words to express the most basic element in your novel? Not only do you have to condense your novel, you have to find the “hook,” which means you really have to examine what makes your novel unique.

I used an ultra-short pitch for my thesis novel, Merry Meet: If you want to commit murder, don’t frame a witch. I was surprised and thrilled a few days later when Ms. Lionetti tweeted back that I’d won the critique. I’m very excited to get the professional feedback on my thesis.

My “twitch” is even shorter than what we would consider a classic elevator pitch. You can bet on getting 30 seconds in an elevator, during which time you could give a fairly good pitch. I’ve had agent appointments at conventions or seminars anywhere from three minutes to twelve (and it was the twelve minute meeting that made me sweat the most). Marketing is more challenging than ever, so we have to adapt to a variety of situations. Be ready for anything.

Take another look at your own marketing tools and be sure they fit a variety of situations… even if the situation calls for less than 140 characters. If writing a good synopsis is hard (and it’s one part of what we do that I’d rather skip), writing a good short pitch is harder. Boil that novel down to one catchy sentence. Ask a reader to help, because sometimes you get so invested in the details, it’s hard to leave them out.

There’s a valuable lesson here. The publishing world has become smaller in the current social media environment. Everything has to adapt, including pitching.

Follow Ms. Lionetti on Twitter @BookEndsKim and check out BookEnds, LLC.

Agents and Editors and Angst

agents, angst, editors, SHU WPF, writing life February 9, 2011

I was mildly surprised and more than mildly delighted when I received an email from a reader asking how I handle nerves when I’m around editors or agents. When did I become an expert?

But really, I have had a small bit of experience in interacting with agents and editors and highly successful authors. Last June I sat down with David Morrell and had a conversation about ebooks. David Morrell wrote Rambo. He’s Rambo’s dad. But more important than who his character is? He’s an incredibly insightful, intelligent person and if I hadn’t looked past my jitteriness and just talked to him, I wouldn’t know that.

Same with editors and agents. My personal rules for engaging with an editor or agent:

1. Be on time. I hate it when people are late, like their time is worth than mine, so I don’t like to do it to others.
2. Be prepared. Have a pitch, know your work, bring a business card at least, even if you don’t expect to hand it out. Better to be prepared (and think positive!).
3. Say hello and ask questions. This also might fall into the “treat them like humans” category. Everyone likes to be put at ease. I asked questions of an agent once (out of nerves mostly), and learned that he coaches soccer at my sons’ rival school. That might not be a good thing for me, but it was fun to laugh with the agent.
4. Be friendly and polite, but above all, be yourself and professional. If this person chooses to represent your work you don’t want them to figure out you’ve misrepresented yourself. Hopefully you’ll have a long relationship with this person. Start it off on the right foot.
5.  Always, always say thank you and send a thank you note or email.

I had the privilege to meet Janet Reid (the Query Shark) last June as well, and she is as funny in person as you suspect.

Best wishes!