Shelfie!

Been seeing these great Shelfies on Twitter and around the blogosphere. This is my collection 🙂

Here’s my room:

I keep The Selection series up all the time since they’re so pretty and it’s my favorite series. And the little Horton Hears a Who pocket book came with a perfume gift set years ago. The rest I swap out according to what’s in my TBR pile. When I’ve finished, the book usually winds up in the den.

 

these are the bookshelves in the den! I love them–they hold a ton and look really nice. (btw: like the ghetto fireplace barricade? That’s there because a certain white kitten has been traipsing in there and getting quite dirty (pics on my twitter of the fireplace exploration aftermath.)

 

^^^ Right side close up

 

^^^ Left side close up. Bonus points if you spot Penny! Hint–she seems to like the Harry Potter series.

Have you done a Shelfie yet???

Is It Just Me…?

I feel like there’s an epidemic that is reaching new levels of you-can’t-be-serious.

Celebrities writing books.


It doesn’t bother me one bit if the celebs genuinely care about the work they’re putting out, attend conferences and events, do their best to learn the craft, and have passion when they promote (and there are many!) And I’m not talking about a star penning a memoir, since their platform is great and their story is interesting to a large audience.

I’m talking about when “celebrities” “write” fiction.

Just because they can.

I recently heard a celebrity (radio talk show host turned TV talk show host) talking about the romance novel she has coming out, and when asked what made her want to write a book she was all “Oh, I don’t even know. It’s just always been on my bucket list so I figured now’s the time to go for it. It was fun!”

I do try not to dwell since it doesn’t do me any good. But take a day like today, for instance. A day I’m feeling frustrated/down about my own progress and I hear a Real Housewife of Silicon Valley or whatever will be doing a signing so huge at Barnes & Noble that wristbands will have to be distributed.

 

Or finding out that a certain Jersey Shore gal who’s known for puking on boardwalks releases her YA novel Gorilla Beach, and gets to sign at the Huntington Book Revue…

 

Or learning that a teenager from the Disney channel is coming out with a YA series…

Or reading on Publishers Weekly that a YouTube star/beauty blogger wrote a YA novel THAT SOUNDS ALMOST EXACTLY LIKE THE YA MAKEUP BOOK I WROTE ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO nabs a big 5 deal…

I know it’s nothing personal, and it does no good to be envious of a situation that’s been a problem in all forms of art since the dawn of time. But breaking into the entertainment industry (TV/movies/YouTube, music, modeling, publishing, fashion design/fragrance etc etc) is grueling. And the reasons we’re rejected are so subjective.

And then celebs and reality personalities get book deals. Or clothing lines. Or perfumes. Or probiotic yogurt. Or ALL OF THESE THINGS.

When you really think about it, it’s funny. Then it’s just depressing.

Sometimes I fantasize about a world where established authors decide they want to break into acting just to “add it to their bucket list” and, say, Harlan Coben, beats out Channing Tatum in the next Hollywood blockbuster. Or Sue Grafton tries her hand in the next Jennifer Aniston rom-com.

I understand publishing is a business, and businesses are about pulling in money. And of course big names sell. But I just wish celebrities had to experience what we did: querying, sub, waiting, hoping.

Thankfully, there are so many wonderful and supportive writers, agents, editors, etc that make so many debut authors’ dreams come true and work hard to make sure us regular folk get a shot too.

what are your thoughts?? Does a famous name draw you to the book any faster? Or do you wish it wasn’t so easy for these stars to break into a biz that puts up so many walls for us nobodies???

My Birthday!! and a Penny Belle

So I had a whole blog planned, but Wednesday was my birthday and admittedly I just never got around to writing it! I promise to have it up next week!

I’ve been blogging well over a year now and I seriously LOVE it–so I don’t like skipping blog posts, but I def needed a week to relax, eat junk food, play with Penny, and not write very much.

I had a GREAT birthday. I ate a lot and got great presents from my family.

This was my first birthday since I was 10 that I didn’t have my Pudding with me, which was weird, but having Penny helps me so much. I think she likes celebrating birthdays. She definitely knows it’s a more festive day than any other.

Since I don’t have anything writing related to talk about this week, I’m going to post some pictures of Penny because, let’s face it, I am obsessed with taking pictures of her.

She’ll be 16 weeks on Monday 🙂

^^^ can you find the Penny amidst the toys??
Penny Belle is SO HYPER that most of the time when I try and take a pic of her it looks like this:

or this

^^^ that’s my leg she’s balancing on

Sometimes she hides underneath the pool table, like this:

But sometimes she’s calm (I swear it’s happened once or twice!) and the pics come out clear and show off how pretty she is!

^^^ enjoying coffee with me.

^^^ notice her heart shaped nose??

^^^ contemplating whether or not she wanted to nap after being awake and wreaking havoc for thirteen hours straight (the answer, unfortunately, was no.)

^^^ I call this “The Penny Belle Face” since it’s such a Penny expression.

^^^ so tiny!

^^^ being pretty!

see you next week!! xoxo

What Literary Agents Really Do

 

When you’re querying, being agented is all you think about. It becomes an obsession. “When I’m agented, all will be right with the world.”

I’d be lying if I said being agented didn’t make me feel a million times more confident about my writing abilities, but the truth is, it’s only the first step in this crazy business.

It’s interesting and pretty funny to look back on everything I thought agents did before I signed with Carrie.

Thankfully, I can assure you, agents are not at all like Estelle Leonard from Friends.

 

Here are just a few things that I now know they do (and do really well.)

1. Agents keep you super positive and talk you off ledges.

I like to think I’m pretty relaxed when it comes to the craziness of the pub industry. That being said, after a while, rejection does get to me a little. And this is where your agent takes the negatives and turns them into positives. When my first round of sub ended in all nos, Carrie presented the rejections in such a positive way that I remember telling my family something like “heard back from editors–all nos–but it’s awesome and I’m excited!”

 

2. They deal with pesky publishing issues for you.

I hate conflict and confrontation. I avoid it at all costs. I’d rather overpay than tell someone they messed up my bill. When waiters screw up my order I’ll probably eat it just to avoid sending it back. It might be wimpy, but it’s the truth.

Agents act as liaisons between you and the publishing people. So if there’s an issue you need backup on, they’re there! Not to mention the best thing of all: they negotiate your contract. This is a good thing, because I know nothing about contracts and without an agent I’d probably sell my book to a publisher for a bag of M&Ms and a high five.

3. They sell your book (duh) but that’s not all: Agents are matchmakers!

Finding an editor is a lot like matchmaking. Forget simply selling the MS–it has to be a good overall fit. If you ask a friend to set you up with the perfect guy/girl, you’d expect that your friend would put some serious effort into thinking through the available options, right? Sub is very similar!

4. They’re people, not robots. And, if you’re lucky, pretty awesome people.

It still sometimes seems surreal that I’m done querying and found my perfect agent match, so right after I signed with Carrie I went through a period of insecurity that I’d be dropped over something silly like a typo, or she’d rethink her decision to sign me in the first place.

That fear took about a month to go away completely. Now I know that it’s a ridiculous fear. In fact, Sarah Dessen recently tweeted that she wrote 13 MSs that her agent didn’t like throughout the course of their career working together! It happens, and as long as you can talk things out and compromise, your agent won’t drop you. Agents are probably in it for the long haul, and besides liking your writing, they probably like you as a person, too!

5.) Some agents are also editorial agents.

(fyi: this is not my agent. This is my kitten, Penny, who has a slight obsession with sitting on laptops, bathing on laptops, and playing on laptops. She’s also a huge fan of highlighting large chunks of my MS and then pressing the “delete” key.)

Not all agents do extensive edits, but editorial agents work with you until the MS is in amazing shape. But to get it there they work on it a lot. They work on it a ton. They work on it so much they may even recall lines of dialogue better than you. There are times, after a revision, I want to include an apology in my email attachment. “Hey! Here’s the latest revision! p.s. IMSOSORRY.”

So there you have it! My two cents on what I now know about the agent world to date. I’m fairly certain this list is just the tip of the iceberg, too!

Did you have any misconceptions about the publishing industry before you began your writing journey??