How I’ll Deal With…

…Book reviews.

It’s something I dread and fear. It’s something I’ve decided I will not indulge in. No Goodreads, no Google. No Amazon. Once I become a published author, I vow to be internetless. I’ll find ways to entertain myself. Fred Flintstone did just fine.

I’ll be the first to admit it: I don’t handle it well when someone doesn’t like me. I know it’s not in my control. I know not everyone is going to like me. The trick is to focus on the good. The readers who will love my work.

Except that I’m the type that no matter how many reach out to me on my birthday, I always think about those annoying few friends who forget, or passively say it two days later. (For the record, I’m talking about actual real-life friends–not random people on there I hardly know.)

Or, even worse, when someone unfollows me on Twitter or unfriends me on Facebook because they’re “cleaning house.”

I hardly even use FB anymore. I’m not an over-sharer. I don’t get poltical. I don’t flood the feed. I have AMAZING social media etiquette.

I AM A LOVELY PERSON OKAY.

I remember after a year working at Conan/Fallon and making so many wonderful friends, there were a bunch of interns that simply stopped. Stopped texting, stopped writing fun, inside-jokey Facebook posts with me. Then there were those who deleted me and a bunch of my friends altogether, only remaining friends with interns they felt had good connections, or staffers.

Overall, I took it with a grain of salt. Some people are just users. But there were a few I had spent days training, developing great bonds and getting along extremely well with, so when they shut me and my group of friends out after the semester, it stung.

I know it’s never all that personal. Except sometimes it is. So here I came out of one of the best times of my life with a multitude of friends, and all I could think of was this handful of two-faced people.

And I just know it’ll be the same with book reviews. I could get ten amazing reviews and one negative one will crush me.

Then again, people always say bad reviews are better than no reviews, which I suppose can be true too?

Do you read your own reviews, or do you plan to when you get them???

Why I Wrote a Query for My WIP

I’ve talked about the publishing process quite a few times here on my blog.

I’ve also talked about the dreams I still have about querying.

We all know what querying entails: making sure all the awesomeness of your MS is neatly tied up in 250 words or less. Sounds easy, right? Then you actually try and do it and…ugh.


A few weeks ago I had a really productive phone chat with my agent about a new makeup story for an older crowd (twenties)–so, I’m working on a NAish novel now. Chick lit has always been my passion. Books by Sophie Kinsella and Allie Larkin are among my favorites, because they’re light, fun, and allow you to get lost in a story and leave you with all happy feelings.

So after we threw around some basic ideas, I said I’d work on putting together a summary for the story and send it to her before I completely dove into the new MS. As I sat down to brainstorm concrete ideas I started doing something I swore I’d never do again.

I drafted a query letter.

No, I am not actually querying (Carrie is The Dream Agent) and no, I am not crazy.

Think about it: when we go to a bookstore, the only way to know for sure if a book is interesting is by flipping it over and reading the back summary.

Writing it up in that way seemed the best way to consolidate what had been floating around in my head. It took about two weeks to settle on a plot, characters, and the basic story, and a week to write the query. It got very frustrating at times, and every twenty words or so I’d slam the laptop closed, wondering why I was putting myself through this.

In the end, I am so glad I did it. It was far from a perfect query; I also know the MS is going to change a ton of times as I write it. But still. It gives me a place to start from, and now I have a fairly neat flow of ideas I was able to present to my agent, and for myself to follow as I draft.

I learned a valuable lesson: querying is a lifelong skill and even though I don’t technically have to do it anymore, it’s a skill I can implement throughout my life (unlike algebra, geometry, and scientific notation.)

I plan on doing this for all my MSs from now on. I’m really glad I had this idea and even happier I was able to follow through with it.

What about you?? Do you like writing queries or loathe them?? Do you think it’s a good skill to learn and have throughout your writing life??

More Than A Book Deal

The only thing that can take a writer’s mind off book deals is to put yourself into the running for something else. Something even bigger.

By now you all know my two loves: the band Hanson, and America’s #1 game show, Wheel of Fortune.

Well, I am currently entered into amazing contests for both of these loves of mine.

First up: The Wheel contest.

 

Basically, you have to state why you’d be the best person to give the $350 wedge a home, since they’ve retired $350 from the wheel this season. I stated, in 350 words or less, why I would be the best person to receive the wedge. I also may have thrown in an illustration using Paint program depicting the relaxing days the wedge would have if it came home with me.

Next is the Hanson contest.

Hanson on Your Voicemail

For this one all I had to do was be a valid member of the fan club (duh) and make sure my profile was filled out on the website. They’ve completely revamped their website last week and have decided to grace 15 lucky fans with an outgoing voicemail message on our phones, personally recorded by one of the guys.

I think it goes without saying that I need to win one of these contests. I keep thinking if I wish hard enough and ask nicely enough it will happen.

But I know it doesn’t work like that. I shouldn’t be too disappointed if I don’t win, though. I’ve actually had some pretty good contest luck over the years.

In no particular order here are some contests I have won:

An autographed Jennifer Love Hewitt CD when I was 15 via Sixteen Magazine (I still have it!)

 

This special promotional Friends final season poster. (more on that here)

 

a z100 exclusive, iHeartRadio concert at the elite PC Richards and Son theater in Tribeca to see Hanson! (look how close I was!)

 

and of course the Love YA girly pitch contest that wound up getting me signed!

Have you ever won a really cool contest???

Five Higher Pressured Things Than a 2nd MS

Working on something new while on sub is a strange kind of pressure.

My agent hasn’t read anything new from me yet. Maybe because I’m slower than most? Or maybe because we were working on revisions for AT FIRST BLUSH for a while? Not sure. But it will happen and I’m a little nervous.

Then I remember that there are other, way more stressy jobs I could have. Here are 5 things that are way more nerve-racking than submitting your second MS.

#5. Substitute teaching

I remember always having super nice, talented subs, but unfortunately they spent the whole class visibly fearful of the pranks some obnoxious students would try and pull. I remember thinking how hard it must be to stand up there in front of a room full of kids that have it out for you.

4. Doctoring/nursing.

One of my best friends of 12 years is currently in his 3rd year of residency in neurology, and beginning the application process for a stroke fellowship.

Granted, he doesn’t perform actual brain surgery, but he makes extremely important decisions and deals with all kinds of scary procedures.

All I know is, I couldn’t do it.

3. This:

Olympians spend years and years practicing, and it all boils down to one move–like the above vault–for the entire world to see. The most I’ve ever accomplished was a double cartwheel in gymnastics. Never even got up to backflips. I’ll take write/revise/repeat over the Olympics any day.


2. Going on Dancing with the Stars.

Imagine being so incredibly, outrageously famous in the ’90s/early 2000s…and then your entire career revival is dependent on this:

 

1. Being the poor sap who has to fill these shoes.

Good luck following this act, future Yankees’ shortstop!

Now, clearly writing a second MS and being on sub really doesn’t seem half bad.

What are some things that stress you out when it comes to your writing?? How do you deal??

Meet My Character!

So this week I’m posting a bonus blog for two reasons:

first off, I have some exciting news! I’m officially part of a group blog!!

 

I feel so cool to be part of a clique.

You can check out our posts every Monday and Thursday right here. SO FUN, right!?

Second:

I love tags. I love them so much I used to search Myspace for them back in the day and even if no one actually tagged me, I’d fill out the surveys anyway.

Now that I’ve admitted this sad and embarrassing bit of info on myself, let’s jump right in! I was tagged by the wonderful Stephanie Faris  to do the Meet My Character Blog Hop.

I’ve been addicted to Stephanie’s blog for a few months now. She writes fantastic MG, the kind I wish existed when I was little. You can check out 30 Days of No Gossip, and pre-order 25 Roses here! (how cute are these covers?)

 

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Lacey Robbins is fictional.

2. When and where is the story set?

The bulk of the story takes place at a teen fashion magazine in New York City, with a few scenes in her hometown on Long Island.

3. What should we know about him/her?

Lacey and her best friend, Cynth, both nab epic internships for the summer. Cynth is at a late night talk show, and Lacey will be working at On Trend magazine. Lacey has never been a normal teen. She’s a workaholic and is always looking for the next career high (a million subscribers is all she wants–until she actually hits that number and finds the next big thing to go after.) There’s always going to be another huge goal when you’re trying to be a famous YouTuber. Interestingly enough, a cute, super famous rock star is the one to teach her that normalcy is kind of nice, too. 

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

She gets so caught up with wanting YouTube fame that she’ll do anything her boss at On Trend asks. At first, the setting allows her to produce better videos, but then all she’s doing is promoting junk products for the magazine, and, as a result, losing subscribers. Worst of all, she’s missing out on just being a regular teen.

5. What is the personal goal of the character?

To be a top, go-to beauty guru on YouTube.

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

the title is AT FIRST BLUSH. Not much anywhere else to read about it, but if you’re interested in the kinds of YouTube channels I modeled Lacey’s after, you can check this one out here! It’s INSANE how famous YouTubers get nowadays. This girl, Bethany Mota, is now on Dancing with Stars and has her own clothing line and everything. I think she has over 7 MILLION subscribers.



7. When can we expect the book to be published?
Ah, the million dollar question. lol. AT FIRST BLUSH is on sub! 🙂

Now tag two people!

I tag the awesome and talented Leandra Wallace , and my agent sis, the equally awesome and talented Kim Graff . (girls, don’t worry, you don’t have to do it!) I was going to tag the also awesome and talented Medeia Sharif but can’t remember if you already did this one!