Well… I have not one, not two, but THREE projects for November. And, I still probably won’t make the 50k goal.
That’s not me being a defeatist. I’m not quitting before I start. In fact, despite the odds, I’m still going to try. And, you should too!
November is always a busy month. It’s my son’s & I’s birthdays, and the birthday of lots of other loved ones. On top of that, I’m launching Ocean Heart. There’s a lot going on. Plus, someone always gets ill in November – I’m hoping the social distancing is going to help avoid that this year.
Realistically, November is not the best month for me to write. However, the NaNo challenge encourages me to be more focussed and accountable. Because of this, I write more because I took part. And, I love the community spirit, writing with us.
Project 1 – Sky Heart
This is the main project. Sky Heart is book 2 in The Soul Heart Series. Getting this published will be my 2021 big goal. So, I need to get it written.
Kiely got dumped for Christmas. Heartbroken she makes rash decisions to get over her ex-boyfriend, starting with a blindfold and a mystery kisser.
Kiely’s new wild lifestyle places her in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now she must stay alive, as she’s drawn into an ancient shifter war with werewolves and reapers.
Kiely’s battle to overcome her ex is about to take her to new heights.
Project 2 – Prequel
This will be a short novella. I may give it away as a readers magnet for newsletter signups. It’ll be a Historical Fantasy, but not set a long time ago. It’ll be in the 90s.
Project 3 – Luna
My werewolf villain wants me to tell her story. I’m not sure if it will be written just for me so I know her better or to share her with the world.
Luna’s story is also to be a Historical Fantasy. This will be going back to medieval times. It’s anticipated to be a novella.
What about you?
Are you doing NaNo this year? And, what do you think of my projects?
I usually focus on just one but I’m really feeling all three of these right now and just want my creativity to flow.
I’m planning on attending a few live write ins with World Indie Warriors on Instagram.
Querying literary agents and publishers requires thick skin and believing your novel is good enough. But, for a long time, I believed self publishing was even more scary.
I’m not querying anymore, I am bravely going indie, and super excited about it. But over the years I tried various methods of querying and I want to share these with you because you might find it useful…
Query Letter (or email/form)
This is the most well known method. Traditionally, you’d identify identify a Literary Agent or Publisher you feel will be interested in your novel and send them a letter with your manuscript. Today, many allow you to submit online using a form or by email. It’s important to follow their submission guidelines which are often available on their website.
Many publishers don’t accept “unsolicited” manuscripts. This means you need a Literary Agent. Literary Agents used to insist on exclusive queries meaning you send to one agency at a time. Thankfully this is not the norm anymore as it made the process more time consuming.
You can find details about publishers and agencies by searching online or buy The Artists & Writers Yearbook. It’s a directory of contacts and full of useful article’s- it’s updated annually.
It can be hard work to find who to query, manage the various submission requirements and keep track. As a result various companies have set up services to support you in this.
When WeBook was about, I loved their query service. They identified who was interested in my manuscript type, adapted my attachments for each agent, and kept track of my emails. It worked and I did get a few requests.
Sadly, WeBook is no more but other companies offer a similar service, like Tracker Query. There was Agent Query Connect but the page won’t load – maybe they’ve gone.
Here’s a video review of Agent Hunter from 2 years ago. I think they rebranded as Agent Match by Jerchio Writers.
Another thing my beloved WeBook did was a competition where readers voted on the first page of a book. Then the first chapter. Then the first three chapters. If you made it to the finals it would be read by agents & publishers. Readers got virtual badges if they were good at spotting a winner!
Wattpad has the Wattys. This is an annual competition for users of their platform. The story must have been posted on the site during a set period of time. If you win, you get offered a publishing contract.
This is similar to the social media platforms above except it is owned by a publisher. You must post the whole complete final novel, exclusive to them for 6 months.
Readers vote on their favourites and can offer feedback. The publisher chooses their favourites from the site to offer publishing. I recently blogger about my experience which you can read here.
It sounds like Sweek offer a similar idea but with more social engagement. But, I’ve never tried Sweek – let me know if you have.
This is a supportive platform full of advice and information, mainly for people interested in children’s fiction through to YA fiction.
They have exclusive opportunities for paid members but also have events for all. For the public they host an annual book festival (with opportunities to pitch & meet agents) and competitions.
Check out publishers that publish books like yours. Although they probably don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, they may run a competition.
I entered Chicken House Publisher’s children’s fiction competition. Although I didn’t win, it was another option.
Bath Novel Awards
Look out for competitions like The Bath Novel Awards. This competition is judged by Literary Agents and readers. The winners gets a lump sum and offered representation.
Having this kind of accolade as you publish is going to be great for marketing your book. That’s why winning any competition is valuable to an author.
If you can find a mentor, they can support you in getting published. There are plenty of competitions to find a mentor. This is another service offered by Write Mentor
The Arts Council England have different programs around the country to support writers. For example, in Norwich the National Writing Centre has mentors, and you can enter their Escalator competition to win one.
Book Festival Pitch Events
Look out of opportunities to pitch direct to an agent. Think of it like speed dating. You only have a few minutes to sell your book face-to-face. It helps to go prepared.
I took part in one at YALC and both agents I pitches to requested my manuscript.
Twitter Pitch Events
PitMad is probably the biggest query Twitter event but there are many more and some are genre sprcific.
You need to pitch your novel in a Tweet. Interested agents & publishers will like the tweet as a request. You follow their submission guidelines if you are interested back. Remember, you don’t have to send it if you’re not interested.
If you’re on Twitter search for the hashtag #MSWL (Manuscript Wishlist) plus other keywords. For example, I searched for #MSWL #Mermaid to discover who wanted a mermaid story.
Even then, my MS wasn’t suitable for all. Some wanted a LGBTQIA+ mermaid story which Ocean Heart was not. Another wanted a mermaid story that represented BAME or other minority groups. Another was looking for a fantasy erotic novel.
It’s not worth wasting your time sending your MS to someone if they are looking for something specific and your MS doesn’t match.
I kept most of my queries to the UK as I liked the idea that I could meet my agent/publisher in person. However, technology is changing all the time and making it accessible to meet people all over the world from your armchair.
During a Write Mentor festival, I got a one-on-one with a Literary Agent miles away. Whilst editing Ocean Heart, I had a meeting with my editor who was in another country.
Don’t restrict yourself by location.
I hope these 12 ideas help you in expanding your query options.
If you’re interested in indie publishing, stay tuned. I got sick of waiting for someone to say yes, so I gave myself permission to publish. I’ll be sharing my journey to help others interested in self publishing.
This is for bookstagrammers! Check out the post for full details but all you have to do is take a photo of an indie book or collection of indie books, use the hashtag #AllIndieBooks and we’ll feature our favourite with credit to your instagram account.
If the photo is of a book in the brochure we may also include you on the page it is featured.
What are you waiting for?
If you haven’t checked out WIW yet, go do it now! Check out the brochure and get involved.
The new brochure will launch at the end of September.
Are you doing NaNo? NaNoWriMo in November is the big annual challenge to write 50k words in just 30 days.
I’ve done it a few times before but never won but that doesn’t deter me. My feeling is that as long as I take part, I am still making progress towards my goal. If you want to be buddies on NaNo, I am Redfae (add me and when I log on, I’ll add you back).
I’ve spent most of September and October plotting Diamond in the Sky ready for NaNoWriMo. I’ve been plotting using Save the Cat. I still have some work to do to develop my B Story characters but I think I am ready enough for 1 November.
Diamond in the Sky is a spin off novel from Jewel of the Sea, following Kya’s life spiral out of control after getting dumped.
Writing can be a rather solitary experience but together with some other members of World Indie Warriors, we shall be hosting live write-ins.
I shall be doing lives every Monday in November at 9pm on Instagram. These will be a chance to chat about how our writing projects are going and get motivated for the week ahead. Even if you aren’t doing NaNo, feel free to join in the chats and cheer everyone on.
On Monday, 21 October, I did my first ever Instagram live with Jodie Groom. I was really nervous so she offered to join me online as a test run to figure things out before November and support me.
If Monday’s aren’t for you then you’ll be hyped to hear there will be other write-ins during the week. Check out the schedule to discover other days and times to join WIW online. Some members will be doing adhoc write-ins.
I’m a natural redhead. It’s the first thing people notice about me. I married my first love in Mauritius, we have a son, a daughter and two cats. I’ve just returned to work from maternity leave but I still find time to write and drink copious amounts of tea.
I have wanted to be an author since before I can remember and been chasing the dream ever since. My favourite genre is YA Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. I love making my characters everyday problems a little more complicated with a touch of magic and fantasy. I’ve also written a picture book and my short romance story was published in an anthology.
This year I have discovered the #writingcommunity on Instagram and loving it! I blog about my writing journey and share tips along the way to help my fellow writers. I also post book reviews.
My novel is Jewel of the Sea
#YA #PR #ContemporaryFantasy
TEEN WOLF but mermaids in the UK.
Love struck, misfit, redhead discovers she’s a mermaid. With her emotions connected to her dormant weather manipulation powers, falling in love is deadly dangerous!
Jewel of the Sea was inspired by Rachel Vincent’s werecat shifters series. I found myself creating my own world of shifters but aimed at a younger audience and put my own spin on things.
It would appeal to fans of The Immortal Instruments, Vampire Academy and Wolves of Mercy Falls.
Jewel of the Sea is based in my hometown, Felixstowe, which has enabled me to recreate the coastal town in a vivid and realistic light. My husband was my first love and best friend, so a lot of the romance in this story was inspired by my personal life. Jewel of the Sea addresses many issues teenagers experience at school but the fantasy elements enable them to escape into a magical world.
The following list is a sample of what to look forward to in Jewel of the Sea:
An epic battle
friends to lovers
enemies to lovers
coming of age
What I’m hoping for
I’ve lost count of the amount of edits and years spent working on Jewel of the Sea. I’m constantly seeking feedback from others but what I need is a professional pair of eyes. If I had the money, I would hire an editor! I truly believe they are worth their weigh of gold and imagine you can learn a lot from them about your writing. Please tell me how I can make my novel better?
This year, I realised I’ve been neglecting my query/pitch. I feel so stupid for not twigging sooner how important it is. I have been working hard on fixing it but have no idea what else I need to do. Please help me make my first impression irresistible?
I am sure there is so much more I need to know that I haven’t thought of because I don’t even have an inkling. What am I missing?
And, I hope this doesn’t sound sappy but after all our hard work together I would love to become lifelong friends.
If you have been following my blog, you are probably aware that my novel is posted on Wattpad so when I finished editing, it was very easy to submit my novel into their annual competition.
While it is sitting on Wattpad being judged by the judges, I decided to send my novel to a select group of beta readers to get feedback. 07I will take their feedback into consideration and make any necessary amendments and then I will decide whether to query agents, self publish or enter other competitions.
I am also part of World Indie Warriors which is a collaborative group that are supporting authors in the self publishing industry or those aspiring to self publish. Meeting them has been a very enlightening experience and as a result I feel more motivated and informed about self publishing. It no longer feels like a scary unknown.
I am also attending a marketing course with Pagan Malcolm on book prompting which will be beneficial whichever route I take.
Although I’ve taken a creative break, I have already started plotting the next novel. I am going to rework and finish Diamond of the Sky. This will be my project for Camp NaNo (July 2019).
This summer, I will be catching up on my reading. Reading is a great way to continue to develop my writing skills as I soak up the methods others have used. It is also a great way to support other writers.
What do you do when you have finished writing a novel?
So, I entered Jewel of the Sea into a competition. I am in Group One for SciFi, Fantasy Paranormal, Werewolf and Vampire stories.
The competition has six rounds. Each round, the stories will be judged for different things. Each round the contestants will be halved so that by the final (sixth) round there are only two contestants competing to win. The criteria for each round is:
Title, Cover, Blurb
Round One for Group One Starts On: 27 March 2019 to 5 April 2019
I have ten days to spread the word and encourage my followers to visit the competition and comment on why they like my novel’s title, cover and blurb.
Jewel of the Sea
One kiss is all it took to wake Mariah’s weather manipulation powers.
Mariah is crushing on her best friend, rivalling with the swim team star and Gwyn in meddling in her life using spells. With no idea what she is, this mermaid could lose control and kill!
When your deadly powers are connected to your emotions, it gives a new meaning to “It’s complicated.”
How you can help:
Please can you visit the Cliche Press Competition and comment on what you like about my novel’s title, cover and blurb. Click here to visit the competition.
Also, if you have time to give me feedback on my project it is always welcomed. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve so please don’t hesitate to let me know what is working and what is not.
Please let me know if you are on Wattpad as I would love to follow you.
I took part in the Pitch Wars event on 6 December 2018.
This event takes place on Twitter on scheduled dates throughout the year and is for Unagented writers, editors and agents. Dates for 2019 are:
March 7, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EDT)
June 6, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EDT)
September 5, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EDT)
December 5, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EST)
The unagented writers must have completed, polished manuscripts. They can write up to three pitches per story. pitches must include the #PitMad tag. It should also have tags to show what genre the story is.
If their tweet is liked, they can submit to that editor or agent. Here are my pitches:
The Little Mermaid crossed with XMen in a British high school.
Being a storm summoning mermaid gives a new meaning to ‘it’s complicated’. #YA #UF #PITMAD #Mermaid
This coming of age story has all the firsts as well as magic and shape shifting.
She’s crushing on her BFF, rivalling with the swim team star and about to discover she’s a mermaid! With a magic meddling mum & an impending battle with the death crows, she must gain control of her storm summoning powers before she kills! #YA #UF #PITMAD #Mermaid
DAWSON’S CREEK X THE SECRET CIRCLE
In this ‘fishy tail’, Mariah’s love life is just the ‘spark’ of her problems!
Her storm summoning powers are connected to her emotions & if she can’t control them then the death crows will come for her soul!
#YA #UF #PITMAD #Mermaid
If they like a pitch, its a request. They should make their submission criteria clear. It is up to the writer whether they want to submit – they are under no obligation to do so.
They can share or comment on your pitches to support you but must avoid temptation to like because.., see editor/agent above.
I didn’t get any requests which is a shame as that was my ultimate goal.
This time, I do feel better about my pitches but there is always room for improvement. I managed to spread my tweets out over the course of the event. I also enjoyed discovering lots of new Twitter writers to follow who write in the same genre as me.
Have you given #PitMad a go or are you thinking about it?
If you found this post interesting, you may also enjoy:
Usually, I feature articles on Monday but for Halloween, I would like to feature spooky stories and poems or anything Halloween themed.
The content can be any genre but ideally not too long (2k max). You could provide a sample to a longer piece (i.e. a novel). I will feature a selection of my favourites between midnight on 30 October 2018 midnight and 31 October 2018 midnight GMT.
To take part, all you need to do is add the hashtag #Spooktober and comment on my post to help me find you.