Saturday, July 20, 2019

Time for RWA 2019!

Come see me, some of City Owl's other editors, and more importantly, several of our fantastic authors Thursday July 25th at the City Owl Press author signing at 8:30am to 9:30am. Here is a rough list of our authors in attendance: Sharon M. Johnston, Maryanne Fantalis, Lynda Locke, Luna Joya, Megan Starks (not signing, but she will have swag there!), Negeen Papehn Dardashti, Tina Moss, Yelena Casale, Willa Ramsey, Kerri Netherton, and more!

Also on Thursday I'll be at the Industry Marketplace at 2:00pm to 3:00pm in the Westside Ballroom, Salon 3, 5th Floor representing City Owl. I will be there to answer any questions you might have about City Owl, small presses, or just publishing in general. Come chat with me! 

On Friday at 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM, I will be taking pitches during the Speed Pitching event in the Lyceum Room along the south side of the Westside Ballroom on the 5th Floor. If you have a polished adult paranormal romance, urban fantasy romance, sci-fi romance, or fantasy (any of the sub-genres really) romance, come pitch to me! No need to be nervous, I am easy to chat with. Read through my likes, dislikes and wish list to make sure I'm right for you, and to get tips on what I love. 

Can't wait to meet you!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Pitching at RWA

Next month I'll be taking pitches at one of the biggest conventions for romance writers, readers, and publishers, RWA!

Almost all writers are nervous about pitching in person, but hopefully I can help alleviate some of that. Just remember, we are people too, and we want to like your work, but if we don't, it isn't the end of the world. Here are some tips to make a great first impression:

Before the conference: Try your pitch out on people. Pitch it to your significant other, your friends, family, even your cat or dog. Get it down to where you know it and can rattle it off at any given time.

Choose who to pitch ahead of time and have backups in case their line is really long. BUT, make sure the editors and agents you are going to pitch to accept the genre of your book, otherwise you are just going to get a pass. Do your research!

At the Conference:
Be passionate about your book, but be able to get to the heart of the story in under three minutes. Have a great hook sentence that lays out the problem, stakes, and solution. Or, to put it another way, hook them with an interesting sentence (not a run-on one, think Twitter pitch length).

Then give a short paragraph or two that highlights the really interesting parts of your story (much like a query letter). You want to leave plenty of time for the editor to ask questions. An elevator pitch is between 1 and 3 minutes long and gives you time to introduce yourself, talk about your experience, awards, that kind of thing. To keep from rambling carry a notebook or note cards with your pitch written down. Try not to read off it unless you have to, but have it just in case. I do not mind if people read off their notes if it helps them.

Tips To Get You Ahead: If you're pitching me and are reading this before hand you are already several strides ahead of the game. Read through my wish list, read my expected manuscript lengths, know the submission requirements of City Owl. In other words, do your homework on those you plan to pitch to. I can't say this enough. And relax, especially if you're pitching me. I'm laid back and easy to talk to. I'll help walk you through it if you get stuck.

Personal Tips: 
  • I do not like passive voice (overuse of was, were, that kind of thing). If you use this too much in your manuscript, it is not for me. A little is unavoidable, but too much is not good. 
  • I do not like info dump, telling, and back story that isn't worked in well and sparingly (and preferably after the first five pages or later. Later is better). 
  • I'm an editor, not an agent. I am not there to 'represent' your book, I'm there to consider publishing it. Not the same thing. Not by far. 
  • When at the conference, you do NOT need an agent to pitch to me, or later to sign with me. Several of the authors I have signed don't have agents, several do. At events such as this, I am open to unsolicited (unagented) work. 
  • I like good pacing with a healthy dose of action. 
  • I'm partial to third person past tense. First person past tense is alright too. Present tense makes me twitchy. It isn't an instant no, but it had better be amazingly well done so that I hardly even notice it. Have cards on hand to give to me!
What NOT to do: Don't pitch to someone randomly outside of pitch sessions unless they ask about your book. If they ask about your book, that's an invitation to pitch so rattle off that elevator pitch. No means no. Don't push or argue the point. It will not help matters. In fact, it could hurt them, severely. Don't bring gimmicks, drawings, or reviews from friends or family who have read your manuscript. Your work will speak for itself, and if it can't, well, then it can't, and that says enough.

If you are attending RWA and your work matches something on my wish list, come see me in the Lyceum Room along the south side of West Side ballroom on the 5th floor!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Character Arc Progression

Character arc is the changes your character goes through from the beginning to the end of the novel. It is how they grow and learn, or change. Take a good look at your manuscript or outline. Is your character arc strong enough to help carry the novel? It should be just as strong as the plot, if not stronger, depending upon your genre. Not every genre will have such a powerful character arc and that's okay, they aren't all supposed to. But if you write character driven fiction, that character better be strong and their arc needs to be evident.

Think of a novel you read recently that had a really good character arc. How did that character change from the beginning to the end of the novel? What about them did you like in the beginning, middle, and end? Readers celebrate with your characters, be it an achievement, revelation, or growth. Without those elements in your characters the reader doesn't get as attached to them and therefore doesn't care, which means they may stop reading.

To make sure your character arc is strong enough, do an arc sheet at the same time you do an outline. Map out the changes, growth, hardship, and setbacks you want your character to go through. They should end up in a completely different state than they began the novel. Not an outlining kind of person? That's okay, jot down notes about what your character is going through personally throughout the novel. This method will reveal whether or not you have fully developed them to the point where the reader will be satisfied.

For a copy of my own version of a character arc sheet, click here. Excel sheet will download upon clicking the prior link.

Post featured on the Writers' Road Resource website.