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Lynn Vroman - 'Become an Agent' SUCCESS STORY!!

  Posted by SC_Author , 14 April 2014 · 16 views

I love love love success stories, and Lynn's might just be my favorite. That's because it came from my critiquing 'contest' ('Become an Agent') and not one of our agented contests. It's nice to see that 'Become an Agent' has helped people! 

SO, READ ON!!!

As every writer looking to publish knows, the way to an agent or editor is through a query letter. Those 250 words keep us up at night and torture us during the day. That’s how I felt, anyway, when I decided to put my work out there in hopes of finding it a home.

I’ve been writing since high school, but didn’t begin to write seriously until about five years ago. I started with short stories, honing my craft, learning. When I began submitting those to magazines the first sting of rejection hit hard—and toughened my skin. After I received my first acceptance letter, though, all that rejection was worth it. Three more acceptance letters later, and with a lot of short stories filed away, I decided to attempt novel writing.

Writing a novel… yeah, totally different than a 1200-word story. I’d start one, get stuck on the plot, and then start another. Oh, I’d finish some, but hate the whole thing and throw it into the document graveyard. But two years ago I wrote a book I loved. This was the one!

I wrote a query and sent it out to five agents. Every mistake we’re told not to make I made, [I did too, Lynn, don't worry!] and of course, all rejections. I found help from fellow writers, worked on another query, and received more rejections. I also tried contests like Pitch Madness, but still no success.

It was after Pitch Madness when I discovered SC’s contest, Become an Agent, on twitter. This wasn’t a contest where agents might ask for partials or fulls. It was better. In his contest, no matter who came in first, everyone won because what he offered was HELP. So I turned in my query and the first 250 and hoped for the best.

Guess what? I found the best! My first 250 received mostly compliments, but my query… not so much. Every single participant pointed out the exact same issue. I spent the next couple weeks rewriting, using the advice I received.

Right after the contest, I switched gears and decided to submit to small presses rather than agents. After doing some research, I sent out four brand new queries and waited.

And waited.

Then I received the best news ever. Two requests for fulls! To describe how I danced around the house would be disturbing, and so I’ll spare you the mental image. But success! And it gets better. While sitting in the theater with my youngest children waiting for The Lego Movie to start, I heard a ping on my phone—an offer for a publishing contract. My YA fantasy novel is set for release winter of 2014 from Untold Press. Wow, writing that never gets old.

And so the contest that didn’t have the hope of attracting an agent proved something important: Contests that promise guaranteed help are gifts. Not only do we get to test what we’ve written on fellow writers instead of agents, we get the golden opportunity to see our query with a different perspective and make them stronger.

Yup. Definitely one of my favorite success stories because it helped me truly realize contests do make a difference. Thank you so, so much for sharing this, Lynn. It means a TON. It makes hosting contests worth it!


NOW:

Go follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook, and check out her website. And CONGRATULATE HER ON TWITTER (or in the comments below :D)!

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Opening of the SECOND Submissions Window for The Writer's Tank!

  Posted by SC_Author , 11 April 2014 · 23 views

The second big day is here!!!

The second of the two submission windows for The Writer's Tank will open today at 8 pm EST. Make sure you format your emails and submissions properly by clicking on this link and reading the guidelines.

Under no circumstances can you send any other email other than the one for your submission! If you have a question, put it in the same email before your pitch and query and first 250 words, or ask me on Twitter. If you find out you made a mistake (such as a typo) and want to switch out your submission, you can only do it after midnight on Friday. This way, it's really easy for me to see if we've reached 75 entries - all I have to do is check to see if there are 75 unread messages in my inbox!

Make sure to write: "TWT: Age group Genre, TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT" as your email's subject!

You will get a confirmation email saying I received your submission. Within a few hours, those that didn't make the 75 cut will get an email saying so - that way, they have a chance to submit to tomorrow's window. If you don't get the "You're not in the 75" email, assume you're in :)

In order to be eligible, the time stamp on the email has to be on or after 3:00 pm EST. 2:59 won't be allowed (sorry!). The agents participating in the contest are listed here.

GOOD LUCK! 

A change in rules: you can go up to 40 words, instead of 35, for your pitch.

(By the way, I might read The Casual Vacancy for the third time. I love that book. I don't know anyone else who does, though D: It's so sad because that book is INCREDIBLE - but not like Harry Potter, which I think is largely why (consciously or unconsciously) people hated it.)

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The Writer's Tank Submission Window 1 OPENING!

  Posted by SC_Author , 10 April 2014 · 25 views

The big day is here!!!

The first of the two submission windows for The Writer's Tank will open today at 3 pm EST. Make sure you format your emails and submissions properly by clicking on this link and reading the guidelines.

Under no circumstances can you send any other email other than the one for your submission! If you have a question, put it in the same email before your pitch and query and first 250 words, or ask me on Twitter. If you find out you made a mistake (such as a typo) and want to switch out your submission, you can only do it after midnight on Friday. This way, it's really easy for me to see if we've reached 75 entries - all I have to do is check to see if there are 75 unread messages in my inbox!

You will get a confirmation email saying I received your submission. Within a few hours, those that didn't make the 75 cut will get an email saying so - that way, they have a chance to submit to tomorrow's window. If you don't get the "You're not in the 75" email, assume you're in :)

In order to be eligible, the time stamp on the email has to be on or after 3:00 pm EST. 2:59 won't be allowed (sorry!). The agents participating in the contest are listed here.

GOOD LUCK! 

A change in rules: you can go up to 40 words, instead of 35, for your pitch.

The next submission window opens tomorrow at 8 pm EST.

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Agent Reveal for The Writer's Tank Contest!

  Posted by SC_Author , 09 April 2014 · 17 views

The contest's submission window is going to open tomorrow at 3 pm EST and then on Friday at 8 pm EST! The first 75 entries in each window will be reviewed by me; from that pile, I will pick 30 to be seen by the agents below. WOO!!!!!!!!!!

The Agents

*All bios and pictures were taken from the respective agency's websites, Twitter pages, or from interviews on other blogs*

In alphabetical order!

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Jordy Albert

Jordy Albert is a Literary Agent and co-founder of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. She holds a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University, and a M.A. from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with Marisa Corvisiero during her time at the L. Perkins Agency and the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Jordy also works as a freelance editor/PR Director. She enjoys studying languages (French/Japanese), spends time teaching herself how to knit, is a HUGE fan of Doctor Who, and loves dogs. 

She is looking for stories that capture her attention and keep her turning the page. She is looking for a strong voice, and stories that have the ability to surprise her. She loves intelligent characters with a great sense of humor. She would love to see fresh, well-developed plots featuring travel, competitions/tournaments, or time travel. Jordy is looking for:

*ROMANCE (contemporary, or historical--soft spot for Regency).
* YA: Open to pretty much any genre; however, she's looking especially for YA that has a very strong romantic element.
*Middle Grade: contemporary, fantasy, action/adventure, or historical.

claire-anderson-wheeler-agent

Claire Anderson-Wheeler

Claire Anderson-Wheeler joined Regal Literary in 2013. Claire started her career in Christine Green Authors' Agency in London in 2008, before crossing the pond to New York, where she took a position as Foreign Rights Manager at Anderson Literary Management. Claire graduated with a Law degree from Trinity College, Dublin, and subsequently from the University of East Anglia with a Masters in Creative Writing - and as far back as she can remember, has always been reading. As an Irishwoman born in DC and raised in Switzerland and Belgium, Claire considers herself a European Amerophile and very lucky to have a foot in both camps. She's glad to consider submissions across a range of genres, the common thread throughout being a meaty narrative and a confident voice. In non-fiction, she is chiefly looking for topical memoir, popular science and pop psychology with a solid research background; in fiction, her primary interests are literary fiction, Young Adult fiction and upper-end middle grade, and commercial women's fiction with strong contemporary themes. (Though certainly open to narratives that play with the traditional concept of reality, this unfortunately does not extend to supernatural thrillers or epic fantasy.)


Sandy Lu

Sandy is seeking submissions that draw her in with a unique voice and a good yarn that will make her miss her subway stop and keep her up at night. 

In fiction, she is looking for dark literary and commercial fiction, mystery, thriller, psychological horror, paranormal/urban fantasy, historical fiction, and YA. In particular, she is looking for historical thrillers or mysteries set in Victorian times.

In non-fiction, she is looking for narrative non-fiction, history, biography, pop science, pop psychology, pop culture (music/theatre/film), humor, and food writing. 

She is also actively searching for espionage fiction and non-fiction set in China between the two World Wars. No romance, high fantasy, children’s picture books, how-to/self-help, parenting, religion/spirituality, and sports.

Pooja Menon

Pooja Menon

Pooja Menon joined Kimberley Cameron & Associates as an intern in the fall of 2011, with the aim of immersing herself in the elusive world of books and publishing. She soon realized that being an agent was what she was most drawn to as the job was varied and challenging. She represents both fiction and non-fiction for Adult and YA markets.

Her passion for reading inspired her to acquire a BA in Literature and Media from England. Her love for writing then took her to Los Angeles where she pursued an M.F.A in Fiction from the Otis School of Art and Design.

As a new agent, Pooja is looking to build her client list and is eager for submissions by debut novelists and veteran writers. She's looking for writing that has an easy flow and a timely pacing, along with a unique perspective and a strong voice.

In fiction, she is interested in literary, historical, commercial, and high-end women's fiction. However, she's most drawn to stories with an international flavor, vibrant characters, multi-cultural themes, and lush settings.

In fantasy, she's looking for original, layered plots with worlds as real and alive as the ones that were created by J.K Rowling and Tolkien.

In non-fiction, she's looking for adventure & travel memoirs, journalism & human-interest stories, and self-help books addressing relationships and the human psychology from a fresh perspective.

In YA, she's looking for stories that deal with the prevalent issues that face teenagers today. She is also interested in fantasy, magical-realism, and historical fiction.



Katherine Sands

A literary agent with the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, I am actively building my client list. When considering new fiction, I read to be swept up by the urgency of the narrative, the story that makes me want to turn the page. For nonfiction, I want the writer to argue the case for publication successfully, showing me the reasons why hers is a unique and zeitgeist-y treatment of the subject. I look for the writer who can transport the reader somewhere interesting; I am on the lookout for the writer who can teach the reader something new. I'm searching for joie de vivre-- writing that takes a fresh look, writing that is insightful, observant, "infotaining." Writing that is transporting. Writing that makes you want to turn the page. I can become excited by many kinds of potential books in a broad range of categories: from commercial fiction and nonfiction, including popular culture, personal growth, leisure activities, lifestyle, home arts, entertainment, and cookbooks to serious nonfiction, including psychology, social thought, history, health to the more eclectic popular reference, travel, spirituality.


Jessica Sinsheimer


I love smart, dynamic female characters—especially if there’s a hint of mischief, otherwise fun bad behavior, or justified violence involved. I can’t watch violent TV—I’d love to watch Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, because they’re so smart, but the gore will give me nightmares. Still, in books—perhaps because I’m not getting this with my television—I get a little bloodthirsty if it’s justified.

A combination of highbrow sentences and lowbrow content often works for me, too.

Romance and erotica, or elements of these, would be wonderful.

I love women’s fiction that sets itself apart from other works in the genre.

All brands of YA are welcome. I think I’m starting to go through a fantasy phase. Please note, though, that I need a large dose of intellect with my fantasy to feel grounded in this new world.

I love sentences that describe normal things in a new way. I love reading a work and pausing to think, “Wow. Yes. I never realized that about [something totally mundane in life], and now the mundane things seem a bit more beautiful.” (Yes, I’m typing this while my morning coffee works on my brain. Hush.)

In terms of nonfiction, I’d love a food memoir—but I never get any! I know they’re out there. I’d especially love one with a younger narrator—in his/her twenties or thirties, say.

I’d love some popular science. I’m fascinated by the intersection of food, hormones, and emotion. If someone does this book, please send it my way. I also really like reading about neuroscience, psychology, parenting, history tied to a theme (I’m reading a great book on the history of gin now), environmental issues, and works that speak to life in the twenty-first century.

I’m pretty nerdy. I spend way too much time watching NOVA. And if you haven’t seen Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, you’re missing out.

Honestly, though, we’re open to all genres. We like pleasant surprises.

Sometimes a challenge can be particularly enticing—I sold an informative, hilarious “ADHD isn’t all bad—here are the unique advantages of this diagnosis, and how to work them into a successful teen life” book in a saturated market of “Here’s how to pretend you don’t have ADHD.” Same with a novel featuring a dominant woman—in a market that firmly believed women (and female readers) only like alpha males.

And both books are doing great.

If I believe in a cause, I want to fight for it.



This line up is fantastic. I'm very excited for this contest, and I can't wait - or maybe I can wait, slush reading is usually the hardest and most stressful part of contests DX - to read your submissions! START WRITING THOSE PITCHES. Make sure you read the submission guidelines as well! 

P.S. If  I can get the selected 30 posts up on Thursday the 17th instead of that Friday, I will.

P.P.S. Pitches can go up to 40 words instead of 35, now!

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Why Teenagers Don't Read

  Posted by SC_Author , 04 April 2014 · 31 views

I've been thinking about this a lot, mostly because I'm worried that reading as a whole is declining - which means, where will we be in a decade? Where will future authors be?

Teenagers are future adults. They're the future readers - if there are readers left.

Now, I know, I know, there are tons of teens who read, but it'd be a joke to say that there are more readers than non-readers. I'm guessing, but maybe a fifth of all teens read more than six books a year (voluntarily)? And that's a generous number.

If you think about it, there's no real reason (except the one that I will mention soon) which can explain this. Let me compare books to the ever-prosperous movie industry.

Do books cost a lot? No. The average paperback is less than ten dollars - about the price of a movie ticket. And teens go to the movies a lot.

Do books provide any less entertainment? No. Almost all readers (even teens) agree that books are better than their movie-versions. Books (good books) provide even more entertainment because they take longer to get through than movies.

Are books 'uncool' because reading is a solitary activity? No. I thought this might be the reason - movies are so prosperous because you can go with friends and that's 'cool' - but teenagers spend hours alone on the Internet or watching movies on the TV. They don't really care about being alone.

Are books just 'uncool'? Yes. But not for the reason you think.

I am a firm believer in the fact that books are uncool because it is mandatory for teens to read certain books for school. Ironically, forcing teens to read books is actually causing the decline of reading.

Think about it.

Say you're in a cinema class and you have to watch a movie a week and do reports on them. Every single movie gets a 3-page report. And this class is mandatory for everybody.

Do you think you will then go outside on Friday nights and watch movies? Heck no! You'll go get a book instead, maybe. Why would you want to watch another movie? Your eyes would be hurting and you'd rather faint than watch another frame of film. School and mandatory assignments would destroy your love for movies.

It's a psychological effect. Movies would forever become associated with the pain of book reports - and, even more so, the idea of 'mandatory,' and idea most teens hate. They'd break free of movies and never return because they never want to feel the same pain or be 'caged'. Maybe, in many years, this association would wear off. But it'll always linger.

I think the easiest solution to solving the teenage reading problem would be to get rid of mandatory reading. Then, a year later (a year later because there needs to be a gap where teenagers can 'rejoice' that they don't have to read books - and they won't read books, at least for a while, because they're too happy) - so, a year later, publish a bunch of really, really good books. The teens would not feel restricted and, given something good to read, they'd read it, because they have the choice. It's also psychologically proven that given some sort of degree of self-control drastically increases the work performance and happiness of a person.

But, of course, there are side effects: the decline of classic literature (most of which is taught in school), the confusion on how to teach English classes if not through literature, etc. So I don't think, truly, my solution would really work practically. I do think, however, that it would get rid of the stigma of reading.

I just really don't like this whole stigma on reading. Because, many times, the people who don't read books are the very people who need books the most to guide them and help them.

Sigh.

What do you guys think about the stigma on reading?

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The Writer's Tank - CANCELLED. Also, I Might Have Sent You a Computer Virus

  Posted by SC_Author , 01 April 2014 · 44 views

I am very, very sorry to inform you guys that the Writer's Tank contest has been canceled. This is no joke.

Here's why:

I sent email invites out to agents regarding this contest. It was an invitation detailing the contest and what role the agent would play in it. A standard invite - except I used the work 'invite' in the subject line and, apparently, got shot down to the spam folder.

No problem. Apparently some agents still check the spam folder and they got back to me.

Then, lo and behold: a virus.

Something's up with my computer. I don't know what, but it's making me very, very mad - because whatever emails I sent out were laced with the same virus my computer had. Now, all the emails I sent to the agents had this virus in it. Hiding. And only when one agent contacted me - after having to wipe out her hard drive and lose tons of submissions, contracts, and manuscripts - did I find out about this. And, obviously, this agent was not very happy.

But what I want to warn you guys is this: if I ever sent you an email or you got an email from me (or us) in any of the contests I hosted or co-hosted, SAVE EVERYTHING IMMEDIATELY. Apparently the virus has been on my computer for two years and just attacking random people's emails and computers. YOU ARE IN DANGER. SAVE YOUR WORK IMMEDIATELY.

WHAT MAKES IT WORSE IS THIS:

It's not a computer virus, per say. It's a real virus. Like a flu. I have no idea how or why but almost all the agents I contacted have some weird rare virus in their bodies making them sick. I don't know how this could even be possible but the technology nowadays for cyber attacks is crazy.

WHAT MAKES IT CRAZIER IS THIS:

APRRRILL FOOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope I scared at least some of you!!!! I love April Fool's. It's my favorite holiday (the only time I can prank people with some sort of justification).

I better have scared some of you. (And, regardless, do save your work and books! Your computer might crash any second due to a virus - you don't want to lose your writing.)

The Writer's Tank is going full steam ahead and it's great! No virus, computer or otherwise :)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!!!!!!!

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Stacey Trombley - Query Kombat SUCCESS STORY!!!!!!!

  Posted by SC_Author , 31 March 2014 · 23 views

A very special post is up for you guys to read today! We've got another Query Kombat success story!!!! READ READ READ:

I started writing in 2009 when I was a twenty year old newlywed. The learning curve for a new, young, writer is STEEP! I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But soon I was so deep into my stories that I didn’t care about the hard work or how long it would take. I wanted it too badly. 

 It’s funny because every step of the way I’d look back and think about how much I’d learned and how much better I was than before. And those moments kept happening (they’re STILL happening). I kept growing and learning and every time I thought I was REALLY ready, I learned I wasn’t even close. 

I was completely convinced that my first book, a YA fantasy, was going to make it. I fought for it. For years, I fought for it. I didn’t even know if I could love another story that much. 

 But one day I came up with a new idea. One that was VERY different from the first. An emotional story about a teenaged prostitute. That story actually sat in my head, stewing, for over a year before I finally sat down to write it. I knew it was a story that needed to be told. 

And something interesting happened. 

I fell in love. Not even really with the story, but with the character. Anna is so incredible, I can’t even begin to describe how she jumped off the page for me.

I wrote the first draft of Naked in November 2012 and started querying in March. I still hadn’t given up on my fantasy but this was my new shiney. 

I entered all the contests I could because I’m obsessed with them! 

Contests for me are so much less about what they give you and more about the experience. Each one I learn more, I learn something new. I meet writers, I see some amazing stories (and I’ve had the opportunity to read a few of them!) I watched as others succeed and knew my time would come. I believed it. 

Most of all, contests pushed me to be better. 

I entered Query Kombat with my YA contemporary (nicknamed Tricks Aren’t For Kids for the contest) and even though I only made it past the first round, I learned a TON! I got some fantastic feedback and met some seriously amazing people. It was just another step on my way to my own success. 

The step after Query Kombat for me was Pitchmas, another contest. Ironically, I wasn’t chosen for the main event, but I still decided to pitch during the twitter pitch party and that’s where things changed for me. 

Here was my pitch: “Anna's busted for prostitution + sent back to the suburbs to be "normal" again. A geeky boy named Arney becomes her only friend #pitchmas YA” 

And, I got a request…. from Stephen Morgan of Entangled. 

Entangled is a publisher I’ve honestly admired for a while. The only reason I hadn’t already submitted to them before was because I was focusing on my agent search. But once he requested my manuscript I came up with all kinds of excuses as to why I should send. It might not be following perfect etiquette, since I still had my work out with agents, but I’m very glad I did it. (I took a whole lot into consideration, including the fact that if I send and he offers, I might be walking away from the opportunity to try for a bigger publisher. I was okay with that. I felt Entangled could give me everything I wanted.) 

It took about 2 months for him to email me asking to talk on the phone. He wanted to work with me to revise my novel. He loved the writing, the voice, the concept, but thought the plot/structure needed some work. So I spent months emailing him back and forth, talking on the phone (more than once) until we got to a point that he felt he could take it to acquisitions. 

Another 2 months went by before I got another call from him. “Are you sitting down? It’s good news!” 

They offered and I accepted! 

This road was long and hard but totally worth it. I’m so excited to say that my debut novel will be published with Entangled Teen!

Hundreds of people have helped me along the way, including the amazing folks who run Query Kombat, and I’m sure there will be hundreds more in the future. Thank you! Thank you for all your hard work, thank you for taking the time to help others. It really makes a difference. 

And to those writers still looking for their success story: You’ll find it. Just keep looking. It might not come how you expect it, but the only way to get there is to keep moving forward. 

 Read my full success story here.



Stacey Trombley writes YA and MG of all shapes and sizes. Her debut novel will release from Entangled in 2015. Find her at her YA blog, a blog which she contributes at, and on twitter @Trombolii

Congrats Stacey!!! And you all better congratulate her on Twitter! Coming Friday: a how-to post on how to craft a great pitch (for the upcoming Writer's Tank contest!). OHHH. AND TOMORROW IS MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY!!!!!!!!!! AHHH!!!!! What are your April Fool's ideas for pranks?

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How Many Beta Readers Do You Have?

  Posted by SC_Author , 28 March 2014 · 29 views

I guess the real question I'm asking is: how many beta readers do you need?

I recently finished a read with a beta reader who did a fantastic job on my manuscript. Fixed plot holes, typos, etc. But now, I'm wondering how many more beta readers I need to call my manuscript 'done'.

How many beta readers or critique partners do you guys have? Do some of you rely more on your own critiquing skills or do you need unbiased observers?

For me, I think the trick is to do betas one-by-one, even though it takes longer (I know, I don't like waiting much either). But it helps. If you get four betas all on the same version of the manuscript, they'll all pick up on basically the same things. While this can help (it's useful to know if a critique is something that'll be shared by most readers or only a rare few), it's not as efficient. Fix the manuscript, send to the next beta. Rinse and repeat. That's what I might do until I get a beta who says it's basically good to go.

Sigh. Writing is tiring. BUT I'M SO CLOSE!!!!!!! Argh.

How do you guys go about the whole beta-reading process? How many steps do you have until you call your manuscript 'done'?

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Announcing "The Writer's Tank" Contest!

  Posted by SC_Author , 24 March 2014 · 34 views

YES, GUYS, ANOTHER CONTEST!!!!!!

I am very excited for this one because it's based off of one of my favorite shows: Shark Tank!!!!!!!!!

If you don't watch Shark Tank, the show is all about entrepreneurs coming in to pitch their products to multimillionaires and billionaires (the sharks). The sharks can invest in their products or send the entrepreneurs home packing.

The gist of this contest is that the agents will be the sharks and the contestants will be the people pitching their 'products.'

Preeetttyyy.


The Details:

From a slush pile, I will pick thirty(ish) of the best entries in a variety of genres and try to find something of liking for every agent.  These entries will consist of the query, the first 250, and a 35-word pitch. But the catch is that all of the thirty-to-forty entries will be categorized by category and genre and then listed in a single blog post with their pitch below it. So, it'll look something like this:

YA Science Fiction - FEED
"A teenager goes to the moon to have fun but finds out the moon totally sucks."

YA Contemporary - THE CATCHER IN THE RYE
"Holden Caulfield walks around New York and thinks a lot, basically creating a masterpiece."

Etc.

Clicking on the titles will redirect the agent to a blog post with the query and 250. So the agent won't have to look at the dozens of queries and 250's - they can scan a single blog post and only click on the entries and pitches that look interesting to them.

That's why this is the writer's tank! The pitch is super, super important.

From there, if the agent likes the query and 250, they can place a 'bid' requesting any number of pages. The agent that bids the most for an entry will receive that number of pages and also a 5-day exclusive reading period. During this period, the writer can't send their requested pages to any other shark except the winning shark. (This exclusivity is only for requests from this contest, not for normal querying or other contests.) After the five days, the writer can send out all the remaining requests from this contest. 

Also, it's a first-come first-serve basis - if two agents bid fulls or 50 pages and those end up being the winning bids, the agent that bid first wins.

So. You got the gist of it? I've got agents already on board with the contest and more coming in by the day! It should be a huge success (hopefully)

The Schedule:

I'll open up the submission window twice (to accommodate people in different time zones). One will open on ThursdayApril 10th, 3 pm EST, and the other will open FridayApril 11th, 8 pm EST. Both will close when they reach 75 entries (so the max is 150 entries in total) but I doubt we'll reach that number. This isn't Query Kombat, after all. I just want a cap on how many entries I'd have to read, hehe. There will be a confirmation email saying that I received your submission.

The posts will go up and the agents will participate starting Friday, April 18th. The agents have until Monday the 21st to make their bids.

The Formatting and Submitting:

Send all your submissions to thewriterstank (at) yahoo (dot) com. The emails should be formatted EXACTLY like this:

Title: [Title of your book]
Genre: [Age Category AND Genre, so it'll be like YA Fantasy. And make SURE you pick the right genre! That can make-or-break you.]
Word Count: XX,XXX

Pitch: [No more than 35 words!]

Query:

[No tabs, only line breaks. Only include the meat of your query: no personalization, no bio, etc.]

250:

[Your first 250 words here. It's okay if you go a few words over, just make sure not to end in a middle of a sentence!]

Also, all genres and age categories are invited! However, keep in mind that I'll be looking for entries that the agents will want. If there are no agents looking for picture books, I won't be picking any picture books.

I'll do a separate post revealing all the agents that'll be participating and their personal preferences! So keep an eye out for that.

I am so, so excited for this. But guys, you need to make sure your pitches are fantastic. Don't rely on only your query and 250. You need to get an agent to click on your link, and to do that, your pitch will have to be enticing. Remember: all you're trying to get is an agent to click on your post. That's all. So make the agent desperate to read your query and 250!

If you plan on participating in this contest, make sure you are following this blog as a requirement. Also, we'll be Tweeting as well under the hashtag:

#TheWritersTank

Yes, I know, there's no apostrophe, but adding an apostrophe would split up the hashtag so you wouldn't be able to click on it! We'll let go of this grammar blunder for now. (Please?) You can find me on Twitter over here.

I'm very very excited! Are you guys? GET THOSE PITCHES IN SHAPE, GUYS! And do you have any questions? Ask them in the comments below! And spread the word over Twitter!

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Redesigned my Blog - Thoughts? Plus, a Self Lovin' Bloghop!

  Posted by SC_Author , 21 March 2014 · 47 views

Well, guys, I redesigned my blog!

I thought it was a bit *too* much blue before (I know, I didn't think it was possible either). I still wanted to keep blue as the main color but I wanted a cleaner look to the blog. I also really, really wanted to make the blog feel more homey, inviting, and warm (which is why I tried using brown wherever possible), but it's hard to pull off with blue being the main color. Sigh. So I don't think I succeeded in that. I just want my blog to be a fun, at-home place to be. Also, the top header is blurry because I used a really crappy method to make it. Shout out to Lisa who so amazingly tried to make it look better! I'm still tinkering with it so maybe it'll get better. I also added some more pages to the above bar, such as My Books and Contests, and I really like those :)

Tell me what you think of the redesign!

Also:

The fantastic Tara Watson has created a Self Lovin' Bloghop which I took part in!

Here's the description of the bloghop pulled from her blog post.

The Self Lovin' Bloghop
"Being a writer is hard, and often lonely. And it's far too easy to go through the last scene/chapter we wrote and spy everything that's wrong with it--and then some. There've been plenty of times I've looked something over and thought it was lower than garbage, like that part of my hard drive should be wiped free of its slimy ooze. Even after sharing it with my closest writerly friend who point out it's great stuff and they wouldn't suggest changing much, if anything, I often still can't see what they see.

"But you know what? I believe writers are driven to it for a reason. There's just something inside us that makes it natural for us to write. You may be a hack with grammar but silence crowded parties with your storytelling abilities. Maybe your characters come out looking like Flat Stanley but you can write an epic saga without a single grammar mistake or typo. Perhaps show vs. tell eludes you after years of slapping out words, but your plotting skills are the bomb. Your description is bland but your tension makes even the computer sweat as it waits for you to get to the end of the scene.

"You know the best part? All of the formers can be fixed and made better with time and writing. (Just keep writing, just keep writing...) so you're already half way there! Never give up!

"So please share with us what you're good at. There's something--I know there's something--no matter how small you think it is."


I think that I'm good at capturing emotions and having the reader experience strong emotions as well. I think, in all my history of getting critiques, the best (or at least in the top three) comment I got was, "You're really good at emotions," or something like that. It was a simple comment and all the way from my first horrendous manuscript, but I still remember it. Generating emotion in the reader is so important to me because I'm emotionally affected by my novels. I want readers to be affected as well. And hearing that I can do this seriously makes me so, so, so happy.

Also, I think I've grown in my prose! My first manuscript was horrible. I mean, horrible. The prose was disgusting. But I think it was partially because I hadn't found the genre my writing style was suited to, and partially because I just didn't write enough. I think my prose and writing have gotten much better and I'm really proud of that.

*pats self on back*

There! I self loved :) It's actually harder than you think! But I think it's truly important to do this once in a while - concentrate on your strengths. Tara, your bloghop is crucial for so many writers. Too often we get bogged down in what we can't do. We feel ashamed or arrogant for being proud of what areas we excel in. We don't tell people about it. We shout out our weaknesses but keep our strengths to ourselves. It's just what writers are supposed todo. Concentrating on your weaknesses is important. But, for sanity's sake, don't ignore your strengths :)

Thank you so much Tara for doing this! I know I'm going to sleep smiling, now, because of it.

What are your thoughts on my blog's redesign? Do you feel self loving is important? (And how about this first day of spring. Here, near Chicago, it snowed. Yes, it snowed. And four hours later it was sunny and spring-like. The next day, it's sixty degrees. WHAT.)

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