Tag Archives | NESCBWI

Create bravely: Make your Mark!

It’s been a week since the New England SCBWI conference. I keep seeing recap tweets and blog posts, and most of them are saying something about being brave. This unnamed courage that applies to anyone expressing themselves creatively.

And, of course, I got hit with plenty of chances to show courage this past week. Not in a way that anyone would notice. My life is continuing. I met my word count, and I see the finish line for this current novel. I can sit down and write every day. That’s not a problem.

As an Indie author, I run a business. And that means I need to balance between loving what I write and considering the market too. There’s sticking somewhat to my brand while improving my craft while also being open to try new things.

I want to explore with my stories. Brave things. Scary things.

I want to experiment.

That said, I’m really struggling with what to write next. I have several ideas, and to be honest, they are all calling to my heart in the same way. I want to write all of them. I try not to write anything I’m not completely one hundred percent in love with and passionate about.

As I finish writing this current work, I’m struggling to decide if this was a good practice manuscript, but not something I should pursue. What comes next?

I’ve gone round and round, and I might possibly have reached a decision. Deciding what to write next, to spend months working on, takes a lot of bravery. So I keep returning to the theme for NESCBWI.

Create bravely: Make your Mark. (This phrase coined by conference director Kris Asselin.)

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How I want to be when I grow up.

So I had no idea what to expect from the New England SCBWI conference. No clue. This year was different. I was so curious to see if there were any other self publishers. Writers I could talk crazy with about coding and html and marketing and price points. And how’d you do this and how’d you do that. And oh, wow I had trouble with that too….etc. I’ll be honest, I didn’t find too many.

But there were hundreds there and I just might’ve missed ‘em by a few seconds. Who knows?

I’ll tell you a secret that I only admitted to my roomies. I was a little nervous about how I would feel. There’s this little thing I call the residual-effect-of-spending-years-querying-agents-and-thinking-traditional-was-the-only-way-to-go. And I’ll be truthful. I felt it a teensy weensy bit. But it in no way made me doubt the path I’ve chosen.

If there were small twinges, lingering – one conversation took care of it all. Here’s the highlight, my friends. We ran into a long time author who has published with multiple houses, ghostwritten popular series, and is one of the most real people I’ve met. She’s had some great publishing experiences and some not-so-great. She’s self-publishing her backlist. And she encouraged us 100% percent to go for it as far as publishing our own work.

That was cool.

When I grow up and have years behind me in this industry, I want to be like her. Positive. Honest. Encouraging. Friendly. To all writers.

How about you? What do you want to be like twenty years down the road at a conference?

If you’d like to help by posting on May 7th about the official book release of A Spy Like Me, and the start of the Spies, Murder and Mystery Marathon blog series – and you haven’t already signed up – just leave your email in the comments or send me a message through the contact form! I would really appreciate your help!

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Heading off to New England SCBWI

So my bags are packed – kinda – and I’m ready to go – well, not until tomorrow actually. But tomorrow in the a.m. I’ll be off. To the New England SCBWI.

I must admit it’s going to be different.

Every year I’ve gone, I’ve waited in anticipation with my heart all a-flutter because I would be meeting with an agent and/or an editor. And, of course, since the month or more that I’d sent in my pages or query letter – I’d changed them! So I’d print the new ones with a little prepared speech.

“Um, yeah, thanks for the critique of my 10 pages but I’ve rewritten them. Could you please spend two minutes of our fifteen minutes together reading over the first page? Thanks. I mean I really appreciate your one page of notes but through beta readers I’d already come to the conclusion that they could use a little, okay some major tweaking, and needed to be rewritten.”

Usually, the agents requested for me to send pages.

Sometimes they’d get back to me. Some would never get back.


But I’m telling you, the couple hours before those meetings my stomach would hurt as in shooting pain. I tried to relax casually on a couch in the lounge, going back and forth between looking for my friends so I didn’t feel like such a dork, and practicing my memorized verbal pitch for a second novel, you know, just in case the topic came up.

But this year. Is. Different.

No meetings. Though I’m the coordinator for the query critiques so I’ll be talking with ten agents. Ironic, no?

I’m so very excited to talk with friends. And there are so many hot topics to talk about. Self publishing. The D.O.J. Amazon. Great books we’ve read. Just about anything and everything. Kris, my friend and crit partner, gets to meet her agent for the first time. Very cool. I’m attending an ebook building class and one on Amazon for authors.

But I’m also extremely interested in listening to what other writers are talking about. How many are thinking about self publishing? Or how many already have? Or, will that still be a topic that’s whispered about behind closed doors and in dark corners. Kind of like spin the bottle but with publishing.

I guess I’ll find out tomorrow! See you next week!

(And thanks to everyone for the comments and congrats on signing with Pugalicious Press!)

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Random Acts of Publicity – GALAXY GAMES

I love this concept. I love the idea of surprising someone with publicity they didn’t ask for and didn’t expect. Last week, I really wanted to participate. Here it is today.

Greg Fishbone was the co-director and then the director for the New England SCBWI conference. Basically, that job is a LOT of work. I’ve heard the year you’re director you basically put your writing on hold especially as the conference draws near.

How could I not want to promote Greg’s book which is being released soon! He’s got the blog tour, cool website and his book is sure to appeal to middle graders, especially boys.

I’d like to introduce you to GALAXY GAMES –The Challengers!

Author website

Book website

Book trailer

Book excerpt

Amazon page

Check it out!

Did you participate in Random Acts of Publicity? Did you find any new books?

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Friday 5 (or 8) Mega tips and facts from the conference.

I walked away with a whole bunch of information, new friendships, and a whirlwind of revision ideas to apply to my work. But here are some of the highlights.

1. The kidlit writing community totally rocks.

2. Most series start out as one book and slowly build from there. So leave some open- ended plot lines and unanswered questions that can be developed down the road. Just in case.

3. R.L. Stine wrote all his books with his pointer finger.  #Arthritisanyone?

4. Elision is a fancy MFA term that just means subtext. Okay it might mean a bit more than that but its using sensory details, body language etc. to create the illusion of reality. #fancytalk

5. When speaking or writing, if you get emotionally indulgent and go on about yourself or your character and stray off topic, you lose the interest of your reader/listener.

6. To succeed means to fail. Even successful authors have had the plug pulled on a series that didn’t make it.  #encouraging

7. The only way to get published and reach your dreams is to DO THE WORK.

8. Never go to a conference that does not sell Starbucks in the lobby.

Obviously some were more serious than others. I mean not having excellent coffee at a writer’s conference is like breaking the first commandment. And some of those tips I could write a blog post on. #nextweekmaybe

If you go to conferences, what are the two biggest reasons you attend?

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