15 9 / 2014
Cute boys, mistletoe, counting down to the midnight kiss on New Year’s Eve—there’s no shortage of cozy setups for holiday romance in this captivating collection of short stories by a dozen of today’s top YA authors. Readers will also find a broad cross-section of other emotions and relationships in these tales about the significance of varied holiday traditions. Jenny Han delivers a fantasy-tinged entry about a Korean girl left as an infant in Santa’s sleigh, who is now the only human girl at the North Pole (and crushing on a cute elf). Kelly Link delves into supernatural territory, featuring a mysterious Christmas Eve visitor in an elegantly embroidered coat. And the Jewish narrator of David Levithan’s story undertakes a wild nighttime mission, donning a Santa suit to help preserve a sense of Christmas magic for his boyfriend’s young sister. A rare seasonal treat. Ages 13–up. (Oct.)
Do feel free to pre-order a copy for your seasonally appropriate reading pleasure!
12 9 / 2014
I’ve been doing my best to get caught up on my query inbox lately, and in looking at hundreds of queries over the past few days, I’ve been struck by how many more queries I’m getting for self-published books than ever before. And that’s fine, it is. I’m absolutely open to handling print rights for previously published ebooks, or helping you take your bestselling self-published title to a bigger market, as well as handling foreign, film, and other subsidiary rights for you. But here’s the thing — ok, there’s multiple things. First of all, the key word in that last sentence? “Bestselling.” If you’ve already released your book into the market, I need to know in your query letter how it’s done. Not how many 5- and 4-starred reviews it’s received. Not how many letters you’ve receieved from kids who’ve read and loved it. How many copies it’s sold.
I also want to know WHY you’re approaching me now. I got one query from an author who touted his book’s starred review from Kirkus — which is fantastic, but the query read more like an ad for a book I should buy than a query for something he wanted me to represent. If you’ve done so well self-publishing, why do you want to change now? Why seek me out? I know the reasons why someone would, but I want to hear YOU say it.
(And as an aside, don’t send me ads, ok? Don’t add me to your mailing list and bombard me with spam. Just don’t.)
So say you have a bestselling indie title, and you’ve written to ask me for help in breaking into the traditional publishing world — you know it’s not going to be with Book Two in your series, right? Don’t query me with the middle book in a trilogy, or the third or fourth book in a series. If you’ve done well enough with a series, let’s take your indie success and break you out with something new, something that your previous readers will flock to an actual bookstore to buy — and something they’ll pay more than $2.99 to own.
And don’t forget to keep it within the young adult and middle grade age ranges. Even with a bestselling, previously self-published series that’s done well enough that you’re ready to swing for the big leagues with your next project, let’s keep it to the types of books I actually represent, ok? Thanks!
Photo above by Flickr user Pimthida, used under a Creative Commons license.
10 9 / 2014
thekashif said: I need advice on something, I'm writing a Wonderwoman Script for a friend of mine who does fanfilms and I sort of need some pointers on how to write circe. Any advice you can give?
Circe is often written as just being bad for the sake of being bad, which is both tiresome and a drama-stopper.
She has to have a MOTIVE to work. If I ask even Wonder Woman fans, “what motivates Circe?” most would not have a ready answer like you might for Luthor, Two-Face, or even Ares.
So my advice is, give her a motive, give her a narrative engine. The rest should fall into place if we KNOW WHAT SHE WANTS and she isn’t just Cruella DeVille.
Brilliant advice on writing ANY multi-dimensional character.
27 8 / 2014
"Diggy has spent all thirteen years of his life with his father, having been left on Pop’s doorstep as a baby when Diggy’s mother famously left town riding a tractor. Diggy’s classmate Wayne—almost a year older—now finds himself in a similar situation when his mother’s death leads to his dad’s alcoholism spiraling out of control and dumping Wayne at Pop’s place in a drunken fit, with the bombshell that Pop is actually Wayne’s father. Diggy must learn to adjust to having a brother—especially one “from town”—at the height of an already stressful season for him: he’s being groomed by the reigning champion 4-H steer-raiser (on whom he also has a major crush) to take over her top slot with his calf, Joker. Meanwhile, Wayne gets a steer of his own in order to fit in better with his new family while still trying to get a handle on his grief and shifting relationships. Petruck expertly manifests the gruff ways that teenage guys—especially brothers—express vulnerability coated with a veneer of hobbies and practical joking, and she slowly draws her characters together over steer grooming and model rockets. The parallels between Diggy and Wayne’s feelings of abandonment are subtly but divergently developed; as Diggy throws himself into obtaining future goals to win approval, Wayne dives into the past, hoping that by finding Diggy’s mother, he can achieve closure on his own mother’s death. Pop is also a character in his own right, dispensing world-wise advice, learned from his flawed past. It’s the warm but difficult relationship between Diggy and Wayne that makes this one a purple ribbon (with a 4-H glossary and practical joke handbook for city folks in the back matter)."