Taking the Plunge

I’ve been hemming and hawing over a dilemma for months now. Well, nearly a year, if I’m honest. I’ve had the idea for my next novel, which as previously mentioned, will be more of a high fantasy. Not that I don’t love my YA or anything, but I’ve had a character who desperately deserves her own story for far too long. I’ve been working on this character’s book for a couple of months and am over halfway through getting the story on paper. But it’s still a long ways to go before it will be even close to gearing it for publication.

So I made a big decision. After making several (and I mean SEVERAL) queries to agents, I’ve decided to self-publish my standalone young adult fantasy to give readers something to satisfy them until my high fantasy is complete. My standalone young adult is already finished and somewhat polished, thanks to a couple of beta readers.

Basically, once I have an editor do a final go-through (and I’ve already contacted one for pricing), I’ll just need to hire a cover designer and it will be ready to be formatted for publishing.

To be realistic, my adult fantasy will likely not be out until next year at the soonest. The first draft isn’t completed yet, and it will have several stages to go through before it’s even close to being “publish-ready.” The sequel to Prince of Light is in even earlier stages than that.

As much as I would have loved to see this standalone young adult go through an actual publisher, I believe it’s a story that is worth getting out there. It’s been sitting in my computer for years. I’ll be honest, it’s a little scary. But it’s also exciting.

So all that to say, stay tuned for updates!

#PitMad

This year I was finally able to take the plunge and participate in the Twitter Pitch Party called #PitMad. Basically, it’s a one-day opportunity for authors to pitch their books to agents who follow the thread. If the agent is interested, they’ll favorite your tweet and request further material.

I had heard of this event and saw others who were involved, but this was the first year that I finally had a complete manuscript to work with. So I decided to take part, because I had already been mulling over a few pitches in my head, and I figured this was a good way to see if an agent really would be interested in my standalone novel. I have to say, it was a really fun experience!

These are just a handful of the things I learned, plus some basic guidelines:

Make sure that your book is finished. I know that seems redundant, but treat this like you would a query letter to an agent. Don’t pitch an unfinished project.

Think about what you want to say ahead of time. Again, just like with a query letter, you want this to be polished to the best of your abilities. There’s a lot of competition out there, and the internet is forever, you know.

Look at the Twitter feeds of your favorite agents. They have really great advice and will often state exactly what they’re looking for in their next project.

Be professional. Don’t feel bad if no one favorites or retweets your posts, because the writing world is very subjective. Just because no one looked at this time around doesn’t mean that no one ever will.

Be courteous. There are rules in place for a reason, so don’t tweet your pitch every five minutes. It will only make everyone (and I do mean EVERYone) hate you. They generally suggest one tweet per hour, or six total, depending.

Make time in your day for this. Think of it as an online conference, if you will. Agents are taking time out of their busy schedules to check this out, so take time out of yours as well. Doesn’t have to be all day long, but be prepared to spend some time there.

Overall, I would highly recommend participating in something like #PitMad if you enjoy social media and are in the market for an agent. Honestly, even if no one shows interested in your project, it’s HUGELY helpful and eye-opening to see what other authors are writing and what agents are looking for specifically. I saw so many amazing pitches it nearly made my head spin. There is so much talent out there just waiting to be had! Plus I made some great connections with fellow writers and garnered a few more followers. People were so encouraging.

If I had to do it all over again, I would take my own advice and set aside a full day off of work for this. I thought I was pretty well prepared for it, but there were minor things that made me realize that I could have done better. Now I know.

Best of luck to the authors who did participate this year, and I hope someone walks away with a book deal! If you’re interested in participating in the future, the next PitMad is going to be on June 4th, 2015. See Brenda Drake’s post for even more information on it.

I’m looking forward to seeing who will show up next time!