Wednesday, March 29, 2017

13 Reasons Why and other Books to Screen

NY Times Bestseller Jay Asher has graced our pages several times and his blockbuster 13 Reasons Why is set to launch as a thirteen part series this Friday March 31st on Netflix.

We're thrilled for him and the whole 13 Reasons Why team and can't wait to binge on the series this weekend.

Interested in more page to screen projects? Check out these shows currently on air:


The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
(Currently Available)


American Gods by Neil Gaiman 
(Release Date: April 30, 2017)


A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
(Currently Available)

                                                                  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
                                                                  (Release Date: May 12, 2017)

                                                                 What do you plan to watch this weekend?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Query Strategy: Target or Blast?

There's no one so worried about etiquette and detail as a querying writer. I've talked about the personalization debate here on the blog before, but today's topic is a little different: should you only send queries to agents who say they want the genre, themes, and/or tone of your novel ("dark epic fantasy," for example), or should you cast a wider net—anyone who says they want YA at all?

Searching the internet yields varying responses. Janet Reid, for one, is a big fan of querying widely. Victoria Strauss, on the other hand, suggests targeting your queries as closely as possible, picking only agents whose interests and specialties appear to be a good fit for your manuscript.

The truth is, we're spoiled. There are very few other creative fields where industry professionals publicly state their preferences and wishlists. I've had more than one discussion about this with my husband, who spent years querying managers and agents for screenplays and would have KILLED for the kind of information that's freely available for fiction on agency websites, MSWL, and more.

While it's important to keep this information in mind, one lesson I've learned is that agents often won't know they're interested in something until they see it. I've been around the contest circuit enough to be surprised over and over again at who requests my pitches. It's often someone I would never have thought to query based on their wishlists.

My ultimate take on the target vs. blast question? Query widely. Use agent wishlists and agency guidelines to find people you definitely won't query (if they say, "I don't like sci-fi," or "adult fiction only," stay the heck away from them with your YA space opera), but everyone else is fair game. You never know who might fall in love with your work.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Conference Networking Tips: Social Media Marketing World (in pictures)

When possible, go with a friend. If you're having a great time together, you have a safe base to invite others into the fun. :)
If you're going solo, try to befriend another singleton and from there you can scoop up all the other singletons to form a mob of supportive conference-goers. 

And always have your hand sanitizer at the ready. You don't want to get sick mid-conference!

Wear a statement piece of jewelry, even better if it has a story to share when people ask.
Mine was bought from a Bedouin who gave me a roadside camel ride on the way out of Jerusalem.
He said it was made by one of his wives & the polygamous arts & crafts story usually draws a smile.

Long days. I need chocolate. And sunglasses for when I take a break outside.
Chocolate at conferences is kind of one of my trademark moves as well.
I assume that since I want it others will too & sharing things I love is always a fun way to meet new interesting people.
And of course, you always want to have a business card handy...

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Ending

Writer's block is the worst, but what happens when it comes at the end of your story?  You've just spent countless hours and months slaving over a project and have no idea how to end it.  Frustrating right?!

Here's some ideas that might help.

First of all, if you are a planner, then perhaps write without plans and see where your writing takes you. Now if you are a panster, do the opposite by creating several endings and pick your favorite.

Here's a few ideas on how to end your story:

1. Plot Twist - you know how this works and talk about an exciting ending!  Just make sure to give readers a few hints along the way.

2. Tie the story back to the beginning.  One of my friends wrote a fan fiction piece where she ended the story with a letter that was revealed earlier in the story.  It was a pretty fun and clever ending!

3. The resolved ending where everything comes together neatly.

4. The unresolved ending which is good for those planning to write a series.

5. The what the heck happened ending - you know the kind that lets the readers determine the ending.  Talk about fun for the reader!!!  Only problem is for the writer.  This ending is tricky, especially if you are having writer's block.

And if all else fails, maybe you just need some feedback.  Take your WIP to someone you trust and use them as a sounding board.  That might be all it takes to jump start you back into writing.

Here's a to a happy ending!!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Author Casey Griffin talks SECRETS OF A RELUCTANT PRINCESS, writing advice + a chance to win a signed copy and a tiara!

Today we have another successful author chat, this time with author Casey Griffin. Her latest release, Secrets of a Reluctant Princess, is out now! Please join me in giving her a big Thinking to Inking welcome, and don't forget to scroll to the bottom of the post for a chance to win a copy of Secrets of a Reluctant Princess AND a tiara!

Thanks so much for coming to Thinking to Inking! We're so excited to have you! Tell us a little bit about Secrets of a Reluctant Princess.

Secrets of a Reluctant Princess is about sixteen-year-old Andy Bottom who just wants to make friends and avoid teasing. Now that her family has moved to Hollywood, it’s the perfect opportunity to blend in at a new school. Well, except for her family’s incredibly embarrassing toilet business. Oh, and the fact that they have their own reality TV show so now the whole world can laugh at “Awkward Andy” on primetime television. And that cute guy, Kevin, from the hardware store? He’s totally off limits, unless she wants to be a social pariah. When reality TV finds her a little too interesting, she finds the perfect escape in live action roll playing. There, she can get closer to Kevin and escape reality. But for how long?

Which character do you relate most to?

That’s a tough one. I think a little piece of me goes into every novel I write, and that includes the characters. If I can identify with some part of them, then hopefully so will the readers. However, I definitely try to avoid writing a character totally like myself—or other people in my life, for that matter. The qualities that I think I share with my characters is that I’m totally geeky like Kevin, the love interest. I’m gullible like Lennox. I’m blunt like Keelie. I’ve been teased like the main character, Andy, and I’m cheesy like her dad.

Was your writing process for Secrets of a Reluctant Princess different from your previously released Rescue Dog Romance series? If so how? Anything that surprised you along the way?

While I was working on Secrets of a Reluctant Princess, I definitely felt like I was beginning to find my writing groove, but the process was still a bit rough because I actually wrote it before the Rescue Dog Romance series.

When my agent was first shopping Reluctant Princess around, an editor at St Martin’s Press read it. They were so drawn to the “voice” that they asked me if I’d like to write adult romance for them. I said, very coolly, “YESSSSSS!” Then shortly after, Reluctant Princess was picked up by Entangled, and that’s how I ended up with two contracts at the same time.

I find that with each novel I write, the process becomes smoother, more refined. There might be hiccups, but the more I write, the better I’m able to work through them.

The cover design for Secrets of a Reluctant Princess is fantastic! How much input did you get in the design of your cover and what was that process like?
Entangled gave me a big list of questions about things like scenes in the book that resonate with me, and what color I’d like (yay pink!), but I was honestly open to anything. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s so eye grabbing. I love it!

Are you a write-one-thing-at-a-time author, or do you typically juggle multiple projects at once? How do you stay focused?

I’m usually working on two different projects at a time. At one point, my deadlines overlapped between projects, so I was working on three different novels, all at various stages in the writing process. I think that I get bored if I’m not always working on a new novel. It keeps my mind active and in the routine of writing.

To keep all my projects straight and to refocus when hopping from one to the other, it always helps to go over the outline as a refresher. My outlines are usually pretty detailed, so I don’t have any problem figuring out where I want to go next. It gets me pumped about picking up where I left off. If all else fails, I’ll start reading the novel from the start to get back into it.

What advice would you give writers still working to make their publishing dreams a reality?

“You never fail until you stop trying.” – Albert Einstein

Don’t feel disheartened if your current book doesn’t sell. Writing is a process. We learn, we grow, we constantly improve our craft. Rejection is just part of the process. It doesn't mean failure.

There is no failure in the path to publication unless you give up trying. No matter how many books it takes, if you truly love writing, you’re still doing something you enjoy, regardless of the outcome. As long as you keep trying and growing as an artist, you’ll get there. You just need to believe in yourself.

What are you reading now?

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and The Diviners by Libba Bray (See? More than one even when reading).

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

I’ve spent many an hour pondering and debating this question. I’ve always said it would be to fly. That would be so amazing. But after the last couple of years, I think I’d want to be like Quicksilver. He moves so fast that it’s almost like he’s walking through a still photo. Just imagine how many books I could complete and still have time to catch up on Game of Thrones (seriously people, no spoilers. I’m way behind).

Congrats on the launch of Secrets of a Reluctant Princess. I can't wait to get my hands on it! And thanks so much for stopping by Thinking to Inking!

Thank you so much! I hope you like it :-)

About Secrets of a Reluctant Princess:
Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

At Beverly Hills High, you have to be ruthless to survive…

Adrianna Bottom always wanted to be liked. But this wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. Now, she’s in the spotlight…and out of her geeky comfort zone. She’ll do whatever it takes to turn the rumor mill in her favor—even if it means keeping secrets. So far, it’s working.

Wear the right clothes. Say the right things. Be seen with the right people.

Kevin, the adorable sketch artist who shares her love of all things nerd, isn’t exactly the right people. But that doesn’t stop Adrianna from crushing on him. The only way she can spend time with him is in disguise, as Princess Andy, the masked girl he’s been LARPing with. If he found out who she really was, though, he’d hate her.

The rules have been set. The teams have their players. Game on.

About Casey Griffin:

Casey Griffin can often be found at comic conventions on her days off from her day job, driving 400 ton dump trucks in Northern Alberta, Canada. As a jack of all trades with a resume boasting registered nurse, English teacher, and photographer, books are her true passion. Casey is a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel finalist, and is currently busy writing every moment she can.

One (1) winner will receive a signed copy of Secrets of a Reluctant Princess + a Tiara!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Should You Hire an Editor?

I generally spend just as long editing as I do drafting, so naturally I've wondered from time to time whether it would be worth it to hire a freelance editor. On my last manuscript, I splurged on a first-chapter edit from a talented editor friend of mine, and it was hugely helpful in identifying the weak points.

Here are some points to consider before you hire an editor for your manuscript.

1. Do your prep work before you take the plunge.
To get the most out of your editing experience, you need to make sure your manuscript is in the absolute best shape you can get it before you send a word of it out to an editor. This means resisting the temptation to send it when you're heartily sick of it and just want to write something else (trust me, we've all been there!).

Books & Such Literary Management has a great blog post that covers some other vital preliminary steps.

2. Check compatibility.
As you probably know if you've worked with critique partners in the past, it's important to make sure you mesh well with someone who's giving you notes on your work. Try to talk to past clients of the editor to make sure they were happy with their experience. In addition, most editors will give you a few pages of edits for free—that way you can make sure their edits will work for you before you commit to anything further.

3. Get the most bang for your buck.
Editors' rates vary, but in general you can expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars (and often a lot more than that) for a full, in-depth manuscript critique. If this is a little rich for your blood, you can choose to focus on key parts of your manuscript. For example, if you're not getting a good response from sending the first few chapters to agents, hire an editor to look at them. They'll be able to tell you any immediate turnoffs that might be causing the problem. Many editors will also work on query letters, synopses, and even contest pitches.

4. Going indie? Don't skimp on the editing.
There are many advantages to self-publishing, like complete creative control and the ability to put books out on whatever schedule works best for you. But it's important to remember that you won't have access to professional editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders like you would if you went the traditional publishing route. This makes hiring a top-notch freelance editor a really, really good idea. I have two friends who have built up a huge following by self-publishing books, and both of them consider extensive work with a freelance editor as an essential part of the process.

Have you worked with a freelance editor before? What was your experience?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

TBT: DFW's Footnote Frenzy

In the 90s, David Foster Wallace burst onto the literary scene in his classic bandana and changed the literary landscape in the way Nirvana shifted the music world. One of DFW's classic techniques was to use in-depth footnotes. Their physical space on the page are distinct and should remind writers that we have more tools at our disposal than we realize.