Comp Titles: How to Take the Jam Out of My Jelly Doughnut

April 25, 2017

Is there anything worse than getting a doughnut that doesn’t have enough jelly? It’s one of life’s tragedies, and the struggle is real. If I order a jelly doughnut, then please make sure there’s all sorts of gloppy, oozy jelly in there. So much the better if it dribbles down my chin. Pure. Bliss.

How to take that jam outta my jelly doughtnut? Well…

Tell me that your book has no book comparisons. Continue the blight by insisting you’re breaking “new ground.” Bless your heart. Maybe you are breaking new territory, but I can assure you that someone has done it before you…to some degree…which would be a title comparison.

I don’t ask for title comps for my health. I need them when I’m talking to my sales teams, bookstores, book fairs, basically anyone with a pulse. I. Need. Them. All publishers do, in fact. It’s a part of navigating this nutty biz.

Failure to do your part in providing important info pegs you as a Noob (someone who doesn’t know what they don’t know…and doesn’t care), or plain lazy. It tells me that you aren’t in touch with your competition – and yes, Mrs. Wigglesnort, there is always competition. Worse, is that I won’t take you seriously. If you insist you have zero competition, then I have to wonder about the veracity of your manuscript. It’s a matter of dominoes, and once they start to fall, it’s hard to win the game.

Competition is tough, tough, tough in the lit world, and you’re looking for reasons to engage us, not repel us. Make sure you submit a winning jelly doughnut. Know your competition. Read your competition.

 


Noob Alert

April 24, 2017
Dear Prospective Authors,
Please, please, please refrain from sending me your cover art in your query letters. You need to spend time telling me how amazing your story is, and why I must have it. This kind of thing shows you as being a noob – someone who doesn’t know what they don’t know…and they don’t care.
I avoid noobs.

Happy Launch Day, Kristin Jarvis Adams!

April 4, 2017

Today is the magic day that THE CHICKEN WHO SAVED US is officially launched to the world. Many have actually already read this amazing story and couldn’t put it down. And with good reason. How many stories do we hear about a young man who’s autistic, and instead of adopting the usual puppy or cat, chooses an Araucana chicken to be his best friend?

But it doesn’t stop there. Andrew and Frightful had a bond that surpassed the usual channels of friendship. Frightful was Andrews mouthpiece when he was frightened of a world that was too loud, too fast, too confusing to handle. And when Andrew’s life was hanging by a string, it was Frightful who became the beacon of light for the entire family.

I’ve never laughed and cried and cheered so much during the editing process. I’ve read this manuscript a million times, and I still tear up and giggle like an idiot because, yah, that’s how charming and engaging and visual Kristin’s writing is. This is a story of heroics on so many levels that I found myself wanting to don a cape and paint a red A and F on my forehead.

Here is the press release:

A few words whispered by an autistic boy to a chicken may have ultimately saved his life.

When Kristin Adams heard her eight-year-old son, Andrew, talking to his pet chicken, it was nothing out of the ordinary. Many people with autism have a special ability to relate to animals, and Andrew and the chicken he named Frightful were best friends. But what Andrew said to his chicken one day stunned Adams.

“I think my body is trying to kill me,” he told Frightful.

That confession, from a boy to his chicken, catapulted Andrew’s family and medical community into action: To discover and destroy the unseen monster that was claiming his life—a disease so painful and obscure that his medical team had no idea how to treat it.

 This beautiful, fierce, and refreshingly honest memoir takes readers on a mother’s journey through the complex landscape of modern medicine to discover the healing bond between a boy and Frightful, the chicken who saves them all.

Autism affects 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls, leaving a staggering number of families to navigate this mysterious inner world. Andrew’s incredible relationship with Frightful highlights the current research that demonstrates how significant the human/animal bond is in aiding children and adults with disabilities. Through the love of a chicken and the heroics of doctors worldwide, Andrew developed the will to live and a desire to fight for a life he had never known: a life without pain.

Huge congrats, Kristin. You rock.


How to Make an Editor Weep…

March 25, 2017

Writing is such a solitary endeavor that I think writers tend to forget there’s a big wide literary world out there where competition is the game we all play and excellence is the great equalizer. Some are more excellent than others – but I can assure you there’s one way to be considered part of the “less excellent” group…your grammar.

If you’re going to call yourself a professional at anything, one assumes that you’ve taken great strides to be very good at what you do, right? The art of writing is no different. Oh, I know, with the advent of self-publishing, we’ve witnessed all sorts of crimes against humanity and the English language, because now anyone can be a published author.

But in the world of stuffy editing teams, puffy sales people, grouchy accountants, and submissions committees, authors can’t get away with sounding like they’re missing a crucial element of their craft. I can hear the submissions committees now: “Pricey, how DARE you bring this before us! This author doesn’t know how to use pronouns!”

Case in point; an author has been playing coy with me for a few weeks, telling me their manuscript is the “story of a lifetime.” Yah, yah, heard this song and dance a million times. After telling the author twice that they could pound sand unless they actually provided a book proposal that gives me an idea of what the story entails, I finally received an email promising said book proposal. Hurray, thinks I.

Until they wrote this:

“I’m really excited about all the attention me and my cousin are getting in our town about…”

Oh. The agony. The cruelty. Okay, okay, this may seem like a case of, “Really, Pricey? Aren’t you getting just a bit picky?” I ‘spose. But if the author is this comfortable using improper pronouns in an email – and let’s assume they’re trying to impress me – then how great is their writing? Am I potentially facing huge amounts of time correcting every pronoun debacle, every misspelled word, and God knows whatever else? Editing is onerous enough without having to teach someone the basics of English…and I’m not sure this old-timer has it in me to try.

With schools placing less importance on grammar and composition, I fear our future writers may be doomed…and I’m facing more bottles of “Gray No More” on my locks and more dates with Jim Beam.

I’ve said it for many years, and I’ll keep on bleating it until my teeth fall out; if you’re going to take writing seriously, please learn how to write. Save an editor from mainlining good gin.

Save


Avoid the Cat Ass Trophy…

March 24, 2017


More Publishy Humor…

March 16, 2017

…at the expense of my adorable granddaughter. I’m sure my daughter will send out a hit team to hunt me down. In the meantime, yes, dear author…you need to be edited.

File Mar 16, 4 16 51 PM


Authors Who Rock My Boat: Kristin Jarvis Adams – THE CHICKEN WHO SAVED US

February 23, 2017

front-coverFirst off, I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since November! Where did the time go? Yikes.

Anyhoo, the months have passed by all too quickly, and I’ve been keeping myself off the street by working on this amazing book, THE CHICKEN WHO SAVED US – releases April 4.

I know I’ve mentioned it many times, but being in this business is such an honor because of the many outstanding people I’ve had the luxury of meeting. Kristin Jarvis Adams is just one such person.

I met Kristin at the fabulous Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference in Seattle. We had been trying to make contact, but her pitch sessions didn’t seem to coincide with mine, so I suggested breakfast. Oh, she was so nervous, and I really wanted to reach out and tell her that I’m the last person anyone should be afraid of. I’m fairly benign. Really. But she gulped and dug in. What came out of her mouth riveted me to my seat.

Her son, Andrew, was autistic. Being a teacher in a prior incarnation, I was well-familiar with the challenges of working with autistic kids, and their tough time with communication. If this challenge wasn’t enough, Andrew grew deathly ill, and he and his family were thrown into a decade-long quest to diagnose and find a cure. The only person (thing?) he would confide in was his pet chicken Frightful. To her, he spoke of his secrets and fears.

The long and short of it is that Kristin’s story is one that truly touched my heart. I’ve probably read the manuscript a dozen times or more throughout the production process, and I laughed hysterically and grabbed for my Kleenex box Every. Damn. Time. Yah, it’s that good.

But the message I hope to put across is how my authors humble me. They’ve had experiences drop into their laps that would destroy the souls of mere mortals. And that is why I hold all of my authors in such high esteem. It’s truly an honor to say, “Yah, I published their book.” Happy sigh.

If you find yourself wanting to read a riveting impossible-to-put-down story about a place where heroes wear capes, chickens talk, and miracles happen, then march thee to the nearest bookstore and pre-order THE CHICKEN WHO SAVED US. And if you live in the Seattle area, then be sure to catch many of Kristin’s upcoming appearances. Knowing Kristin is like a warm hug.


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