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.


A Little Writerly/Publishy Humor…

November 18, 2016


“Um…er…who are you?”

November 12, 2016

​Here’s some publishy advice: If you spoke to an editor about your story at a conference, please don’t assume we remember what your book is about. We talk to LOTS of writers every day. Always, always, always include a full synopsis in your query letter, while mentioning that we met.

I just had someone email me a few pages of her work and mentioned that I’d asked her to refine her writing when we met at a writer’s conference. I have no idea what I meant by this without further context…which she failed to provide. No synop, either. Wah.

Help a goil out!


Don’t Let the Errorists Win

September 29, 2016

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Always Act Like a Professional

September 12, 2016

Rejection bites. Everyone knows this. It brings out the the worst in some – and I’ve been privy to those “worst times.” I don’t like having to write rejection letters any more than you like receiving them. But once they’re written, that’s the end of it for me, because, well, I have a ton more queries awaiting my attention.

So it’s irritating to receive an email from someone I rejected, informing me that my analysis and reasons for rejection are all wrong, and that I’m an idiot. And furthermore, the manuscript won TWO awards and many readers said how much they LOVED the story…and oh, there is a publisher who has accepted the work. I’m truly happy it won writing awards and that readers enjoyed reading the manuscript and that the author has a contract offer. If the author has gotten that contract, then why bother fanning it in my nose? This confuses me.

The fact that it didn’t work for me isn’t a declaration of any lack of talent or unworthiness. That ain’t my call. My call is this: Can I sell it? If there are elements that make me feel it would be a tough sell, then I have an obligation to those who work for me to reject it.

And really, what is the benefit of an author sending me (or any other editor) a letter like this? Is it supposed to make me curl up and cry because I missed the boat? Am I supposed to feel chastised because I was too thick-headed to understand the story’s fabulosity? None of these things happen at my end, and this second-grade nyah nyah makes the author look less than professional.

And that’s the crux of this business – any business, really. Always act like a professional. Rejection hurts, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to fire off a “you suck” email after receiving a rejection. In fact, emails like this make me breathe a sigh of relief that I did reject them. Who needs a loose cannon who flips out at rejection? Can you imagine the fireworks over a bad review? Yikes.

Lastly, it’s letters like this that make me want to return to sending out form rejection letters. Many times I do offer reasons as to why something didn’t work for me as a way of offering the author objective insight from someone who’s been selling books for almost 14 years. Perhaps I’ve seen something the author didn’t, and they can look at their writing with fresh eyes. Or…they can get hurt and lash back.

Either way, authors who write out of anger diminish themselves in a way they don’t even understand. This industry is filled with rejection and tough love. If authors don’t learn that one lesson of grace under fire, then their career will be decidedly short and filled with angst.

Pissed off at a rejection? Eat chocolate.


Everybody Needs an Editor…

August 25, 2016

children on wedding menu

I rest my case…


When to Nag – Public Service Announcement

August 19, 2016

Many authors send out their queries and sit to chew their nails. I get that. Done it myself on more than one occasion. “When can I send out a nagmail to the agent/editor?” is the all-consuming question.

Three months. 90 days. That’s the normal waiting period.

Yes, I can hear the screams and groans from here. But there’s a simple reason for this; we’re all inundated. Yours is not the only query/submission we’ve received. We have cyber stacks of them – all awaiting our attention. When you add this to the other jobs that editors and agents perform on a daily basis, then it’s easy to see why it easily takes 90 days (or…gulp…longer) to get through the stack.

And it’s not a matter of simply glossing over them, either. Some queries are easy to figure out that they aren’t right for us…and those can be taken care of quickly. But I have to actually read them first in order to make that determination.

The rest fall into two categories: I Might Be Interested and Totally Interested

Whichever category a query falls into, I take the time to research the subject matter, the author, and the marketing possibilities.When I compound this with the responsibilities I have to my authors, my days/weeks are filled.

So if you’re chewing your nails wondering if/when you’ll hear from those you queried, please remember that our days are stuffed. Instead of watching the clock, start working on your author platform – or improving it. Talk to professionals in your subject matter. Go after blurbs. There are many things you can do to fill the time that will enhance yourself. And these are things an agent or editor of nonfiction will ask for anyway. You become a much more attractive target if you can show how much you’ve done.

So please…give us 90 days. Then send your nagmail. Any sooner, and it makes my teeth itch.


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