Writer’s Digest just published my second article in their magazine, which reaches about 70,000 subscribers across the country.
The article appears in their regular IndieLab column that follows trends in the self-publishing business. It focuses on my experience creating successful media kits for The Black Lens novel:
“Indie authors often spend more time publishing their book than they do promoting it. But if you want to sell copies to more than just family and friends, you must rely on others to spread the word. One of the easiest—and cheapest—ways to do that is by creating a media kit.”
Writer’s Digest published my first article last year about how to craft the perfect media pitch. Since Boyle & Dalton released my debut novel in 2016, I have successfully pitched The Black Lens to more than a dozen news media outlets like these:
“The grim reality of modern-day slavery in America.”
— Kirkus Reviews Magazine
“The Black Lens is clearly the work of a journalist. It exists to inform and disrupt, and it succeeds.”
— Columbus Underground
“A work of fiction. A world of truths.”
“Will go a long way in giving a voice to victims and helping raise awareness of sex trafficking in rural America.”
— The Columbus Dispatch
“The Black Lens reminds us that human trafficking, sex slavery and exploitation are real. For many young people in Central Oregon, the world of sex trafficking is non-fiction.”
— The Source Weekly“
All Sides is a two-hour, daily public-affairs talk show designed to touch upon all sides of the issues and events that shape life in Central Ohio. This interview focused on my work as a board member of She Has A Name educating men arrested for soliciting sex through an innovative “John School” program.
Ann Fisher interviewed myself and two other abolitionists from the local anti-trafficking community: Jennifer Knight, acting deputy chief of the Columbus Division of Police, and Hannah Estabrook, coordinator of the Franklin County Municipal Court CATCH program for survivors. We discussed ways the Central Ohio community is fighting human trafficking by reducing the demand for paid sex.
Listen to the full show here.
This unique literary contest seeks book manuscripts with cinematic adaptation potential. Literary agents from The Gersh Agency, United Talent Agency and 3 Arts Entertainment selected 100 quarterfinalists from over 1,200 submissions.
While Real Girl did not advance to the next round, I am really encouraged that my still unpublished science fiction thriller even made it into their top 10 percent of books. It also reiterates this feedback I received from a professional developmental editor through Writer’s Digest:
“This is one of the best unpublished manuscripts I have ever read,” the editor wrote. “It also has strong movie/tv potential and should be pitched to movie agents as well as book agents. The strong vision of a coherent future world that is interesting and unique, coupled with enormous heart and emotional impact, could make this an attractive media project.”
Now that I’m done incorporating feedback from that editor, I’m going to start pitching my new book to literary agents in hopes that one wants to represent me to a traditional publisher.
I just received some of the most encouraging feedback yet on my new novel, Real Girl.
Literary agent Paula Munier reviewed my query letter and first chapter as part of the Writer’s Digest University Literary Agent Boot Camp. Paula provided some excellent edits, along with this overall assessment of my science fiction thriller about a lifelike robot who tries to escape from an augmented reality competition where people can hunt and kill her for sport:
“I have every confidence you will find representation,” Paula wrote. “This was a fun and easy read. There’s a lot to recommend this: a likable heroine in Evaline, intriguing world-building, an interesting cast of characters, a well-drawn setting, cool technology, good action, and the promise of more to come. You have a good grasp of the elements of fiction. You know what you are doing, and it shows.”
Last year, I also received some powerful feedback from a professional developmental editor with Writer’s Digest 2nd Draft critique service. The editor assessed my full manuscript, which he described as “Ex Machina/Blade Runner atmospheric science fiction with a Pygmalion twist.”
“This is one of the best unpublished manuscripts I have ever read,” the editor wrote. “This is a science-fiction novel with a lot of heart in addition to the action. It has a strong female character and a man who becomes a better person as a result of his relationship with her—even though she isn’t a ‘real girl.’ This should appeal to everyone who enjoyed Ready Player One plus those who enjoy a coherent future world populated with empathetic and realistic characters.”
Once I finish incorporating the feedback from that editor, I will start pitching literary agents to represent me to a traditional publisher. This has been such a long but fun process. Thanks for all of your support and encouragement along the way!
This summer, I climbed two 14,000-foot mountains in Colorado with my longtime friend and fellow writer Jon Anderegg.
While hiking Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, I discovered several similarities between what my feet were doing on the trail and what my hands do each day on the keyboard. I hope this post encourages any author who has decided to embark on this long journey we call writing.
1. Don’t do it alone: While you could hike 14,000 feet by yourself, it can be dangerous (and boring). Jon and I spent more than a dozen hours together climbing both mountains, giving us time for good conversation. Similarly, an author could finish a manuscript without any support, but having a community of writers to edit and encourage you along the way makes a major difference.
2. Take one step at a time: There is no shortcut to hiking 14,000 feet or writing at least 70,000 words. At the end of the day, the only way a hiker summits that peak or a writer finishes that ending is by one step and word at a time. You can’t write or hike by sprinting. It’s more like training for a marathon. You must put in your time, step by step, word by word, until the end.
3. Enjoy the journey: It took me about five years to publish my first novel, and it’s taken me more than two years to finish my second book. So many times I wanted to give up, but the joy of the journey kept me going. Developing a world, creating a character, finding that perfect word—that’s what makes this all worth it. Hiking is similar. Despite the pre-dawn mornings and pain in your legs, you have to be able to marvel at the wildflowers along the way.
If not, you’ll never reach that summit and see the other mountains just waiting for you to explore.
I just received an official acceptance letter to Futurescapes, a highly competitive, intensive and exclusive writing workshop of Utah Valley University.
Students are selected based on the extraordinary merit of their writing—and I was only one of a handful to make the first cut. During the conference, I will be working with three faculty mentors on the first 3,000 words of my new novel, while receiving substantive feedback on the overall structure of my query letter, synopsis and story.
This unique workshop takes place from Feb. 16-18 in Utah. It gives writers an unparalleled chance to work with top authors and agents in speculative fiction, which includes science fiction, horror, fantasy and paranormal. Editors and agents at Futurescapes have represented masters like Neil Gaiman, N.K. Jemisin, Elizabeth Hand, Greg Bear, Michael Swanwick, Scott Lynch and William Gibson. Between them, the faculty have dozens of literary nominations and awards (Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, World Fantasy, Stoker, Edgar, Sturgeon and Locus Awards, among others).
Futurescapes began in 2016. It trains new generations of speculative fiction authors to respect the social imperative of this literature of ideas, to harness their vision to anticipate future social problems, to fund applied research into innovative approaches to public problems, and connect civic innovators and speculative imagineers.
Learn more at http://www.futurescapes.ink.