elizabethwrites.com : the internet home of
Elizabeth Scott

no, heather, it's heather's turn

Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm happy to say questions have been sent to Alyson Noel, and I will post them and her answers as soon as I get them! Also, congrats to Robby, Melissa, Tiffany, Rachel, Sarah Christine, and Pardox, who had some of their questions sent to Alyson!

And you know me--just a few quick links:

The discussion about agents, editors, and auctions continued, with editor Cheryl Klein responding to agent Michael Bourret's response to her original post (links to all those posts in yesterday's blog entry) here. Michael Bourrett then responded to her response here

Agent Nathan Bransford has a nice summary of everything that's happened here and also talks very frankly about publishing time--"As anyone even remotely connected with the book world knows: things take forever in publishing. The industry works according to its own speed, and it's a speed that people in other industries tend to find equal parts bewildering and maddening." (And he's right--the only other place I've seen move as slowly as publishing can is at universities)

And not publishing related at all, but I couldn't NOT mention this one:
What's your damage, Heather?
-- A tv show? Really? REALLY?

paperback of Living Dead Girl!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yesterday, I got a copy of the soon-to-be released paperback of Living Dead Girl in the mail and I knew the paperback cover was gorgeous, but seeing it--really seeing it, as in holding it--WOW. I think it's the best cover I've ever had, and I have truly been blessed by the cover gods. Here's a shot of the cover:

And aside from the gorgeous cover, I'm thrilled to say the paperback will only cost 8.99! YAY all around!!

I will be going through all the questions you had for Alyson Noel today and will get in touch with those whose questions got picked as soon as I can!

And, of course, I have links. What can I say--the blogosphere has been full of fascinating stuff this week!!

Editor Cheryl Klein asks agents to think about auctions and how hard they can be for an editor

So far, two agents have responded with their thoughts about auctions:
Michael Bourret of Dystel & Goderich responds directly here and then agent Kristin Nelson talks about auctions here

Meg Cabot has a great essay up at Seventeen about writing and rejection

Pimp My Novel writes about Borders' ongoing financial problems--this is a big deal, not just for book buyers, who may face loosing their only area bookstore (sadly, with so many independents having to close their doors, all that's left in many places are chain bookstores) but for authors and the entire publishing industry because the loss of Borders would mean that there would only be one national chain left in the US. And I can pretty much guarantee one thing will absolutely happen if Borders closes: fewer books will be published, simply because there will be so many fewer bookstores out there.

Author Patti O'Shea captures the joy of being a writer very well in her blog entry here -- "'d hate to lose my imagination even more. I love the what ifs. I love the stories in my head that keep me entertained when I'm stuck in a boring situation. And I can't imagine (ha!) not having the voices in my head. How empty would that feel?" (I think it would feel pretty empty indeed. At least, I know it would for me.)

Charming post about how one writer got her dream agent

Author Stephanie Burgis writes about finding her way into a novel

Fascinating interview with long-time agent Georges Borchardt at Poets & Writers magazine

still don't get the Don thing. and links!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I finished s1 of Mad Men and you know, I still don't like Don Draper. I actually like Pete better and I know that's pretty much tantamount to heresy. But there you have it. And I LOVE Peggy even more now than I did when I first started watching. Betty too. I'm starting s2 today, so maybe I'll finally start to get the Draper appeal????

Moving on to links:

Tess Gerritsen on writing through distractions -- "So for those writers who are feeling guilty that they aren't writing because life has overwhelmed them, I absolve you of that guilt. Sometimes it truly is impossible to write."

Looks like there's going to be a US version of Skins. I want to be hopeful but how can anything match the brilliance that was s1 and 2 of the original? (Sid! Cassie! Sid and Cassie!)

Editorial Ass offers Robert the Publisher's Gem of the Day

Nicola Morgan on being nice

Agent Rachelle Gardner points out that for every book someone thinks is awful, there's at least one or two or sometimes millions of people who don't. "The more you stress about other people's awful books getting published, the less energy you'll have to write your own books."

What about working on more than one novel/play/etc. at a time? Janice Hardy looks at Juggling Acts

Great post from agent Nathan Bransford on how books get published -- covers the whole process from start to finish. If you want to be published, you need to read this.

Teens' Top Ten Voting Has Started!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

If you're a teen, voting for YALSA's 2009 Teens Top Ten has started, and you can vote here! I'm thrilled to say that Living Dead Girl is a nominee, along with so many other amazing books and if you can vote, please do!!

I also have some links to share:

Pimp My Novel on earning out

Nathan Bransford shares his email stats--note these are just emails he's *sent.* I can't even imagine how many he must get.

Agent Rachelle Gardner on myths vs. facts of publishing

Really interesting post about "the writing process" -- "By now, you’re getting the message that not only is there not one “right” way to write a book in a general sense, but that even for one particular author, there may not be a “right” way."

The Swivet points out something really important, and something that's very easy to forget--agents have lives too

what would YOU like to ask Alyson Noel?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Alyson Noel, the bestselling author of The Immortals Series, as well as other amazing novels like Kiss and Blog and Faking 19, has agreed to let me interview her. YAY! (And yes, for those of you wondering, there will be a nice prize given away during the interview, but we'll get to that later)

Right now, what I want to know is what would YOU like to ask Alyson Noel? Please leave your question or questions by midnight EST this Wednesday, August 26th. Then I'll go through and pick the question or questions I like best and send them off to Alyson along with a few of my own.

And what if you ask a question or questions that I pick? Well, you'll win a free paperback novel or ARC! Featured authors included Ellen Hopkins, Hailey Abbott, P.C. and Kristin Cast, L.J. Smith, and more!

So think about what you'd like to ask Alyson Noel and let me know--not only could your question get answered--you could win a free book!

Also, congrats to Jennifer, winner of last week's Wait and Win contest, and I've got a couple of links to share:

A great guide to trouble spots in book contracts

Over in the UK, interesting reading about the most donated books to the Oxfam charity stores. -- be sure to check out the very interesting list of the most valuable donated books at the end just to see what rarities people will give away...

okay, I don't get the Don Draper thing.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I've started watching Mad Men. Why? Well, for a while it seemed like everyone on Twitter had these little Mad Men icons and I guess it got to me b/c I ended up pushing s1 to the top of my Netflix list.

Anyway. I'm totally loving Peggy, but I'm not feeling the Don Draper love. Like, not at all. Does something happen in later eps of s1 that make you crazy for him? (I feel sort of guilty for saying all this, like there's some sort of unwritten Don Draper law I've broken!)

So there is my current dilemma, and perhaps I can ponder it while I wait in line when I go to the post office (is there never NOT a line at the post office?)

Which reminds me--don't forget to enter the Wait and Win contest!!

Before I head off to wait and ponder what I'm not getting about Don Draper, let me toss out some links:

Editoral Ass on agents and follow-up -- "...if an agent doesn't follow up about a manuscript there is a 9/10 chance we're not going to read it (certainly not going to buy it).

When an agent doesn't follow up, they're demonstrating a number of things, the foremost being that they don't EXPECT the book to sell.

Lynn Viehl, who is the only NYT bestselling author I know of to ever openly talk about (and post!) her royalty statements, tackles talking to people who want to write a novel -- one thing I really admire about her is that she is very, very honest. Sometimes brutally so, but I think that's what makes her posts about publishing and wanting to write so worth reading.

Agent Rachelle Gardner has a very encouraging post about writing and selling even though the economy is still rocky -- "My point is, even though the economy has been making a lot of people miserable for quite awhile now, business is still being done and publishing continues. Yes, it's changing, but that's true of our world at large, not just publishing. Yes, times have been rough, but we're weathering it."

Wait and Win, or contest time!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I was stuck in traffic for quite a while yesterday morning and then again in the evening and it got me thinking about what people do to pass the time when they're waiting for something or someone. I like to read, although not while driving! Driving is when I tend to bellow along to whatever cd I'm listening to (I never did upgrade to an ipod for my car. Just call me DinoElizabeth!) or think about what I'm writing or would like to be writing.

And what does all this lead to?

A contest, of course! (I even have a name for it--Wait and Win!)

Tell me what YOU like to do when you're stuck waiting--do you read, send texts, deal with homework, listen to music, or watch videos/tv/movies? You tell me what you do when you're waiting for someone or something by midnight EST tomorrow, August 21st, and then I'll pick one name at random and that person will win *three* books: Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols, Fairest Of Them All by Jan Blazanin, and Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph!

So remember, leave your comment by midnight EST tomorrow and you could win all three books! (And yes, this contest is open to anyone, even those living overseas)

And you know me--I have links to share too:

Check out this blog post on planning a series -- the author, Joshua Palmatier, is a "pantser" or a writer who tends to work without an outline, and how he makes this work when he writes series novels is super interesting.

Super advice from Kate Elliott at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Novelists' blog on Field of Vision -- "Be aware of what is going on in the genre."

A pdf about how people in the publishing industry including editors, salespeople, agents, and writers use twitter--there's even sections on booksellers and bloggers! (as a heads up, there is an ad for a "tweet camp" but it's at the end)

Thoughtful and thought-provking post on "writing popular"

Nicola Morgan on how to make a publisher say yes
-- ""How to make a publisher say yes" is not the best question.
The best question is "why do publishers usually say no?""
A long post, but a great one and very much worth reading.

Don't forget, you have until midnight EST tomorrow night, the 21st, to enter the Wait and Win Contest!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thanks so much for all the suggestions about lotions/creams/potions (heh) for very dry skin--I'm going to be making a list and hitting the stores! That is, if I can stop making horrible bread dough. I've made a batch a day for the last three days and every. single. day. it hasn't risen.

I love baking but making dough is the hardest thing (at least for me). People are always talking about how "scientific" baking is and all that but basically it's just making sure you follow the recipe or, if you play around with one, you think about keeping the form (sheet cookies can be turned into round cakes pretty easy. bundt cakes? not so much. remember that disaster?)

But making bread is some sort of exercise in....something. Right now, I'm saying annoyance. Maybe tomorrow I'll say patience. But right now, here's hoping today's batch actually rises. (My mother, who actual was a research scientist before she started teaching, loves baking too but to this day will not make bread because she has the same problems with it I do. Hmmm...hereditary????)

All right, enough bread talk. (But you know, if you want to think good thoughts for me and today's dough, I'll take 'em!!)


Interesting post from Editorial Ass about publishing US books in Australia and New Zealand--though it looks like there are loopholes in the thirty day rule (check the comments), they do come w/ their own set of problems: "Once that window has passed, we can still buy the rights, but it's a riskier proposition because booksellers are then allowed to import and sell any US/UK/etc edition they choose in preference to the Australian edition."

The importance of tightening your manuscript -- has tips on how to do this as well.

got any tips?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Okay, it's August, and my skin is so dry I'm starting to look like a lizard (although my hair still isn't frizzy--yay!)

Does anyone else out there have seriously dry skin, and if so, got any moisturizers to recommend? Preferably one that's unscented as me and the flower/plant scents don't get along that well as my dumb body thinks "argh! we're being attacked! better send out the hives now. no, NOW!!!"

So yes, dry skin saver suggestions most welcome!

And you know I've got links to share:

Author Carrie Ryan on the difficulty of starting and how long it can take from idea to publication (and it can take a while--Love You Hate You Miss You was published five--yes, FIVE years after I wrote it (and four after I sold it))

Another blog post on the pros and cons of hiring a freelance editor

Fabulous post about how to act at your book launch party

Rachel Aaron has a super little post about the importance of things like backing up your work (it is. it SO is!) and "remembering that writing is not a performance art"

Also! Congrats to the winners of the box of books/13 reasons contest--adriennelizbth08

I'll be running another contest this week (and yep, this one will be open to everyone--even those who don't have a US mailing addy!)--so stay tuned...

some reading for you (and reading for me!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

WOW! The number of entries for the 13 reasons/box of books contest--I'm impressed!! I also have a lot of reading to do and I must say, I'm looking forward to it :-)

And while I read (I'll announce the winner on Monday) here are some things for you to read:

Stick It
-- a great little blog entry on creativity, burnout, and the balance of keeping it all going

The Intern has another great post up about Truth And Stuff--"One thing that consistently alarms INTERN is that people hear the maxim "write what you know" and take it to mean "write about things that happened to you." This phenomenon probably accounts for 80% of slush-pile lifers."

How NOT to impress a publisher (I can't believe people have actually done stuff like this!!!)

Social networking in only 15 minutes a day -- Some interesting ideas in here, although I don't know of any author (except for those who keep their online presence to a minimum) who can get all their social networking stuff done in fifteen minutes. (If there are any active online authors who do manage to do it all in fifteen minutes, feel free to chime in with how you do it!)

(hugs internet) plus links and last day to give me your thirteen reasons!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I went away for a few days, and I only had internet access via dial-up. It was PAINFUL. Thank goodness I actually had written Monday's blog entry before I left because the one time I sat through the modem clicking and chirping and waited and waited (and waited) to get online, it took me an HOUR AND A HALF to get online, get into Twitter and post two tweets.

An hour and a half! It reminded me why I wanted such a simple look for my website, that's for sure--because not everyone has access to a very fast internet connection. (And you can bet I came back with a renewed appreciation for our connection--pages load in seconds, not hours! I can sign on to something and don't have to go read a book for thirty minutes while I wait for the page to load!)

Anyway, for those of you still out there on dial-up, you have my respect.

Before I move on to the links, I just wanted to remind everyone that you have until midnight EST *tonight* to enter the thirteen reasons contest

And now, links!

A Writers Digest article about plausibility

Maggie Steifvater has a truly great blog post on how to write a novel --this one is going into the list of links I send out when people write to me asking about writing

What makes a successful author website?

Nathan Bransford on the myth of "just an author"

An insider's look at children's (including YA) sales--a look at what's hot, average advances, and the difference between MG and YA

An interesting blog post about poker players and the stages of a writer (!)

Amusing post about formatting and ending a story

Things that DON'T help your query letter: part one and part two

Laurie Halse Anderson wants to know how many days a week you write, how you find time to write, and all about distractions

Editorial Ass on why you need to turn your draft/revisions/edits/proofs in on time

Finally, I have a fan site! (!!!) I'm so surprised--and touched--that this happened--so a huge thank you to Katy, who created and runs the site, and if you get a chance, drop by--I'll be checking in and answering questions and generally being amazed. Because a fan site!!!

what do 13 and a box of books have in common? keep reading and find out!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I think it's time for another contest (what? I can't help it--I love them!) and so this week I'm giving away a box full of hardcovers, paperbacks, and ARCs to one lucky winner--and I bet from the book on the top of the box, you might have an idea of what the contest is...**

That's right! I want thirteen reasons why you'd like to have these books. I'll be extra impressed if you can start each of the thirteen reasons with a different letter of the alphabet (either A-M or Z-N, if you want to be really daring!)

Leave your thirteen reasons by midnight EST this Thursday, August 13th (you know I had to pick that date!!) and then I'll pick my favorite list of reasons and that person will get all the books! And because there are so many books, this contest is only open to people who have a US mailing addy.

Can't wait to read your thirteen reasons!!!

**for feeds that strip pictures out, you can see the picture here: http://elizabethwrites.com/blog/uploaded_images/boxobooks-791603.jpg

and the links just keep coming...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

I don't know what's in the blogosphere (that's a word, right?) air this week, but I sure do like it--it has been a gold mine for awesome links. Like these...

Pimp My Novel wants to know what genres and book sales related info you'd like to see

Author Shanna Swendson has some thoughtful advice about time management and writing

Dystel & Goderich Literary Management on the importance of meeting your deadlines --"As we’ve all been telling clients over the last year, now is not the time to take for granted that you’ll retain your publisher’s goodwill if you can’t fulfill your obligations. Deliver on time, and if you’re concerned that you won’t be able to, talk to your agent right away so that we can try to work out an extension for you before you’re in breach."

Regina Milton guest blogs over at agent Nathan Bransford's blog on The Unsung Villains of Writing

Agent Rachelle Gardner points out that rejection isn't any fun for agents either

Editorial Anonymous puts the smackdown on unproven marketing ideas -- "You must understand that every debut novelist and writer of any sort has a catalog of ideas about what might be done to promote their special book....It can be easy to think that the equation should be as simple as "I have ideas, publishers have money". Doesn't your publisher want to invest in your book? Yes, your publisher does. But not in any way that might prove a complete waste of money, because people get fired over stuff like that." This one is a must read.

Okay and now I'm off to (UGH) get my car inspected. Fun times, right????

you asked about The Unwritten Rule plus links

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

First, you all = THE BEST EVER! Thank you so much for all your emails about The Unwritten Rule--I'm glad you're excited about it (I am too!)

I don't have Simon Pulse's copy for the book yet, but I can tell you this:

The Unwritten Rule is a story about a girl, Sarah, who falls for her best friend's boyfriend. As you can probably guess, things get really complicated really fast and The Unwritten Rule is about friendship and family and love and the agony of breaking that unwritten rule about falling for your friends' boyfriends (especially you best friend's boyfriend!) (and of course, now you know how I got the title too!)

The Unwritten Rule will be in stores on April 6th, and there *will* be an excerpt from it in the paperback edition of Something, Maybe, which comes out on March 9th.

And because I had it up before, but took it down when the cover came up (because the cover is so pretty, and a HUGE thank you to Simon Pulse for creating something so lovely), here's a little bit from the book:

I liked him first, but it doesn't matter.

I still like him.

That doesn't matter either.

Or at least, it's not supposed to.

And now moving on to links:

Pimp My Novel's Twelve Easy Steps--a breakdown of what to do and what may happen once you finish your novel--I think the most important step of all is the last one, which is to start work on your next novel as soon as you can. I wrote three novels before I started looking for representation and it really paid off because I was lucky enough to sell all three and I ended up with a fairly large chunk of time (a couple of years, in fact!) to write more books.

Agent Jessica Faust on the reality of royalties -- make sure you read the comments too, because there is some great stuff there.

Although the Twilight series hasn't sold more books than the Harry Potter series, it's now been on the bestseller list longer

Over at Nathan Bransford's blog, author Lauren Baratz-Logsted guest blogs about blurbs--great information about why blurbs are important (they might not matter too much to book buyers, but they do to publishers, who can use a good blurb to help sell your book to stores)

Editorial Ass on the reality of print runs -- Basically, 99% of the time when you see something like, "100,000 copy first print run!" take that number and divide it in half. Why does this happen? Because listing a large first print run indicates that the publisher thinks the book in question is going to be HUGE. (For best-selling authors, the noted print runs are usually correct--it's the enormous ones for a first-time author or potential break-out author that are usually inflated as a way of saying "This book is really important to us and we think it's going to be a best-seller!")

Agent Jenny Bent on contracts and option/next work clauses

Agent Rachelle Gardner on the importance of craft *and* story

Author John Scalzi on the other stuff--or the things writers have to do besides write and how he tries to fit it in. "In any event, the point is, yes, as time goes on, “the other stuff” of writing does end up taking a fair amount of your time. It’s important to recognize that if unchecked, it’ll go ahead and eat up all your time, leaving you very little time to do, you know, writing. So be prepared to deal with it."

I think the title of T. A. Pratt's blog post says it all What To Do When The Sky Is Falling -- I think it's very easy to assume that once you're published, you'll find it easy to sell more books and ta da! you're set for life. That's really not the case at all. Every author I know worries about something writing/publishing related, and just about every author I know has written something and had it turned down *after* they were published.

Finally, the fabulous Cynthia Leitich Smith interviews me about Something, Maybe and Love You Hate You Miss You over at Cynsasations. -- I was thrilled to be interviewed by her last year and am honored that she wanted to do so again.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

This is going to be one long week--I woke up this morning thinking it was Thursday. (!) On the plus side, however, Lisa McMann, all-around fabulous person and author of the NYT Bestesllers WAKE and FADE has a *free* story from Cabel's POV. ooooh!


Laura Zeises on how her new novel, The Sweet Life of Stella Madison, got her writing again--I especially love the part called "How Stella Gave Me My Groove Back"

A.S. King on hitting writing bumps--funny (the bits about her reactions to internet writing tips are hilarious!) and really inspiring.

A great post from agent Ethan Ellenberg about royalties

Editorial Ass on the importance of knowing what category your book is--"Know going in EXACTLY which shelf your book will be sold on in your neighborhood indie, BNN, or Borders. If the shelf is unclear to you, you're going to need to reshape your project--perhaps not much, but definitely a little.

Here, as elsewhere, I'm not claiming the system is perfect. But stock buyers (here I mean the bookstore owners and corporate buyers, not customers) at the major chains and at many large indies buy by subject. That means that the sales rep from your publishing company needs to talk to one specific designated subject buyer, and convince that one person that your book is worth the precious space in their section and budget. This is why subject-ambiguous books often do not succeed. It is very, very difficult to even sell them into stores."

my hair isn't frizzy. (I know. I'm not sure I believe it either.)

Monday, August 03, 2009

I finally broke down and got the Brazilian Blow-Out thing done for my hair. I admit, I was a little skeptical (having tried every frizz-reducing tonic, cream, lotion, etc. out there and NEVER seeing any results tends to make you a skeptic) but it totally worked. It supposedly lasts about three to four months and I intend to fully enjoy it for as long as it lasts. Because look:

Before (aka my hair as it always looks, or "hey, I see this blond puff thing about a mile away--it must be Elizabeth!"):


And so this post isn't ALL about me: congrats to Cindy, who won last week's contest!

Also, thanks to all the authors who chimed in about the differences between ARCs and finished books