November 23, 2018– I remember it like it was yesterday. I was having a lunch meeting with an up and coming author that I was about to sign on to my publishing house, when the waitress stopped by our table, “How is everything? What are you guys working on?”
I said, “We are discussing his book.” The waitress said, “Oh wow! Tell me about it!” That’s when things went to hell in a handbag.
The author then proceeded to tell the waitress almost every damn thing about his book from the complexity of the characters to the interwoven plot that had several twists and turns and was going to be a series. I watched politely as the waitress’ eyes glazed over and the potential author hammered the last nail into the coffin of his would be deal. He kept blabbing and going around in circles trying to prove to the waitress and perhaps to me that he was some kind of literary genius that was only resurrected once in a lifetime. It was way too much and the deal died that day on the spot. The meeting dragged on as he continued to talk about his work and I was grateful when it was finally over.
He was a good enough writer, but he definitely lacked the thing that most authors do…the conciseness of a perfectly perfected elevator pitch. After all, if this author said all this to a waitress, I was willing to bet the business that he would be even worse with prospective readers! Don’t make the same mistake that he did, when someone asks about your book, tell them about it in 1-2 sentences. Here’s what you need to know:
Keep it short and sweet.
Don’t forget the hook.
That’s it. It’s that easy. No more and no less. If someone were to ask me about my middle-grade novel, The Old Farmer’s Treasure in the elevator up to the sixth floor of Tiffany’s here’s what I would say, ” Imagine that you’re thirteen years old and you’ve found a deadly secret that your family has been hiding for years. You can have riches beyond your wildest dreams; all you have to do is follow the clues in a life-threatening race against time.” Short, sweet, and hooked. I guarantee if you follow those rules, that people will want to know more. That’s when you can expand on the information that you give them, not too much, but just enough.
Practice your elevator pitch for your book, you never know when you’ll be stuck inside with a reader or someone who can change your fate.
September 17, 2018– Middle-grade scripts are what I’m always looking for! There seems to be an infinite black hole in my line-up of offerings for this age group. My middle-grade submissions never close, so if you’re an MG writer, please submit! You can submit your query and one-page synopsis to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, let’s get inside the minds of our middle-grades, shall we? What is an MG reader? It’s a child between the ages of 8-12, and they seem to live in a world of conflict.
Middle-graders love their families, and they are fiercely loyal to them, but at the same time, they crave independence.
They want to fit in with friends and social groups at school, but they also want to be defined as unique, individual, and special.
They want to grow up, make choices, flex their independence, but they also want to be a kid, be safe, and are emotionally not mature enough to make tough decisions when faced with them.
At this age, MG’s are finding their place in the world and getting their feet wet in different situations; they don’t want to completely abandon their childhood, but they don’t want to be treated as kids all the time either. It’s truly a tough spot to be in, not only for them but also, in relating to them as a writer!
Here’s what you need to know to be a successful MG writer:
Tweens are focused on themselves, but they’re also focused on how others see them. Peer opinions are super important to them.
Heroes and parents aren’t perfect anymore. MG’s are starting to see them as humans with flaws and all.
Things are complex at this time in their lives, and they may be experiencing things for the first time in their lives, e.g., first kiss, first time they’ve been grounded, first time they’ve been in trouble at school, first fight with parents, etc.
If there is romance, make it innocent. Crushes are fine but don’t go too far beyond this.
To echo the above point, keep it PG and don’t go all the way to Young Adult writing with edgy themes and romantic scenes. There is a very LARGE line in the sand on this one. Keep it clean because the edgier you make your novel, the less chance it has to enter school libraries and conservative households.
June 25, 2018-The most important thing a writer can be other than creative is credible. This graph explains the limit of the human body which is essential stuff if you’re writing your character into a sticky situation!
Credibility is crucial because as soon as your reader calls bullshit on what you’ve written you’ve lost them and they’ll put your book down possibly to never pick it up again. It’s different if you’re writing fantasy and building your own world. However, if you’re writing in this one, here’s what you need to know about the limits of the human body.
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