What Now?

I cannot believe the Philadelphia Writer’s Workshop is a week from Saturday.  That’s next week!  Not only do I still have to iron out childcare for Friday, not to mention I have no idea how long it takes to get to Philly from Rochester (5 hours maybe?), but the biggest thing is my book is not done.

I can hear a collective but resigned groan coming from you (or maybe that’s just me).

Yes, yes, my masterpiece is not complete yet.  Surprise, surprise.  So what now?

I go anyway.  No brainer there.  The challenge is what do I do at my pitch sessions?  I have three pitch sessions lined up and I have no completed novel to pitch.  Even Hell High (which I shelved for the time being) needs major edits (or if I’m being honest with myself an entire re-write) to get it anywhere near publishing shape (or querying shape, or in any shape for any poor soul other than myself to read).

shit creek

That about sums it up.

My pitch sessions are with John Willig of Literary Services, Inc., Eric Smith of P.S. Literary and MacKenzie Brady of New Leaf Literary and Media.  Each of these agents specialize in different types of literature. I’m especially excited to meet with John Willig, who represents historical fiction, because that’s the genre I’m working in now (at least that’s the genre title I’d use).  Eric Smith just seems like a cool guy, and he has experience writing and representing YA lit (where Hell High would land if I ever finished it).  MacKenzie Brady I chose because she seemed affable and she represents upmarket commercial/literary adult projects – which I think conceivably my current project would fit into, but she also likes memoirs, lost histories and “projects with a strong narrative and a female bend,” which I also think my current work could conceivably fall into.

I have little to arm myself with – I have my chapter beats and outline for my new project, and I have a manuscript for Hell High, and that’s about it.  I think I’ll approach my meetings less like pitch sessions and more like, well, “meetings.”  As in a change to “meet” and connect with these agents, pick their brains a bit, throw out a bit about my concept and see the kind of reaction I get, and hopefully (cross my fingers), get some good advice specific to my project, and if I’m really, really, lucky (and charming, witty and articulate) – an offer to see my work once it’s completed.

So I’m looking on the bright side with the meetings and I’m hoping they are productive if nothing else.

bright side

Put a bird on it.

Even though I’m fairly ill prepared, I am super excited.  I can’t wait, and I hope I learn some valuable stuff in both the workshop itself and during my “meetings.”

Writer’s Conference

Writers Conf


For some reason I feel like this should be in all caps, WRITER’S CONFERENCE.  I will be attending a WRITER’S CONFERENCE.  Add inflated sense of self-importance and extreme trepidation here.  I’m going to the Philadelphia Writing Workshop on April 9, 2016.  Not only am I attending the one day workshop, but I’ve gone ahead and signed on for three 10 minute pitch sessions with agents.  It’s an extra (read: it costs more), but I think it’s worth it.  At least I *hope* it’s worth it.  Ten minutes with an agent will set me back $29 per agent.  In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve signed up for three pitch sessions.

Did I let the fact that I don’t actually have a book to publish slow me down?  Not at all.  I’m taking the ridiculously optimistic point of view that my manuscript will be done by then.  After all, working to a deadline is a great motivator.  Right?  RIGHT???


So, with no book to publish, why am I going (you may be asking).  Well there are a few reasons:

1) The program actually sounds informative.  Classes include, “Your Publishing Options Today,” “Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Queries & Pitching” and “Writers’ Got Talent: A Chapter One Critique-Fest.”  These sound like classes I can benefit from attending/

2) Writers – real, published, successful writers – meet their agents at conferences.  The one that jumps to mind is  Veronica Roth.  I’m sure there’s others – but let’s face it – if Veronica Roth did it, it’s probably worth trying.

3) Because querying sucks.  Feel free to read my other blog posts about my epic fails in querying.  I was going to link to them here, here and here, but once I got started reading my old blog posts, I forgot how much I loved them, and then I re-read them, and then I realized I was trying to finish this blog post, so I had to stop.  So by all means – go read my old blog posts about my failure (okay – it’s really FAILURES at querying).  But I digress.


3) continued – yeah, so it’s official that I suck at querying – but maybe (please LORD) I’m better in person.  At the very least, you can’t send me to the SLUSH PILE when I’m sitting in front of you.  At least I hope you can’t.  I wonder if they have a button with a hole in the floor that ejects people with bad pitches into garbage dumpsters….

star wars

I’m Princess Leia! Jinx! You can be Luke. Sucka.

Long story long, I think it could be really good for me to go, so I’m gonna go!  Yeah me!  Now I just gotta write a book between now and April.

#AmWriting (Kinda)


I haven’t quite started writing, but I’m getting close. It’s been well over a year since I decided to shelve Hell High. To this day, I still cringe when someone asks me how my book is coming. Honestly, I just ran out of steam. Somewhere along the journey I took writing and then trying to publish Hell High, I read a tip from an author (sorry said author for forgetting your name) saying she wished she had shelved her first novel sooner, because her second novel sold right away, and she’d be farther along if she hadn’t kept on trying to get her first novel published.  I’m not saying Hell High will never see the light of day (I’m thinking another full manuscript edit then self-publish), but for now, I’m moving on.  I’m sorry, but I need some space.

It’s not me..wait..no, it’s me.

And so for a year I’ve had an idea. I’ve wanted to write something in the style of Jane Eyre and Rebecca, but I wasn’t sure of anything else.  I’ve had a couple other ideas, and I’ve tried mating said ideas into one super-novel, but in the end, I had a story epiphany which galvanized me into action.

Now I had a good idea of what I wanted to write,  I just had to write it.  The problem was my new story is in a completely different genre than my treasured and familiar YA.  What’s a girl to do?  These were uncharted waters for me, so naturally I turned toward a book.  This book:

take off your pants

Don’t ask me how I found this book.  It wasn’t recommended to me or anything – I just happened upon it by means of Twitter/Amazon/Goodreads or possibly I had a dream about it.  No idea.  Anyway, thank you Libbie Hawker.  I now have my outlines done and am working through my beat paragraphs (which I’m not going to lie – I’m still not entirely sure what they are) done for both main characters.

Naturally I’m very excited for this new venture of mine.  AND – I’ve created a self-imposed deadline to finish said new venture.  I’ve signed up for a writer’s conference!  I did!  I’m excited!  Now I just need to spend more time #amwriting.

Writing Competitions for Aspiring Authors

Shader Story

Hey everyone!

I haven’t uploaded anything in about two weeks because I’ve been busy preparing for two of the most amazing competitions that the twitter-sphere has to offer. Both competitions, #PitchtoPublication and #Pg70Pit, were held within the past week. Next month, there will be another competition as well. For those of you that don’t know, these contests are made specifically for aspiring authors like myself.

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Like a Virgin – Heee


As usual, I’m behind the eight-ball here.  I entered a contest called “Like a Virgin 2014” or #LV14 as those cool cats on Twitter are calling it, and they’re hosting a blog hop – getting to know you – cyber shin-dig type deal.  Naturally I totally forgot about this, and checking my Twitter feed before snuggling up with my current read (Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier in case you were wondering) saw the blog hop was live, and I hadn’t even looked at the blog hop questions.  So here are my answers to said questions.  Maybe now you will see through a little window into the enigma that is Lydia Evans.  Or “THE” Lydia Evans as I like to refer to myself – almost never.

Question 1) How do you remember your first kiss?

I was under a large flowering bush in my side yard with one of the boys who lived next door.  I think I must have been around 7.  That’s about all I remember about it too (darn you 7-year old memory!).

Question 2) What was your first favorite love song?

The first love song I can remember was “Every Rose Has A Thorn” (or is it “Every Rose Has it’s Thorn?”  Either way – I was probably singing the wrong lyrics).  I also remember some vague song from the group Nelson (remember them?) that I loved and listened obsessively to back in 1987 or so.  I can’t remember what song we picked as “our song” for my first serious relationship song, but I remember my boyfriend at the time saying we should have gone with Prince’s “I Will Die for You.”

Question 3) What’s the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day?

Usually I write at night, and the only consistent thing there is that I always have a beverage.  A glass of wine, or a cup of tea.  I re-read the last thing I wrote and realize it wasn’t total crap after all, then I sit for a bit and think about what happens next, and then I write.

Question 4) Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer?
She who shall not be named.  Seriously.  As opposed to most “how I became a writer” stories from people who knew they would be writers from early childhood, I had no desire to be a writer whatsoever until I was about 30 and read a particularly bad paranormal YA book.  I thought to myself, “I can write better than this crap.”  And so I did.  Whether or not it is in fact better than She Who Shall Not be Named’s crap is yet to be seen.  I give it 50/50.

Question 5) Did the final version of your book have the same chapter it started with?

Nope.  Not even close.  My poor prologue is sitting with Baby in the corner.

Question 6) For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting?

It was the plot.  That was an epiphany moment.  The characters and setting took more time and consideration.

Question 7) What’s the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone’s tongue when they think of your writing?


Books have a way of pulling at our hearts.  For me, this usually relates to making me cry.  Hard.  At the end of For Whom the Bell Tolls, I cried for hours. I was devastated.  When Mad Eye Moody died in HP and the Deathly Hallows, I balled like a child.  I pretty much just cried through all of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and I don’t even remember the plot of Message in a Bottle, but I remember how I felt when I read it (translation – I cried).  Sometimes books have a more subtle effect on us.  Characters we think about from time to time, and miss, and wonder how they’re doing now.  Even though completely fictional – they’ve come to life for us.   I hope that someone reads my book and finds it meaningful to them in some small way.  Or at least less crappy than the worst book they ever read.

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Do a Mom a Solid

This is me during our X-mas photo session this past X-mas.  My son was not cooperating, and it was a complete nightmare (even with the sweetest, most understanding photographer).

This is me during our X-mas photo session this past X-mas. My son was not cooperating, and it was a complete nightmare.


I’m going to do something different. I’m going to step outside my blog comfort zone, and blog about a subject near and dear to my heart. Motherhood.

I just read this article called, “10 Types of Moms That Suck.” Feel free to read it if you can find it. I’m not going to post a link, because it sucked.  Let me explain.

Being a Mom is hard. Really, really, really hard. And however you choose to parent your kids, if it works for your family, and doesn’t hurt anyone, well that’s fine. So Mom’s stop being so judgmental! Do another Mom a solid, and be supportive.

It’s easy to pick on other Moms.  I get that.  And I’d be lying if I said I’ve never done it myself.  But remember (and I will too) that you don’t know what that person is going through, or what circumstances govern that Mother’s decisions.  So cut her some slack.  I know it’s hard – but try, try, try not to judge.

If you choose to feed your kids all organic food, great! You feed your kids Kraft Mac-n-Cheese? Also great. Whatever. It’s none of my business and it’s no one else’s business either, including random Internet bloggers!  Parenting is hard! And if you choose to breast feed or not, or can fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans 2 weeks after giving birth, or not, it’s okay. There is no bar you have to meet, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for your parenting choices because some blogger out there thinks giving kids kale to eat is unreasonable (seriously lady? Why is that your business? Moms – if you can get your kids to eat kale, you deserve a medal!).


Another photo from my colossal photo shoot failure.  Note the screaming 2-year old in the middle of a parent sandwich.

Another photo from my colossal photo shoot failure. Note the screaming 2-year old in the middle of a parent sandwich.  “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CHILD!  WE JUST WANT TO LOVE YOU!  WHY IS THAT SO AWFUL???”


The message here is that as Moms we’re all in this together. No matter how you choose to raise your kids, or what you choose to feed them, or how you choose to discipline them, you’re a parent too. How about some solidarity here instead of vindictiveness and jealousy?

And not everyone is judgmental.  I can think of dozens of small acts of kindness I’ve been on the receiving end of since becoming a parent.  The sweet elderly lady who saw my son playing on the floor at a store and gave him a dollar, and that lady at the grocery store who let me ahead of her in the check-out line while my son was having a melt down (thank you kind random strangers who I will never see again, but who made a lasting impression).  Just this morning I was in the elevator with a lady from work who asked how my son was.  I pointed to my fat lip and said, “He’s fine, but he’s bad!  He head-butted me this morning!”

She replied sagely, “That hurts.”

“You’ve had that happen?”

“Every Mom has that happen.”

“So my kid isn’t evil?”

“Naw – they’re all like that.  You have my sympathies.”

See this cute little face???  It is the ONLY reason this boy has made it to 2 years old.  I think that's why God makes little kids so darn cute.  So you don't kill them.

See this cute little face??? It is the ONLY reason this boy has made it to 2 years old. I think that’s why God makes little kids so darn cute.


Thank you!  Thank you for understanding and some commiseration.  It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.  So next time you see that Mom in the store with a screaming child – or worse – childREN – give her a smile and a nod.  Let her know you understand that this Momming gig is tough work, and you know where she’s coming from.

The quote, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind,” came to mind while I was writing this.  But I think it needs some editing to fit into this situation.  Something like, “Everyone with a small child is fighting a constant, never-ceasing, uphill battle, so for heaven’s sake, be nice to them.”

Star Struck

This past Friday was the annual fundraiser for a local radio station, or I should say, “the only station that matters,” WBER.  I love this radio station, and have a long history with it.  My cousin’s husband is the station manager, and they met through my sister who used to guest DJ there.  I did a couple shows with my sister back in the mid-1990’s.  I remember when my cousin and her husband first started dating and he would play Weezer as a love note to her whenever he was on the air and we listened to it, sitting in her crappy red Ford Escort in the parking lot in college (oh nostalgia!).  So, yeah, I love this station, and when they have their annual fundraiser (they’re not a commercial station), I try to drop by, make a donation, and cheer on the DJs who stay on the air until they reach their goal.  This year, my husband and I went to dinner with some friends, and dropped by the station afterwards.  My sister met us at the door and told us that they had already reached their goal for this year (yay!), but we could still donate, and the DJs were staying on the air for another hour.


The Only Station That Matters

The Only Station That Matters


As she’s bringing me up to speed on the fundraising situation at the speed of light, she points to a random guy and says, “this is my friend Jay, Jay meet my sister Lydia and her husband Mike.”  She also introduced us to a number of other DJs there, and we were promptly swept away by the sea of humanity to the back of the station to make a donation.  As we worked our way back towards the DJ booth about 20 minutes later after having laid down our donation to help the cause, hugged many a body and shook many a hand, I happened across the nondescript “Jay” again, and still flanked by my sister, she quickly caught us up into a conversation with those magic words, “Jay in an author.”

Jay held the wall up with his shoulder and nodded quietly in assent to my sister’s accusation.  I was like, “that’s great!  What did you write?”  He said “I wrote about robots and dinosaurs.”  I thought that was pretty nifty and I asked him a bit more.  He explained that his book started as a serial on Amazon and was later released in novel form.  “Cool, cool,” I said.  Mentally logging away the information in case I could follow in the footsteps of the published author standing before me.  He mentioned something about showing up at his agent’s door with a six-pack and I started firing away.

Me: “Is your agent local?” thinking he was literally thinking of heading over to his agent’s house (clueless me)

Him: “No, he works down in Manhattan.”

Me: “Wow!  And you said his name was what?”

Him: “David Dunton.”

Me: Blank stare

Him: “He’s at Harvey Klinger.”

Me: Lightbulb! Quickly scrabbling to collect my wits and pick this guy’s brain.

“I’ve heard of them.  How did you get your agent?”

Him: “I wrote a piece for NPR and it aired during Memorial Day years ago.  Of course no one listens to NPR on Memorial Day, but he was literally one of three people who heard the piece, and he contacted me.”

Me: “Wow”

My sister, who had stood quietly during this interchange piped up around this point and said, “Yeah Lyd.  This is Jason Sheehan.”

This is a picture of Jason Sheehan.  There's another one of him online that's a glossy author picture of him that he uses for publicity - but honestly I didn't think that looked like him.  This picture is less flattering (sorry Jay), but more realistic.

This is a picture of Jason Sheehan. There’s another one of him online that’s a glossy author picture of him that he uses for publicity – but honestly I didn’t think that looked like him. This picture is less flattering (sorry Jay), but more realistic.


And the pieces fell into place.  I had heard of Jason Sheehan.  He went to high school with my brother-in-law and was a professional writer.  He wrote a food column for Philadelphia Magazine and also had published a book about his experience in the food service industry called, Cooking Dirty.  Naturally my sister had told me all this about the food guy, so I hadn’t connected the dots that the guy standing in front of me, who told me about his science fiction book, was the same guy (which science fiction book my sister had never mentioned I might add in defense of my boneheadedness).


Jason's first book.

Jason’s first book.


Somehow my sister kindly worked in that I was an aspiring writer, and I began pelting the poor guy with questions about agents and advances, and independent publishers, and e-publishing versus traditional publishing, and on and on.  Jay kindly answered all of them.  Then he asked me a bit about my book and I gave him the “elevator pitch” to use his wording.

Somewhere in this conversation he ran for the door.  My sister yelled after him about him running out for a smoke, but followed him anyway to let him back in through the locked station door.  When he came back, he carried a book with him which he handed to me.  I looked at it, a large and imposing tome, and blurted out, like the idiot I am, “Is this for me?”  He said yes, and I quickly followed my idiot question with another, “will you sign it?”  As I fumbled through my bag for a pen, Jason pulled back the corner on his brown leather bomber jacket to reveal a line of pens and sharpies hanging from his pocket.  “You’re prepared,” I remarked.   “Can you tell I’m a journalist?” he responded – which explained it because I was wondering if he just carried around a bunch of sharpies in case fans attacked him.

Somewhat unrelated story – I once spent a weekend in the company of a professional athlete who shall remain nameless.  Said nameless athlete also carried around sharpies because he was constantly beset by people who wanted him to sign random things; t-shirts, hats, toys, random pieces of junk, body parts, etc.  He was the only other person I had ever met who carried around sharpies.


This is my copy.  You can tell it's mine because it's sitting on my duvet.  In case you were curious about the pattern of my duvet, you must wonder no longer.  You're welcome.

This is my copy. You can tell it’s mine because it’s sitting on my duvet. In case you were curious about the pattern of my duvet, you must wonder no longer. You’re welcome.


Long story long, I had a super informative surprise meeting with Mr. Sheehan for which I am very grateful.  Thanks Jay!  I’m now happily reading my copy of Tales of the Radiation Age, inscribed to me personally.  I admit to authoring said inscription.  Jason graciously added the word “yet” and his John Hancock.

For Me


When Entering a Contest Pays Off

This was me last Tuesday (glasses and all)

This was me last Tuesday (glasses and all).

Even though I totally sucked out of ABNA, I decided to take it on the chin, and enter another contest.  This one came at my by surprise, and it wasn’t really a contest, in the traditional sort of way.  It was a “pitch party.”  Let me back up.  This past Tuesday evening I was doing my usual thing.  Had the kiddie in the tub and was checking my Twitter feed to see what was going on.  To my total astonishment, I noticed a lot (a lot, a lot, a lot) of tweets about #PitMad.  I quickly read through some of the tweets (but not the rules, which I actually just found now) and realized it was some type of pitch contest.  While trying to make sure my kid didn’t drown, I quickly slapped together a 140-character pitch and tweeted it.  Then I deleted it.  Then I tweeted it again, this time with the correct hashtag.  Then I checked some of my Twitter friends’ feeds and tried another pitch.  Still having almost no clue what was going on, I grabbed my kid out of the tub and got him all jammied-up for bed.  After he was all tucked in, I checked my Twitter notifications and WHA-LA – my first pitch tweet had been favorited by a small independent publishing house!  World Weaver Press!


I’m guessing by Eileen Wiedbrauk, Editor-in-Chief.  Not only did (presumably) Ms. Wiedbrauk favorite my tweet, but she re-tweeted it!  I’m not sure if that means anything, but I took it to be a good sign and promptly went ape-shit.  Yes, ape. shit.  My husband even took a video of my reaction because it was so over the top (think dancing, kung-fu kicks, lots of yelling, jumping up and down, punching the air like Billy Blanks, etc.  I’m positive it was hilarious).

Here’s my pitch:

Looking at it now, I still didn’t use the correct hashtags (even the second time around), but it did the trick!  I’m just going to go ahead and call myself a creative genius!  Still riding the emotional high, I followed the instructions from World Weaver Press:

and sent a query out that night!  Yippee!!!!  I haven’t heard anything back, and I may not, but for me, just getting that favorite/re-tweet was freaking AMAZING!  Having the chance to send an editor materials THAT SHE ASKED FOR is also freaking spectacular!  Someone wants to read what I wrote!  What a novel feeling!!!!

So yeah, that was awesome!  And the Twitter-gods have yet more amazingness coming my way!  I saw two more contests on Twitter to enter.  And I’m gonna go ahead and do it!  The first is Like a Virgin – Pitch Contest.


In a nutshell you email your query and the first 250 words of your manuscript to the contest organizers on April 4th at 6:00 am.  They accept only 50 entries, so it pays to send your email promptly at 6am.  The contest is called “Like a Virgin” and the eligibility guidelines say, “The MS you enter in “Like a Virgin” must NOT have previously been entered in any other contests before March 2014 (we will check)…” and it’s obvious I entered ABNA, so how can I enter?  Well I wondered that myself, so I emailed the contest organizers, Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez and asked.  Since I had been re-tweeting some contest info and Rhiann seemed nice, I wanted to double-check before assuming this contest was not for me.  After a few emails back and forth, the contest organizers decided that “I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t enter.”  So #LV14, here I come!


Maybe all this will come to nothing but more stinging rejection.  Who knows.  But it’s totally worth it.  I can’t explain how crappy I felt after ABNA (oh wait, I can, and I did, sorry friends!) and by contrast, how awesome I felt having World Weaver Press ask for a query.  I guess just when you think you suck and you’ll never get anywhere with your manuscript (okay – this is really about me, so let me rephrase), just as I thought I’d never get anywhere, I got that boost I needed.  At precisely the right time.  I’m going to believe it’s kismet, and I’m destined to be published one way or another.  I really believe Hell High is worth reading, and I know the series has the potential to really mean a lot to people (other than me).  And thankfully it seems whenever I’m ready to throw the towel in, something happens to convince me to keep at it.  Which I am really thankful for.  At least right now.  Ask me again in a month after I get 3 more rejections and I may feel differently!!!



Army of 8,000


Hi, I’m Lydia and I’m a loser.”
“Hi Lydia.”

I feel like I spent the last week in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award first cut-ee support group! And you know? It’s not a bad group! Seriously! Getting my pitch cut sucks. I’m not gonna lie. It hurts. Especially because I really believe it was a great pitch (a little voice in my head says “everyone thought their pitch was great you LOSER!”).

The upside to losing is the support from the army of 8,000.  In the past week I’ve met a lot of super nice cyber people, all with a kind word to say.  It is definitely the upside of being cut to meet and support, and get support from, fellow ABNA peeps!  Even those that made the cut (and I can honestly say KUDOS to all who made the first cut!.  Just because I got cut, in no way diminishes the happiness I feel for those that made it through!  Reminds me of the lady who stupidly posted an article about how JK Rowling should quit writing so other authors could succeed.  What a freaking moron!  Just because someone else is successful, in no way impacts your chances of success.  Fortunately I’m a somewhat intelligent individual – and I totally get that! – and this is the longest parenthetical ever).   So congrats to all of you who made it through.  Really!

I'm sticking with the Joker theme. Who doesn't love Batman: Arkham Asylum?  Mark Hamill is one seriously cool dude.

I’m sticking with the Joker theme. Who doesn’t love Batman: Arkham Asylum? Mark Hamill is one seriously cool dude.

So what’s next for me you ask? Well I spent a good 24 hours sulking and moping and whining on Twitter and on the ABNA discussion boards (thank you all those who listened to me and tried to pull me out of my funk), and now I’m over it!  I’m going to take my Twitter buddy @ChalanJohnson‘s advice and try a query or two and see how that goes.  I’m also going to take Strange Writer’s advice and submit to a publisher who accepts submissions.  So thank you ladies!

Not quite sure how I started on this homage to the Joker, but no homage to Joker is complete without the Joker of my teens - the Batman Animated Series version.

Not quite sure how I started on this homage to the Joker, but no Joker mashup is complete without the Joker of my teens – the Batman: The Animated Series version (love you Mark Hamill!  Luke Skywalker AND the Joker?  He takes the cake for nerd girl dream boat!).

I’m also going to spend some time on my new book – tentatively called Hell High 2 – Hell Rebel.  Yay me!  I’ve been waiting to write this book for over a year now – and now I can buckle down and start putting the proverbial pen to paper!

The Joker of my youth.  Anyone else remember the Batdance?

As long as I’m at it, I may as well finish up with the Joker of my youth. Anyone else remember the Batdance?

“Leveraging” Your “Platform”

That's right bitches!

That’s right bitches!

I was just reading Fidgity Digits’  blog post about the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (“ABNA” for short), and he said that he would “leverage” a positive review.  To be more specific, Mr. Anderson said:

If I can get a good review, I can leverage it in all sorts of marketing platforms. Posting it on my Amazon and Goodreads book page, using snippets on the cover (perhaps), trying to sell agents (not sure I want one), publishers (same), or marketing platforms like BookBub (definitely would like that opportunity).

I had similar thoughts – but on a much smaller scale for myself if I made it through just the first round.  In my head, I’ve already updated my query letter to include the verbiage, “2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award quarter-finalist,” which sounds really impressive, but just means I made it through the first cut.  Which I guess is impressive in that you made the cut when 8,000 others didn’t (and let’s be honest here – I’ll most likely be in the boat with the other 7,999 cut-ees).  But whatever.  I still enjoy my moments of deluded grandeur.

I don't know who Don Kardong is, but I will take his advice to heart.

I don’t know who Don Kardong is, but I will take his advice to heart.

Speaking of which – a delusion of grandeur led me here.  To my own blog.  I thought, “one day, when I’m a multimillionaire and they’re making my series of books into movies starring ridiculously good looking actors and actresses and they’re directed by the Wachowskis – I will look back at my humble beginnings preserved for posterity in my blog.  All of my struggles, and all the times that I truly believed that I sucked ass, but I persevered and made it to success written in indelible Internet ink,” yada, yada, yada.

Another motivating factor for this blog – which I freely admit to – is it’s part of my “platform.”  I use quotation marks around “platform” because it’s this super buzz word for authors.  Published and unpublished alike.  I was reading the 2014 Guide to Literary Agents and agent after agent said they looked for a writer to have an established “platform” (think I can stop using quotation marks now?  well ha!  I will keep using them until I feel it is no longer necessary – or just get sick of typing them).

finger quotes

Anyhow – random quotation marks aside – platform (no quotes!  that’s right!  I will keep you guessing) and leveraging go hand in hand.  I hadn’t really thought about it until Fidgity Digits mentioned it – but yeah!  Heck yeah!  That’s part of what makes social networking great.  When things go well for you – for example, you make it through the first round of cuts from ABNA, or you start selling lots of your book on Amazon, you can share it!  You can dress that up in buzzy words like “leveraging my platform” (if that even makes sense – it just sounds dumb to me – but it’s probably because I’m not saying it right), but you’re sharing that good news!  And in turn, it makes you more desirable to publishers and agents and (God willing) readers!  And if you suck out (like I probably will), then you have a community of people there to console you and/or commiserate with you!  So on Tuesday, I will for sure say something of how I fared on one of my “platforms” (they’re back!) which for me is like here and Twitter – but I’ll share my news for better or worse – and by doing so I can chat with others in the same boat as me (for better or worse) and build my “platform.”

This is my kind of platform!

This is my kind of platform!

It’s kind of weird how all of this is very synergistic and awesome.  You can build your platform and leverage to try and promote your book or whatever you’re doing – but you also get a lot out of it.  Support, friendship or t least kinship. knowledge, a laugh or a shared cry, and sometimes limericks from other people in the same boat who can be just as awesome as you are (there was an awesome discussion on the ABNA discussion board on Amazon in limerick form – I kid you not – it was awesome and I cannot for the life of me find it again which stinks b/c I was blown away by the amount of talent in those posts!).   So go people!  Leverage!  Build your platforms!  Because there’s more in it to be gained then just “building your platform.”  You can meet awesome people.  And you can be supportive of other people who are on the same journey you are.