#Nestpitch2016, David Bowie, Alan Rickman & other news

Hello all & welcome to 2016!images

I know it’s been a while since I posted & I apologise for that, between a memorial, anniversary, 11 immediate family birthdays, Christmas & New Year, I’ve been run off my feet.

First things first.

animated-saint-nicholas-image-0124St.  Nicholas Day Workshop for PB & MG authors.

To my complete surprise, shock actually, not a single person sent in their first 150 words for the workshop – Yup – Not kidding!

Given:

a)      feedback is crucial for improvement

b)      there were two successful authors (in those categories) willing and able to offer feedback, authors who make a living out of their craft full-time.

c)      the *pitch period* was just around the corner

d)     and… although it was not advertised given it was going to be a bonus surprise, a well established, successful, award-winning publishing house editor, with more than 30 years experience in PB & MG, was also going to offer feedback… with the potential of actually requesting full manuscripts…

I am quite disappointed that no aspiring author in the PB/MG category thought a workshop might be of some value. But there it is – or rather could have been!

Anyway, moving right along.Wonderwoman Bunny

– And on the same wavelength. #Nestpitch 2016.

Again another apology – I have success stories to post for #Nestpitch2015, however, for the reasons above, plus the authors who have been successful are currently extremely busy, there has been no time to ‘chat’ and let everyone know the good news – I promise this will come soon!

As for #Nestpitch 2016, I have made a decision and it has not been an easy one. After much consideration and deliberation I have decided to NOT run #Nestpitch2016
The main reason for this year Easter falls early, with Good Friday being March 25th.
Given 2-3 other pitching comps will be running either just before, during or just after this time period, and given the issues we had in 2015 with submission cross-over (and lost submissions), I feel that this is too much to ask from author’s, agents and from those of us behind the scenes.
I am planning to still run Post-it-Forward with Rhiann Wynn-Nolet (assuming people are interested) in early March as I feel this will help authors prepare for other pitching comps. 

uncle-fester#Nestpitch is NOT dead, but rather in hiatus & will return in 2017 !
The lack of interest in the December workshop & the availability of some of my #Nestpitch Team Members contributed to my decision; however I also have a personal reason. 
After A LOT of thinking and re-thinking, I have decided to self publish my WF. This has not been an easy decision, especially given the number of agents who requested partials or fulls. However, because of the the subject matter & the genre & category, there were only about 25-30 agents who best matched my MS. I sent out (in total) 23 submissions. From those sent I received requests for seven partials and  five fulls. Three of the fulls resulted in R&Rs, however those R&Rs did not result in offers. I knew if I did not get an agent offer by September 2015, the novel would not have a hope of being printed before the end of 2017. If you read point (iii) below you’ll understand why 2017 was the latest I wanted this story to be published.

I decided to try a handful of smaller publishers directly. I sent my MS to 7 and got an offer from a small publishing house. I was thrilled. But then something else happened. I’d seen/heard/read of several of my author friends who’d signed with smaller publishers… only to have the publishing house close. I am a supporter of small press – BIG TIME – but it concerned me nevertheless. And as it turned out, I too felt the sting of a small publisher fail – not for this MS but for another piece.giphy (2)

Just as I was in negotiations to sign, a small press contacted me – one who’d accepted a short story of mine  (for an anthology) in Nov 2014. First they said it was to be printed in early 2015, then mid 2015, then late 2015… then in October 2015 I was advised the anthology was cancelled.

I considered this and what if the same thing happened to my novel? So I decided to go it alone – even as I knew this was perhaps the toughest, bravest and likely silliest course of action – even so, it felt *right for me.

Some of you know of this novel. Some of you have been BETAs for me. Those who don’t, I have made this decision because of the above and also because:
(i) I believe in the novel, the storyline & my skills
(ii) I have had enough encouragement and positive feedback from various agents to know that I am not kidding myself
(iii) Because of the subject matter (which, while mostly set in modern-day Melbourne Australia, also deals with the Russian Revolution & the murders of the Romanov’s – and the 100 year anniversary of their executions is July 2017), I believe now and this coming year, is the time to strike with this particular novel.

tumblr_n6pu3mpAd81qzx3jto5_1280I have employed the services of Kate Foster & Lauren McKellar as editors. Kate & Lauren are authors in their own right and well established editors with a bank of authors they have worked with. Kate will edit it first in Jan-2016 and then Lauren in April 2016. I elected to have two editors because I feel the more eyes the better. In fact, I have already employed the services of two editors in the past. One with just the beginning of my MS and another to do a general read-through – I believe in professional eyes!

Between Edit#1 & #2 I will be re-reading and asking a few of my BETAs to re-read, and then again after Lauren is done, May will be spent re-reading. I have also employed the services of an awesome Melbourne Illustrator, with amazing talent and a wonderful reputation as an illustrator, for the cover – Sunshine Herbert

I have purposely chosen an all Australian team, this was important to me, not only because of spelling/grammar/colloquial terminology, but also because these ladies will better conceptualise my images and therefore either offer better suggestions or make greater improvements. Plus, I do think it’s important to support local people wherever possible -we are a large country in mass and volume but small in numbers & we need to support each other.

I am planning to have the novel ready for a launch date in 29th September 2016 and images (5)instead of #Nestpitch2016, this year I will run a series of “my path to self publishing” blogs where I will discuss everything from BETAs, to covers, to marketing, costs, to preparing for failure as well as success. I have been given permission from Kate, Lauren & Sunshine to discuss fees in generalities (every job is different after all). The figures will be very strong guides and will offer excellent potential cost markers for those of you looking to follow the same route. I will also be posting links to their sites as well as sites for other professionals I have used and/or would be happy to recommend, both in Australia and the US.
I will begin the SERIES in Feb-2016 and will be as honest as I possibly can about time frames, financial costs, marketing strategies, editing and other services and so forth.

I am doing this because I feel:

(i) many people are turning to Self Publishing with unrealistic expectations

(ii) no real idea what the process is

(iii) not enough structure/planning

(iv) have a lack of professional people at their dispossal – rather than scammers

(v) no realistic concept of time-frames/time management

For example, I met with an aspiring author in September-2015 who was finishing her first novel. She intended to self publish it; and wanted it out before Christmas. As that stage only one BETA had read it and her *close friend was going to edit it. (Close friend is not and has never been an editor of any kind)

She had no marketing strategy, had never heard of Netgalley, or Smashwords, intended to use stock-standard free-clip-art for her front cover and wasn’t even sure what an ISBN was or why she needed one.

As for a marketing campaign and professional reviewers, she had no idea she needed to create a marketing strategy, saying “Doesn’t Amazon market it for me?” or who/what professional reviewers were and why they need to be sent pre-copies of a novel at least 3 months in advance.

getoveritI listened with interest and then proceeded to burst her bubble, while offering advice, connections, links etc. to people and sites that could/would help her. This is what got me thinking about writing a regular “my path to self publishing” blog post update – all the way up to and including the launch party.

For this reason, after this blog has been posted, and as of Feb 2016, I will be changing the name of this site. #Nestpitch is NOT dead, but rather in hiatus, even so, this blog has become so much more than the sum of one pitching comp. It has become a place to workshop, to read interviews with agents, authors, editors, to read reviews… and now it will be the place where I place my soul up to the Self Publishing God’s and hope I’m not too humbled into submission 😉

The new name eludes me for now. I’m attempting to be clever (because there are few tumblr_inline_mq7vu1fLsQ1qz4rgpthings I am more vain about than my mind – truth!), but given I named my first cat Blackie (she was all black) and thought it was very clever, this new name could take a while. OK I was nine at the time, so perhaps that makes Blackie seem more witty – still if anyone has any suggestions – bring ‘em on!

And before I go, a quick note to remember David Bowie & Alan Rickman.

images (6)I had planned on posting this blog days ago, but those two deaths images (7)have had an impact on me; as I know they have had on so many, many of us, and I needed time to let their losses sink in…& be accepted by both my brain and my heart.

Farewell boys, I never knew you yet I loved you both! Messrs Rickman and Bowie were so much more than Snape & Ziggy, yet for many, these are the images which first form of these two wondrous talents. 

Will we remember Ziggy Stardust & likely the oldest and coolest Emo ever – ALWAYS – RIP fella’s

 

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St. Nicholas Day 1st 150 Workshop (for PB & MG authors)

Hello all,  As promised I have something special lined up for those of you who are Picture Book and/or Middle Grade authors. I’m calling it St. Nicholas Day 1st 150 Workshop. Many of you will know of the Post-it-Forward pitching … Continue reading

Review – Rich & Rare A collection of Australian stories, poetry & artwork

Well, it’s been a while since I updated & there’s been a lot happening behind the scenes – but more on that later 🙂 Today I’m reviewing “Rich & Rare” – another from the Ford Street Publishing stable. I was … Continue reading

#TalkFear #MentalHealthAwarness

fear_into_action_graphic-290x192Hi Guy’s

Today’s post is SUPER short, but the subject matter is very personal to me and (I think) is important.

The lovely and talented Louise Gornall ( @Rock_andor_roll ) is about to launch a series of blog posts here: http://bookishblurb.com/ about #FEAR and has asked a number of her author friends to contribute. Fellow authors will discuss everything from phobias to freak-outs to fears of failure to fears of stigma’s.

The series of posts is hoped to open up discussion on #fear especially #mentalhealth fears and demonstrating that none of us need be an island.

The series will begin today July 1st with Louise giving us an insight into her own fears. I will also be contributing – insert facing my fears – on her blog later this month.15e771dd90397d9fdaeec06e42321878

I urge everyone to get behind this movement by reading and (if so inclined) commenting on Lou’s blog and by also following the hashtag’s #TalkFear #MentalHealthAwarness on Twitter.

Unmask The Agent results for #Nestpitch2015

stig-unmasked-oHi all,

And it’s that time – Unmask The Agent results for #Nestpitch2015!

Well, I guess I made the clues a little TOO cryptic this year because no one that entered got the entire 12-agents matched correctly.

All together there were 16 people who entered this year’s Unmask the Agent round, and, as there was no clear winner, per the rules, I generated a random selection (OK, I gave each entry a number and draw them out of a hat – yeah technical ha!) anyway… the winner of the $20 Amazon Gift Voucher was an Aussie! Congrats to DB Munro because you’re the winner of the Amazon Voucher.

I have already sent the winner an email & I’m sure the voucher will come in handy as winter sets in here in Australia – nothing better than curling up with a good book – right!

writer-moments1#Nestpitch2015

Over the next week or so I will be working out the stats (‘cos I love stats and I know many of you do also), showing, by category & genre, what was submitted, what was selected by the Mentors, and what was requested by the Agents.

As I tweeted recently, the #Nestpitch blog has rolled over the 25,000 hits mark. For me it was a big milestone, especially given the blog was started in late Jan-2014. As a thank-you, on May 31st I will be randomly selecting one person from those who submitted to #Nestpitch2015, and giving away ANOTHER $20 Amazon Voucher. And again the winner will be notified via email and announced on this blog.

I hope to see you ‘all popping in frequently of the coming weeks and months as we close off Nestpitch for 2015. We will keep you ‘all updated on the progress of those authors who had requests and of course, we will also run our semi-regular segment Five Minutes With…

Additionally, I am planning of running a workshop for PG & MG authors in early December – more details to come closer to the date.

For now, thank you for being part of Nestpitch, for supporting this blog and comp and a big thank you to all the Mentors, Slushies and Agents involved, because let’s face it, without their support, there would be no comps like #Nestpitch.

giphyAnd speaking of comps, don’t forget that Query Kombat is about to start. The fun starts on May 21st. Our very own Mentor SC is one of the hosts! For more info, go to: http://michelle4laughs.blogspot.com.au/

Best of luck with that one if you’re planning on entering, and even if you’re not, go over to Michelle’s blog and check it out. There are dozens and dozens of interviews with agents and some many helpful tips that it’s a blog you should be following.

Have you been paying Attention?

giphyHi all,

Yes, that’s right – Round#3 for #Nestpitch2015 is here!

Over the coming days and weeks all #Teams will be working with their authors to help them polish their submissions so, although we might seem a little quiet, we’re all busy little bees in the background.

On May 11th I will be posting each author’s entire Pitch but for now, it’s all hush-hush (‘cos we’re working on ‘em).

Each Mentor Blog will be featuring their team picks, although for now, all you’ll see is the title, category and genre. For more info on each Mentoring Team go to:

#TeamEvilBunny  http://sharonmjohnston.com/

#TeamUnbreakable  http://www.sharonbayliss.com/

#TeamPlotBunnies  http://amandafoody.blogspot.com.au/

#TeamBasketCase  http://thecakenovelist.blogspot.com.au/

#TeamEggslent  http://www.stacey-nash.com/

#TeamOneBasket  http://scwrite.blogspot.com.au/p/writeinclusively.htmltumblr_lp9tthzs0f1qz7hmlo1_400

#TeamHotCrossBooks  http://laurenkmckellar.com/

#TeamSugarRush  http://bookishblurb.com/

#Team2Beat  https://nikvukoja.wordpress.com/

So; here we go, cone of silence may need to be enforced here, but to wet appetites, in no particular order, here is a list (40 in total) with category, title & genre.

Category Title Genre
Adult Dead Wrestlers Speculative
Adult Poor Boy Road Mystery/Thriller
Adult Frame of Mind Thriller
Adult RAINBIRDS Literary Fiction, Coming-of-Age
Adult We Eat This Gold Upmarket
MG MOONGARDEN SciFi Re-Tell (Secret Garden)
MG The Comic Adventures of Ruby Bella Brown Contemporary
MG Pond Scum Contemporary Humor
MG Mikey Goes to Maine Humor
MG THE ADVERSITY TREE Magical Realism
MG Fairy God-Mother Boy Fantasy
MG THIS SCARY MANOR BLOWS LIGHT HORROR
NA  Like Stitching Coffee Cups Romance
NA FROST Urban Fantasy
NA The Trouble With Tennyson Urban Fantasy
NA Breaking Up with Bedford Contemp Romance
NA SILENCE Contemporary
NA Unspeakable Romance
YA WOUNDS HEAL, SCARS REMAIN Contemporary (Christian)
YA THE STAINED GLASS SUN AND MOON Contemporary
YA Cessation Speculative
YA The Clearing Paranormal
YA Little Black Box contemporary
YA  RIPPLE IN THE SEA historical
YA SUN AND BONE Psychological Thriller
YA My Secret Life as a Teenage Assassin Thriller
YA A Parcel of Rogues Fantasy
YA The Caterpillar Girl Soft Science Fiction
YA THE UTOPIANS Thriller
YA Straw Salt Gold Fantasy
YA The Mortician’s Boy Horror
YA The Curse of Jenny Greenteeth Thriller
YA Trebled Times of CeCe Santos Contemporary
YA Killer Potential Literary Thriller
YA The New Girl psychological thriller/horror
YA The Koshers Contemporary
YA Rom Our Reasons Contemporary Romance
YA Rom IT HAPPENED ON THUNDER ROAD Romance w/ Magical Realistic elements
YA Rom Every Broken Piece of Me Contemporary Romance
YA Rom Between Sound and Silence Sci-Fi Romance

Oh wait! Before I go, don’t forget; “Unmask the Agent” is running again – more info soon!

*there’s a $20 Amazon Voucher up for grabs and you don’t need have submitted to Nestpitch, all you need is a bit of a detective spirit and to know your (our) agents!

Nestpitch 2015 Submissions are Now Closed!

writer-moments1

Thank you to everyone who submitted, we have been blown away with your talent and creativity! – #Nestpitch2015 is now CLOSED

To all who submitted, keep an eye out in the next week as Teams will be requesting more material and any author may get requests from more than one Team

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE – YOU’RE ALL SMAWESOME!

So have you prepared your emails, checked them twice… ‘cos we want your pitches, both naughty and nice…

Oh wait, that’s the wrong jingle isn’t it? You know what? It’s my blog and I’ll mix jingles if I want to – 🙂

Time to hit that SEND button – because the Submission Window for #Nestpitch2015 is NOW OPEN! I have created an auto-reply (sorry it says vacation reply that was the only option), therefore everyone should get a reply confirming their submission has been received. I will be checking JUNK MAIL also (just in case). If your email ends up in junk mail, I’ll move it over & send you a quick reply. Please note, a second email from the same email address in the same day WILL NOT get a second auto reply.

Submission Window Closes Good Friday (Friday 3rd April 2015)getoverit

10pm Aust. Eastern Standard Time

7am USA New York Time

12 noon London UK Time

For Complete Guidelines please refer to the post a few weeks back which you’ll find in the recent posts list along the side, however I have also included a brief overview below:

tumblr_lp9tthzs0f1qz7hmlo1_400How to submit your Pitch:

Email address: nestpitch@outlook.com

Please follow the guidelines. Last year some people put their first 300 words at the top or mixed up the order. Please do not do this. There is a reason for the order and failure to follow the below will likely mean your submission will not pass Round#1 (refer below).

Send the following in your email:

In the Subject line: Nestpitch2015 Sub and your name/author name

In the body of the email type these words: 

By submitting this pitch + first 300 words I agree to allow the Nestpitch blog and/or any other affiliated blogs to post my submission on an open forum for the purposes of critique and feedback.  I understand this can be for the life of the blog(s).

Manuscript Title:writer-moments13

Category/ Genre:

Word Count:

35-word Pitch:

QU (in your MC’s voice), if your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be?:

*First 300-words of your MS:

*1st 300 = if your MS has a prologue, then your 1st 300 starts from your prologue. Also, finish at the end of a sentence. This is 300-word MAX, so your last word is 300-words. If your sentence finishes on 292-words, submit that. If your sentences run into 30 or more words, then you might want to rethink the length of your sentence(s). Broken sentences do no one favours.

Example of a Submission:

Subject line: Nestpitch2015 Sub – Nikola Vukoja

By submitting this pitch + first 300 words I agree to allow the Nestpitch blog and/or any other affiliated blogs to post my submission on an open forum for the purposes of critique and feedback.  I understand this can be for the life of the blog(s).

Manuscript Title:      Easter Bunny goes to Vegastumblr_m949z4q9Ib1r1fva4

Category/ Genre:      MG/ Fantasy

Word Count:             26,000

35-word Pitch:        After losing all his eggs in a card game to March Hare, the Easter Bunny heads for Las Vegas where he plans to win enough money to buy back the world’s Easter Eggs.

If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be?  I’d be every flavour, colour, shape and size imaginable; I’m the Easter Bunny… geez!

First 300-words of your MS:

Easter Bunny Blah Blah…

Send your submission to: Nestpitch@outlook.com (please note the submission close above, submissions emailed after the submission window closes will not be accepted)

giphyFormatting: Either Times Roman or Arial (we are aware that there may be issues with some email accounts regarding font, please do your best to use either Times Roman or Arial, or something as close as possible to these two). No indentions. Single spacing. One space between each Paragraph.

Prologues: Your prologue is where your first 300 words begin.

Word Count: Rounded to nearest 1000. For example, 86,000 not 85,798  and 72,000 not 72,221

*And remember, its one submission per Author, in any genre for the following categories MG, YA, NA, Adult. No picture books, memoirs, chap or chapter books, or short story anthologies & only NOVEL FICTION (not novella). – & please do not forget we want Category & Genre.

As with last year, your manuscript must be polished and as grammar/spelling perfect as is humanly possible. And, aside from twitter pitches, critique groups and workshops, your pitch + first page(s) cannot have been featured in another pitching to agents style contest in the last 12 months (#PitchSlam 2015 is an exception, please read guidelines and/or ask questions if in doubt).

OK, so that’s all the technical stuff out of the way. Now for the fun!aa5a4d147a12181ce8b0705fe43c0175

We are all super excited to see what lands in the email box of the next 48 hours & can’t wait to get our hands on your words! Good luck to everyone … and remember… everything is subjective and everything has a home; somewhere. #Pitch comps are but one way to find an agent and/or move forward with your writing career.

Play nice, its fun but its also a lot of work for the Team, all of whom have given of their time for free, and the impression you want to leave is a positive, professional one; so again… play nice 🙂

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