Choosing The Crazy – my path to SP – Part #1

Hi all, Often when I’m reading a novel, and come across a mistake, wrong word… whatever, assuming it is traditionally published, I may become annoyed, but I am rarely annoyed at the author – it’s the publisher and their editorial … Continue reading

#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

 

St. Nicholas Day Workshop Submission Now Open !

Hello all & a special hello to all the Picture Book & Middle Grade author’s out there – because it’s time to send in your first 150 for the workshop! If you follow my blog then you’ll know what I’m … Continue reading

Unmask The Agent Comp is Now Closed

tumblr_inline_ngvovj9JIC1qenr3hSorry! Too Late – see you next year 🙂

How do you place I hear you asking? Below is the list of agents participating in this year’s Nestpitch and next to them is a list of the Masks they will be wearing. Your job is to match the agent to the mask – that’s it!

All you need to do is go through the Agent post here: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/abracadabra-shim-shalala-sham-agent-reveal-now/ and the Bunny Mask post here:https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/agent-mask-time-would-you-like-a-20-amazon-voucher/ (it also helps if you quickly go to the agent’s bio and/or blog for more clues) and match the agent.

The first person to correctly match all twelve agents to their masks wins! That’s it! (email timeline will be used to confirm who sent the correct entry in first)

And if there are no correct winners then those participating will go into a lucky draw and a winner will be selected at random.

When:b8377__tumblr_mlgqa0BcZ51rd1qi0o1_500

The window will only be open for TWO HOURS – that’s it, so timing is everything.

The Window will open on Wednesday May 13th at 10.30pm Australian EST. That’s 7.30am New York US time and 12.30pm UK time. I chose these times to ensure everyone, no matter where you live, can play along.

You don’t need to have participated in #Nestpitch2015 or to even follow this blog, all you need to do is get to know our agents – and I have no doubt you ‘all know these agents anyway.

Please make sure you send your selection ONLY during the open window because there are no second chances, I will not be sending any ‘too soon’ or ‘too late’ emails – it’s up to you to play along during the window only.

ONE GUESS PER PERSON! (please don’t try to hedge by using more than one email address, you may get away with it but damn if you will not carry some nasty Karma with you)

getoveritHow to submit:

Send you email, with the correct subject line (see below), to nestpitch@outlook.com. Within the body of the email match all 12 agents to the masks you believe belong to them, for example:

  1. Agents Name = Mask
  2. Agents Name = Mask (and so on)

Please send your picks to nestpitch@outlook.com

In the subject line you MUST put UNMASK THE AGENT MY PICKS

If you fail to send your selection during the window or fail to put the above in the subject line, your email will be voided.

**Please note, there will be NO auto reply.

Please pass this on, re-blog if you’d like and tweet / re-tweet to pass the word along.

And now for the agents & masks (note they have all been alpha sorted & the below in no way suggests the correct match)

Camilla Wray Bend it like Beckham Bunny
Cate Hart Disco Bunny
Christa Heschke Energizer Bunny
Dawn Michelle Frederick Hippy Chic Bunny
Jessica Schmeidler Ms. Soccer Bunny
Jordy Albert Pancake Bunny
Maria Vicente Professor Bunny
Mollie Glick Rock Star Bunny
Patricia Nelson Ski Bunny
Saba Sulaiman Snow Bunny
Uwe Stender Warrior Bunny
Valerie Noble Wonder Woman Bunny

The winner will be announced on Tuesday May 19th 2015. 

tumblr_m949z4q9Ib1r1fva4And to celebrate the Nestpitch blog rolling over the 25,000 hits mark in less than 19 months I have decided to give one lucky random person who submitted to Nestpitch2015 an additional $20 Amazon Voucher – winner to be announced on May 31st 🙂

 

Nestpitch2015 – Agent Round Time!

snoopyeasterNestpitch2015 has been a lot of work and a lot of fun. It’s also been a wonderful opportunity to ‘meet’ a lot of talented people from across the globe.

The Teams have worked hard, both whittling down the submissions and then working with their authors.

And now is the Agent Round –WooHoo!

A special thank you to all the agents who have given or their time – without you guys there would be no #nestpitch.

Each Team has Mentored a group of talented authors for the past month or so and now it’s time to show off our simply smawesome submissions.

You’ll find each teams submissions on the links below.

Agents, let your tempting chocolate treats flow.

Authors, get ready for the best part of the Nestpitch cycle

And twitter/blog followers, feel free to show your support via facebook, twitter or leave a supportive message here for your favourite submissions.

Here we go!

#TeamPlotBunnies
#TeamEvilBunny
#TeamUnbreakable
#TeamBasketCase
#TeamEggslent
#TeamHotCrossBooks
#TeamSugarRush
#TeamOneBasket
#Team2Beat

easter-rabbit-eating-vegetables-beautiful-gif-photography-great-atmosphere-funny-pics-233-1And don’t forget to check out the Unmask the Agent comp. It starts in a few days & there’s a $20 Amazon gift voucher up for grabs!

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!

Agent Mask Time! (Would you like a $20 Amazon Voucher?)


school-pics-9-3Hi all,

Those who were part of Nestpitch2014 or have been following this blog will know how this works, however, for the newbies, I’ll quickly go over this. Each year the participating agents of Nestptich take on a ‘mask’ – in other words, they are in disguise! When they leave their Easter Treats for the submissions, they do so as a Secret Agent Bunny – yep that’s right, you may know who the participating agents are but you’ll have no clue as to who has requested what – well some clues.

Below are the Agents Bunny Masks, along with clues, some cryptic some not so much. And that is where the fun begins. While you will not know for certain until AFTER Agent Requests (May 11th) are made, you can join in the fun of Unmask the Agents; and if you get it right, there could be a $20.00 Amazon Voucher in it for you (USD). Best of all anyone can play! Yes that’s right; you don’t need to have submitted to Nestpitch2015 in order to be in the ImageProxyABCrunning for the Voucher.

So how does it work I hear someone shouting – simple! Got through the masks and then go through the Agent List (you’ll find the participating agents in a previous blog post so that’s not too hard) and match them up.

And you get lots and lots of time!

There will be an announcement after May 11th stating when the Unmask the Agent window will open- make a note of it as the window will only be open for 12 hours. The first correct match to ALL twelve agents will win the $20.00 Voucher – it’s that simple; and that hard! (if there are no correct matches a random winner will be selected from those who have sent in their matches in the time-window). To help you make your choices I suggest you follow all the agents, read their Blogs & Websites, interact with them on Twitter and keep your eyes and ears open for clues that will help you make the match.

So here we go, in no particular order and designed to make you think – stock-vector-vector-illustration-funny-rabbit-skiing-cartoon-concept-161804234

SKI BUNNY

A Ski bunny who knows Persian Literature & is no closet Bollywood fan, this Secret Agent Bunny likes to see
experience new cultures and is a major fan of the ever expanding New adult category.

Professor BunnyPROFESSOR BUNNY

When not lost in a book, studying another language or walking playing with some four legged friends of the ‘here’s my lead’ kind, you’ll find this Secret Agent Bunny engrossed in something on T.V, there could be a Watson or a Doctor involved.

 

WONDER WOMAN BUNNYWonderwoman Bunny

As a child this Secret Agent Bunny was into Star Wars and the A-Team, as well as creating and telling stories to school friends. Later, as an adult, the bunny read the first three Twilight novels in one week! Clearly this bunny was destined to be a super hero.

Bend it like Beckham BunnyBEND IT LIKE BECKHAM BUNNY

Regularly seen with a four legged friend, you’ll often spy this Secret Agent Bunny at a Writer’s Conference or indulging in some cultural travel experiences between conferences.

 

DISCO BUNNY Disco Bunny

When this Secret Agent Bunny isn’t dancing in his/her bedroom to a certain boy-band, they are likely to be found in bed, editing and sipping a vanilla latte (especially on a Sunday).

 

Hippy Chic Bunny 2HIPPY CHIC BUNNY 

This Secret Agent Bunny loves YA/ Upper YA fantasy and Sci-Fi and tends to go for the quirky or strange. He/ She is also an activist for left-handed people in a right handed world.

 

ENERGIZER BUNNY 

energizer bunny

Hops from plot to plot, getting a charge out witty mysteries and punny contemporaries. Attracted to serious thinkers who choose light over darkness. Accepts all readerships, but genres must stay within the scope of reality.

 


Ms Soccer Bunny 2MS. SOCCER BUNNY

The Secret Agent Bunny loves PB’s MG & romance in YA, also a YA revenge thriller would fit just fine at the moment. This bunny is also known to use exclamation points – a lot !!

rocker bunny

 

ROCK STAR BUNNY

This Secret Agent Bunny prefers spunky MG & not-so-sappy YA, while surrounded by fur & feathers. Dark chocolate is preferred, milk chocolate is for those can’t take risks. When not deep in a book, this Secret Bunny Agent is more than likely on the hunt for a good donut or a craft beer, possibly on a pair of skates 😉

SNOW BUNNYrinG77qiR

So how does this Snow Bunny  keep that figure you might ask? Evidently the secret is loving what you do for a living and also being a bit of a yoga enthusiast. Whatever this Secret Agent Bunny is doing, it must be working!

 

 

Pancake BunnyPANCAKE BUNNY 

Prior to publishing this Secret Agent Bunny instructed literature and writing at university-level. You’ll often find this Bunny on Twitter sharing tips and dropping wish-list hints, and in-real-life you’re likely to see this bunny at the odd Writers Conference.

 

Warrior BunnyWARRIOR BUNNY 

This Secret Agent Bunny can be found making deals across the Pacific and Atlantic, at various writing conferences or enjoying a well earned latte at some little corner café. When not reading, editing or jetting about to another conference, you’ll likely find this bunny congratulating an author on Twitter or engrossed in a suspense thriller. Hint, this bunny looks good in a hat 😉

 

baby bunyipSo, that’s it folks! OK not quite. We also have at least one BUNYIP – Scratching your head as to what a Bunyip is? Well, in Indigenous Australian culture it is believed a Bunyip is a secretive creature, often found lurking around creeks and billabongs. In #Nestpitch culture… Bunyips are Secret Agents who couldn’t make it this time but might just take a peak at what’s happening and if they like something; they’ll leave their own ‘special’ treat – and seriously Bunyips really are damned hard to spot so who knows how many more are lurking; right?

So, now its time to have some fun. Go look over the list of agents and then compare them to the list of masks. When the times comes (not now!), right after the Agent Submission Window closes, we’ll be posting another update with the Unmask The Agent Round– as I say anyone can play & with a $20 Amazon Gift Voucher up for grabs why wouldn’t you!

It’s time for a bit of fun – wouldn’t you say?

tumblr_lnddotCiZJ1qje0bvo1_500