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
Hello all & welcome to 2016!
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.
St. 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!
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.
– 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.
#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.
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.
I 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 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.
I 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 things 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.
I had planned on posting this blog days ago, but those two deaths 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
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
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
Hi All, Two of our very giving and exceptionally talented Nestpitch Team Members, Sharon Johnston and E.L Wicker, have contributed to an anthology and I am very honoured and happy to help them (and the other authors involved) promote Never … Continue reading
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!
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.
And 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.
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.
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)
Send you email, with the correct subject line (see below), to firstname.lastname@example.org. Within the body of the email match all 12 agents to the masks you believe belong to them, for example:
- Agents Name = Mask
- Agents Name = Mask (and so on)
Please send your picks to email@example.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.
And 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 🙂