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

New Year, New Name, New Objectives

Hello all, I mentioned on my last post that I was looking at changing the name of this blog and after what seems dozens of various options and at least as many variations of each option, I have settled on TheNovelAbode. … 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

#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.

Today I have a special treat for you ‘all… Never Be Younger

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

Five Minutes With… Michael Hyde

Hi All, While the #Nestpitch Teams work with their authors and prepare for the Agent Round I took some time out to interview a very special YA author and invited him to take a seat on my virtual coach for our … Continue reading

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

Abracadabra, Shim-Shalala-Sham: Agent Reveal – Now!

snoopyeasterHi all, 

have you been waiting for this? Yeah, I know you have… and truly, it will have been worth the wait 🙂 A MASSIVE thank you to all the agents participating, to those who couldn’t join us this year but wished us well and to my Nestpitch team for all their support and hard work. So here they are, in no particular order, an even dozen of them!

Val Noble1.         Valerie Noble

Associate Agent, Donaghy Literary Group

While studying chemistry at California State University, Long Beach, Valerie mastered the art of doing proper research, particularly for technical writing. Her love of science and reading merged when she began penning her first novel in the midst of her studies. In true scientific fashion, Valerie researched all there was to know about publishing. Valerie loves science fiction and fantasy (think Kristin Cashore and Suzanne Collins) but reads everything under the sun.

Valerie is particularly interested in Young Adult and New Adult in the following genres; Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy & Historical Fiction

You can find Valerie here: http://www.donaghyliterary.com/ or on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/NobleValerie

Saba2.         Saba Sulaiman

Junior Agent, Talcott Notch Literary Services

Saba is the newest member of Talcott Notch Literary Services. She joined the team as an Assistant after working as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, where she worked primarily on their romance line. She holds a BA from Wellesley College and an MA from the University of Chicago.

Saba’s looking for up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir, in both adult and YA. She’s also actively seeking Middle Grade, particularly contemporary realistic stories.

You’ll find Saba here: http://www.talcottnotch.net/ Here: http://sabasulaiman.com/

and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/agentsaba

uwe stb3.         Dr. Uwe Stender

President, TriadaUS Literary Agency

A Full Member of the AAR (Association of Authors’ Representatives), and active on social media as well as a guest speaker at several major conferences, Dr. Uwe Stender has an impressive list of clients, both fiction & non-fiction. Uwe joins us again, having been a Nestpitch Agent in 2014.

On Uwe’s current wish-list is YA, MG, adult mysteries/thrillers, literary fiction, any non-fiction.

As well as many conferences and several online competitions you’ll find Uwe here: http://www.triadaus.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/uwestender

Jordy4.         Jordy Albert 

Literary Agent, The Booker Albert Literary Agency

Co-founder of The Booker Albert Literary Agency, Jordy holds a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University, and a M.A. from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with Marisa Corvisiero during her time at the L. Perkins Agency and the Corvisiero Literary Agency. She enjoys studying languages (French/Japanese), spends time teaching herself how to knit, is a HUGE fan of Doctor WhoSherlock and Supernatural, and loves dogs.
She is interested in Middle Grade contemporary or action/adventure, while in YA and New Adult, she is looking for sci-fi/fantasy (romance), contemporary romance. Jordy loves an awesome kick butt hero/heroine, especially when they have to work their way out of a tight spot. While it isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, she tends to shy away from novels with trigger topics, such as suicide and any type of abuse.

For adult works Jordy is looking for smart, sexy contemporary romances that leave her breathless. She is also looking for Historical Romances (she definitely has a soft spot for Regency).

For Jordy too this is her second year with Nestpitch You can find Jordy here: http://www.thebookeralbertagency.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/bluedragonfly81

Patricia-Nelson-296x3005.         Patricia Nelson

Agent, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Patricia joined Marsal Lyon Literary Agency in 2014. Previously, she interned at The Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency and in the children’s division at Running Press.

Patricia received her bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in 2008, and also holds a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

Patricia represents adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction.

Patricia’s Wish-list: Adult: women’s fiction, historical fiction, and accessible literary fiction, as well as contemporary and historical romance. YA: she’s open to a wide range of genres, including contemporary/realistic, magical realism, mystery, horror, science fiction and fantasy. MG: she’s seeking stories both realistic and fantastical that are full of heart, humour and/or adventure.

You can find Patricia here: http://www.marsallyonliteraryagency.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/patricianels

PictureCate6.         Cate Hart

Junior Literary Agent, Corvisiero Literary Agency

Cate is a Junior Agent with Corvisiero Literary Agency. This is Cate’s second time with #Nestpitch, with lasts year resulting in Cate signing a new client.

Cate mainly focuses Young Adult and Middle Grade novel length commercial fiction although she is happy to consider select New Adult, Historical Romance, and Mysteries. In YA, NA, and Adult she prefer’s stories with strong romantic elements, or even better, a heart-pounding romance.

You can find Cate here: http://catehart.com/ on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/CateHart

and the Agency here: http://www.corvisieroagency.com/

Dawn-13137.         Dawn Michelle Frederick

Literary Agent & Owner, Red Sofa Literary

After having worked in the publishing industry for many years, including being a published non-fiction author and associate agent with Sebastian Literary Agency, Dawn branched out on her own and established Red Sofa Literary.

In addition to her literary agent duties she also volunteers with her local library system. As well as many years experience in the industry, Dawn also carries a B.S. in Human Ecology, and a M.S. in Information Sciences from an ALA accredited institution.

You might find Dawn drooling over a exceptionally written MG or YA while surrounded by friends of the fluffy and fury kind. 

You can find Dawn here: http://redsofaliterary.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/redsofaliterary

mollieL8.                 Mollie Glick 

Agent, Foundry Literary & Media

After graduating from Brown University, Mollie began her career as a literary scout, advising foreign publishers regarding the acquisition of rights to American books. She then worked as an editor at the Crown imprint of Random House, before becoming an agent in 2003. Mollie represents New York Times bestsellers and International Bestsellers but she also takes great pride in breaking out a number of debut novelists each year. Her list includes literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, popular science, memoir and YA projects.

You can find Mollie here: http://www.foundrymedia.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/mollieglick

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset9.         Maria Vicente

Associate Agent, P.S. Literary Agency.

Maria is a creative and editorial agent, providing support to her clients through all stages of the writing and publication process. Maria is dedicated to managing authors’ literary brands for the duration of their careers. Her reading preferences vary across categories and genres, which is reflected in her client list. She is actively looking for literary fiction, young adult, middle grade, illustrated picture books, and nonfiction projects in the pop culture, design, and lifestyle categories.

She has affinities for literary prose, strong character development, original storytelling formats, and anything geeky. Maria’s website includes articles about publishing and writing for current and potential clients, which she shares daily on Twitter

You’ll also find Maria here: http://www.psliterary.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/msmariavicente

Camilla10.       Camilla Wray

Agent, The Darley Anderson Literary

Camilla joined the Darley Anderson Agency in July 2007 and was named as a publishing Rising Star by The Bookseller in 2013. At the Agency she represents debut, bestselling and award nominated authors in the UK and the US. She specialises in commercial fiction and represents crime, thrillers, suspense, high-concept accessible fiction, women’s fiction, love stories, YA and children’s fiction. She is always looking for characters to fall in love with, plots that keep her guessing and tales that teach the reader and leave them buzzing, crying and dying for more.

Camilla studied English Literature and Psychology at Cardiff University, specialising in Novel Writing. After gaining a distinction from the University of the Arts, Camilla went on to work for a national newspaper before joining the Darley Anderson Agency.

Camillia is another who has joined us again, having been involved in 2014. You can find Camilla here: http://www.darleyanderson.com/ And on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/camillawray

Christa11.       Christina Heschke

Agent, McIntoch & Otis, Inc.

Christa graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children’s Literature Department since 2009 where she is actively looking for picture books, middle grade, and young adult projects. She is a fan of young adult novels with a romantic angle, and strong, quirky protagonists.

Within YA, Christa is especially interested in contemporary fiction, horror and thrillers/mysteries. As for middle grade, Christa enjoys contemporary, humour, adventure, mystery and magical realism for boys and girls.

You can find Christa here: http://mcintoshandotis.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/christaheschke

Agent bio picture12.       Jessica Schmeidler

Agent/Founder, Golden Wheat Literary

Jessica is currently mainly interested in speculative fiction however she dos encourage writers to submit Christian romance, thrillers, and suspense novels. Works of faith-based* speculative fiction, including dystopian, sci-fi, and paranormal encourage. Christian thrillers and suspense are always welcome. In other words, if your novels tend toward Christian themes, Jessica is the agent for you.

You can find Jessica here: http://www.goldenwheatliterary.net/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/goldenwheatlit 

I think you’ll agree that this is quite the WOW list of agents; completely SMAWESOME wouldn’t you say?

Now, aside form checking out their bios and profiles and (of course) following them on Twitter if you haven’t done so already, there’s another reason to ‘get-to-know’ your agents – yep that’s right! We will be running Match-the-Mask-to-the-Agent again this year. The Secret Agent Bunny Masks will be revealed after Easter, and yes there will be an Amazon Voucher up for grabs for the first correct answer. More details to come after Easter.

thHoppingBunnyBut for now, all you need to concentrate on is your pitch + first 300 –words & remember, we are looking for POLISHED manuscripts.

Submission date is April 1st to 3rd 2015. Email for Submissions is nestpitch@outlook.com & for all the details & guidelines go to:https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/nestpitch2015-is-your-manuscript-pitch-ready-then-april-1-2-3-go/ For a list of your Mentors & Slushies go to: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/nestpitch-2015-teams-simply-smawesome/

And one final thing. There have been some comments/questions regarding violence (etc.) in manuscripts. While it is true we do not accept the promotion of violence, hate-crimes, racism, bigotry, misogyny, etc. is a good thing, there seems to have been a little confusion by some authors. Of course there will be violence (etc.) in some genres, in fact it’s expected. I had a very long explanation planned but (after discussing with my fellow Nestpitch Team Mates) have decided to sum it up like this (words borrowed from one of our Mentors):

“…We want stories that make us laugh and cry. Stories that make us weep and scream. Stories that transport us to strange planets and different times. Stories that make you think and feel. Stories that are sexy and scandalous, that are quirky, creepy or noir,  stories that fill the imagination with mystical, mythical creatures and exotic cultures and locales, ones that change us or make us ask questions… in other words we want it all…”

I hope this goes some way toward clarifying that it’s not so much the journey as it is the mode of transport and the destination. And if that’s still unclear, please refer to the below flow-chart created and designed by another of our Mentors – it pretty much says it all (& yes a bit tongue-in-cheek):

Screenshot 2015-03-26 09.47.57

Now, spend the weekend sharpening & polishing & reading out loud and then re-writing where needed because the countdown to author submissions is ONLY DAYS away!

HappyEaster4

#NestPitch2015 – is your manuscript pitch ready? Then… April 1-2-3 Go!

BunnyBlowsEggBubblesFor those who don’t know what Nestpitch is, here’s a quick run-through.

There’s a special Easter tradition throughout central and northern Croatia – making Easter Nests for the Easter Bunny.  On the afternoon or eve of Easter Saturday children go out into the garden and collect leaves, grass, twigs, flowers and then make a “nest” for the Easter Bunny – that’s where he places hisEaster-Egg-Presents. The children go to bed that eve wondering if the Easter Bunny will like or love their nest, because the best nest gets the best and biggest eggs! 

And that’s the basis of Nestpitch, but the ‘nests’ are the author’s pitches and the ‘Easter Bunnies’ are the agents

– get it? Great!

BunnyEatsCarrotHoleHow does Nestpitch work?

This year we have changed things a bit, therefore even if you participated in Nestpitch 2014 you will still need to read the below.

This year we are NOT accepting Picture Books. We are accepting MG, YA, NA and Adult FICTION ONLY. I had someone ask if we are accepting memoirs or similar- the short answer is NO. This is a FICTION ONLY pitch + 1st 300 for manuscript length fiction only. We are accepting all genres within these categories. If your novel is either Erotica or Christian, please state this. For example: Adult Romance (Erotica) or YA Historical Romance (Christian).

RabbitBrownCatchingSnowflakesWe support diversity and strongly encourage authors with GLBT, geographic, cultural and/or social diversity within their manuscripts to submit. Having said this, we DO NOT support sexual violence, violence against children, bigotry and racism, paedophilia and/or animal cruelty. While it is true that violence and cruelty features within some genres, horror for example, or racism in a historical fiction set in the time of slavery, we will not accept manuscripts that support or promote, directly or indirectly, racism, misogyny, rape, sexual, physical or emotional violence.

One submission per author only please.

Teams: This year there are nine Teams made up of one Mentor & two Slushies. The Teams are listed here:https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/nestpitch-2015-teams-simply-smawesome/

Guidelines: easter-rabbit-eating-vegetables-beautiful-gif-photography-great-atmosphere-funny-pics-233-1

The Pitch window will be open for 48 hours, thereby allowing everyone, regardless of where you live in the world, to prepare and submit a pitch.

The Pitch will be made up of three parts.

(i)                 a 35-word pitch

(ii)               answer to a question (in your main character’s voice)*

(iii)             the first 300-words of their manuscript

*QUESTION: If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be?  Keep your answer to NO MORE than 15-words.

happy easter animated gif funny Easter Bunny photo graphics Happy Easter ecards animations eaggs Easter fun hot cross bunny  animations gif e-cardsHow to submit your Pitch:

On April 1st the submission window will open. Please follow the guidelines as set out below. 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).

PoohBearBunnyBasketManuscript Title:

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).

zg8w-19L-1

Manuscript Title:      Easter Bunny goes to Vegas

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:

Easer Bunny Blah Blah…

Send your submission to: Nestpitch@outlook.com (please note the submission window below, submissions sent prior or post those times/dates will not be accepted)

funny-animal-gifs-just-some-bunniesFormatting: Either Times Roman or Arial (we are aware that there may be issues with some email account 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

BunnyPaintsEggsTreeSelection Process: Last year we contacted all submissions that had made a mistake or left something out (listing only category or genre for example). This year we will not be so lenient. Aside from formatting issues, authors will be expected to follow the above. All submissions will be read by me (Nikola) first to ensure each submission has followed the above rules/guidelines.

There will be three rounds before final selection.

a.       Round #1: To get past #1 the authors must be able to follow guidelines.

b.      Round #2: This year each Team will select an initial 5-8 submissions and then request more pages/material. Based on the additional pages/material, each Team will drill their selection down to between 4-5 to go to the next round. Note: authors may receive more than one request from more than one Team.

c.       Round #3: On having picked their final 4-5, each Team will then critique the first 2,500-words and ‘get to know’ the author(s). This is a 3-fold process. Being selected does not necessarily mean being featured. Teams will want to know the author(s) are willing to accept feedback etc.  The Teams will work with their authors for 3 weeks, offering feedback, sharpening pitches, & suggesting improvements. After this, the authors have a full week to re-read their MS in full & make any final changes; before the agent round.

snoopyeasterFrom the Slush-pile Picks. My Team #Team2Beat, will be hunting through the slush-pile and the reserves, looking for gems that have been missed. We will have the option of selecting between 1-5 pitches (at our discretion) to feature. This is basically a bonus-pick so, you may just get an email after the date, but if you do, you’ll be expected to work twice as hard as the other author’s as you’ll have less time – so be ready!

Additional Rules: 

a.       Only manuscripts which HAVE NOT been featured in another online competition are eligible to enter. This DOES NOT include workshops, critique groups or similar. It also DOES NOT include twitter or any other tag-line style pitches either. Please feel free to ask if you’re in any doubt.

                                                              (i)      If you have submitted the same manuscript to #Pitchslam, due to the time-line cross-over, we are accepting these submissions. However, if your submission goes to the final stage of either or both competitions, please advice us and the host of #Pitchslam.

b.      Submissions MUST follow the submission format. We accept that sometimes emails de-format fonts and tabs, what we don’t want is people forgetting to put CATEGORY & GENRE (for example) or not answering the question; that sort of thing.

All pitches that have followed the rules (round#1) will then be forwarded to each Team. After the internal cat-fight, erh discussions will take place and each Team will select their top 4-5 author submissions (round#3). Expect to also see teasers and cryptic clues via Twitter & Facebook (*don’t forget to follow the Mentors and Slushies, lots of fun to be had!)

My Team #Team2Beat will be the Bandit Team. I bet all of you have a brother or sister who always stole your favourite Easter Eggs – well that’s what we’ll be doing – sort of. We will be looking for hidden or missed gems. They could be from the slush-pile or from #round2 & we’ll feature them. #Team2Beatmay have as few as one submission featured or as many as five – it all depends on how many diamonds in the rough we believe have been missed.

This year there will again be an Amazon Gift voucher Prize for the submission with the highest number of requests and another for matching the Agents with their Masks (more on that at agent reveal).

15Dates:

Agent Reveal: 27th March

Submission Window Opens April Fools Day (Wednesday 1st April 2015)

10pm Aust. Eastern Standard Time

7am USA New York Time

12 noon London UK Time

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

10pm Aust. Eastern Standard Time

7am USA New York Time

12 noon London UK Time

Secret Agent Bunny Mask Reveal: April 9th

Teams send out requests for 1st 2,500 words Sunday 12th April

Authors reply by Tuesday 14th April

Final Selection Sunday 10th May (Mother’s Day)

Agent Request open Monday 11th May to Tuesday 12th May 2015

Unmask the Agent: Wednesday 13th May 2015 (Amazon Voucher)

Agent Request(s) sent out to authors Wednesday 13th May 2015

Authors to send requested pages to Agents by Friday 15th May 2015

Winner of Most Requests: 20th or 21st May

Stats: 28th or 29st May

Nestpitch2015 Close: 31st May (follow up blog with success stories as they come)

One last thing. Please remember to be respectful and considerate when communicating with out Mentors, Slushies and Agents. Rude, vulgar or insulting comments, tweets or emails will not be tolerated, in other words, please nice folks!

BunnyChocolateTailHelpful Guides: Novel Word Count:

Although we are not going to eliminate anyone who does not match the below, we recommend you try to follow as closely as possible the suggested word-count.  The to – from word-count is a guide only and takes into consideration genre variations (for example fantasy genre novels tend to be on the longer side)

ADULT:                     70,000 – 115,000

NEW ADULT :          60, 000 – 90,000

YOUNG ADULT:       50,000 – 80,000

MIDDLE GRADE:     25,000 – 45,000

Useful Tools/ Things to Avoid:BunnyThumperLooks

Common Punctuation Errors: (selected examples taken from Maeve Maddox’s post, March 20, 2015)

Incorrect: To become fluent readers students must read outside school hours.
Correct: To become fluent readers, students must read outside school hours.

“To become fluent readers” is an introductory infinitive phrase and should be followed by a comma.

Incorrect: If you want to write well you must be prepared to practice the craft.
Correct: If you want to write well, you must be prepared to practice the craft.

“If you want to write well” is an introductory clause and should be followed by a comma.

Incorrect: The boys, who vandalized the public gardens, are in police custody.
Correct: The boys who vandalized the public gardens are in police custody.

“Who vandalized the public gardens” is essential information because it identifies which boys are meant. It should not be set off by commas.

Incorrect: Circumstances required the children to live in a homeless shelter, nevertheless they kept up with their studies.
Correct: Circumstances required the children to live in a homeless shelter; nevertheless, they kept up with their studies.

Also correct: Circumstances required the children to live in a homeless shelter. Nevertheless, they kept up with their studies.

A comma splice results when two independent clauses are joined by a comma. The main clauses here are “Circumstances required the children to live in a homeless shelter” and “nevertheless, they kept up with their studies.”

The word nevertheless is a conjunctive adverb. Its function is to provide a transition between two thoughts, but it is not a joining word like and or but. A comma splice can be avoided by placing a semicolon after the first clause or by ending the first clause with a period or other end stop and starting a new sentence with a capital letter.

Incorrect: The spelunkers found, that the caves were closed to protect the bats.
Correct: The spelunkers found that the caves were closed to protect the bats.

The noun clause is “the caves were closed to protect the bats.” The clause functions as the direct object of the verb in the main clause, found.

thHoppingBunnyClauses: Main clauses that are not part of a compound or complex sentence require an end stop. When a period or other end stop is omitted, the result is a “run-on sentence.”

Incorrect: The rushing waves capsized the boat indifferent gulls wheeled overhead.

Correct: The rushing waves capsized the boat. Indifferent gulls wheeled overhead.

The simplest way to correct a run-on sentence is to put a period at the end of the first clause and capitalize the first word of the next one.

Multiple Exclamation Points!!!56

Incorrect: Before my astonished eyes, the house sank into the tarn!!!!
Correct: Before my astonished eyes, the house sank into the tarn!

On the rare occasions that an exclamation mark is needed, one is sufficient. Remember this rule, more than one Kitten… always. More than one exclamation mark… never.

Quotation Marks.

Incorrect: Our staff is required to take three “safety” courses every year.
Correct: Our staff is required to take three safety courses every year.

In most contexts, placing quotation marks around a word suggests that the word is being used with a meaning other than the obvious one. Writers who enclose words in quotation marks merely for emphasis risk annoying their readers. No one likes to waste time trying to discern a hidden meaning where there is none.

There are more examples on Maeve Maddox’s post found here: http://www.prdaily.eu/PRDailyEU/Articles/10_punctuation_essentials_for_every_writer_18319.aspx

Below is a list of words I have selected which are often incorrectly used:

1303815445_bunny-noseAffect vs. effect

Affect is usually a verb, and effect is usually a noun. When you affect something, it produces and effect. To affect something is to change or influence it. An effect is something that happens due to cause.

Affluent vs. effluent

Affluent describes something or someone has having a lot of money. It can also mean something is fluid or flowing in a large quantity, either literally or figuratively. A person who is wealthy is an affluentEffluent is the liquid sewage that is released as waste.

Farther vs. further

Father and Further both mean at a greater distance, and they are used interchangeably in this sense. In the US farther is more often used to refer to physical distances, and further more often refers to figurative and non-physical distances.

Imply vs. infer 

To imply is to express something indirectly. For example, you might imply that it’s time for a guest to leave by saying that you are getting tired. To infer is to surmise or deduce. For example, if you were to tell a guest that you’re getting tired, the guest might infer that it’s time to leave. More broadly, infer means to deduce. For example, when the sky grows dark in the middle of the day, you might infer that it’s probably going to storm. Infer has been used in place of imply so often and for so long that some dictionaries now list it as a synonym of imply in a secondary sense. In edited writing, however, the traditional distinction is usually kept intact.

easter-bunny-cute-gifLightening vs. lightning

Lightening (from the verb – lighten), where to lighten is to make light or lighter. Lightning is the flash of light associated with thunder.

Literally vs. figuratively

Literally means exactly, in a strict sense, or to the letter. For example, “I am literally foaming at the mouth,” this literally means real foam is coming out of his or her mouth. 

Figuratively means in a metaphorical sense—so when someone says, “I am figuratively foaming at the mouth,” we can infer that he or she is using the idiom foaming at the mouth, which means very angry, and that no mouth foam is actually present.

Misinformed vs. uninformed

Something that is misinformed is based on bad information. Something that is uninformed is based on no information or inadequate information.

Oppress, repress, suppress

To oppress is to keep someone down by unjust force or authority. To repress is (1) to hold back, or (2) to put down by force. Suppress, means (1) to put an end to, (2) to inhibit, and (3) to keep from being revealed, such as suppressing evidence.

BunnyBrownBasketSparklePeek, peak & pique

A peek is a glance or a quick look. It can also mean to glance or to peer at. Peak is a topmost point, such as a mountain peak. Finally, pique is to upset or excite someone, such as, to pique interest, you are exciting their interest not taking a quick look at it.

Re-create vs. recreate

Recreate means to amuse oneself with an activity, and is a word in its own right. The verb re-create, meaning to create again, benefits from the hyphen. But because recreate is an exceedingly rare verb, there’s actually little chance of the two being confused, so many publications omit the hyphen and use recreate to mean to create again.

Whiny, whiney, whinny

Whiny is an adjective meaning habitually complaining or like a whine.

Whiney is the same as whiny.

Whinny is the sound horses make & is synonymous with neigh.

Wreath vs. wreathe

The difference between wreath and wreathe is similar to that between breath and breathe. Wreath is a noun and wreathe is its corresponding verb.

MyButtHurts1Variations in British English and US English

As a general rule, the use of the letter ‘u’ in certain words differentiates the two types of English, for example Favorite / Favourite. The first being US English. Another example would be Color / Colour. Also the replacement of the letter ‘S’ with the letter ‘Z’ is a common difference between the two versions. For example Realize / Realise, with the first being US English.

Then there are words where US English has only one ‘L’ when – ed is added, for example Traveled is US English and Travelled is British English.

I found a good source of reference here: http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/words/british_american_english.htm

This site also highlights changes in ‘re’ and ‘er’ for example Centre/Center and other variations.

Sometimes words have a very different spelling as is the case with Jewelry  / Jewellery. The first being US English.

I hope some of these will help you with your grammar and word selection  and of course, if you have any questions about #Nestpitch please feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter using either @nestpitch or @Nik_Vukoja

Come back in a few days to see our truly smawesome list of Agents!

ImageProxy