Writing Tips

Highlighting Rejection: Dr. Suess

To my fellow authors, I know that rejection letter stings. I know that it sinks down into your mind and heart. It makes you doubt whether you should even continue writing. DON’T LET IT. Rejection now does not mean rejection later and it certainly does not mean rejection forever. Let me share with you some well-known authors who experienced rejection themselves!

Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is one of the most successful children’s author in the world. His well-know works include Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat and the Hat, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Many of his books have been remained into cartoons which were later remained into live-action movies. And now, even his movies are being reanimated closer to their original form.

Needless to say, his success is obvious everywhere!
However, it wasn’t always that way. Did you know the Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book,  And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Streetwas rejected twenty-seven different times!

In fact, he had almost given up on getting his book published at all! It was only due to a chance encounter with a friend, who had recently become an editor, that Theodor Geisel ever became Dr. Seuss.

Can you imagine though, what would have happened, if Theodor had been too broken by his recent rejections to even mention his book to his friend? What would Christmas look like without his classic tale?


If Dr. Seuss, the genius behind children’s stories, can take twenty-seven different rejections and keep moving forward, so can I and so can you!

Try and try again, it’s all that we can do!

Have you been rejected before, or does the world of traditional publishing seem too intimidating to venture into just yet? Let me know in the comments below!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2022

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Finding an Agent

As I am walking through this difficult, oops typo, lovely querying process where I am laying my heart on the line and praying it does not get trampled (or worse, left lying there completely ignored with no closure), I figured I would share my experiences, tips, and tricks with any hopeful authors out there! So today, let’s talk about agents.

Do You Need An Agent?

Yes. If you are looking for traditional publishing with the majority of traditional publishing houses. It is extremely rare, in my experience, for publishing houses to welcome unsolicited manuscripts. In other words, publishing houses have become so overwhelmed with new authors that they needed a way to weed through the submissions so that they are only looking at the best of the best. At the most basic level, an agent basically backs your claim and tells the publishing house “yes, this is a good book, you should read it.”

How Do I Find An Agent?

Not all agents are created equal; just as all writers are unique in their own respects. You cannot and should not just mass query dozens of agents hoping that one sticks without doing your research FIRST. Yes, you heard me, research! Many agents have specific requirements for what they are searching for, how to query them, and whether or not they are even accepting queries at the time. If you just find a random listing of agents and hit mass send, your odds of success are nearly zero. (I only say nearly, because, hey, people win the lottery every day).

Here are some steps:

  1. Start by identifying which agents match your books’ needs. Search reputable lists such as: Poets & Writers (which I found recommended from a publishing house I would love to partner with one day). There is also Publisher’s Marketplace & Query Tracker (although it does cost to get all of the benefits of these sites). Of the two, I have found Publisher’s Marketplace to be more user-friendly and filled with great information! Publisher’s Marketplace tends to work better when you have a specific agent in mind that you want more information on. Literary Rambles has some excellent interviews with agents, what they’re looking for, and how to submit! I love that I can “hear” from so many agents about what they are personally looking for.
  2. With every agent, search for key words that match your book (for example, I searched for Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction). Immediately that took my search from hundreds of agents to dozens. Then I began reading more about the agents to see what type of fiction they were interested in by reading their bios and looking up books they had previously helped the authors get published.
  3. Once you narrow it down, read the agent’s query instructions CAREFULLY. Many agents will bluntly tell you that if you do not follow their instructions, your query will be tossed. Some agents may be on a temporary pause in receiving queries, and once again, straight into the trash your query goes. I know it’s exciting to send your work out into the world, but go slowly, do it correctly, or you may throw away the perfect opportunity.

Questions about finding an agent that’s right for you? Comment below!

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2022

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

How to Write a Query Letter (Querying)

In my post titled “So You’ve Finished Writing Your Book… Now What?,” I discussed the necessity of writing the author’s bio, query letter, and book synopsis. My plan is to share my experiences with each of these items as I walk through this process of publishing my YA Fantasy Fiction WIP. Let’s deal with the second of these items today: the query letter.

What is a query letter?

Such a simple question, with a seemingly simple answer, and yet I have also found that the answer can sometimes change based on who you are querying. For the majority of the time, however, a query letter is your chance to tell the agent a little about you, but mostly about your book. It’s your attempt to sell your agent on your book before they ever even look (or request) at your manuscript). If you don’t sell your book here, it’s over.

With that being said, a query letter is clearly important, but how do you write one?

What elements does a query letter typically include?

  1. Greeting
    • Start with “Dear ____________” and find the specific name to your specific agent. You want them to get to know you? Take the time to get to know them. Do. The. Research.
      • This isn’t the place to be super creative or superfluous. It really is that simple and nothing to get overtly fancy with.
  2. Book Information
    • This is the most important part of your entire query (sorry for the panic attack I just triggered). You need to introduce your story, your main protagonist, and the major conflict of the story. Think of this almost like a back cover blurb but more. This should be around 3 paragraphs long (under 300 words). Paragraph One introduces your world and main character. Paragraph Two introduces the conflict. Paragraph Three introduces the stakes if the protagonist fails. My best advice on how to write this section?
      • READ OTHER QUERIES (look at my link below for Query Shark where you can read other queries and critical responses to said queries)
  3. Author Bio (Short)
    • Your last paragraph should include the title of your book in CAPS, word count, genre, and comparable comps (if applicable, especially if asked for). Finish your last paragraph with a short author bio (many agents will ask for a full author’s bio apart from the general query letter). If you have already provided a full author bio, keep this short with a “While I’m not writing, I am blahblahblahblahblah (try to sell yourself a bit with something interesting) (2-3 sentences).
      • If you haven’t already provided a full author’s bio, go and read my “How to Write an Author’s Bio” post
  4. Closing
    • Again, less is more.
      • “Thank you for your time and consideration.”
      • Sincerely, First and Last Name
      • Email
      • Phone Number
      • Social Media Handles (if applicable)
    • That’s it. You don’t need to tell them you’re willing to send the rest of your manuscript (they know).

One last thing, keep it brief. As in, you must absolutely remain under 500 words brief.

Here are a few querying articles that I found particularily helpful during my own research that I highly recommend!

I’m thinking about accepting queries through my blog and reviewing them for fellow authors. Would you be interested in sending me a query so that I could review it?

Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2022

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poetry

Results

Months

Of scheduling, waiting, fearing, praying

Hours

Of prepping, nausea, pain, cramping

Minutes

Of waiting, signing, consenting

Seconds

Of relief, clear results, the promise of a future

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

80,000 Word Challenge, My Writings

“New” Summer Project (80,000 Words in 10 Weeks Challenge!)

Hey Everyone! Man, I have an exciting announcement today!

I really want to share with you my latest project! It’s both new and old at the same time. I began writing a fantasy fiction series back in Middle/High School (over a decade ago). I spent years on it, finishing it, revising it, changing it; in college, I even submitted several chapters for review during my Creative Writing classes. I officially finished the 394 page book four years ago.

I haven’t touched it since. Not until last week that is.

For four years, this finished novel has sat and waited for my attention to return. I am grateful for the distance, we both needed it, but I am ready to dive back in! Having read through the entire thing last week, I can see the potential in my writing, but I can also see the weak, “youthful” (let’s admit it, cheesy) areas of my writing as well. Therefore, I have decided that my latest summer project will be to return to this fantasy fiction series with a twist and a challenge!

My Plan for the Summer (80,000 Words In 10 Weeks Challenge):

  • Strip down the old version to the studs and create an outline of main events & characters (Currently in this stage)

  • Streamline the story; remove the unnecessary components (“cheese”)

  • REWRITE the entire thing. That’s right, not edit, REWRITE. Word Count Goal = 80,000 Words in 10 weeks!

  • Reach my word count goal by the end of summer (August 7th) and begin the editing process while querying publishing houses.

It is entirely possible that I am biting off more than I can chew, but I know that by being open about my intentions here on WordPress, I will be more motivated to actually reach my goals. Just as I did with Agency in the Hunger Games, I will be setting bi-weekly goals to project on my social media author sites to keep me accountable.

So here it is; my 80,000 Word Challenge Progress Chart!

80,000 Words

I begin today May 29th starting at a “0” Word Count!

That means that I am attempting to write approximately 16,000 every two weeks! The goal is to have written 80,000 Words by August 7th!

In the comments below, let me know what you think! Can I hit the 80,000 Word Count in just 10 weeks or have I, maybe, lost my mind from the COVID-Quarantine?

Project Updates

June 12th: Goal = 16,000 Words

June 26th: Goal = 32,000 Words

July 10th: Goal = 48,000 Words

July 24th: Goal = 64,000 Words

August 7th: Goal = 80,000 Words

 

Blogs / Life

It’s Been Awhile; Let’s Catch Up!

Hey Everyone,

It has been a long time since I have accessed WordPress and I really miss this interaction. You all know that I had been slowing down my online presence since January as I began to get overwhelmed by trying to release my first book, finish my first year of teaching, and be a present wife during my first year of marriage (lots of firsts).

Then came COVID . . . Teaching went online which meant that I went from working 10 hour days to 14 hour days as I strove to create online content for my students that mirrored the exact education they would have been receiving without COVID.

All that to say, something had to give and unfortunately that something was my blogging, which really sucked, if I’m being honest.

Now, with school ending in just nine days, I can see the glimmer of hope that summer brings teachers. I plan on diving back into blogging and reconnecting with old friends. So if you’re still there and reading my blogs, please send me your most recent blog post link in the comments! I’m craving some awesome blogging content!

C5652DC3-7EC3-46EA-927F-8BF9272B4E8D

I’m Back!

The Agency Games

Agency in The Hunger Games – Available for Pre-Order!

I was scrolling through my Facebook yesterday when I came upon this . . .

agency

Yup! It’s “Facebook Official!” My book, Agency in The Hunger Games, three years in the making is finally going to be released to the public this Spring 2020! You can even pre-order your copy now!

It’s been a long road and I know there is still one last stretch before I hit that finish line, but I can already see it in the distance.

Thank you to all of you who have encouraged and supported me the past three years!

Image result for finishing the race

Alphabet Challenge

“A” for Academics

Apples aging on desks,

Achievement and Ambition sought as

Adolescents adjust, apathetically accepting the

Approach of another academic year

img_2593
Credit: Amador Loureiro https://unsplash.com/@amadorloureiroblanco

Today’s Alphabet Challenge features the letter “A.” In the comments below, let me know what you think of today’s poem and drop a link to your own post that fulfills the “A” challenge! At the end of each month, I will be choosing my favorite Alphabet Challenge Entry and sharing it on my blog.

I can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with. Happy Writing!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Accepting Failure

Let me be honest. Failure is going to be a part of your writing career. It just is. And let me honest again. Failure is going to be a part of life.

We are humans, we cannot succeed at everything, all the time.

So, before you begin your career as an author, an artist, a composer, a teacher, whatever you choose, accept that at some point you will fail.

Failure today does not mean that you cannot succeed tomorrow. – KaylaAnn

Failure is only a moment in time, a response to a singular incident. Failure does not define you or your career. The best option, and really the only option you have to success, is to accept failure and then move on from it.

Sometimes our failures will be small. For example, I failed a lot of my daily word count goals between the months of November – January. However, I did not let that stop me. I did not throw my hands in the air and say, “Well, I failed, it’s over!” Nope, I moved forward and planned to begin writing in earnest again.

Sometimes our failures will be big. For example, I’ve just recently received my review from my third reader and let’s just say, it wasn’t great. Now, I’m stuck where I have two decisions and either decision will require drastic change to my manuscript. However, that does not mean that I give up, I pick myself back up (after I cried my eyes out) and I get ready to face the problem head on.

So accept failure, but do not let it define you. Do not let it stop you. Do not let it hinder your progress. Acknowledge it, learn from it, be strengthened by it.

I’ll keep you updated on my book, The Agency Games, once I have some more information. Please wish me luck and keep me in your prayers as I work toward this goal and attempt to decide what is best for my manuscript.

Accept Failure but Never Stop Moving Forward.