Back in the Saddle

Yesterday was my indie pub anniversary!

After taking about nearly two years off for grad school, it feels a bit like this:

(Also, I did once see Aerosmith in concert, but they did not do an encore, and I feel like the sacred bond between attendee and band was broken. If you are in a band, please note: encores aren’t really optional. It’s like going to a prix fix dinner and then having them decide that they just didn’t feel like making you dessert that day. It’s part of the meal! Anyway, I digress…)

So! It’s my indie anniversary, and I’ve noticed that there has been a lot of change since I put out my first book. The basics are all still there – write a good book, send it to reviewers, promote with blog tours, etc. But the who, when, where seems to have changed. In the time I’ve been gone, Amazon has probably changed its algorithms a good eighteen times, and a sales spike doesn’t quite seem to hold like it used to.

That said, I’m still excited to get back to it!

On that note, Effie just received another mention:

And I had the opportunity to talk to Synthia Saint James a bit this past week about publishing:

I’ve also changed my newsletter a bit so that you can now join the Quacktory for exclusive updates and sneak previews for my books. (Why the Quacktory and what am I working on now? Guess you’ll just have to join the Quacktory to find out!)

Finally, to keep my focus on writing for children and teens, I’m still closed to editorial work (with the exception of this June’s CWHV conference).

Tips for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse and the YA Spring Fling Giveaway

From March 15th to 30th, a group of YA authors are participating in the YA Spring Fling Giveaway and blog hop.

YA Spring Fling med

Effie’s Senior Year, The Engine Driver, Don’t Haunt This Place and Lover I Don’t Have to Love are all participating in the giveaway, and I’ve already sent in my guest post. Here’s a sneak peek:

What are your top tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse?

Surviving a zombie apocalypse is all about forethought and preparation.

1.) Make slow friends.
Before you accept anybody’s friendship, challenge them to a road race. If you can outrun them, then congrats, you have a new friend! You’ll at least survive a bit longer than them in the zombie apocalypse.

If you can’t outrun them, then their friendship eventually means that you will be zombie food. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to be gorged on by a zombie for this person?” If not, then perhaps you need a new friend.

2.) Build skills, not a stock pile.
Most guides will probably tell you that you should have a warehouse full of supplies. But then you will be less likely to leave them if your current situation becomes untenable. Instead, casually teach yourself the skills needed to survive a zombie apocalypse. Don’t let too many people know though, or the zombies will figure it out and instead of eating you, you will be repairing the zippers on zombie pants.

Small ways to gain zombie survival skills without attracting attention:

• “Oh, this herb garden? I’m not trying to learn how to grow enough food to survive a zombie apocalypse. I just really like fresh basil.”

• “Oh, this blanket made by the fronts of all my favorite but too-small band t-shirts? I’m not trying to learn how to quilt to survive the zombie apocalypse. I just really don’t like throwing out shirts.”

• “Oh, this popsicle stick model of a collapsible, portable dwelling? I’m not trying to figure out how to shelter myself during the zombie apocalypse. I just have a school project about camping.”

The full guest post can be found on Stacy Claflin’s blog later this month as part of the YA Spring Fling giveaway.

What I Learned from #PitMad

1.) This is a terribly stressful thing to decide to do while you’re riding the subway home.

2.) Well-meaning significant others, who you love with all your heart, are terrible sounding boards for pitches about books they haven’t read yet.

2a.) They are great at puns though. Even if you can’t use them.

3.) To be most successful, you’d probably have to schedule out all of your tweets ahead of time.

3a.) This is obviously impossible to do when you’re on a crowded subway, and always have to be focused on the game of “Is that a hand? Or someone’s bag?” to make sure that nobody is taking liberties.

4.) As in all things, jumping in at the last minute really told me that I am feeling stressed about my lack of time to devote to an actual agent search. While this felt, at the time, like something to do to make progress, in truth, I was already set up to fail because I was not prepared.

So, ultimately, I think for me “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As in, I already successfully secured representation through the traditional route before, so there was no need to wreck a lovely walk and dinner with my love so that I could wrack my brain for how to shove all of the complexities and subtleties of The Adventures of Pudding Boy into 140 characters.*

Also, I feel like I’d have a better chance of securing the right agent and editor relationship through the traditional route.

That’s not to say that I’m poo-pooing Pitch Madness. I just don’t think this is the route for me.

 

*That said, I thought this one was pretty clever, even if it’s terrible as a book pitch:

The Clear Sky Files – Part 2

To read The Clear Sky Files from the beginning, click here.


She was right. There were no clouds above her house. But then again, there weren’t any clouds above my house either. It was a beautiful Spring day.

The front curtains moved, and I dove into the bushes that lined the edge of her property. Sometimes, detective work is dirty.

I brushed the dirt from my knee.

Real dirty.

Margaret opened her front door and stepped out on to her porch.

You may be wondering, at this point, how I found her. She must have dropped her purse in the hallway, because on my way out the door I found her card, with a message on back.

141 Church Street. Don’t be late.

You may think this is all too convenient. But I call it good detective work. Afterall, I mighta walked right over that card and never seen it, and then I wouldn’t be here spying on Margaret from her bushes.

Anyway. I couldn’t be late, since we didn’t make an appointment.

Maybe she didn’t mean for me to find that card. Maybe she’s expecting somebody else…

Just then, Frankie’s car pulled into her driveway. Or at least it looked like Frankie’s car. But the man that got out was no copper, that’s for sure.

He was tall and broad-backed, with a hat low on his head. His right hand was covered in rings so big I could see them from my hiding — I mean, surveillance — spot in the bushes.

He grunted something to Margaret. Something guttural and unfamiliar.

She nodded as she opened her clutch and pulled out a cigarette case. She put her hands in front of her face, as if she was lighting a match.

But she didn’t light a match. She pushed a trigger.


More personally…
This month I’ll be participating in the YA Spring Fling Giveaway. Stay tuned for more details!

My latest book, Effie’s Senior Year: The Complete Effie Stories is now available on Amazon.

You can also download Effie at the Wedding free for a limited time on Amazon US (UK), Barnes and NobleiTunesKoboScribdSmashwords, and the Sony eReader Store.

New subscribers can receive two free short stories by signing up for updates about my books or editorial work here, and you can follow me on Twitter or Goodreads.

3 Reasons Effie is Glad It’s Her #BookBirthday

Today is the publication day for Effie’s Senior Year: The Complete Effie Stories, so I thought it’d be appropriate for Effie to say a few words on this momentous occasion.
Effie's Senior Year

3 Reasons I, Effie Green, Am Glad That Today is My Book Birthday

3.) As hard as Ophelia tries, she will never have a book birthday.

3 a.) That said, she has pushed out a baby, which will have birthdays annually. I’ll pretty much have this birthday once.

3 b.) But how special is something that happens annually, compared to something that happens once in a lifetime? It’s like today is Haley’s Comet, and Ophelia’s baby will have birthdays like…. well, birthdays.

3 c.) Birthdays come with cake though, and Haley’s Comet comes with standing outside in the freezing cold while your mother yells at the top of her lungs that “Effie, I can see you’re cold! Didn’t we just buy you a padded bra? Come inside and you can watch this on TV!”

2.) Today’s book birthday means that I have survived my senior year of high school.

2 a.) Just barely.

2 b.) That said, there were only a few days were I thought I would die a literal death. These days usually coincided with major school events, and pretty much any day where Robbie had just had a chocolate milkshake and refused to roll down the windows even though he was creating enough methane for literally every cow whose milk he had just drank.

1.) I get to talk to you one last time before my series is closed.

1 a.) Oh my god, who am I going to talk to now?

1 b.) And what about when I go to college?

1 c.) Gulp. Am I going to have to take advice from my mom?!

1 d.) WAIT! WAIT! I AM NOT GLAD IT’S MY BOOK BIRTHDAY!


More personally…
This month I’ll be participating in the YA Spring Fling Giveaway. Stay tuned for more details!

My latest book, Effie’s Senior Year: The Complete Effie Stories is now available on Amazon.

You can also download Effie at the Wedding free for a limited time on Amazon US (UK), Barnes and NobleiTunesKoboScribdSmashwords, and the Sony eReader Store.

New subscribers can receive two free short stories by signing up for updates about my books or editorial work here, and you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or Goodreads.