BookHive Corp. Blog

Everything indie publishing, beta reader research, creative writing tips, and all around tomfoolery (I just wanted to say tomfoolery.)

Ghostwriting: Not As Scary As It Sounds

 

 

Ghostwriters aren’t as scary or mysterious as their name makes them seem. Ghostwriters are hired to help with the production of a novel, articles, social media posts, or other pieces of writing. This can mean a few things:

        1.   The ghostwriter has been hired to take someone else’s ideas and write the work for them.

        2.   The ghostwriter has been hired to make significant changes to a rough draft beyond the level of a typical editor.

        3.   The ghostwriter has been hired by a company to produce a form letter, website, or similar piece.

        4.   The ghostwriter has been hired to write and publish their own ideas that will have someone else’s name on the work.

Ghostwriters are frequently hired to write the biographies of celebrities who do not have the ability to write their own work, be it due to skill level or time constraints. Due to the fact that their name is not credited as the author for their work, it is rare that a published work’s ghostwriter becomes known to the public. Additionally, often groups of ghostwriters work on one piece or one author’s collective work.

Some famous authors such as, Alexandre Dumas, Ian Fleming, R.L. Stine, Tom Clancy, L.J. Smith, Steven Spielberg, and many others, use ghostwriters. And many more are rumored to use or have used them, like Shakespeare and Stephen King. Sometimes, famous authors even do the ghostwriting themselves. For example, HP Lovecraft, author of Cthulhu, was a ghostwriter for magician and escape artist Harry Houdini.

 

If you want to be a ghostwriter:

There are a lot of ways to be a ghostwriter. One way is to be hired by an agency that specializes in ghostwriters, such as Arbor Services or Gotham Ghostwriters. There may also be a spot for you within a larger agency or publishing company. These companies will help to connect you to writers.

If you are looking to freelance ghostwrite, there are some sites where you can advertise yourself like Freelancer and Craigslist.

You can also seek out individuals who may be looking for ghostwriters in places like writer’s groups, Twitter and Facebook, and other social forums.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros-

·         You get experience in the field.

·         You get a chance to make connections in the field.

·         You get to know the “author” of the work really well. If they are famous they could be valuable!

·         You get paid for your work. Yay money!

 

Cons-

·         It is easy to be taken advantage of, make sure you do your research on common prices for ghostwriting, which can vary widely. Consider asking for a royalty.

·         Despite it being your work, the “author” gets the final say on edits. Doesn’t seem fair, right?

·         You may get a small mention or you may get none. You won’t get credit for your work.

·         You will likely have to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

 

If you want to hire a ghostwriter:

There are a lot of reasons why you may wish to hire a ghostwriter, and needing to hire one is not something to be ashamed of. Lots of people use ghostwriters. If you want to find a ghostwriter, try some of the same links mentioned above for places that hire ghostwriters or advertise their services.

You could also see if you can find a literary agency or publisher that offers ghostwriting services or can connect you with a ghostwriter. You can put out your own ad on Facebook or Craigslist asking for a ghostwriter.  You can also just do a Google search to yield results.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros-

·         Great for a busy individual who has an idea they want to get out but no time to do it.

·         The ghostwriter is being paid to produce quality work, so you can trust that the writing will be good.

·         Ultimately, you get the final say on the drafts.

 

Cons-

·         Ghostwriters can be expensive. If either you or your ghostwriter are high profile the price can be near to $200,000 a book.

·         You won’t get the experience of writing yourself nor learn how to for the future.

·         If you don’t credit your ghostwriter to begin with, and it comes out later that you used one, you can lose credibility with your audience. They can feel as though they have been lied to.

 

 

The use of a ghostwriter creates a strange partnership, one that is different for every author and writer. The culture around ghostwriters is always changing too, sometimes kept in the dark behind closed doors like a dirty secret, other times accepted wholeheartedly and given the credit due. Ultimately the connection between the two is a business partnership and, as such, ought to be treated fairly and honestly. Both parties should know what the other expects from them so no one gets cheated. 

 


 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback. 

   

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

 

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Deciding on an Editor

So you’ve finished your manuscript, you’ve written and rewritten, you’ve had beta readers test it, you’ve made every member of your family read it, and then you’ve rewritten it some more, what is the next step? A next step would be to consider looking for a good editor.

 

Before you begin your search, you need to decide what type of editor you need. There are two basic types of editors: Developmental and Copy. 

Developmental editors provide a more thorough examination of your manuscript. Their edits range from word choice and phrasing to major plot holes. These are the heavy edits that can lead to a major rewrite. These editors will, hopefully, have both your intended goals and audience in mind as well as professional standards and industry expectations. Since there is a chance that the manuscript will go through an overhaul after this editing session, it would make more sense to make use of a developmental editor before turning to a copy editor.

Copy editors are there to polish your piece. They will help with sentence structure, grammar, spelling, punctuation and all those important nit-picky rules that readers care about. Grammar is hard! But luckily Copy Editors are there to help! They will also help you with some of the crucial details that lead to clarity in your writing like transitions, subject-verb agreement, slang and vernacular language, accuracy of references and footnotes, and errors in continuity, just to name a few. Additionally, they will make sure that your manuscript is formatted correctly (including those tricky running headers). It is those tasks that make a copy editor different from a proof reader, who will stick strictly to grammar and spelling.

 

Try an editor finding service:

There are a lot of services out there dedicated to matching editors to authors. Most of them are paid services, but this option may be worth the cost. They are often tied to reputable editors, agencies, publishers, and companies.

Here is a list of just a few that I found: 

https://nybookeditors.com/

https://reedsy.com/editing/book-editor

http://www.bookdocs.com/

http://www.book-editing.com/quote.html

 

Try one of these lists of resources and editors:

https://www.servicescape.com/professionals/editors/english/book/94321

https://www.thecreativepenn.com/editors/

https://kindlepreneur.com/book-editors/

http://www.the-efa.org/dir/search.php

http://www.rachellegardner.com/freelance-editors/

http://bookmarket.com/first-time-novel-editors.htm

 

Networking:

Ask around. Pick the minds of other authors you know or join a writers group online and ask them where they found their editors. Read the bios and interviews of your favorite authors and see who their editor was and if you can find out how they were connected to them. You can even ask on twitter; there are a lot of authors and editors on Twitter.

 

Try googling:

No seriously! Never underestimate the power of google, but don’t just choose the first result the search engine spits out. Make sure to check reviews and make sure you have all the information you need before you decide that an editor is for you.

 

Pricing:

Pricing is really individualized per editor or editing service. Some editors charge a few cents per word, or a few dollars per thousand words, others by page count or by the hour. Some editors will offer to edit a few free pages so that you can get a feel for their services, but don't expect or rely on this, especially from busy or high-demand editors. Many of the editing services offer an individualized quote per project. As with all industry, the more prestigious the editor or editing service, the pricier it will be. You just have to decide whether that is worth it for you or not. The price may be an indication that the editor is in fact top notch, but you may find that a more reasonably priced editor just perfect for you.

  

You should also look and see what genres a potential editor is comfortable working in and see if you can find out which authors they have worked with in the past. The most important thing is choosing an editor who will give your manuscript their full effort and make sure it comes out as the best version of itself. 

 


 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback. 

   

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

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An Introduction to Popular Self-Publishing Platforms

The idea of self-publishing your novel can be overwhelming, but it needn’t be. In fact, it is easier to self-publish these days, especially with the emergence of the Ebook and other forms of digital publication. Here are some of the more popular and user friendly Self-Publishing options out there right now:

 

 

Smashwords:

 

Ebook:

Cost: Free

Royalty: up to 80% from Smashwords store, 60% from other retailers.

Distribution: Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, OverDrive, Baker and Tayler, Browns Books for Students and more.

 

Pros: Tons of distribution to global retailers and libraries.

Cons: No print option available.

 

Create Space:

 

Print:

Cost: Pay for printing cost.

Royalty: Calculated by project (size of book, number of pages, color, etc).

Distribution:

Standard: Amazon US and Europe, Create Space Estore.

Expanded: Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Create Space Direct.

 

Pros: Books only printed on demand so no paying for printing without anyone buying the book. The expanded distribution option shows your book to distributors who may list your book on retail sites. Offers a lot of services to help you publish your book, including editing.

Cons: Books only printed on demand means that they won’t be distributed to stores in physical copy. Doesn’t seem to be an option to create an ebook on their site in the same way the others offer a unique service, but instead there is an option for kindle conversion for 79 dollars.

 

Lulu:

           

Print (plus free Ebook format):

Cost: Free for Lulu site, distribution fee for other sites.

Royalty: Retail price minus printing cost and LuLu Comission (20% of net revenue)

Distribution: Nook, iBook, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram.

 

Pros: A lot of information on this site to make sure all your questions are answered.

Cons: The commission price makes your royalties smaller.

 

 

Nook Press:

 

Ebooks:

Cost: Free

Royalty: Up to 65%

Distribution: Barnes &Noble and NOOK.

Print:

Cost: Pay for printing cost which depends on the book’s specs.

Distribution: Barnes & Noble website and stores.

 

Pros: Easy to use! The website is user friendly and you can have your book published in under 48 hours. Nonexclusive agreement, you can publish elsewhere.

Cons: Seems like a small market of distribution.

 

Kindle Direct Publishing:

Ebook:

Cost: Free

Royalty: Up to 70%

Distribution: Amazon website globally.

Print:

http://simonandschusterpublishing.com/simonandschuster/images/header_blue.jpg?crc=4035455719Cost: Pay for printing cost.

Royalty: Up to 60%

Distribution: Amazon website in US, Europe, and Japan.

 

Pros: Website has lots of information to make sure you know exactly what to expect. High royalties.

Cons: Only distributed online. Nonexclusive agreement, you can publish elsewhere. Though it offers a guide, you must have your manuscript formatted ahead of time. Only offers paperback print option.

 

 

Assisted Self-Publishing:

 

Archway Publishing:

Print (with Ebook included):

Cost: $2000-14000 depending on package. Also take 30% of royalties.

Royalty: 50% of retail cost minus production cost including Wholesale cost if applicable.

Distribution: Ingram, Amazon, Google, Kono, Baker and Taylor, Barnes and Noble, OverDrive.

 

Pros: Provided by Simon and Schuster, a reputable publisher. The packages come with a lot of resources and unique opportunities.

Cons: Expensive and a low royalty.

 

AuthorHouse:

Print (with Ebook included):

Cost: $900-12000 depending on package.

Royalty: 10% of retail price, 25% of sales from AuthorHouse website, 50% of ebook sales.

Distribution: AuthorHouse site, Amazon, “other” retailers.

Pros: More affordable than Archway and their packages come with a lot of resources and unique opportunities as well (Including a trailer for your book at domestic movie theaters).

Cons: Low royalties. May take four weeks or more to be listed on retail sites like Amazon.

 

 

 


 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback. 

   

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

 

 

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How To Pitch A Non-Fiction Book

If you working on or planning a non-fiction book, here are some tips on how to pitch!

 

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Unlike in fiction writing, you don’t have to have a complete manuscript to pitch your book; the important thing is your proposal. The proposal is what you will present to a potential editor, agent, or publisher. A good proposal should have the following:

 

Your title:

 

The title of your work should, in many ways, speak for itself. The title needs to give the reader a sense of your work in order to inspire them to read it, it also needs to inspire your potential editor/agent/publisher to agree to work with you.

 

1-3 sentences about your topic:

 

Following the title should be a brief description of your work, highlighting its unique-ness. This should include the primary theme of the work and why it is invaluable to the reader.

 

Your platform/audience:

 

Take the time to specify who the audience of your book will be. These are the demographics that your book’s topic will appeal to and why.

 

Marketability/promotion:

 

Slightly different than the previous section, this section is about what makes your book marketable and what you plan to do for the promotion of the book. Why will people buy your book? If you are an expert in your topic, have a platform all ready, or have connections (press, bookstores, etc.) on where to promote after it has been published, be sure to to include this information.

 

Comparable and competing titles:

 

Throw out some titles of other works that are similar to yours to give the potential editor/agent/publisher an idea of what they are getting into, but at the same explain why your novel is special and, in fact, superior to these works.

 

Overview:

 

This should include the format and length of your book as well as a planned date of completion for the project.

 

A sample chapter:

 

Include a sample chapter of your work, if you have a chapter written.

 

Here are some resources for non-fiction editors:

http://www.book-editing.com/editing-genres/nonfiction-book-editors.html

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/editors/

 

Here are some resources for non-fiction agents:

http://mswishlist.com/profiles/agent/nonfiction

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/nonfiction-agents

 

Here are some resources for non-fiction publishers:

https://curiosityneverkilledthewriter.com/15-nonfiction-publishers-accepting-unagented-manuscript-proposals-79744904fd

http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/p/publishers-looking-for-authors.html

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?270404-List-of-nonfiction-publishers-unsolicited-subs

 

Make sure you check the submission guidelines for the editor/agent/publisher you are submitting to, because they may have other specific requirements. If these links aren’t enough, remember to check your bookshelf. The publishers of some of the books you like might be a good fit for you too. If you are having a hard time, consider revising your proposal, or even your approach to your topic. Additionally, there is always the option to self-publish.

 


 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback. 

   

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.





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The best deadline for finishing a first draft: A baby

For those of you who have read past posts know, I have felt a direct link between my writer's block and my fertility issues the last five years. Five years. Yes, that's right. Or four and a half years if I'm getting technical, but I feel like rounding up.

During the first two years of trying to have a baby, I was still writing almost every day. I took up writing fiction for the first time (after primarily being a playwright), was in a thriving writer's group that I started, and launched BookHive. Somewhere in the third year after I had an ectopic pregnancy after my first try with IVF, the flow of writing started to peter out. I remember being pregnant and going to this new writer's group in Astoria where we met at a public eatery. One time I asked the woman behind the counter about the cheese that was in the soup. (Was it safe? I was pregnant, you know). After the pregnancy was discovered to be ectopic at six weeks and I had emergency surgery, a few weeks later I went back to the writer's group. Unlike previous writer's groups, these people weren't my friends, but fantastic writers with a shared goal to write. No one knew what had happened. It was liberating for them not to know. I ordered that soup again with the cheese in it. Of course by then, I no longer had a concern about it.

This all happened in September. While I did continue to revise the piece that I was working on until early April, somewhere in May I stopped writing. Nothing dramatic happened. It could have been that the trauma of it all was sinking in. I did another round of IVF during this time. It didn't work. Each month was met with a set of expectations and disappointments. I didn't realize how long the break would end up being. At first it was a month, then two, then...a year?

In the period I wasn't writing, I did a third round of IVF in October and it didn't work. We had one embryo left. We tried again with our last embryo in January and this time I had a lengthy miscarriage. The doctors wanted to hope that maybe that spec on the screen would turn out all right. So we waited. But it wasn't all right. I had my second D&C and was so blown out emotionally, I can't really put it into words.

But wait, you're like, this is supposed to be a happy post, isn't it? OK, yes, here it is. I should have made the announcement earlier:

I'M PREGNANT NOW! 28 WEEKS!!! 

Here's the obligatory iPhone selfie in the mirror.

QueenBee Jennifer Bowen - pregnant, yo!

I'd like to first acknowledge how lucky I was to do IVF. We started at a clinic that offered grants based on income, so the first few rounds were affordable in the scheme of things. I also think if you want a child, no matter what you look like or where you come from, the inability to get there is a universal pain that can level anyone. 

Having the ectopic pregnancy really changed who I am. In general, I am an optimistic person. Still am for the most part. If anything, it shaped my current world view that there is a lot of beauty and synchronicity in the world, but also a lot of randomness and pain. Before the ectopic, I saw life more as the former. I don't feel bad that I am different. If anything, it has opened my eyes to be grateful for everything I do have. It also makes me more sensitive to the many different ways people suffer. 

It's a strange experience to have emergency surgery. We live in New York City. So for us it was being told to take a cab, not the subway, to the emergency room. We made horrible phone calls to loved ones who had been so happy for us a few weeks earlier. They kept checking on my internal bleeding to ensure it wasn't going too awry. I had eaten that morning (before I knew) so they wanted my food to digest a few hours before putting me under. There were at least fifteen people in the room where I had the surgery. I wear contacts and they make you take them out before surgery. I remember laying on my back, not able to really see anything, and as they started the anesthesia, I thought of the ocean in my hometown of Half Moon Bay, California. A shimmering endless sea, something bigger than me, was what I concentrated on as I closed my eyes. It was my version of a prayer. 

After the last embryo didn't work, I wrote a blog about how to beat writer's block. That kickstarted my writing. I took one last stab at the project I abandoned a year back. I noticed then that my writing process had changed. I no longer had an endless, daily free flow of words. It came in fits and starts. I pushed through. By summers end I re-tested my book through BookHive and received pretty positive results. Something though was telling me to put it aside.

During that summer we were trying to decide what the hell to do on the baby front. I think I cried almost every day the month of June after my miscarriage finally ended. By July, we decided to try a new fertility clinic and give it one more try. By October, everything was on the right path and it seemed this time we might just succeed. That same month I started a fiction class at Sackett Street Writers in Brooklyn. Something in me wanted to write a brand new piece.

I wrote a play a few years back that I really loved and spent two years developing through my theater company InViolet. The story of it was inspired after I watched the film Stoker by director Park Chan-wook. I thought there was more to mine there and that it could be a book. My previous fiction piece had been Young Adult, and this was definitely not going to be that (based on some of the themes). In the eight week class, I worked on the first two chapters. 

The class ended and I remember my teacher walking me out of the funky art class room where we met and she said something encouraging and that I should really keep going. It meant a lot to me. 

A week later we had an embryo transfer.

A few weeks later, I was told I was pregnant, two weeks before Christmas. 

From the get go, all signs appeared to say that this was going to work. My hcg numbers were high, the little sucker was in the right place (my uterus!) and I felt a distinct sensation when she was settling into my body like a needle being thread and pulled.

Yes, I am having a girl.

Again, it's hard to explain what it's like for doctors visits to go well vs. not going well after being at it for years. We chose to tell people slowly, one on one, and the reaction was always pretty incredible. This was a hard process on many of our friends and family, especially my parents. As their only child, I know it was heart wrenching to see us go through this year after year. 

I am now 28 weeks pregnant and due in early August. I kept working on what I started in the fiction class and am up to 65,000 words, aiming for 80,000 (a first draft) before the birth.

First draft in progress: My Grief is Golden and True 

My psyche shifted when I became pregnant. I still had my fits and starts with writing this new piece, but didn't sweat it. I don't think creativity should always be easy. Sometimes it can be, of course. Then sometimes you need to face the terror of not knowing how to take the next step forward. That's what opened my imagination to the next character turn, next scene. When I felt I was going too long between writing sessions, I'd tell myself: Just write something. Anything. Even if it's bad. Just try. This pushed me over the hump many times.

Before I go any further, I need to acknowledge my stellar husband Garrett. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. We've been together almost ten years. When I look at pictures of us when we first met, we look so young! There's a mystery to a life shared. To say I love him, or that he loves me doesn't quite cut it. Again, some things you can't put into words. 

Everything my husband and I have been through has changed us, changed me, and as a result, changed my writing. I fully embrace that life is messy. I also think it takes work to keep yourself balanced and aligned. The last five years knocked me off my center at times, but I learned how to find my way back. My mother remarked that I am very resilient. That's one of the best compliments I've ever received. 

The writing is going well. In a month or so I should have my first draft. I've never had more fun writing something or felt more connected to a source which kept the story going (if you believe in such things). For me having a baby is a radical life change and we can't wait for it. We'll see where the book lands eventually. I have a few dedications in mind already (my parents, Garrett) and of course to the little girl inside me who was with me almost the whole time I conceived it. 

...

Jennifer Bowen, Queen Bee (more fun than CEO), of BookHive Corp.

...

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds),

YA/Middle Grade, Children's Books & Memoir manuscripts.

 

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback.

www.bookhivecorp.com

 

 

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BookHive Author Steven Mayfield Signs with Jody Rein Agency

Steven Mayfield, author of Delphic Oracle U.S.A and looking to publish his new novel The Treasure of the Blue Whale, both of which were tested at BookHive, has just signed with Jody Rein Agency! Today he answers some questions for BookHive about this exciting new development.

 



KB: What do you feel are the advantages of signing with an agent?

 

SM: The obvious advantage is a much larger foot in the door of big publishing houses or those smaller presses that won’t read unsolicited admissions. For me, it offered an opportunity for an expanded readership as well as guidance through the maze of the industry by someone who knows her/his way around. However, with Jody I gained much more. She spent nearly a year with me in an editorial role and the book is so much better for her efforts.

 

KB: How did you find the Jody Rein Agency and why did you pick that particular agency?

 

SM: I connected with Jody at the 2016 San Francisco Writers Conference. Like many conferences, they have “pitch” sessions with agents.  I wrote “The Treasure of the Blue Whale” over two months at the end of 2015 thinking I’d self-publish, but after hiring Jennifer Bowen and BookHive to provide feedback, felt the book had some legs and decided to pitch it. Jody was sitting at her table at one of the pitch sessions while I was in a line at the next one. I hadn’t planned pitching to her as she focuses on non-fiction. However, she looked like a really nice person and I said so. She invited me to pitch my book. Informed that it was fiction, she said, “That’s okay. Pitch it anyway.” I did and she requested a full copy of the manuscript. A few weeks later her assistant contacted me; Jody a month or so afterward. She liked the book but felt it needed work. She was right. We went through several drafts together over the next year, and earlier this month, she sent me an agency contract. I was thrilled, but even if she’d declined to represent me I would have been grateful. Jody was a senior editor at Random House and knows what she’s doing. She kept pushing and I tried hard to listen. Many of her suggestions didn’t fly with me at first blush. However, I eventually caved in, and in every case, her advice was dead-on and the book got better.

 

KB: Could you tell us a bit about your editing process leading up to signing with Jody Rein?

 

SM: I worked as an editor and can do a good deal of the line and copy editing myself. However, I’m blind to things in my own work that an outside editor can quickly discern.  In a previous book, still in revision, “Delphic Oracle U.S.A.,” I worked with Mary Rakow — the editor, teacher, and marvelous novelist — whom I met at the 2015 SF Writers Conference. I gave her a 185,000 word monstrosity that is presently around 88,000 words. I did virtually all the cutting, but Mary took full responsibility for writing “I’m drifting” in the margin of page after page until I got it through my thick skull. With “The Treasure of the Blue Whale” I went first to my wife, Pam, who suffered through the first drafts of one or two chapters at a time. I trust her judgment as a reader and revised accordingly. Next I used my writing group. We’ve been together a long time and understand that feedback is not turning someone else’s work into one’s own work. They were terrific; indeed my friend Leslie Gunnerson has read “Blue Whale” so many times it’s likely been committed to memory. Before pitching the book to Jody, I ran it through BookHive. They’d helped me with the shorter version of “Delphic Oracle U.S.A.” and I found their input invaluable. Since then, the editing has been a collaboration with Jody.  Each step of that process as described produced changes.

 

KB: Any advice for those looking to get a book published?

 

SM: Any advice I’d offer would be utter hubris. I’ll quote Mark Coker from Smashwords: “First, write a good book.” Actually, I do have some advice: Listen to people in the industry — agents, editors, publishers. They’re not the enemy. They like writers.

 

KB: What is your personal writing process like?

 

SM: When writing new copy I try to get something done every day. I revise what I wrote the previous day before adding new words. I don’t try to push if it’s not coming, but can usually get 250-500 new words even on a bad day, 3000 on a good one. Using that approach I typically average about 1000 useable words/day over the course of a first draft. Line editing is fun. I smooth out the speed bumps that slipped through on second and third drafts. However, the developmental editing that precedes line editing is tough. The sheer volume of work is daunting and makes one prone to procrastination. I tend to go off on tangents in first drafts, which means I have to kill a lot of my babies. It’s become easier since I read Norman Mailer’s last book The Castle in the Forest where he goes off-track for a hundred pages or so of nebulously related Russian history. It encouraged me to cut my own tangential narratives, as I shouldn’t pull the crap Norman Mailer did unless I win a Pulitzer or get nominated for the Nobel Prize. Neither occurrence is likely, and thus, the Delete key remains my best friend.

 

KB: Could you tell us a bit about the book you’re working on with your agent?

 

SM: “The Treasure of the Blue Whale” takes place in 1934 and is about a huge, mysterious, stinking mass that washes onto the beach of a small Northern California coastal village. It is thought to be whale ambergris, a compound prized by perfumers of that time and very rare, selling for as much as $1800/ounce. The specimen discovered by ten year old Connor O’Halloran weighs nearly 1000 pounds and Connor decides to share the treasure with the entire town. With the Great Depression in full force, this makes the townsfolk rich beyond their wildest imaginations. Subsequently, as negotiations with perfumers proceed, they impulsively borrow money from a local financier of questionable repute — Cyrus Dinkle — using their ambergris shares as collateral.  Dinkle is a swindler and has written language into the loan agreements that will allow him to steal their ambergris shares after ninety days. However, no one in town fully reads the contracts and a buying frenzy ensues that includes purchases of a monkey, a porcelain commode with a jeweled seat cover, a couple of genuinely fake rare documents, and a mail-order bride. Several weeks after Connor finds the ambergris, the town leaders discover their treasure to be mostly a mixture of sewage, lard, and sawdust thrown off a Portuguese freighter, the Baleia Azul (translation: Blue Whale). Most in town are heavily indebted to Dinkle by then and face financial ruin should the old scoundrel discover the truth.  So the town’s leaders and Connor devise a plan to trick Dinkle into confiscating the ambergris shares as he’d planned, making the borrowers whole while swindling the swindler. The book is a seriocomic satire with coming-of-age elements, the story told by ninety-one year old Connor, recalling the events of that long ago summer when he was ten years old.

 

KB: Any noteworthy differences in the writing process for this book versus your other work?

 

SM: As mentioned, Jody Rein was a huge contributor to the process. She kept gently nudging me into giving her “More” and the book went from novella to novel as a result. More important, her attention to detail forced me to more diligently examine the interior logic. Last and best of all, she gave me permission to be a little tangential in fleshing out the characters — making them live on the page as people rather than furniture.

 

KB: You tested this book with BookHive. How did you like the Beta Reading process? Did you find it helpful?

 

SM: I’m a huge Jennifer Bowen and BookHive advocate. I’ve used them for two books and found the process immensely helpful and encouraging in both cases. Jennifer makes good on every promise stated on the website and both the objective and subjective aspects of her report were terrific. I got pretty good reviews, but as one should expect, not everyone in the focus groups liked a given book. I found that comforting. Had every reader offered a glowing endorsement, one would have to wonder if the service was simply trolling for users. BookHive isn’t. It’s legit and I encourage writers, and agents for that matter, to try it out.

 

 

Thank you to Steven Mayfield for his thoughtful responses and his continued support for BookHive.

 


 

 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback. 

   

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

 

 

 

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LGTBQIA+ Publishers: Navigating a Niche Market

Despite the large steps that have been taken towards equality in the last few years, the LGBTQIA+ market is still considered a niche one in the world of literature. Often taking up only a small section of the bookstore, books in the LGTBQIA+ genre don’t often get a fair share of attention. But beyond that, it can even be difficult to get an LGTBQIA+ book published to begin with. Luckily, some publishers have stepped up to fill this gap. Here is a look at just some of the publishing options for LGTBQIA+ literature, whether you are looking to publish or just looking for a good read.

 

 

Less Than Three:

 

 

A distributor of both print and ebooks, Less Than Three Press describes themselves as being “found wherever romance writers linger.” This site is focused on LGTBQIA+ romances, especially those that end in a happy ending. In fact, they only accept happy endings. They also do not publish Young Adult (YA) literature or poetry.

 

Search the site by identity or by print type. They have ebooks, paperbacks, audiobooks, comics, and French and Spanish titles. Something to note is that Less Than Three Press does not require first publication rights. If your publication rights have been returned to you you are eligible to submit to them.

 

Lethe Press:

 

The five times winner of the Lambda Literary Award for the LGBT Speculative Fiction category. Named after the Greek river of memory and forgetfulness, Lethe Press is "devoted to ideas that are often neglected or forgotten by mainstream publishers.” This publisher has a much wider collection of genres including horror, mythology, and poetry.  

 

You can purchase their titles directly from their site or follow their links to support local or gay bookstores. If you would like to submit a manuscript to Lethe Press, keep in mind that they prefer manuscripts that are 45,000 words to 135,000 words

 

Bold Strokes Books:

 

Bold Strokes has many, many titles available at reasonable prices and most of their books come in ebook and paperback form. This publisher also has a focus on Lesbian fiction which is notable, seeing as it gets its own special category separate from the other “GBT” fiction.

 

Bold Strokes promises that each manuscript is individually evaluated for style, genre requirements, content, and more, in order to make sure that the work is the strongest it can be. They will also provide social media promotion and their books are shipped to bookstores worldwide.

 

Riptide Publishing:

 

Launched in 2011, Riptide Publishing is dedicated to a more personal relationship between author and publisher. They promise that they have no quotas and instead treat each author and each work with care. Originally an invitation-only press, they have now opened up their submissions box. And, you do not need an agent to submit to them. Their main branch has a focus on romance and erotica genres, while their imprints are focused on YA, literary fiction, and upmarket fiction.

 

Interlude Press:

 

 

Interlude Press is an LGTBQIA+ publisher which was originally inspired by fanfiction authors their works. A labor of love, Interlude is “dedicated to publishing exceptional content, promoting talented authors of fan works to a broader audience, and developing a reader-author community modeled after the best of online fan culture.” This connection to the world of fan works makes this publisher particularly friendly to younger/newer authors who may already have experience with the world of fanfiction. You do, however, still have to come up with an original novel and change all trademarked material if you are submitting a modified fan work. But, hopefully that would be obvious.

 

Both print and ebooks are available on their site. They also have wholesale options available for retailers and libraries.

 

If you want to learn about more LGTBQIA+ literary resources, there is also a site called Lambda Literary which has a list of LGTBQIA+ friendly publishers and booksellers which is a valuable resource.

 


 

 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback. 

   

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

 

 

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A Unique Point of View: a guide to POV

“I am writing a book.”

“You are writing a book.”

“She is writing a book.”

 

All of these phrases are telling the same story, a book is being written by someone, but they sound very different and evoke a different response. These are the options that an author has when deciding from which point of view their novel will be written. To help with this decision making process, here is a quick overview of your choices.

 

1st Person:

 

First person point of view means that the narrative is told using the pronoun I and is limited to the experiences of one character.

 

 

“I went there…”

“I sing…”

“I write…”

 

This POV is good for letting your readers really get to know your main character because the only thoughts they receive are those of this character. First person stories read similarly to a diary and your reader has to trust that your character is telling the story as accurately as possible. This is a good choice if you are planning on taking advantage of the unreliable character trope. It has recently become popular in the Young Adult genre.

 

One of the difficulties of writing in this POV is that you are restricted to the one character and can’t switch between characters. To get around this some authors utilize multiple point of view switching. Usually separated by chapter breaks, this style of first person switches between the point of views of a handful of characters in order to provide more context or opinions. However, this style has to be carefully navigated or the switching can confuse the reader.

 

Some examples of books that are in 1st person:

 

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Divergent - Veronica Roth

Twilight - Stephenie Meyer

 

3rd Person:

 

Third person point of view is outside of the characters in the book. The novel is told about them rather than by them.

 

 

“She goes here…”

“He walked…”

“They open it…”

 

This is one of the most popular point of views in literature. There are two forms of third person: Limited and Omniscient. The limited form of this POV focuses on the thoughts and experiences of one or two people, usually following the main characters closely, with very few cut aways to elsewhere. The omniscient form has more freedom and means that the author can take the story anywhere. The thoughts of all the characters, even the thoughts of a cat or a baby, for example, can be shared with the reader. This form of POV is ideal if your novel has a lot of different events happening in different locations at the same time.

 

A potential downside of this form in that it can make it harder for the reader to feel close to the characters on a personal level, especially if there are a lot of characters. Also, for unpracticed writers it is more familiar to write in first person and may accidentally slip into it mid-writing process without noticing.

 

Some examples of books in 3rd person:

 

Ender’s Game - Orson Scott Card

Maze Runner - James Dashner

Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin



2nd Person:

 

Second person is one of the less popular point of view to use. This POV takes on the voice of a narrator who is telling the story of the reader’s own actions and experiences.

 

 

 

“You enter the door…”

“You went that way…”

“You need to think…”

 

Second person is most popular in the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure genre. Though it also appears frequently in short stories and poetry. It is less common in novel form, but that isn’t to say that such novels don’t exist.

 

There is usually a more distinct purpose for using this POV than the others. Second person has a very strong effect on the reader because it addresses them directly. As such, it can sometimes make the reader uncomfortable. If you want that effect, second person is the perfect POV to use. A modified version of Second Person was used by Mohsin Hamid in his novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist where the first person narrator address the reader as “you” directly.  

 

Some examples of books in 2nd person:

 

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler - Italo Calvino

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor - Lucy Christopher

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography - Neil Patrick Harris

 


 

 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback.

 

  

 

  

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

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How to Pitch a Children's Book

 

 

 

So you want to publish a Children’s book, but you aren’t sure how to go about it? To aid you in your process, here are some of the basic steps you will need to take to get your book out there.

 

 

Step 1: Consider an Agent.

 

While it is not necessary to get an agent to represent you, an agent can find you a publisher with more ease than probably you can. Do some research and find the agent that works for you.

 

Some sources to look for agents that specialize in Children’s Books:

http://wernickpratt.com/agents/

http://greenburger.com/agents/

https://www.jdlit.com/agents

http://jvnla.com/our-history.php

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/x-agents-seeking-picture-books-now

http://www.dystel.com/blog/staff-e-mail/

 

But make sure you find an agent who is passionate about your book, first and foremost.

 

Step 2: Polish Your Manuscript.

 

Just because a children’s book has less words doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put just as much effort into your manuscript. Take your time and make sure it is ready to go. Don’t make your own illustrations, leave that up to a professional illustrator (unless you are one).

 

Step 3: Find a Publisher.

 

If you do choose to work with an agent, they will be largely responsible for finding and submitting to a publisher. If not, do research to find some potential publishers. This doesn’t just mean going straight to the most well known ones. Find some children’s books that you like and make note of their publishers. You are trying to find the right fit for you. Consider submitting to a small or medium sized press.

 

Check out this link with a list of publishers accepting queries from authors directly: http://thejohnfox.com/2016/03/children-book-publishers/

 

 

Step 4: Contacting the Publisher.

 

When contacting a publisher, you will likely be asked to send a query/cover letter and a CV with relevant information. Send a plot synopsis and break-down if requested. Don’t send a full manuscript until they ask for it. Make sure the manuscript is clean. All notes should be separate, organized, and relevant.

 

Step 5: What to Do Next.

 

A publisher may ask for revisions before agreeing to work with you. The same with any publisher you are deciding on, it is up to you to decide if this is something you want to do. It is always your prerogative as the author to say no and seek another place to publish. It’s your book.

 

Step 6: Repeat.

 

Keep sending your stuff out until you find the publisher that is the right fit for you. They will (most likely) provide an illustrator for you. If you don't have luck finding an agent or publisher, take the time to do another round of edits and then try again.



Alternative Route: Self-Publishing

 

Step 1: Find a self-publishing option.

 

Once again, DO YOUR RESEARCH. There are a lot of ways to self-publish, including services and ebook options. The important thing is to be careful not to get scammed or to lose your rights to your work. See what kind of PR these options get and how much it will cost you out of pocket to spread the word about your book.

 

Step 2: Know What is Required.

 

Make sure you know what format your book will be in based on the option of self-publishing you chose, especially before finding an illustrator.  

 

Step 3: Marketing.

 

Self-Publishing means that you will likely have to do a lot more marketing to get your book spread and read.

 

Try:

A targeted Facebook advertisement.

A linkable blog or website with a clean design.

Hiring a book publicist before the launch of the book.

 

Other Tips:

 

  • The size and format of your book will most likely be determined by the publisher, so don't stress the details too much.
  • Don’t bother describing the illustrations either. If there is a specific scene you really want done one way, send this to the illustrator once they are picked, rather than to the publisher when you are pitching.
  • The average word count for a children’s book can vary between 200-700 words, but some early reader books can reasonably have a word count over 1k.
  • If you are an illustrator, put together a portfolio and seek out a publisher rather than an individual author.

 


 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback.

 

  

 

 

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

 

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Typical Word Count by Genre: A Guide

Advice that you hear often when writing a book (or a school paper) is that “It should be is as long as it needs to be.” This is a lovely idea, which in many aspects holds true, but often there is a word count that is expected and accepted by the general public when they pick up a piece of prose.

 

 

Today we take a look at some of the typical word counts for a few of the larger genres in literature.

 


 

 

Upmarket fiction/Adult fiction: 80-120k

 

This genre is in fact a larger umbrella term which encompasses both Literary and Commercial works of fiction. This genre not only has a wide range of diversity in topics but in word counts as well. Some books in this genre sit at about 80-90k words but some tip over the 100k mark such as The Help, Kite Runner, and Water for Elephants.  

 

 

Memoirs: 70-95k

 

A literary take on an autobiography, memoirs’ lengths are often defined by the events they contain. However, it is entirely possible that a person’s whole life may take the same amount of pages as a few weeks in another person’s life when in memoir form, and be just as interesting to read about.

 

The typical amount of words for a memoir tends to be between 70 and 95k, but obviously there are exceptions to every rule and some are much longer or much shorter (often taking the form of a short story). Girl, Interrupted, for example, is just shy of 60k words.

 

 

Fantasy/Science Fiction: 120k+

 

Works of Fantasy and Science Fiction tend to have slightly higher word counts than other types of fiction. This is because often these works fall into what can be considered an epic or a saga. For examples of this, think of the Lord of the Rings series which clock in at roughly 130-190k words per book, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon which has just under 295k words, or George R. R. Martin’s hefty A Song of Ice and Fire series which are each about 300-400k a piece.

 

 

These are extreme examples, but it is considered common for books in this genre to have a word count above 120k. When this genre is a subgenre of the YA (Young Adult) fiction genre, it still follows this trend. Four out of the seven Harry Potter books were over 160k words and the word count of the Twilight saga ranges from around 120-190k.

 

Mystery: 60k+

 

Mystery novels seem to be following two trends: The Fast-Paced Noir and the Political Conspiracy. These two types tend to vary from each other a lot in word count. The Noirs tend to be shorter, clocking in at about 60-85k words. And examples of this is the classic novel, The Maltese Falcon.

 

For the Political Conspiracy or Historical Mystery style novel, the word count can be much higher. Look, for example, at Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code which has approximately 140k words or the Tom Clancy series which range from 160-460k words.

 

Of course, there are still books which straddle this distinction, like James Patterson’s Along Came a Spider which sits comfortably in the gap with right around 100k words.

 

 

Horror: 100-150k

 

Horror can often take the form of a short story, meaning that it’s word count would be closer to 5-6k. A short story is classified as under 7.5k whereas novelettes and novellas can be between there and under 40k.

 

However, when most people think of horror stories, their mind jumps to Stephen King. His novels are in no way novellas or short stories. His books range from 80k to 200k. So, 100-150k is a good range to aim for when writing horror.

 

 

Children’s books: 500-700

 

Children's books typically have illustrations, which means that the number of pictures and pages is more often what is tracked, rather than the word count. But, most would pin it down to roughly 500-700 words for a kid’s picture book, and under 2k for beginner chapter books. The younger the age demographic the fewer the words, for example The Very Hungry Caterpillar and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie both have over 200 words but under 300 words, whereas Green Eggs and Ham has 760 words, and the books in the Amelia Bedelia series have a word count around 1.6k.

 

 

 

Middle grade: 4-50k

 

These books are aimed at children and teens from upper Elementary School through even as far as the first year of high school. Because this is such a large range, there is a large range of word counts as well. For those aimed at slightly younger readers an author may aim for 4k to 15k. An example of this demographic is the Magic Tree House Series. For an older demographic the word count will likely be closer to that of an YA or adult novel, up towards 20-50k, with the difference instead coming from the book’s topic.

 

 

Young Adult Fiction: 60-100k

 

YA novels are aimed at those in upper middle school all the way through college (though they may equally be enjoyed by adults). Examples of YA are books like The Fault in our Stars, The Hunger Games, Twilight, and The Mortal Instrument Series. These books are between approximately 60 and 120k words.  

 

A popular trend to note in the YA genre is the idea that readers of a series age as the books release, so often the novel difficulty, complexity, and size age up along with them. The first Harry Potter book is only around 77k while the 5th book is 250k, the first of the Pendragon series by D. J. MacHale is approximately 117k and the last book is over 160k, and the first of L.J Smith’s The Vampire Diaries is 55k whereas the last book in its sequel series The Return is closer to 125k. This is true for books aimed for a slightly younger age too, the first of A Series of Unfortunate Events has just over 24k and the final book in the series has around twice as many words.

 

 

 


 

 

There is nothing wrong with aiming for a certain word count when writing a novel, to help you keep on track, to make your work more marketable, or for whatever the reason. But, don’t get too caught up on the numbers. For every Stephen King writing 100k words there is an Edgar Ellen Poe writing an equally as chilling short story.

 


 

 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback.

 

 

 

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

 

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A Study in Pen Names

What are pen names?:

 

A pen name, also known as a pseudonym, is a fake name that is used by an author when publishing their work. The result is that the author’s identity remains unknown until they decide to let the public know who they are. There are many authors who are more well known by their pen name than their actual name. In fact, some of the most famous author names are actually pen names, such as: Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, George Orwell, and Dr. Seuss.

 

 

Why use a pen name?:

 

There are many reasons why an author may choose to use a pseudonym rather than their real name. The most common reasons I’ve identified are related to social inequalities related to gender, marketability and racial bias, fame and anonymity, and simply personal choice.

 

 

Gender:

 

Though less common now, historically, many female writers published their work under masculine or more gender neutral names. The Brontë sisters are a well known example of writers who published their books under male names. Charlotte published as Currer Bell, Emily as Ellis Bell, and Anne as Action Bell. The majority of their most popular works, including Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, were originally published under these names.

 

 

This is because there was a disparity between the amount of respect that a woman could gain as an author versus a male author. These women didn’t want to be considered good woman writers, but simply good writers.

 

Luckily, this is less of a problem in today’s market. However there are still some assumptions made based on gender, such as the idea that women write romance novels and children’s books, whereas men write novels with mystery and heavy plot. This is an unfortunate assumption which doesn’t hold, but may cause an author to consider using a pen name. This leads us to the next common reason for using a pen name.

 

 

Marketability:

 

If an author fears being pigeonholed into one genre, they may choose to publish their next book under another name to avoid the assumption that the books will only appeal to one audience. For example, a young adult fiction author who is trying to raise the average age demographic of their audience may try this.

 

Reaching a larger audience is a very common reason why an author may pick a new name. This often has to do with race and ethnicity. A lot of authors will pick a more “white” sounding name. The white market is a large demographic to target and a more “white” sounding name will have a spelling and pronunciation which is more familiar and easier to remember. And, unfortunately, this market is more likely to read a book by Joseph Conrad than by Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski.

 

 

Fame and Anonymity:

 

Another reason an author may use a pen name is to avoid the ties that are already associated with their actual name. During the time of the American Revolution, is was the norm to have essays published under pseudonyms. The founding fathers had many. The Federalist Papers were published under the name Publius and in response one of the authors of The Anti-Federalist Papers assumed the name Brutus.

 

 

 

More recently, J.K. Rowling published a new book series under the alias Robert Galbraith. When the truth came out she explained that the reason for the pen name was so that the books would be judged on their own merit, rather than riding on the coattails of her fame.

 

 

Personal Choice:

 

Lastly, an author may simply choose to use another name. This could be a personal choice or a professional choice or a creative choice. Author of the Mortal Instruments Series, Cassandra Claire’s real name is Judith Rumelt. She got the name Cassandra from an earlier piece she wrote based on the Jane Austen short story, “The Beautiful Cassandra.” The name Cassandra Claire was the pen name she used online for publishing her fanfiction (where almost no one uses their given name) and she simply chose to carry it over to her published works.

 

One of the more popular examples of a pen name, which was a creative choice, is Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The name Lemony Snicket became, in this series, more than just a pseudonym, but a character in his own right. The depressing, pragmatic, and sarcastic narrator, Lemony Snicket threaded the series together with a complicated meta-story of his own (left largely to the reader to decipher on their own from clues in the books and other related media). This character’s existence as the author gives the series the same feel that one gets when viewing a found footage film.

 

 

 

In the new Netflix adaptation of the series, Lemony Snicket is played by Patrick Warburton, while the actual author Daniel Handler remains largely unrecognizable as the face of Lemony Snicket to those who read the series as young teens.

 

 

Whether to use a pen name:

 

Ultimately it is up to the author whether they feel that they wish to use a pseudonym. If they feel a particular attachment to a name already or have a strong desire to stay largely anonymous then perhaps a pen name is the choice for them.

 

However, I would like to offer up for consideration another similar option, initials.  

 

 

Initials:

 

The use of initials rather than a full name actually does a lot of the same things that a pen name does. In cases of gender, there is no way to tell what the letters in an author’s initials stand for, unless the author chooses to attach their full name to their novel.

 

It also helps to separate the author’s public life from their private life. There aren’t any Harry Potter fans walking up to J.K. Rowling and calling her Joanne or Jo. Her real first name is reserved for friends and family.

 

Initials can also be used for effect in the same way that pen names are. Take for example, author of the Goosebumps series, R. L. Stine. Robert Lawrence Stine is a fine name, but does not match the tone of a horror novel as well as the truncation of his name to just his last name and first initials. Stine is associated with Frankenstein, Robert isn’t.

 

Additionally, initials come with an added level of professionalism since this is the way that scientific journals are published. There is also a strong association with previous well-known authors. George R. R. Martin was certainly aware that his Game of Thrones books were in the same genre as JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.



Sources:

https://www.wikipedia.org/

http://mentalfloss.com/article/51195/how-8-famous-writers-chose-their-pen-names

https://www.bustle.com/articles/159336-12-author-pseudonyms-and-the-stories-behind-the-names

http://cassandraclare.com/about/

http://www.eonline.com/news/799633/lemony-snicket-s-a-series-of-unfortunate-events-gets-a-premiere-date-a-dire-first-teaser

http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1210298-et-tu-brute




 

 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback.

 

 

 

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Intern at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

 

 

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Mad for #PitMad

Alright authors, do you have a completed, unpublished, polished manuscript? Are you ready to pitch it? Are you on twitter? (If not, why aren’t you??) Then get ready, because June 8, September 7, and December 7 of 2017 are the quarterly #PitMad events.

So what is #PitMad? From 8:00am-8:00pm Eastern Standard Time, authors who meet the above qualifications can tweet a 140 character pitch for industry professionals. Yes, it gets crazy, but yes, agents and publishers actually read these tweets. It’s the modern age of social media marketing, folks, and pitching your book via #PitMad certainly can’t hurt!

 

Here are the rules:

  • You may only tweet three pitches for the day. They can be the same manuscript or different ones, but three’s the max. You probably want to space these out throughout the day to best capture your audience’s attention.
  • In order to be considered, the tweet has to include the hashtag #PitMad as well as the hashtag for your genre. Those are as follows:

Age Categories

#PB = Picture Book

#C = Children’s

#CB = Chapter Book

#CL = Children’s Lit

#MG = Middle Grade

#YA = Young Adult

#NA = New Adult

#A = Adult

Genres/Sub-genres

#AA = African American

#AD = Adventure

#CF = Christian Fiction

#CON = Contemporary

#CR = Contemporary Romance

#DIS = Disabilities

#DV = Diversity

#E = Erotica

#ER = Erotic Romance

#ES = Erotica Suspense

#F = Fantasy

#H = Horror

#HA = Humor

#HF = Historical Fiction

#HR = Historical Romance

#INSP = Inspirational

#IRMC = Interracial/Multicultural

#MR = Magical Realism

#M = Mystery

#Mem = Memoir

#MA = Mainstream

#MH = Mental Health

#LGBT

#LF = Literary Fiction

#NF = Non-fiction

#R = Romance

#P = Paranormal

#PR = Paranormal Romance

#RS = Romantic Suspense

#S = Suspense

#SF = SciFi

#SPF = Speculative Fiction

#STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics

#T = Thriller

#UF = Urban Fantasy

#W = Westerns

#WF = Woman’s Fiction

If an agent is interested and wants to see more, they’ll favorite your tweet or reply. If this happens, congratulations! Research the agent to find their submission guidelines, and submit ASAP. They’ll probably ask you to put #PitMad in the submission title. If they don’t specify, it’s a good idea to do this anyway so they know who you are.

Don’t favorite your friends tweets, as favoriting is only for agents. It’s also against the rules to retweet your friends submissions. So while we love supporting other authors, #PitMad is for self promotion only.

If you can’t be on your phone or computer the day of #PitMad (perhaps you have, say, a serving job, holla), research some applications that will schedule and post tweets on your behalf. Tweetdeck is a good one.

If you have any questions, tweet @HeatherCashman, the host of last month’s #PitMad, or me! @talligator_. Be kind, confident, and courteous! (This was so close to being the three c’s of #PitMad. Alas.)


So start perfecting your 140 characters! This whirlwind of a tweetstorm will be here before you know it.

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BookHive does beta reader editorial research for authors in Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade and Memoir. $699 for 8-10 beta readers; $1099 for 16-18 readers. The results are a 35+ page report full of both qualitative and quantitative feedback. www.bookhivecorp.com

 

 

 

Tallie Gabriel is an actor, writer, and BookHive social media maven. She's a member of InViolet Theatre and Artistic Assossiate of BEDLAM Theatre in NYC.

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Interview with Patty Moosbrugger Co-Founder of BlueInk Review

Focused on getting professional reviews for authors, BlueInk Review is a valuable resource for those looking to publish a book. BookHive was able to get an interview with co-founder Patty Moosbrugger.

 

 

 

KB: What is your background in the publishing and writing world?

 

PM: BlueInk Review is run by two women with strong backgrounds in the publishing world. Patti Thorn was the books page editor at the Rocky Mountain News for over a decade. She chose all the books for the review page, hired and managed the reviewers of those books, interviewed authors and wrote a weekly column about industry concerns.

 

Patty Moosbrugger worked in the New York publishing world for well over a decade as well. She was rights director for major publishing houses and literary agencies before becoming a literary agent. She has represented several bestselling authors, including Louise Penny and Benjamin Saenz.

 

 

KB: Tell us about BlueInk Review and how it got started?

 

PM:  About six years ago, we decided to start a business in the self-publishing world, which was beginning to explode. We realized that what authors really needed was a way to get honest, credible reviews that readers and books professionals could trust. We decided to start BlueInk Review to address this. We worked for a year designing our website to be user-friendly for readers and industry professionals, such as librarians, booksellers, publishing house editors and

literary agents. We wanted to attract these people so that they would use our site to find great books and help promote them, making the service more valuable to the authors that use us. We designed our search so that visitors could look for the genres they are interested in, as well as search for authors in different regions (which is of interest to librarians and booksellers, in particular), sales information on the book and any special honors or awards it has won — all information industry professionals appreciate. We have been going strong ever since. To date, we’ve reviewed more than 6,000 self-published titles.

 

KB: Who are your critics and how do you vet them?

 

PM: As noted earlier, Patti Thorn was books page editor at the Rocky Mountain News for many years, so some of the reviewers she worked with there came onboard. We also contacted the National Book Critics Circle, which sent out a notice to their membership that we were seeking reviewers. Many of our reviewers came to us after seeing that notice.

 

In terms of vetting, we use professional critics whose work has appeared in major newspapers, magazines and online publications. We also use authors and senior-level book editors from major New York publishing houses. In addition, we call on experts in their fields to review technical books. We require writing samples of published works before deciding if they would be appropriate and carefully select the proper reviewer for each book that comes in. For example, we have specialists in romance, science fiction, business, self-help and so on. Finally, every review is carefully edited to ensure that it offers a fair and balanced assessment of each book.

 

KB: A professional review for an independently published book, can you talk about the value of obtaining one?

 

PM: A professional book review, if positive, can act as a seal of approval for your book. It tells people that an objective, third party has read the book and found it worthy of a reader’s time. Readers feel assured that the critique is trustworthy, versus customer reviews that appear on sites like Amazon, which are often written by an author’s friends and family members. Readers have come to learn that customer reviews aren’t always what they appear to be.

 

A professional review is a powerful tool to use on press releases, social media, the author’s website and even the book jacket. Just like professionally published books, endorsements on the book jacket can compel readers to buy the book. A professional review can also be posted in the “Editorial Reviews” spot on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, which designates it as a professional review vs. crowdsourced. A BlueInk review is a trusted source that can be used just like major publishers use reviews from the New York Times or Publishers Weekly. It’s one more piece of information to get readers to pick up the book.

 

KB: A lot of authors who are self-publishing are trying to make choices within their possibly limited marketing budget, why should they choose BlueInk over other review services?

 

PM: BlueInk Review is trusted by librarians, booksellers and readers to offer honest reviews that give an accurate reflection of each book. (Many services devoted to self-publishers offer mostly positive reviews; we believe deeply in being candid so that the reviews are meaningful.) We are also one of the few review services dedicated exclusively to self-published books. This means, unlike others whose first allegiance and main business is to reviewing professionally published books and have tacked on services for self-published books, our first and only priority is independently published titles.

 

To that end, we have made it our mission to find the best self-published books out there and promote them widely. We have a column in Booklist Magazine, the premier review magazine for 60,000 librarians nationwide, who use the publication to make book-buying decisions. Every month, they publish a two-page spread of BlueInk reviews of notable books. Authors featured have told us that their books are being picked up by libraries across the country based on the column.

 

We also syndicate the reviews to Ingram, the major book distributor in the United States to bookstores and libraries. We list our books on IDreamBooks.com (a book review aggregator along the lines of Rotten Tomatoes). Reviews of notable ebooks are featured on the website No Shelf Required, which is popular with librarians globally. And we have forged a partnership with TotalBoox, a cutting edge source of ebooks for libraries, which distributes self-published titles based on our recommendations. As noted previously, our reviews are recognized as professional by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, which allow authors to list the reviews under the “Editorial Reviews” sections on their book pages.

 

These are just some of the ways we are helping to get the word out about self-published titles. Also, like other companies, we send out monthly newsletters featuring recommended titles to a mailing list of readers and industry professionals. Unlike other companies, however, these are not email blasts to hundreds of people taken from a group list, but go only to those who have expressly signed up, saying they are interested in self-published titles. This makes our lists much more meaningful than others. We are a small company that takes a personal interest in the books we review, unlike large houses. All told, we offer great value to our customers – value that we feel exceeds what other companies offer.

 

KB: What is the price point for your service and the turn around time?

 

PM: We have two prices. Our standard service is $395 for an 8-9 week turnaround time. We also have an express service for authors who want the review faster. That costs $495 with a 4-5 week turnaround time.

 

KB: Besides getting a review through BlueInk, from your experience, once a book gets a good review, are there other avenues you suggest an author take to promote their book specifically?

 

PM:There are many. Once an author gets a review, he or she should use it to the fullest advantage possible. We have a link on our website to an article about how authors can use their review. It gives instructions on how to list their review on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. We also provide a page that lists great websites where they can promote their book and ways to use their review to get more reviews.

 

Additionally, we have written many, many blogs with tips about how authors can effectively market their books, including interviews with publicity and marketing directors at New York publishing houses. Obviously social media is a key component to getting word about your book, and we’ve written very popular blogs that list specific groups on social media dedicated to various genres, and offer tips on how to best approach them. Authors who are interested can go to our site and click on “blog.” They can then click on the link “Marketing Your Self-Published

Book,” where they’ll find a wealth of information.

 

BookHive would like to thank Patty for her thoughtful and insightful answers. There is a lot of usual information and tips in there! Be sure to check out BlueInk Review at https://www.blueinkreview.com

 


 

 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback.

 

 

 

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Intern at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

 

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A Brief Look At Writer Types

There are many different approaches to take when attempting to write anything, be it a novel, or a play, or a poem, and so on. In this article I would like to outline briefly some of the writing styles I have encountered in my time in the writing community. Just for fun!

 

 


 

 

The Straight Through:

 

Desk 4 color.jpg

 

 

“Let’s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start” (Sound of Music). This type of writer starts at the start and goes straight on through to the end in one power marathon of a draft. This often means long writing session in order to just get it all down before the inspiration is lost. Edits are for later and sleep is for the weak!

 

Pros: This quickly results in a full draft of a story which means the author is less likely to lose focus or interest and wander away from their project.

 

Cons: Sometimes, by the time the writer reaches the later half of their project they have forgotten the earlier details of their plot. This style of writing will likely need quite a heavy edit.



The Note Jotter:

 

Desk 2 color.jpg

 

 

This writer’s best ideas come at 4 am. They have dialogue written on Starbuck’s cups and they always have a pen at hand, because who knows when inspiration will strike. Nothing is in any order, but it’s all going to go in there eventually... probably... if it doesn't get lost.

 

Pros: This is a more free-form type of writing which allows for flexibility. Sometimes those 4 am ideas really are the most inspired.

 

Cons: This results in a less structured and less complete draft. The author may find themselves struggling to fill in gaps between inspirations.

 

The Planner:

 

Desk 3 color.jpg

 

 

Before this writer even starts writing, they have the entire story planned out, literally mapped out to the smallest detail. Outlines, bullet points, lists, timelines, blueprints, and actual maps are this writer’s best friend. They are probably planning a scouting trip to the locations they are writing about for this summer.

 

Pros: The amount of forethought and planning put into their work before the writing process begins means that the writer will almost have a full draft before they even start, they just have to assemble it! This style results in consistency and continuity.  

 

Cons: Sometimes the writer can get too caught up in the details and forget to just let the writing flow. This style can be inflexible and the time put into planning it out means that the writer may be more reluctant to change their plans.

 

 

The Rewriter:

 

Desk 1 color.jpg

 

This writer is a perfectionist. They will rewrite a scene or a single line over and over 100 times until it is perfect before they will even consider moving on to the next chapter or paragraph. They probably have tennis elbow and carpal tunnel from crossing out, erasing, and slamming the backspace button.

 

Pros: The resulting first draft will likely require very little editing due to the high standard the writer holds themselves to.

 

Cons: This level of perfectionism can cause a writer to quickly burn out. If they can’t get it just right they can get frustrated. Additionally, refusing to move on means that nothing else will get written, even if maybe it would have been better to move on.

 

The Mom:

 

Desk 5 color.jpg

 

This writer could tell you the story of the first time their main character scraped their knee. They have pages of backstory on all their characters and full family trees, including details that won’t even feature in the completed book. And, they will defend their characters to the death.

 

Pros: There will be no bland, flat, or uninteresting characters here. All their characters will be fully fleshed out and all their hopes, dreams, aspirations, and motivations are explained in their complicated backstory.

 

Cons: The time spent with these characters makes them feels like family. This means that the writer tends to be very defensive of their characters and, as a result, can be unwilling to take any criticism about them, even if the criticism is needed.

 

 


 

 

Now, one should remember that not every writer need fall into a nice neat category. When you write, you should find a way that works for you and don’t be afraid to mix it up. And if you do feel that one of these writer types is your style then don’t be self conscious about it, rock it! You have found a style that works for you: congrats! No one can tell you how to write your book but you.

 


 

 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback.

 

 

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Intern at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

 

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Inspiration: Mania and Sustainability

A week ago I was struck with the inspiration for a new novel (hallelujah!). As we writers know, this is a wonderfully exciting, coveted state to be in. I found myself seriously considering cancelling social plans to write. I’ve been bringing my laptop everywhere, just in case I find a few spare minutes to crack it open. I’ve been writing on my phone on the train. In other words, I’ve felt a little manic in my need to get it all out. As if I step away from the world too long, I’ll lose track of its rules.

So how does one deal with this sort of motivation that is both thrilling and unrealistic? Because let’s face it, I’d like to see my friends every so often, to catch up on This Is Us, to read every so often (currently: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. Highly, highly recommend if you haven’t read it). Thankfully, Jennifer recently introduced me to the clothesline method. http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2015/01/the-clothesline-method/

I’m in the process of moving (another thing I need to focus on along with writing 24/7) so I don’t actually have a clothesline to hang up handy, so I improvised by writing my plot points and key character info on sheets of printer paper and spreading them out around my coffee table. Visualizing my process was very helpful, and helped alleviate the anxiety that I might forget important points.

I’ve also started to give myself daily writing goals. Sometimes these are in the form of chapters or scenes, sometimes a number of pages. This way I feel like I’ve accomplished enough for the day without feeling itchy to write more more more. If I’m in a good flow and have time to keep going then sure, great. But if I have somewhere to be or even if I’m just craving a mental break for the night, this has been a great way to keep the inspiration sustainable and productive instead of debilitating.


I’m so curious to know about other writers’ experiences with inspiration that hits you like a semi, and how you move forward with it. Comment below, and stay hungry!

 

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BookHive does beta reader editorial research for authors in Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade and Memoir. $699 for 8-10 beta readers; $1099 for 16-18 readers. The results are a 35+ page report full of both qualitative and quantitative feedback. www.bookhivecorp.com

 

 

 

Tallie Gabriel is an actor, writer, and BookHive social media maven. She's a member of InViolet Theatre and Artistic Assossiate of BEDLAM Theatre in NYC.

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Reading In Your Genre

My reading list always feels almost overwhelmingly long. Between book recommendations from friends and the New York Times and classics I somehow didn't have to read in school, constantly updating to include new releases, I will probably never end up completing it. But thanks to the joy of reading and discovering new worlds in books, I'm a-okay with that.

I began writing young adult fiction a couple of years ago, while I was (and am) arguably still a young adult. However, after getting through most of the first draft of my first novel, I realized that though my own YA voice was still clear, I was losing touch with some of the YA novels that had so inspired me as a teen.

So on one trip to the Strand Bookstore I ended up browsing the YA section instead of my go-to New in Fiction table. I read the titles (many of which were lines from Shakespeare or Closer, so that was fascinating) and soaked up the cover art.

I ended up grabbing Christina Moracho’s Althea and Oliver. It was advertised front and center as something that John Greene lovers would eat up, so how could I not? Plus the cover art was simple and intriguing.

There were elements of the book that I loved and some that I wasn't so sure about, but it was undoubtedly clear how helpful it was to be reading the types of voices that my characters also have. Often when I'm reading a great book I find myself thinking in the voice of the protagonist for a while after I've put it down, and soon these wonderfully crafted teenage voices blended with  and supplemented the voices of my own characters (who are always in my mind).

I have since made a point of browsing the YA novels whenever I go to a bookstore and peppering one in between the other adult fictions on my never ending list. I was recently send a ore-release edition of Danielle Younge-Ullman’s Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined, which will be released for public purchase soon. She's represented by my literary agency, so it was extra exciting to get a glimpse of a published author’s work in my wheelhouse.


Not only is it very helpful to know what’s popular and what’s selling in your genre, reading these books has helped me get in the mindset of my (hopefully) future readers. Ideally, I’m given rich and emotional experiences through these narratives, and it keeps me constantly thinking about what else the YA demographic wants to be reading. Plus, it gives me lots of high school nostalgia which I find super inspiring!

I'd love to hear about your own experiences reading in your genres, and if you have any YA novels to recommend, please please send them my way.

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BookHive does beta reader editorial research for authors in Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade and Memoir. $699 for 8-10 beta readers; $1099 for 16-18 readers. The results are a 35+ page report full of both qualitative and quantitative feedback. www.bookhivecorp.com

 

 

 

Tallie Gabriel is an actor, writer, and BookHive social media maven. She's a member of InViolet Theatre and Artistic Assossiate of BEDLAM Theatre in NYC.

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Interview with BookHive Beta Reader Jennifer Neal

Ms. Jennifer Neal consumes books the way that most people consume popcorn at the movie theater. A Spanish teacher, teaching in Cairo, Egypt for the year, and hailing from Connecticut, Jennifer is an avid traveler. She has lived outside of the United States for over 20 years in Africa, Central and South America, and Europe and moved consistently every two years. Every summer her mother goes to the local libraries for her and buys their “used” books at a discount to have them shipped to the country that she is headed to next. This is because she just can’t stand the thought of being without a book to read.

 

 

 

 

Since we at BookHive love avid readers like the sunshine in winter, we reached out to Jennifer about her reading habits and she had this to say:

 

KB: You're a voracious reader. How many books do you think you average per year?

 

JN: I usually read between 250-300+ books a year. I used to read more, but after Lasik eye surgery I was told not to strain my eyes. LOL.

 

KB:. What do you love most about reading? What draws you to literature?

 

JN: The truth is that I love new information. Reading allows me to learn more about my world. I read books and I find out things that I never knew before and then I do research. It is an opportunity for me to learn about new concepts, history or people.

 

When I grew up, technology was in a nascent stage, and electricity was not always available. But I always had a book to read. So I occupied a lot of my time reading any and every book that I could get a hold of. I remember reading dictionaries, Encyclopedia sets and novels. Reading allowed me to go to new places, have adventures and make new friends.

 

KB: What is your favorite genre to read?

 

JN: I do not have a favorite genre. I just like a good story. This could include Freakonomics, to Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, to Pride and Prejudice, to The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell to books about history like The Pessimist's Guide to History. There is no genre that I have not read, I love it all.

 

KB: How do you find the time to read so much?

 

JN: I always have a book, now kindle, with me. I will read while waiting, during breaks, in the afternoons and at night. I read whenever I can. I have to be careful that I do not read an intriguing book at night, because then I will not fall asleep until it is finished. During the summer especially, I read books like drinking water.

 

KB: If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one book with you which would you pick?

 

JN: It would have to be Pride and Prejudice. I love that book. I have read it so many times. I have read the graphic novel and I have read it in Spanish. It is just so beautiful.


 

KB: How does reading a work on BookHive compare to reading a already published novel? Do you like the beta reader process?

 

JN: I love being a beta reader, because it is like being a golden ticket holder in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I get an inside peek at a book that has not been seen before. I get a glimpse into the secret world of unpublished books. It is amazing.

A golden ticket, what a wonderful description. BookHive would like to thank Ms.Neal for her time and her dedication to literature. Don’t we all wish we could read as much as she does? I know I do.

 

 

BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback.

 

 

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Intern at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

 

 




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Interview with BookHiver Tallie Gabriel's literary agent Alyssa Jennette of Stonesong

My literary agent Alyssa Jennette of Stonesong Literary Agency graciously answered the following questions for BookHive. She's full of expert advice for authors seeking representation, killer book recs, and she's an overall stellar person to know!
 
Alyssa Jennette of Stonesong Literary Agency
 
TG: What was your path to becoming a literary agent?
 
AJ: My path to publishing was not at all straightforward. I was always editorially-inclined, but decided at the relatively last minute to put together a portfolio and apply to art schools. Luckily, I got in and now have a BFA in Illustration from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
 
Obviously I didn't end up pursuing art professionally, but I'm glad I attended MICA, because the illustration program taught me so much about how to think narratively, how to critique constructively (and take criticism gracefully), and how to work on a deadline, among many other things. I got engaged shortly after graduation, which meant a few years of upheaval: planning, moving, figuring out how to pay loans once the grace period ended. I waitressed for almost two years until I ended up in an internship for a budding online lifestyle brand, then another for an online fashion magazine, then I started nannying (which I still do part-time).
 
Throughout that time, a good friend (who later became my first client) was turning his blog into a book, and had asked me for notes on the manuscript. Once I had given them, he told me that he had already been querying agents, and my notes lined up completely with theirs--maybe I could be an agent? I had no real idea what an agent was, and mostly brushed it off. But then the process repeated with his middle grade novel--my notes matched those of the agents he was querying, and one of my bosses at the online fashion magazine had offhandedly suggested that book publishing could be a fit for me, so I decided to take the idea more seriously. I did some research and cold-emailed a bunch of agencies to ask about internships or assistant positions. I was lucky to find a fit quickly at Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, where I worked with the lovely Jessica Sinsheimer.
 
After nearly a year at SJF, I started applying for assistant gigs at agencies and publishers. I was pleased to get an interview at Stonesong, and was offered an opportunity to assist and build my list.
 
TG: What's your favorite part of being an agent?
 
AJ: Talking to authors about their ideas and influences, editing their work and watching it improve and grow--editing is a collaboration. I get excited when I see authors being proactive and un-precious with their work; a book isn't made by just one person, and it's important for an author to recognize that and trust in the process.
 
TG: What attracted you to Stonesong?
 
AJ: My joining up with Stonesong was serendipitous. Stonesong has a pretty vast and fantastic nonfiction list: Smitten Kitchen, Love and Lemons, Butter & Scotch, and much more. I'm a fiction agent. It just so happened that when I went in to interview, they were looking to expand their business, particularly into middle grade (a sweet spot of mine). The interview was really fun--it just felt like a discussion about the stuff we love about books and the industry--and I really had this feeling when I left like, "Oh, that's what it's supposed to feel like." I was so pleased and humbled when they offered to bring me on to the team.
 
I've been at Stonesong for almost two years, and an active agent for almost a year. I couldn't have asked for a more awesome team of women to be working with and learning from (or a more wonderful crop of clients thus far!)
 
 
TG: What's the biggest want on your manuscript wishlist right now?
 
AJ: I would kill for a beautifully executed teen noir. I've wanted one for years, but especially now that Riverdale has come on the air, I'm seriously jonesing.
 
TG: I know it's a big question, but what one piece of advice would you give authors who are seeking representation? 
 
AJ: Make sure your pitch and manuscript are tight as they can be. You can't rely on your agent and editor to do major edits on your work that you, a peer reviewer, or a professional freelance editor should have done.
 
TG: Any huge no-no’s that you frequently come across in submissions?
 
AJ: Something as basic as following the submission guidelines is often ignored by authors. PLEASE follow submission guidelines. Also, when an agent asks for a synopsis, include the ending! It's amazing how many synopses I get that don't include the ending for fear of "spoiling" me.
 
TG: And finally, what book(s) should the world be reading right now if we’re not already?

 

AJ: The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde for a master class in format, worldbuilding, and wordplay and Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake had me in tears the whole time from its simplicity and impact of language and emotion. For the YA crowd, I really enjoyed The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, and while I haven't yet read Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give, it's incredibly buzzy and relevant and necessary. Check it out!
 
 
Thanks so much for your time and excellent responses, Alyssa! Check her out at http://stonesong.com/literary-agency/ twitter @AlyssaJennette , and on Manuscript Wishlist at http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/alyssa-jennette/
 

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BookHive does beta reader editorial research for authors in Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade and Memoir. $699 for 8-10 beta readers; $1099 for 16-18 readers. The results are a 35+ page report full of both qualitative and quantitative feedback. www.bookhivecorp.com

 

 

 

Tallie Gabriel is an actor, writer, and BookHive social media maven. She's a member of InViolet Theatre and Artistic Assossiate of BEDLAM Theatre in NYC.

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BookHive Author Christine Whitehead Signs with Brower Literary

Good news! Christine Whitehead, who had previously tested her book on BookHive, has signed with Brower Literary. Christine is a native of New England, who practices law and is a lover of horses.





Her upcoming book, Hemingway's Daughter, is a historical fiction novel about the life of author Ernest Hemingway and his fictional daughter. In celebration of her signing with Brower she has provided the following interview:

 

KB: Could you tell us a bit about your personal approach to writing?

 

CW: In all three of my books, I knew the beginning and end of my story. I don’t plot out each scene; I don’t use notecards; I don’t have an outline. I do have in my mind key scenes that are going to move the action forward or the character development forward and I do tend to do some editing as I go along. I’ll usually write and then review what I’ve written the previous day to see if it still seems adequate and if it’s going in the right direction. Some days it all works really well and some days you read what you wrote the previous day and it’s terrible!

The books I write are the books I’d like to read and, that being said, I like to start with my main character having problems and I like to leave her at a better, more hopeful place at the end.

 

KB: Your upcoming book Hemingway's Daughter is the third book you've written. Was there anything you felt was significantly different this time around as far as the process?

 

CW: The process with Hemingway’s Daughter was actually very different. I was limited by the need to interface with Hemingway’s life and I was bound by the actual facts. However, that also was very freeing. Readers already know what Hemingway looks like. They already have an impression of him. And, in a certain way, by having the limitations of time and locale as to his interactions, I was able to focus significantly on Finn, his daughter, in developing her challenges in love, as well as in career, particularly since she was trying to establish a legal career in 1950 and as a woman it was very difficult.

My previous two books were contemporary and this one is historical fiction, taking place from approximately 1935 to 1960. That felt different. I had to do research to be sure that I wasn’t using out-of-place slogans and particularly I had to be aware of World War II and its impact on college life and day-to-day life as the book progresses. While I had more freedom to simply run with my plots in my previous two books, Hemingway’s Daughter, in its limitations, nevertheless felt almost like a passion project, because I was completely connected to the material and the characters.

 

KB: What was the editing process like for you?

 

CW: I don’t tend to love the editing process. This is particularly the case if you have to make a major change that is going to impact every aspect of the book. You can imagine how that goes; but sometimes it’s necessary. That being said, I do like suggestions that editors make for deepening a character, deepening motivation, which results in a far better read I’m sure! When Kindle Press selected my second book to be published by its private press, their editors from Kirkus went through the book and I discovered that I apparently have no clue how to use a comma! That was pretty humbling but also interesting. Editing though makes your book better and cleaner. From that point of view, I love it.

 

KB: Can you tell us how your experience with BookHive went?

 

CW: My experience with Bookhive actually exceeded my expectations. I knew I would have beta readers giving feedback, but I wasn’t aware of how pointed the feedback would be due to the questions that were being posed to the beta readers. It was beyond thrilling to have 10 anonymous readers, who had no previous interest in me or my work give their honest opinions. That itself was terrific and scary. I received very organized and helpful feedback with the backup data and all in the timeframe Bookhive established.  

However more than that, it’s data that truly you could use. When I learned that 3 of 10 people found my first 10 pages didn’t really hook them, I knew I had to do some work there. Even if 7 were willing to keep going, I thought 3 was too big a percentage to not address the first 10 pages. It was very helpful to see which characters the readers became attached to and how they reacted to the interplay of reality, i.e., Hemingway’s real life – to the fiction of my make-believe daughter. The experience was both affirming and extraordinarily helpful in me keeping the focus on what I was doing well and what I could do better. I’d recommend Bookhive to any writer.

 

KB: Congratulations on signing with Brower Literary. How did you decide on this agency?

 

CW: I received offers of representation from two agencies. I did some research and I spoke to people in the literary world who know more than I do. It was suggested that there is no substitute for an agent who is enthusiastic about the book. I spoke to the agent from Brower Literary. She knew the book inside and out and was completely connected to it. Even better, she was as committed as I am to get it out to a wider audience. The other agency and agent seemed just wonderful as well, but I didn’t feel the same level of enthusiasm that I felt from Brower.

Again, when I spoke to people I trust, they noted that it’s still hard to get published even with an agent, but if the agent can’t say to an editor that “you are really missing the boat if you don’t take this book,” with true and sincere enthusiasm and devotion to the concept, it is a very easy thing for an agent to decline. I made my decision based on the reputation of the agency, which was solid, and my particular agent’s total commitment to this book and drive to have it succeed.

 

KB: Any advice for those about to go through or currently going through the process of producing a book?

CW: The best advice I can give a writer working on a book or trying to get their book published, is to just keep going to conferences; keep improving your skills; and don’t lose faith in your product if you think it’s a good one. The rejections become almost overwhelming, and it’s pretty easy to decide that this is never going to happen.


I’m hoping that Hemingway’s Daughter ends up at a mainstream publisher, primarily because the distribution and exposure will be wider. My first book was self-published and I started from ground zero. Had I known how difficult it would be, I might not have done it. Nevertheless, I’ve tried to expose it as much as I could. I spoke at local libraries to get the word out. I was interviewed by local newspapers and it did nicely. My second book, published through Kindle Press, got a jumpstart because of that. It had a much wider audience immediately, which has pulled book one along. Within four months I had 118 reviews. It took me almost six years to get that number of reviews on book one. I’m hoping I’m on an accelerating trail and that Hemingway’s Daughter will do significantly better if we can get a traditional publisher.  However, I have loved my books and my characters. I know my limitations as a writer, so I am not in love with my own writing in that way, but I love the stories I am telling. I always felt that if I could find readers or they could find me, they would like my books.

 

KB: Why Hemingway? How did you get inspired to write this book and what do you hope readers get from your story?

 

CW: Where to begin with my love of Hemingway?! I fell in love with his persona, which is not always a pretty one. I then began reading all of his books. The addiction was fueled. I think he is extremely complex, not completely what his image is – the macho drunk, brilliant in flashes. That’s part of him but the other part is of a gentle, shy man who just wanted to write, probably drink, and be with his animals. He loved his three sons, but he always wanted a daughter. I wondered if he had had a daughter if it might have softened some of the edges. In the book, which is written in the first person by his daughter, we learn how subtlety she did influence his writing – or at least in my imagination she did.

I hope that readers get several things from the book. First, I think it’s just a good story. Second, they will learn about what it was like becoming a lawyer in 1950 and how far women have come, at least in that profession, since that time. Third, I hope people become a little inspired to read more Hemingway. Each chapter starts with a quote from one of the books and gosh they are good. Perhaps I’m just a besotted fan but I am hoping that other people fall in love with him, his fictional daughter, and their struggles, both separately and together. His courage was not fake and it is inspiring on a number of levels.

 

Thank you to Ms. Whitehead her time and support of BookHive and her meaningful responses. Visit her website here: http://christinewhitehead.com/



BookHive Corp. does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.

$699  for 8-10 beta readers, $1,099 for 16-18 beta readers.

The results are a 35+ page report full of quantitative and qualitative feedback.

 

 

 

Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Intern at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.

 

 

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Writing a Query Letter

If you’re an author trying to go the traditional publishing route, you’ll need a literary agent. And to get a literary agent, you’ll need a query letter.

 

So what is a query letter? It’s essentially a one-page cover letter for your manuscript. It’s NOT the synopsis - many agents will ask for that as well, and make sure you don’t make the rookie mistake (ahem, Tallie one year ago, ahem) of thinking that query and synopsis are the same thing.

 

I’m notoriously bad at pitches. My two minute elevator speech is more like twenty five. I was always the kid in school that went over the essay maximum page limit. So the idea of cramming my novel into an eye-catching one page felt like it was going to be the end of the road, before I was even officially on the road.

But fear not. After my own research, I realized it’s not actually that hard. And after lots of practice, I was able to cram my own into a concise page without sacrificing any content.

 The first part of your query should hook the agent in. It should introduce the title of your manuscript, and give a kick ass first sentence that secures the reader’s attention. Make SURE you address it to the specific agent you’re querying, otherwise they’ll immediately trash it. It’s great to give us a taste of your protagonist and the conflict that will define your book as soon as possible. In your second query paragraph, you get to write that dreaded mini-synopsis. Yep, the paragraph equivalent of an elevator speech. Try to approach this by thinking of everything you wish you could have crammed into your opening sentence, but couldn’t. You can cram it in here! Strategically, of course. When in doubt, write everything you think you need to have in this paragraph, and then mercilessly cut the excess. This will be hard, but just remember that you’re not cutting anything from your actual book (yet). Put your critic glasses on and m=be real with yourself, knowing that it is entirely possible to come up with a paragraph synopsis. Somehow, somewhere, people have done it over and over again, and you are about to join the ranks of the mighty.

Your third paragraph is a little author bio. You’re done with the hard stuff and now you just get to talk about yourself! Yay! Mention where you went to college (grad school if acceptable), and why you had to write this book, if applicable. It’s also a place to flesh yourself out as a living breathing human person to your prospective agents. Throw in a little fun fact, perhaps! Keep in mind that an agent isn’t just signing a book, but they’re signing you as a client and they’ll want to get along with you and believe in you even more than you do.

After this, remember to give a little closing thank you note, and include your phone number in your signature. Nothing is worse than an agent wanting to contact you but not readily having the information to do so.

 

Now boom! You’ve written a query letter! Look at you go!! You’re ready to start hawking your soul to the wide world of literary agents. But don’t worry, they’re a largely friendly group of people who love reading and want to love your book. Now sit back, relax, write something else, and wait for the interest or rejection e-mails.


I’ve attached my query letter below for comparison. Cheers!

 

Dear Ms. __________,

 

Mason Radley, a seventeen-year-old boy on the spectrum, developed schizophrenia after his twin sister, Maisie (aka “M”), died in a hiking accident. Plagued with guilt, frustration, and a completely unraveled social life, Mason cannot imagine refuge from the imaginary companions he’s collected.

Until he is enrolled in a homeschool group with two other peers, including the mysterious and charming Olivia Overly. With Olivia’s help, Mason begins exploring new interests and ideas- including bug collecting, horror movies, and untranslatable words- that help distract him from a seemingly otherwise doomed existence.

However, when M herself comes back into the picture as a voice in Mason’s mind, he starts to worry that getting close to Olivia is causing him to forget his sister altogether. Mason has the choice to get better with Olivia, or hang on to the last piece of M he has left.

M is a contemporary YA novel complete at 76,000 words. I am an NYU graduate, currently working with BEDLAM and InViolet theatre companies. M is my debut novel, with another currently in progress. Thank you so much for your time and consideration!

Warmly,

Tallie Gabriel

(702) 555-5555

 ...

BookHive does beta reader editorial research for authors in Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade and Memoir. $699 for 8-10 beta readers; $1099 for 16-18 readers. The results are a 35+ page report full of both qualitative and quantitative feedback. www.bookhivecorp.com

 

Tallie Gabriel is an actor, writer, and BookHive social media maven. She's a member of InViolet Theatre and Artistic Assossiate of BEDLAM Theatre in NYC.

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