Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blog Challenge #6: The Art of the Query

Courtesy of The Art of Alba
I'm always genuinely surprised at the sheer volume of queries I receive on a daily basis that I end up having to reject for simple reasons: they're not what I'm looking for.

Queries that didn't hit the mark this week include works I don't represent, weak character and/or plot development, stories with clichéd storylines/heroes and genres I'm not currently seeking works in.

While it can appear frustrating to go through so many queries in a day and not be able to request a partial or full, I do enjoy seeing the creativity displayed in the vast number of stories I get to weed through on a daily basis. Some stories, while intriguing to me, fall outside any genre I represent or appear great as story ideas but then fail to capture the essence of what the query tried to convey. For example, a new twist on the werewolf/vampire dynamic that in the query shows promise but in the sample provided proves it's just another werewolf/vampire romance. While cliché generally sells, there has to be an engaging voice attached to the story to make the reader feel like this is a completely new way to see an old classic.

The popularity of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY in the erotic romance category means I get a lot of queries stating their book is something that will appeal to the readers of the best-selling "Mommy porn" book. I have to admit, the first thing to cross my mind when I see this in a query is... "not another one." I still attempt to read the query and sample pages as objectively as possible but have found myself putting some of those queries aside to re-read and decide on after a few days to give myself a bit of time to be more objective about what I'm reading.

So what are some queries that worked? The ones with strong characters in genres I represent: Romance and erotic romance at the moment. Works with a strong voice and a hook that made me want to keep reading beyond the first five pages. Storylines that while apparently clichéd, gave me an alternate point of view to consider: a Zombie Dad trying to stay together long enough to see his kids off to college, a Vampire hunter whose lover happens to be the Vampire King, etc. The possibilities are infinite.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Blog Challenge #5: Chibi Sary

Courtesy of The Art of Alba
Got to work on a webcomic collab with a good friend of mine, James Alba, to create a Chibi Sary comic. She's too cute for words! Show your support by clicking on the link and "liking" his page.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blog Challenge #4: Summer Schedules are made for Keurigs

My work hours are varied at best and extremely crazy all of the time. When you work from home, it's easy to forget to take breaks, eat lunch or dinner and stop yourself from working through the night. I have calendar reminders set up to tell me to "get up and walk around" and "go eat something solid". Now that the kids are home from school, remembering to feed them helps me to remember to feed myself but it's also an opportunity to teach my kids about work responsibility.

I was up late last night going through queries when my youngest asked me if I always work "this late". It was 2 AM. I looked up from my laptop, smiled and nodded. When they're in school, my workday typically starts at 6 AM and ends around 5 PM when I start making dinner. I spend my evening with them and avoid email and social media as best I can until they're nighttime routine is complete and they're in bed. I return to work around 10 PM and make up "for lost time". During the summer, my hours are a little more relaxed. I get to sleep in until almost 8 AM! Win!

I know many of my author clients have the same type of schedule with their kids at home for the summer. Some of my clients even homeschool their kids and still manage to churn out 3-4 books per year! They're my inspiration and the reason my Keurig gets one hell of a workout!