Thursday, May 31, 2012

Query Do's & Don'ts

We hope these query DO's and DON'Ts will help some of you new to querying and for the veterans feel free to add your own at the bottom! I will say, there will always be exceptions to these rules, but sometimes its best to give yourself the best opportunity possible by following the rules.

1) DO write your query in 250 words or less.

2) DO avoid rhetorical questions in the hook. They sound gimmicky.

3) DO NOT write a query from your character's POV.

4) DO show the pivotal story arc. That main action that leads to the climax and the "ultimate decision" moment. This is where many people's stories get lost---give an agent a reason to keep reading.

5) DO focus on what makes your story unique.

6) DO be enticing.

7) DO show the stakes.

8) DON'T create a character soup--limit who you introduce in the query to the bare minimum. If you think you need five, find a way to cut two of them.

9) DON'T compare your book to Twilight, Harry Potter or the Di Vinci Code.

10) DON'T classify your manuscript as a 'fiction novel' or 'fictional novel'.

11) DON'T be inapporapriately stalky in your personalization. (I.E., don't be like, I saw you were working at the bookstore and engrossed in a sci-fi horror steampunk. Here's mine.)

12) DO be knowledgeable about the agent. (This is a fine line, folks. But you can know the agent's preference and dislikes without sounding like a freaky stalker. We've got a post on researching agents that should help.)


14) DO include word count, and brief biography.

15) DON'T say that you've been writing since you picked up a crayon and your mom, brother-in-law and pastor all think your the next J.K. Rowling.

16) DO edit and have a critique partner read through before you send it out.

17) DON'T send it to more than one agent in one email. (This is a hard and fast, NEVER EVER BREAK rule, guys. EVER.)

18) DO ALWAYS check agent guidelines and include whatever pages/synopsis/etc they may ask for.

19) DO spell their name correctly.

20) DO include contact information. A great story is just a random floating idea without a little contact info at the bottom.

21) DO track who you've queried and when.

22) DON'T query more than one project at a time.

23) DON'T. query multiple agents at one agency.

24) DO focus on the protagonist, antagonist, and basic conflict. NO subplots.


~The Writerly Rejects

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How to Research Literary Agents

So I was kinda nudged into this post. Why? Well, it’s an ongoing joke that I’m the resident stalker. Hell, I’ve even mentioned how good my stalk—erm research skills have become in a job interview or two.

Hey, I have serious skills! Hah, anyway today I’m going to teach ya’ll the method I use when researching agents. If you find yourself shooting off queries willy nilly, and getting no responses or forms, putting in a little more research beforehand could help you out.

One of the reasons we hear agents say they reject a project is because someone queries them for something they just aren’t into. Sure, an agent may say they like fantasy in their guidelines, but without further research you won’t know if they mean only urban fantasy or if that also includes high fantasy. Or maybe to them, fantasy covers the paranormal romance spectrum only. Now, if you’re shopping around a high fantasy manuscript, well, they definitely aren’t the agent for you, but you’d never know that without further research.

Here are my go-to sources when looking up agents.

1)   Personally, I prefer Query Tracker. I use this religiously to organize my queries and to find new agents. This, in my humble opinion, is loads better than Agent Query, but I recommend Agent Query’s articles on what an agent does for you and what to do and ask when you get The Call. Query Tracker allows you to do several things, but some are to track queries, see who these agents represent (not always a complete list), and best of all check out an agent’s response times. This way you know who to query if you want a quick turnaround to test out your query and you also know who will move at the pace of a molasses. 
2)   Now, there are two blogs I ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS use when I want to get a feel for the agent’s tastes, editorial-ness, and recent books sold. Literary Rambles and Mother. Write. (Repeat). The latter focuses on interviewing the agents. Why do I always use it? Because she’s managed to interview so many that you’re almost always guaranteed that she has something on the agent. Literary Rambles is a compilation of information from several different interviews, including whether an agent is an editorial agent, what they represent based on guidelines and what’s been discovered in other interviews etc. Great sources.
3)   Now, I should mention that when one is looking for an agent they should always cross reference with Preditors & Editors (P&E). Why? They’ll let you know if an agent or agency has been reported for unethical behavior.
4)   Absolute Write is a godsend. It’s an amazing forum, but when researching agents you can read comments from years ago to as recent as 5 minutes ago about the agent and agency’s practices, response times, and whatever else commenters are willing to share. It rocks.
5)   Ah, let’s not forget Twitter. The funny thing about agents is they’ll mention in passing something that they’re currently looking for. Or out of frustration say what they’re tired of seeing. Heck, some will even put out a wish list saying something like, “Guys, I’m dying to see some mermaid stories or more boy-centric middle grade”. If you have what they want, now you know, and this is the perfect thing to mention when you’re trying to explain to an agent why you’ve queried them. I know many people struggle with that personalization portion of a query. Here’s how you find stuff to put in there.

Well guys, that about wraps up my process. Let me add one more thing. ALWAYS use the guidelines on an agency’s website when querying. Why? Because guidelines found elsewhere are not always up-to-date. It’s best to play it safe. Hope this article can help those just starting the querying process or those looking for more resources when researching agents.

Good luck. Now, get those queries out the door.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Query Week!!

Welcome to Query Week!!

This week we're focusing on queries. For a lot of writers, the query is the worst thing about the business, almost at the level of synopsis (Because lets be honest, there is NOTHING worse than the synopsis.)

Personally, I've gotten to a point where I enjoy working on the query. For me, it signals the end is in sight.

I generally start working on my query around 20k before my first draft is done--coincidentally, that's right now. Why? Well, by then I know the feel my story has (dark, usually) and the major plot points. But the writing of the query helps me hone the ending, and that's always a good thing.

But honestly, the reason I start my query before finishing the book or starting edits? You get one first chance. Would you send your manuscript out without slaving over it, letting crit partners tear it apart and rearrange the bloody bones and polish and shine until it gleams? (If you would, we need to talk about more than the query.)

If you take that much time to work on perfecting your manuscript, shouldn't the first thing the agent reads be just as perfect? Just as shiny and polished, if not more so?

I read once, I forget where, that a good query takes six months to craft. When I first read it, I was just learning and rolled my eyes and moved on. But I've grown up a lot, and now when I start working on my query four months before I'm ready to send anything out--I smile.

Later this week, Liz is going to talk about her agent research process (which I have to tip my hat to. Except I don't wear hats.) and Auzy will be talking about loglines. And we're going to share a list of queries do/don'ts.  As well as some of our old (read: awful) queries. So come back and check it out!
In the meantime, a Q4U:

When do you start working on your query?

The Winner of the Agent Contest with Pam of Larsen Pomada

First off, I would like to thank all those who participated in our agent contest. We got some really great entries and for our first contest the turnout was wonderful. So thanks again everyone. Also a shout out to Pam van Hylckama Vlieg for choosing the winner and offering a 30-page-critique. Thanks :)

So without further adieu the winner is:

Violent Delights by Rachel S.


Rachel please email us your 30 pages at writerlyrejects(at) gmail (dot) com.

Lotsa love,

The Writerly Rejects

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Giveaway

Last week, I reviewed the lovely Michelle Zink's A Temptation of Angels. This week, I had the opportunity to interview her. And because she is that awesome, she's come back with prizes! For a chance to win a signed copy of A Temptation of Angels and a $25 gift card.
To enter, please fill out the form below. The winner will be announced next week. Contest closes Sunday, May  27. United States ONLY.

Raffle Winners!

Thanks so much, everyone for spreading the word! We've had a really great first two weeks, and we're so excited about what we have planned next.  For now, though, here are the winners:

20 page critique by Auzy—Adrianne Russell
20 page critique by Liz- Dianne K. Salerni
20 page critique by Nazarea- SA. Larsen
$25 gift card—Mel
Witchchild and Soceress—Larissa.

Mel and Larissa, please send your address to
If you won a critique, please attach the first 20 pages to your email.
Thanks again, and congrats to our winners!!


What is High Concept?

            High Concept is fast becoming one of the number one most wanted types of stories out there. Publishers go gaga over them and agents are getting better at picking them all the time. That’s all good and all, but the idea of just what high concept has become a bane upon the writer’s existence.

            If you ever felt like this, you’re not alone. The high concept curse had befuddled many writers because it’s so difficult to define. In fact it’s so hard, that it’s easier to simply come up with a set of rules instead.

Rule 1: It’s original.

            Like the boy who lived, the story idea has to be original. If it’s a copy of the story, the concept loses the high factor. Twilight, while one of the most controversial novels due to its glittering blood suckers, was very original. Since its release, the genre of paranormal romance had to be opened up in the young adult section.

Rule 2: It has mass appeal.

            Originality can only get a book so far. There still needs to be a mass appeal so it can be marketed well. One novel that’s a great example here is the recent smash hit, Hunger Games. What if this novel was only about a person going hungry and seeing different type of foods that one could eat. It’s original, but not a lot a market for it. Now toss in kids being forced to kill each other for government entertainment, and we have a story.

Rule 3: It’s simple.

            For mass appeal, the novel needs to be very simple. The easier it is to understand, the easier it is to sell. And selling is the name of the game. Basically we want to keep the pitch down to 3 or less sentences—and having a catchy title never hurts.

            So now you have the rules. If you’re like how I was, you might be very resistant to this type of writing. Why dumb down your writing, right? Well that’s not the point of High Concept. Yes, it’s simple, but it’s not about dumbing anything down. It’s about reaching as many people as possible with our words. If we look at it from that point of view, it makes total sense.   

         I hope this helps. And as always, feel free to comment.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Agent Contest! Top 10!

It’s today! Which mean we have NEWS!
Okay, for the good news: We had fewer entries than we anticipated, so EVERYONE who entered is getting a crit! If you wanted a 5page crit, please send your pages to and include your number in the subject line.

Now, after a ton of deliberation—seriously, good work you guys—we’ve narrowed the pool down to the top ten for Pam to peruse. And those ten are:

1) Arkasia—Stephanie Sauvinet
10). Violent Delights—Rachel S
34) That Succs—Larissa Hardesty
35) The Unleashing—Amanda Burckhard
45) Shut Up and Kill Me—Sarah Nelson
17) The Girl With Porcelain Wings—Tristina Wright
25) Silver Pool of Light—Kristen Wixted 
29) Lovecraft—Karen Junker
8) A Legacy of Frost and Fire—Heather Davis
24) The Family Vygil—April Wall

Congrats, you guys! These will be going to Pam today and we will announce her winner sometime next week.
All other critiques will be sent out by next Friday.
You guys, thanks so much for joining us for this! I know there were some hiccups in the process (my fault) but hopefully we’ll smooth those out before our next contest. If you have any suggestions for us, please leave them in the comments! :)

AND! Next week we will concentrate on queries all week. There will be thoughts from us, and some really rough queries from our early days and logline pitch posts. It's gonna be fun! :) 

Evolving Process

I'm about to celebrate my seventh wedding anniversary. 
Which, really doesn't matter to y'all. Except that on my second anniversary, I started writing after a two year hiatus. And so I'm looking back on the past five years and how I've grown and changed as a writer since then.
When I first started writing again, I had no idea what I was doing--I struggled to find my voice, and a style. But I did have a story, and in a very lame (not to be read) way, I told it.
And the next project was similar--more of my voice and style were defined, but it was still floundering. That went on for another two books while I wrote short stories and learned the market and what I liked and what I didn't and what worked for me. I figured out how to write in MY style and voice, how much planning was best for my process and how much was too much. I learned how I like to edit--and how much time I need to devote to querying/agent research.
By the time my anniversary arrives, I will have written six books in five years. And my process now is completely different than it was five years ago when I started working. The evolution in my writing--both my process and my writing itself--has amazed me. Every time I do a rough outline or half a synopsis in preparation for writing, or when I read over a passage and thing OMG, I can't wait til I start revisions! I have to laugh a little, because of how far I've come in five years.

And I can't help but wonder how far I'll go in another five years.

Q4U: Looking back over your own journey, how have you grown and changed?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Author Interview: Michelle Zink

Now that the excitement of yesterday's contest is beginning to die down (entries will be announced tomorrow!) we have the lovely and crazy-talented Michelle Zink for an interview. Michelle is someone I've admired for a long time, both her writing ability (seriously, if you haven't, read her work.) and her genuine caring for her fans. She's super sweet and I'm very excited to have her here today. So without further ado:

1. Tell us a little about where you get your inspirations--music, life, what have you?

New stories can be inspired by anything from movies (I'm a huge movie fanatic, so that's a big one) to news stories to a conversation overheard between two people. A lot of the time, I'll see or hear something that will spark an idea, and then I'll work it for a awhile in my mind, trying to tweak it into something original. 

2. What are you working on now? (Read: is there a sequel in the works?)

I have two Temptation companion novels plotted out, one from Raum's point-of-view and one about Darius and Anna. I don't know yet whether Penguin will publish them, but I'm pretty determined to get them to readers SOMEHOW because I'm constantly begged for more books in the Temptation world -- and more books with the Temptation guys; Griffin, Raum, and Darius.  

3. Can you share a little about your journey to publication?

It was tedious? Lol! Prophecy was my fifth finished book. I almost sold my second book, but it wasn't revised enough on the front end, which is what I get for taking the easy way out. I wrote 6-8 hours a day for 2 and 1/2 years (and with four young children) because I was just determined to get published. Also, nothing made me a better writer faster than finishing books, and that really excited me, that process of learning and getting better. 

4. Would you classify 'Temptation of Angels' a historical? If so, how do you account for the advance technology they have?

I don't classify it as historical at all! If anything, it leans to Steampunk. Mostly, it's a fantasy that happens to be set in the late 1890s (and this is the same answer I always gave for the Prophecy trilogy, minus the Steampunk part!). 

5. One piece of advice for aspiring writers out there?

Read and write as much as you can. And not just in the genre you want to write in. Newspaper articles, non-fiction, poetry, even marketing and sales letters all make you a better writer. I look back on my days in marketing as such a blessing. I was always the one to volunteer to write letters to clients and potential clients, and I credit that with helping me learn to write consice sentences that get the point across with rambling on and on. It all helps! After that,my adivce would be to FINISH SOMETHING. We wrters like to start shiny new things, but you will learn more through the process of finishing a whole book than through anything else you can do on your own.

6. Last question: favorite dessert?

It would be a tie between homemade cookies and cakes! Rebekah makes a mean red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and I'd do just about anything for one of our oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Agent Contest!!

You guys!! It's here, the very first Rejects agent contest! I am so excited for y'all to get in front of our guest agent, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Larsen Pomada Literary.  She’s an active blogger and just announced her first sale as an agent, after less than two months! Here’s a little more about Pam:
Pam van Hylckama Vlieg joined Larsen Pomada as an Associate Literary Agent in 2012 to represent young adult and middle grade children's book authors. Over the past four years Pam has become one of the top YA book bloggers in the country at She also works part time at Hicklebee's, a children's bookstore in San Jose, CA.
Pam writes fantastical YA and MG fiction and is represented by Laurie McLean, also of Larsen Pomada Literary Agents. She lives in the Bay Area of California with her Dutch husband, two children--a boy and a girl the perfect set--a Jack Russell terrier, a bull dog puppy, and a small guinea pig. It is her greatest dream to own a menagerie.
This contest is open to:
Picture books: Authors/Illustrators ONLY.
YA: Contemporary, fantasy, science fiction and urban fantasy.
MG/Tween: Contemporary, fantasy, action/adventure
Romance: historical, paranormal, urban fantasy

So, here's how this is gonna work. On May 22, send your entry to We'll take entries from 9am to 12midnight (EST). Each submission will receive a number and will go into a lotto.
The Rejects will narrow the initial pool of 60 entries down to 10, and Pam will pick a winner from these top ten.
What does the winner receive (yeah, that's why your still reading. I know). Pam is graciously offering a thirty page critique! How cool is that?!?
Wait a second, though. We think everyone should win *something* so here's the bonus: all sixty entries will receive a query critique OR critique of their first five pages, by one of the Rejects.

Not too bad, right?

Okay, so to submit, format your entry:
Your Name

One sentence logline


 Your preference of query or 5 page crit.

Make sure your following the blog, and then send your entry to between 9am-12midnight on TUESDAY MAY 22. Please place AGENT CONTEST in the subject line. THIS IS IMPORTANT: If you DON’T, you will NOT be entered.
You will receive confirmation that your entry was received, and later will receive a number for the lotto. 
The 60 entries chosen by the lotto will be emailed by Thursday, as well as being posted here. The Rejects will then narrow that pool down to 10 for Pam and she will pick her winner.

You guys, I'm super excited! I'm looking forward to reading y'all's entries!
 Good luck!!

P.S. Don't forget the launch raffle that we're having until Friday! Check it out here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Relationship Depth

I read a book recently that got me thinking about relationship depth. Or, ya know, lack thereof. In this book (which will remain nameless) the entire relationship was based on looks and sex appeal. After four hundred odd pages of ‘he looked like Adonis, leaning over me’ I was quite tired of it all. Not that there isn’t something appealing about Adonis, especially when he’s leaning over you. But that aside—isn’t there MORE?
Look at your favorite couple in any book and list a handful of things they love about each other? Is it a crooked smile, the unflinching loyalty, the stupid collection of action figures one collects? A sarcastic sense of humor or a running inside joke—any number of things can deepen a relationship between characters.
Or, for that matter look at your relationship—after the initial attraction, what is it that makes you love your significant other? Is it her quirky habit of always hanging a foot off the bed, or his off key singing in the shower and fear of your driving? Her dancing while she cooks—burns—dinner?
Here’s the crux of the matter—if ALL the character ever thinks when looking at the love interest is how bad he wants in her pants, or how sexy his butt is, then it gets boring quickly, and it doesn’t turn into a believable relationship. Sex appeal is lovely and all, but there needs to be more.
When writing today, look at your characters, and how they interact. What else do they have besides a physical attraction? Once past the lust, what makes them love each other?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: A Temptation of Angels

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
Publisher: Penguin Group
Released: 3/20/12
Rating: 4 stars—I loved it!

Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance
When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.
Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.

Michelle Zink’s new book (after the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy) is an angel book. And I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not crazy about angel books, but, I am a huge fan of Michelle’s work, and I was really excited to see her spin on them.

And I was totally not disappointed. Helen is a character I really enjoyed watching grow from a girl shoved into a closet, to one willing to face her fears and her past. Perhaps more than Helen, though, I really liked the boys in this story. Helen is paired with a set of brothers who are Keepers like she is. All of them are now orphans, and when we learn that the one responsible for their murders is Helen’s childhood friend, Raum, the tension skyrockets.

Zink carefully balances romantic tension with plot, and for a bit, your left wondering if Helen will choose the noble Griffen Channing or the beautiful, broken Raum. It’s an excellent read, with enough alternate history to leave you wondering if your reading historica, steampunk or fantasy. I highly recommend it, and all of Michelle’s work.

And, because she’s fabulous, Michelle Zink will be joining us on Monday for an interview about writing! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Six Reasons Why Twitter is Still Relevant

So many ask themselves what that little blue bird known as Twitter can do for their brand or company. Why follow the craze, it’ll be gone just as quickly as MySpace was. Many use the excuse, but we have a Facebook. Isn’t that enough?

Here’s the thing, Facebook can only get one so far. One needs multiple online platforms when trying to reach a broad demographic. Facebook has made improvements with its share tool, among others, but Twitter is still valid. Here’s why:

1.     Some writers and potential readers may be Twitter fiends, others may only use Facebook. In order to reach both, you must be a part of both.
2.     Using hashtags can put your author self in front of new and potential readers or publishing connections without having to be shared or “liked” via Facebook. Anyone can see a hashtag as long as your tweets are not private. In this way, no one has to go out of their way to find you.
3.     The retweet, similar to Facebook’s share tool, allows those who like what you have to say to spread the love to their own followers.
4.     Twitter is the gateway. When someone stumbles upon your tweets via either a retweet or with the help of a hashtag the first place they will go is your profile and they will immediately read your bio. If they like what they see, you’ve instantly gotten a click-through to your website and/or blog.
5.     The format: Twitter’s format is appealing to the eyes. People expect to see quick snippets of interesting topics, instead of having your posts squished between the statuses of a potential reader’s friends.
6.     Twitter is best utilized for professional contacts and readers while Facebook can be more personal in nature. Twitter is the place one goes to in order to find like-minded individuals or organizations.  Ergo, the need for hashtags. Interested in finding writers? Check out all who use the hashtags #writer and #amediting and see what you find.


Meet Nazarea!

I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date. What date you may ask? It’s for an interview that I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. Today we get to know Nazarea Andrews (or N~). Both Liz and I consider her the Mama of the Rejects, and just a wonderful all around writer.

A: Now let’s get started with an easy one. If you’d died and gone to heaven, and had the option to spend it with one person for all eternity, who would it be?
N: Oh, jeez. One person forever? I’m gonna go the cheesey route and say my husband or kids.

A: I don’t think that’s cheesy at all. So when you’re not creating wordy works of art, what do you do for fun?
N: Read. I ADORE reading, almost as much as I like writing, and it’s relaxing to me, plus I can get away with calling it ‘research’. (K, not really, Mike quit buying that excuse a long time ago.) I also love cooking new food, and playing with my kids.

A: What do you like the most about writing?
N: Going somewhere else. I love that in my writing, anything is possible, a social outcast can find love in the unlikelies of places, twins can be separated and go on these crazy adventures that completely change who they are. I love creating these characters, and then letting them do what they want, and seeing where they take me.

A: And what was the first story you ever wrote?
N: Oh, man. Your TRYING to embarrass me, aren’t you? Okay, first thing I wrote was this hugely dramatic (not in a good way) soap-opera-y drama about a teen who grows up on a horse farm and inherits it when her grandfather dies and runs away because she hates being surrounded by the pressure of being this perfect daughter. Very ‘poor-little-rich-girl’.

A: What author, either alive or dead, has influenced you the most over the years?
N: I’m gonna pick a living and dead. Dead would be David Eddings. His work was my first real experience with high fantasy, which is still a HUGE love of mine. And I loved his characters, and how effortlessly they jumped off the page. Silk is still a particular favorite of mine.
And living—Anne Bishop. She’s another fantasy writer, but her worlds are so delightfully dark, while still being utterly human. She was also one of the first authors I read who blended fantasy with modern conviences, which opened my eyes to a whole world of possibilities. And her boys are amazingly sexy. *grin*

A: Can tell us a little about your current work in progress.
N: It’s a new venue for me! I’m working on a space opera, in which two alien twins are stolen from their planet and sold into slavery. One is very much a pacifist and one is very aggressive, and the way that they grow and change because of their slavery (which is VERY different) has been really interesting to watch. I’m about 60% done with the first draft and I’m really excited about it.

A: Okay, so if you were Queen of the world, is there anything about the publishing industry you would like to change?
N: Not really. It’s changing so much that I’d probably just sit back and wait for it to show what it was gonna do.

A: Then what about the process for getting published? Anything you’d like to change, and why?
N: Yes and no. I get that this is the process, and I almost feel like waiting around for a response is a rite of passage. And I know there isn’t really a way to change that. But at the same time, I HATE waiting, so if it were possible, that’s probably what I’d change.

A: Name one piece of advice you wish you were given when you first started to seriously write for possible publication.
N: Patience. Not just with the road to publication (querying, ect) but also with yourself.  ‘Finished’ doesn’t mean typing the end, and rushing into querying is only shooting yourself in the foot. It’s okay to take time to make it perfect—it’s more than okay, actually.
And because this is just as important—community. Writing doesn’t HAVE to be solitary. Find a community to be a part of, they are SOOO important in this industry of small successes mixed with so much rejection.

A: and finally, what is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
N: Hmm. I’m not a terribly crazy person. Probably my tattoos. Or riding a roller coaster while five months pregnant. (My daughter is just fine, but I wouldn’t recommend it.) OH!! Or, climbing a mountain with five kids under the age of five. Yeah, I’d say that one is way up there on my list of crazy things.

A: You road a coaster while being preggers? Lol, how I would have loved to see everyone face when you did that.
Well that’s about it for now. Thanks a lot for your time, Nazarea.

Agent Contest Preview

This is a preview, not a call for submissions.

I wanted to let y’all have a few days to get ready for our first AGENT CONTEST!!!

So, the bare bones:
To enter this contest, you need to follow this blog. The genre’s it’s open to are:

Picture books: Authors/Illustrators ONLY.
YA: Contemporary, fantasy, science fiction and urban fantasy.
MG/Tween: Contemporary, fantasy, action/adventure
Romance: historical, paranormal, urban fantasy

On TUESDAY, May 22, send your QUERY and ONE SENTENCE LOGLINE to us at writerlyrejects at gmail dot com.  (Formatting will be announced Tuesday, please see that blog before sending submission)

Submission will be open from 9a.m.-midnight (EST). We will select 50 random entries, and they will be this month’s contestants. 

So, come back Tuesday for more info (including our AWESOME prize!) and to find out who our fabulous agent is. And polish up your queries and loglines!!  Any questions, ask in the comments. And remember to stop by the raffle for a chance to win some pretty cool prizes.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


This blog was supposed to be about how we write a novel, and it was pretty sweet if I do say so myself. Then I found out this was going to be one of the first posts for the Rejects. So in light of launching the new site, I’d like to change this from how do we write a novel to how do we begin one.
It’s the same thing you say? Que Sacrilege!
Okay, it’s true that they have a few similarities. The beginning of a novel and how to write one can have things like creating characters, conflict, and building worlds, but that’s about it. Writing one will also include things like outlining, editing, beta reading, editing, and did I mention editing?
So what does it take to begin one? Some will say you need to love the story. It’s close, but personally I don’t think that’s quite right. Yes loving the story about how a young wannabe knight with a laser blade and an honor blurred space cowboy team up together to destroy an evil empire helps, but so does hating zombies so much that you want to blast them all back to hell. The one thing they both have in common is passion. And that my friend is how you begin a novel—with passion.
You see, passion will get you through the best and worst of a novel. The easy part is getting the idea and writing that so important first draft. But it’s passion that will keep you going when you’re trudging through that 3rdor even 4th run through of editing your baby, and if you’re like me, it’ll get you past that dreaded world building (I hate world building). Without passion for your novel, it could wind up in the drawer as it attracts the vile dust bunnies.

Meet Auzy!

Hey ya'll so Auzy is our resident dude, giving our audience a unique take.

1. L: To start off, what genres do you write?

My main focus is with YA, but I like to mix up a lot of the genre’s within it. I would say I’m most comfortable with fantasy because almost anything goes with that genre. You’ll need solid rules to make it believable, but with fantasy, you’re only limited by your own imagination. I love to add mystery, horror, and some romance within the fantasy too. That being said, I would never limit myself to just YA.

2. L: How many books have you written and/or are working on?

So far I’ve written two books, Beyond and Violet Luck, and only Beyond is fully edited. Currently I’m working on my third book called Isle of Exiles.

3. L: How old were you when you first started writing?

Seriously writing? That was just a few years ago, like around 28 or 29, I think. If we’re counting writing in general, that was when I was around 15 or 16. I mostly dabbled in poems and song lyrics, but I had always wanted to write a novel.

4. L: What's your stance on self publishing vs. the traditional route?

My stance is simply—whatever floats your boat. For me, I want the traditional route. That’s not saying anything bad about self-publication. I think that if the novel is great and you know how to self-promote like it’s nobody’s freakin business, then go for it. No matter which direction you take, it can still be a long grueling road to success. In the end, it all comes down to which way makes you happy.

5. L: What's your favorite author and favorite book? You can only choose one for each!

My favorite book is Wizards First Rule by Terry Goodkind. My favorite author is J.K.Rowling. However I must say that one of her books was number one before I read Wizards First Rule.

6. L: Alright, let's leave readers with a final piece of advice. What's something you wish you'd known before starting the writer's journey?

That writing well is really hard work. When I first started to write, it took me only a month and a half to write the first draft of my novel, which was roughly around 130k. I knew I had to edit, and dumb ass me increased that word count to 150k in another month. Then I queried, and surprised I was rejected and they were all formed rejections. I actually even had an agent send me what was obviously a slivered cut out paper that printed nothing but the same formed rejection over and over on the paper. Ouch!
Luckily, I had to foresight after that to look for other writers who could help me see what I was doing wrong. lol, two things I learned right away were that most novels run around 70 to 90k (a far cry away from my 150k) and when we write, we need to ‘show, don’t tell’. It took me a while to get it down, but with their help, I learned how to improve my craft.
Writing isn’t easy. It can be fun at times, and it can be a frustrating ball of putrid hate at others. It’s really difficult a lot of the times. I’m constantly thinking of how to make it better. I’m editing, cutting, slashing, and hacking at the story, hoping to turn a bloated and ugly wart-hag into a sexy supermodel wearing a teeny weeny polka-dot bikini. Then having to do it all over again when I have the constructive feedback from beta readers.
Still, I can’t see myself doing anything else.

7. L: Cookies or cake?

Now I know you think this is an easy question, but to me it’s a bit of a trick one. See I can see it a taste in food, in which nothing compares to a fresh out of the oven, gooey chocolate chip cookie. You know the ones that smears chocolate all over your front teeth like you’re a tooth fairy gone crazy. On the other hand, cookies and cake remind me of Cookie Monster or Animal. If I went that direction, the Animal will always win out. Just imagine Animal attacking his birthday cake head on, and not even bothering to put out the candles.
Sorry, didn’t really answer that did I? Guess we may never really know.

L: Total cop out Auzy... ;)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Meet Liz!

Today I’m interviewing Liz!! She’s super fun, always busy and our resident publicity specialist. And here’s a bit more about her:

What kind of things do you like to write?
Well, I tend to lean toward YA and MG especially in the realm of romance and fantasy of all kinds. Although I do have a contemporary story or two up my sleeve. 

What is the most difficult thing, in your opinion, about being an aspiring author?
Um, the waiting. Yes, the waiting. When you finally get your book out, the rejection an aspiring author must face can crush you, but I will say this: Those of us who keep getting up, who move on and write another book are the ones that WILL make it.

Tell us a bit about your non-writing self?
 My non-writing self is an Advertising/Public Relations and Creative Writing major at the University of Central Florida. Go Knights! I'm also working as the personal publicist to HarperCollins author, Gilbert King, and his new book "Devil in the Grove." Not YA or MG, instead it is historical nonfiction. I can also paint and know some graphic design. Yeah, our site banner? That's my work :) Oh and I have an amazingly awesome boyfriend. He'll just be referred to as "Boyfriend" on here.

What is the best book you've read recently?
Best book I've read recently. Oh hands down Obsidian. You want a sexy, YA book about the oh-so-scrumptious alien next door who is a total tease, I might add, then please do pick it up and support Jennifer Armentrout. It's actually a book from Entangled, a new publisher I've been keeping my eye on.

What's one thing you can't write without?
Oh that's a tough one. When I have my laptop I NEED background music to drown everything out. If I write outside somewhere without the laptop I LOVE having a gorgeous notebook. Yeah, I have a thing for pretty notebooks. They tend to make me giddy inside.

Best piece of advice you weren't given when you started writing?
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. No one explained to me that yeah, your first book may not get publish or that you should have already been writing a new one. Still, almost three books later, I got it down.

One last thing: tell us something that would surprise me :)
 Oh, something that would surprise you? Hmm, one time when I was about 13 or 14, maybe older, the fire alarm went off in this hotel in Colorado. I had no contacts in, still had shampoo in my hair, and had to run outside in the cold with a robe that wouldn't close. Um, yeah. Talk about a fun, family vacation, huh? Oh and I always hit my elbows when passing through door frames. It ALWAYS happens. 

Thanks so much, Liz, for answering my questions!! If you have anything you want to know, feel free to ask in the comments. Or follow her @DormRoomDreamer on Twitter! 

Welcome from the Rejects! (AND PRIZES!!)

Welcome to our little blog! We—Liz, Auzy and Nazarea—are the Writerly Rejects. Why call ourselves rejects? Well, because right now, we’re being rejected. All three of us are in some stage of the query process and as most of you know that’s a process full of rejection.
We’ve been at it a while, though, so we’re here to share our thoughts on querying, writing, life, and books. (N: YAY BOOKS!!). We are so glad y’all made it over here! For the first few days, we’re going to be introducing ourselves, letting you get to know us some. If you have any questions for any reject, please feel free to pester us in the comments. (Especially Liz. It’s good for her. ;)
(L: Hey—not cool, N~)

AND!!! We’re holding a raffle!! We need your help spreading the word about the blog (especially before Tuesday!!! Big things happening next Tuesday!!)
So, to entice you to blog, tweet or status update about us, we offer prizes!

A 20 page critique by Liz.
A 20 page critique by Auzy.
A 20 page critique by Nazarea
A $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble. (not open internationally)
Witch Child and Sorceress by Celia Rees (not open internationally)

So, what do you need to do?  Super simple, promise.

  1. Follow this blog.
  1. Tweet about us (including a link). We’re @writerlyrejects on twitter—feel free to follow us there, too!!
  1. Post about us on Facebook!! Include a link back to our blog!
  1. Blog about us!

When you’ve done that, leave a comment here (include a link to facebook or blog). Winners will be announced Monday, May 21.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to come back for more writerly goodness!!

N~, Liz, and Auzy.