Monday, November 17, 2014

The Great Bookmark Giveaway... + Win Signed DUPLICITY Copies!


A lot of them. And they're pretty happy here in their box but they'd prefer to travel, you know?

To celebrate their existence, I'll be giving away 50 signed bookmarks (and possibly more, depending on interest...). All you have to do to enter is use the Rafflecopter below! US addresses only please. 

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Your new bookmark would look fabulous inside the pages of a signed advanced reading copy of DUPLICITY, which you can enter to win on Goodreads using the link below. The Goodreads contest is open to entries in both the USA and Canada.

I'm excited to share these with you. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Duplicity by N.K. Traver


by N.K. Traver

Giveaway ends December 01, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pitch Wars August 2014 - The Aftermath

I briefly went over my Pitch Wars numbers before the finalists were announced in August, and have finally had the chance to post something a little more detailed. You might recall I got 71 lovely applications. Of those 71, I agreed to give feedback to anyone who was not chosen as someone else's mentee or alternate.

That meant I sent 64 responses. It took me an average of 30 minutes per entry to give feedback, meaning I spent 32 hours on these emails alone. (In case you were wondering why agents do form rejections. And why you should keep your critique partners close and keep entering contests like Pitch Wars if you're getting said form rejections.)

I had a few trends in my inbox*:

Dreams that become real: 5
Demons: 7
Tarot cards: 4

And the reasons I passed:

Not right for current market: 3
Not right for me (was on my "Not a Best Match for..." list): 8
Started in the wrong place: 5
Writing not ready: 13
Liked it, but wasn't my perfect match: 33
Confusing pitch; stakes not clear and/or no stakes: 7

And just because:

Highest word count**: 100k
Lowest**: 39k
Coolest comp titles: Dracula meets Don Quixote
SCBWI members (yay!): 14
(Hmm, just realized 5 of the 7 the entries I requested more from were SCBWI...)

I learned a few things from being in the slush:

  • Your query letter really is all about the story. Whether this is your tenth novel or your first, whether you have a hundred publishing awards or none at all, all that matters is your pitch and your writing. One of my favorite entries was just the pitch and a "thank you for your time" - no personalization, no credentials. So basically: don't stress over these. Your awesome story won't be overlooked if you haven't been published before. DO add personalization when possible - but it won't be the reason you're rejected or asked for sample pages, either. 
    • Reader taste is ridiculously subjective. This is something I knew before, but I went in expecting epic battles over the top picks and that I'd have to defend my choices Zombieland-style. But most everyone's tops were different, and something I passed on in my first cull got snatched up as someone else's first choice.
    • Great pages can outshine a so-so query, but so-so pages will sink a great query. If you're getting all thumbs-ups on your query, but agents seem to be rejecting after they request pages, take a hard look at your first chapter. I went through this too. Sometimes it's a matter of starting in a different place. Sometimes it's a matter of polishing your manuscript as much as you've polished your query.
    • A lot of you are SO close. Holy cow, y'all brought your A-game this year. I was practically driven to tears by the quality of the stories in my inbox, because I was having to pass on things that were really solid and that I'd normally request.

    I'm ready for a month-long nap now, but I can't wait to see all the "I have an agent!" announcements that are sure to follow, whether or not you were chosen for Pitch Wars. Remember, I didn't get picked as a mentee or alternate when I entered.

    And last but certainly not least, please congratulate my mentee Marisa Hopkins and alternate Alex Brown when you have a chance. They did #TeamTallahassee proud, with Marisa scooping up nine requests for more pages (eight regular requests + 1 ninja agent) and Alex nabbing six in the alternate showcase. They worked SO hard the last two months, and I'm excited to see where these stories take them!

    *I still requested pages from multiple entries containing these themes, but you might consider what you could do differently with yours if your request rate isn't high.
    **Word count alone is not a reason to reject unless it is way under or way over the expected averages here. However, it's always a good idea to check your word count against those expected averages before you query, and try your darndest to get inside them.

    Saturday, October 18, 2014

    DUPLICITY Advance Reading Copies: 15 Book Giveaway!

    St. Martin's Press is giving away 15 advanced reading copies of DUPLICITY on Goodreads! You could be one of the first to read it, five months before it releases. It's also proven to increase your awesome points. So get on it:

    Click here to enter!

    One of these could be YOURS

    Giveaway window closes October 27.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    Interview: Chasing the Crazies

    I'm honored to be over at Ms. Amy Trueblood's blog today, talking about queries (shudder), how I knew my agent was The One, and what kept me going when the rejections were rolling in.

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

    Why Pitch Wars Is Not Your Last Contest

    First, I want to thank everyone so much for trusting me with their words. I received 71 submissions from 71 very brave writers, which gave me a lot of amazing options, and a lot of hours fretting over my final picks. As I mentioned on twitter, it's like being told to pick two cookies from a giant box of new flavors.

    I will be replying to almost everyone who subbed to me, so look for my email the week following Brenda's announcement of the mentees. My reply might be questions I had for the pitch, or my reaction to your opening page, if I found the pitch to be solid. You will not hear from me if you were chosen as someone else's mentee or alternate, as I don't want to conflict with your mentor's advice. Apologies for that, but please accept a huge smile and a handshake from me right now, because I'm so very glad to see you move on!

    Remember that this business is highly subjective. That sucks, but it also doesn't, because many of you just need to find the right person—you're doing everything right. There were a lot of solid submissions that I could see someone falling in love with, but that weren't quite a match for me. Heck, I'll admit right now that I could never get into Hunger Games (though I do enjoy the movies). Should Ms. Collins have stopped writing because I passed on it? I think you know the answer to that.

    I also want to impress on you how quickly things can change, and how this contest is a stepping stone, not a barrier. A year and a half ago, I was sitting exactly where you were, chewing-my-sleeves-off anxious to hear back from the mentors I'd so carefully selected. I'd been polishing my manuscript for months. I had a query that was getting a thumbs up from everyone who critiqued it. A freelance editor had raved about my latest revision, and I had a few contests under my belt, so I knew how to prepare. I was so ready for it to be "my time."

    I was about to find out I didn't make it. It stung, yes. Rejection always does. But I had some positive feedback from the mentors I'd subbed to and a growing feeling in my gut that this story, as much as I loved it, wasn't "the one."

    I shelved the manuscript. I went back to an idea I'd played around with the year before. I finished it. I entered another contest. I ... well, I lost that contest. But I went back and ripped my first chapter to shreds, and the next contest I entered, I won not only an place among the finalists, but my amazing agent who sold me to a Big Five dream house.

    This could be your story in a year.

    Don't give up.