A PLACE FOR PLUTO coming Summer 2018

Dreams come true.

Writing has been my “thing” since I was able to form words on a paper. Being an author has been my dream since I started reading. Eight years ago, I decided to get serious about it.

I’m proud and excited to announce that my first children’s book is becoming a reality. A PLACE FOR PLUTO will hit shelves Summer 2018.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO follows Pluto as he struggles with a bit of an identity crisis after being told he’s no longer a planet. The book is illustrated by Melanie Demmer and published by Capstone.

For the Publisher’s Weekly announcement, click here.

I’ll share more about my journey along the way, but for now, we’re popping the cork and toasting to Pluto. Here’s to chasing dreams that may seem out of this world.

Cheers!

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How to Twitter pitch your book

“All the writers I know got their agents through face-to-face agent pitch sessions.”
“Agents only get writers from queries.”
“Queries hardly get read.”
“You’ll never get an agent unless you know someone.”

I heard all of these things while looking for an agent. And friends, when contradictions as strongly as these cloud your mind with confusion and fear, it is of utmost importance to open up your mind and let them out.

This means: Query! Attend conferences! Twitter pitch! Pitch in person! Network!

I never cut off an avenue that could lead to an agent and in the end, it became a combination of everything that got me to where I am today. (Team Christa/McIntosh & Otis!)

I come from an advertising/marketing/public relations background. As a business writer, I’ve tackled everything from cardboard boxes, to Brazilian Buttlifts, to soccer moms. (Triple points for making a creative connection between all three of these. There are writing prompts everywhere people).

In writing for business, I learned to tone my once flowery and poetic way of writing into a short, succinct verbiage for whatever the room on the page allowed.

So when the Twitter Pitch contest #PitMad came across my radar years ago, I thought, here’s my chance! Knock 65,000 words down to 140 characters? Easy Peasy Havarti Cheesy.

If you’re not familiar with #PitMad, #Pitchmadness #PBPitch #Pitchwars #pitch2pub or the many others not listed here, they are Twitter parties where you have the opportunity to pitch your book to agents and editors with one tweet. Agents and editors peruse the hashtag and favorite pitches that they want to see. It’s a great way to get your manuscript into an agent’s hands and more so, get them excited about your work! It’s a little leg up from a straight query because they will be awaiting your manuscript.

Knocking your book down to 140 characters, whether it be a 400-word picture book or a 300,000- word epic fantasy…okay…maybe it seems a little daunting. But here are a few pointers to help you out. A few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way both from writing headlines, taglines and bikini lines (I almost wish I was kidding) to sell your ideas.

  1. There’s NO room for generalization.

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In Dead Poet’s Society, the late great Robin Williams once said, “So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”

You likely already understand this concept, you’re a writer after all, so don’t drop your principles for social media! Avoid any and all generalizations about your story. There is NO ROOM for that. You have 140 characters to get that agent or editor’s attention, so writing something like “When two worlds collide, big odds are at stake and only one can win” tells us NOTHING!

What makes your book unique? Tell us that. Is it a three-headed alien who steals the pain of people it touches? Is it a walking, talking glue stick paralyzed by a fear of drying out?

And most importantly, what’s at stake? Will Valentine’s Day fail to exist if the glue stick dries up? (hey, maybe I should start writing this one) Will the human race forget how to love if they don’t know pain?

It can be written as a question, or a statement, whatever makes it easiest to get these points across.

  1. Don’t get too cute.

We know, you’re a writer and you can craft the cutest sentence in the Twitterverse, but cute doesn’t always convey your story. Over the years, I thought I’d created some of the funniest Twitter pitches known to man but guess what? They got no traction. The ones that did were the ones that gave the unique plot and stakes all wrapped up into a pretty (but not cute) tweet.

  1. Use your voice!

Just because I told you not to be cute, doesn’t mean your Tweet shouldn’t show your voice. You’ve spent a lot of time crafting that voice for your manuscript, don’t lose it now! Read over some of your favorite parts of your manuscript (we all have them). Why do you love them so much? More than likely, it’s your voice. Maybe it’s the anxiety-ridden ramblings of the glue stick that make you feel actual panic. Or the eerie and stark air to the three-headed alien that has you ready to be taken to its leader.

Now look back at your Twitter pitch. Do you feel the same feels? You should.

  1. Avoid useless details.

You may gasp at the idea that I just called your very clever character’s name useless, but it is. Well, most likely. No one is doubting that you have great names, creative settings, brilliant secondary characters but unless they’re absolutely pertinent to getting the point of your story across, they are useless for this purpose. They’ll bog down your pitch. We don’t need to know that the glue stick’s name is Elmer. Cute, but it doesn’t matter because it takes up coveted space.

I’m all about the research. Go back on the old hashtags for some of these contests. Find the ones that got the most love. Figure out why. Sure, sometimes another writer may have the most sellable idea of all time, but more often than not, they got attention from agents because their pitch was clear, showed off their voice and offered up originality and high stakes.

So what might a succinct pitch look like?

When Glue Stick loses his cap, a fear of drying up sends him on a frantic search to save himself and Valentine’s Day.  (insert hashtags)  

This may not be perfect, but it follows the formula. I suggest making an entire page of these. They may seem very similar but it’s the best way to hone the perfect pitch. Read them out loud. Read them to a friend. DO NOT wait until the morning of the pitch party to write them.

There are different rules for each pitch party. Get familiar with the rules. Are you allowed one tweet? A certain amount per hour? Per day? Work with the rules and create your tweets based around them.

A bunch of pitch parties are right around the corner! Start crafting your pitches now. And may the favorites be ever in you favor.

Check out these upcoming Twitter pitch party links:

PB Pitch (Feb. 23): http://www.pbpitch.com
Pitch Madness (Feb 24): http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitch-madness/
PitMad (March 23): http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/
#adpit (April 5): https://heidinorrod.wordpress.com/adpit-and-kidpit/
#kidpit (April 5): https://heidinorrod.wordpress.com/kidpit/

The truth about the bird’s acne

Sadie here. Today’s post is brought to you by the letter D for duped and the number 3 for my third finger…because it’s up in the air right now, facing my mom’s bedroom. Just because she can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

To all my fellow bloglets out there who’ve been through something similar, this one’s for you:

Hunger Games

Today I discovered that Mother Bird’s been sneaking behind my back, taking before and after pictures of my face. Okay, it’s not like she tiptoed into my room while I was sleeping (though I wouldn’t put it passed her). She had me pose with my siblings for pictures right before bed (pajama snuggles! cheese!). I’m sans make-up, looking just shy of my worst when she lures me using tiny people, then crops my face to show how great the recent facial cleansing regimen has been to my skin.

Before: acne!

After: less acne!

{Pictures have been removed to halt further embarrassment to “face model”}

Thanks Mom. Having zits isn’t enough, let’s show the world a magnified portrait of my facial volcanoes.

I know there’s benefit from a good before and after picture, but there’s also a little thing called consent and our beloved Mother Bird? She doesn’t have it.

That’s all for now. If you need me, I’ll be holed up in my room researching photography and the law.

In truth,

Sadie Peck

 

#cringeworthy

Inquiring minds want to know my thought process when my mom decides to expose the inner most workings of my private life for the viewing pleasure of the entire world. It’s a process of emotions.

First, there’s dread.

Taylor Swift Dread

My stomach drops like an Adele record every time I see an email notification on my phone. Could it be another post from my mom? Will it ruin my social life?

 

Second, there’s anger. 


The Wonder Years meme

I’m like a teenager girl version of the Incredible Hulk. Another post? Sadie ANGRY! Sadie SMASH! Or if I’m feeling a bit more self-contained, it comes out like the ultimate Wonder Years/Kevin Arnold stare down.

Third, there’s embarrassment. 

Embarrassment

If my mom’s posts make YOU uncomfortable, imagine how I feel! If I don’t look at you while I’m walking down the hallway, it’s because I’m too busy hanging my head in shame. My life is one #cringeworthy moment after another.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to find a dark closet to hide in for the rest of the day.

In truth,

Sadie Peck

The Truth About the Birds

birds photo

I can’t believe I’m about to share this with you. In reality, I’m sure you’ve seen this before and that’s why you’re here to begin with, but just as a refresher:

My mom started this little blog of hers as a project for a community college class. Like a meme of a grumpy cat, it went viral. Then it spun out of control. That’s how I got the name Sparrow. That’s how you know every miserable detail of my life (or at least you think you do). That’s why I’m here today, writing to you. How would you feel if your mom posted this for the entire world? If you’d feel anything other than sheer mortification, feel free to leave your comments below.

From FEATHER MY NEST circa 7th grade:

It’s not every day your daughter turns into a woman right before your very eyes. They may slowly climb the ladder of maturity, going from frilly socks to mature footwear, from curly pigtails to flat irons. But this weekend was different.

This weekend, my daughter got her period.

I. Can’t. Even.

Seriously, I can’t continue if I want to keep my lunch down.

If you think it can’t get worse, trust me, it does. She continues on about the mother/daughter bonding experience of puberty.

Ugh, I hate that word. Puberty.

There was no bonding. There was no experience. There was my mom announcing to an entire boat of family friends (including my biggest crush) that I’d officially become a woman. There were tears. There were glares. There was no “moment.”

Is that the Mother Bird you picture? No? Well there’s plenty more where that came from.

Read on my friends…read on…

In truth,

Sadie Peck aka Sparrow

Stef’s 2015 Year in Review

It is said that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but I happen to believe it’s right after Christmas when year-in-review and best-of lists swarm all forms of media. I guess I’m a sucker for nostalgia. This year, I’m making a short year-in-review for what has proved to be my most monumental year in writing (to-date, of course. I’m hoping it doesn’t go down in history that way).

I often get asked where I’m at with all of my writing projects. This should help sum it up, along with providing some tidbits I’ve learned about my writing, the publishing industry and myself.

2015 started off with a resolution or some may just say a goal (perhaps a recycled goal) of getting an agent.

I received suggested edits from an agent during a Twitter contest the previous year and was invited to revise and resubmit. I worked from September until January to polish up my manuscript and get it out. I waited for a response from the original agent, and after waiting six weeks, decided to put it forth into the world. I sent my manuscript to agents who also represent picture books as that is another interest of mine and to my pleasant surprise – ended up in talks with five different agents, three different offers and one agent signed and sealed by the end of the process! Amazing! Living on top the world! Right? Well sort of…

As with all writing roller coasters, it’s back to the computer for more edits. I was so excited for the direction THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BIRDS took after my edits, I couldn’t help but excited about the whole process.

In the meantime, my first creative non-fiction children’s book PLUTO SINGS THE BLUES and my second entitled DO IT MYSELFIE were polished up and officially sent on submission. Which is where those stand now and right before the end the year, THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BIRDS released itself into the publishing wild. So I am currently being reviewed by a variety of amazing editors. I pray that, just like the Bachelor (see Bachelor Agent Post), I will find my match made in heaven and you will someday in the not too distant future be able to check out my work.

Until then, I’m working on a yet to be titled contemporary YA work and praying hard every night that my writing finds its match with the right pair of eyes!

2016…Let’s do this.

xo stef wade green

#DIYBookClub – July

It’s July already? Not sure how that happened. July is a time for summer celebrations, BBQ and for many…travel! That’s why the #DIYBookClub July pick is to read a travel book. I’m particularly fond of travel writing and typically read a book about whatever place I’m traveling to. Some of my favorites include: IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY by Bill Bryson and IT’S ALL GREEK TO ME by John Mole.

Well, th51GkRO+9b9L._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_is month I am not traveling (unless you count between state borders), so I am going to pick up a travel book I never actually read when I was in Ireland years ago. McCARTHY’S BAR by Pete McCarthy. I mean, I love a guy who has the motto: “never pass a bar that has your name on it.” I’m sure the people he meets along the way in this book will make it worth my while.

I’m hoping this book takes me back to the rolling green hills of the Irish countryside and the smooth taste of Guinness on tap. Where are you going this month? If you’re not going anywhere, travel like me! In a book!

 

#DIYBookClub – June

I signed my son up today for the summer reading program at the library and wished they had one for adults! But for now the #DIYBookClub is going to be as good as it gets. So without further ado, the category for the June #DIYBookClub is:

Read a book by an author you’ve read once and liked.

51L7YKlAiuL._AA160_This is a fun one for me. I often shy away from reading a second book by an author (at least for awhile) so I don’t keep too narrow of a scope in my reading. But when you read something you really like, chances are, the author will have more! And why wouldn’t you want more!

So this month, I am reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor & Park. I loved Eleanor & Park – the characters, the setting, the message – and I’m digging the premise for Fangirl. A Potterhead or Twi-hard or pick-your-fancy fan who is having trouble letting go.

Now I probably won’t get a cool pencil or my name up on a bulletin board for reading this, but I’m looking forward to digging in!

What will you be reading?

 

xo stef wade green

Why finding an agent is like being on The Bachelor

The Bachelor

Those of you who know me, or follow me on any form of social media, know that I am a reluctant yet faithful watcher of The Bachelor. I fought the good fight for almost a decade before caving in to the deliciously ridiculous “reality” of it all.

Those of you who know me, or follow me on any form of social media, also know that quite recently I officially got an agent. A real one. I swear.

If you don’t know me, or follow me on any form of social media, my name is Stef Wade and I’m a young adult and children’s writer, now represented by the lovely Christa Heschke at McIntosh & Otis and…I watch The Bachelor.

I’ve read countless posts about writers finding their dream agents. How they queried, how they researched, how they joined contests and sold their souls for one tiny peek at their manuscripts. For the record, I did all that too. I was not one of the few lucky people who send one query or meet someone in an elevator and bam! Agent!

It took years of writing and determination, but I will spare you those details. What I will tell you, is:

Why getting an agent is like being on The Bachelor (or Bachelorette):

I’d like to break this into two sections. Today, I will focus on section one.

Section 1: The Contestant (before an offer of representation)

My mom meme

You’re just looking for someone to love you

Before you receive an offer of representation, you’ve likely spent days, weeks, years dutifully, or not so dutifully, searching for the perfect person. Just like all those lonely Bachelors and Bachelorettes out there, you cannot BELIEVE why someone doesn’t want you; why the good ones always pick the undeserving; why you have yet to be chosen.

But you march on even if you feel pathetic, or are actually pathetic. It doesn’t matter because you freakin deserve a break. You want to ride that horse into the sunset. You want the writer’s equivalent of that appearance on Dancing with the Stars.

bachelor kelsey

You spend as much time making yourself sound good as a contestant getting ready for a date

You’ve written your query letter, an audition tape portraying only your best traits, your stories best parts and why you are the most original person to ever exist. You and…everybody else. You hope that by adding an extra layer of foundation or doing a few extra sets of squats at the gym that you will catch his eye. If you look good from the outside, the inside has to be the same, right?

bachelorette

The probability that you’ll be over looked far surpasses that of getting chosen

Some agents get 200-300 query letters per week! And some people have that many dates. But you’re not one of the toss aside at the first typo letters, nooooo, you are smart and witty and character driven. You will make yourself stand out. You’ll kiss that guy if your life depends on it, even if it makes you look completely ridiculous in front of millions of viewers. You will win that contest that 1000 other people shut down the internet while entering. You will kill that pitch session regardless of how sweaty your palms gets.

Likely you will not.

At least for a while.  You might be the person that hangs on, getting full manuscript requests, the one who goes on only group dates but sticks it out until the Bachelor or Bachelorette realizes there is nothing very special about you or that they just don’t connect with you.

ashley-s-bachelor-paintball

The pressure makes you go bat shit crazy

You say the rejection doesn’t bother you. Your favorite catch phrase is “onward and upward!” a mantra attached to your bedside table. But the pressure that your very life goal and possibly livelihood depends on one person’s personal connection with your first ten pages or your elevator speech on how great of a person you are and why you deserve love is enough to make you lose your flippin mind. You might even lose your mind in the Mesa Verde like Ashley S.

chris-harrison-meme-say-your-goodbyes

Rejection emails are a less public rose ceremony

Every time you check your email, you’re standing in your sequined, low-backed evening gown, trembling in your high heels, unsure if you’ll get that rose. You will get the rose. You’re sure of it. He likes you. There’s no reason he wouldn’t.  They read your query, or your first fifty pages or the whole damn thing so there is no plausible reason why you wouldn’t experience pure bliss in the next few moments.

Instead, in front of America, you’re sent packing with mascara running down your face, looking overtly downtrodden and depressed as you roll away in your luxury limo crying with a desperate lack of self-confidence that you will regret showing later on. You didn’t find love today.

I’m sorry to tell you, you are not the next agented writer…

xo stef wade

#DIYBookClub – May

It’s May and it’s time to mix it up. This month’s #DIYBookClub selection is a true challenge. Something that may pull at the inner fiber of your very being. The challenge, shall you choose to accept it, is to pick a book from a genre you’ve never read before. Perhaps this will be easy for you. Maybe you’re a strict sci-fi reader (which makes me question why you’re reading my blog, but that’s okay) or maybe you only switch between NYT best sellers and the picture books you read to your kids. If you’re like me, you like to explore new genres, which is precisely what makes this challenge more difficult. What haven’t I read? I had to find a reader’s atlas to figure that out. Book Genre MapBook country.com created this awesome interactive genre map that allows you to check out genres in each category, as well as sub-genres when you click on your specific “country.”

In my genre quest, I found I steer clear of one major category, be it YA or Adult fiction…Horror. I don’t like blood and guts, I don’t like to be scared. I rather enjoy sleeping at night.

The things they carriedI don’t believe I’ve ever dabbled in war/military fiction either, which sounds only minutely less daunting to me. And therefore, is going to be the winner for this month’s #DIYBookClub pick. I’ve decided to read Tim O’Brien’s THE THINGS THEY CARRIED.

I’m looking forward to reading this and to marking off one more destination on my virtual reader’s map!

What will you be reading?