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#HallowreadAuthorExclusive featuring Meg Eden!

Meg Eden

10 Things People Don’t Tell You About Publishing A Novel

  • Finding an agent or editor is like dating. It’s subjective, and when you find “the one” there’s this gushy feeling you two have for each other. There’s no shame in having trouble finding an agent–the timeline works differently for everyone, and that’s OK. It’s an important relationship, and shouldn’t be rushed.
  • It can take a long time. I got my first agent in high school, almost sold my novel to an editor when at the University of Maryland as an undergrad. But the editor couldn’t sell it to the house. After that, I dropped my agent (my students were like “Dump her! It’s been 6 years and nothing’s happened”—so again, it’s like dating!) and queried small press editors. After lots of rejection letters, Bob from California Coldblood accepted my novel “Post-High School Reality Quest,” which is coming out in June. Let me clarify that PHSRQ is my thirteenth novel. I had to write 12 really mediocre novels to get one that worked. That’s not the case for everyone, but it’s unlikely the first thing you finish will be “the one.”
  • There’s a lot of chance involved. My publishing successes have often been “Lol why not” submissions. For example, the press publishing my novel focuses on sci fi and urban fantasy. Bob even told me, “This book isn’t really sci fi, but I don’t care—I really love it.” I sent my work out constantly. During my lectures (sorry not sorry UMD), I tried to send out about ten submissions. But the more you send out, the more likely your work will find the right home.
  • The big houses aren’t necessarily the perfect home for you. There can be lot at stake when you publish with a big house. With bigger investments come bigger expectations. If your book’s not a NYT bestseller, it might be hard to make an argument for your second book. Big houses publish a lot of books, so yours doesn’t necessarily get as much attention as you might like. I love working with California Coldblood because it’s a small operation with a professional backing, and I have only three fellow authors with me in the press. We’re like a family, and I get to work really closely with my editor, and have a say with the cover and everything, which I really appreciate.
  • Being young is good. Agents and editors are looking for younger writers. I got my first agent in high school. If you’re a student, don’t let that discourage you–use that in your favor.
  • There are strong lit communities–there’s probably one in your home town! I grew up in the Baltimore/DC area but it took me several years to realize all the amazing diverse communities that were accessible to me. Do some research, get connected with writers in your area, and serve your local communities. Volunteer at local book fairs and writing conventions, be a part of a local open mike or critique group, read for a local literary magazine. By giving back, you build friendships and relationships with readers and writers that will serve you well in the future.
  • Twitter is where the industry is. Follow your dream agents and favorite writers on twitter. Get involved in and follow twitter chats. Watch #mswl for agents to get a sense of what they’re looking for. Participate in #pitchwars and build relationships with published writers. Follow #2017debuts to see up and coming work and be familiar with what’s happening in the industry.
  • Your first sentence is critical. If you don’t grab your reader in that first sentence, that first page, they’re not going to keep reading. If you haven’t already, get a position as a reader or editor for a magazine or journal and feel what it’s like to be on the other side of the slush pile. As I work as a reader for two magazines, I find my patience is very slim for work, and someone has to grab me immediately for me to want to keep reading and not just move onto the next piece.
  • Rejection letters aren’t bad. Some of my favorite replies to my submissions have been rejection letters. Some agents or editors will write back with specific ideas of how to improve my novel, or interest in seeing more of my work. I love getting feedback and through rejection letters have learned how I can improve my writing and make my stories and poems even stronger.

Publish smaller work before sending out a full novel. In high school, I sent out my poems and short stories to literary magazines. Then when I queried an agent, I was able to mention places I had already been published. I think this helps a query letter stand out.  It says that you’ve already been vetted as a writer, that what they’re about to read is probably pretty good, and can get them excited about reading your work

Buffy is playing a game. However, the game is her life, and there are no instructions or cheat codes on how to win.

After graduating high school, a voice called “the text parser” emerges in Buffy’s head, narrating her life as a classic text adventure game. Buffy figures this is just a manifestation of her shy, awkward, nerdy nature—until the voice doesn’t go away, and instead begins to dominate her thoughts, telling her how to live her life. Though Buffy tries to beat the game, crash it, and even restart it, it becomes clear that this game is not something she can simply “shut off” or beat without the text parser’s help.

While the text parser tries to give Buffy advice on how “to win the game,” Buffy decides to pursue her own game-plan: start over, make new friends, and win her long-time crush Tristan’s heart. But even when Buffy gets the guy of her dreams, the game doesn’t stop. In fact, it gets worse than she could’ve ever imagined: her crumbling group of friends fall apart, her roommate turns against her, and Buffy finds herself trying to survive in a game built off her greatest nightmares.

Graduation: May 12th, 2009

You are in the cafeteria. There is a high school graduation happening. Mason, the valedictorian, is giving her farewell to the class. It takes a long time.

In your pocket, there is a letter. It’s crumpled and smeared from you reaching in and touching it so many times, to make sure it’s still there.

Exits are: out, back and stage.

Tristan was almost valedictorian. He was about .002 points away from it. And he makes sure to not let any of you forget. Not that you’d ever forget a single word he’s ever said.

>Back.

You get up from your chair and go to the back of the room. There is a piano. You look longingly at it.

>Examine piano.

You go over the piano. You run your fingers over the keys but are too shy to actually play anything. That’s what everyone says about you: that you want to do something but never actually do it. That’s why you wear gothic Lolita dresses only at home, curl your hair once a month, and paint on the weekends. Anything else might be too much.

> Exit out.

You are now in the main hallway. It is very long. There are lots of doors.

You wonder if you hide in one of them long enough you can avoid growing up. Everyone says that after today, everything that you do actually matters. That every decision you make will invariably have consequences on your existence and wellbeing. The only consequences you’re used to are not saving before entering the water temple in Ocarina of Time, or using up your master ball before encountering Mewtwo in Pokemon Red.

Exits are: cafeteria, door, another door, bathroom, main office, and out.

> Door?

You go into one of the doors. It’s not very exciting.

>Out.

You are now in the main hallway. It is very—

>Bathroom.

You go into the bathroom. There is an acidic smell you can’t quite place coming from the stalls. Sephora is in front of the mirror, fluffing her insignificant breasts. No one believes her birth name is actually Sephora but no one has any proof to say otherwise. She doesn’t look like a make-up model but you keep that kind of commentary to yourself.

Exits are: bathroom stall and out.

“You dying out there too?” Sephora asks, pressing her hands on her stomach. “It’s so humid in that small room.”

You nod. “Yeah, it’s really hot.” You feel sweat run through your hair, down your scalp.

“When there’s a whole twenty people graduating, you’d think it’d be shorter than this. But they still find a way to make us miserable.” Sephora reapplies a layer of lipstick. “And this uniform makes me look even fatter than usual. Ugh.”

You just graduated from a religious high school. You say religious, because as hard as it is for you to stomach the concept of a God, words like transubstantiation are even less comprehensible to you. And as much as your music class sings about concepts like grace, the signs posted on every door with commandments like: Skirts shorter than your finger tips are unacceptable and Earrings should be no larger than a nickel, have made you eager for the alleged freedom of college.

And not just freedom from rules, but freedom from people like Sephora, who are “your friends” only because of your small school population. Because everyone has to survive somehow, and it’s dangerous to go alone.

But you’ve survived, at least this far. Congratulations.

Sephora sighs, scratching at the dead skin on her cheek. “I can’t wait ‘til the sun comes out again. I mean, look at my skin! I need to tan again.”

Even if you hadn’t seen Sephora in size 00 bikinis before, one look at Sephora makes it clear that she has the Scottish pasty skin that never tans. Just like you. Besides your gender and your love of obscure video games, this is all you have in common with her.

“You know, now that summer’s coming, I’m thinking about trying something new, just for the kicks.” Sephora looks you in the eye. “I’m even thinking about going out with Tristan. Who knows. It might be fun! And I’ve been seeing him eye me…”

You want to tell Sephora that she’s too stupid to date someone as brilliant as Tristan, that he has better taste than that, but you can’t seem to get the words out.

>Wrestle Sephora to the ground.

You wrestle the lipstick from her hands and scream “You whore!” and write mean things on the mirror. Then you stuff her head in the toilet and prevent this horrible story from actually happening.

And by that, you only daydream of wrestling Sephora to the ground.

If you had actually done that, you might’ve beaten the game in record time. Assuming life’s a game and you remembered to save more frequently.

>I don’t like this story.

I’m sorry. I don’t understand “I don’t like this story.” You think we get to choose our stories?

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#IndyAuthorTalk with Stasia Morineaux

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Sooooo…I saved this scary part for last. (I totally cheated and skipped ahead to fill in the other sections first!)

It’s so easy to answer the questiony-factual bits, and to write an excerpt, and to type in my social media details.

But, oh boy!

Look what we have here…that ultra-intimidating big blank space. And ‘The Dread’ (a somewhat cute, and of course quite tiny, fantastical critter, something akin to an itty-bitty goblin) sits in my tummy and sets loose the hummingbirds.

What do I want to write about? What do you want to read? Is it gonna be interesting enough?

My mind is a blank.

So I’m going to follow my own advice…which I’ve conveniently posted down somewhere below. And just write.

Something will come of it, I suppose.

How about dreams? The largest source of my inspiration. Aside from traveling and wandering and day-dreaming and people watching…

Dreams.

I weekly regale my family and friends with my wacked-out dream adventures.

I mean, seriously, what is a baby hippo fish? And why was he living in a flooded cornfield-pond? And why-oh-why did he want so badly to suck my arm down his cute little face?

And where are my shoes? Why am I so often finding myself in the most awkward instances with no shoes?

And for the love of Puck…why can I never find a clean restroom?

My mind is a strange and funny place, and I don’t want to scare you away, so maybe we should move on from dreams.

How about ‘Random Facts’? Those can be entertaining.

*I used to be a Candy Maker at Disneyland, right on Main Street! I can make candy canes!  Best job EVER…other than making up worlds that is!

*I have a squirrel circus in my back woods! They perform a daily trapeze act along the Kudzu vines that lace through the trees. And Buddy Squirrel sits beneath my balcony, being all cute and squirrely-like, and begs for peanuts. (Of course I give them to him, I’m no monster!) He’s teaching his friends to do the same. I’m convinced I’m going to wake up one day and they’re going to be knocking on my balcony door.

*I binge watch Netflix and Hula…waaaaay too much.

*Coffee tends to make me sleepy, but I still drink it ALL the time.

*Iced Chai Lattes are my true weakness.

*I have 6 tattoos.

*I suffer from Duality…I want to live in the city. I want to live in the country. 😃

*I didn’t learn to drive until I was 23, I was terrified of having an accident. But with good reason. I’d been in 3 just as a passenger! In retrospect, you’d think that would’ve prompted me to drive myself around a lot sooner! Huh…oh well.

*I craft lotions & potions.

*I rescue spiders…

*I want a Christmas tree farm…and some goats…and some chickens…maybe some bees…

Okay, enough randomness for today.

Go on and enjoy all the nitty-gritty factional info and book stuffs now!

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Cassie: Black Sand by M.S. Murray (Review by Shelley C, #NerdGirlRed)

Title: Cassie: Black Sand

Author: M.S. Murray

Published Date: March 6th 2017

Genre: Paranormal

Rating:

1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

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***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***

Synopsis

All I’ve ever wanted was a boring life. I’ve grown up with the things that go bump in the night, I’ve witnessed the unexplainable, and I’ve had my fill of excitement for a lifetime.
It sounds crazy but being an accountant or something mundane and regular was my dream… until it wasn’t.
Now I’m neck deep in everything I tried so hard not to be.
They killed my parents and took my sister Jess, I don’t know who ‘they’ are yet, but I’ll find out, and when I do, they’ll wish I’d stuck to my boring life plan.
There’s nothing I won’t do for Jess. I’d even seek the help of Gabriel, Vampire Lord of Florida.
Three words perfectly describe Gabriel:
Handsome
Deadly
Expressionless
He’s not the type of monster anyone would seek out for help, but he’s my only hope if I ever want to see my little sister again.

***Adult Warning – May Contain Graphic Sex, Strong Language, Or Adult Situations. Caution Advised***
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***Shelley C, #NerdGirlRed… Continue reading

French Roast (The French Twist Series Book 4) by Glynis Astie (Review by Julie, #NerdGirlJulie)

Title: French Roast (The French Twist Series Book 4)

Author: Glynis Astie

Published Date: May 14th 2017

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Rating:

1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

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***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***

Synopsis

Sydney Durand, the quirky yet lovable heroine of the French Twist series, is back for one final installment in a very special novella.

As the wife of a gorgeous and romantic Frenchman and the mother of the most angelic boy ever, Sydney is living a life of sheer perfection. She’s gone through quite a bit to achieve this charmed life, and now nothing is going to bring her down. Or so she thinks.

Just when Sydney’s happiness is at its height, an unexpected event throws her life into chaos, threatening her happily ever after. With her tight-knit family in danger of falling apart, she suddenly finds herself longing for the days of dating disasters and unsolicited (and embarrassing!) advice from her wise-cracking father. At least those humiliations would be easier to take than the devastation now enveloping her heart.

Will she be able to find the strength her parents have always fought to instill in her, or will she spiral into the… Continue reading

#AwesomeBlog – Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4) by Jeaniene Frost (Review by Melanie, #NerdGirlVamp)

Hello Nerd Herd!!!!!

As you know from time to time we will share with you some reviews or musings from the “Non Indie” world so here are my thoughts on Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4) 

Melanie V””V #NerdGirlVamp

Title: Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4) 

Author: Jeaniene Frost

Published Date: February 28th 2017

Genre:  Paranormal Romance

Rating:

1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

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***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***

Synopsis

In the explosive finale to New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Night Prince series, Vlad is in danger of losing his bride to an enemy whose powers might prove greater than the Prince of Vampire’s….

In the wrong hands, love can be a deadly weapon.

For nearly six hundred years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad’s new bride against him.

A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she.… Continue reading

Fighting For a Second Chance (Fighting, #1) by Nikki Ash (Review by Laura, #NerdGirlVixen)

Title: Fighting For a Second Chance (Fighting, #1)

Author:  Nikki Ash

Published Date: December 1st 2016

Genre: Romance

Rating:

1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

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***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***

Synopsis

I am an eighteen year old high school graduate who has just experienced my first… well, everything. I would give anything to hold on to Cooper but we made a decision. After thirty hours of falling in lust, after tonight we are parting ways. I am starting college and I can’t be distracted. Besides he has his own life to get back to.
***
The moment I saw her I knew she was the one but what my heart wants it doesn’t get. I know how life works. I have been fighting most of my life. My dad was a fighter and so was his dad. I watched my mom cheat on him and in return he destroyed her. I will never do that to a woman. I get thirty hours with Liz and then we are both walking away. At the end of the day, all we will have is the memories we have created here in Miami.
***
Five years later Liz… Continue reading

Bullets From the Past by Antonio Scotto di Carlo (Review by Jamie, #NerdGirlJay)

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Title: Bullets From the Past

Author: Antonio Scotto di Carlo

Published Date: Febuary 3rd 2016

Genre: Thriller

Rating:

1 star1 star1 star1 star

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***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***

Synopsis

 We all make mistakes. We lock our faults in the closet of our past, and try to carry on. For a while, we delude ourselves that Life has forgotten our debt, but the moment when She brings us the bill always comes. And seldom does she cancel the interest…

United States. A young woman learns that two girls, whom she’d met at a summer camp many years before, have been brutally murdered. Although it seems to be a tragic coincidence, she starts to fear for herself and goes to the police. The handsome detective who listens to her finds her theory very weak; nevertheless, he decides to check it out: the sexual background of the story might justify her fear.

The events of the following days link past and present, entwining their lives with the killer’s in an unpredictable way.

***Adult Warning – May Contain Graphic Sex, Strong Language, Or Adult Situations. Caution Advised***
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***Jamie, #NerdGirlJay Review***
 After 4 of her friends from summer… Continue reading

Dragon Lightning (Dragon Dreamer Book 2) by J.S. Burke (Review by Kat, #NerdGirlKat)

Title: Dragon Lightning (Dragon Dreamer Book 2)

Author: J.S. Burke

Published Date: October 10th 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Rating:

1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

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***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***

Synopsis

Dragon Lightning is book 2 in The Dragon Dreamer series. It’s a fast-paced adventure with flying dragons, an undersea world, and unlikely friendships. This science fantasy is layered for readers age 9 to adult.

Drakor seems like a normal young ice dragon with a talent for making lightning swords. But he alone feels the changing heart of his island Volcano. It destroyed his beloved sire. Now he foresees their doom, but none will listen. As he seeks proof, the Volcano shakes him off into the frozen sea . . .

Arak was mocked as a worthless dreamer until he and Scree, a fearless undersea misfit, saved the dragons. Now dragons and octopi sail north in search of mythical ice dragons. They find Drakor and a terrifying reality. When Scree enters the abyss to check his volcano, she discovers everyone is in peril. Can this crew of unlikely friends save three realms?

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***Kat, #NerdGirlKat Review***
Grab your family, wetsuits, and some honey roasted nuts as you… Continue reading

Where There’s Faith (Fairfield Corners #3) by L.A. Remenicky (Review by Cat, #NerdGirlCat)

Title: Where There’s Faith (Fairfield Corners #3)

Author: L.A. Remenicky

Published Date: 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating:

1 star1 star1 star1 star

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***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***

Synopsis

A past she can’t remember. A love he can’t forget.

After hitting rock bottom, Robert Newlin embraced sobriety and tried to live his life quietly and alone at his family’s lake cottage. Blaming himself for the accident that claimed the love of his life, he spent most of his time alone and grieving until she moved into the cottage next door.

Faith McMillan had no memory of her life before that day three years ago. The physical scars had faded but the emotional ones were still fresh and raw. Living rent-free seemed like a great way to finish her second book and would give her the time to figure out her next move. But then she met the reclusive guy next door.

Robbie and Faith – can two broken people who vowed to live their lives alone find happiness together?

***Adult Warning – May Contain Graphic Sex, Strong Language, Or Adult Situations. Caution Advised***
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***Cat, #NerdGirlCat Review***
 This is my first book by this author and… Continue reading

Promises of Virtue (Earthbound Angels Book 2) by Randi Perrin (Review by Heather, #NerdGirlHeather)

Title: Promises of Virtue (Earthbound Angels Book 2)

Author: Randi Perrin

Published Date: January, 31st 2017

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Rating:

1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

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***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***

Synopsis

Love has never been Cheryl Brigham’s plan. She’s not cut out for second dates, relationships, or happily ever afters.

All that changes when she’s on vacation in Paris. First dates lead to second dates, which leads to a whole lot more than she ever bargained for—but she knows it’s all over when she returns home. That’s okay with her.

Until it’s not.

When it’s no-strings-attached, what will Cheryl do when her heart gets tangled up?

***Adult Warning – May Contain Graphic Sex, Strong Language, Or Adult Situations. Caution Advised***
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***Heather, #NerdGirlHeather Review***

I read the first An Earthbound Angels novel and loved it. I couldn’t wait to read this one.
This story goes off of the first one. Cheryl use to be an angel but lost her wings. She takes advise from her best friend and goes on vacation. While shes away she meets a man named Luc. Who ends up being an angel as well. This novel is about sharing something special, not… Continue reading

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