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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.


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.


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


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…


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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#AwesomeBlog – The Great Pursuit (Eurona Duology #2) by Wendy Higgins (Review by Gladys, #NerdGirlOfficial)

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 Gladys’s thoughts on The Great Hunt

Melanie V””V #NerdGirlVamp


Title: The Great Pursuit (Eurona Duology #2)

Author: Wendy Higgins

Published Date: March 7th 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy


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Lochlanach has traded the great beast for something far more terrible, a Lashed enemy veiled in beauty, deception, and a vengeance passed down through generations: Rozaria Rocato. And she’s offering the hunter Paxton Seabolt power and acceptance he could never receive in his homeland. Pax must decide how far he’s willing to go under her tutelage, knowing she is the opponent of Princess Aerity Lochson.

In a land where traditionalists dread change, the Lochlan throne must contend with mysterious foes and traitors, while attempting to keep revolt at bay. As dire circumstances strike the royal family, matters of the castle are left in Aerity’s hands. It’s time to put aside her fears and grasp the reign, taking actions that have the potential to save or destroy her people.… Continue reading

**Awesome Blog** A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas (Review by Gladys – #NerdGirlOfficial)

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 Gladys’s  thoughts on  A Court of Wings and Ruin 

Melanie V””V #NerdGirlVamp


Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

Author: Sarah J. Maas 

Published Date: May 2nd 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy


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Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New… Continue reading

Indy Author Talk with Tamara Grantham!

Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than half a dozen books and novellas, including the Olive Kennedy: Fairy World MD series and the Shine novellas. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, a RONE award for best New Adult Romance of 2016, and is a #1 bestseller on Amazon in both the Mythology and Fairy Tales categories with over 100 reviews.

Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in English. She has been a featured speaker at the Rose State Writing Conference and has been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World speaking on the topic of female leads. For her first published project, she collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series.

Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, taking nature walks, which fuel her inspiration for creating fantastical worlds, and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made.


Throwing my Release Day… Continue reading

***Awesome Blog*** – The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass 0.1 – 0.5) by Sarah J. Maas (Review by Gladys – #NerdGirlOfficial)

Title: The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass 0.1 – 0.5)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Published Date: March 4th 2014

Genre: YA Fantasy


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Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.


***Adult Warning – May Contain Graphic Sex, Strong Language, Or Adult Situations. Caution Advised***
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***Gladys – #NerdGirlOfficial’s  Review***
The Assassin’s Blade is an omnibus of all the current novella’s written by Sarah J. Maas. Anything by Mrs. Maas is utterly magical. She did not miss a beat… Continue reading

#IndyAuthorTalk – Q&A with Siddhi Palande

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A Lawyer by profession, Janhvi Desai has lived her life on the dictates of her family. Assuming that marriage will bring in freshness and freedom she gets married to a Mumbai based engineer, Ram. But once again faces wrath of the society. Every passing day as Janhvi Desai – Raghuvanshi, her self-esteem diminishes as her dreams get trampled upon. But while finding the meaning of her being her relationship with her estranged husband takes a beautiful turn. Between Ram and Janhvi rests a delicate secret and an irrevocable difference. But some relationships thrive despite the difference. Delve into the dysfunctional world of an Indian girl where patriarchy is villain, free will far removed, where two bruised souls meet and it is only to change the definition of soul mate.

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#IndyAuthorTalk – Let’s Talk About Hope with R.L Merrill

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I want to thank Stephenee and the #NerdGirl lovelies for inviting me to join in the fun. I’ve been blessed to have the support of #NerdGirl since I started self-publishing my novels in 2014 and I appreciate them immensely!

I want to talk about hope. Hope is a word that seems very Pollyanna-ish or unrealistic. Hearing the word can even cause folks to roll their eyes. But hope is my life. Between teaching at-risk kids in my day job and writing romance novels, and being a parent, hope is everything. My hope wavers from time-to-time, and I cling to it desperately when that happens, sort of like a life preserver that seems too small to hold my weight, but darnit if it keeps me afloat.

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**Awesome Blog** Echoes in Death (In Death #44) by J.D. Robb (Review by Melanie V””V – #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 **** thoughts on *****

Melanie V””V #NerdGirlVamp

Title: Echoes in Death (In Death #44)

Author: J.D. Robb 

Published Date: February 7th 2017

Genre: Mystery / Crime


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This chilling new suspense novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb is the perfect entry point into the compelling In Death police procedural series featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”…

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold,… Continue reading

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