What I’ve Learned in a Year of Querying

One year ago today I sent the first round of queries for THE MODERN CAVEBOY’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING BATS, BULLIES AND BILLIONAIRES. In honor of this anniversary of sorts, I’d like to share a few tips from my querying journey. Titles are important. I did a number of things right when I started querying, but…

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MMGM: THE SEVENTH LEVEL

I’ve been meaning to read THE SEVENTH LEVEL ever since I saw it on the local authors table at the Missouri SCBWI conference in 2010. I’m excited to feature a book from a fellow St. Louisan. I’ve read a couple lately, although the other one (KATANA by Cole Gibsen) was a YA book. In both…

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The Querying Quandary: When to Wait

A couple of weeks ago I posted about why it’s so hard to get your first novel published, and I said I was having a different experience with the novel I’m currently querying. It’s because I have more experience this time. The key? Patience. I am not a patient person, but I learned in my…

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MMGM: THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA

I first learned about THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA on the agent’s* Twitter feed, but I didn’t decide to read it until I saw it crop up repeatedly in an impromptu Twitter survey of the best recent middle grade books. I figured if that many people recommended it, I should pick it up, too….

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My Thoughts on SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (Spoilers!)

Yesterday was my ninth wedding anniversary, so my husband and I took the day off. We made it a movie day, with SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN in the morning and MEN IN BLACK 3 in the afternoon. We thoroughly enjoyed MIB 3. From the moment the credits came up with the same funky font…

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MMGM: BREADCRUMBS

I’m sure BREADCRUMBS has already been covered by someone for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, but I’m going to do it anyway. There was so much hype about this book when it came out–and not just from the author’s agent* and publisher, both of whom I follow on Twitter. I had read one other book by…

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Four Writing Devices That Shout, “I’m An Amateur!”

I’ve been an avid reader from a very young age, and I was an English major in college, but neither prepared me to be a publishable writer. When I wrote my first novel, I knew how to put a story together. With my English degree and my job as a writer and editor, my novel…

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Why It’s So Hard to Get Your First Novel Published

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why it’s so hard to get your first novel published, and I think it mostly comes down to inexperience. It takes time to learn how to write a publishable novel, as well as how to present it to agents and publishers. Obviously there are writers who succeed on…

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MMGM: THE DEAD GENTLEMAN

I mentioned last week that I’ve found a few new middle grade authors through my agent search*, and here’s another one – Matthew Cody. I read POWERLESS last summer and loved the way he turned things upside down with a main character who doesn’t have superpowers. When THE DEAD GENTLEMAN came out last fall, I…

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How Querying Is Like Selling Your House

We moved in April. It was a crazy whirlwind of activity that almost didn’t happen, but that’s another story. I absolutely love our new house. It has everything and more than I wanted, and we don’t plan to ever leave it. Just check out this picture of my office. Yes, I get to work here…

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MMGM: THE FOURTH STALL PART II

Twitter doesn’t give me enough characters to gush about the books I’m reading, so I’ve decided to join in Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays, created by author Shannon Messenger. Basically, she put out a call for bloggers to post about middle grade books each Monday. I’ve found several books to read this way, so I’m going…

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How Writing Changed My Reading Habits

I’ve always loved to read. My parents have a picture of me reading a book at age two. I’m sure I wasn’t actually reading at two, but my love of books goes back that far. I was the kid who would stay inside to read instead of going out to play. The outdoors–with weather, bugs…

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