Blogging, Giveaways, Middle Grade

Happy 7th Blogiversary to Me! With a mystery signed book giveaway!

Today marks the seventh anniversary of my blog. I’ve made a lot of changes to the blog in the past seven years, starting out with a focus on middle grade, finding my writing voice in young adult, querying for many, many years and sharing that process. I foresee this blog changing again as I approach the publication of my debut novel in winter 2021. I don’t know what that will look like; I’m still thinking through it all. But for today, I’m going to stick with my tradition of pulling statistics from the last year and sharing them here on the blog–mostly because I just enjoy analyzing the blog for myself. Hopefully some of you will find it interesting, too :). But definitely read through to the end, because I will have a celebratory giveaway as usual. It seems appropriate that it has a middle grade theme in keeping with the blog’s beginnings :).

Top 10 Posts/Pages in the Past Year

10. FINDING AUDREY and a Couple of Other YA Books You Should Read – This 2015 post was in my top ten last year as well. It includes mini-reviews of FINDING AUDREY by Sophie Kinsella, THE APOTHECARY by Maile Meloy, and THERE WILL BE LIES by Nick Lake.

9. Your Life Has Been Delayed (YA Time Travel) – Hey, thanks for reading about my book! It will be out in winter 2021, and I will be sharing all sorts of news as it’s available. That’s one thing I know for sure about where the blog is headed :).

8. Happy Sixth Blogiversary to Me! With a $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway for You … – Maybe you guys do like my statistics. Or an Amazon gift card? 🙂

7. YA Series Recommendation: The Selection by Kiera Cass – Great books!

6. Remembering a Friend Lost Too Soon: Ashley Gammon – Three years ago this past January, my friend and former colleague Ashley passed away unexpectedly. I wrote this post as my own tribute to her, and I am glad people continue to read about her here and honor her memory.

5. What I’ve Learned in Seven Years of Querying – Ah, my other annual post–which I will no longer be writing. However, if you are still querying, I encourage you to check out this series because querying can be a long journey, and this particular post is all about perseverance. In my case, I ended up signing with my agent a few months after the seven-year mark.

4. YA Review: NOT IF I SAVE YOU FIRST by Ally Carter + Bonus Writing Tips – I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ally Carter twice, and she’s just lovely. This book is a fantastic page-turner, so definitely check it out, but she also gives some great tips for writers as well.

3. Subjectivity and Why You Should Get Multiple Opinions – I wrote this post in 2013, and people keep coming back to it. It’s a good reminder for all of us. We don’t write in a vacuum. It’s important to get feedback from others on your manuscripts.

2. I Have An Agent! – Well, hey, I was hoping–and sort of figured–this post would be high on the list. I searched for an agent for seven years before connecting with Elizabeth Bewley at Sterling Lord Literistic, but it was so worth the wait. She’s so fantastic to work with and my debut book is now forthcoming from Bloomsbury in winter 2021. Go team!

1. MG/YA Agents & Their Books – Even though I’m no longer researching agents myself, I continue to maintain this list for those who are. I think it’s super helpful to know what sort of books agents represent to get a feel for their tastes.

Top 10 Posts/Pages of All Time

Interestingly, most of these are different this year. However, there are several MG books, which is a reflection of their longevity on my blog. When I first started out, I wrote an MG review every week.

10. Subjectivity and Why You Should Get Multiple Opinions – There’s the subjectivity post again!

9. MMGM: ONCE UPON THE END by James Riley – Only one of my favorite MG writers ever.

8. MMGM: THE UNWANTEDS: ISLAND OF SILENCE – The second book in a popular middle grade series.

7. Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth – A popular series. I’m still baffled by those movies 🙂.

6. About – Hey, thanks for reading about me :).

5. MMGM: SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF – In previous years, this book has been in the top 10 for the year as well. It’s the first in an eighteen-book middle grade mystery series. I haven’t made it through all of them yet as I’ve been spreading them out, but they are fantastic!

4. Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener – This post is listed on a Scrivener site somewhere and so continues to receive many visits.

3. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read – The post that started my page listing middle grade and young adult books agents represent.

2. MG/YA Agents & Their Books

1. Remembering a Friend Lost Too Soon: Ashley Gammon

Top 5 Searches of the Past Year

Unfortunately there are more than 235 search terms WordPress is unable to identify for me, but here are the top five searches WordPress can tell me.

5. Agents who represent middle grade/young adult books & Searches about me – I was quite surprised to find there were an equal number of searches for agents as me leading to my blog this year. I must be moving up :).

4. Random questions – My favorite was: “advantages of making your own money 8th grade.” I probably had some review about an MG book with an eighth grader making their own money that led them here. I hope they found an answer!

3. Searches about Ashley – As I stated above, I hope friends of Ashley continue to find comfort in my post about her.

2. Writing-related searches – Several visitors ended up at my blog due to some variation on the question, “Should I get multiple opinions?” This definitely explains the popularity of the subjectivity post. But there was also someone who stopped by questioning whether they should quit after querying for two years. I hope they left with the answer of “Don’t give up!” Because as I’ve already stated, I queried for seven years, and I now have an agent and a book deal.

1. Books I’ve reviewed – By far the most searches that led people to my blog were for books I’d reviewed. It’s quite interesting to see the questions people ask, often about particular plot points or simply for a review. Either way, I’m happy to be a resource.

So what am I giving away this year? Well, if you happen to follow me on Twitter as well, you may have noticed I’m excited about a particular event happening this Saturday, the Oh Middle Grade BookFest. I mean, how often do twenty-four middle grade authors come to town? Since I will be there, I’d love to pick up two signed books for one of you. The giveaway will be open for the next week, but if you comment by end of day Friday, May 3, you can give input on which two authors I should choose :). Sound fun? Here is the list of authors: https://omgbookfest.org/omg-missouri

Oh, and if you are here in St. Louis, come check out the event and bring any other middle grade readers you know along.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or click on the Rafflecopter link for additional entries.

 

UPDATE on May 6: Below is a picture of all the books we had signed at OMG BookFest. Many of these belong to my kids, but two are for the lucky winner of this giveaway. Which two? You’ll find out if you win :).

Blogging

10 Random Facts About Teen Me

Yesterday I came across a post with ideas to liven up your blog. And I figured: why not? It’s a fun change from reviews and writing updates. One of the prompts was to share ten random facts about yourself. Since I write young adult books, I’m going to tweak it a bit and give you ten random facts about teen Michelle.

1. I worked at McDonald’s on weekends and summers once I turned sixteen until I went to college, and I never got sick of the food. However, they rarely let me in the food prep area because I tended to burn myself. (I had a scar in the shape of the fry rack on my forearm for years.)

2. My junior year I was cast as the understudy for Kim in “Bye Bye Birdie,” but I didn’t bother learning the lines. Before any fellow thespians attack me, I’d better add that the show was already double-cast, so even listing anyone as an understudy was overkill. There were already two Kims!

3. Since prom has come up on Twitter so often this week … I didn’t go my junior year. Senior year, I got set up. My best friend was dating a guy at a private, all-boys school. He had a friend with no date. I had no date. So I talked to the guy on the phone and worked it all out. I went to his prom. He went to mine. It was nice. We never talked again after 😀.

4. I was Valedictorian of my high school, but only my friends and the people who were competing with me know about it. When they sent out the insert for the yearbook with all the graduation articles, they left it out. My brother said when he went to his reunion (he’s a year younger than me), he actually got into an argument with someone about it. My defender 😀.

5. I got head lice my senior year of high school from working at a children’s fair. I was sitting in English class and pulled a live louse out of my hair. So. Disgusting. The high school nurse was so unfamiliar with it, she sent me to the grade school across the street for confirmation. Imagine how embarrassing it is having to tell all your friends you have lice … Also, every time I read an MS with lice in it, my head starts itching. There have been two this year.

6. When I was bored in school, I would read romance novels under my desk. I was especially bad about this in junior high.

7. In eighth grade we went to Disney World and sat a full day in a taping of Mickey Mouse Club. My brother and I are in several audience shots during that season.

8. If that Mickey Mouse Club reference didn’t already date me, when I was sixteen, I went to the St. Louis Auto Show to meet Mario Lopez and Jonathan Brandis. Jonathan kissed the girl in front of me on the cheek, so when I got up there, I asked if he was handing out kisses. AND HE KISSED ME ON THE CHEEK. I didn’t wash that cheek until … well, that night. But if you have ever had a celebrity crush, you get it.

9. I played the violin all through my teen years, but even with private lessons, I was never higher than fifth chair in my high school orchestra. Strings are a serious business in St. Louis. Our concertmaster was an actual prodigy, and several others had started playing when they were three or four. Several kids in my high school orchestra were in the St. Louis Youth Symphony.

10. I liked high school. I’m not saying it was all rosy, all the time, but I had a great group of friends and a good experience in general. Not that I’d want to go back 😉.

Now that I have dredged all of these facts up from my memory, it occurs to me that a few of them could provide some interesting material … except not the lice thing. Because if I put that in a novel and had to read over it multiple times I’d go nuts.

Do we share any teen experiences? Want to post ten facts of your own? If you do, let me know and I’ll go read them!

Blogging, Giveaways

Happy Sixth Blogiversary to Me! With a $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway for You …

On May 2, 2012, I hit publish on my first blog post, basically a “Hi, I’m here!” in preparation for the next day, when I posted my entry for The Writer’s Voice contest. Today I’m celebrating six years of blogging. I love all of the people I’ve gotten to know through blog hops like Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, other writing contests, and just blogging about the writing and querying process. I look forward to several more years! Whether you’ve been following me for six years or just stopped by for the first time today, thank you!

One of my favorite things about my blogiversary is pulling together statistics about my top posts and searches for my blog. It’s fun for me, so stick around, and at the end I will be giving back to YOU with an opportunity to win a $25 Amazon gift card. I’m excited there are some new posts in this year’s top 10!

Top 10 Posts/Pages in the Past Year

10. MMGM: ONCE UPON THE END by James Riley – The finale in Mr. Riley’s HALF UPON A TIME series. I highly recommend it, as well as his STORY THIEVES series. I just reviewed the final book on Monday.

9. How to Research Agents: Creating a Detailed Spreadsheet – This post is the first in a series on how to research and track agent responses. If you are a spreadsheet junkie like me, you will love it!

8. What I’ve Learned in Six Years of Querying – This post is my annual roundup of what I’ve learned each new year of the querying process. In year six: increasingly difficult talks with non-writer friends, trying new writing/critiquing strategies, the value of pursuing an R&R even if it doesn’t turn into an offer, becoming numb to rejections, and living off moments of hope. Look for what I’ve learned in seven years July 11–unless an agent offers before then (HINT HINT).

7. FINDING AUDREY and a Couple of Other YA Books You Should Read – This 2015 post is new to my top 10 list this year. It includes mini-reviews of FINDING AUDREY by Sophie Kinsella, THE APOTHECARY by Maile Meloy, and THERE WILL BE LIES by Nick Lake.

6. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read – The post that started my page listing middle grade and young adult books agents represent (see No. 2 below).

5. Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth – The next two on the list are both popular YA series.

4. YA Series Recommendation: The Selection by Kiera Cass

3. Subjectivity and Why You Should Get Multiple Opinions – Subjectivity is such an important aspect of the journey to publication. I’m not surprised this post continues to see a lot of visits. It’s so important to get MANY opinions on your manuscripts.

2. MG/YA Agents & Their Books – I created this page a few years ago because I couldn’t find anything like it, and apparently others can’t either since it’s so popular. I maintain it as a resource for writers who want to read up on agents’ books before querying.

1. Remembering a Friend Lost Too Soon: Ashley Gammon – Two years ago this past January, my friend and former colleague Ashley passed away unexpectedly. I wrote this post as my own tribute to her, and for the third year in a row this post has been the most visited on my blog. Unfortunately, last year another young woman who shared her name also died unexpectedly and people who were searching for answers ended up on my blog, so friends of both Ashleys continue to return to this tribute.

Top 10 Posts/Pages of All Time

Some of these are the same, but humor me :). Also, it’s interesting to note that when I started this blog, I was writing middle grade and reviewing a middle grade book every week, so these older MG reviews are likely to have more traffic over time.

10. MMGM: WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME Trailer Reveal, Interview and Giveaway! – An excellent middle grade book that isn’t part of a series, per se, but several books that are connected.

9. MMGM: ONCE UPON THE END by James Riley

8. Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth & MMGM: THE UNWANTEDS: ISLAND OF SILENCE – These two have the exact same number of views! What are the odds? Since DIVERGENT was already in my other list, I’ll focus on THE UNWANTEDS: ISLANDS OF SILENCE, which is the second book in a popular middle grade series. I’m sure if I had reviewed the first book, it would be on here instead.

6. About – Hey, thanks for reading about me :).

5. MMGM: SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF – In previous years, this book has been in the top 10 for the year as well. It’s the first in an eighteen-book middle grade mystery series. I haven’t made it through all of them yet as I’ve been spreading them out, but they are fantastic!

4. Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener – This post is listed on a Scrivener site somewhere and so continues to receive many visits.

3. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read

2. MG/YA Agents & Their Books

1. Remembering a Friend Lost Too Soon: Ashley Gammon

Top 5 Searches of the Past Year

Unfortunately there are more than 400 search terms WordPress is unable to identify for me, but here are the top five searches WordPress can tell me.

5. Random questions – My favorite was: “is mason ment to be with a girl michelle”. I wonder if this was a guy named Mason trying to answer this question or if it has to do with some book/movie/TV show?

4. Writing-related searches – By far the most common writing question that led to my blog was why you needed to get multiple opinions on your work. I wonder if this question originates with new writers because I remember being afraid to put my work out there with my first manuscript. Now it seems so obvious to me that we need multiple opinions, but it wasn’t then. Definitely find those other writers you can trust with your work. Different readers will interpret your words differently, and it’s best to get those opinions before you approach agents or editors.

3. Agents who represent middle grade/young adult books – Most were searches for particular agents, but there were several searches for agents who represent either middle grade or young adult, and they definitely can find that on my list of MG/YA agents and the books they represent!

2. Searches about Ashley – People continued searching for answers about both Ashleys and arrived at my blog.

1. Books I’ve reviewed – I’m sure you can tell which books topped these searches based on the books listed in my stats above.

So that wraps up my statistics. Now on to the giveaway! Because all anniversaries deserve celebrating, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card that you can use toward anything you choose. I’m happy to make suggestions :). To enter, comment on this post by May 9 or, for extra entries, click on the Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And as always, let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to cover on the blog. I’m open to suggestions!

Blogging, Giveaways

My Fifth Blogiversary!! With a Giveaway, Of Course!

As I was lying in bed last night, it dawned on me that I’d missed something important–the anniversary of my very first blog post! Yesterday marked five years of blogging, and I completely forgot to mark it. Oops! And the funny thing is, I completely noted it last week and planned to pull together all my statistics in time for Tuesday, but it slipped my mind with the lack of internet on Monday. So it’s happening a day late. Here are some fireworks to celebrate!

One of my favorite things about my blogiversary is pulling together statistics about my top posts and searches for my blog. I don’t know if anyone else cares, but it’s fun for me, so stick with it, because I’m doing a giveaway at the end. Since I want you to at least skim this post, I’ll make you wait for it. (I may have a bit of evil in me.)

Top 10 Posts/Pages in the Past Year

10. MMGM: SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF – I wrote this review ages ago. It’s the first book in a series of middle grade mysteries. I think perhaps it gets assigned in school. Great book, though!

9. Subjectivity and Why You Should Get Multiple Opinions – One of the only writing posts that made it on this list, but it’s a very important point–get MANY opinions on your manuscripts!

8. Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth – I think perhaps because of the movies, this series review was visited a lot.

7. YA Series Recommendation: The Selection by Kiera Cass – LOVED this series, and a lot of other people do, too, apparently, as they’re searching out reviews.

6. Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener – An older post, but it’s linked to on a Scrivener board somewhere :).

5. MMGM: ONCE UPON THE END by James Riley – The finale in Mr. Riley’s HALF UPON A TIME series. I highly recommend it!

4. What I’ve Learned in Five Years of Querying – My annual roundup of what I’ve learned from the querying process. Still hoping to avoid a six-year post in July :).

3. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read – The post that started my page listing middle grade and young adult books agents represent (see No. 2 below).

2. MG/YA Agents & Their Books – I created this page a few years ago because I couldn’t find anything like it, and apparently others can’t either since it’s so popular. I maintain it as a resource for writers who want to read up on agents’ books before querying.

1. Remembering a Friend Lost Too Soon: Ashley Gammon – A year ago January, my friend and former colleague Ashley passed away unexpectedly. I wrote this post as my own tribute to her, and for the second year in a row this post has been the most visited on my blog. Sadly, I noticed a spike on a particular day this year and discovered it was because another young woman who shared her name died unexpectedly and people who were searching for answers ended up on my blog. My heart goes out to the other Ashley’s friends and family.

Top 10 Posts/Pages of All Time

Many of these are the same, but humor me :).

10. MMGM: WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME Trailer Reveal, Interview and Giveaway! – Oh, a different one sneaked in! An excellent MG book!

9. MMGM: ONCE UPON THE END by James Riley

8. Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

7. MMGM: THE UNWANTEDS: ISLAND OF SILENCE – Another popular MG series.

6. About – Thanks for reading about me :).

5. MMGM: SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF

4. Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener

3. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read

2. MG/YA Agents & Their Books

1. Remembering a Friend Lost Too Soon: Ashley Gammon

Top 5 Searches of the Past Year

There were 615 unknown search terms. I really want to know what those people searched for to land on my blog, but oh well. Here are the top five searches WordPress can tell me.

5. Writing/Querying – Although it didn’t show up in my top posts for the year, several people were searching for answers on re-querying agents after a major revision. You know, I still can’t give you a definitive answer on that one, but you can check out my post.

4. Searches for me! – And I think they actually were all for me this year, since they tagged blog on the end or put an I in the middle, but who knows for sure?

3. Books I’ve reviewed – I’m sure you can tell which books top these searches based on the books listed in my all-time stats above.

2. Agents who represent middle grade/young adult books – Agent searches edged out searches for books I’ve reviewed this year. Most were searches for particular agents, but there were several searches for agents who represent YA fantasy, and they definitely can find that on my list of MG/YA agents and the books they represent!

1. Searches about Ashley – While some of these searches were for my friend, mainly they were for the other Ashley.

So that wraps up my statistics. On to what you’ve been waiting for–the giveaway! Since I don’t have a pile of books–signed or otherwise–sitting around this year, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Because all anniversaries deserve celebrating! Yay! (Is that enough exclamation points yet?? To enter, simply click on the Rafflecopter link below and follow the instructions. Easy peasy!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ba24b44a16/

And as always, let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to cover on the blog. I’m open to suggestions!

Blogging, Giveaways

My Fourth Blogiversary! With Giveaways! Signed Books! (enough exclamation points?)

I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for four years. It offers me a fantastic outlet to discuss my writing journey, talk about books I love, and on occasion share a deeper story from my life. I love taking a look back each year to see how others have interacted with my blog. This year–particularly in the past few months–it’s a bit bittersweet because of the post that has brought the most visitors to my blog. But at the same time, I’m glad that post has impacted so many who loved my friend.

On to the statistics I love. (I totally could play with spreadsheets all day.) But stick it out to the end because I just returned from the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Spring Conference (more on that later this week!), and I have two signed books to give away from authors I was privileged to meet there.

Top 10 Posts/Pages in the Past Year

10. MMGM: YOU’RE INVITED by Jen Malone & Gail Nall – Oh, I loved this book, so I’m glad people are still coming to read about it! Also, I met Jen in person this weekend, and she’s absolutely delightful.

9. What I’ve Learned in Four Years of Querying – Every year I learn something more about the querying process. Assuming I haven’t found an agent before I reach five years, look for the next one in July!

8. MMGM: ONCE UPON THE END by James Riley – Another awesome book. I read it on my own and then read the whole series out loud to my kids. Go read it!

7. 5 Signs You Should (or Shouldn’t) Be Tweeting Tomorrow – An updated version of another post you will see even higher on this list. This post is targeted specifically to writers considering pitching during Brenda Drake’s quarterly #PitMad on Twitter.

6. Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener – An older post, but it’s linked to on a Scrivener board somewhere :).

5. About – Thanks for reading about me!

4. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read – The post that started my page listing middle grade and young adult books agents represent.

3. 5 Signs You Should (or Shouldn’t) Be Submitting/Tweeting Tomorrow – The original post from No. 7, this one included #PitMad and another contest from Authoress, On the Block.

2. MG/YA Agents & Their Books – Aside from what I’m reading, my most updated page. Whenever I finish a book, I check the acknowledgements for the agent and add the book to this page, maintaining a resource for writers who want to read up on agents’ books before querying.

1. Remembering a Friend Lost Too Soon: Ashley Gammon – In January, my friend and former colleague Ashley passed away unexpectedly. I wrote this post as my own tribute to her, but I’ve been humbled by the outpouring of Ashley’s other friends who have reached out to me and said it meant so much to them as well. The statistics for this post are so high it’s likely to stay on my stats for many years, but I’m ok with that because it will keep Ashley’s memory strong.

Top 10 Posts/Pages of All Time

Many of these are the same, but humor me :).

10. Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth – Maybe because of the movies? I see a lot of searches for DIVERGENT come through.

There’s actually a tie for No. 9. How random is it that there are two posts with the exact same number of hits? It makes the mathematical corner of my brain light up with giddiness. Both are repeats from last year, just down a couple of spots.

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

9. MMGM: WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME Trailer Reveal, Interview and Giveaway!

7. MMGM: THE UNWANTEDS: ISLAND OF SILENCE

6. About

5. MMGM: SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF

4. Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener

3. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read

2. MG/YA Agents & Their Books

1. Remembering a Friend Lost Too Soon: Ashley Gammon

Top 5 Searches of the Past Year

We’re not going to count the 797 unknown searches as No. 1, although I really want to know what they were! I’m sure the known searches are a representative sample.

5. Searches for me! Or maybe not for me :). I’m thinking the person who searched for “michelle mason, lost love of my life, where are you?” probably wasn’t looking for me–particularly since that’s my married name–but it still made me laugh.

4. Writing/Querying – I didn’t have quite as many writing/querying searches that led to my blog this year, so I’m going to think about that for the coming year. I’m not sure if that’s because I had less content or the searches weren’t finding me.

3. Agents who represent middle grade/young adult books – Interestingly, the most common search was for middle grade agents. I’m not surprised by this as it’s why I started the list in the first place–because I struggled to find a good list of MG books with the agents who represented them. Many searchers also landed on my blog by searching for specific agents.

2. Searches about Ashley – Many people were seeking answers about Ashley’s death in the weeks following it–and still are. I don’t have all of the answers, but if you end up at this post because she’s mentioned here, feel free to reach out.

1. Books I’ve reviewed – As always, by far the most people end up at my blog by searching for a book I’ve reviewed. Although you can probably tell from the list of popular posts above, I thought I’d highlight a few of the most searched:

  • Divergent series by Veronica Roth
  • THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND by Kasie West
  • Half Upon A Time series by James Riley (most searched)
  • The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
  • PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen (totally homework questions)
  • SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF by Wendelin Van Draanen (also specific questions and the second most searched)
  • The Unwanteds series by Lisa McMann

So that wraps up my statistics from the past year. Is there anything else you’d like to see more of in the coming year? I’m always open to suggestions!

On to the giveaway! So, in January of 2015 I posted about the 2015 debuts I couldn’t wait to read, including MONSTROUS by MarcyKate Connolly. It’s a gorgeous middle grade now out in paperback (plus MarcyKate’s next book, RAVENOUS, is in hardback), and I have a signed copy. We’ve been chatting on Twitter for years, and she’s so lovely in person. But that’s not all! Also included in the giveaway is a signed paperback of THE SECRETS WE KEEP by Trisha Leaver. I was lucky enough to be included in a dinner group with Trisha and had several discussions with her. I’m excited about her other projects, too, but since I had already gushed about this book on the blog, I wanted to share it with one of you. So, to enter the giveaway for these two books, click on the link below. North America only, please.

Click here to enter to win signed paperbacks of MONSTROUS and THE SECRETS WE KEEP

Blogging, Giveaways

Celebrating Three Years of Blogging! (and giving away books, of course)

I’ll pretty much take any excuse to celebrate, but this blog merits celebration for me anyway. I started it on May 2, 2012, to participate in The Writer’s Voice contest, and it’s been a fantastic outlet for me to talk about books I love and share my writing journey.

I’ve been storing up a few of my finds from the Scholastic Warehouse Sale to give away all at once, so there’ll be a giveaway at the end of this post. But first, I love statistics, so I’m going to take a look at what was most popular on the blog both in the past year and over the past three years, as well as the top searches that led people here.

Top 10 Posts/Pages in the Past Year

10. Why It’s So Hard to Get Your First Novel Published – One of my earliest posts and I completely understand why people are still landing on it.

9. About – It’s nice people want to read about me :).

8. MMGM: WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME Trailer Reveal, Interview and Giveaway! – Hey, Kimberley, check it out!

7. A BOY COULD #BLOGPITCH Logline and First 250 Words – Thanks for the signal boost, Authoress! (And in case you’re newer here, A BOY COULD is the old title for CATCH HIM BY DISGUISE.)

6. MMGM: SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF – Kids must be reading this in school because it was in the top ten last year, too.

5. What I’ve Learned in Three Years of Querying – These annual posts on my querying experiences are always popular.

4. Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth – Movie connection, anyone?

3. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read – A post from 2013 that is still getting hits!

2. Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener – Someone linked to this post on a Scrivener site, so thanks!

1. MG/YA Agents & Their Books – BY FAR the most popular feature on my blog, and I do keep this page updated, so check it out!

Top 10 Posts/Pages of All Time

I’m betting a lot of these are the same since so many of my top posts in the past year weren’t from the past year. Let’s see, shall we?

10. My Thoughts on SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (Spoilers!) – Oh, I forgot this was so popular.

9. Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

8. YA Review and Giveaway: PERFECT SCOUNDRELS by Ally CarterAnd everyone wanted to win this one.

7. MMGM: WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME Trailer Reveal, Interview and Giveaway!

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

5. MMGM: THE UNWANTEDS: ISLAND OF SILENCE – And there must have been assignments on this book, too.

4. MMGM: SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF

3. Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener

2. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read

1. MG/YA Agents & Their Books

Top 5 Searches of the Past Year

Although there are 1,190 “Unknown search terms,” I lumped the rest into categories to see what searches most often direct people here. Even with those missing statistics, I bet these are representative of the whole.

5. Searches for me! Although I barely eked past searches for the Scholastic Warehouse Sale and questions about what happened to the huntsman’s wife in “Snow White and the Huntsman.” I don’t know, either, guys. That’s why you ended up at my blog–because I asked that question, too! Oh, and for the person who searched for “michelle human bean” … well, I’m not sure what you were trying to find there, but it made me giggle, so thanks.

4. Writing – Yay! I’m so glad people have found my blog through craft-related searches.

3. Querying – I grouped all querying-related questions into this category. My favorite was “is it really that hard to get published” (emphasis mine). I’m thinking they didn’t like the answer they found here …

2. Agents who represent middle grade/young adult books – This would be why that page listed above is No. 1 for the past year and of all time on my blog. When people search for agents I have listed or just for agents who rep MG/YA, it sends them here.

1. Books I’ve reviewed – This category wins by a long shot, probably thanks to school book reports. I spied a number of theme and character searches. I don’t think my reviews will do their homework for them, but I’m happy to be a resource.

It’s always helpful to see what’s working on the blog. I am curious to know if other bloggers see the same phenomenon, where older posts are getting more hits in a given year than new posts. I’m not worried about it as my statistics show more people are coming to the blog; it’s just fascinating.

Ok, on to the giveaway! I have four books from the Scholastic Warehouse Sale to pass on to one lucky winner. Here they are:

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan The Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszewski The Swift Boys and Me by Kody Keplinger

I was in a bit of a review slump when I read these, but I highly recommend all of them. To enter, click on this Rafflecopter link. North America only, please. Good luck and thanks for reading my blog!

Blogging, Giveaways

My Second Blogiversary–with Giveaways!

Last year I forgot my blogiversary until two weeks after the fact. I had it more on my radar this year, perhaps because it’s once again the date for The Writer’s Voice, the contest for which I started this blog.

The reasons I gave last year for why I love doing this blog remain true in the second year. I continue to develop relationships with other writers, and many of those have carried through to beta reader and critique partner relationships. For example, The Writer’s Voice? I met five of my beta readers through it. Yes, it was a great contest, but the relationships I developed through it were the most valuable benefit of the experience, and it all started with my first blog post.

I also still value the record this blog gives of my writing journey. I’ve grown so much in the past two years, and I believe that shows in my posts.

So, I thought it would be fun to look at some statistics on my top posts and how people get to my blog. If you stick with me, I promise to give something–actually multiple somethings–away at the end!

Top 10 Posts in the Past Year

10. MMGM: SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF

9. Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener

8. How to Stalk WriteOnCon Ninja Agents – Apparently people need stalking advice :). I may need to pull this one out again in August.

7. Remembering My Grandma: Life Goals Accomplished – One of my rare personal posts, and it warms my heart she got so many visits on my blog.

6. Why It’s So Hard to Get Your First Novel Published – One of my earliest posts and still one of the most popular!

5. MMGM: THE UNWANTEDS: ISLAND OF SILENCE

4. MMGM: WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME Trailer Reveal, Interview and Giveaway! – My first trailer reveal! Thanks to Kimberley Griffiths Little for entrusting me with her reveal.

3. What I’ve Learned in Two Years of Querying – Apparently other writers feel my pain! I’ve already started writing my “What I’ve Learned in Three Years of Querying” post, but I’m still hoping it can be turned into a two years and xx months post :).

2. MG/YA Agents & Their Books – This is actually a page that I continually update, inspired by the No. 1 post below. If you want to help me expand it, click on the link and read the guidelines.

1. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read – I’m not at all surprised this was my top post. One day I just decided to share my own list, and I’m so glad it’s become a much-used resource.

Top 10 Posts of All Time
Several of these line up with the top posts of the past year, but it’s still fun to look.

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

9. MMGM: SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF

8. 10 Tips for Titling a Manuscript

7. What I’ve Learned in Two Years of Querying

6. The Writer’s Voice

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

4. MMGM: THE UNWANTEDS: ISLAND OF SILENCE

3. YA Review and Giveaway: PERFECT SCOUNDRELS by Ally Carter

2. MG/YA Agents & Their Books

1. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read

Top 5 Searches in the Past Year
I also analyzed the search terms people use to get to my blog. There are so many combinations, but here are the top five categories.

5. Searches for me – My favorite was the one that said “michelle mason what I do next.” I hope they found an answer! Interestingly, there was also a search for “dexelon.” Since this is a planet I made up for my MG sci-fi, they must have been looking for me.

4. “Snow White and the Huntsman” – Apparently this movie left others with as many questions as I had when it was over. This little post where I expounded on my issues with the movie is still in the top 10 of all time!

3. Why is it so hard to get published? – This post also remains in the top 10 for the past year and all time.

2. Agents who represent middle grade/young adult books – I’m so glad this resource is helping people. This category included searches for what specific agents represent as well as a general search for agent/book matches.

1. Books I’ve reviewed – By far the most common searches that lead to my blog are for books I’ve reviewed. Strangely, many of them are looking for free copies of the books–which they won’t find here! I suspect many are doing school research, as there are questions about themes and characters. Although I don’t do spoilers, I expect some of my reviews would help students.

So, this look back is very helpful to me as I consider where to focus my blogging efforts. Have any of you analyzed your blog/website to see where it’s most useful to people who don’t already follow you?

And now to the giveaway. To celebrate my blogiversary, I have a few books sitting here that I’d love to pass along to new readers. They’re kind of random, but hey, so are my bookshelves :). To enter, comment by noon on Thursday, May 8, with which book you’d like to win–or all of them! Depending on how many enter, you could win more than one book. North America only, please. I will announce the winners next Friday, May 9.

The options are:

  • Paperback copy of NO-NAME BABY by Nancy Bo Flood
  • Hardback copy of THE SEVEN TALES OF TRINKET by Shelley Moore Thomas
  • Paperback copy of THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
  • Signed hardback copy of PROMISE OF SHADOWS by Justina Ireland

 

Good luck!