Thursday, August 26, 2010

How Do You Handle a Critique? OR Here, Take My Bunny!

I only want to help! Here, take my bunny!

So, today, on the Adventures in Children's Publishing blog, I'm a Mentoring Author giving my take on five queries. All of these queries are good in their own right. It's so hard for me to give advice! I know my own query wasn't perfect, that's for sure! I want to be helpful, but I always worry what if my advice or critique puts someone on the wrong path?? Gah! I'd feel so bad! I suppose that's the risk you take though and I have mad respect (yes, I wrote "mad respect", sad, I know) for those who do!

I've never been a member of a critique group. I'm hard enough on myself! Errr...what is a Beta anyway? Still don't know, other than it's the second letter in the Greek alphabet. For those of you who are or have been in a critique group how do you handle the critiques? What do you do if someone is really rough on you--shreds your work into itty bitty throbbing pieces of pulp or what if everyone in the group has the same opinion of your MS and you completely don't agree with it? How do you respond?

xoxo -- Hilary

Monday, August 23, 2010

Win a signed copy of Dee Garretson's WILDFIRE RUN!! w00t!

Win a signed hardcover of Dee's debut!!!
Show a debut author some love today and maybe get a little something for yourself! Hop over to the PROJECT MAYHEM blog and win a signed copy of my friend Dee Garretson's debut  middle-grade novel, WILDFIRE RUN (Aug. 31st, HarperCollins)!! Read about her crazy road to middle-grade publishing and see the Wildfire Run trailer!!!! Go Dee!!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Project Mayhem is coming!! MIDDLE GRADE WRITERS...You have been warned.

The Manic Minds of Middle Grade Writers

So, a group of us manic middle grade authors have come together to form PROJECT MAYHEM! Think Fight Club with way less blood and little to no swearing! We wanted to create a fun blog where both writers and readers of middle-grade books can gather and maybe learn something or at the very least have a good laugh! We are asking you all to give us a follow or even stalk us, whatever works, so when we have our first official post, we'll be rockin' and a rollin' with a great group of middle-grade enthusiasts!

Project Mayhem Team Members will be talking about writing for middle-graders, reviewing (you guessed it) middle grade books, giving away signed copies of said books, spotlighting some killer indie bookstores and hoping you'll all join us as our books debut one by one! Our blog is all about being positive and helping ALL writers succeed in this nutty publishing world of middle-grade mayhem!

Our first "official" post will go up this Monday and will feature Dee Garretson, whose debut middle-grade novel, WILDFIRE RUN, releases on August 31st!!! She will be talking about the book and her writing AND give away a signed hardcover of her fantastic novel!

TEAM MAYHEM (in order of release):
Dawn Lairamore, IVY'S EVER AFTER, 5.15.2010
Dee Garretson, WILDFIRE RUN, 8.31.2010
Adam Jay Epstein, THE FAMILIARS, 9.7.2010
Andrew Jacobson, THE FAMILIARS, 9.7.2010
Hilary Wagner, NIGHTSHADE CITY, 10.01.2010
Tim Power, THE BOY WHO HOWLED, 10.26.2010
Rose Cooper, GOSSIP FROM THE GIRLS’ ROOM, 1.01.11
Jen K Blom, POSSUM SUMMER, 10.2011
Marissa Burt, THE TALE OF UNA FAIRCHILD, 01.2012

Please share this post and the PROJECT MAYHEM link and follow are blog!!! We need your support to get this blog going! ;)

xoxo -- Hilary

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ten Things to Consider AFTER Your First Book Deal...

1. Don't be scared of working with your editor! You'll do fine!

2. Be prepared to take what you consider the most special parts of your book...OUT!

3. Concerns? TALK TO YOUR AGENT! He/she knows the business and they will tell you if you're concerns are justified or you're freaking out for no reason. (I would fit into the freaking out for no reason category).

4. Don't be afraid to ask your publisher LOTS of questions-- if you don't ask, you won't get.

5. Your publisher may change your release date several times--this is totally normal, especially for a debut.

6. Know that you have NO control over the cover art...but be happy when your publisher does ask for your input and gives your book a fabulous illustrator (Omar Rayyan!) and if they don't, have a nice piece of cake (preferably chocolate) and tell yourself, they know what they're doing.

7. Bear in mind that Barnes & Noble, along with Indie stores, do NOT pick up every book, even from big publishers! There is nothing you can do if they decide not to carry your book in their brick and mortar stores, so don't worry about it--it does not mean your book won't be successful at all, but be joyous when they say, YES, we want this debut author's novel hanging out by our Starbucks counters!!

8. Don't fret if you start on a one book deal (becoming the norm these days), but be merry when they buy the sequel six months later--off a proposal no less! That means they like you, they really, really like you!

9. There are a lot of things out of your control in publishing--in fact--most things. Before giving yourself a facial tick, take a step back, inhale a deep solid breath, and realize no matter what's in store for you, you made did're a first-rate writer--YOU!

10. Now write another book. ;)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kirkus Fall Supplement! My Rats and others get a Shout-out!

My rats are fat and happy today!
Illustration copyright Omar Rayyan
So, just when you think it's a hum-drum day, something really nice happens! Today, Kirkus Reviews released their Fall Preview Supplement! Nightshade City was mentioned in the Debut Fiction Kids & YA Section, along with other great books, such as The Duff (Kody Keplinger), MATCHED (Allie Condie), Zora and Me (Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon) and some other fantastic kid's titles, that I'm just dying to read!!!

From the Kirkus Fall Supplement:
Nightshade City, Hilary Wagner
Holiday House / October / 9780823422852 / $17.95
The smell of a rat, who’d have thought it would be so sweet? “Why rats?” says Hilary Wagner of her debut. “Well, I’ve always loved animals, especially the strange and creepy ones. When doing research for Nightshade City, I discovered how misunderstood rats are. They are quite intelligent, able to come when called by their names and even lick their owners like dogs to show they love them. They can laugh in ultrasound when tickled, and they dream, too.” Of course, there are also dastardly rats, depraved and sadistic rats, like Killdeer and Billycan, who stage a bloody coup to gain control of the Catacombs, once a democratic, thriving rat metropolis. But better rats will have their day, a growing band of revolutionaries sharply drawn with rich histories and adventurous, vivid characters, all in a fully imagined fantasy world with some important dangling threads that promise good things to come. (Ages 10-14)
Okay, so what fall debuts titles are you looking forward to?