Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Do You Need A Sell Sheet?

Photo by Magnetbox
Its conference season! Time to get yourself organized and ready to make those one-on-one meetings with agents and acquisition editors. 

One-sheets should be high on your list of things to take with you.

I have found these extremely helpful in that I get nervous and the one sheet helps me to remember all of my talking points. Plus they are great leave behinds for your meetings. They are a snapshot of you as an author and the idea you are pitching to use as reference.

So what goes into a sell sheet?

It will have many of the same elements of a query but in a more eye catching way. Make sure to include...

  • The title of your book along with a one or two paragraph blurb. This is what you might find on the back cover of your book. Make this no more than 1/2 of the page.
  • You will need a one paragraph author bio. Again, think bottom of back cover of your book. Name, other books you've written, awards, relevant stuff - don't include your love of cats.
  • You will also need a good quality headshot. Not you cropped out of a Christmas photo, but a professional picture.
  • Your contact information - email, address, blog or website, etc.
  • Your agent's information if you have one.

It has all the essential information you want to get across and will make it easier for the agent/editor to remember you and your book after the don't forget the picture!!!

Photo by aurostar739
What you want is a convenient sheet of paper with what you pitched at the meeting, any other books you've written, and contact information.

A lot of time agents and editors do not take proposals and samples from authors at conferences, but I have almost always had them not only take, but jot notes down on the one sheet.  Its a great quick reference guide for them and a heck of a lot more noticeable than a business card for you.

If you have written multiple novels or the book you're pitching is part of a proposed series, the be sure to include that information on the sell sheet.

If you write multiple genre's then have a sell sheet geared toward that genre for each meeting. If you write paranormal romance/romantic suspense, a quick Google of the agent you are meeting with will help you tailor your pitch to them.

I have an example of the one sheet I used a couple of years ago for my Shades of Hope series during pitch sessions with acquisition editors.

The cover is of the now published book, but you get the idea. Also note...a large amount of the stuff I put in the sell sheet ended up being used by the marketing department so really get an idea of what you're pitching.

For an agent's point of view on the matter, check out Tamela Hancock Murray's blog post on One-Sheets versus Queries

I hope this helps as you prepare to hit the road and make those meetings this conference season!  I'd love to hear how it worked out.

Until next time...Go Write!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Almost Kiss Clash Winner!

The Almost Kiss clash has been a whirlwind of romance, breathless moments, and possibilities! Your responses to the excerpts were amazing.Both books were great examples of riveting Christian Fiction available out there, but there can be only one winner and I am happy to announce that book is...

A Thyme for Love by Pamela S. Meyers!

Pamela's winning Almost Kiss excerpt was full of sparks and surprises. 

Here's a small snippet of the great scene:

...Marc tipped my chin up with his index finger. “April, you’re sweating.” He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed my forehead. I had nowhere to look but into his eyes and, once there, I couldn’t pull my gaze away. Good thing I didn’t want to. His eyes went to my mouth and he leaned closer. I lifted my chin in anticipation. So much for the boss’s orders... 

He brought his mouth closer, and the tiny elevator started to spin. Then everything went black.

If you missed it, drop by Clash of the Titles to take a peek at One Breathless Moment...

We received positive reader response for this spunky romance.

"Great tension! I was riveted to every word!"
"Love the anticipation and butterflies in the almost kiss scene..."
"The setting was marvelous, the tension leaped off the pages."

A Thyme for Love is a wonderful example of the awesome Christian fiction available. 

This week, an exciting new Unpublished Novel Clash begins. It's hosted by our very own April Gardner! Make sure you come by for another chance to vote and WIN a free book!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Photo by Kazarelth
I just spent the last two weeks hosting the Almost Kiss Clash over at COTT and what a blast that was! In case you missed the excerpts hop on over. The voting is over, but the winner will be revealed tomorrow!  

I wanted to check in and remind everyone about the Romance Writers of America Conference coming up July 25-28. It looks like it is going to be so much fun!

I don't think I'll be able to make it this year, but I know a few writers who are...I'm sure you'll all have a doozy of a time!

For those of you thinking of joining, the price better the earlier you register. Here is a link to the site's page.  If you are not a member, its still cheaper to go without purchasing a membership.

There is also a San Diego Christian Writers Guild Conference in the Fall that I will most likely attend. It is October 19-20. I highly recommend the Friday night Round Table discussion!

Be it the RWA or any other conference...if you go, you'll be exposed to so many opportunities to network and meet with industry professionals there. From agents to acquisition editors, the conference is jam packed with something for everyone.

I am going to start a series on proposal packages, queries, and one sheets starting next week to get you ready for the conference.

What about you? Are you planning to attend any writers conferences or workshops this year?  I'd love to hear what's out there!

Until next time...Go Write!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Don't Go in the Woods! - Location Clichés

Stephen King scares the ever loving stuffing out of me. He gets me every time. Do you know why? Because I NEVER see it coming. In one book, the terror takes place during a picturesque annihilation of peace and tranquility in the blink of an eye. 

He lulls you into the happy everyday. Talking with a neighbor, visiting a sweet little grocery shop, digging in the garden and then BLAM! Something bizarrely horrifying just takes you down.
The Mist by Stephen King

So when a story takes place in a dark settings with only a flickering flashlight and then strange high pitched metal scraping sounds start emanating from the surrounding blackness...I kinda know someone is going to die -- terribly.

For those of you who read regularly, you know I am a totally planner/control freak and have made several lists of things to avoid in my writing. My posts on why Brakes Only  Fail On Hills was for action cliches to avoid -- And The Villain Is... list helps me not to give the bad guy away too quickly in suspense.  

But this list is my favorite because setting is something that I love to use as an antagonist. However, sometimes your backdrop is the equivalent of the REDSHIRT crew member on Star know he's gonna die cause red shirts ALWAYS die during landing parties.

So here are some tips for your hero/heroine...

Photo by Michele Amato.
Never enter any abandoned building made of brick. Be it mental hospital, prison, girls reformatory, government facility...something bad probably happened there already so, in fiction land...that place it totally cursed/haunted/an evil lair.  A corollary to this rule: never walk near creeping vines, rusty iron gates, or dusty mausoleums with spider web thingies on the doorway.

    Photo by Kidswithfireworks.
    Never go underground for ANY reason. Especially "sealed off" places like secret subway tunnels and underneath streets...if a rat would live there, don't go there! If their light sources is "iffy" then the reader knows they'll probably be plunged into "inky darkness" and feel "something touch their leg"...don't do it!

      Photo by Marilyn Roxie.
      Never frolic with the opposite sex amid vegetation. This is just asking for an eye roll. Are they teenagers? Should they not be with this "forbidden" partner? Have there been strange noises/markings on the walls in blood/missing people recently? If so...slash the scene. One or both of the wayward characters will die here, that is obvious. The question really is will it be the chick who trips while being chased or the guy that "goes to check out the noise."

      Never go anywhere NEAR plumbing. Nothing good ever happens in defunct boiler rooms, lets face it. Also catwalks near steam pipes...never a good sign. Even in space, the bowels of the inter galactic colony's atmospheric converter is a truly terrible place to venture. Killers/Breeding Aliens love to hide in shadows and clouds of vapor at the end of dank tunnels lined with water pipes. Everyone knows that. No heroine in her right mind would go down there.

      Just weird lighting... right?
      Never wander around in places with layers of dust thicker than a piece of paper. Attics, cellars, basements with strange pulley systems dangling from the ceilings. These all have virtual "Evil Inside" signs hanging over them. If there are white sheets draped over the furniture and mirrors...your heroine should turn and run.

      Never walk in water higher than your ankles. Don't wade through waist-high anything, really. You can't run effectively, you will most likely accidentally drop/extinguish your light source in it, and its impossible to be quiet with water sloshing around. Nefarious ninjas breathing through reeds, one-eyed trash eating aliens, even the occasional flushed alligator hide in water that deep. Don't write it...don't go in it.

      Of course there are a great many stories that have these places and have used them effectively and with surprising twists. The thing about suspense and mystery...even horror, is to catch the reader unawares. 

      As a writer, you want to keep them off balance, instill the heebie jeebies, and have them afraid to put the book down and afraid to keep going.

      What are some clichéd places for dark deeds that you've come across? Do you have any favorites?

      Until next time...Go Write!

      Friday, February 3, 2012

      POV Preference: 1st or 3rd?

      Photo by Phineas H.
      I'm currently having a bit of a dilemma. I started writing a book in the the first person, which is what I've done for my other four books, but this story...this new series...maybe I need to try something different.

      I used to write in 3rd person when I wrote action thrillers, but when I wrote my romantic suspense series, the intimate POV of the first person just seemed to fit. I wrote the hero's point of view in 3rd person, but that's it.

      As a reader, I don't get tripped up by things like this. If I open a book and get completely hooked withing the first few pages, it doesn't matter to me in what POV the story is told.

      As a writer, do you stick with only one POV? One of my favorite authors wrote in third person only to switch, mid series, into first person, and then back again. It totally made sense.

      I guess my question is if there is a definite preference. Do readers have a favorite POV? Does it matter if you are not a writer and just looking for a great story?

      I'd love you hear your take; author or reader -- sound off.

      Also, I am hosting my first Clash of the Titles challenge on Monday! It is the Almost Kiss Clash and I can't wait to share the two great excerpts with you...don't forget to vote for a chance to win the drawing!