Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Funny

Before we get to the funny portion of today's post, I just wanted to remind everyone that it's Twitter Tattoo Avatar Weekend!!  Use a picture of your favorite tattoo (or one you want to get) as your twitter avatar this weekend! And use the hashtag #twittertattoo

Want to see mine? Check it out!  @saramcclung 

Ooooo and remember yesterday? How I mentioned the awesomeness of CJ Redwine's query/synopsis workshops?  (Click here and scroll down for what I wrote; it's highlighted, which is appropriate for CJ--she's the highlighting QUEEN!) Well, she's got a query workshop coming up March 1-12. AND she's giving a spot away for FREE!! (As if her passion for shoes didn't already make her cool enough?)

I'm actually already signed up, so if I win I'm going to give the spot away to a friend (that's SO allowed, btw). And if you enter this contest and don't win? You should sign up anyway. If her query workshop is anything like her synopsis workshop (which I've been told it is) it will be the best $40 you've spent in a while. And make sure to tell her I sent you!

Link to CJ's blog!
Link to CJ's query workshop blog!

And now... 
The Friday Funny! 

Because it's been a long week and you DESERVE to laugh!
This is totally worth watching the entire way through :-)

♥ Happy Friday ♥

♥ me

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jenny Bent is Awesome

Last night, I had the privilege of listening to a lecture by Jenny Bent (the owner and founder of the The Bent Agency).  She spoke about what it's like to work with an agent and she busted some of the myths/misconceptions in the publishing industry. I took a copious amount of notes so I could share the info with you guys!  But first, let me tell you about Jenny.

She's awesome. Totally personable, upbeat, and very honest with her insight. I'm not someone who thought agents were scary to begin with (I mean, of course they might reject me--that's scary... but otherwise, they're people too and have the same fears/problems/joys/etc that the rest of us do.) But if I had been, I would feel much better now.

Jenny loves what she does--and, trust me, it shines through. In her words? She loves selling. She loves negotiating. She doesn't like to write, but she loves working with writers.

For more info, check out The Bent Agency website: http://www.thebentagency.com/
Or, Jenny Bent's blog: Bent on Books

And now onto the stuff she spoke about!

Querying/Finding an Agent
  • Don't query agents based on location. NY agents are great--but so are the agents in locations all over the country. 
  • Don't overlook new agents. While older ones have more experience, younger ones often have more energy! Plus, with a smaller client list--they'll have more time for YOU.
  • Do NOT write for the market. Do be aware of the market. Do let the market influence the way you pitch. But write the stories that YOU are driven to write! 
  • Along that note, don't listen to what people tell you will/won't sell. ALL trends circle back.
  • Jenny found 1/3 of her clients from the slush pile. While she says publisher house slush piles are over, as a new writer you can still get picked up from queries. (PHEW! I didn't even know that people thought this wasn't true. Thank God because I would have panicked!)
  • Credentials help you to stand out from the slush pile. Namedropping helps too. 
  • Also, when you query--allow your Voice to come through! Don't let 15 people read it (or your WIP) so that it ends up not sounding like you anymore.
    • OH and if you need help with Voice in a query or synopsis? CJ Redwine is a GENIUS and holds very, very reasonably priced online workshops for both things. I'm taking the synopsis one now and loving it. And I'm taking her query workshop starting March 1st. She pays a LOT of attention to Voice. Make sure you check them out. (And make sure to say I sent you!) http://queryworkshop.blogspot.com/ 
  • Don't query for multiple projects at once.
  • It IS okay to mention that the novel you're querying is part of a series. But stick to information about the specific book you're referring to in the query.
  • It's totally fine to query an agent with a new project that rejected a different one. Jenny rejected some of her current clients the first time through--and didn't remember them the second time they queried!
  • More now than ever, agents are more hands-on with editorial process.
So you make it past the slush... What's Jenny Bent's representation process?
  1. Jenny offers representation.
  2. She doesn't do agency agreements (feels they're unfair to the writer) and goes on a handshake.
  3. Revisions.
  4. Submission strategy meeting--discussions with the author about the best houses to submit to.
  5. Calls publishers.
How to decide between multiple agents offering representation (you lucky freaking duck--Sara's words, not Jenny's)
  1. Do your homework--know about the agents. Look at their client lists.
  2. Talk to them, ask questions.
  3. Remember: an agent has a sales job. Are they comfortable when they speak to you? Do you like them?
The numbers game: Jenny gets 50-100 queries a day. They're all screened by interns. Of those that come in, she sees about 10/day. She asks for about 1 manuscript/week. And she picks up 3-5 first time writers a year.

Jenny on E-Books: At this point, e-books haven't affected her ability to sell. There's a LOT to still be figured out about them. Like price points and royalties... Jenny's 100% sure that e-books are going to change everything. But right now? E-books only make up 4% of total book sales.

Other stuff:
  • Publishing Houses read submitted manuscripts online (e-readers, etc) so agents submit your manuscripts online.
  • Most publishers don't pay for author tours anymore--it doesn't make sense. You fly, stay in a hotel, and sell 20 or so books if you're lucky at a signing... Book promotion techniques are changing.
  • Someone asked if it was appropriate to friend-request an agent/editor on facebook. Jenny said that while she doesn't accept requests from people she doesn't know, she doesn't get mad when people try or think it's a bad thing to do in general, if you want to.
  • But what about the RECESSION? And how HARD it is to make a sale these days? Well, to this Jenny says that in her 15 years of experience the SAME thing has been being said. It's always hard to make a sale.
  • Hardcover books are NOT necessarily more prestigious than paperback. Not anymore anyway. Jenny doesn't even want to see her clients' first editions in hardcover. (Think of it this way, if you put something out hardcover in today's market, you'll sell like 5,000 copies. And mathematically when paperback comes out, you sell half as many as you did in hardcover. So that means you'll only sell like 2,500 in paperback.)
Well, there ya have it! See you kids tomorrow for my Friday Funny :-)

♥ me

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Birthday A!!


(PS If you're reading this, you are SOOOOO not celebrating your 21st the way you should be!)

♥ me

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tattoo Nation

Um, the vlog will speak for itself.

I apologize in advance for the music editing/breaks. I'm still rolled up in Saradise and didn't have the time to make it perfect!

VLOG superstars (in order of appearance), all of whom you should definitely check out:

Simon Larter (Friend, literary writer, super awesome tattoo wearer... You know, the usual. Tends to win writing contests. Not surprisingly.)
Alexandra Shostak (New to blogger, make SURE you stop by to say hello if you haven't already! CP extraordinaire. Gifted, gifted writer--sometimes makes me green with envy.)
Carol Valdez Miller (Another CP extraordinaire! Brilliant with advice, keeps me in stitches most of the time... Comes up with metaphors that make me drool. Make sure you stop by HERE and mention her name. LOTS.)
Derek Molata (Just added Friend Connect. Go. Click. Follow. He's very funny AND he knows his nail polish colors. Oh and he's opened up the door for questions on his blog--anything you wanna know. So if I know you guys the way I think I know you guys, and I DO, you'll come up with some doozies for him.)

Oh and for the record, I will tell my mom about my tattoo--I was only joking about that part. Just haven't seen her since I got it!

♥ me

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Funny

Today I'm unveiling my new theme for Fridays. You've had a long week. You deserve to laugh. So from now on, you can find a Friday Funny here at the Babbling Flow! And this first one is a freaking doozy. DOOZY.

My writing workshop instructor, Bob Bausch, introduced me to these on Tuesday.  I'll let the videos speak for themselves, but I have to tell you. Take the time to watch both.  You'll need about 12 minutes to fit both in. If you trust me, and you should because I know funny, you will watch both.

First, an 80s video in allllllll it's splendor.  Really funny. Like, ridiculously funny.

And now, the "literal" version of the same video. DO NOT SKIP THIS. If you're not in tears from laughing so hard while watching this... I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

I hope you enjoyed!  Happy weekend :)

♥ Sara

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Trailer for Shattered

During my whole Geek Squad debacle, LTWF had a book trailer contest. I wanted to enter, but it was impossible... you know, seeing as how I didn't have a computer for a month. But I was okay with not entering--I was just grateful that they got me started thinking about making the trailer. (And so did Nathan Bransford and Myrlin A. Hermes.)

So. I made one :-) And let me tell ya, it was super fun!  The following is my finished project*:

Oh, and I started a Youtube channel... not that there's much material there yet, but friend me if you have one! Click here for my channel!

*This book trailer was not made for profit. Just for fun!
All images found through google images. 
Featured Music Clips
Fury by Epic Score 
Requiem for a Tower Mvt IV by Corner Stone Cues 

♥ Sara

Sunday, February 14, 2010

WIN LINGER! Nine Chances... That's right, NINE.

As you know, Shiver is one of my favorite books of all time. I love it. Grace and Sam. The love story gripped me and I read it in one night... didn't go to bed until the sun came up and only after I sent an e-mail to my friends/family who were on the look out for something paranormal to fall in love with. And every single one of them has since e-mailed me back (or told me in conversation) that I was dead on and they LOVED IT also.

So you can imagine that when Maggie Stiefvater announced a contest for an ARC of Linger I was all about it!  I mean, I'm about to look up voodoo techniques to increase my chances of winning. If I have to hop on one leg with a snake wrapped around my neck and chant "FARFANOPOLIS*" every day until the contest is over--I'm DOING it.

And, in fact, as soon as I'm done posting this, I'll be off to make my lucky voodoo underwear, just like this guy instructs:

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

 At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.

*For the record, farfanopolis is not a real word. I made it up in imagining what I might have to chant...

♥ Sara

Love is in the air... Love at First Sight Blogfest

I'm up to my elbows in Shattered revisions so I didn't have time to write my own entry for the Love at First Sight Blogfest... But that's okay because it gives me an excuse to post one of my most favorite love at first sight scenes ever!!

Also, I this was a great movie in 1999! (Through the eyes of an 18-year-old...)

Happy Valentine's Day!

♥ Sara

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Will VLOG for ARC

So... Pretty much the VLOG is self-explanatory...  but in case you missed my previous post about it, Lisa Mantchev is hosting a "What Would You Do for an ARC" contest.  Each of the five winners receive an ARC of Perchance to Dream!  This is my entry.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!!

Oh, and Lisa--if you watch it, during part of the video section you'll see a row of books on my desk. They're my favorite YA books and every time I look at the row, I'm inspired. Note that Eyes Like Stars is in the lineup!! (And no, I promise I didn't just put it there for the video!!)

A few other things to note:
  1. The scene with the snow? Yeah, that's real footage that I took standing in the front doorway of my condo yesterday!  All the zippy little specks that you see whizzing by are SNOWFLAKES!
  2. Shannon, in the "desk scene" if you keep your eyes peeled, you'll see two of the gifts you sent me!! (Also not strategically placed, I promise.) I swear there's a thank you on its way! #Ikeepforgettingtomailit #massivesarafail
  3. I apologize in advance if you're not a Grey's fan...

Clearly, I'm still in love with my MacBook and iMovie :-) Also clearly, I'm not destined to be a world famous director, ha.

♥ me

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cookies and Contests!! And Facebook, too.


As you may remember, my pal Cristin Terrill set up an online bakery called Sneaky Sweet.  Well, she sent me some samples and Oh. My. Goodness.

SO GOOD. Every. Single. Cookie.

If you want a treat, I highly recommend checking her site out. And they'd make GREAT gifts for family/parties/etc.

The only downer is that a certain household member were given the job of taking pictures and said certain household member took two measly unartsy pictures and then scarfed half of each pack down before I could stop him certain household member! But maybe that works even better to let you know how delicious everything looked/tasted!! We ate them for dinner when we got home from Miami!

Here are the two measly shots that my husband certain household member took:

And because we didn't get pictures of the rest, here are the two other types she sent me in samples with photos from her own website:

So you KNOW your mouth is watering right now.  What are you waiting for? Go get you somehttp://www.etsy.com/shop/sneakysweet 


Lots of great contests to get into this week!!

Jenni James is having a contest to promote the pre-order of Northanger Alibi, her modern Gothic remake of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, with a nod to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. (I see Twilight... I order!  Seriously, I pre-ordered two signed copies!) If you're interested, HURRY UP! The contest ends today!

Don't miss out on Karen Amanda Hooper's Loveapalooza! She's got some sweet lovey-dovey prizes going out. (Ends 2/14)

Lisa Mantchev is having a "What Would You Do for an ARC" contest to win an ARC of Perchance to Dream. (If you haven't read Eyes Like Stars, I don't know why you're reading this blog. Go. Get. A. Copy.) You'll see my entry tomorrow via... VLOG... probably... (Ends 2/12)

Mary Campbell is having a book giveaway in honor of reaching 100 followers. I haven't read any of the books she's giving away and I REALLY want to! (Ends 2/12)

Melissa is also having a 100 followers contest, but she's giving away a $25 Barnes & Noble giftcard!! (Ends 2/12)

Southern Princess's Contest O'Love! (Even a COACH bag included!) (Ends 2/12)

Shannon's giving away a SIGNED copy of Buying, Training and Caring for your Dinosaur! (Ends 2/14)

Falen's $25 Barnes & Noble Giftcard Giveaway for reaching 50 followers! (Ends 2/12)

If I forgot to mention anyone's contest, just let me know!!


Okay, so least importantly for my post today... I just wanted to give an open invitation to facebook friend me!!  Click on the widget below (or the on in my sidebar) and friend me :-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Permanent Magic Writing Stardust!

What happens in Miami does NOT stay in Miami. 

I'll let the pictures tell their own story... Just know that I had a BLAST even with the rain/cold weather/humidity. Miami just made its way to my second favorite city (second to Seattle) in the US. Everyone is so chill... and friendly. Though the drinks are muy expensivo, they are also excellently made. Especially the strawberry mojitos. I drank twice my weight in those bad boys.

So, here are a few of the tamer pics of the trip :-) Enjoy!

For starters, this is what my room looks like when I begin the whole "getting ready to go out" process...

Lots of this:

Led to lots of this: (Me laughing and pointing and thinking I'm hysterical)

I made friends with the bartenders.

I had several rough mornings/afternoons, as I'm sure you can imagine...

But I sucked it up because we were in MIAMI

Sometimes my husband only loves me because he has to...

My shoes are green. Lucy's are striped. We love them with boyfriend jeans.

Clearly, I never miss up an opportunity to work on my russian... especially when hammered

There may or may not have been a whipped cream fight at the bar...

What happens when your bag is so heavy the airline forces you to pay $70 to check it? Your husband makes you mail a box of stuff home before flying back...

We were determined to get on the beach, NO MATTER WHAT. Stupid cold/rainy weather did not scare us away. (Yes that IS a copy of Wondrous Strange. I finished it on the sand and it is amazing.)

I love my husband :-)

Drink all day and see what happens...

Besties on Ocean Ave.

I am all for world peace.

Did you know that in South Beach, sobriety is NOT a mandatory condition for getting a tattoo?
Because I decided to get one. Yep. A star. On my finger. It's filled in... and I LOVE it. (Thankfully.)
I now have permanent magic writing stardust* in my fingers. (*Thanks to Alexandra for the post-tattoo magic stardust concept!)

Seriously. If you're ever wasted in South Beach and want a tattoo, I recommend Salvation Tattoo Lounge.

Because, after you get one... you'll feel all hardcore and stuff.

And, finally... THIS is what my face looked like when Shannon texted me that she'd won an award at the San Diego State University Annual Writer's Conference:

Okay, that's all. I mean, it's not ALL, but it's all I'm sharing ;-)

♥ me

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's on like Donkey Kong, Bia!

If you missed the original post about Saradise, CLICK HERE.

That's right... this is IT. From today until the last day of February, I am officially in Saradise mode. My days (and nights) are solely devoted to:
  • Shattered revisions
  • query perfecting
  • synopsis writing
  • CP reading
Oh, and continuing the outline/first draft of my new story if/when I have time.

I'm PUMPED. I haven't been motivated since I entered the whole laptop debacle. But I'm set up with my Mac (still unnamed, loved all the suggestions, am still thinking about it), my desk has been cleaned, my scene setting playlists are set up, and I'm stocked up with hot chocolate and marshmallows. Good. To. Go.

The best part is that I'm not alone--there's a group of us doing it, which is going to make progress even MORE successful, I can already tell! (PS if you're participating in Saradise, you should have recieved an e-mail from me today around 11:30! If you didn't--or if you want to be added--let me know.)

In other news, I would like to submit an official apology to Carol and Simon. Guys, I started a story for your contest and then completely forgot to finish/submit it in the excitement of packing for Miami.  I am so sorry! If/when you have your next contest, I pledge to enter it and promote it TONS for you!

This is a picture my friend Lucy shot of me throwing a tantrum when I realized, in Miami, what I'd forgotten to do:

I'm trying to catch up on blogs I missed while I was gone, but man it is HARD! If you wrote anything you want to make absolute sure I don't miss (or want to point me in the direction of someone else's awesome post) please leave me a link!!

And let me share this link with YOU! Alexandra switched her LJ to a blogger blog!  Make SURE to check her out and follow her! The Publication Follies of Alexandra Shostak

Off to celebrate Saradise! Tomorrow: Pics from Miami!!

♥ me

Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm In Miami Trick!

7 Days of

And... okay, let's be honest...

See you in a week!

♥ me