If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Monday, March 16, 2015

#Query Madness


At a recent Sisters in Crime event, a Sister shared two words that struck me with the sharpness of Miss Marple’s knitting needles: “query blurbs.”
This is a new-to-me hurdle in the publishing Hunger Games. And just when I had tackled my latest querying challenge: the query tweet.
I’m a member of Agent Quest, a subgroup of the Guppy writers group. The support and information sharing of this group is an oasis in the soul-shriveling desert of the agent search. Ideas, helpful critiques, and attagirls flow on the Agent Quest site, as well as helpful tips and leads.

One night a couple of weeks ago, a Gup mentioned a query event on Twitter. I’d already heard of Pitch Madness (#PitMad), where writers tweet their 140 character pitches and agents who are interested “favorite” them (a "favorite" means you can cut to the front of the query line). Others can favorite, too, including it seems, some less-than-reputable publishers and agents. Still, this new query contest grabbed my attention, since it was being run by a reputable, big name agent.
This agent said she’d pick the three best tweet pitches she received by 8 p.m. and invite those lucky Tweeters to send her a synopsis and ten pages. A jump to the head of the line! A Golden Ticket to avoid the dreaded slush pile? I jumped in.
All I needed was a 140 character pitch of my manuscript. It was 7:30 p.m. I set to work as the clock ticked down.
I crafted a pitch tweet I liked: “Former lingerie model PI teams with oddball teen sci-fi/fantasy author to solve mystery of teen’s father’s death.”
Then I clicked to Twitter and realized – I don’t have a Twitter account.

A quick scan of Twitter showed grandparents and Golden Retrievers who tweet. How hard could it be? Signing up was a breeze. I hit Tweet and sat back, waiting for this discerning agent to pick me.
I clicked onto the stream of tweets to check out the competition. @gnomewrter and @zombieluv were there. Tweets pitching everything from dystopian erotica to historical nonfiction appeared. Dozens of tweet/pitches flowed onscreen. Except mine. Where was my tweet?
I scrambled to my account and clicked the tweet button again and again. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.
Back to the agent’s twitter feed. No tweet from @bookvoodoo1.
         At 8:01 p.m. I found this buried deep in Twitter’s FAQs: “Please note that it may take a few days for changes to your profile information to be reflected in search.”
Head thunk on the keyboard. “Changes in the profile” means you can’t just jump into Twitter and expect to Tweet immediately. Twitter has a mysterious algorithm that means no instant tweets. My tweet was lost in the twitterverse, and it would land too late for the contest.
I came away from this experience with some wisdom and four twitter followers. Well, OK, maybe three. I think the bikini clad Russian girl inviting me to meet her in Spayce follows everybody.
The wisdom?
A tweet forces you to get to the essence of your story. There’s no room in 140 characters for filler. Twitter makes you write tight, a good exercise.
What else did I learn?
Maybe you should have a Twitter account – just in case. Make one now, so it is ready. You never know when Pitch Madness will hit you.
Also, RT means “retweet,” William Shatner is hilarious, and you can waste a lot of time on Twitter. A lot of time.


15 comments:

Ramona said...

I just followed you on Twitter, Shari, so now you are up to 10. And I am not a Golden Retriever, I promise.

A log line in 140 characters. I like it.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Shari -- I followed you after I received the review copy of this post.

The Kindle Scout contest required a one-line description of at most 45 characters. I wasn’t sure if spaces counted, but I was okay with, “Will your curiosity kill you?”

As as the numbers guy, I need to point out that since you need a hastag to make the tweet work, you had less than 140 characters!

Hope you aren’t inundated with tweets from your four followers.

~ Jim

Shari Randall said...

Hi Ramona - thank you! I'll follow you right back!

Shari Randall said...

Hey, Jim! Thank you! I'll follow you too.
Forty-five characters - that is tight - but I think you made it work. "Will your curiosity kill you?" is compelling.
It's great to have a numbers guy on the blog - not my strong suit.

thewildbleu said...

I learned that it's really hard to distill a story into less than 140 characters and still feel like you stand out. If I'm going to have any success at twitter pitches I need more variety too. My tweets were pretty formulaic, but I got better as the exercise went on. I got more retweets when I focused more on the relationships than I did mystery.

Although I did get a favorite from an editor at a small digital press, who I probably won't query now, but she did make my day. So I will remember her.

I definitely thought of the whole thing as an experiment. In the past I've gotten pretty quickly discouraged by the heavy lean toward YA and MG in Twitter events like this, both pitching and #MSWL (Manuscript Wish List), but after last Wednesday I'm more optimistic and more inclined to see how YA/NA authors are pitching to see if I can use the emotional connections in my story to sell it better.

kate

thewildbleu said...

I learned that it's really hard to distill a story into less than 140 characters and still feel like you stand out. If I'm going to have any success at twitter pitches I need more variety too. My tweets were pretty formulaic, but I got better as the exercise went on. I got more retweets when I focused more on the relationships than I did mystery.

Although I did get a favorite from an editor at a small digital press, who I probably won't query now, but she did make my day. So I will remember her.

I definitely thought of the whole thing as an experiment. In the past I've gotten pretty quickly discouraged by the heavy lean toward YA and MG in Twitter events like this, both pitching and #MSWL (Manuscript Wish List), but after last Wednesday I'm more optimistic and more inclined to see how YA/NA authors are pitching to see if I can use the emotional connections in my story to sell it better.

kate

Susan O'Brien said...

Love this, Shari! I have found Twitter worthwhile so far. (Actually, I chronicled my road to publication on Twitter @SkywritingSusan.) I'm following you, and I can't wait to read happy tweets about your book in the future!

Kara Cerise said...

Your book sounds fun, Shari! I like that the protagonist is a former lingerie model turned PI.

I think that short descriptions are helpful for encapsulating and refining an idea. But, they're challenging (for me) to write.

KM Rockwood said...

Twitter!
Facebook!
Blogs!
Queries!
Blurbs!
Synopses!
Agents!
Publishers!

I think my head just exploded.

Gloria Alden said...


Fun blog, Shari. I have a hard time keeping up with the Guppy digests and the short mystery critique group I belong to. I can't imagine trying to keep up with Twitter, too.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Welcome to Twitter World, Shari! I'm following you, too, so you're up to 13! Congrats on your logline. Sounds like a winner!

Shari Randall said...

Hi kate,
I think you are right - this is a learning experience, no matter the outcome. I do wonder about the lean to YA/MG on Twitter, too. Mostly I have found that I enjoy the peek into the agent's personalities that come across on Twitterfeeds. Also I am going to file away your discovery about emotional connection on Twitter. Great insight.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Susan, I will check out your Tweets! I am fascinated by the idea of a diary in 140 characters. Twitter is a new way of writing - good learning experience.

Hi Kara,
Seems like we're always finding new writing challenges. Keeps us sharp, I guess, but whew! sometimes technology moves a bit too fast.

KM,
That other explosion you heard was the wine cork flying out of a bottle. It's all a bit too much sometimes! I ache for the times when ink flowed on paper...

Shari Randall said...

Hi Gloria - It does get a bit much - but still there is so much worthwhile on the Guppy site I can't give it up.

Hi Paula - thank you! and by the way, I loved your interview with the best new author candidates. I'll be looking for your sparkly red shoes?

E. B. Davis said...

Congratulations on getting a Twitter account, Shari. Now you have one more thing you can't keep up with. I try to get to facebook every so often. I like reading it, but I so rarely have anything to say, I feel sorry for my followers. On Twitter, I'm confused. Is there a Twitter main page that tells you what is going "viral" on a daily basis?