My #PitMad Guidelines

I’m participating in the Twitter pitch contest #Pitmad today, and I’m looking for great YA, NA, and adult submissions.

If I favorite your pitch, it means I’m requesting material from you. Please send the query and three chapters if I favorite your pitch. Use “Twitter Pitch Request: TITLE” as the subject, and send to

I work primarily with YA and NA, and very selectively with adult. MG, nonfiction, and picture books aren’t for me. Entangled accepts submissions from both agented and unagented authors.

For who I am and how to submit to me, please use the “about Kate” and “submit” pages above.

My Twitter Pitch Guidelines

I’m participating in several Twitter pitch contests this year, and I’m looking for great YA, NA, and adult submissions.

If I favorite your pitch, it means I’m requesting material from you. Please send the query and three chapters if I favorite your pitch. Use “Twitter Pitch Request: TITLE” as the subject, and send to

I work primarily with YA and NA, and very selectively with adult. MG, nonfiction, and picture books aren’t for me. Entangled accepts submissions from both agented and unagented authors.

For who I am and how to submit to me, please use the “about Kate” and “submit” pages above.

Want to be on my street team?

Hello, readers! This is a super exciting post for me. I’m starting to build my street team, and you are invited to join. 🙂

In case you aren’t familiar with the concept, they can work a few different ways, depending on the author, the book, and the publishing house, but basically it’s a team of people who sign up to help promote and support a book through word of mouth. You don’t have to have a large social media platform– it’s just as helpful to suggest the book to your friends and family and do on-the-ground support. The power of fans is huge, and I’d love to have anyone involved who either has read and loves How We Fall or supports my writing. (Click the image to see the book description.)


You can live anywhere and still be a part of my team, and the hourly commitment will likely be pretty low– the basic idea is just to have you aware and telling your friends! All street team activities will be flexible and optional, but of course I want people who are enthusiastic and genuinely want to help my book succeed. I’d especially love anyone who regularly reads my blog or interacts with me on Twitter, and anyone who thinks How We Fall sounds awesome. A lot of you have been around since I first started writing on this blog and have seen me query, write new manuscripts, query again, and sign with my agent, and I’d love to have anyone who has stuck with me that long!

What kind of things might you be doing? Asking your library and bookstores to stock How We Fall, telling family and friends about it, placing a preorder if you’re going to buy it, adding the book on Goodreads, hosting the cover reveal, sharing teasers on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, etc.

What are the perks of being on my street team? Sneak peaks, a chance to have a character in a later book named after you, a chance to win an annotated ARC and classic film collections, awesome swag like bookmarks and buttons, updates about what’s going on behind the scenes, and of course, my sincere gratitude and appreciation. It can also be pretty cool to be involved in launching a book, and I’ll have a few surprises in the works, too!

Thank you to every one of you who has been reading my blog, following me on Twitter, and making a space for me to talk about my books and hear about yours. The community of writers and readers is a wonderful place to be.

How can you join? Contact me below!


Midwest Writers’ Workshop- Building A Platform

While at MWW, I attended a networking lunch with Jane Friedman, who spoke on developing an audience as a writer. As a former publisher with Writers Digest with a Twitter following of 181,000, Ms. Friedman knows what she’s talking about. I especially appreciated that her advice was simple, common sense, and almost entirely cost-free. So, since I love to pass on such things, here are Ms. Friedman’s recommendations for developing an online audience, with my own commentary:

1- Figure out your “kernel”– your specific area of expertise. I love it when this is also something useful for others and something you’re passionate about.

2- Establish a website that’s truly yours. Not your boss’s/organization’s site, not a group project (unless you specifically want to build a platform as part of a group.) This website should not be “under construction”, and it should have a place readers can read about you as well as see your content.

3- Start an e-mail newsletter and collect sign-ups on your website– or have a blog where readers subscribe to your posts. This can function as well as a newsletter, since whatever content you would send out in a newsletter can just be posted to the blog for readers.

4- Choose a social network to focus on- and enjoy interacting! Don’t spread yourself thin by working on every one of the top ten sites. Specialize, post useful & interesting content, and use it often– be consistent.

5- Pay attention to how your readers engage. Where does your traffic come from? What days and times? Adjust your promotions and activity according to how your readers access and connect. Being consistent is important to measuring all this.

6- Measure, adjust, and experiment. What topics do best? What unique thing can you launch? What service can you provide? Basically, pay attention to what works, and have fun with it.

Here are a few things Ms. Friedman very nicely but very firmly told us to NOT do:

1- Never email someone about your content/service/product who has not explicitly given you permission to do so.

2- Don’t be impatient with gaining followers and readers. It takes time.

3- Be polite. Don’t throw yourself at people and don’t pressure them. This will harm your platform.

4- Don’t expect growth to be instantaneous. It takes time. Just generate quality content that you love, and be patient.

I love advice like this, because it boils a whole system of ethics concerning online interaction into a few simple concepts I can remember and follow. What do you think? Have you been practicing any of these consistently? Are they working for you?

What is #WriteClub?

Hello lovely readers!

This is Darci Cole here, and today I want to talk about the amazing International Twitter Phenomenon known as #WRITECLUB.

As of the day this article posts, #WriteClub has officially been around for eight months. How do I know this? Because the original explanation article, which you can find here written by #WriteClub head honcho Megan Whitmer, was posted on October 4th, 2012. Since then, it has received nearly 15oo views, and been the basic go-to source of information whenever anyone asks “WHAT IS #WRITECLUB?”

Before I get into just how huge and amazing #WriteClub has become, let me cover a few FAQ’s for anyone looking.

What IS #WriteClub?

#WriteClub is a Twitter hashtag on which writers from all over the world come every Friday night (and randomly throughout the week) to join in support and encouragement of each other. We do thirty-minute writing sprints, with 10-15 minute breaks between. Start and stop times are tweeted from the host account, @FriNightWrites.

How do I join #WriteClub?

In the words of Megan, “There’s a pretty complicated membership process. It involves you following @FriNightWrites and using the #WriteClub hashtag so people can find you. And also you have to tell me how delightful I am at least once a day. That’s the biggest requirement.” So. As you can see, we’re very official. Also, I would add that using the hashtag means you report your word counts with it. This allows our StatsGuy to add your numbers to the ever-growing list, and include you in an epic writing marvel.

When do the official #WriteClub sprints happen?

Every Friday, our “Earlybird” group starts with the amazing Sarah Benwell (@SWritesBooks) in the United Kingdom. She begins at 7pm UK time, or 2PM Eastern Standard Time (11AM for West Coasters like me) and we literally go for at least twelve hours. Every. Week.

Sarah turns it over to either Megan or Angi (@AngiNicole722) at 8pm EST, and they hand it off to me or Carey Torgenson (@CareyTorg) at 11PM EST. We run until 2-3AM EST (11-12 for us), and Beau Barnett (@iNukeYou), who lives on the East Coast, is there nearly the entire time, occasionally spouting out up-to-the-minute stats, and for records set, Sarah Blair sets off a confetti cannon.


UK: 7pm-7am

US EAST COAST: 2pm-2am

US WEST COAST: 11am-11pm

(And often, we go later than that.)

Can I use the hashtag for sprints when @FriNightWrites isn’t around?

Absolutely! We only record numbers during “official” sprints, but the hashtag is a public place meant for everyone to use. Feel free 🙂

What if I’m writing by hand? How do I report a word count?

What we’ve had writers do with this, is count how many words you write on one or two pages and take an average. Then, with every page or half-page written, multiply by that and report.

What if I only get a few words out in the thirty minutes?

Report anyway! Sometimes a few words makes the difference between breaking a record or not. We have some writers who pump out over 2K words in 30 minutes, and others who only get 100 or less. Some writers are writing poetry and focusing on getting the RIGHT words instead of a number. Other writers are revising and actually LOSE words (Don’t report negative numbers though, we don’t do subtraction) But no matter what, THEY’RE WRITING. They’re WORKING. They’re making PROGRESS on their work, and THAT is what #WriteClub is for.

What’s the quickest way to annoy Megan? 

(Or any of the other #WriteClub Sprint-leaders)

If you use #WriteClub to tweet nonstop marketing about your book, WE WILL BE SUPER ANNOYED. #WriteClub is for WRITING. We get together to write together, not to market our books. NOW, if you just got an agent/bookdeal/some other fantastic news, or if your book goes on sale and you want all your #WriteClub friends to know about it, that’s great! We’d love to hear! But if you constantly tweet and tweet and tweet about it, you will find yourself shunned.

Where we are now…

The first night that Megan headed up the sprints was insanity. Over a hundred writers jumping on Twitter every thirty minutes to compare word counts and encourage each other. The following week it was much more subdued, but from that crazy beginning has grown a community so powerful I can’t help but be amazed whenever I think about it.

Beau Barnett (AKA #StatsGuy), who voluntarily took on the ever growing task of recording #WriteClub statistics, has literally spent hours scrolling through twitter feeds every Friday of 2013 to keep track of these numbers. As of last Friday, 31 May 2013, the #WriteClub community has made the following records this year:

TOTAL Words Written in 2013: 2,438,003 in 22 weeks (!!!)

Highest Monthly Total: March 2013 (after UK  joined): 715,060

Highest Single Night: 171,299 on 4/15 (I think. I could have the math wrong…)

Highest Single Sprint: 2,732 (Beau “StatsGuy” himself)

Highest Individual Nightly Total: 22,192 (@poetIBe, who rocks my socks)

I’m going to have to do a separate post on my blog entirely for stats, and when I do I’ll link to it here for those interested.

It really is incredible.

So, what are you waiting for? Block off your calendar this Friday and come join us. Whether you’re writing poetry, short stories, novels or essays, be they hand written, typed, or painted on your bedroom walls, JOIN US. We’d love to have you.


Follow the #WriteClub Crew on Twitter:

Megan Whitmer @MeganWhitmer

Darci Cole @Darci_Cole

Angi Black @AngiNicole722

Carey Torgesen @CareyTorg

Beau Barnett @iNukeYou

Sarah Benwell @SWritesBooks

Sarah Blair @SarahLBlair

Why I’d Rather Be Broke

I’m now just a few days shy of a month since I quit working full-time.

I’ve taught for three years. During that first year of teaching, I got my first solid idea for a novel and started writing seriously. It took me several months to figure out how to find time in my day for serious writing, but I worked at it, and I read books on craft, but I mostly ignored whatever might happen after finishing my novel. I simply read and wrote.

The second year of teaching, I started feeling the strain of working full-time and serious writing. I’d hit 50k several times in my novel due to starting over multiple times, cut and rewrote enough pages it would have taken a forest to print them all, and continued to read books on craft. My progress picked up significantly- I had a real novel taking shape, not just a wandering mess of words. I started looking a bit further into the future and made some connections in the book world. I branched out in what I was reading, discovered what a query letter was, used my vacation days to stay home and write, started this blog, and FINISHED my first novel. Yes, it took me two years. I still love it. It’s the first of a series– a huge story with a huge cast, tons of historical detail, and a complicated backstory. I don’t regret taking it on as my first for-real novel (I won’t tell you about my high school and college novels. Oh, the trauma), but I must have been crazy to do so. I sent it off to beta readers and started writing the ever-dreadful synopsis and crying over draft after draft of query letters. My friends and family will tell you, I had very few spare minutes in 2011. (I’m still not fully back to the social butterfly I was in the pre-writer era.)

2012 marked a big change for me. I barely knew anything (still working on that), but I knew how to find out the basics. I revised and revised from my beta notes, sent that first traumatic round of queries (go read the archives here- fun stuff), revised more, sent further rounds of queries, received requests (astonishingly enough)and started reading new books. I’ve always loved classics, and of course I read the big hits. But I as I learned about the book world, I discovered some pretty fantastic writers. Somewhere in between reading THE NAME OF THE WIND and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, subtext, voice, and internal conflict started making a bit more sense to me. In August, I started working for my fabulous boss editor at Entangled Publishing- the same month I wrote my 6-week first draft of MOON RIVER. Two years for the first draft of my first novel, six week for the first draft of my second. The scope is smaller, it’s not the first of a series, and the backstory isn’t nearly so complicated, but I love it just as much. Writing and polishing MOON RIVER kept me distracted while I queried SILENCE- I’d taken a break with it for the summer while I did YET MORE revisions on it.

Thanks for sticking with me here. I promise there’s a point.

The summer of 2012 saw me completely overwhelmed but unable to quit anything I was doing. To be published, I had to write. To live, I had to work full-time. My internship with Entangled was teaching me valuable skills that dramatically increased my knowledge of the industry and writing in general. Reading new, brilliant fiction and books on craft kept me sane and were also necessary for learning to write well. But I simply didn’t have enough time to do it all. Knowing MOON RIVER was a notch above SILENCE in writing quality made me desperate to finish it and get it out in the world; querying and revising SILENCE was incredibly time consuming; reading anything for pleasure made me feel guilty because I needed to be making progress on my internship and adding to MOON RIVER’s word count and sending queries, but it was necessary for staying sharp. My husband and I started talking about what would need to happen for me to work part-time. It was just a dream, but looking at it as an option helped me keep going.

The fall of 2012, all these things I’d buried myself in started snowballing. I finished MOON RIVER. Beta notes on it came back that made me grin instead of cringe. My internship with Entangled was going really well. The writing community on Twitter pulled me in, and every day, I love chatting with the writers, readers, agents, and editors there. I’m learning so much from having them on my Twitter feed. I read, read, read. CODE NAME VERITY, SHADOW AND BONE, and WHAT ALICE FORGOT helped a number of things click for me. Reading made me a better writer and helped me to keep loving books.  Teaching forced me to prioritize and value my free time. Interning made me a better writer and querier. Participating in the online writing community made me a better reader and writer. I can’t emphasize enough how much I loved all this work- stressful and demanding as it was (and still is).

But I just didn’t have the time to do justice to the tasks I was undertaking. I was dabbling in six things, mastering none, and needing each day to have 50 hours. Teaching, as much as I loved it, wasn’t making me a better writer. I couldn’t really drop anything but the areas I was investing in were only creeping forward. All my stress and effort for very little return. I’d burn out before I made it.

And then MOON RIVER was all but ready to query and the Carol Mann Agency offered me an internship.

To jump, or not to jump?

I couldn’t add two more things to my day. Literally could not. One serious “will we die of starvation?” talk with my husband later, I gave my notice at work and the school graciously offered me a part-time position similar to a teacher’s assistant. I couldn’t do what I’m doing now without this job, so I’m very thankful for it. I know so many writers who would give their right arm to stop working full-time and devote themselves to writing, and I feel a bit guilty that it’s me doing it and not them.

We’re broke. There’s a real possibility we’ll be living in a cardboard box next month (or showing up on my sister’s porch). But I’m doing what I love. I’ve been working part-time for a month now, and every day is a blessing.  Stressful and demanding, filled to the brim with deadlines and to-do lists, but still a blessing. MOON RIVER has ventured out into agents’ inboxes, I’m getting to work with some fabulous writers for Entangled and CMA, and I’ve started my next novel- I can’t wait for it to be living and breathing on the page.

I’m fine with being broke to make that happen. I’ll eat rice for a year, forget what restaurants are, and start pricing gasoline not by the gallon but by the drip, if I have to.

Maybe I jumped off a cliff and I’ll regret it when I hit the bottom. Right now, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Here’s hoping my optimism makes the landing softer.

3 Ways to Set Yourself Apart in the Slush

I’ve been considering writing a post for a while on common issues I see in submissions, and I’m seeing enough of the same things coming up that I think that might make a great topic. If you’ve been reading agent blogs or following writers on Twitter, you probably know to avoid super common openings in your novel- alarm clocks ringing, the main character waking up, an action scene before we’ve been given a reason to care, etc. Beyond those things, there are several elements of writing itself that makes me question the submission and occasionally stop reading.

1) Lack of contractions. I see this a lot in SF/F/paranormal writing. More formal phrasing is often the first route writers take when they want to make an angel/vampire/immortal of any kind sound as if s/he is from another culture. This idea might have worked for the first few who did it, and it still might work if done extraordinarily well, but it’s such a common device now that I expect it, so it isn’t interesting anymore. Plus, and here’s the kicker, it makes the writing stilted. Even if your character is from another culture, unless she’s the Dowager Countess, it doesn’t work. Try saying the lines out loud yourself; if it sounds weird, it reads weird. It pulls me out of the story and makes it that much harder to catch my attention.

2) Modifier overload. This has to be one of the most common things I write in reader reports. Adjectives and adverbs stand out; be choosy. An author friend of mine told me her agent says she gets ten adverbs per novel. That’s how choosy you should be. Now, if you’re that choosy, maybe you can do more than ten. The point is, I get the distinct feeling a lot of writers aren’t actually aware of how many they’re using. And you have to be. If using words is going to be your career, you have to be aware. Take just your first page and highlight how many adverbs and adjectives are on that page. I frequently see 15+ modifiers on the first page. Of course, the commonly advised solution is to delete the modifier and use stronger nouns and verbs- “china” instead of “plate”, or “hurtle” instead of “run.” I like to keep in mind the principle of “detail that matters.” If it doesn’t matter that the flowers are pink, don’t tell me. They’ll show up as a color in my imagination even if you don’t supply one. But if the tangle of the stems and the withered leaves matter as insight about the protagonist, then by all means, use it. Just be aware, and be intentional.

3) Common phrasing. This is a little more abstract of a concept, but it’s easy to identify in a manuscript. When I read about bright sunny days, fear creeping over someone, half-smiles turning up a corner of someone’s mouth, etc., I get bored because I’ve seen all these things too many times. Cliches might be a part of this, but it’s more just ordinary words being used in an unimaginative way. When I read, I want to see a new perspective on something. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is an excellent example of breaking away from the ordinary in showing the main character’s thoughts. Not everyone should go so far as to strike out portions of the text, but I do at least want to think, “hey, this writer sees that man’s shoes a little differently than most people would” or “I’d never thought of describing a street like that.” So, I want to see more language that shows unique thought.

When I see a writer who doesn’t have these struggles, I know he is both aware and intentional with his writing. That fact alone helps the submission grab my attention.

Guest Post- A Fiction Writer’s Take On Writing Nonfiction

Hello readers! Please welcome my first guest blogger, Bree Brouwer. She has some unique experience in the writing world, and she’s approaching building her career as a writer in an entirely different way than I am. Even though she wants to be a fiction writer, she’s starting in the nonfiction arena, and since she’s done such a fantastic job building a platform in such a short amount of time, I invited her here today to talk about the what and why of writing nonfiction.


When I was younger, I decided quite early on that I wanted to be a writer.  My mom read me classic stories before bed like Little House on the Prairie and The Chronicles of Narnia.  As I grew up, I discovered YA literature like My Side of the Mountain, and my all-time favorites Misty of Chincoteague and The Saddle Club (boy, I loved horses).  As adulthood approached, teachers introduced me to Wilde, Tolkien, the Brontes, Austen, Lewis, Huxley, and so many more writers who created stories that made me yearn for more.

I wanted to do for others what these authors had done for me.  In college, I decided to focus on a degree in English writing, determined to pursue fiction the rest of my life.  The problem, as I’m sure many of you know, was that English writing degrees tend to involve lots of non-fiction writing, with only a smidgen of fiction classes added for “well-rounded” measure.  I grudgingly showed up at my journalism and advanced expository writing classes, anticipating that next semester I could take screenwriting.

Why such a diversion to non-fiction writing, you ask?  I grew up with a news anchor dad, and everything I saw in the news, journalism, and communication world disgusted me.  The sensationalism of it all seemed demeaning and frankly unethical.  Though I firmly believe that even one person can make a difference in an industry, I told myself I never wanted to be that one person.  Leave the job to someone who actually cared more about all that non-fiction stuff.

So now that college had drilled me with mostly non-fiction knowledge, I had a choice to make once I graduated: focus on fiction and stay penniless for a while, or plod through a non-fiction job just to start paying off loans.  I still cringed at the thought of becoming a journalist or copywriter, so I took a completely different route and became an online English teacher.

My job was a desk job in a massive warehouse-converted-to-office building, and since the school’s curriculum was pre-written, I mostly graded.  At home, I was so weary of English and grammar in general that my writing slowed to a complete stop.  Not surprisingly, it was towards the end of these three years as a teacher that I started to realize how much I needed to write… and write anything at all.

Fortunately, I’d been keeping up-to-date with all my favorite geeky websites about gaming and entertainment, and had been watching the developing world of blogging for years.  I noticed that the more I read articles and blogs by other writers, the more I thought, “I can do this.”  The world of new media journalism was growing, and I actually found myself wanting in on the adventure.  I started applying for internships and volunteering to write for these sites, all the while thinking of a blog I’d like to start myself and hoping that my non-fiction background would pay off.

It did.  This past August, a few months into writing for two sites, I decided to take the freelance plunge and quit my teaching job.  I networked on social media, launched a geek blog, and scored an entertainment blogging position with a smartphone app company called Fanhattan.  Though I had no paying clients, I was writing again and it felt perfectly right.  I still don’t have many paying clients, but I’m slowly getting closer to a livable salary and adoring my little non-fiction writing successes along the way!

I really think two key factors were at play in my non-fiction enlightenment.  First, the fact that I found a specific part of the often unethical, sensationalist world of journalism and non-fiction that I ended up loving (entertainment, new media, and other geeky stuff), really provided a whole new perspective on what I’d previously thought I hated.  Second, I had never had correct guidance in college or directly out of it on how to find and become involved in this area of non-fiction.  Once I learned all this myself, I was more than eager to try my writing hand at it.

I share all this with you because I know many of you are aspiring fiction authors like I was, and I know that as much as you want to write fiction, you shouldn’t avoid non-fiction.  I don’t mean to turn you off from fiction entirely, because it’s still one I haven’t given up on myself.  Instead, realize that some form of non-fiction exists that you probably would love to participate in (and in all reality, could easily get paid for doing so as you work on your fiction aspirations).  You may find blogging about ancient Mayans gets you going, or contributing articles to a local non-profit newsletter creates a sense of accomplishment.  Heck, you could even find joy in local news reporting.

Whatever it is you find about non-fiction that keeps you writing and stretches your skills, get to it, and don’t let your non-fiction prejudices hinder you.
Would you be interested in hearing more from Bree about how to start building a nonfiction platform? Do you have any questions about writing nonfiction? Let me know in the comments!

Bree Brouwer is a freelance writer and blogger who loves investigating culture, pursuing geek enlightenment, producing videos & short films, and shopping for deals like a true Dutchwoman.  She is working on the launch of her blog, Geek My Life (  Her desire is to create, discuss, and promote content worth consuming; find her at Find her on Twitter at @BreeBrouwer

Drafting and YA Stands

Hello, readers! How did September come and go so quickly? I’m pretty sure it should still be the end of July. But here we are, square in the middle of apple cider and pumpkin season. Every time I look at my Twitter feed, someone is talking about pumpkin spice lattes, which I have never tried. Should I? The idea sounds strange to me- I’m not a fan of fruit coffees, either- but people seem to seriously love these lattes. So, I need some expert opinions.  I’m putting a poll at the bottom of this post- let me know if you think I should try my first pumpkin spice latte, or if I’m better off sticking with my standard hazelnut. I’ll try one if I get enough votes!

In other news, last month I finished the first draft of my WIP- the young adult contemporary. It took me eight weeks instead of the six I had planned, but spending 9 days in Canada slowed me down quite a bit.  I had a fantastic time at my friend’s wedding, and I’m now an expert at tying ribbons for ceremony programs. But the draft is finally completed at 52,000 words, and I’m well into the second draft. This manuscript is quite a bit different from my first novel, but I still loved it. Writing this story was just plain fun, and I really enjoyed writing a more rural novel. I love my main character’s voice, so hopefully it’s a fun one to read as well. My goal is to have it ready for beta reading and critiques by the end of this month.

Don’t forget I’ve also been posting on the group blog for YA Stands! In case you don’t follow that blog, here are my last few posts there.

Identifying Young Adult Fiction: in which I discuss why YA books are really books for every age group, and why age of the characters isn’t the most important factor in determining whether or not a book should be called “YA.”

Marathoning a Novel: in which I give some tips and tricks I learned while drafting my current manuscript, and why you should marathon a novel too.

Handing the Rejection Blues: in which I take an honest look at one of the most difficult parts of querying.

Getting It Done: Writing and Publishing Tools: in which I point writers to 3 of my favorite writing tools of all time.
As always, thanks for reading! Now, pumpkin spice latte- try, or no?

Publishing Terms and Abbreviations


Below is a list of common terms and abbreviations you might see as you read my posts or other publishing blogs.

Agent: Literary agents are professionals who represent an author’s career. The most well-known tasks an agent performs are selling the writer’s MS to a publishing house and negotiating the contract. Agents do much more than this, however.

CP: critique partner. Writers who critique each other’s work. These can be great relationships to establish because of the encouragement, resources, and support writers receive from each other.

Crit: critique. An evaluation that aims for showing both the strong and weak elements of a MS. Critiques from other writers, especially authors and agents, can be a great way for writers to improve their writing.

Editor: Editors acquire books for their house to publish and help polish the work before publication. Like agents, they do much more than this as well.

Form rejection: A copy-pasted rejection from an agent to a writer who queried. Most of the time this is what writers will receive. Most agents receive 100+ queries a week (I’ve seen some agents report 800+), so personal responses are often impossible.

MG: middle grade. Writing written for middle grade readers and adhering to certain age group conventions.

MS: manuscript. An unpublished work of fiction or nonfiction.

MSS: plural of MS.

NA: new adult. Characters and plotlines revolve around situations common to the 19-early twenties age group. This category of fiction is just getting started and most agents and editors don’t recognize it yet because booksellers don’t have a system in place to sell NA works. A good-sized community is advocating for NA to become established, however.

Personalized rejection: A rejection from an agent to a writer who queried, but some element of the letter is personal. A line or two complimenting the work but explaining why it’s not right for the agent may be included. This is an encouraging compliment from the agent, and is actually a good thing to receive.

Pitch: A brief description of a manuscript highlighting the main elements in a way that makes others want to read more. Contests sometimes ask for a 1, 2, or 3-sentence pitch. Writers should have one ready for contests and conferences.

Query letter: A letter, often a professional email, that writers send to agents asking them to consider them for representation. The letter includes specific details about the MS the author has written and relevant credentials the writer may have. Some agents want 5 or 10 pages and/or a synopsis included as well. Conventions for queries are very particular.

R&R(or R/R) Revise and resubmit. The request from an agent or editor to have the writer make certain changes to the manuscript and then resubmit the work for consideration. These are common, and don’t necessarily mean the writing was poor. The agent’s current list of titles, market trends, and the writing itself may be reasons for R&Rs.

Request: An agent (or sometimes editor) requests to see a certain number of pages of a writer’s manuscript. These can be “partials”-generally 30, 50, or 100 pages- or else “fulls”- the entire manuscript. Usually agents request a partial first and then request a full if they are considering representing the writer. A request is a BIG deal, particularly if it’s a full.

Synopsis: A 1-2 page summary that reveals the main elements of the MS.

Twitter pitch: A pitch designed for Twitter contests. 140 characters or less.

WIP: work in progress. The manuscript an author is currently writing.

YA: young adult. Writing intended for a teenage audience, but with tremendous crossover appeal to adults. Publishers Weekly reported this month that 55% of all YA books are purchased by adult buyers, and 78% of the time, those books are for themselves.

Have you heard any other terms you’d like to know more about? Ask in the comments- I’ll answer!