Conference Time!

First off, if any of you read Guardian Ghost, there’s a new letter from Cassandra that I managed to write this weekend when I was procrastinating on rewriting my novel. Link in the right sidebar, if I’m not mistaken. If you’ve never read Guardian Ghost, there are only 22 letters at the moment, so it isn’t impossible to start at the beginning and catch up pretty quickly. Murder, romance, and the supernatural, what more could you ask for? Victorian sensibilities, do you say? We’ve got you covered.

 

Anyone tired of my talking about the writing conference yet? Ha! You ain’t seen nothing yet, folks!

I leave tomorrow and will be taking lots of pictures and videos to show off once I return. I was disappointed to learn yesterday that John Green had surgery this week and can’t make it to the conference, but after a day being depressed about it, I’m back up and excited again.

I’ve managed to read 27 (out of 30) books by the authors who will be speaking at the conference. I know if I was an author, I’d much rather talk to someone who has actually read one of my books. And it gives me something to talk about with other conference goers.

My novel has been sewn back together after the extensive surgery I mentioned in my previous post. I’ve been working on my pitch, because the hardest thing about having a novel is answering the dreaded “What is it about?” question in a SHORT and interesting manner. It’s like trying to describe your mother in one word. It’s easy to get stuck because you’ve lived with her your whole life and have seen all of her complexities, so how can one word ever be enough? How can I convey the scope of a novel I’ve worked on for over four years in a mere thirty seconds? Simple, I don’t even try. I just present them with The Hook.

The Hook is the buzzwords about your novel that make it unique. For example, the hook of my letter story Guardian Ghost is this: Victorian Therapist for Ghosts. That, my friends, is what the publishing world calls a High Concept Story. Hooks and High Concept mean pretty much the same thing. It’s what makes the book marketable. I struggled when I sent out my queries this year for two reasons:

1. One of the strongest things about my novel is the quirky voice of the narrator. That’s hard to sell unless someone actually reads it. To help, I tried injecting some of that quirkiness into the query letter itself, but it’s hard to balance style and really concentrated exposition.

2.  I knew what my hook was (sorry, can’t tell you, it would be a spoiler), but my hook came at the END of the novel. This was a problem, which is why I took things apart this summer. And it’s a much better novel now, so it was worth it 🙂

 

Time to put the finishing touches on packing!

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