Three Reasons Why You Shouldn't Stop Reading




While in the writing process, I find it hard to finish--or even pick up--a book. (I have this fear of accidentally imitating someone else's work.)

That's the last thing I want to do. No one deserves to be plagiarized.

But at the same time, one of the best ways to improve your writing skill is to read.

Note the difference: Reading is observing, and you gain so much knowledge in the process.

My goal for today's post is to give you THREE reasons why you shouldn't stop reading while you're working on your manuscript.





1.  INSIGHT: If you're into writing YA novels like I am, the first noticeable difference is the voice of the  main character. Unlike other genres, young adults are on two extreme scales: completely mainstream or not mainstream at all (i.e hipsters, trendsetters, ect.) And if you've grown past your young adult years, there's a slight chance that you've already forgotten what that "version" of yourself sounds like. Even I, in my early, early, twenties, forget what I sound like. This is where the reading process comes in. Honestly, reading anything that's been published in the last six years is still quiet relevant to that YA group today. It's important to take note on today's slang and phrases because there are some words that aren't used anymore. Like: "All that and a bag of chips" and "Talk to the hand" are overused phases that were relevant in the 20th century, not so much in the 21st.

2. VISION: Where do you get your story ideas? I get mine from songs, dreams, reality, and books! I noticed that certain scenes in books have the power to spark an entire manuscript. Getting insight from many different books helps with the story-flowing process. Sometimes it's a never-ending stream of words, and sometimes it's just a simple idea. Eiter way, it's something. So pick up an intriguing book that really gets the juices flowing.

3. ACTION: I've noticed that whenever I pick up a good book, I get so motivated to finish my own book that I never get a chance to finish the page I'm on. Truth: reading a bestseller sparks motivation! I'm living proof of that, and so are the many books scattered across my desk with dog ears in them. Even self-help books get me excited to finish my own. I always get that sense of urgency: Who knows, I could be writing that next top-charter?!?! 
I'm telling you, reading books guarentee's a bestseller . . . . . ha, totally kidding.


But don't knock the reading process. Without it, you may gain less insight, lack a clear vision, and become unmotivated.

Books are the trendsetters, so challenge yourself to be just that.



Till Next Time Blog World!

Purple Cow, Say What?



You're probably asking:"What is this purple cow you speak of? Britney, are you alright? Have you lost your marbles...?"
And I'd probably respond like so: "No. At least not completely."


Guys, purple cow is an actual thing!!!

It's a marketing concept by Seth Godin that states, "companies must build things worth noticing right into their products or services. "

He says that a product that isn't somehow remarkable--like a purple cow--is unlikely to sell, regardless of how awesome it is, or how much advertising it has.

Seriously, who wants a regular cow when you can have a PURPLE one?

Think: IKEA, Starbucks, Smart Cars.... these are the purple cows of the industry. When you think IKEA, you think beautifully-crafted, cheap, DIY furniture; when you think Starbucks, you think of a comfortable hangout place with coffee; when you think Smart Cars, you think of how such a product is selling. It's so small...

How is this useful for writers?

For one, as an author, each and every one of us is going to have to market our own product, in this case, books. Even the very best publishing agency doesn't market an author's book as best as an author him/herself.
Secondly, if we're wanting to sell anything or catch the eye's of an agent, we need to be purple cows! We gotta give them a good reason to gawk at our writing like it's gold.

No one wants something that's been over done. The market wants clean, fresh ideas that will last. They want something that set the trends, they want something that people are going to copy--and trust me, if people enjoy it, they're going to want to reproduce it.


So when you sit in front of your manuscript today, I challenge you to color outside the box of norms. Be different. Be creative. Make that first sentence, first paragraph, and entire book count. Be that extrordinary part of yourself.
Make people want to copy you!
Because if they are....you must be doing something right.



Phew...sure glad that marketing class paid off....


Till Next Time Blog World,

Successful Query Examples

Do you ever stop and think: Man, if I had a few successful queries or book descriptions to look at, life would be easier.

Or maybe it's: I just don't feel like going to a bookstore and reading book descriptions. Actually, I don't feel like moving at all. 

Well, this is for you. No moving involved. Everything is here in one place.

Today's blog post features top chart books and their book descriptions. Maybe you'll be inspired when it comes to your own query.

*Note: these are not the actual queries. But they may help you create your own query. 




1.) If I Stay: In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.
         
Version two:   Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.
                             I open my eyes wide now.
                             I sit up as much as I can.
                             And I listen.
                             Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.
Nifty Link: Here!

2.) DIVERGENTIn Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Version two: “One choice can transform you.”
In Divergent, Beatrice faces a choice that will change her life forever. She can choose any of the five factions to live in… forever. It will determine who her friends are. Who she will marry. What job she will have. What skills she will learn. What philosophy she will model her life around. What virtue she will pursue far beyond any other. Her choice of faction will shape the rest of her life.


Cool Link: Here!


3.) Thirteen Reasons WhyClay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush - who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.

Extra Cool Link: Here!


I hope this helps!

Until next time blog world!



AQC: This is for you . . .




I've had this blog for about seven months now, and I haven't overlooked the fact that the community from Agent Query Connect happens to be the top supporters for my blog.

That's freaking amazing!

And I'm all about giving back because I wouldn't know as much as I do now without you--each one of you.

So, drum roll please because some great stuff is about to happen.

I, Britney, solemnly swear to critique FIVE member's queries from AQC. Whether it's a quick look to check for minor grammar mistakes, help because you've never written a query before, or just support from someone who's been apart of the AQC community for a couple years, then I am here for you!
I know that I haven't been as active in the community as much as I would like--especially since I'm not writing a query anymore--but I wanted to express to you all that I most certainly haven't forgotten.

So here's what you need to do:

Simply be the first five viewers to email me on AQC with the title: QueryReview! Add the link to your query as well!

Along with that, share the link of my blog by posting it on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr to get the word out. I'm a total advocate for writers supporting writers (and I will follow your blog by the way!)

I'm excited to look at everyone's queries! You have a total of 48 hours before the offer expires!
Don't forget to share the link and the love!

Go, Go, Go!!!!


Here's the link to my blog: http://britneylewisbooks.blogspot.com/

What Happens After The Agent?

What happens after an agent has offered you representation? Complete bliss, of course. I'm kidding. Sort of . . . You see, on...