Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Eight Tips for Unlocking the Secrets of Mystery Writing by Lisa and Laura Roecker from Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing. Peek: “Don’t write a damsel in distress.”

Children’s Bookshops are Bucking a UK-wide Decline, according to a new report by the Booksellers Association (BA), from BBC. Peek: “Not a single children’s bookshop closed in 2011, said the report, despite a steady drop in the number of independent stores, with 73 closing their doors for good.”

Ten Reasons Parents Should Read Multicultural Books to Kids by Meera Sriram from InCultureParent. Source:

Author Insight: Negative Reviews from Wastepaper Prose. Insights from authors Joy Preble, Margo Lanagan, Greg Leitich Smith, and more.

How to Polish Your Writing Until It Shines by Stina Lindenblatt from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “Start at the final sentence of your manuscript and read it out loud. Then read the one before it. It really does work.”

Use Adverbs Fearlessly by Jael McHenry from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “So in your first draft, I say, deploy those adverbs fearlessly. Throw them in wherever you think they make sense. And when you go through the text on your first edit, see whether they’re really necessary.”

The First Sale: Expectations vs. Reality (Part 2) by Kristin Halbrook from YA Highway. See also part 1. Peek: “When an author gets their contract to sign can vary greatly. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t take long for mine, compared to others I know who might have waited months and months. But I wasn’t surprised when my first revision letter came later than promised–also
standard procedure.”

Donna Cooner on the Terrible Truth from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing. Peek: “I didn’t know it at the time, but if I had stopped there I would have missed something really amazing. And that’s the thing with terrible,
horrible, no good, very bad days in writing and in life.”

Define Success by Jane Lebak from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “…my agent couldn’t sell my last novel and my next isn’t yet on submission: so am I a failure? Or is my definition of success skewed to something well-nigh impossible to achieve?”

More Author Insights on Negative Reviews from Wastepaper Prose. Featuring insights from Barry Lyga, Lissa Price, Leigh Bardugo and more.

Looking Back at Early Writing by Andrew Porter from Glimmer Train. Peek: “There are any number of reasons for why stories get orphaned and forgotten,
why they get sent to the darkest corners of our hard drives. Sometimes they may belong there, but other times I think they remain there simply because we’ve chosen to forget them, or worse, because we’ve given up on them.” Source: Jane Friedman.

Irreversible Plot Points by Mary Kole from Peek: “Anchor the forward momentum of your story along plot turning points that
divide your tale into a clear ‘before’ and ‘after’ with no going back.”

Going Both Ways: Outlines for Plot, Panster, for Character by Janice Hardy from The Other Side of the Story. Peek: “If you like a little structure to keep you on track, but relish the discovery of an unfolding story, a combo outline/pantser style might be for you.” Source: QueryTracker.netBlog.

A Ripple in the Pool: Multicultural Books with Water at Their Heart by Marjorie from Peek: “Our blue planet provides us with endless experiences of water – and these are reflected in the variety of stories and non-fiction resources available.”

Professor Nana AKA Dr. L’s LS 5385 Blog: features reviews and recommendations of a wide variety of children’s-YA books by a foremost authority and professor at Sam Houston State University.

Discovering Your Readers: A Low Residency Course in Sane Self-Promotion of Children’s Books at The Writing Barn in Austin, Texas

October 2012-Februrary 2013

Kirsten Cappy of the children’s book marketing firm, Curious City will lead eight children’s books creators in a low-residency class in the self-promotion of each creator’s published book or scheduled publication.

Classroom time and one-on-one sessions will focus on decreasing anxiety about promotion by exploring comfortable and unique ways to introduce your books to potential readers.

Promotional topics will include increasing your web presence, blogging to reach new readers, communicating with librarians and booksellers, creating tools to increase your books “worth”, creating contests, building giveaways, and other initiatives.

Assignments will be given to students between sessions to complete customized outreach. Group marketing commonalities, differences, and other oddities will be shared as teaching moments for all. Members will also be able to share progress and ask questions on a private class blog.

For class schedule (in person classes held at The Writing Barn or attend via Skype,) application, and registration and fees see here.

Cynsational Giveaways

The winner of a signed copy of Keep Calm and Query On: Notes on Writing (and Living) with Hope by Luke Reynolds (Divertir, 2012) was Carl in Arizona.

The winner of a signed copy of Transcendence by C.J. Omololu (Walker, 2012) was Lesley in Singapore.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

My attention this week went to scrutinizing pass pages for the first book in the upcoming spin-off series. I’m not trying to be coy — I’d tell you the title, if it were finalized.But we’re getting closer!

Thanks to everyone at Bastrop (TX) Public Library for a wonderful event!

Review of “Haunted Love” by Cynthia Leitich Smith
by Mera from Mera’s YA Book List. Peek: “‘Haunted Love’ was an enticing
and surprising short story, that just increased my need for Smith’s
novels. Now to get Diabolical.”
Note: “Haunted Love” and “Cat Calls” — both set in the Tantalize series universe are available for free download by major e-tailers.

Celebrating Nonconformity: Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith from Instantly Interruptible: A Bookworm Mom’s Blog about Parenting and Children’s Books. Peek: “A book like this will give such ‘wild’ children the idea that it’s okay to be who they are, but it’s also possible to fit in (and quiet down) every now and then.” Note: post also offers interesting insights into parenting non-conventional children. Learn more about Holler Loudly, and see Holler Loudly teacher guides, developed by Shannon Morgan (interview), for Pre-K, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade

Diabolical by Cynthia Leitich Smith from Bookshelves of Doom. Peek: “…the characters are likable and believable, the dialogue rings true, the
different voices are all distinct, and the action is fabulously
entertaining—but it’s the worldbuilding that really shines.” See also Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Tantalize Series: a recap of reviews from Bookshelves of Doom. Peek: “Love. These. Books.”

Reminder: the Tantalize series giveaway, in celebration of the Diabolical (Walker U.K.) cover reveal is ongoing. International; winner’s choice of books in the series; don’t miss out!

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