#1 NYT Bestseller…omg

when my agent called this afternoon, i totally thought she was kidding. i think i said “no way” ninety times in two minutes. seriously. she laughed and promised to send proof in the form of a PDF…

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-5-18-07-pm

and there it is.

in black and white.

it’s really real.

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers list, and #3 on the eBooks Bestsellers list. holy wow. i am feeling so overwhelmed with love and gratitude and cannot begin to thank everyone enough for making this possible.

thank you to Barbara Poelle for always believing in my writing, to Jenny Bak for shining my story up and being a dream editor, to James Patterson for making SJTR part of his imprint, and to the entire team at JIMMY books for all of their hard work. Sabrina, Sasha, Peggy, Erinn, Tracy, Gabby, Aubrey, Cat…and to EVERYONE who’s put so much love into this novel, thank you. critique partners, beta readers, my family and all my loved ones in New York and Tennessee, i am infinitely blessed.

and thank YOU, dear readers. your excitement and enthusiasm and willingness to shout from the interwebs rooftops made this dream a reality. thank YOU.

sjtr-1-nyt

 

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STALKING JACK THE RIPPER made the 2016 BEA Buzz Panel!

We got the news a few weeks ago that STALKING JACK THE RIPPER had made this year’s BEA YA Buzz Panel, and it has been SUPER hard keeping this kind of secret from everyone. I’ve gotten a few questions from people outside of the industry about what it all means, and am posting some answers taken directly from the press release.

What is BEA, exactly? BookExpo America (BEA) is North America’s largest gathering of book trade professionals attracting an international audience. The event is widely known as an ideal place for content creators, media, booksellers, rights professionals, and movie and television executives to meet new authors, discover new books, learn about trends shaping the book industry, and network with those who have a passion for books and reading. BEA is foremost a gathering place for creative writers and thinkers and the commerce they create. It is recognized for the media attention it brings to upcoming books as well as for the notable authors it attracts to the convention itself. BEA is organized with the support of association partners including the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the American Booksellers Association (ABA).

What’s the Buzz Panel? The Buzz Panels are divided into three categories – BEA Adult Editor’s Buzz, BEA Young Adult Editors’ Buzz, and BEA Middle Grade Editors’ Buzz – and cover a wide range of topics this year exploring race, love, family, and more

BEA Buzz has a powerful track record of predicting the year’s hottest books, selecting nine titles over the past two years that made it onto the The New York Times Best Sellers list.

“BEA has had a good track record in selecting upcoming bestsellers and I think that once again this crop of authors is likely to become household names in the coming months,” said Steve Rosato, event director. “We’re happy with these selections and look forward to exploring these works further at BEA.”

How are the books chosen? The selection process was made by three separate committees of booksellers, librarians and other industry professionals. BEA officials note that the intensive selection process, which takes place over a two and a half month period, always involves passionate debate over the finalists. The selection committees are purposely designed to achieve the widest possible consensus.

I think I might be living in a dream world and hope to never, ever wake up if that’s the case. A few titles from previous Buzz Panels include:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Room by Emma Donoghue

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

and many, many more.

So yeah. Totally. Blown. Away. I cannot believe that my book made the panel, and will probably be pinching myself for the rest of my life. Thank you so much to Barbara Poelle, Jenny Bak, and JIMMY patterson books for taking a chance on a gothic story about a determined girl who takes on Jack the Ripper.

See you all in Chicago this May!

Links to the 2016 BEA Buzz Panel Announcement:

Publisher’s Weekly – BEA Unveils Books for 2016 Buzz Panels

Shelf-Awareness – BEA Editors’Buzz Panels: The Titles

BEA – BookExpo America (BEA) Announces BEA Editors’ Buzz Program Spotlighting Industry’s Next Breakout Stars

 

 

Lots of Sparkly Things Happening…

This post is going to be a little different because there are a few things happening around the interwebs that writers (and readers) might be interested in. I LOVE helping my peoples out when I can, so here you go!

1. There’s a new agent at my agency! *throws confetti*

Here are some deets:

Name: Rachel Ekstrom

Currently Seeking: young adult, women’s fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and romance…

Query email: rachel.queries(at)irenegoodman(dot)com

Query Guidelines: Please check out irenegoodman.com  for current submission guidelines.

Also, check out Rachel’s twitter feed for all your agent stalking goodness @EkstromRachel

2. My friend Ruth L. Steven is hosting a FABULOUS agent judged contest on her blog!

The details:

You’ll need your query letter and the first five pages to enter. 10 winners will be chosen by Ruth to advance to the agents. (Please note, your manuscript MUST be complete.)

RULES:

1. This is open to all fiction genres of YA and MG.

2. The contest itself will run on the 18th April. The submission window is 9am – 5pm EST.

3. In that window, you’ll need to send your query letter and the first five pages of the ms in the body of the email. The address to send to is lottiehumphries14@yahoo.co.uk

This competition is for Ruth’s followers, so you must be following her blog to enter.

For the FULL contest details and PRIZES click here.

Agents Judging the contest are Julia Churchill of Greenhouse Literary and Gemma Cooper of The Bright Literary Agency. (Contest is open to everyone.)

3. My agent is teaching a webinar TOMORROW! Wheeeeeeee!

The juicy details:

I already touched on this last week, but there are only a few spots left for people to attend. IT’S SO GOOD, GUYS.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

The essential elements of each subgenre within thriller/mystery in adult and young adult

Writing that “killer” query—one that reveals “the hook, the book, and the cook”

The components of a compelling hook within your book

Common themes and trends seen in successful crime books

How a familiar idea can still be unique—i.e., how to distinguish your own work from similar stories flooding the marketplace

The opportunities in both e-book and traditional publishing for thriller and mystery

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Writers who are actively querying agents and publishers in both adult and YA

Writers who feel they are hearing similar themes in rejection letters

Writers in the initial stages of writing who need to nail down what subgenre they are writing in and who would be most interested in their submission

Writers who will be pitching their concept at a conference

Writers who write for adults but are thinking of trying a YA novel in the mystery/thriller genre

To sign up CLICK HERE.

4. One of my best writing pals, Anita Grace Howard revealed her debut’s cover!!!!

It’s SO freaking awesome – have you seen it yet?! If not, here it is: SPLINTERED’s Cover Reveal (video)

SOOOOO PRETTY *pets screen*

Ahem. Back to the point… Anita is doing a HUGE giveaway on her blog to celebrate SPLINTERED’S amazing cover! There will be not one, or two, or even five, but TWELVE lucky winners!!!!!! SQUEEE!!!!

Get over to her blog immediately and enter as the contest is ending promptly at midnight on Friday. (THIS Friday, LIKE TWO DAYS FROM NOW Friday.)

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE PRIZES AND ENTER THE CONTEST

Four words, twelve letters: I HAVE AN AGENT!!!

You guys… I can’t believe I’m actually typing this post out. I mean, sure I’ve dreamt about writing something like this for the last two years, but I seriously can’t believe it’s real. I mean, it’s REALLY real.

HOLY MOTHER. I HAVE AN AGENT.

A real, live, agent is my partner in publishing crime. And it’s not just ANY literary agent, it happens to be my DREAM* agent. How lucky am I?!

It took me two years, and countless tears and laughter and SO MANY FEELINGS before I made the right agent connection. And even THEN she didn’t sign me with the first project I sent her…

The beginning:

I queried Barbara Poelle in July of 2011 with a YA futuristic thriller after reading (and loving) WITHER and seeing she represented the work. I checked and rechecked and did a million neurotic things before I fired off my query letter. Then I ate a bunch of dairy-free chocolate and questioned my life. Not really. But sort of. 

Fast-forward a few weeks. 

Write-On-Con (an online writing conference) was going on and Barbara (and fellow agent Holly Root) participated in a live Q&A session. If I wasn’t sold on how awesome Barbara was before, I was then. I thought she was funny/knowledgeable and would be the PERFECT advocate for a writer. I hoped, hoped, hoped for the impossible; she’d want to throw a chair and by chair I mean bar stool out a window to represent my work.

Fast forward another week or so.

My email taunts me with the dreaded: Gmail – Inbox (1) –

I see that it’s a message from Barbara. My brain runs through a million + 1 different scenarios in my head. Then I remember: The Irene Goodman Literary Agency only responds if interested. GASP. Could it mean… a FULL REQUEST. SQUEEEEEEEE!!!

So I acted like a professional successfully keeping my inner Tom Cruise from jumping on my inner Oprah’s couch and sent off the requested material. And I waited. But while I was waiting I did that thing you’re not supposed to do… I kept revising. I got some feedback from another agent, then revised some more. Taking a chance, I sent the revised copy to Barbara. She gladly accepted it.

Fast forward again.

While perusing Writer’s Digest for info, I came across a webinar Barbara was teaching. It was either going to help me stand out, or flag me as a complete nut, but the class sounded AWESOME and I quickly signed up. After another revision** Barbara jokingly accepted my latest version. A few weeks later she emailed me to let me know it was coming up in her reading queue. Of course I panicked.

Then a week later I see this guy again: Gmail – Inbox (1) –

It was from Barbara… And it was… a rejection. But you guys, it was SO GOOD. Like if rejections could cuddle hug you, this one SO would. I trusted what she said and agreed with her comments 1,000%. Knowing that she’s the kind of person I want in my corner, I rolled my writing sleeves up and got to work on another book.

Two Weeks ago:

I sent Barbara my full manuscript. (She told me to directly submit my next work, which was AWESOME of her.) Then I proceeded to bite my fingernails and by bite my fingernails I mean drink vodka and sent a handful of query letters out. Requests started coming in, as did a few rejections. I sent the requested material and tried to not check my email psychotically throughout the day.

Seven days later I saw a message from Barbara. I immediately assumed she was writing to tell me she discovered a way to set fire to her email using only her eyes. My heart sank. Then I pulled on my big girl panties and read the first line: She wanted to talk…

ON THE PHONE.

I proceeded to spaz/get nauseous/almost fall down the stairs. Because… OMG MAYBE SHE REALLY DID DISCOVER HOW TO LIGHT HER EMAIL ON FIRE AND SHE LEARNED BY BURNING MY MANUSCRIPT BECAUSE IT’S THE WORST THING SHE’S EVER READ.

Paranoia is a real thing guys.

I harassed told my mother about my “email and fire” theory. She wasn’t convinced. I tried the same thing with my friends and sister and they didn’t buy it either.

Then I sent a few thousand emails to my writing pal Anita Grace Howard, where I was openly panicking. Because OMG the phone call was TWO DAYS AWAY. That’s like a thousand years in a writers imagination. Thankfully, Anita talked me off my ledge and I calmed down.

Day of “THE CALL”

Barbara was every bit as awesome as I imagined she’d be. Within two seconds my nerves subsided and it was like talking to someone I’ve known my whole life. Her enthusiasm for my project was INCREDIBLE, and HOLY GUACAMOLE it’s like she has brain scanning superpowers. She totally got my book and characters, and my mind was officially blown.

 Apparently, she hearts me and my book as much as I heart her and her agenting superpowers.

So it’s official, I am now represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency!!!!!!!!! I could not be happier, I KNOW that Barbara is the perfect agent for me. I’m BEYOND thrilled to be on this publishing journey with someone like her on my side.

*HAPPY DANCES LIKE A MANIAC*

Here’s the moral of the story: If you have a dream, never give up. EVER. Keep learning, keep pushing, keep striving to reach it. But don’t forget to celebrate the little achievements along the way.

None of this would’ve happened if I stopped after that first book didn’t work out, or after that hundredth rejection I received, or any other bump in the road that emerged along the way.

I promise you, having that person call and be equally passionate about your work TOTALLY erases EVERYTHINGEVERYTHINGEVERYTHING crappy that has ever come before it.

THE END THE BEGINNING!!!!

WOO HOO!!!!!

*By “dream agent” I really mean they should be the RIGHT agent for you and your work.

**Please note: I also ended up taking a Writers Digest Webinar by Barbara in November 2011 and it was one of the best experiences. That’s the ONLY reason why I sent her a second revision. It really opened up our communication lines, be sure to attend the next one on April 12th, 2012! Barbara knows her stuff!!

Here’s the info: From Cozy to Carnage: An Agent Explains the Ins and Outs of Thriller/Mystery Writing–For Both the Adult and YA Markets