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Posts Tagged ‘Sisters in Crime’

 

Jan 12, 2016 updated to include complete Amazon address.

 

Well, after years of plotting & writing, conferences & writers groups, TUG Front Cover Onlymy story… ‘The Uninvited Guest’… has been published through Riverhaven Books in Whitman, Massachusetts. Such a thrill to see it listed on Amazon as a paperback and e-book!

http://www.amazon.com/Uninvited-Guest-Debi-Graham-Leard/dp/1937588505/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452610802&sr=1-1&keywords=debi+graham-leard

For the purpose of book signing events, I opted to print 400 books locally.  What a thrill to pick up the ten boxes from the print shop! My trunk will hold a box of books at all times for those unplanned opportunities to place my story into the hands of an avid mystery reader, along with a 2-sided bookmark.

And now onto the task of marketing. Area bookstores, local libraries, senior centers, and women’s groups are on my list to contact. Some of them are bound to be interested in a debut local author to speak about writing a mystery with a book-signing event afterwards.

As it happens, my sister is involved with her local library in eastern Pennsylvania, and has already put me in contact with their Friends president, who is excited about planning an event. After we solidify her date in late March, I’ll approach the other libraries in the Berks County system for a possible event at their location while I’m in the area.

In addition, as a member of Sisters in Crime, I have joined their Speakers Bureau, and look forward to participating in author panels around New England during the coming months.

For all of you who have been following my progress over the past few years, I hope you’re as thrilled as I am!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Debi

 

 

 

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hands on keyboardThis past weekend, I attended Crime Bake in Dedham, MA. Sponsored by Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, this conference is always inspiring, but not without its disappointments to a budding author.

First, there was the ‘First Page Critique’ session after lunch on Saturday. When my first page was read, only one agent defended my efforts because she has seen my progress. But neither she nor the other four agents raised a hand to indicate they would read further.

Second, my pitch to an agent, hoping to hook her into asking for my first three chapters, fell on deaf ears. This could be my fault, because I decided to change my genre from mystery to romantic suspense after the pitch practice session on Friday night. I’m going back to mystery genre.

Third time was a charm! My manuscript evaluation was provided by Ray Daniel, a Boston author. He pointed out that although my writing is good, and my verbs are strong, I’m asking my reader to hang in with me for a third of the novel before we find out that there is a body. Over the months, I’ve changed my opening scene too many times to count, but Ray’s words made sense to me. I finally got it!

So I flew out of bed early on Sunday morning, rushed to my computer and opened a new file. I pulled Chapter 12 forward, did a bit of tweeking and printed off a new page one. When I arrived at the Dedham Hilton for the final day of the conference, I bumped into Ray within minutes and asked what he thought of the new first page. He gave it a thumbs up…yea!

My writing days will now include not only regular revision, but a re-sequencing of my chapters to move my suspects into the middle.

But, oh,  how exciting this is!

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three women sepiaAn email arrived inviting me to choose my top three agents for the pitching session at the Crime Bake Conference, sponsored by Sisters in Crime New England and Mystery Writers of America during the weekend of Nov 8-9-10.

This year, the organizers are offering eleven agents and editors for our selection process. Bios for them all are provided on the Crime Bake website.

And so my analysis began! I read each bio to discover what sub-genre that agent is seeking at the moment, and their experience in the publishing industry. A follow-up exploration of each corporate websites with a browse through their most recently published authors solidified if they seem to be a good match for my mystery/romance story.

I settled on my top three, registered my picks via the online form, and will now wait until I register at the conference to find out which one is my assigned agent.

The pitching session will take place on Saturday afternoon during the conference weekend. Those authors who are participating will be collected outside the pitching room, and herded in as a group to spend our five minutes in front of the pour assigned agent. If all goes well, and my pitch includes enough of a hook, the agent may request more of my story. Wouldn’t that be encouraging?

Cross your fingers!

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imagesWell, today was the deadline to submit 15 pages for a manuscript evaluation at the upcoming Crime Bake Conference, sponsored by Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

After several revisions, I managed to condense the first 13 pages of my story to end with Chapter 2 where the initial hook hopefully sinks in. The first page was a cover sheet, and the second a one-page synopsis. How difficult was that to write??? All the broad strokes on one page!

My submission will be assigned to an agent, an editor, or a published mystery writer for evaluation. I’ll find out who when I register on November 8.

The two of us will find a quiet corner in the Hilton Hotel and spend fifteen minutes together. She will tell me what she thinks of my story and my writing. It will be a nerve-wracking experience, but a necessary evil. After sending my story through two separate writing groups, eliminating my original opening chapters and many unnecessary scenes, plus rewriting the first page a gazillion times, I can only hope that my evaluator thinks my story is in pretty good shape.

During this conference, I will also pitch my book to the attending agents. Maybe I’ll finally get a bite!

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One of the organizations I belong to… “Sisters in Crime”, is co-hostessing an event with “Mystery Writers of America” this coming Wednesday called “Author Idol”  The three agents on the panel will provide feedback on what makes them stop reading a manuscript submitted for consideration. Here’s how it’s going to work:

…each author who wants to participate will place the first three pages of their novel in a box

…a ‘reader’ will randomly select one of the stories, and begin reading

…when any of the three agents hears something that would make them put the manuscript aside, they will ring their bell. The reader continues the story.

…a bell ringing from a second agent halts the reading

…the agents will then share with the audience the why behind their decision to place the manuscript in the rejection pile.

This exercise is going to prove very useful to every author in the audience, whether they submitted three pages for the event or not. It should certainly help all of us hone those opening pages to hook an agent or publisher into reading further.

I’m really looking forward to attending!

 

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