Tag Archives: Book Give-away

Guest Blogger Joe McGee: 10 Things I Learned on the Journey to Publication OR Yodeled Snippets of Insight from a Metaphoric Beard

imgresConsider this a postcard from the cloud-covered peak of Dream Mountain.

Now, don’t be fooled – it’s the first summit in a whole range of goals, aspirations and career dreams. But here I am, playing my ukulele, watching the llamas frolic, eating berries that I picked on the trail and hid away in the kind of beard one grows on long, epic journeys fraught with trials and challenges, pitfalls and moments of derring-do.

It’s a metaphoric beard. An epic, metaphoric beard in which I have collected the experiences of my journey to date. 32 years ago, a 10-year-old boy promised himself that he was going to be a published author. He stood at the bottom of the mountain, in his feathered cap and leiderhosen, and said “One day…one day, I will get there.”

He did.

(And leiderhosen are out of style)

PBB Cover          PEANUT BUTTER & BRAINS (Abrams), my debut picture book, will be published Tuesday, August 11th. I am beyond excited. I am ecstatic. I am so excited that I want to yodel from the mountain some of the things I have learned in my journey to this point. Consider them the yodeled snippets of insight I have gleaned along the way:

  1. You must WANT to do this so badly that you will accept no other alternative. You must be determined, you must crave it. You must have an insatiable appetite to be published that rivals a zombie’s craving for brains.
  2. Forget the odds. You can read a thousand articles a day about how hard it is to break in or break through, but why? Odds are meant to be beaten. They may not be “ever in your favor,” but why let that stop you?
  3. Seize opportunity. Cat Stevens sang “life is like a maze of doors and they all open from the side you’re on.” You will constantly be presented with doors, but you must recognize the opportunities and then open them. Do not hesitate. Do not think they might come again. Do not fool yourself into thinking that someone will open them for you.
  4. Take risks. Don’t be afraid to write that thing that might make people whisper about you in the grocery store. Tell the story you want to tell. Don’t be afraid to query that agent, or submit that story. Don’t be afraid to write in a new style or genre. Don’t be afraid to fail.
  5. Work hard. There are SO MANY talented writers out there, but consider this a marathon: everyone can run, but how many people will train hard enough, put the work in, to actually make it to the finish line? Stephen King said “What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
  6. Sacrifice. Learn how to say “no.” Guard your time. Stop watching TV. Get up earlier. No more video games. Give up your position as the treasurer for the community pudding club. Stop watching baby goat videos on YouTube (it’s difficult, I know) and stop playing around on Facebook.
  7. Be resilient. Rejection is a big part of this game. It hurts, yes. Every rejection is like a paper cut on our soul. Don’t keep poking your finger in the wound, slap a bandage on it and be tough. You have to be tough, or else you will eventually crumble.
  8. Keep moving forward. I have this quote tattooed on my arm and part of it reads: “Yesterday is history…tomorrow is a mystery…” Got rejected? Bad review? No answers to the first 92 queries you sent out? It’s easy to wallow in despair. Don’t. Be sad, or mad, or aggravated, but move forward, like a shark…always swimming forward.
  9. Believe. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. You may be fortunate enough to have some people around you who truly believe in you too, but there will be many people who will see your dreams as just that…wishful hopes and dreams. Believe you can prove them wrong.
  10. Enjoy it. As grueling and exhausting and painstaking as the process is, it is also absolutely beautiful. Each stage has its own nuances to love, so many firsts. Enjoy every step of the journey, every climbing spike you hammer into the mountain, every single handhold from which you dangle, and have dangled, over the valley from which you began on your journey.

_Zombies_for_web These things I have yodeled are not new, they are not words of magic carrying promises or absolutes. They are merely words of encouragement, a bit of insight, a dash of experience, from someone who is, and has been, on the same journey as you, my fellow writers.

Sure, I’m enjoying the view from this peak, celebrating the release of my new book. But the journey has just begun. There are more stories to write and much more work to be done. Time to shoulder my pack, gather my strength and continue on towards the next mountain.

I’ll see you on the trail and listen for your yodel.

~ THIS GIVE-AWAY IS NOW CLOSED~

I’d like to give away a copy of PEANUT BUTTER & BRAINS to one lucky reader. Here’s what you need to do: Since PB&B is all about being true to yourself, tell me something in the comments below that makes you unique, something you are really proud of, something that defines you, or a moment when you followed your heart. I want to celebrate your individuality with you. I want to hear your stories. I’ll randomly draw a winner from all of the people who comment by Tuesday, August 11th at 9pm EST. 

Wow, so many awesome comments, stories, and identities! Thank you all for reading and sharing a piece of yourself with me & the interwebs. Choosing the winner was based on a complicated quantum algorithm applied to a midnight toad race. Once  the toads narrowed the field to three, I traveled to the dusty streets of the island of Zan-zarinia to consult with a snake charmer. I reached into the snake basket and drew forth a palm frond. It had the name of the winner written upon it. The winner is……Diana Lynn Gibson! Congratulations, Diana! (I’m emailing you for your mailing address.)

IMG_5757Joe McGee is the author of PEANUT BUTTER & BRAINS (Abrams, 2015). He is a graduate of the Rowan University Master of Arts in Writing program, where he received the Medallion Award Scholarship for excellence as the outstanding graduate writer, and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program, with an additional VCF certification in picture book writing. Joe is a former airborne Army platoon leader, the father of three boys, and a writing professor at Rowan University. He writes picture books and middle grade novels. You can find him online at joemcgeeauthor.com and @mcgeejp

 

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Inside Scoop: Dish From a Literary Agent Intern – Contest Time!

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This week I present to you a contest of epic proportion… or rather marginally small proportion, with a few exciting giveaways. ‘Tis the season for blaring Holiday music, over packed stores and chaotic family get togethers that leave you drained and deflated. Well, I don’t think I can help with any of that, but I do know that a way to unwind in times like these is to be creative. At least for me, I know taking time to myself to do something fun, which gets my mind working in a carefree way, always brings me joy. Which is what this season is all about.

So I would like to throw down a book spine poetry contest. The rules are simple, using only book spines, create a poem, take a picture, post it, and the five I like most will win! You can see in the photo above what I am talking about (I wrote that from the inspiration of a special someone). FYI – THE PICTURES AREN’T POSTING IN THE COMMENTS, so after posting your entry in the comments, also email the picture to linda (dot) p (dot) epstein (at) gmail (dot) com.

A few other things:

  • Submissions are being accepted from 6 A.M. Monday, December, 15th to Thursday, December 18th at 8 P.M./EST
  • Post your submission in the comments section of the blog
  • Only 1 entry per person
  • Clients are exempt (sorry guys!)
  • Only for the continental US
  • Winners will be announced Friday, December 19th

imgresIf you follow these guidelines, the best five I find will win some pretty stellar giveaways for their reading (and listening) pleasure. First place will receive an ARC of The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konisberg; second place will receive a 10 minute Skype session with Linda; and runners up will receive The Hunger Games Trilogy book set; an audio of If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth; and an ARC of The Best Friend Battle by Lindsay Eyre (with illustrations by Charles Santoso).

I wish you all the best of luck! Use your originality and talent and send me some authentic pieces of literary masterpieces using… well, literary masterpieces (if you so choose). I look forward to seeing what you all come up with and wish you all very Happy Holidays!!

Kim Photo Bio

Kimberly Richardson is currently interning for Linda Epstein at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, while pursuing her Masters degree in Pace University’s Publishing Program. She also interns at the National Association of Professional Women. You can follow Kimberly on Twitter @kimberly_ann688.

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Holiday Presents for Writers and Readers: Book Give-away! Skype With an Agent!

map6Watch the blog next Monday, December 15th

In the spirit of the holiday season,

we will be giving away gifts!

imgresFirst of all, we have an ARC of client Bill Konigsberg’s THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH, (Arthur A. Levine Books, May 2015). Did you love OPENLY STRAIGHT?! How about OUT OF THE POCKET? Well, THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH is the next gem from Bill. The prolific and talented Andrew Smith (WINGER, GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE, 100 SIDEWAYS MILES, etc…) said that THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH is “undeniably human and unforgettably wise,” and my very own husband said, “Great characters, great mix of sweet, serious, funny and important.” So there you have it. If you win this little gifty, you’ll get to read Bill’s next book months before anyone else!

imgres-1We also have a galley of Lindsay Eyre’s THE BEST FRIEND BATTLE (Scholastic, March 2015). This is a chapter book for kids aged 7-10, and is illustrated by Charles Santoso. (Charles is also the illustrator of client Joe McGee‘s zombie picture book PEANUT BUTTER AND BRAINS, coming from Abrams in Fall 2015.) If you have a friend who’s in 2nd through 5th grade, this would be a nice present for them!

071913gansworth-ifieverWe’re also giving away a 9 disc audio book of IF I EVER GET OUT OF HERE by Eric Gansworth, read by the author. I don’t know about you but I adore hearing books read by the people who wrote them. “Acclaimed adult author Eric Gansworth makes his YA debut with this wry and powerful novel about friendship, memory, and the joy of rock ‘n roll.”

9780545374095But wait! That’s not all! Because we’re also giving away a boxed set of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay) in case there’s anyone left on the planet who hasn’t read these books.

Skype Latest Full Version Download Free For 2014 AugustLastly, we’re giving away a 10 minute Skype call with…Me! The winner of this gift will have 10 minutes of my undivided (ADD) attention, to ask questions about publishing, talk about books, ask for advice, etc…(but please don’t pitch me a project please).

So, check back here on Monday morning,

to see how to win one of these cool gifts!

Thank you to Cheryl Klein, Arthur A. Levine Books, and Scholastic, for their generosity in supplying ARCs, galleys, books and audio books, which has allowed me to give away these gifts. Their generosity is appreciated.

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