Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The 2014 Baker's Dozen Agent Auction: What To Expect

  • The entries will post on Friday morning, early Eastern time.  As soon as they're live, you may begin leaving critique.  (I will post critique guidelines, too.)
  • Our participating agents are free to begin reading the entries on Friday, and continue over the weekend.  It's the reason I post them early--it gives the agents a chance to find their favorites and know ahead of time exactly which entries they want to bid on.
  • Critiques from our participating editors and authors may occur at any time, so keep your eye out.  The adult entries will be critiqued by editor Katie Cord and author Karen Duvall; the YA and MG entries will be critiqued by editor Hali Baumstein and author Victoria Schwab.
  • Bidding will open on Tuesday, December 2 at 11:00 am EST, sharp!  At this time, agents will bid on the entries they want to see.  Opening bids must be a minimum of 5 pages (that is, a request to see the first 5 pages).  Each entry will go to the highest bidder, with a full request being the obvious highest bid.  (No critiquing will occur on this day.)
  • Not every entry will receive bids.  This doesn't mean the un-bid-upon entries stink.  It just means that none of our participating agents were captivated.  Keep. Querying.
  • Bidding will officially close on Tuesday, December 2 at 11:00 pm, to complete a 12-hour bidding window.  Most of the action, however, will be at the front end.
  • After the auction closes, I will hook the winners up with the agents who have *won* them.  And if history repeats itself (as I fully expect it will), several success story will officially be in the making. 
  • The exclusive for winning agents is 1 week.  After this time, I will send out subsequent requests from agents who didn't win but who still want to see works on which they placed bids.  DO NOT QUERY THE AGENTS WHO BID ON YOUR ENTRY UNTIL YOU HEAR FROM ME.  I will have special submission instructions.
I think that covers it!  If you have any questions not pertaining to the critiquing guidelines (which, as I said, I will post on Friday), please post them below.  And remember to SPREAD THE WORD via our #BakersDozen2014 hashtag!  The auction is exhilarating to watch, even if you're not one of the 60 participants.

Also?  The Tweet Divas (Julie Butcher, Sarah Ahiers, K.T. Crowley, and yours truly) will be LIVE TWEETING the bids at #BakersDozen2014.  So grab your leftover slice of pumpkin pie on Friday morning and curl up with Twitter to watch the fun!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Baker's Dozen: Posts Live This Friday!

I'm always vaguely surprised when we actually arrive.  At any rate, here we are!  Our 60 winning excerpts will post THIS FRIDAY MORNING.  (As in, my morning.  It may not be your morning.)

This is what happens next:

  • You all start critiquing!  Feedback can begin immediately. The only thing I ask is that all critiquing stop during the actual auction on Tuesday, December 2.
  • Our guest editors and authors will start critiquing.  Each entry is guaranteed 1 critique from an editor and 1 critique from a published author.
  • The agents will be reading!  I post the entries 4 days before the auction to give the agents plenty of time to choose their favorites.  There's no time for reading once the fierce bidding wars begin!
Note:  If you are one of the 60 entrants, I request that you critique a minimum of 5 other entries.

Another note:  If you are an email subscriber, please remember that YOU HAVE TO COME TO THE BLOG TO PARTICIPATE IN THE AUCTION.  Please don't email me on auction day and ask me why you can't see the rest of the entries.  THEY ARE ALL ON THE BLOG.  Your email will only contain up to a certain number of posts.  CLICK, folks!  There's plenty of room for you around the fire (and coffee and tea, too!).

New this year:  We will be live tweeting the bidding (as best we can!).  3 volunteers and I are each taking 15 entries to keep an eye on.  We'll tweet as fast as we can to #BakersDozen2014.  So THAT WILL BE THE HASHTAG TO FOLLOW!

If you're watching the auction, TWEET AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN.  I've felt like, in past years, the actual auction was pretty isolated from the crowds.  On my end, things absolutely explode.  (Specifically, my inbox.)  It's exciting!  But no one else sees it happening.  So my desire this year is to capture that adrenaline rush and spread it over the internet.

I've also asked the agents to tweet as they bid, but I can't promise you that they will.  Because THINGS GET PRETTY INTENSE.  I'm hoping they'll at least crow publicly once they've won something!  

Here's another tip:  If you have favorite entries, subscribe to their posts.  Then you will receive agent bids in your inbox!  You'll be able to keep up with your favorites firsthand (and also tweet about them!).

Remember the hashtag:


Okay, folks!  That about covers it.  My compatriots and I will celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, and then we'll all gather in the lounge on Friday morning for the start of the BIGGEST Baker's Dozen ever!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Fricassee

It's not just any Friday -- it's the Friday before Thanksgiving.  Which means -- HOLIDAY SEASON HERE WE COME!

It also means that the Baker's Dozen entries will post ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!  And as soon as they post, you'll be able to start critiquing.  (Also, as soon as they post, the agents will be reading.)

So I don't have a lot to say today, other than THANK YOU to all the entrants.  It's hard sending out the winning emails knowing that so many won't receive them.  It's hard discovering, after the fact, that folks I actually know (and even, yanno, like), had entries that we didn't choose.  That's a super stinky feeling.  (I really hate this.)

To all who didn't make the cut this year:  It's one drop in the pond.  Keep writing, keep pursuing other avenues, and especially the tried-and-true "get critique partners, do hard work, and send queries to carefully selected agents".

Thank you, too, for being a part of this blog community.  And if you entered and didn't make it in?  Come and offer your critique.  Because we ALL have something to give to someone along the way.  That's what it's all about.

Reminder:  if you haven't started working on your CHRISTMAS OR CHANUKAH LYRICS, get started!  I'm looking forward to reading your entries.  I've already written one!  (No, I'm not entering.  I'll share it afterward.)

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

December Fun: A Christmas/Chanukah Song Lyric Contest!

It's time to roll up your sleeves and conjure sweet visions of gingerbread and dreidels--because I want to see your best holiday song parodies!

On WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10, you will be invited to share your own, creative versions of beloved Christmas and Chanukah songs, with themes related to writing or the publishing industry.

  • When the contest blog post appears, you may enter your masterpiece IN THE COMMENT BOX.
  • Absolutely no emails, please. Comment box only.
  • Please do not enter more than TWO masterpieces.
  • Please use a screen name by which you will be EASILY IDENTIFIABLE. 
  • Lewd entries will be deleted. But you wouldn't do that, anyway.
  • Your masterpiece should be an ORIGINAL set of lyrics that go along with a CHRISTMAS CAROL OR SONG or a CHANUKAH SONG. Make sure your theme is writing- or publishing-related. Please include the TITLE of the holiday tune so that we can all sing along.
The contest will open at 8:00 am EST on Wednesday, December 10, and will close at 8:00 am EST on Thursday, December 11. Comments will then be closed.

THE ESTEEMED JUDGE: Alison Weiss of Egmont USA!

Alison Weiss has been at Egmont for 6 1/2 years. She works on chapter books through YA, and is just starting to look for nonfiction projects, as well. She loves everything from heartwarming middle grade to edge-of-your seat thrillers. She has worked with New York Times best-selling author Jessica Verday (Of Monsters and Madness), Agatha Award winner Penny Warner (The Code Busters Club series), Tony Abbott (Goofballs), Micol Ostow (Amity), Kristen Lippert-Martin (Tabula Rasa), Sasha Dawn (Oblivion), Mike A. Lancaster (Human.4), Sarah Cross (Kill Me Softly;Tear You Apart), Kristina McBride (One Moment), J&P Voelkel (The Jaguar Stones), and Sarah McGuire (Valiant) among others. She also assisted on Christopher Myers’s H.O.R.S.E., which won a 2013 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award. 

Follow Alison on Twitter HERE.

Alison will read all the entries and pick her favorite.  The winner will be announced on Monday, December 15.

THE PRIZE:  An Egmont tote stuffed with Egmont books and ARCs!

Nifty prize, yes?  And this was all Alison's idea.  I asked, "What could the prize be?" and she said, "Tote!"  

I ran a contest like this waaaaay back in 2009, with the lovely Lauren MacLeod as our judge.  At that time, I wrote my own parody, which I've included below.

(And, no.  You don't have to record yours.  Just post the lyrics.  I just happen to have a fabulous and talented husband to do these things for me!)

Words by Authoress
Recorded and Produced by Mr. A

Snark! The Haggard Agents Sing
(Hark! The Herald Angels Sing)

Snark! The haggard agents sing,
"Email die, and phone, don't ring!
No more queries sent from hell,
No more stories I can't sell.

Give me eggnog, rum, and cookies,
Save me from these writing rookies,
I've rejected forty-four
thousand and six, and maybe more."

Snark! The haggard agents sing,
"Email die, and phone don't ring!"

"Contracts, royalties, and tears,
Fill the weeks and months and years.
Weary, now, I shut my door,
Screaming, as I go, 'NO MORE!'

Editors, I'm tired of waiting,
On my last nerve you've been grating.
Thanks to you, I soon will be
Paying for clients' therapy."

Snark! The haggard agents sing,
"Email die, and phone, don't ring!"

"Give me sand and surf and sun,
I'm in desperate need of fun.
Farewell partial, full, and ARC,
I have had my fill of snark.

Lock the door and turn the light off;
Can't remember my last night off.
Toss the books and pass the gin!
Let the holiday begin!"

Snark! The haggard agents sing,
"Email die, and phone, don't ring!"

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Choosing WInners: What The Final Stretch Looks Like

In case you're wondering why many days pass between the end of slush-reading and the emailing of winners:

1.  Jodi and I come to the end.  We cheer a little.  (Or a lot.)

2.  Usually, we schedule another meeting time, during which we go through all our maybes and add the best to our existing yeses.  (Note:  There are always more maybes than yeses.  ALWAYS.)

3.  This time, we actually finished our last reading round half an hour ahead of schedule, so we decided to go ahead and choose the rest of our yeses.

4.  During this process I accidentally deleted two of the maybes that were supposed to be yeses.  So I had to find them in the database and create new blog posts for them.

5.  Next, Jodi emails me the wondrous spreadsheet she's been filling out all along.  Color coded and everything.  I will use this to double check the winners against the entries in my Blogger.

6.  Over the next few days, I will find each entry in the database according to its original post number (this is the number that was emailed to the authors).  I fix each post (formatting, renumbering, post times), and then I add the title and author's email (found in the database) to a textedit file.

7.  Because this is tedious, I never do more than 5 at a time.  Which gives me plenty of time to get it done without going mad.  (It's not hard.  It's really not. I just HATE TEDIUM.)

8.  By some time on Thursday (or sooner), I will have my complete list of 35 winners--titles plus emails.  So it's each to swipe-and-copy that on Friday morning when I create the email.

That's it!  Just a lot of administration.

Please note that, during this time, I'm also doing things like adding "MG" or "YA" if it's missing (easy enough to determine by the age of the protag), placing the loglines in italics, etc.  I am not, however, fixing errors in the excerpts.  So if you're a winner, it's going to be up to you to proofread your entry the day it goes live, and email me if there are any typos you'd like me to fix.

And that's it, really!  It already feels like the herd-of-rhinos' share of the work is past me.  Of course, that'll all change in a heartbeat once the bids start rolling in.  But the reward at that point is the RAW ADRENALINE.  So much fun!

So there you have it.  And now I'll crawl back into my little hole and keeping digging my way through (25 to go!).