Welcome to Literary Rambles! While you’re rambling around and exploring the site enter for a chance to win:

MOTLEY EDUCATION through October 22nd

FINDING PERFECT through October 29th

Maya Rock Query Critique through November 5th

MAYA ROCK GUEST POST AND QUERY CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! I have a treat for your today. Freelance editor Maya Rock is here with a guest post on what to look for your freelance editor contract. Maya has been a freelance editor running Rock Editorial Services for six years and was formerly a literary agent at Writers House. Before we get to her guest post, I have some follower news to share.

FOLLOWER NEWS



Bish Denham has a new book that releases, THE BOWL AND THE STONE. Here's a blurb: Sam
and her best friend, Nick, with imaginations as big as the world, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality as carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings. And here are a few links:

Twitter: @BishDenham
 Available now at:

Now here's Maya!

SIX TERMS YOU SHOULD NAIL DOWN BEFORE MOVING FORWARD WITH A FREELANCE EDITOR

Hiring a freelance editor is a step many take before pursuing an agent, publisher, and sometimes even while in the midst of fulfilling a book contract. If you’ve decided to hire a freelance editor, here are some terms to nail down before you begin working together. Getting these terms straight will ensure that your work together proceeds smoothly. Please note that many freelance editors do not use formal agreements but are still legally bound by what they put in writing over email.

1.   RATE: Before you move forward with hiring a freelance editor, you should know how much the entire project is going to cost. Once you know the rate, you might want to determine whether this rate is in line with what others in the field are offering and, of course, make sure it fits into your own budget.

2.   PAYMENT: How does the freelance editor want to get paid?  PayPal, check, and credit card are all possible options.  What’s the payout? Half up-front, half on-delivery? Sixty percent up-front, forty percent on-delivery? All on-delivery? All on-agreement? Does the freelance editor have a certain timeframe that they want to be paid in? For example, I give authors seven days to send the payment after delivery.

3.   DELIVERABLES: It’s important to have clarity on what the deliverables—what the freelance editor will be returning to you—are.  If you’ve signed up for an editorial letter, you should know the approximate length of the letter and have a good idea what topics are being addressed. If you’re getting a line edit, you might want to ask how many comments you should expect on each page. A good way to get an idea of what you’ll receive is by getting a sample edit before committing to working with the editor on a full project

4.   FORMAT: Make sure that you know what format the freelance editor wants to receive your material in.  As a Word file? A single attachment?  Do they have guidelines for how the file is formatted? It’s traditional in the publishing industry to have double-spacing, one-inch margins, and pagination, and it’s likely your editor will want your manuscript formatted like this, too--but it won’t hurt to make sure.

5.   DUE DATE: When is the editor going to get back to you? Not all freelance editors give precise due dates. If your editor doesn’t give a due date, will he or she tell you what month or week they’ll come back to you by? Without a clear timeline, you run the risk of having the project drag on. Granted in traditional book publishing, hard and fast deadlines are not that common, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case in freelance editing.

6.   FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS: Does your freelance editor have a policy for handling follow-up questions? Can you speak on the phone, or will the freelance editor only answer emailed questions? If the phone, for how long? If your freelance editor does email follow-ups, how long can the emails be? How long will he or she accept follow-up questions for? After all, if you come back two months after the freelance editor has read your manuscript, he or she might have forgotten too much to be effective.

GIVEAWAY:  I’m giving away a twenty-minute over the phone query letter critique!

LINKS: Here’s where you can find out more information about my services—www.maya-rock.com/book-editing-services

Maya is generously offering a 20 minute over the phone query letter critique. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through November 5th.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Just let me know in the comments if you do not need a query critique too.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This is an international giveaway.

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I have debut author Jill Diamond and her agent Jennifer Rolfe here with a guest post and giveaway of Jill's MG mystery LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE MURAL MYSTERY.

The following Monday I have a guest post by debut author Monika Shroeder and a giveaway of her MG contemporary BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD.

The Monday after that I have an interview with debut author Jenny Moyer and a giveaway of her YA science fiction FLASHFALL.

Tuesday that week I'll be participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop.

Hope to see you on Monday!


SPOOKTACULAR GIVEAWAY HOP


Happy Friday Everyone! I’m thrilled to be part of the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop sponsored by Book Hounds. And there are so many great books being released right now.

Don’t see a book you like? You can win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card instead. I hope you'll all enter to win a book or gift card for yourself or as a gift for someone.

So here are your choices. I found these all on Epic Reads' AugustSeptember, and October Most Anticipated Lists, and you can find descriptions of these books there.

 


 


 


  




If you haven't found a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through October 31st telling me the book you want to win or if you want to win the Gift Card instead. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome as long as The Book Depository ships to you for free.

Here's what's coming up:

On Monday Maya Rock, who provides editorial services, will be doing a guest post with a query critique giveaway.

The Monday after that I have debut author Jill Diamond and her agent Jennifer Rolfe here with a guest post and giveaway of Jill's MG mystery LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE MURAL MYSTERY.

The following Monday I have a guest post by debut author Monika Shroeder and a giveaway of her MG contemporary BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD.

The Monday after that I have an interview with debut author Jenny Moyer and a giveaway of her YA science fiction FLASHFALL.

Hope to see you on Monday!

Here are all the other blogs participating in this fantastic blog hop:




ELLY SWARTZ INTERVIEW AND FINDING PERFECT



Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Elly Swartz here to share about her MG contemporary FINDING PERFECT. Molly sounds like an awesome main character, and she certainly has many internal and external issues to grapple with.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads

To Molly Nathans, perfect is:

• The number four
• The tip of a newly sharpened number two pencil
• A crisp, white pad of paper
• Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines

What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are often broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Slam Poetry Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with table cloths. Molly’s sure her mother would never miss that. Right…?

But as time goes on, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly’s world from spinning out of control.

Hi Elly! Thanks so much for joining us.

1.Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
I grew up in Yardley, a small town in Pennsylvania. At the time, there were many cornfields and cows. I lived in a red, brick house on Queens Drive with my mom, dad, two older brothers and dogs (first Missy and later Sam). My childhood was a happy one with many laughs, family dinners and crooked birthday cakes. 

Years later, in my home in Brookline, MA there are still many laughs, family dinners and crooked birthday cakes. However, now the faces around the table are my awesome husband and two wonderful sons who are tall, often bearded and in their 20’s. And the youngest member of the family, not at the dinner table, is Lucy the beagle. Over the years, our family has also included a pygmy hedgehog, gerbils, a hamster, fish and a few other dogs. 

I love writing for children, but I didn’t take a direct path to that career. I weaved and bobbed through many unique opportunities on my way to becoming a writer.  I studied psychology at Boston University and got my JD at Georgetown University School of Law.  I was a ride operator at Sesame Place, spent time working in a furniture store, was a messenger, law library assistant, legal author, litigator, legal research and writing professor and college essay adviser.

One summer I decided to seize the moment and do something I’d been longing to do for a while. I wanted to write a story. A real, beginning, middle and end kind of story. And, not long after I sat down to write, I got the first sign that, indeed, this was the right path for me.

I opened a piece of Bazooka Joe gum and wrapped around my sugary, pink delight was a fortune that read, “You have the ability to become outstanding in literature.”  Now I’m a dedicated Bazooka gum fan and have read many fortunes, but never had I nor have I since received a fortune such as that.  I keep this fortune tacked on the bulletin board next to my desk in my office. A touch of unexpected inspiration!

2. I can't believe how many writers I've met (me included) who are lawyers who change professions and become writers and authors like you. Where did you get the idea for your story?



One day, I woke up with Molly in my head. I could see her so vividly and she refused to leave until I told her story. At the time, I knew a number of adults and children who I was very close with who had OCD. I was awed by the disconnect between how they saw themselves and the world saw them. I spent the next seven years researching OCD, writing Molly’s story, and working with OCD pediatric specialists to authenticate the manifestation, discovery and treatment of Molly’s symptoms. Molly has been with me for a long time. And, even now, years after I’ve written the last page, she remains tucked in a very special place in my heart.

3. Molly sounds like a fantastic character who has a lot to hard issues to deal with, made harder due to her OCD. And reviewers have really connected with her. Share a bit about her and what her character development was like.

As shared, Molly just showed up one day. And, there was no long walk, hard work day, sunny day on the beach that would erase her from my thoughts. So after some time researching OCD, I began to write Molly’s story. When I first started, Finding Perfect (then called Wish) was written in alternating 1st person POV chapters between Molly and Hannah. I got to know Molly through both her and Hannah’s eyes. The way Molly saw herself was very different from the way Hannah saw her. It was in this discrepancy that I found the heart of Molly.

I learned quickly that Molly had an unwavering love for family, and a strength she did not
know that she possessed. It was this hidden strength and vulnerability that I fell in love with. Her character was so clear, but incredibly challenging to write. It was difficult going to the dark places where Molly found herself. As the author (and a mom), I wanted to reach in, help her, give her a hug, and tell her she wasn’t alone. But, I knew I couldn’t. I knew she had to help herself. She had to realize that she had both the courage and the strength. And, in the end, she learned that she had both.

4. So interesting how you learned about Molly through Hannah's eyes but ultimately dropped that POV. This is in part an issue book. How did you balance this out in the story without sounding too preachy? What advice do you have for other writers writing a similar type of book?

            Let me start by saying thank you. I worked very hard not to sound didactic. In fact, while writing this story, I took two years off from trying to get published and worked solely on voice, character and the craft of writing. I needed to understand what it truly meant to convey sentiment in an organic and authentic manner.

My advice to others would be to dig deep into your character. Leave the mom/parent/teacher/caregiver hat at the door and write like you’re wrapped in the head of your twelve-year-old. Write like you’re sending a coded message. Write from your heart. And then practice, practice, practice!

5. You are so dedicated to getting the craft of writing and message right. What was a challenge you faced in working with your editor or agent on revisions to FINDING PEFECT and how did you overcome them?

            I actually loved the revision process. My agent and editor were incredibly communicative and supportive. My only challenge was simply that my initial editor, Angie Chen, left the publishing house to pursue other endeavors. And, while I missed her, and I still do, she’s amazing, I now work with Joy Peskin, another rockstar, super smart editor. So, I feel truly fortunate.

6.  Your agent is Tricia Lawrence. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

            My road to publication has been well-traveled. I sat down to write my first book in the summer of 2001. Finding Perfect was the 5th book I had written. Through the years I had received many no’s/nopes/almosts. No is never easy to hear, but it is what pushed me to work harder, get better, be better. And, along the No Trail I met an amazing community of incredibly supportive writers and educators.

Finding Perfect is the book I submitted to Trish. It was around Thanksgiving when I received an email from her saying she wanted to represent me. I am beyond grateful to be navigating the world of publishing with her by my side.

7. Your story is a good lesson to other writers to not give up. Your book is scheduled to be released during OCD Foundation’s OCD Awareness week. How are you tying into this and how are you using this issue in terms of your book marketing?

It is less about marketing and more about hoping to connect with the half a million US children who suffer from OCD. (www.iocdf.org). Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be isolating. My hope is that Finding Perfect, along with other similar books, can help remove the stigma of mental illness, and enable kids to recognize they’re not alone. The pages in a book are sometimes where kids feel truly connected. And, when children feel seen, heard and understood, the obstacles to learning, engaging and connecting can begin to dissolve.
I truly hope that Finding Perfect allows kids like Molly to feel less isolated, and enables kids who are not like Molly to understand, empathize, and connect. After all, no one is just one thing!

8. Share something that has surprised you in the year leading up to your book release. What advice do you have for other authors looking to debut in the next 3 to 12 months?
            I would say just about everything has surprised me in the last year! But maybe most surprising has been the amazing community of educators and librarians who have reached out during this process. Truly, they are the most gracious, kind, dedicated group of people. Their love of their students and their love of reading is palpable and wonderfully contagious. They have been supportive and kind and welcoming to me, Molly, and Finding Perfect.

            My advice, get on social media, and Twitter, in particular. Meet the educators who are talking books. Introduce yourself, engage. Connect with other debut authors. Create a community. Find your people. And read. 

9. What are you working on now?
I am in the middle of a few new projects. I am revising a middle grade novel about an 11-year-old named Frankie. A story about family with a splash of mystery. I am super excited about this project, and while I can’t share more at this time, I can say, stay tuned. Good news coming!

I am also diving into the picture book world and kicking off another new middle grade.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Elly. You can find Elly at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

Also be sure to check out Finding Perfect’s
Curriculum Guide

and Audio Trailer

Links to purchase Finding Perfect:

Elly has generously offered a copy of FINDING PERFECT for a giveaway.  To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through October 29th.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This is an international giveaway.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find the participating blogs on her blog.

Here's what's coming up:

On Friday I'll be participating in the Spooktacular Book Giveaway Hop.

Next Monday Maya Rock, who provides editorial services, will be doing a guest post with a query critique giveaway.

The Monday after that I have debut author Jill Diamond and her agent Jennifer Rolfe here with a guest post and giveaway of Jill's MG mystery LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE MURAL MYSTERY.


 Hope to see you on Friday!