Winterwolf Press NewsNews, Updates and Helpful Posts
“This book is about faeries, magic, demons, and it was just pure enjoyment,” said Kirsty Hanson of The Bibliophile Girl in her review of BETWIXTERS: ONCE UPON A TIME by Laura C. Cantu. “As soon as I started reading this book, it instantly reminded me of The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony Diterlizzi. . . . Once Upon a Time had a very similar feel to it with the different magical realms that belonged to humans, faeries, gnomes.”
“Even though this book is a middle-grade novel, it didn’t feel like that,” she continued. “The language wasn’t too simplistic, the plot wasn’t boring; everything had a nice balance, and there was also diversity among our three protagonists!”
Below is a brief excerpt from the review:
Director of Operations & Acquisitions, Arleen Barrieros, Gives Insiders to 2 Elizabeths About Winterwolf Press’ Submissions & Operations
AB: As of now, we are approached primarily by writers, which is very nice. Winterwolf enjoys cultivating close relationships with our authors, welcoming them into our creative family. That being said, there isn’t necessarily a preference for authors approaching us or agents. We welcome both.
2E: What are some components that you like to see in a query letter and what makes an author stand apart?
AB: When I receive a query letter, I like seeing that the author has already read our submission information in terms of what we are actually looking for, and that they are trying to target their query letter directly to us. In the past, we have received submissions from people who are submitting technically within the targeted genre where we focus, however perhaps their work is not within the “spirit” that Winterwolf Press is looking to publish. And then, there are those queries received that are “canned” submissions and not tailored directly to me. Those are not appreciated, as they haven’t shown that they care enough for their own work or our company. If you don’t have time to write a letter directly to me, then why do I have time to read your submission? On the other hand, when a query is personal and real, and shows that a writer has done a little research about who we are, that query is going to catch my attention. This makes the author stand out. It shows that they care and that they are trying to show their work in the best possible light.
To read the full story, go to 2 Elizabeths’ website!
2 Elizabeths Interviews Winterwolf Author Laura Cantu About Latest Book, Xandria Drake: Ancient Rising
If you’re here to learn about blog tours, then you’ve likely already got a book cooling on the rack and ready for release soon. Congratulations! Many aspiring writers don’t make it this far. Take a moment to bask in your success before you go back to agonizing over details and stressing out about promotional events. If this describes you, you’ve also come to the right place. Blog tours are an excellent way to plug your new novel while avoiding the constant rush and physical stress of an all-out book tour.
What Exactly Is a Blog Tour?
Blog tour refers to a series of promotional posts and other original content across blogs in support of your new novel. It is organized in advance with content and posting dates agreed upon beforehand. The posts are also toggled, meaning they won’t all go up at once. The goal of the blog tour is to generate buzz around the release date of your novel, encouraging interested readers to go out and buy a copy.
Should I Do a Blog Tour?
Are you busy and stressed? Do you want to promote your novel without having to leave your two-year-old and spouse at home for days at a time? Then consider a blog tour. In fact, a blog tour might actually be preferable if you’re a YA writer or work within a genre. These readers are very active in the online community. Of course, these days, most consumers are active online, making blog tours excellent for reaching a wide audience.
How Will It Work?
First, you need to find your bloggers. Research blogs and choose ones with similar audiences as your own. Also, consider blogs that have done this sort of book promotion before. Reach out to them six to eight weeks before your publication date. You’ll need time to get all your ducks in a row.
Next, you’ll need to convince them. Not every blogger is going to be chomping at the bit to promote you. It helps to build a rapport first. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being used. Be friendly and interested in their blog before you ask them to be part of the tour.
You can also entice them with exclusive content and giveaways. Bloggers love this stuff because their readers love it. Exclusive content could come in the form of an interview with you, the author, a guest post written by you, or exclusive excerpts or information. Basically, give them something unique that will set their post apart from the other posts on the blog tour.
When you have your bloggers lined up, be sure to give them everything they need to be a successful part of the tour. Provide them with copies of the work well in advance so that they’ll have time to explore it. Also be sure to give them branded content, links for purchasing the work, and biographical information about you.
Finally, stay vigilant. Keep a schedule of when posts are supposed to go up and share them across your social media accounts to promote visibility. The more active you are in the process, the more people will feel like they are interacting with you.
Anyone can write a novel.
This is technically true. You don’t need a degree in English Literature or five years of experience blogging on your favorite fiction site to open a word document and start typing. However, fiction requires practice and skill. Don’t assume that because you can write the next great American masterpiece that you’re going to without putting in the time to really learn the narrative craft. Allow us to help you on your way to fame and fortune by alerting you to some common beginning writer mistakes.
Let’s start with the building blocks of the novel: sentences. A simple sentence is easy to write, but writers want to craft evocative imagery and generate suspense. That requires more than just a string of simple sentences. Unfortunately, it’s also where new writers can go off the rails.
- Sentence variety – A narrative comprised of similar sentences will be boring or daunting to read. This also applies to starting contiguous sentences the same way.
- Repetition – This literary device can be put to good use. However, if used improperly or too frequently, it can bog down the reader.
- Sentence complexity – Sometimes, in their effort to avoid simple sentences, writers try to craft the most complex sentences they can. This can make the narrative confusing and hard to read.
Some, but not all, grammar rules can be broken in creative writing. Many grammar rules are essential for cueing the reader into the meaning of a sentence. Others are a little more fluid. Know which rules you can break and which you can’t.
- What you can do:
- Sentence fragments – These can help with characterization and pacing. They can also be great for setting a mood.
- Incorrect punctuation – Sometimes punctuation can be used creatively in writing, like when you want to emphasize Every. Single. Word.
- Run-on sentences – These can also help characterize and set moods. Like sentence fragments, they can have a poetic effect.
- Rules you can’t break:
- Modifiers – Make sure modifying clauses are modifying the right thing.
- Subject – verb agreement – Technically, this is ok for dialogue or a narrative voice with an affect. But it’s not ok for standard narration.
- Pronoun-antecedent agreement – Again, this is ok in dialogue but avoid it in standard narration.
Basically, you want to ask yourself two questions: Is there a narrative purpose for breaking this grammar rule? If so, does it inhibit the reader’s understanding? If it passes both tests, then knock yourself out.
Let’s move away from the nuts and bolts and focus on style. Narration has a low floor and a high ceiling. In short, it’s easy to tell a story but difficult to tell it well. The following are common pitfalls for new writers when working with descriptions and characters.
- All of their characters are them. They say “write what you know,” but it helps to try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
- Too many points of view. We can’t all be George R. R. Martin right out of the gate. It’s hard enough developing one voice when you’re a fledgling writer, you don’t want to worry about five or more.
- Too much front-loading of descriptions. We don’t need to know everything about a character’s looks and demeanor when we first meet them. Give us just enough to have a vague picture or impression and allow the rest to flow through dialogue, action, and intermediary descriptions.
- Falling back on favorite similes or repeating descriptions. If you’ve referred to a character as raven-haired, it won’t do to call her raven-haired a dozen more times.
Finally, don’t forget the overarching point of your story (yes, your story needs a point). Have themes and a target audience in mind. Knowing these before you get started will make marketing the book much easier.
When you write something you’re truly passionate about, it can be difficult to go back through and look at it critically. Even those who are skilled at putting aside their emotions as they peruse their own work may miss plot holes or character inconsistencies. After all, it’s easy to miss the confusion that readers might experience when you already know what you meant by a description or piece of dialogue.
Unfortunately, you’re but a starving writer and can’t afford to pay an experienced editor $30-$50 an hour to look over your manuscript. Thankfully, you don’t have to. There is a happy medium between critiquing your own work and hiring a full-on editor to give it a thorough rework. That happy medium is known as the beta-reader.
What is a Beta-Reader?
Ever heard of a beta-tester? The word “beta” is often used in the gaming industry to denote that something is being tested. A beta-tester might practice playing a game, intentionally scouring it for bugs and imbalances. The beta-reader is the beta-tester for the writing community. They are not there to publish a book or offer a review. They are there to act as a practice reader and to give you valuable feedback on the reader experience.
Beta-readers can be more or less professional. They may be paid. They may volunteer their services. They might only offer an overall impression after reading a book, or they might give you a thorough line by line critique of grammar, style, and plot. In this way, they are not strictly editors or proofreaders. However, they could act as either depending on the reader and your needs.
What do Beta-Readers Look For?
Well, as we mentioned above, that’s a hard question to answer. Typically, beta-readers will look for any of the following:
- Some style (particularly where it causes confusion)
- Inconsistencies in plot, characters, tone, etc
- Other character or plot holes
In general, beta-readers are there to represent readers and develop a broad impression while also offering guidance and pointing out problems as they read. They do not conduct full-rewrites of a manuscript.
Who Needs a Beta-Reader?
You do if you have a manuscript that you want to make reader friendly. Of course, if you’re publishing through a large or small press, you’ll almost certainly be given a beta-reader and or editor to help with your manuscript. However, if you’re going through a vanity press or self-publishing, you’ll need to find someone on your own.
Where Can I Find a Beta-Reader?
That entirely depends on the level of expertise and involvement that you’re looking for. If you want someone who can provide thorough and informed guidance, check out freelancing forums like Upwork or Freelancer for writers who can act as beta-readers. However, if you just want someone to read it and give you a general impression or more rudimentary critiques, look around you. Friends, family, and colleagues can all be beta-readers. Choose someone who reads and, even more importantly, someone you trust to be honest with you.