Thursday, March 22, 2018

My Querying Journey

This is an old blog post from my days as a Lucky13 Debut, on our old defunct blog. So I'm reposting here for posterity!


By Lydia Kang

For some reason, I've been secretive about the intricate details of my querying quest. I think it's time to come clean. Even with an agent and a great book deal, I'm still embarrassed that I got so many rejections. I'm afraid I'll be judged by them, that I'm not one of these "I queried 10 agents and got 8 offers, voila!" kind of people.

So here's the nitty gritty, down the very last numbers and request rate percentages. Hold on to your hats!

2009  
June: Decide to write a YA urban fantasy novel, after writing mostly non-fiction and poetry. In a manic 4 weeks, it's done, all 90K words of it.

July: Start querying. Meet Querytracker and its lovely forum peeps. Get a few partials and a full. I'm overjoyed.

August: Start getting rejections on partials and fulls. Revise the novel lightly. Revise the query heavily. Send out more queries. More fulls and partials; more rejections. Learn a lot about the publishing business. Learn about writing. Inhale Steven King's On Writing. Realize that my UF novel is pretty amateur, but not horrible.

September: Decide that writing a historical YA is the way to go. Start researching (fun!). Continue querying the UF; more rejections pile in. Reread every forum post that says "Rejection means you're that much closer to success." Refresh email box 1000x per day.

October-November: Continue writing the historical novel; decide I'm going to query the heck out of the UF. I exhaust the agents in the U.S. Decide I don't have to be that patriotic. Start querying in Canada and the UK.

December: A bite! FISH ON! (Sorry, I've been watching too many episodes of River Monsters.) Have phone call with UK agent. She wants to pass my MS around to her agent mates. Two weeks later, she rejects me. She offers a R & R, but I've lost faith in the novel and I sense that the agent is not a good fit for me. Meanwhile, the historical novel is written. Send it out to my precious crit partners that I've found via Querytracker and close friends.

2010

January: Stop querying the UF. Crits come back. They are not pretty. Start major revision #1. Continue to read voraciously online about revision and the craft of writing.

February/March: Voraciousness continues. Start blogging, because I vaguely hear I need it for platform. Start meeting lots of blogger/writers who teach me what I don't know about writing, such as arcs (not the gold ones from the first Indiana Jones movie.) Continue revisions.

April: Revision is done; start querying historical YA. I select my agents better this time and refrain from using the spaghetti method. Get better at writing my query. Get lots of rejections. Realize that the historical needs yet another huge revision #2. Hold of on sending full to Very Interested Agent. She graciously agrees to wait.

July: Send full to Very Interested Agent. She loves it. Requests an R & R.

August: Send back revised MS to Very Interested Agent. Start outlining a dystopian.

September: Dystopian outline is 35 single spaced pages. Toss dystopian as certain elements have been done too much, but learn a ton about plotting in the process. Very Interested Agent doesn't offer, but wants more revisions. We email back and forth...

October:...and she stops replying to my emails. Tear out some precious hair. Start outlining a YA sci-fi.

November-December: Write YA sci-fi (AKA CONTROL!). Stop querying the historical, just wait for more rejections on old queries to pour in. Surprise of surprises: I get an R & R from Big League Agent. Realize that to do the R & R correctly, I'd need to completely rewrite historical all over again. But am currently in love with my sci-fi.  I stress out and decide the sci-fi would have a larger audience and might be a better debut novel anyway.

2011

January: Feedback rolls in from crit partners on CONTROL. It's great feedback. CPs enthusiastically tell me this is "the one." Start working on revisions but they are less humongous than the revisions needed on the historical. Plotting skills are much better this time around! I email Big League Agent and tell her I need more time on the R & R because I'm working on the sci-fi. She doesn't respond. (I was hoping she would nibble on the sci-fi; she didn't.)

May: Start querying the sci-fi. Get a good request rate, about 1/4.

June: Start writing a fantasy/dystopian MG. Get one near miss by an agent. Query some more.

July: Get two more near misses by agents. Both said they loved it but had enough issues that they didn't want to offer. I query the R & R Big League agent from January, but she rejects my query. :(

Early August: Get R & R from great, interested agent. I don't agree with the R & R, but sit on them for a while, to see if I'll agree with them after a period of time.

Mid August: Seriously consider self publishing.

Late August: Get offer from agent! She's stoked about my novel. We have a phone call where I bounce around a room a lot. I let the R & R agent from early August know I have an offer, and that I stand by my novel as is; she declines to offer rep. We part ways very amicably.

Early September: After notifying the other agents who have my full, get another offer from awesome agent who's also super enthusiastic.

I accept the second agent's offer...Eric Myers of the Spieler agency.

And now, the deets. I dug them up from Querytracker, which compiled the stats for me. And the highlights, in case the above synopsis was a blur.

YA Urban Fantasy
Queries sent: 155
Partials: 7
Fulls: 11
Request rate: 11%
1 Agent phone call with R & R. I decline to do R & R. No offer.

YA Historical
Queries sent: 54
Partials: 6
Fulls: 4
Request rate: 18%
2 R & R's (one I revised, one I didn't). No offers.

YA Sci-Fi (CONTROL)
Queries sent: 101
Partials: 11
Fulls: 13
Request Rate: 24%
Three near misses
One R & R (I declined to do it)
Two offers of rep!

Total rejections: Umm. A lot.

So there you have it. I've learned plenty along the way, but with regard to querying, these rules always applied:

1) Work on the next WIP while you query. Never stop writing.
2) Be your own best critic and trust your instinct. I rejected one R & R because it didn't feel right; and another because the agent didn't feel right, and yet another because that novel wasn't meant to be the one I wanted to debut with.
3) Never stop trying to perfect your craft (first and foremost) and your query writing skills. My query writing got better and better, and my request rate reflected that, I think. And my third novel reflected that my craft improved a great deal from June of 2009.
4) Understand that there will be practice novels that you will have to shelf. Personally? I am glad that my first two novels didn't find an agent. I am much, much happier with my third novel being the one.
5) Find friends who will celebrate the good news and listen when you're down, because it's no lie when they say querying is an emotional roller coaster.
6) There are certain laws of the universe you can't change. The earth will spin dizzily, vinegar will perpetually remind me of stinky feet...and rejections will always happen to a writer. Don't fester in them or you'll get soggy. Just keep writing.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

My QUACKERY Tour, and the talk on CPAN's BookTV!

Well, my book tour for QUACKERY is finally over! I had a wonderful few weeks visiting Boston, Miami, Chicago, Austin, Denver, Cincinnati, Omaha, and Baltimore. I was able to see lots of friends, make some new ones, and meet lots of new readers. It was exhausting but wonderful.

Four different trips, and over fifteen flights! I saw a lot of beautiful sky.

The lovely Alyson McCandless in Chicago! 

U Miami medical students who learned some medical history that night. 

Dr. Hasan, a sweet friend from medical school. This was at Denver's BookBar!

I did a podcast with Dan Rodricks podcast, Roughly Speaking. Listen here.

The Cincinnati Books by the Bank festival

Signing this gorgeous poster at the Bookworm Omaha!

While I was in Chicago, John Green was at my hotel. Cool.

A talented friend--Lenore Eisenhour, who writes beautiful YA!
As part of my talk in Baltimore, hosted by the Enoch Pratt Library, BookTV recorded my talk for CSPAN. So if you missed me when I was travelling, here's a chance for you to see the talk for yourself!

Enjoy! (click image below)





Tuesday, October 3, 2017

YA Scavenger Hunt, TEAM PURPLE!

Welcome TEAM PURPLE!



Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PURPLE TEAM--but there is also a red team, a gold team, an orange team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the purple team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by DATE, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Okay. Now on to the good stuff!



Today, I am hosting ALEAH RAYNES for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Aleah is a fantasy, mystery, and romance writer and she's got some great exclusive content for you today! 

Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author's book here! AleahRaynes.com

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT


Ayla
Footsteps stopped just inside of the ballroom. And there she was. Corinne, Mary’s mom and our nursemaid. The scowl on her face made me look away. We were in trouble. But Corinne’s form of punishment was to make us clean up our mess, then some other task that involved cleaning.
And we had to do it without using our magic.
“Look at her wings!” Corinne stormed across the vast ballroom.
I glanced over my shoulder but couldn’t see much. The weight said enough. My wings were coated in the slime my sisters threw on me. A giggle escaped. I couldn’t help it. This was payback for what I did to them last week. It took them days to get all the honey and feathers off theirs.
“I don’t understand you girls.” Corinne gripped my upper arm and tugged me to stand. When she started toward the bathroom at the back of the room, Baxter, our father’s soldier in arms, burst into the room.
His features were darker than I’d ever seen them. His brows bunched and his eyes were dark, commanding. My heart pounded. Something was wrong.
Corinne stopped and stared at him. I could tell by the way her face paled that she, too, knew something happened. Or was about to.
Baxter advanced to us, motioning for my sisters and Mary to gather around Corinne and me. He was in full battle gear with his helmet under his arm. Cold fear sliced my insides. We were being invaded. Most children didn’t know the severity of being invaded. We, however, had been trained for such an event.
The day our mother banished her brothers from the kingdom for threatening her and our father’s lives, a seer told them our uncles would seek their revenge. So, we were trained. Trained to fight and run.
Baxter knelt on one knee and took Luna’s hand. With his head bowed, he said, “Take your sisters to the boat like we talked about. No matter what happens, you must survive. All of you.”
I glanced from Luna to Baxter in confusion. They’d planned this? “What about Mom and Dad?”
I couldn’t hold back the panic any longer. I used my magic to clean off the slim, dissolving it into dust that settled to the floor.
“We’ll will be right behind you.” Baxter stood and pushed us, Corinne included, toward the back of the ballroom. “Now go.”
Corinne gripped my hand and pulled me behind her. I met each of my sisters’ scared gazes. This was no drill. My bottom lip trembled and my eyes watered.
Just as we reached the secret passage to the stairs that descended to the caverns and river underneath the castle, soldiers in uniforms I didn’t recognize charged inside the ballroom. Baxter drew his sword and sounded an alarm.
The clanking of swords faded as Corinne led us deeper underground. I shook all over, and my ice magic became uncontrollable.
From the corner of my eyes, I noted Pyria was having the same problem with her fire magic. Her hand glowed in red and orange hues. “We should be fighting with them. Protecting our home!”
She stopped and glanced back as if deciding to go join the battle.
Luna blocked Pyria’s way up the stairs. “You must resist the pull. Your emotions…all our emotions are taking over our powers. We can’t let that happen. If the castle falls into Iveos’s hands, it is up to us to take it back.”
That was part of the plan I never understood. How were a group of kids supposed to reclaim a kingdom from a madman?
-->
 ***
Thanks Aleah for that great exerpt! Buy the book here! 

And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Lydia, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 18! Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on Team Purple and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Alexandra Sirowy!


But before you go...A personal giveaway! I'm raffling off a signed copy of THE NOVEMBER GIRL plus swag that includes this sweet wish bracelet! 






a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 15, 2017

Pre-order Giveaway for THE NOVEMBER GIRL!


Hello all! I'm so excited to let you know that I'm holding a pre-order giveaway for my book! I spent many hours in the last month making these adorable silver wish bracelets.

I've been a huge fan of wish bracelets for a long time. In fact, I often wear them when I'm writing a new book. I would make one with a charm that represented the book, and then wish that I could write it/finish it/get a publishing contract...you get the idea!

Once you tie it on, it stays on until the string breaks. It's made of Irish waxed linen, and it's pretty strong. Usually mine last for about two months before it falls off.


I picked this shape because it looks both like a tear drop and a rain drop, and I thought both the emotion and the storminess of the symbol was perfect for Anda and Hector, my two characters.



And look how cute these buttons turned out! The one on the right is a quote from Hector, talking about his difficult life. Who else needs a good fairy tale in their life right about now? ;)

So! 

The first 150 pre-orders will get a hand made wish bracelet made by me, plus bookmarks, signed bookplate, postcard, and two buttons. 

ALL PREORDERS will receive a signed bookplate, bookmarks, and post card! 

You can email your proof of purchase to LydiaKangContest@gmail.com OR

The contest is open from today until November 6th. 
US Only! 
Thanks guys!


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The November Girl Countdown Widget!

Look at this lovely countdown widget for The November Girl! 
If you'd like it on your blog, copy and paste the HTML located on the widget 
(click on the red HTML). 
Please share!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Scavenger Hunts time for all YA readers!

The Rules
Each entry must be posted on Instagram AND must be tagged with #YAInstagram to be counted as an entry! You can earn up to 8 points per team -- 1 for each photo you post on Instagram using #YAInstahunt -- The authors will choose their winners so get creative! Grand prize winner will be chosen from the contestants that take part in all teams and has the most points entered. Don't forget to also tag the teams authors with each pic entry! 
Any entries on other forms of social media DO NOT count, so make sure you are posting each pic on Instagram! However, you can share this hunt on twitter, facebook, Pinterest and all other social media platforms, but only Instagram entries count.
Winners will be notified through Instagram.



  TEAM PINK PRIZES: Print copy of REAWAKENED + $20 gift card & Legendary swag 

  TEAM GREEN PRIZES: ebook The Watcher and The Angel Killer + Gift card

  TEAM PURPLE PRIZES: $10 Gift card + $20 gift card & November Girl swag
(Oops we are TEAM PURPLE! Typo being fixed as we speak!)


TEAM RED PRIZES: $25 gift card + Custom crow pendant & a signed hardcover of BLACK BIRD OF THE GALLOWS

  TEAM YELLOW PRIZES: T-shirt & Swag + $25 gift card


  TEAM ORANGE PRIZES: $20 Amazon gift card + $25 B&N gift card

 The grand prize winner will receive 1 copy of EACH AUTHOR'S featured book! Open internationally--where ever Book Depository ships to for free.



                   
 Put Aug 25th on your calendar and get your INSTAGRAM filters ready for use! See you all then :)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Beautiful Poison is OUT now! Blog tour commences!

Hi everyone!

After being a Kindle First for July, A Beautiful Poison has raked in over 500 reviews so far and it's still in the top 20 on the Kindle Bestsellers list! Thank you so much for all your support so far. Many of you have preordered it and I'm so grateful for the love, and the great reviews!

Please take a moment and check out the blog tour stops this month and next month to learn a little more about the book!