Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Networking for Writers - Guest Post by Brandy Schillace

First, I want to thank you, Sharon, for hosting me as a guest on your blog. It is my pleasure to be here!

Today, I’d like to revisit a concept that has been turning up with regularity on the Fiction Reboot: networking. It’s an odd little word. To some, it sounds as exciting as balancing the checkbook; to others, it smacks of a time-consuming foray into shark-infested waters.

I spend a lot of time explaining networks it seems—partly because I live in the hinterlands between fiction and the academy. I teach everything from Gothic literature to business writing, but I am also the faculty mentor for the novel-writing club. Networking tends to mean different things to different people, but I have found in each situation the positive aspects remain constant. My definition of networking? Not sharks. Not accounting. People-facing.

Right, you say, that makes even less sense. But think about it. Most social networks (not just the online sort, but in general), are all about putting faces with names—and remembering them. What you do after that is up to you, but here are some ways this can work for the intrepid fiction writer.

Most authors—me included—want to be published. We desire to reach a larger audience. But of course, most of us have smaller audiences first. The friend, the spouse, mom…the roommate, the club-member, the workshop partner… these are our first lines of contact. Almost every author I have interviewed has said the same thing: you cannot write in a vacuum. These people give you their real experiences, and you give back. It’s like a game where everyone wins.

You could leave it there, but the next step leaves the immediate circle and moves outward. Author and screenwriter Stephen Gallagher (Bedlam Detective) spoke with the Fiction Reboot a while back, and he suggested that young writers seek out “the major non-professional club or society” devoted to their genre and join. “Get the newsletters,” he recommends, “log into the forums, join in the correspondence, then get yourself along to conventions and meet the people you've been talking to. You'll be mixing with the authors, editors and critics of both today and tomorrow.”

Up to this point, your “people-facing” has been literally a face-to-face kind of contact in the main. But you can move further still. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are a new and exciting resource for authors. I have always been inspired by the blog of Lucienne Diver, author and agent (Vamped, the Latter Day Olympians). Her excellent advice and tweets have shaped my own blog, and so—though I have never met her face to face—she is someone in my “network” who has been very influential. I had the chance to interview her for the Fiction Reboot, and I asked her about her own experiences with social media. They can be useful platforms, and Luienne also mentioned the power of group blogs and contests “for helping spread the word” about a series. There is the added benefit of incidental advertising, too; that is, if someone tweets that they love the book, others may want to read it to. As Lucienne reminds us, “word-of-mouth” is still the biggest seller of books…and really, Twitter is a kind of word-of-mouth epidemic.

If you are a new writer, or even a well-established one, networking can be a powerful way of finding new readers, new colleagues, and new friends. We need the critical viewpoint of other people in order to succeed—people who will give us hints toward success, people who will tell us where we might have erred, people who will support us and promote us. I certainly crave that kind of connection as an author—and I try to foster it as a teacher. Is it daunting? I suppose it can be—but if you begin close to home, you can build your platform as you go, adding pieces along the way: friends, writing group, societies, conferences, social networks, fiction blogs… and, we hope, the publishing lists.

Welcome to the network!


Brandy Schillace (PhD) is the author of the Fiction Reboot blog, which features new fiction, hosts author interviews and provides writing advice. (Recent authors include Alex Grecian, Stepahnie A Smith and Stephen Gallagher). She is the author of two YA-crossover Gothic series as well as an adult mystery saga (chapters published serially on the blog). In her other life, Dr. Schillace is a medical humanist scholar of eighteenth-century and Gothic/Romantic literature with interests in gender studies, creative writing and intersections of medicine and literature.  Presently an Assistant Professor of English at Winona State University, she also serves as the Managing Editor (ME) of Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, an international journal of cross-cultural health research. She has published essays on the history of medicine, Gothic literature and women’s education.


Follow Brandy on twitter @bschillace

The Witchwood at Nob’d End

The Jacob Maresbeth Chronicles

Here Comes Troubelle

Friday, August 24, 2012

Baby Bayliss has arrived!

The picture says it all doesn't it? I'm happy to announce that I have birth to my second son on Tuesday. So, I'll be away from the blog for a few weeks. He came a little earlier than expected, so I do have a few loose ends. If we were in the middle of an email exchange about something, this is why I haven't responded. :)

I will pop in sometime soon to make an announcement about a BIG contest coming up in October! It'll be an opportunity to learn from and make connections with Curiosity Quills Press authors and editors and we'll also be looking for new talent to sign! That's all I'll say for now...but stay tuned!

Now back to nesting....see you in a few weeks!

Monday, August 13, 2012

School's In Query Contest

Some of you may know that I also blog at Unicorn Bell. I am proud to announce that over there we're holding the School's In Query Contest!

We are devoting most of August to queries: how to's, examples, workshops and the query process in general. The last week of August we will have five wonderful guest judges reading all polished queries for FINISHED manuscripts.

Krystal Wade from Curiosity Quills
Andrew Buckley from Curiosity Quills
Nancy Bell from MuseItUp Publishing
Amy Lichtenhan from SapphireStar Publishing
Donna O'Brien from Crescent Moon Press

If they like what they see, they may request pages and who knows where that may lead you?

Here's what the editors are looking for right now:

Krystal--I love older mc's (18+)! I'd like to see some good dystopian, more male mc's too, and then of course anything scifi/fantasy/paranormal with something new and unusual.

Andrew--I’m looking for adult fiction be it paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy and/or anything quirky or humorous. No YA or NA please. I like strong protagonists with a unique voice and wonderfully evil antagonists. Please, please, please, no in-your-face sword and sorcery type pieces. They’ve been known to cause sharp pains in my posterior. I’m also looking for cookies. Oatmeal raisin are my favorite.

Nancy--MuseItUp is looking for more dark fiction, horror, as we are light in that department. However, romance, historical romance, YA/MG from a male POV that will entice that sector. Of course, we are open to anything that is well written and crafted. We don't publish literary fiction or poetry.

Amy--We're especially interested in contemporary romance and paranormal romance at this time, although we are accepting submissions in all fiction categories.

Donna--Currently, we are looking for voice rather than specific genre requirements, though we
are primarily a boutique publisher of high quality fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal fiction. We are interested in urban fantasy, dystopian, futuristic science fiction, steampunk, mind-bending time travel, space operas, mythological as well as historical retellings with a twist, epic high fantasy, and the paranormal. We are also interested in paranormal categories of suspense, thrillers, gothica, and mystery. CMP also accepting submissions in the YA and New Adult categories of the above mentioned genres.

So, head over to Unicorn Bell to join in the fun and maybe even land a publishing contract!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Buccaneer Blogfest Wrap-Up

Pirates Splashdown!
Photo by Christian Lambert
My wrap-up post is a little late I know, but life got in the way this weekend. I can't believe it's already been a month! But it's time to wrap-up the Buccaneer Blogfest.

The most important thing I've learned is that the blogfest is a powerful tool to connect with writers. I'm honored and amazed that so many people signed up and participated. Thank you so much for taking the time to be a part of the fest! Being a part of a supportive community of writers makes everything a little easier when you finally sign that contract. You've got ready made reviewers and stops for your blog tour. I work with published authors and it's always obvious who already has connections and who doesn't. And guess what? The ones who have been active bloggers market their book easily and well. And it pays off!

I've also learned that I'm too busy! I couldn't keep up with the posts in my own fest and didn't comment nearly as much as I wanted to. I'm sorry for that. Even though the blogfest is over, I plan to continue to check out your blogs.

My goals for my blog are to continue what has been working. More contests. More blogfests. I also want to host more interviews and giveaways, so if you need some promotion and would like to be featured here, let me know.

And now...congratulations are in order for the winners of the Curiosity Quills Giveaway! Check out the Rafflecopter form below to see if you won. I've decided to let each winner select the prize of their choice. If you won, please contact me (by email, contact me form, or comments) and tell me what prize you would like. And if your name is on there more than once, let me know what TWO prizes you would like.

I also have winners from the Treasure Hunt questions:

The winner of Automatic Woman is Cody Underwood.

The winner of One Ghost Per Serving is Gwen Gardner.

If you won, please contact me with your email if you think I don't already have it.


I owe you one more Treasure Hunt question, so you have one last chance to win some booty! For a free copy of Bone Wires by Michael Shean, answer this trivia question. In addition to free copies of Bone Wires, what else can you win in the Bone Wires giveaway? The link to the giveaway is here. A random commenter with the correct answer will win the free copy of Bone Wires!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's booty day at the Buccaneer Blogfest!

You heard me right. You've been pillaging and plundering and now it's time to take home your booty. All down the blogfest list we're hosting giveaways! So head on out and visit some blogs and collect some swag.


I present to you, the BIG Curiosity Quills Press giveaway, where you have a chance to win one of our many recent releases. You may notice there are some special ways to win entries. If you would like to conduct an interview or a review and need assistance, I am happy to help. Contact me at

For information about our books and authors, check out If you are a book blogger, you can also request free review copies on NetGalley.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And remember, interviews with pre-published CQ authors (authors who have signed a contract but have not been published yet) are acceptable for points. So that leads me to our treasure hunt question for the day...

Name one person from the blogfest who has signed a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills, but has not yet been published (you have several to choose from). Answer in comments! A random commenter with the correct answer will win a free digital copy of One Ghost Per Serving by Nina Post.