Saturday, July 09, 2016

Writing Fun in the Twittersphere

Our guest this week is J.C. Lane author of the thriller Tag, You’re Dead, which just hit the shelves on July 5. She also writes mysteries as Judy Clemens, including the Stella Crown series, the Grim Reaper mysteries, and Lost Sons. She tries not to spend too much time on social media, but it is a lot of fun! You can visit her on Twitter at @judyclemens1, or on Facebook at judyclemensauthor (J.C. Lane aka Judy Clemens).

By the time you get done with the first draft of a book, you’re either mentally exhausted or euphoric – sometimes both! The problem is…if you want to get your book in the best shape it can be you’re not even close to finished. There’s re-writing and beta readers, and editing some more, and critique partners… By the time you’ve gotten your book into tip-top shape you’re even more tired than you were before!

But now it’s time for the tough stuff. The part where you want to hang it all up and forget you ever wrote a book. It’s so hard to send out queries and write a synopsis and feel really, really vulnerable about people looking at your work. But don’t give up now! Yes, it’s hard researching agents and reaching out to them…and getting rejected. But that’s part of writing. Perseverance! Persistence! (Rah, Rah, Rah!) Makes you worn out just thinking about it, doesn’t it? All of that hard, hard work. But it’s worth it. It really is. I mean it.

There are some actual fun ways to get your book in front of other people and have a great time in the process! You’ll make friends, get to know agents, and learn how you can support and help others along the way. One of the best ways to do this is through Twitter contests. There are lots of them out there. You just have to find the one that seems right for you. Here are some of the ones I’ve participated in. If none of these sounds good to you, perhaps you’ll learn about others through these suggestions.


@Michelle4Laughs (Michelle Hauck), @ravenousrushing (Michael Anthony), and @LH_writes (Laura Heffernan) accept entries of a query letter and the first 250 words of a manuscript for this exceptional contest (or, er, Kontest) in May of each year. I was a Kombatant in 2014 and have been a judge the past two years. This year they had over 340 entries!* Each of the hosts picks a team of entries (total of 64) which battle each other in pairs for the judges’ votes. (Judges are published authors and others in the industry) The winner of each pair goes on to the next round to battle another winner, which winnows down to a Grand Champion, as well as a YA champ, an MG champ, an NA champ, and an Adult champ. The cool part of this contest is that all winners of the first round get seen during an agent’s round, and agents can make requests for anything that strikes their fancy! This contest is friendly, fun, and pretty amazing. A great experience for all involved.

*All entries which do not make it into the 64 have a chance to pitch for the opportunity to work on their query letter and 250 words with one of the judges by tweeting a pitch on a special hashtag. I worked with three writers this year.
These hosts also run Nightmare on Query Street #NoQS around Halloween, which is great fun. You can check that out, as well as a few other contests run by Michelle here:

@BrendaDrake runs a couple of very popular contests, which are #PitchWars and #PitMad. In Pitch Wars writers have the opportunity to send in a query letter and first chapter of their manuscript to apply to a mentor (published author, industry professional, etc.) who will help them shine up their manuscript in time for an agent round a couple of months later. Check it out here: There’s still time to apply for this year! Deadline is August 3.

#PitMad is a Twitter party four times a year when writers can tweet their work to try to catch the eye of an agent or editor. Very cool and fun. Read more about it here:

@AuthoressAnon (Authoress) runs a variety of contests on her Twitter page and also on her web site here: Her mission is to help other authors, and she does that through connecting authors with agents however she can.

These are just some of the contests and hosts I’ve been involved with in the past few years. If you look them up I’m sure you’ll learn about more opportunities, because these folks all help each other, and writers get involved in different contests and love to talk about them. Twitter is a great way to make friends and get to know people in the writing business. I got to know my agent on Twitter, and I couldn’t be happier. Good luck to you all!

What Twitter contests would you suggest to other writers?

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