Update on my writing journey!

Yikes! It’s been a year since my last update. Time got away from me. Let me catch you up with the good, the not-so-good, and the great things happening. (I like being transparent and sharing the not-so-good stuff so other writers can prepare for the ups and downs of publishing.)

First up, CONTRIBUTE, Book 2 of the Holo Series, came out in Germany. It’s my favorite cover yet.

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Big personal news—after almost twenty years of teaching, I finally bought my first house, a small Cape, with the help of the Mass Housing Loan program. Woohoo! I cannot describe how amazing this feels since I didn’t grow up in a house and never had a yard. I planted my first flower garden this spring, and I’m slowly letting the move sink in.

Super bonus: I have a writing office now! It’s so empowering to have a personal work space that honors my creativity. I’m saving up for some custom bookshelves and a comfy chair for reading—maybe by next summer.

My new writing office!

I’ve been working hard on edits for my next YA book, GERMLINE FOUR…so hard that I dropped my laptop down a flight of stairs and now only the top half of the screen works. Uggghh. I’m forcing myself to finish this manuscript with the busted screen, and when it gets published, my gift to self will be a new laptop. I’ll be sending the manuscript to my agent in September. Fingers crossed it finds a publisher soon.

Speaking of agents, I have a new agent! Let me backtrack—unfortunately, my old agent and I parted ways in 2018. She was heading on maternity leave and needed to cut down her client list. Since I was one of her newest clients with no sales together yet, it was a logical decision. Yes, it sucked as much as you can imagine, and I wallowed in the WTF do I do now phase? But only three months later, I was lucky enough to sign with agent Ali Herring of SpencerHill Associates! She’s full of new energy and has been a huge fan of the Holo Series since Consider came out. We clicked on the phone about my future work and career goals. I am psyched to work with her since she totally gets me as a writer. And she’s a Trekkie who loves Jane Austen. I mean, come on!

As soon as GERMLINE FOUR edits are complete, I’ll be working on my middle grade novel (which is already half done) titled MAY’S STRING THEORY. It’s for older elementary and middle school kids, but surprisingly, it’s not science fiction.

And then, we’ll see. I have a lot of ideas brewing. Publishing is a strange journey. Just gotta ride the waves and enjoy the process. Thanks for waiting it out with me.

Oh, and if you haven’t already noticed, my author website has a new look! I switched over to Squarespace—it’s simpler and easier for me to maintain. Win-win.

CONSIDER releases in Germany and upcoming writing projects

 
Germany cover of CONSIDER!

Germany cover of CONSIDER!

Great news! The German foreign rights for the Holo Series sold to Arena publishing in Germany. The German edition of Consider will be available in hardcover and ebook starting March 2018, and Contribute should be available in Sept 2018.

I love the German cover of Consider, and I cannot wait to see the cover design for Contribute. It's mind-blowing to see my imagination translated and sold in other countries.

What am I working on next? I've been busy writing a new, young adult novel for my agent unrelated to the Holo Series. Can't say too much other than it's a contemporary DNA thriller about four teens. Hoping to finish it within theyear and see if it can find a publisher. After that project, I plan to write a contemporary middle-grade idea that I've been dying to get on paper. It's full of heart and has a quirky main character I adore.

That's all the news I have so far. Back to writing!

P.S. If you haven't written a quick review of CONSIDER or CONTRIBUTE on Amazon and/or Goodreads, please do. One sentence is all it takes, and it really helps small press books find their audience. Thanks!

 
 

It's book release day for CONTRIBUTE!

 
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I'm so excited to announce that Contribute has officially released today! The sequel to Consider and the conclusion to the Holo Series brings many mixed emotions since my debut year was a long, winding journey. There were times I wasn't sure if book 2 was ever going to see this day. And here we are. Series done. :)

It's weird writing a series. It still feels like my characters are alive (well, the ones who survived--spoilers!) and they've been put on pause. At the same time, there's a giant sense of relief to have reached this point, to let them go creatively and discover new characters and new stories. The best way to get over an old love is to find a new love. Isn't that what they say? I'll be spending the next year working on a new YA project (top secret for now, sorry. You'll be the first to hear details when I can share, so stay tuned).

To the readers out there, I want to say thank you for sticking with me and giving my debut series a chance.

***To celebrate publication week, some giveaways!***Check out the flash giveaway on Twitter:

FLASH GIVEAWAY to celebrate my book release! Today only: RT & follow to win a signed copy of CONSIDER+CONTRIBUTE, plus some extra swag! pic.twitter.com/hNEZigEq5N

— Kristy Acevedo 📝 (@kristyace) July 11, 2017

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On Goodreads, there are two separate giveaways for each book. Both end July 17th.Enter Consider Goodreads GiveawayEnter Contribute Goodreads GiveawayFinally, if you're local, please come celebrate this Saturday, July 15 from 2-4pm at Barnes & Noble in Dartmouth, MA. More details here!

 

Advice to Young Writers

 
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A common question I've been asked by teens, teachers, and parents is what advice I have for young writers. I usually only have time at events for a quick response: "Read a lot. Write a lot." While that's the truth, there's so much more.To the young writers out there, some advice:

1. As a high school English teacher myself, I have to admit to you that, unfortunately, your English classes in high school did not prepare you to write fiction. Learn from the pros. Read Stephen King's On Writing as a starting point. For editing advice, try Cheryl B. Klein's Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults. Also, authors often share free tips online about the craft of writing. Attend book events and talk to authors. Take classes in writing fiction. Watch great television, movies, and attend theatre. There are phenomenal scripts behind those works, with excellent storytelling, dialogue, and character building.

2. Read widely across genres to develop flexibility and range as a writer. Read the classics as a foundation to see where literature has been, but read contemporary works to see how we've grown.

3. Learn vocabulary. Words are your paint. Big, small, doesn't matter. Variety is key. Learn how to play with the cadence of language, how sentence structure, length, and sound affect a story.

4. Learn grammar so you don't make editors run from you. You can break grammar rules for stylistic reasons once you know the rules. You don't need to be perfect, no one is perfect, but the more you know, the easier editing will be.

5. Enjoy writing. It doesn't get better than this, even once you are published. Savor those moments of creative bliss when you fall into a rough draft and lose yourself to timelessness. Bask in the creative zone, a magical place where you get to reset the world and populate it with people and problems and solutions. You are a writer in this place, a magical keeper of secrets and lies and doors and keys. Practice developing characters, plots, style, and voice. Try writing fanfiction as practice since you won't have to build original characters or setting along with plot. Wattpad and other places are fine if you want to post your work for an audience, but please don't expect to be discovered that way. Publishers almost never want work that has been previously published online.

6. Learn to use Microsoft Word. It's the industry standard for submissions. You might be using Google Docs, Pages, a notebook, or even your cell phone to write and/or dictate notes. Eventually, you will have to transfer all files into a Word doc, so might as well get used to it.

7. Learn how to do real research, not MLA academic research. Writers have to research the weirdest facts to make their stories work. Real research means researching online, talking to experts, and asking the right questions to solve a problem.

8. Experience life. Be curious and open-minded. Meet people unlike yourself. Listen. Develop your empathy for the human condition. This is the stuff dreams and books are made of.

9. Get to know yourself deeply because it will show on the page even if you are writing fiction. Try keeping a journal. Your most painful, embarrassing, joyous memories will help you connect with readers. Writing is about using language to transfer emotional resonance regardless of plot. It's about getting your audience to feel something. Tapping into those same emotions from your experiences will make the writing feel authentic.

10. Don't rush. Think of yourself in training for the writing Olympics. You will need determination, patience, and resilience. Each story you write presents a new challenge and teaches you how to be a better writer. When I was in elementary school, I wrote poetry in journals. In eighth grade, I tried writing my first horror story, Bloody Revenge (I was on a Stephen King and Dean Koontz reading kick), and I quit writing after the third chapter. I had no idea how to make a novel work. My debut novel, CONSIDER, was the fifth manuscript I've written. Those earlier manuscripts developed a different set of writing techniques in me. Some stories also need more time to marinate than others. The best way to learn how to write is to write.

11. On that same note, they say it takes over 10,000 hours to master a craft.  You have to be willing to put in the work.  Can you commit to doing that on your own, with no one telling you to get it done? Self-motivation and commitment is key, even over talent.

12. Learn how to accept critique. Writing a rough draft is solitary work. Publishing is a team sport. Find yourself a trusted writing group for feedback.  Think of all critique as a gift to make your writing better.  If your final, polished draft gets picked up by a publisher, it will go through several more editing passes, including content editing and copy editing. You might be asked to delete a chapter, a character, fifty pages. You have to learn how to take feedback and apply it.

13. Keep your social media clean. Seriously. You should do this anyway for employability in any field. Being an author makes you a public figure and a role model if you are writing for children and teens.

14. Get used to talking in front of people. I know, I know, many writers are introverts by nature so this one's tough. Figure out what will make you the most comfortable speaking to people.

15. Plan for your writing career, including a separate day job. Unless you have a financial support system (family or spouse willing to pay your bills) you need to plan to have a day job that provides the income and stability writing doesn't provide. Traditionally published writers get paid once or twice a year, and amounts are unpredictable and unreliable. Hard to budget. The average yearly income of writers is currently around 48K. Writers also do not receive workplace health insurance. Of course, you could be the writer that hits it big time, but chances are that will still take many years and/or may never happen. Write because you can't see your life complete without having written.

16. If possible, get training in graphic design, website design, social media marketing, photography, and/or freelance taxes. All of these come in handy when becoming an author. If you don't have these skills, you may have to pay others to do these tasks for you.

17. Learn how to multitask and stay organized. Once you become a published writer, you will be balancing multiple projects, editing one while writing the next, and keeping up with the business side of publishing, never mind if you also have a day job. Learn how to write professional emails. Get yourself a professional email account with your name. Gmail is fine.

18. Once you have a viable, polished draft, you will need to learn how to write a query and a five-page synopsis of your book, including spoilers. Join a professional writing group like the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Meet other writers, editors, and agents in person. I always thought "networking" was this adulting thing where people got together in serious dating mode, talked terms and exchanged contact info. It’s not. Networking is simply meeting people in the industry. That's it. Don't go into those moments thinking you are selling your work. Just be human.

19. Avoid scams. Many writing contests and vanity presses only want your money and will do nothing to help your career.  Rule: You should never pay money to a publisher, they should be paying you. If you'd like to self-publish someday, please do it when you are older and ready. It can cost a lot of money without return. Publishing is a business completely separate from creative writing.  If you aren't good at sales and marketing, and you don't have a lot of upfront money to spend, don't self-publish. Also, don't sign a book contract without an agent or a literary contract lawyer/consultant going over it first. DON'T DO IT. If you want a career in traditional publishing, you need a reputable literary agent to protect your interests. They will typically earn 15% of your sales, and they are worth every penny. A good literary agent can help with long-term career planning, they have access to publishing houses that are closed to queries from writers (usually the houses which offer higher advances), and they can sell sub rights for you, such as film rights.

20. Keep yourself healthy, mentally and physically. Develop coping skills for stress. Writing is roller coaster of a career. Once your work is published, you have to learn to deal with harsh criticism. Not everyone will like you or your story. Some will hate it. Some will think it's the worst thing they ever read. You will never survive in the business side of writing if you can't block out critics.

Still with me? Good. I think you're ready. Go write.

 

Save the Date: CONTRIBUTE Book Launch Party on July 15, 2017

 
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CONTRIBUTE, the sequel to CONSIDER, officially releases on July 11th. Finally!

Locals, come celebrate with me at the CONTRIBUTE Book Launch Party on Saturday, July 15, 2017 from 2-4pm at Barnes and Noble in Dartmouth, MA. Open to the public. Click here to RSVP on the Facebook invite page!

This is also a Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech High School Book Fair day. B&N will donate a portion of any store sales to support GNBVT school library and summer reading program. Just mention it at the register!

GNBVT students will be running the following events:

1-2 pm Face painting and crafts

2-4 pm CONTRIBUTE Book launch party: Q&A, Book series secrets, and book signing. And free cake, of course!

Consider and Contribute books will be available for purchase at the event. Hope you'll come out and bring a friend!