#SonOfAPitch – ♫ I’m all about that pitch! ♪

Turn up the music! The #SonOfAPitch Twitter Pitch Party is about to start and this here is tailgate central! We’re going to party, perfect our pitches, and get ready for the big game where you – my fabulous authors – will go live on the big Twitter screen to catch the attention of those fabulous agents who will really love your book! Throughout the day the Son Of A Pitch crew will be dropping by to give their advice and help you workshop your pitch, so make sure you come back a second time to get everything you can out of today’s workshop.

Ready? Set? Let’s go!!!!

Today we’re going to work on developing two pitches. The first is the standard Twitter Pitch, also called an Elevator Pitch or Logline. This is a 1-2 sentence description of your book that summarizes the main idea for a quick sale. It’s the pitch you use on social media, at cons, at book signings, and that librarians, agents, and editors will use to pitch the book to their audiences. An ideal pitch makes your story sound unique and exciting without being too long. If you’ve never written a good Twitter Pitch before I recommend going back to the last #SonOfAPitch Pitch Party Post and look through the comments. That’s a great way to get a feel of how these work.

The second pitch we’ll be working on is the High Concept Pitch. This is the pitch you use if your book has mass market appeal. It catches the imagination quickly, it’s easy to sell, and for really complex books it’s the easiest way to pitch them on Twitter. It’s the easiest pitch to write because the formula is literally “This Popular Thing + That Popular Thing in New Location”. Promise, once you learn how to do this you’ll use it all the time. It’s also a great brainstorming tool.

These two seem very, very similar. The only difference is that an Elevator Pitch is slightly longer, and doesn’t rely on any outside world building while a High Concept Pitch will rely heavily on the audience knowing other books or movies.

So, grab your notebooks and keyboards because it’s thinking time!

HOW TO WRITE A TWITTER PITCH
Definition: One or two sentences that summarize the book you’ve written.

What You Want To Include:
– Setting
– Description of the protagonist
– The problem to be solved
– Description of the antagonist
– Conflict preventing the problem from being solved
– The ultimate goal

What You Don’t Include:
– Proper nouns (names aren’t relevant)
– Irrelevant personal data (age, height, weight, ethnicity, gender, ect… unless one of these is the main trait of a character- ie 120yo scientist with a key to eternal life)
– Information about the author (unless you are writing nonfic with a platform)
– World building details

Let’s try writing a pitch for Harry Potter…
– Setting – England
– Description of the protagonist – A young boy living with his aunt and uncle
– The problem to be solved – Wants a birthday party and friends
– Description of the antagonist – But has an abusive aunt and uncle
– Conflict preventing the problem from being solved – Who haven’t told him
– The ultimate goal – He’s a really popular wizard!

Twitter Pitch: A young English boy who lives with his abusive aunt and uncle discovers he is a wizard with a destiny! (you can probably do better than this)

 

 

HOW TO WRITE A HIGH CONCEPT PITCH
Definition: A one sentence pitch that relies on known, popular works to help someone envision the piece being sold. -or- A one sentence pitch that makes it easy to picture the story.

Formula:
Popular Thing 1 + Popular Thing 2 + New Location

High Concept Pitch for Gallagher Girl’s 1: 
James Bond meets Harry Potter in an all-girls school for spies.
-or-
I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You <- The title works as a pitch, which is awesome. This example is borrowed from agent Rachel Gardner’s blog.

High Concept Pitch For THE PRINCESS BRIDE:
A pirate rescues a princess from the prince she doesn’t want to marry.
-or-
Cinderella meets Jack Sparrow in a world of giants and magicians.

The goal here is to sum the story up in as few words as you can manage. You can use a High Concept Pitch for a pitch party, but in my experience it’s most useful at places like book signings or cons where you can refer to other popular movies or works you know the audience loves.

 

Your turn! Write your pitches and put them in the comments below. The #SonOfAPitch authors will come by to help you revise and rewrite them throughout the day so you are ready to catch the perfect agent at the upcoming pitch party!

 

One final thing… If you’ve never been to a Twitter Pitch Party before I recommend reading this post on pitching etiquette. And please remember to say thank you to the fantastic authors who have worked so hard to help everyone participating in #SonOfAPitch. You can support them by saying thank you, sharing links to their books, buying their books, or leaving reviews. Thanks goes a long way in this industry. <3

Worth A Watch – Killjoys

My second Worth A Watch show is the Canadian export KILLJOYS on Syfy. Not only does a great job of putting a WOC front and center, but it’s also LGBT+ positive with good rep, and has some pretty good disability rep. It’s at times heart-breaking, sometimes heart-warming, always a touch crazy, and has some of the best secondary characters on TV at the moment.

What’s the story? Season 1 starts with a girl on the run and her best friend/bounty hunter buddy getting into a fight, then rescuing his brother, then getting in the middle of a major war. To survive everyone will need to face their pasts, admit their mistakes, accept their differences, and make the most of what they have.

It starts with all the classic tropes – big buff hero dude, geeky nerd type, beautiful and rich witch – and twists the tropes so they’re fun and wonderful again. There’s a found family vibe and the later seasons really look at class warfare and nationalism/racism in a way that doesn’t feel preachy. It’s fun but it’s heavy at times too. Did I mention the secondary characters that I love? This show has Pree played by the super sweet and totally talented Thom Allison who I may or may not Twitter-stalk sometimes. Pree is hilarious and for me he adds the bit of light, joy, and sarcasm that it needs to keep it from being too weighty.

Who’s it for? People who like strong female characters, platonic m/f relationships, strong communities, and Found Family stories. If Stephanie Plum ran away with the crew of Firefly but was good with guns you’d get something like Killjoys. It’s not quite space western, but it’s not Star Trek either. It’s a show for people who like explosions, one-liners, and fighting injustice.

What’s the culture like? Killjoys is a Canadian show so it feels more like what an American would expect. It’s more sexually open/sex positive than some American TV with a couple of major nudity scenes. Not Game of Thrones level nudity, but more than you’d find on prime time family TV in the USA. I bring this up because Killjoys is very casually LGBT+ positive. No one says they’re gay or not. No one mentions they’re bi. But it’s there. It’s accepted. It’s part of the character. It doesn’t feel gratuitous. And it isn’t an exploration of what it means to be a certain sexuality. There’s a feeling in a lot of Hollywood shows that someone being anything but heterosexual is a Really Big Deal and we need to talk about a coming out story, and then explore the sexual tension, and angst about feelings and not being “normal” … I think US television is kind of breaking away from it, but Killjoys does a good job of skipping the angst and letting characters be more than their sexuality.

Bonuses? Hackmods played by actual actors with disabilities. Found family vibes. Redeemed bad guy. Sassy AI. Secrets. Everyone is bisexual! Plus some super cute platonic relationships. PREE!!!!

What to watch out for? Major characters death, cliffhangers, and some really sad moments. For all the fun and wit Killjoys is not a comedy.

How many seasons? Three and we’re hoping to hear about S4 soon.

Dutch is the best, but Pree is the person I’m going to buy drinks and talk to all night.

Terry Pratchett’s Hard Drive Crushed… some thoughts

After his death Terry Pratchett asked for his hard drive, and all remaining unfinished stories, to be destroyed. This happened last week. As a Discworld fan I’m sad to a point. I love Discworld. I love what Terry created. And that’s also part of why I’m at peace with this decisions.

Terry Pratchett was unique. I can’t think of another author who wrote satire and fantasy the way he did. The comic fantasy that he is often shelved with is right for his early books, but Pratchett evolved into so much more. He was keenly aware of injustice in the world. He had a burning need to make things right that runs through all his writing, not just his fiction. He saw the world in a way so very few do. And, more to the point, he was able to show the world in a way no one else could.

No one could write a book like Terry Pratchett.

That’s not a criticism, it’s a fact. No one could have mimicked his style well enough to replace him. Even his later books where he had assistance because of the early onset Alzheimer’s disease are different. Not bad in any way, but there’s a subtle change from the books before his diagnosis and those after that avid fans are aware of.

With all that, I can see why Pratchett wanted it all destroyed. Fans have time and again been disappointed by books sold after an authors death. Look at the nightmare of GO SET A WATCHMAN, a first novel that Harper Lee hid away for a multitude of reasons. Her wishes were ignored and the fall out was disheartening at best, and for good reason. Harper Lee wrote TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD after WATCHMAN. She changed characters, edited things, rewrote the world… to have the earlier draft come out without the author’s later changes in mind destroys all the hard work she did.

Harper Lee deserved better.

Sir Pratchett deserves better.

I will miss Discworld. I will miss new books coming out. I refuse to read the last few because I’m not ready to say good-bye yet. I never had the chance to meet Terry Pratchett in this life, all I have are the books he left, but his writing made a huge impact on me. He’s missed by his family, his friends, and his fans. And honoring this wish was the right thing to do. Now, please excuse me while I go cry a little and watch Color Of Magic with Samwise Gamgee. *sniffle sniffle*

Worth a Watch – CHIEF KIM

I’ve never made it a habit to recommend shows, usually because I’m a few years behind, but I’ve decided to change this for a couple of reasons. First off, I’d like someone to fangrrl with over things I love. Second, I know people (especially my American readers) are looking for something a little more diverse than white-washed Hollywood TV.

My first Worth A Watch show is the Korean Drama (Kdrama) I just finished binging called CHIEF KIM. It’s available for free on Drama Fever and worth the whole 20 hours it takes to get to the ending. Subtitles are included, although these aren’t as in-depth so viewers new to Korean culture may find themself at a loss to some of the cultural norms that aren’t explained. I don’t think it’s a barrier though.

What’s the story? A con man takes a job at a major corporation (TQ Group) with a plan to embezzle enough money to move to Europe, but he finds himself fighting the powerful leaders of the corporation who are already embezzling everything. It could be crook vs crook in a battle for cash but along the way the con man decides it’s more fun to save the day than fly away.

That’s it. That’s the story line. There’s hints of romance, and plenty of office politics and corruption, but really this appealed to me because I love the whole Bad-Guys-Make-The-Best-Good-Guys trope that’s played here on multiple levels. It’s awesome. It’s funny. It flips the bird to corrupt and unethical bosses in a way that will make anyone who ever worked for minimum wage cheer.

Who’s it for? If you love Robin Hood, Leverage, Hook from OUAT, or Stick It (a gymnastics movie from 2006) then you’ll probably love Chief Kim. This is a happy story at the end of the day. Set backs are overcome. Bad guys go to jail. Good guys (or at least the semi-decent human being) have happy lives. There are redemption arcs a plenty. It’ll make you laugh. It’ll make Mondays better. What more could you ask for?

What’s the culture like? For anyone unfamiliar with South Korean contemporary culture you’ll get to see the difference between the Big City and the Small City (Gusan). There’s differences in tone that your ear will adapt to (formal vs informal language) if you’re good at picking up that thing. The major differences for American viewers will be the lack of PDA between heterosexual pairs (there aren’t any official couples in Chief Kim) and the very clingy/touchy behavior of same-sex pairs. Korean culture as I understand it (feel free to comment if you have better info) allows for two men or two women to share open signs of affection – hand holding, cheek kisses, sharing a bed – without having a sexual implication. Korean censors will allow that on TV.

This is a newer kdrama and I’m not sure where the kissy faces between the two male leads fall in the sexuality spectrum for Koreans. To American eyes it looks super gay (in the cutest way) but whether it was intended to be that or not, I’m not sure. It’s adorable either way.

Bonuses? Sporty girl with a baseball bat. Maybe gay boi? A blind date that works. Undercover ladies getting away with things because of misogyny (smash the patriarchy!). Lady boss. Lady villain. High drama.

What to watch out for? Koream dramas love Nancy Drew pacing. Every single episode will start a super intense scene that will cut in the middle. You can avoid this by saving the last 5-10 minutes of an episode for the next time you watch, or by watching the first ten minutes of the next episode before turning the TV off.

Seo Yool has a tiny heart for you!

DECOHERENCE is today’s BookPerk!

On sale for 99cents today only! 

Bookperks don’t come along every day, but this was a nice surprise in my in-box this morning. DECOHERENCE is on sale today! If you haven’t read the first two books yet, start with THE DAY BEFORE and get ready to binge read!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | HarperCollins | Google Play | iBooks |
GoodReads | Amazon Author Page | New Release Newsletter |

Readers of Blake Crouch’s DARK MATTER and Wesely Chu’s TIME SALVAGER will love Liana Brooks’ DECOHERENCE–the thrilling, time-bending conclusion to the Time & Shadow series!

Samantha Rose and Linsey MacKenzie have established an idyllic life of married bliss in Australia, away from the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, away from mysterious corpses, and—most of all—away from Dr. Emir’s multiverse machine.

But Sam is a detective at heart, and even on the other side of the world, she can’t help wonder if a series of unsolved killings she reads about are related—not just to each other, but to the only unsolved case of her short career.

She knows Jane Doe’s true name, but Sam never discovered who killed the woman found in an empty Alabama field in spring of 2069. She doesn’t even know which version of herself she buried under a plain headstone.

When Mac suddenly disappears, Sam realizes she is going to once more be caught up in a silent war she still doesn’t fully understand. Every step she takes to save Mac puts the world she knows at risk, and moves her one step closer to becoming the girl in the grave.

Hello out there!

Dear Reader,

At this point you are probably wondering whether or not I survived the drive through Canada and, if I did, will I ever return to the blog and stop leaving auto-posted chapters here. Regular readers are probably expecting a return to nice things like blog posts on writing or news about my favorite books.

Consider this the post you’ve been waiting for! Huzzah!

The summer blog break is almost at an end!

My kids go back to school September 5th, which means I will resume a normal blogging schedule (3-4 posts per week) on September 6th. Coincidentally, that week should see BODIES IN MOTION wrapping up for the grand finale and I should be kicking off a new project by mid-September. I have several posts scheduled including a series on encouraging young writers, fast drafting (and probably a reprint of the NaNo Boot Camp), and how to write a first draft you can work with. This will be interspersed with pics from my explorations of the Pacific Northwest and random other things that will appear randomly. (Random is good).

If there’s anything specific you’d like to see in my return to regular blogging feel free to let me know in the comments, my email, on Twitter, or in my Tumblr Ask box. I’m super excited to get back into a regular routine and my office is almost done, so soon I’ll have some pics of my new work space for you. What are you getting excited about?

Query Help Available Now!

Every book needs an editor. Whether you are an indie author building your self-publishing empire, a niche author working with a scrappy small press, or a wordy warrior scaling the dangerous peaks of traditional publishing – you will need an editor.

Over the course of your career you will probably have several editors. Over the course of a book you will have at least two editors with most publishers (a content or developmental editor and the line editor). For an author who is serious about their career these aren’t luxuries, editors are the secret prep step that makes readers come back for each dazzling story you write.

Getting your story in front of an editor is the hard part. If you’re an indie author you can hire an editor (like me – hi!) to do the work, but for the other avenues of publishing you need to query and get your book under contract first. The best way to do that is with a great query (it reads like the back-of-book blurb) and fantastic opening chapters. If your query isn’t getting the results you want it may need some professional attention.

I offer affordable rates for submission packet critiques, query critiques, contest critiques, and even pre-write consults if you want want to bounce an idea off an industry professional while you’re getting started. Openings are available now, so why not turn your story into a success story? Hire the help you need today!
To reserve a space please contact me at liana.brooks1@gmail.com

Submission Packet Critique (synopsis, query, and first 5 pages) $25
Indie Author Special (blurb, 5 twitter pitches, and first 5 pages) $25 
First Chapter
 (up to 20 pages)  $50.00 and a 1 work-week turn around time
Contest Critique (first 50 pages + blurb) $100
Full Manuscript Critique $1.00 a page minimum of 200 pages
Prewrite Consult (one-on-one time to help you develop the story before you write) starting at $20
A La Carte (add-ons and package deals) starting at $5
Emergency Fee to Jump the Queue  $50
* all page counts are double-spaced, Times New Roman, size 12 font, formatted for Microsoft Word *
To reserve a space please contact me at liana.brooks1@gmail.com

 

The Trouble With Going Offline

There will never be a shortage of posts telling you to get off your computer and go enjoy nature. Being in the woods is touted as a miracle cure-all for everything from mental illness to asthma. And, I admit, I do not mind being outside. Especially if that outside is near tropical water on a warm beach.

I am more a Beach House person than a Lake House person.

But, as I’m writing this from a cabin on a lake front in my final days in Alaska, I realize what I miss about being online isn’t my email or Twitter or the mind-numbing websites that are so easy to find. I miss the mental space that comes with being some place I can write.

I miss being able to forget about bears, spiders, mosquitoes, and kids drowning in the lake or breaking the house. I miss escaping into fiction for a little while.

Thankfully, it started raining and I was able to open an old manuscript that needs some editing. It was nice to get away from it all and wander around the space port.

Books are the best virtual reality. 🙂

BODIES IN MOTION: Chapter 1

 

NOTE: This novel was originally posted as a serial in Summer 2017. The posted chapters are from an unproofed draft and may contain errors.
The final, fully edited, manuscript is now available for sale.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Inkprint Press

List on GoodReads

 

A body at rest stays at rest unless acted on by an equal and opposite force.
– Newton’s First Law of Motion

Selena Caryll lost everything in the war: her ship, her crew, her family. The only thing keeping her going is the hope that somehow the feuding, ground-bound settlers and the fuelless space fleet can set aside their differences. But getting the politically-fractured fleet moving again is more than she can manage alone. For now, she has to settle for working undercover with the planetary police force.

When someone tries to reignite conflict between the planet-siders and the fleet, there’s only one person who has the rank and ability to help Selena protect the fleet: Titan Sciarra, Fleet Guardian—the one man she’s tried hardest to avoid since the war destroyed her life.

In a world where the stagnant weight of tradition can be as deadly as any knife, the only way to survive is to keep moving.

 

SELENA

The problem with vacations, Selena reflected as she adjusted her sweater outside of Cargo Blue, was that at the end, reality was always waiting. A quick search of the local security cameras found one that showed the peeling sunburn on her right shoulder blade.

Such was the curse of pale-skinned, ship-born Fleet personnel. Anytime she left the foggy belts covering the city of Tarrin, she barbecued like a shrimp. Otherwise, she’d flee even further from the Enclave and make her home on the equatorial beaches of the planet they were trapped on.

She panned the camera and checked her left shoulder. Black ink, dotted with stars, made a starscape that disguised three silver scars as three shooting stars. The painting covered her shoulder blade and part of her arm. As the artist had promised, the skin-paint had kept her from burning. With a few adjustments, her uniform covered most of the temporary art, which would keep her from having to explain to her fellow fleet officers.

Her arm warmed, an advance warning that someone was about to try to contact her through the tech implant tucked between her radius and ulna. She hesitated too long and the call came through, a persistent ping against her skull as the phantom image of her best friend floated on the edge of her vision.

Selena turned off the visual receiver, and answered. “Genevieve,” she said with a smile as the image of her vivacious, red-headed friend appeared.

A Grounder would have thought she was talking to herself, but Grounders wouldn’t set foot near the Enclave. The fleet ships hulking on the rocky beach served as a permanent reminder of the last war—and Selena’s folly.

Not a mistake. A decision.

The only people with any right to judge her rested with the Lost Fleet, just like the rest of her ancestors—

Continue reading BODIES IN MOTION: Chapter 1

FAIR WARNING: I’m Scheduling Things

Here’s the deal… my computer is getting packed on June 19th, I don’t know what day I’ll lose internet, and between here and there I have SO MUCH WORK TO DO!  There’s packing, writing, house repairs, kids, school things, craziness. So much craziness! And keeping up with blog posts and tweets isn’t going to be possible.

For every social media outlet I have I’m scheduling posts now. And I may not be around to turn them off in the event of a world tragedy. After June 26th I’ll be off the internet for about a week. Once I cross into Canada I’m not even sure my phone will work. That means that I can’t turn off an auto-post if World War III breaks out.

Scheduling things in advance, and not being there to turn them off, is always a calculated risk. Even if you aren’t scheduling sales tweets there is always the risk that a tense chapter of the serialized novel might come out at the same time as a major tragedy. Or that a post on diversity might pop up on the day someone says something that insults women, or minorities, or religions, or atheists, or LGBTIA+ people (which is every day if you read the wrong Twitter feeds).

If that happens, please understand that it isn’t intentional and I’m not trying to fan any flames, start a war, or be insensitive.

If possible, I’ll log on and delay or delete a post as needed.

Hopefully everything will be wonderful while I’m away and we’ll all continue on without a hitch. But, if there’s a hiccup, please bear with me.

 

<3 Liana <3