Wednesday, December 01, 2010

CLARITY ARC GIVEAWAY

So it's December 1st and Clarity comes out in THREE MONTHS! What? You can't wait until March 1st? You want a signed ARC (advanced review copy) of Clarity now? Read on, my friend!


So, I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been dragging my Clarity ARC around to various places. Her favorite outings so far have been:

Chipotle,
the beach,
 and a Bruins game.

But she’s gotten sick of me. She wants to go live with someone else now. So…it’s time for a giveaway!

The winner will receive my Clarity ARC and some Clarity bookmarks (all signed).
A Clarity sticker.
So-cheesy-they’re-cool Cape Cod gifts! (Clarity takes place in a tourist town on Cape Cod, so I just had to include some fun gift shop trinkets!)
A secret Clarity playlist! A list of songs I found inspiring during the writing process, what scene(s) in the book the songs apply to, and my thoughts on the song and how it fits in. Though I might find some way to share this with readers sometime after the book is out, I will never be putting this info on my blog because it's spoilerific! (Hence the warning on the envelope.) PLUS, a $10 iTunes Gift Card in case the playlist inspires you to buy some new songs.

So, you get one signed ARC, a few signed bookmarks, a sticker, three Cape Cod themed touristy gifts, my secret playlist with notes, and an iTunes gift card!

There will be one winner. I’m going to make this international, so enter from anywhere! All you have to do to enter is post a comment below. (For fun, you could include a place you’d like to take the Clarity ARC. But it’s not necessary, just for fun.)

You can get additional entries for:
+1 tweeting this: RT @Kim_Harrington Signed CLARITY ARC & Swag Giveaway: http://bit.ly/ezRQap Please RT!
+1 posting a link to this post on Facebook
+1 linking to this post on your blog
+1 being or becoming a follower of my blog
+2 "Like" my brand-spanking new official Facebook page*
+5 Putting my Clarity widget (see it on the left) on your blog

(Please let me know everything you did in your comment.)
*If you go to my Facebook page and it says "page not found" please try again in a couple minutes. Facebook is having issues with my new page, off and on.


The last day to post a comment is Wednesday, 12/15/10. I’ll go through all the entries, use Random.org, and announce the winner on Thursday, 12/16/10.

Thanks and good luck!

Monday, November 08, 2010

In Which I Torture My Mother

So my mom has a thing for giraffes lately. (Don't ask.) She bought a ceramic giraffe on vacation and recently bought a little stuffed giraffe that she adores. A couple weeks ago, my parents came to visit and she--for some reason--brought her new, beloved giraffe to show us. Then...she accidentally left it here.

The phone rang later that night and it was Mom telling me that she'd left her giraffe behind and asking me to take good care of it until the next time we see each other. I assured her I would, hung up, and passed the message on to my husband and son.

Then, because I'm slightly sick in the head, I said, "What if we take a bunch of pictures of us not taking very good care of the giraffe and email them to her one day at a time?" We all liked that idea.

So every day I've been emailing my mother a picture of her giraffe with one line. Some examples:

We're taking good care of your giraffe, Mom!

The giraffe shouldn't have played in the driveway.

Giraffe...it's what's for dinner.

Send chocolate or the giraffe gets it.


You get the gist. The responses are even funnier. Emailed replies in all caps saying: LEAVE MY GIRAFFE ALONE! Or phone calls like, "There'd better not be one mark on my precious, lovely giraffe." (My mother's from Ireland so picture that in her lilting accent.)

So we've put the giraffe outside, under my tire, in the oven, in the microwave, held it over the toilet, held a knife to its throat, and my son sat on it. I'll be seeing my parents again in two weeks and will have to return the giraffe. But until then the fun is ON. We're running out of ideas though, so feel free to post some in the comments!

Update: My parents have set a revenge plan in motion which involves a wrapped but unidentified Christmas present being tortured in various ways. The first picture showed the present being run over by my mom on her bike. The second showed the present being slammed in a car door. So...if you think I'm deranged, now at least you know where I got it from. :)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Do you know this book?

My mother and I were strolling through the children’s section of a bookstore last weekend and the conversation turned to my favorite picture book as a child. I loved this book so much. I must have asked my parents to read it a thousand times and read it myself a million times more. Mom and I started laughing in the aisle of the store because, even though we hadn’t seen the book in over twenty-five years, we still clearly remembered everything that happened in it. I have an exact image of one of the illustrations in my head. I can’t tell you what I had for dinner a couple nights ago, but I could explain in detail this illustration from my favorite book when I was five. That’s the power of books!

Anyhow, the problem is, neither of us can remember the title. I’d love to try to search out a copy. To be honest, I’d probably cry if I saw this book again because it holds such sentimental value. But I have no author name, no title.

So, I’m reaching out to the blogosphere to see if anyone else knows what this book could be.

It was a picture book, out in the '70s. It was about a little girl who walked to school each day. She passed by a house with a tall wooden fence. On the fence was a sign that said: Beware of Dog. (There was an illustration of this). She always pictured this giant, scary dog living there. I think the dog may have barked, too. A loud, big dog bark. But then one day, as she walked by, somehow the dog was out. The little girl closed her eyes in fear, but then felt something on her hand. The dog licked her hand. (There was an illustration of this, too). She opened her eyes and it was a very small dog. I think the owner may have come over and given an explanation for the sign, but that part’s fuzzy. And that’s all I remember.

Anyone have any idea what book this could be?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My happy news: new book deal!

I’m busting out of the edit cave like the Kool-Aid man through a wall to tell you I HAVE GOOD NEWS! I alluded to this in my vacation post, and I’ve been dying to tell you guys. Now, I can!

From Publishers Marketplace:

Kim Harrington's GLIMMER, in which a teenage girl finds a ghost in her house, and tries to unravel the mystery behind the ghost girl's murder, while also falling for the ghost's former boyfriend.

YAY!

GLIMMER is not a CLARITY book. It's a standalone. It's another paranormal mystery--this time…a ghost story. I’m so excited! I’ve always loved ghost stories and haunted house books, so this is a dream come true for me. And, I’ve got to tell you, writing the spooky scenes has been the most fun so far!

So, here’s my release schedule as it stands right now:
CLARITY – 3/1/11
CLARITY Book 2: Electric Woo Woo (not real title) – Spring 2012
GLIMMER (standalone) – Fall 2012
(All three with Scholastic/Point and my Editor of Awesome.)

Three books in two years. I’m about to get very, very busy.

But first, will you join me in a happy dance?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Clarity Cover!

I am psyched. Why, you ask? Because today's the day I get to show you the cover of CLARITY!

*drumroll*

Ready?

Really ready?

Are you sure you want to see this?

Okay...here we go...



Ta-da! (Click on the image to see the cover in its full-sized glory.)

When I got the email way back when, I opened it up, waited four hours for the attachment to open (okay it was probably four seconds, but it seemed like hours), and my jaw hit the floor. It’s bright and beautiful and just so different.

I knew ahead of time that a model would be on the cover because my editor had told me they were doing a photo shoot. My main character, Clare, is a petite redhead with startlingly blue eyes and a smattering of freckles across her nose. And the model they chose…is exactly that!

The one thing I really wanted incorporated into the cover was water, since the setting is a tourist town on Cape Cod and much of the book takes place near the beach. I didn’t mention this wish to anyone, but was delighted when I opened the attachment and saw the water in the background and the seagulls in the sky. (The seagulls are also on the back. SO. COOL.)

What I love the most, though, are the colored circles of light around the model’s hair. That, in my opinion, is what attracts your eyes to the cover from a distance. (Not that I had the picture up on my monitor and then stepped away ten feet and pictured it on a shelf in the bookstore. Okay, I did.)

And lastly (because I've blathered on long enough), I love the look on the model’s face. Clare is tough, snarky, and defensive at times and the model seemed to capture that perfectly.

I'm super happy and so excited to be sharing the cover with you! And I'll be even more excited to share the real thing with you...on March 1, 2011. Yay! :)

What do you think?

Friday, July 02, 2010

How to Get an Agent: Part Four

Today is the last installment in my series on how to get published. You can start from the beginning here.

Now the responses are rolling in. You may have one agent interested or be juggling multiple offers. Time for phone calls!

An agent may be calling to offer you representation or just to chat and get to know each other better. You’re both looking to see if you’re a good fit. Remember, you have a chance here to ask questions, too. But you shouldn’t be wasting time asking who the agent’s other clients are or anything that you could easily find online. Take the opportunity to ask things that can’t be found with a Google search. What approach he or she would like to take with your book, for example. And try to gauge the agent’s style (hand holding, hands off, etc.) and see if it’s a good match for you.

If the agent offers, you don’t have to say yes right off the bat. You can ask for a few days to think about it. They kind of expect that. You should also notify any other agents who have your full manuscript, to give them a chance to toss their hat in the ring if they’re interested.

Once you make your decision, you accept the offer of representation and let the other agents know.

Congratulations. You are off the query-go-round. From this point on everything is sunshine and rainbows!!!!!

Kidding. Next up is possibly editing/revising for your agent. Then comes the submission coaster, which is way worse on the nausea scale than the query-go-round. And there are still no guarantees. Even though your book has an agent now, it still might not sell. So, while you’re on submission WRITE YOUR NEXT BOOK. Seriously. It’ll help keep you sane during this time and might come in handy if a publisher wants to buy more than one book.

I hope this series has been helpful to all aspiring authors out there. And now you know why I couldn’t answer this question with one paragraph in the FAQ. ;)

Good luck!
*tosses glitter*

Thursday, July 01, 2010

How to Get an Agent: Part Three – The Query-Go-Round

This week I’m going through the steps of getting published. You can start from the beginning here.

So you’ve started to send out queries. What now?

Some agents respond within minutes, some take months, and some only respond if they are interested. Stay organized and keep a spreadsheet so you know where you stand.

Never under any circumstances write back something crazy to an agent. If you’re even thinking about writing some vengeful ‘how dare you reject me’ diatribe, then you need to think about whether or not you are ready for this giant Road of Rejection. If an agent rejects you, the only thing you should ever write back is “thanks for your time” and only do that if they send a detailed, personal rejection. After you get a rejection, note it in your spreadsheet, file it away, and move on. Everyone gets rejections.

Always be professional.

In some cases, the query-go-round turns into a whirlwind of quick requests and offers and wonderful phone calls. In most cases, it takes a while. Months. Don’t sit around and twiddle your thumbs. Work on your next book!

Imagine a year from now, you’ve queried 100 agents. Some have asked to read your manuscript, but it all ends in rejection. You’ve spent this year doing nothing because you were certain this book would snag you an agent. It didn’t and you have nothing else to offer. How do you feel? Pretty depressed, I’d think.

Now imagine that same scenario except that during the year you’ve finished your second book. So, yeah, 100 agents have rejected your first book, but now you’re ready to query again. Your second book is better than the first and you’re psyched to get back on the query-go-round. Not as depressing. More like…exciting!

Come back tomorrow for the last installment!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How to Get an Agent: Part Two - Research

This week I’m going through the steps of getting published. You can start from the beginning here: How to Get Published.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, the most important thing you should know before you send out your queries is that legitimate agents don’t charge you a thing. No fees. Real agents make money by selling your book and taking their 15%. Until they sell your book, they make nothing. Please, don’t get scammed. Preditors & Editors is a good guide to check out agents you’re not sure about.

Now, how to find the perfect agent for your work.

You want an agent who is open to new clients and interested in your genre. The top websites I recommend for researching agents are: Agent Query and Publishers Marketplace. Agent Query is free. Publishers Marketplace is $20 per month. It is well worth buying one month to use their database of book deals for research. After that, you can see if you want to keep your membership going or not. I still have a membership even now.

Using AQ, you can generate a list of agents. Then use PM to see who else the agent represents, what deals they’ve made recently, and perhaps what they are currently looking for (they may post this on their website and/or blog).

Make a list of all the agents you’re interested in. This could be 20, it could be 100. Prioritize them. Don’t email all 100 agents at once. Do 10 at a time. This way, if your response rate is very low, you can change your query letter and perhaps get a better response from the next 10.

Some agents want queries via email, some want them via snail mail. Some agents want a query only. Some agents want a query plus the first chapter. Send the agent what they want.

In the next installment, I’ll go over the ups and downs of the Query-Go-Round and the most important thing you can do while you’re on it.

These are only the websites I used in my search. If you know of another good one, add it in the comments! :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to Get an Agent: Part One – The Query Letter

This week I’m going through the steps of getting published. See yesterday’s introductory post: How to Get Published.

Many people believe you have to know someone to get published. And, sure, celebrity book deals do nothing to dispel this myth. But the truth is, most book deals are made for people who had no previous publishing connections. They just wrote a great book. Then they wrote a great query letter. The query letter grabbed the attention of an agent and the book made him/her want to take you on as a client. That’s how it worked for me. I had no contacts. No special publishing secrets. I just didn’t give up and I kept on writing.

Before you start this process, you should know...you will get rejected. Everyone gets rejected. You might get rejected 100 times. That 101st query letter could score you an agent. Or you may have to shelve this book that you’ve poured your heart and soul into and start again with a new one. That’s why this is a tough business. You need to have thick skin. You. Have. To. Want. It. I’ve read that the average number of manuscripts people write before they score their first deal is four. Sure, some people sell their first book. But others write ten before they sell. And you don’t know what your magic number is going to be. (My magic number? I signed with my agent for manuscript number three, but that one didn’t sell. Clarity was manuscript number four.)

With those caveats done, let’s move on to your query letter. The purpose of the letter is to sell you and your book to an agent. The letter shouldn’t be too long. One or two paragraphs about the book and one paragraph about yourself. Be sure to include basic info on the book (genre and word count). And for the love of all that is holy make sure it’s written well!

I highly recommend getting your query letter critiqued by fellow writers. Some sites where you can do that include Query Shark, the WritersNet forum, and the Absolute Write forums. (I'm sure there are more sites, too. If you know of any, please post them in the comments!)

AgentQuery has a great page on How to Write a Query. It really is a must read! Lots of details and links to query letters that worked.

Have a kick-butt query letter written? Great! Now you need someone to send it to. So tomorrow, in the next installment, I’ll discuss researching agents and how to find the perfect agent for you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

How to Get Published

So I’ve started working on a FAQ to include on my website. One of the most commonly asked questions authors get is, “So how do you get published?” And the answer is a little too long to include in the FAQ. So I’m answering it in detail, here on the blog, spread over five days.

(Note: there are many ways to get published, but I’m focusing on the way I did it. The traditional ‘write a book, get an agent, get a book deal’ way. Even though it took me 10,000 years, that’s how I did it.)

Step one in getting published: write a book. Seems obvious, but I’m serious. Don’t worry about agents or publishers unless you have a completed novel. According to my made up statistics, a gazillion people say they want to write a novel. Out of this gazillion, only 1% will turn the TV off, stop talking about writing a novel and actually start it. And out of that group, only a small percentage will actually finish a novel. So before you start worrying about query letters and book signings, see if you’re in that small percentage who can even finish a book. (I was guilty of this myself for a long time. My recommendation for a cure? BIC. The well-known, well-loved butt in chair method. It works.)

You’ve finished your book? Awesome. Reach around and pat yourself on the back because that is a huge accomplishment! Even if nothing else comes from this, even if it never gets published, you have finished a novel-length manuscript. That. Is. Awesome. Go out to dinner and celebrate.

Now, set the book aside for a week or two. Don’t even think about it during that time. Then return to it, fresh and ready to edit. Send it to trusted, honest, knowledgeable critique partners. Then revise and edit again. Lather, rinse, repeat. When you think it’s in the best shape you can get it in, it’s time to get an agent.

How do you get an agent? For that, you’ll have to come back tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Hardest Paragraph to Write

Last week I had to pull together my official bio for the Clarity book jacket and spent most of the time wondering why writing a one paragraph bio about myself is harder than writing a 300 page book about fake people.

Maybe because I’m not quite comfortable talking about myself.

Or maybe because I’m just not all that exciting. Especially compared to the fake people I create.

So, I strolled over to my bulging bookcase and pulled a bunch of books down and read the author bios. Many seem to fall into certain types, so I figured I’d try each one.

The “Interesting Places I’ve lived” type:

You know… I was born in New York, went to college in London, married in Paris, and now live in Los Angeles.

Okay, I can do that… let’s see…

Kim Harrington was born in a town in Massachusetts, raised in another town in Massachusetts, went to college and graduate school in a city in Massachusetts, and now lives in yet another town in Massachusetts.

Okay. Can’t do that. Next?

The “Interesting Jobs I’ve had” type:

You know… I’ve been a waitress, actress, tarot card reader, minister, pet psychic, horse trainer and now I write full-time.

Okay, I can do that… let’s see…

Kim Harrington worked in marketing… and she still does that same thing now, except she writes, too.

Okay. Can’t do that. Next?

The “Quirky Family” type:

You know… I was the last of ten children and now I live with my husband, our four kids, a bipolar dog, two lovelorn cats, and a cannibalistic parrot.

Okay, I can do that… let’s see…

Kim Harrington is an only child, married an only child, and has one child. No pets.

Okay. Can’t do that either.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I am boring. ;)

But I was able to scrape up enough for a bio. Now I’m going to go write a chapter of ten pages or so, which will be much easier to craft than that one paragraph was.