Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Writer's Resource: #MSWL

Yesterday was a #MSWL day on Twitter! Whether you're a seasoned Twitter-user or terrified to even poke your head in, this is an incredibly useful tool for writers who are seeking agents. Here's a quick primer.

#MSWL stands for Manuscript Wishlist. Agent Jessica Sinsheimer conceived this several years ago as a way to connect agents who wanted to see specific things in their inboxes with writers who could provide them.

When an event is scheduled, agents (and sometimes editors, but mostly agents) tweet things they're interested in seeing—say, YA sci-fi with aliens or adult romantic suspense—and because they include the hashtag, it's all collected into an easily searchable list. Writers can get as specific as they want with their searches. Use or your favorite third-party Twitter app, like TweetDeck or HootSuite and type "#MSWL" and your keywords into the search.

A few cautions:
-This event has been running since 2013, so be sure to check the dates on any matches you find before you submit your work. Agents usually aren't looking for the same things they were a few years ago.

-Anyone can post on the #MSWL hashtag, so you should always do your research before you send a query and make sure they're someone you'd want to work with.

-Don't ever tweet a pitch for your book using the #MSWL hashtag. It's reserved for agents and other industry professionals, so it's a major faux pas to blunder in as a writer looking for representation. If you need to ask a question to clarify someone's MSWL tweet, that's fine—just do a direct reply and don't use the hashtag, and that way it won't show up in searches.

If you think this #MSWL thing is pretty cool, check out the website! is a huge repository of agent information and should be a writer gearing up to query's first stop.

Monday, September 4, 2017


As of our last posting on Wednesday, August 23rd, we haven't had much time to sit and think.  See, on Friday, August 25th, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast and with it, our lives turned upside down. First of, let us say that we (along with our loved ones) are just fine, but we were among the lucky few.  We are not even going to touch on those feelings because this is not the time nor place, and we are still at a loss of words.

 One thing keeps haunting us though and that is our last post.  In that post, we advised against writing about storms in the first ten pages of your manuscript.  Now we are not so sure.  Since the hurricane, social media has exploded with the most beautiful writing we have ever seen and it all centers around this horrific storm.

Thus we recant our previous statement and say just write - even if it is about storms - just write.  And remember to get out there and live.  Above all . . . keep it real.  The world really is an amazing and beautiful place!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Author Jessica Kapp Shares Her Inspiring Path to Publication + a Giveaway!

Today I'm excited to welcome BODY PARTS author Jessica Kapp to Thinking to Inking, where she shares her inspiring path to publication (spoiler alert: never give up!)  Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of the post for a chance to win an Amazon Giftcard and an autographed bookmark!

It took me two long years to finish my first novel, and I didn’t do anything with it. It was a hot mess—still is—but I learned I could complete a novel, and that prompted me to start book number two. My second attempt went much faster, and within a few months I was ready to polish.

Sadly, I finished revising it right when agents and publishers were saturated with similar books in my genre. Query after query I got the same reply: I can’t sell this in today’s crowded market. Determined to find a home for my manuscript, I went to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference and pitched it to agents.

I caught the excitement of an agent who said she loved my energy and, thank goodness, the pitch. She requested my full manuscript and I practically floated home thinking, ‘This is it. I’m on my way.’

That agent emailed me throughout her read, but there were a handful of areas that needed to be fixed. So, instead of offering me representation, she asked me to revise and resubmit. A week or so later, she sent me her notes. I jumped in headfirst and spent night after night perfecting my novel, incorporating all the elements she suggested. It was stronger and better than ever.

I sent it off and waited for her quick reply.

Weeks went by. Then months.

I wrote another novel.

I finished that novel

I polished that novel.

And when I was ready to send that new manuscript into the world, I nudged the agent to let her know I’d completed BODY PARTS.

That prompted her to finish reading the revised manuscript as well as my new one. Around that the same time, I entered Pitch Madness, and while I didn’t get in, I received an encouraging message from one of the slush readers who mentioned I came really close to getting in. She insisted I send queries into the Agent World, so I drafted a few and, with a shaky hand, hit send.

The responses came back slow at first, then two full requests came within hours of each other. A week later, an agent requested my manuscript 12 MINUTES after I queried her (cue the freakout session).

Despite the good news, rejections trickled in. The agent sitting on my old manuscript sent me a rejection. BODY PARTS still needed a home.

One of my CPs convinced me to participate in #RTSlap, a Twitter pitch event I hadn’t planned on entering. I was full of coffee and optimism, so I sent one pitch out into the Twitterverse and called it good. Later that night, I checked my account and saw an agent had favorited my tweet. Eureka! That agent was Whitley Abell, and she offered me representation shortly after I sent her the full manuscript.

We polished the manuscript and went out on submission on my birthday. It was a nice way to celebrate, but the publishing world moves at the speed of molasses sliding uphill. So we waited and waited.

Finally, on my way to pick up my kids from school, I saw that beautiful envelope icon pop up on my phone. I pulled over as soon as I could and clicked on it. The subject of the email read: OFFER RECEIVED.

My book was going to be published.

I remember crying as I dialed my husband. I remember blubbering something incoherent.

And I remember getting the first good night’s sleep in months.

About Body Parts:

Body Parts by Jessica Kapp
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Diversion Publishing

People would kill for her body.

Raised in an elite foster center off the California coast, sixteen-year-old Tabitha’s been sculpted into a world-class athlete. Her trainers have told her she’ll need to be in top physical condition to be matched with a loving family, even though personal health has taken a backseat outside the training facility. While Tabitha swims laps and shaves seconds off her mile time, hoping to find a permanent home, the rest of the community takes pills produced by pharmaceutical giant PharmPerfect to erase their wrinkles, grow hair, and develop superhuman strength.

When Tabitha’s finally paired, instead of being taken to meet her new parents, she wakes up immobile on a hospital bed. Moments before she’s sliced open, a group of renegade teenagers rescues her, and she learns the real reason for her perfect health: PharmPerfect is using her foster program as a replacement factory for their pill-addicted clients’ failing organs. And her friends from the center, the only family she’s ever known, are next in line to be harvested.

Determined to save them, Tabitha joins forces with her rescuers, led by moody and mysterious Gavin Stiles. As they race to infiltrate the hospital and uncover the rest of PharmPerfect’s secrets, though, Tabitha finds herself with more questions than answers. Will trusting the enigmatic group of rebels lead her back to the slaughterhouse?

About The Author:

Jessica Kapp enjoys writing Young Adult Contemporary and Speculative Fiction. Story ideas often strike at inopportune times, and she’s been known to text herself reminders from under the covers.

She lives on a small farm in Washington with far too many goats and an occasional cow.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Working with Deadlines

Writer's Clock
This summer has been by far one of the busiest summers I've ever experienced. Between a new job with a boss that recently left, MFA course work deadlines, family visits and contracts to complete, finding time to do everything kept me up many a night. 

But that is life in general. Who's life isn't busy? Writers though, have to make time for reading and writing on top of our daily routines. 

I don't have a lot of advice unfortunately on time management. 

I recently submitted my first MFA packet and paid work deliverables for August. I thought I had some room to breath but September is proving to be much of the same. 

In terms of writing, I have four weeks to deliver my next packet (which consists of two critical essays, thirty pages of creative material and a cover letter). 

So what have I learned?

I've learned that even with everything going on in your life, you have to make time to read and write. 


Whether it's for half an hour or a four hour stint. You need to insert that "to do" in there always

Some people are lucky and have the luxury of reading and writing for a certain amount of time a day, but for those of us who don't, it important to remain consistent in our inconsistency. Look for those minutes and hours and keep plugging at it! You can do it!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Things to Avoid in First Ten Pages

When it comes to publishing those first ten pages, here's a list of things to avoid when editing. 

Spelling and grammar mistakes
Too much description and/or backstory
Confusing plot or timeline
No main character and/or haven't made us care about the character yet
Personal Introductions such as "My name is . . ."
First days
Bad weather

Of course, the list is just an opinion shared by several in the industry at the moment. The tide can always turn around.  Just write and give us your best.  Good and interesting writing is really the ultimate goal.