Monday, May 15, 2017

How do you find the right agent, editor, or writers conference?



Stephanie Morrill is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com and the author of several young adult novels, including the historical mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street (Blink/HarperCollins). Despite loving cloche hats and drop-waist dresses, Stephanie would have been a terrible flapper because she can’t do the Charleston and looks awful with bobbed hair. She and her near-constant ponytail live in Kansas City with her husband and three kids. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, and sign up for free books on her author website.


If you read my journey to publication, then you already know that I made loads of mistakes along the way. Including, but not limited to, submitting my manuscript on purple paper, and not knowing what genre I wrote. I thought I had invented YA fiction, for crying out loud. You can't get much greener than that.

When I talk to aspiring writers, I often get asked questions like, "What are the best writers conference to go to? How did you know your agent was the best agent for you? How did you know which publisher was the right one?"



We've talked many times about query letters, literary agents, and publishing. Here are some highlights if those are topics you're interested in:



What I haven't talked much about is the doubt involved in all the choices. The fear that maybe you're choosing wrong, or missing out. The nervousness you feel when you're taking leaps of faith. Here are some of the questions I get asked the most when it comes to these choices:

"How do you find the right writers conferences?"

Writers conferences can cost a lot of money, and if you've never been to one, it can be hard to understand what kind of value you get. So a lot of writers will ask me about finding the best conferences.

I started with what I could afford (read: what was local and my parents would pay for). I was seventeen when I went to my first conference, and my dad came with me. We paid for a day pass, not the whole thing, and it was a conference put on by one of our area community colleges. I only remember a few things from it:
  • In one of the classes, the teacher had us write about an embarrassing moment, saying we wouldn't have to show it to anyone, so we shouldn't be afraid to be vulnerable on the page. Then she picked me and another writer to read what we had written. Not only did this seem dishonest to me, but I had anticipated that the exercise might take this turn, so I had been careful to pick a moment that wasn't too embarrassing. (Which undermined her purpose, and cost her my respect.)
  • My parents paid for me to have lunch (along with several other writers) with a literary agent. I didn't bring anything to submit, because I didn't know you could, so I just asked questions and listened. Which, really, was the best thing I could possibly do. This was the first time I really understood the purpose of literary agents.
  • I took a class taught by an editor. She worked mostly with picture books. I asked her several questions during the class and after, and she was really kind. I also remember her saying that a lot of new writers had big visions for their book, and would talk to her in their pitches about what the cover should look like, and the stuffed dog that could be sold with it. I remember her saying, "You have to show me you've written a good book before we can have a conversation about a stuffed dog." That's something that stuck with me, which is funny considering I've never written a picture book. 
Was this the best conference? The most right conference for me? I say yes it was. It was cheap, and I got my toes wet. Several years later when I went to a bigger conference to pitch my stories, I felt braver because I had gone to something similar before. Considering my experience level, my understanding of the industry, and my financial situation, yes. This was the best conference for me.

I listen to the DIY MFA podcast pretty frequently, and one of the things Gabriela talks about a lot is "honor your reality." Meaning there are things in your lifefinancial restrictions, experience level, health complicationsthat you can't just ignore when you're making plans.

If you want to go to a writers conference, great. What can you afford? If it's not much, that's fine. Look for something close to you. While those enormous conferences like RWA, SCBWI, or ACFW offer a lot value, it can actually be easier to make connections with agents, editors, and writers at the smaller conferences.

While it's smart to think about conferences that are the best fit for your genre and goals, don't get locked into thinking there's only one or two conferences that could benefit you.

"How did you know which agent was best for you?"

If you're like most writers, trying to find a literary agent might be one of the slowest pieces of your journey to being a professional writer. Even after you sign with an agent, it's very possible it won't be the best long term solution. (Anne R. Allen talked about this in point four of her post on mistakes she's made.)

From the beginning, I had a lot of hesitations about signing with my first agent. She had a lot going for her. She was really active in the writer's group I was a part of, and she only took on unpublished writers as clients because that was her passion. But she had a personality that was very polarizing, and she seemed to often be engaged in strange email arguments or twitter conversations.

Her clients seemed to love her, however, and she had sold a decent amount in her first year as an agent. Even though she wasn't really a person I would want to hang out with as a friend, I decided this was a business relationship, and my agent didn't need to be someone who I would hang out with at the mall. 

But your agent should be someone you can respect. Our professional relationship didn't last long. She was kicked out of at least two major writing organizations, and I routinely saw social media posts or emails of hers that made me cringe.

When a sticky sales situation came up with my first publisher, I realized I didn't trust the advice my agent was giving me, and that was when I admitted that I needed to let her go. Even with trying to sever the relationship as professionally as I knew how (I had no experience with firing anyone, so I'm sure I made mistakes) it still turned into a big, dramatic situation that my editor got roped into. Yuck.

So here's what I debate: Was she the right agent for me? No. She made mistakes that I was too naive to realize at the time, and they maybe (probably?) did some damage to my career.

But she did get me published, and I'm not sure that my current agent (who I've been with for seven years now) would have considered me if I wasn't. The only reason I had the chance to submit to my current agent is because an author recommended me to her. And I might not have known that author except that we were both published in the same YA niche, which, again, wouldn't have happened without my first agent.

So maybe the benefits that came from signing with not-the-right agent outweigh the bad stuff? Or maybe not. Maybe if I had been patient and waited for a more skilled, knowledgeable agent, I would be further along in my career.

I don't know. And I certainly am not advocating, "Just sign with any agent! It doesn't matter!" because it definitely does. What I am saying is that even if it turns out you chose wrong, it's not an irreversible decision.

"How do you pick the right editor?"

I was listening to The 10-minute Writer's Workshop podcast's interview with Judy Blume, who I found to be refreshingly frank in her answers. The interviewer asked, "What do you look for in an editor?"

Ms. Blume said, "Someone who wants to work with you."

And I burst out laughing, because it's so true and writers so rarely say that.

Ms. Blume went on to say, "In the beginning, I don't think any writer feels that he or she can look for something in an editor. You're so grateful that somebody is interested in what you're doing and wants to work with you." (You can listen to this interview in its entirety here.)

Jillian and me at the American Library Association
Midwinter Meeting.
While I certainly believe editors vary in skill, and that editors make a huge difference in the quality and life of a book, it's not like shopping for shoes.

I landed at Blink because Jillian Manning was so enthusiastic about The Lost Girl of Astor Street. I absolutely love working with Jillian, but I had no idea when I signed my contract that she was going to be such a fabulous editor to work with. (Jillian is going to be with us next week, talking about what she looks for in debut authors!)

Here's the thing about all of those, "How did you know...?" kinds of questions. The answer is almost always that I didn't.

I've always done my best to research the options, and then made the choice that seemed like the best at the time. I was always filled with doubts and insecurities, and sometimes I was flat out terrified that I was choosing wrong. Even the times that it went well, like with Jillian. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.

My friend was telling me about a cartoon she saw that showed someone looking at two directive signs pointing down two different hallways. The character could choose between "Workshop on Taking a Leap" and "Taking a Leap."

Let me be clear that I think researching so you can make smart choices is valuable and necessary. I love classes, and learning techniques that help me improve as a writer. But I also know that sometimes I'm guilty of taking the workshop (or reading the book, or listening to the class) on how to do something, when really I just need to push through my nervousness and do the thing. 

Do I need another class on marketing? Maybe. Or maybe what I really need is to just apply the ones I've already taken, even though marketing can feel awkward and uncomfortable to me. Same with writing. Do I need to spend time reading another book on writing? Or do I need focused time with my manuscript?

What about you? Do you have leaps that you've been putting off in favor of learning about the leap? Or do you need to spend some time learning so that you can take more educated leaps?




87 comments:

  1. This is extremely helpful. I'm nervous about looking for an agent, and I am glad to know that I'm not the only one :)

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    1. Everybody feels nervous about that, so you're certainly not the only one! It's best to go into it knowing that you'll need some patience. We're here for you!

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  2. Thank you for this post. I know I will eventually be in the phase where I need to look for an agent and I need to market my work. I feel like I should finish this round of editing before I do anything like that since I'm not quite ready. Plus, I'm still debating on pen names. I have a lot of insecurity in my writing, but I will have to push past that if I ever want to see my book on the shelves of bookstores.

    Thank you for the helpful tips. :)
    ~PT

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    1. Here are some posts on pen names you might want to check out: https://intuitivewritingguide.wordpress.com/tag/pen-names/. I know how the insecurity is, too.

      https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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    2. Thank you so much! I have a name in mind, but nothing set in stone. My first name that I picked out had the PT initials, which I use here for now. But, I decided to be smart and google the name I've had picked out for nearly three years only to find it tied to something ... uh, I'm not going to mention here. It wasn't good. So, now I've been on a journey to find a new pen name. These posts are really going to help. BTW, your blog is cool, too. :)

      Yes, insecurity is something I have to battle with my writing. It can be frustrating.

      Thanks again for the help. I'll definitely save this in my favorites. :)
      God Bless.
      ~PT

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    3. Yes, editing should definitely come first!

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    4. Okay. It's a relief to know I'm focusing on the right things. Thank you for replying. :)
      ~PT

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  3. YAY! I've been needing this. Today is my B-Day, and THANKS FOR THE PRESENT. lol But seriously, tho. Ive been worrying about this. :D
    I'm not quite in the phase of writing that I'll need an agent. I've only just started. But when the time comes, I'll look over to this. :D

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    1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
      *hands you a cake with candles*
      Have a wonderful birthday. :)
      God Bless.
      ~PT

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    2. Thank you ever so much! *munches cake*
      Do you have a blog. I don't. lol Just wondering.
      God bless you, PT! :D Just wanted to remind you that HE LOVES YOU SO MUCH!

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    3. Happy birthday, Sis! <3

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    4. Nope, I don't have a blog, but I've been thinking about starting a writing blog. Something where I share my story of writing. I'll keep everyone posted if I do that.
      THANK YOU FOR THE REMINDER! (This was enthusiasm, I wasn't yelling.) :)
      He loves you, too.
      Hey, you both end with E. Lol. God Bless you both. :)
      ~PT

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    5. Yup! LOL
      Thanks, PT! :) You as well.

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    6. Happy birthday! I'm glad this post helped release some concerns. Hope you enjoy your special day!

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    7. PT - Aww. It's be cool if you did. My Mum doesn't want me to because of creepy stalkers. lol
      You're welcome! Out God is truly an awesome God!!
      Oh, LHE and I are sisters. Twins, actually. lol xD

      Mrs. Morrill - Thank you so much! For the blog and the "Happy Birthday." :D I will. <3

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    8. For real? That's cool. It's must be cool to have a sibling that has the same passion for writing.
      Happy birthday again. God Bless.
      ~PT

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    9. Mrs. Morrill: Thanks! xD We're living it up so far.
      PT: Yup. We're siblings. It's crazy sometimes. Lol
      We read each other's manuscripts. :)

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    10. Are you identical twins? That's cool that you read each other's manuscripts. I don't let anyone read my writing. I have a problem with that, lol.
      ~PT

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    11. No. Lol. That would be TERRIBLE. *cringes*
      We sometimes let each other, but not a lot. We like to leave each other hanging. lol

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    12. I only show my sis (if she's lucky. Muahaha...ahem), and i send my manuscripts to my cousin. She likes discussing my writing with me. hehe.....I guess my own work embarrasses me. Lol
      We're not identical, we're actually quite different. Lol We can't read each other's minds....that stinks. xD

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    13. Both:You replied at the exact same time. That seems like telepathy to me, lol. Jk, but that's cool.

      GJE: Haha, I leave people hanging, too. I'm just insecure and I need to get over it, so I'll eventually let someone read my manuscript.

      LHE: It's nice to have extended family that you can rely on.

      Both: God bless you and Happy Birthday. :)
      ~PT

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    14. OH MY GOSH! I just noticed that. So weird....I LOVE IT! Haha
      It is nice to have fam!
      Bless you, PT! Oh, geez. I was about to say happy birthday to you too. LOL I've been doing that so much lately. Lol
      Well, whenever your birthday is.....Happy Birthday! Lol

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    15. I don't want to reveal my birthday online, but it's coming up, lol. So thank you!
      Yes, family support is important.
      *mind blows* Yeah, I saw you both replied and then noticed the time and my mind was blown. I actually just sat there for a moment, pondering all of this, lol. I think it's cool you guys are twins. I've spoken to both of you over the past couple of weeks and never guessed you were related, lol. That's just so cool.

      God bless you both. Hopefully you've had an awesome birthday. :)
      ~PT

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    16. Happy Early B-Day!!!
      Oh! lol! haha We do a lot of things at the same time. We talk at the same time. xD We're weird twins. We are weird with twin telepathy. We can start laughing and know why without saying. lol
      Thank you!
      God Bless You, PT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    17. I don't really either...but it kinda happened. Lol

      It just happens. Lol That is really cool though. Haha! We've said the same things so many times, at the same time. I'm glad were not identical. I think it'd just be weird for me. Plus annoying for those who wouldn't be able to tell us apart. Lol
      Thanks, PT. :)
      Numbers 6:24-26

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    18. GJE: Thanks! I think it's pretty cool that you two are twins. Telepathy is probably pretty cool to have. Having someone who knows all the inside jokes without having to say them sounds fun.
      Romans 15:13

      LHE: You're right. I think there's a lot of pressure on identical twins to have different personalities. I looked up the verse. That was so sweet. I'm going to write it down and add to my cork board. I have a board where I keep inspiring verses and quotes.
      Matthew 15:14-16

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    19. PT: You're welcome!
      It's super.... weird. lol. It's fun, but it's also kind of funny in public. We both start randomly laughing, and people around us are like ???????. lol
      Zephaniah 3:17

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    20. PT:
      It would just feel so weird to me. Plus kind of creepy when you see someone who looks exactly like you.
      Our church has that verse on the screen almost every time the service ends, and i thought it was cool. I need to have a board for that sort of thing. ;)
      1 Peter 4:8----I LOVE this verse. It's so powerful to me. :)

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    21. GJE: That's the verse of the day at Biblegateway.com. It's a really nice verse.

      LHE: Nice verse. I like that one, too. Lol, you make a point. I don't know if I would want someone to look like me. :)
      ~PT

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    22. 2 Timothy 2: 11-13 is GREAT, too! :D <3

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    23. That was beautiful. :D
      ~PT

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    24. I know!!!!! It's one of my favorites. <3

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    25. PT: Lol, it'd be....just too weird for me. Not saying that having an identical twin is bad or anything. It would be fun to play tricks on people, but it just wouldn't be right for me.
      Matthew 6:25-26----I keep thinking there's another one like this, but I may be wrong. Lol

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  4. Wow, there is so much helpful information here, Stephanie! I especially love that advice that sometimes you have to stop thinking about doing something and just do it. Take a leap of faith. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Caitlin! I know for me my motives are often good, like wanting to research so that I can make smart choices, but then I tend to hide there.

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  5. I need to actually DO my manuscript. Looking for agents and editors will be my least looked forward to part of writing. Darn.
    I would LOVE to go to a writer's conference! It would be such an amazing experience, but I'd have to finish my manuscript before I could allow myself to go. *glares at manuscript*
    Ya'l are so helpful and encouraging. Please pray that I get my manuscript done. :\
    I think I just need to take a big leap, and just write.

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    1. Yes, turning off distractions and focusing on writing is a struggle for many of us! I've found it's gotten easier over time (though I still have days where I'm easily distracted) because I've taken the time to build good habits that guard my writing time.

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    2. It's so hard to just focus for some reason.
      That's a very good point. Thanks, Mrs. Morrill! <3

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    3. Happy birthday to you, too, LHE. *hands you a cake with candles*
      Hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. :)
      ~PT

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    4. Daww! Thanks. Lol
      *looks at you, looks at cake, slams cake into my face in utter excitement*
      I'm starting another WIP because...that's me for ya, and it's goin' pretty well so far. I'm crazy. Lol

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    5. Why would you waster perfectly good imaginary cake? lollllll XD

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    6. The cake!!!!!
      Do you know how many WIP I have? Actually, I'm going to count just for you, lol.
      okay, just counted and if my math is correct, I have 35 WIP, some are kind of overlapping, but that's not even counting short stories I've written. Wow, I thought I had less than that. As long as it's going well, that's all that matters. (Cue Colton Dixon singing All That Matters) Lol, I'm weird.
      Totally random question and if you don't want to answer, I understand: Are you two homeschooled?
      God Bless :)
      ~PT

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    7. xD
      Oh, I feel honored!
      35?!?!?! Okay...I'll count just for you. I have lots of WIP beginners....let's see...I have 16, but I'm so disorganized. My folders are all crazy, so probably a couple more. Lol I have a little page for cuts from my WIPs. Yup, all that matters is that I have one that I'm working on in front of me. I LOVE that song. Have you heard Limitless by Colton Dixon? I love it. I just found it on Soundcloud.
      Yup. We're homeschooled. Are you? (If you don't want to answer than that's okay.) ;)
      Bless you, PT!

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    8. The poor, poor cake. lol
      I have 25!!!!!!! *squeals* ( I had to count.)
      I'm weird, too. Don't worry.
      YES! We are. lol. Are you? This might sound weird, but almost all the bloggers I've seen in the past few weeks have been HOMESCHOOLED. *flails*

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    9. Again you two comment nearly the same time, lol. *telepathy* Yes, I'm homeschooled and have loved every moment of it. I love limitless. I like Colton Dixon's music. Never gone is one of my favorites, but Limitless is like the song that really speaks to me.

      I know, I've seen a lot of homeschool bloggers, too. I'm seriously thinking of starting a writing blog. I have a name in mind already. It's just getting my pen name set up. Still having a hard time with that one, lol.

      I like the How To Train Your Dragon movies even though I'm a little too old, so I was thinking of doing something with a blog name having to do with dragons or something like that. I'm just a nerd. *cheesy grin*

      I really like toothless. He's adorable. And the movies are pretty good considering the age range. Anyway, LHE. what's the new manuscript about? (You don't have to tell me if you don't want to.)
      God Bless you both.
      ~PT

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    10. It's amazing! Limitless is an amazing song. :)
      Well, once you have it, let me know! I'll definitely check it out. Oohhh, I procrastinate SO much. It's horrid. Lol Is your blog goingt o be about writing? A little bit of everything?
      oooh, you could put a picture of Smoug from LOTR in the background or something. (Just a thought.) I've watched How to Train Your Dragon. I like it, though I'm not much of an animation person. Toothless is adorable. Lol *nerds are cool*

      Well, like I said I am SOOOOO unorganized. It's going to be somewhat about a teen who's very depressed (the suicidal depressed), but while he's stealing (for reasons that are yet to be uncovered), he gets a life\death card. (OHHHH, I don't wanna spoil it...darn.) Well, that's all I can share for now, but I think it'll be a bit less cheesy than that. Sorry. I have terrible summarizing skills. lol
      Have you been writing any WIPs that you'd like to summarize? (You don't have to if you don't want to.)
      Bless you, PT. :)

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    11. TELEPATHY. Whoooooooooo *ghost noises* Ha! I'm a nerd.
      I'm LOVIN' homeschooling. 'Tis teh best.
      OHHHHH!!!! How to Train Your Dragon!!!! *flails* I love it! The books are a little.... easy, but I like them, and the movies are so CUTE!! Toothless is adorable!
      I hope you get a blog. I may get one sometime, but - HA! - I'm a little afraid of creepy stalkers at the moment, as I said before. lol
      God Bless!
      P.S. Dragons are the bestest. <3

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    12. LHE: You're manuscript sounds awesome. I don't think it sounds cheesy at all. It has emotion and adventure rolled into one, which is a good thing. I love Limitless, though I haven't heard it in a while. I think I may go listen to it sometime today. Um, there was my WIP I was working on before the one I'm doing now. It was about a princess who's kingdom was taken over by an evil witch and she had to seek out the help of mages from other villages to fight the evil witch, but I've decided I want to change it where there isn't any "good" magic. I have an idea I've been working on as the newer version, but my WIP takes priority. I have trouble staying focused sometimes, too. I'll come here, or I'll go to YouTube. I have to be better at that.
      (toothless for life!!!!) Also, my blog would probably be about writing and Jesus. :)

      GJE: You could always just use the initials for your blog like you do now and you could keep your age and where you live hidden. After that, I think creepy stalkers won't have much to go on. But I hear you. Some people are just very creepy and there will always be trolls, unfortunately.
      Homeschooling is the best. I can't stand it when people imply I haven't experienced the real world yet. I would think I would have more opportunities to go do stuff. Everyone thinks I'm sheltered or something. But its all worth it. I wouldn't change a thing. :)
      I love HTTYD. Toothless is amazing. I've never read the books before. I saw them at a library, but I prefer the movies.
      I really hope to get a blog soon. I just have to decide if I'm going to use the penname I have in mind.

      Both: God bless you! :) <3
      ~PT

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    13. Thanks, PT! I just need to get organized and figure out where it's going to go. That's the hardest part for me.
      That sounds great, Pt! Yeah, you're doing the right thing with leaving the good magic behind. My focus goes everywhere. Email, tv, songs I want to hear, other blogs. It's crazy. Though, sometimes the break is good so I don't scrap my whole WIP. It's crazy how rash you can be when you're tired.
      Toothless is a naughty little dragon. Lol He's so cute though.
      Your blog's going to be awesome. I can already see the posts about Jesus! ;)
      God bless you! <3

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    14. Thank you. Yeah, I just felt like magic wasn't a good idea for me anyway. I mean, maybe down the road, but not now. I wanted to make the bad character have dark magic and use that instead of having magic fight magic. Some books are great at both techniques.

      Toothless is awesome, lol.

      Yes, I can be crazy when I'm tired. Especially when it comes to my WIP, lol.

      I look forward to making a blog and Jesus will definitely be part of it all. :)
      ~PT

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    15. If I can pop in here for a moment. . .
      I'm home-schooled --- was --- well, once home-schooled always home-schooled. I'm going to college now, and though I grew up sheltered in the sense of living in a good neighbourhood where you feel safe, and that kind of thing, I read extensively enough to know the theory of life, if that makes sense. I've had people who seem to think I don't know anything about "real life", which isn't exactly the case. But anyway, I wouldn't want to switch home-schooling for anything else. I've only got the one sibling, and she and I are really close, in part because we did school together all the time.

      https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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    16. PT: That's an idea. Thanx. lol. I'm laughing 'cause I heard trolls. Sorry. I have a strange sense of humor. xD
      I can't stand it, either!!! O-o I was at the dentist, and when she heard I was homeschooled, she said, "You get out in public, though, right?" I was like, "YEAH!" Duh.
      I've only read the first book. It's really cute, and the humor is HILARIOUS. Toothless is super naughty, tho. xD I like the movies, too. I can't WAIT for the third one.... <3

      Sophia White: I agree with you totally. My sister and have been homeschooled since... FOREVER, and I wouldn't ever want to be public-schooled. That's not because I'm biased, either. I here things in the news about shootings and fights, and they just make me dislike public-schooling even more. And vaccines. (I have a friend with autism because of them. But that's a totally different subject.)
      P.S. I'm checking out your blog. *thumbs up*

      All three of ya'll: GOD BLESS!!!!!! <33333

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    17. PT- Last night i was ready to just ditch my WIP, but I've come to my senses. Thank God! lol Wow, you sound so organized. My writing feels like a jumbled up mess. My blog would probably be about the same things. Though when I talk about God, I tend to go on and on (which is a good thing), but the long posts might scare people off. Lol

      Sophia White: Homeschooling is the best. I hate it when people ask, "Are you social?"----It drives me nuts. Of course I'm social. If I wasn't social I wouldn't be where I am now. Aww, it sounds like you have a great relationship with your sister. :)
      I'm really dense (I mean really), but I had a bit of trouble understanding this. I'm sorry!
      ----"... I grew up sheltered in the sense of living in a good neighbourhood where you feel safe, and that kind of thing, I read extensively enough to know the theory of life, if that makes sense."
      My goldfish brain is slowly taking over. Lol

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    18. Thanks for adding to the conversation Sofia. People think I've missed out on "real world" experiences. So I didn't have school dances or clubs. I really don't think I would have liked either of them. I recently got asked if I thought I was missing out on things, but I really don't. Public schools put kids in situations they aren't mentally mature enough for. The indoctrination is horrible.

      GJE: I looked at one of the books at the library, but wasn't interested, lol. I don't like public schools because of the indoctrination and the lies they tell about things. Plus this whole common core math, I mean, what? I've seen example problems of the math and it's horrible. I'm sorry about your friend. The whole vaccination thing is terrible. Some, in my opinion, are useful, but I know there's one they try to get teens to have that actually causes more problems. It's supposed to prevent some type of cancer, but it causes severe pain. Also, a dentist asking if you get out in public while you're out in public is frustrating and funny. My dentist hasn't done that, lol.

      Anyway, God bless y'all.
      ~PT <3 :)

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    19. Lol, LHE. I don't think you're dense.
      I try to be organized, but sometimes it doesn't work well. I like to write as the ideas flow, but a small outline can help me.

      Don't abandon any WIP. They work at the right time. Some breaks are helpful. It's about balance.

      I had this friend years ago who was trying to shame me for being home schooled. (Friend isn't really a good word, I guess, but she was nice other ways.) She was trying to say I wouldn't have good social skills as I talked to her on the phone. ON THE PHONE! I mean, I pointed out to her that she wouldn't like hanging out with me if I wasn't good socially.

      Going on and on about God is a good thing. :)
      ~PT

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    20. BTW, any of you three (or any homeschooler reading this) heard of Blimey Cow? They make funny videos. Their older ones are funny, not the most recent ones, in my opinion. But they were home schooled and have a video called seven lies about homeschoolers. It's funny.
      God Bless
      ~PT

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    21. Thanks, but really I can be. Lol
      I write as it flows, but outlines really slow me down. I mean, they help when try, but usually I just go right to the writing.
      Yup. I need to just let my WIP take me where it takes me and figure it out from there. :)

      How rude! I mean, if our on the phone wth her, than you're being social. Good for you, PT. I think it may have been jealousy. Maybe she just wanted HER family to let her be homeschooled. Just a guess, but I have lots of friends who say, "I wish I was homeschooled. It sounds cool" ----so, that maaaay have been the case. I mean, who knows.

      Yeah, I mean if I did have a blog, they'd have to deal with it. Lol You know, whatever he puts on my heart is what I will say or do. People's opinions shouldn't matter when it comes to God. ;)
      Yeah, we used to watch it all the time. I LOVE that one video he did about the seven lies of homeschoolers. Lol Did you see the one about the milk. His friend wouldn't pronounce the word right and it was driving him crazy. It went a little far.....lol. xD
      Bless ya'll!

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    22. I love Blimey Cow!!! I've watched almost all of them. I agree. The older ones are better.
      lol.
      I also dislike their teaching methods. They think us Christians try to force OUR beliefs on others, but they try to say that Evolution is a fact and that anyone that doesn't believe it is stupid. Ugh.
      It was kind of funny. She had one of those metal thingies in my mouth, so I couldn't really talk at the moment. (I don't understand why they talk to you when they know you can't answer.) All I could do was scrunch my face up and force out a barely-verbal and irritated "YES!" lol.
      God Bless You!!!!!

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    23. GJE: Oh my gosh, I always wonder why they talk to me when I can't talk. I'm just like, "um you have your tools in my mouth and you're asking me questions."

      LHE: Tried to respond earlier, but it wouldn't let me. She was a nice friend overall, but it's the teaching that home school is lesser than public education.
      Sometimes outlines help and sometimes they don't. It just depends.
      God first because His will is better than our own.

      God bless y'all.
      ~PT

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    24. PT: Lol, my laptop does that too. Some people just get frustrated and just let all their steam off on their friends.
      Yep, Jesus always comes first no matter what.
      Have you heard By Your Side by tenth Avenue North? I love that song. They play it onto he radio sometimes, but not nearly enough. :)
      Bless you. :)

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    25. Yep, I've heard it. I like What You Want and Control by them. Control is probably my favorite song by them right now. But I really like I won't look back by Matthew Parker, which is on youtube. I don't know if it will be on the radio yet. I think it might come to the radio eventually.
      I like a bunch of different artists. Lauren Daigle is really awesome. Britt Nicole got me into Christian music, but her latest album isn't my favorite.
      I like Micah Tyler. His songs are good. I like a variety of beats and sounds. It depends on the moment, lol.
      ~PT

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    26. I know! It's like, if I start talking, those metal devices will HURT ME. lol xD
      OOOOHHHH! Matthew Parker is teh best. <3 (Almost. Owl City will always be my favorite, tho.) I like "Adventure" by Matthew Parker. "I Won't Look Back" is good, too.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT0axPkQw2c

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    27. I looked up What You Want, and i think I may have heard it before. OH, wait, now that it's going, I really recognize it. I LOVE this. Lol
      I love Mathew Parker. I love his song, Bigger Picture.
      I've heard Lauren Daigle a lot. We used to hear Britt Nicole a lot. I like her older songs. Have you heard For King and Country? I love them. One of my favorites by them is By Our Love. :)
      My moods change a lot, so my favorites also do. Lol

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    28. PT: BTW, a praise song that I love the most is called Like An Avalanche by Hillsong United. Also Like A Fire by Sean Feucht (especially near the end of the song).
      God bless you. :)

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    29. Haven't heard Adventure yet, but I'm going to check it out. I also like his song Remember me. I've heard of For King and Country. I used to listen to them a lot, but I haven't really listened to them in a while except for when it comes on the radio. I'll check out those songs. I have a whole list of worship songs I like, but my all time favorite, the one that never gets boring, is definitely Oceans (where feet may fail). I have to go on the hunt for more, lol. I'll add your suggestions to my hunt.
      It's funny when dentists talk, but you can't reply because the stuff is in your mouth so you have to be like yes or no. I think they mostly ask yes or no questions, but still. I guess it would probably be awkward if they didn't talk, though. I don't know.

      Deuteronomy 31:6
      God Bless
      ~PT

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    30. For King and Country is the best! I have a playlist that I'm gonna burn into a disk. I might make a couple discs since i can only put 18 songs on one.
      I LOVE that song. I took a short break from hearing it because it was played at a funeral, and it just brought it all back. I started listening to it again a while ago, and it's better than ever.

      If dentists didn't talk, you'd just be staring into their eyes. #awkwardness
      Though, my dentist is the best, so I can't complain. Lol
      That verse is great.
      Romans 8:28----My favorite. :)
      Bless you, PT.

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    31. Yeah, LHE. My dentist was being very silent, and I get lost in his eyes. LOL! SOOOOOO awkward. lol
      Sometimes the questions are yes or no. BUT last time, this lady asked me what I was planning on doing for my B-Day while poking around in my mouth, and I was like "i gow ha a biway pawy." lol

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  6. Hi. I've been looking around on this blog for a few days and I have written a couple first drafts for WIPs.
    I'm in 8th grade and my family lives in Indiana. I would like to go to a writers conference, but we live in a rural area.

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    1. Wow, a couple drafts? I haven't even got through one of my WIPs. Only a short story. Lol
      That's cool that you live in Indiana. I haven't ever gone to a conference before, but I'd really love to. :)

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    2. Lol! They still need a lot of work, but I at least finished the first draft.

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    3. Hey, that's big! I'd be dancing around the room like a crazy person if I were you. LolI'm happy for you!
      Bless you! ;)

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  7. What do agents do?
    ~Mila

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    1. Here's the definition in the dictionary: • a person who manages business, financial, or contractual matters for an actor, performer, or writer.

      *I don't know if that helps, but hopefully it will.* :)

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    2. I'm no expert, but from what I've learned thanks to the lovely ladies that run the blog, agents are the ones who get publishers to consider your books. They market your book to publishers and give you a voice in that realm of things.

      Now, I've never had an agent myself, but hope to find one. Agents don't charge you until you have a book deal and they obviously get some money once you've made some money.

      That's all I know. The Go Teen Writers book was helpful in all of that information, but I'm sure you can find a blogpost on here somewhere. If you can't, there's other sources on the internet about literary agents.

      Like I said, I'm not an expert and I've never gone through the process of finding a literary agent. Hopefully I got some of that right. Have a blessed day. :)
      ~PT

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    3. The specifics of what literary agents do depends on the individual, but generally speaking, they manage contracts, sell your work to editors, and act on your behalf if you have a dispute or disagreement with your publisher. It's not totally impossible to get traditionally published without an agent, but it's very difficult.

      Reputable agents only make money when you make money. The industry standard is 15% of what you make. If an agent charges "reading fees" or anything like that, run the other way!

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  8. Aaahhh this is so helpful! I'm going to my first writing conference this year with my Dad and I'm SO EXCITED. :D

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    1. Yay! You'll have to tell us how it goes!

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    2. That's really cool. Hopefully it all goes well.
      God bless.
      ~PT

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    3. Have fun! I really, really want to go to one sometime.
      That's cool that you and your Dad get to go. :)

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  9. Ugh, taking a leap can be so hard. I want to do everything perfectly the first time and that is crippling. And while I don't need to be rash, I think I need to just experiment more and learn what works for me as I go...And forgive myself for any mistakes along the way. :)

    Thanks for this!

    -Ann

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    1. I try to do anything perfect the first time and often fail because we can't always get things right. Being able to forgive ourselves and remind ourselves that we aren't going to get it right the first time is important. Also keeping a level head, especially when picking something important like an agent, is very important. Great reminder.
      God Bless
      ~PT

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    2. Ann, I've also really struggled with this. For me, marketing and social media are where I tend to over-educate myself and then not really do any of the great stuff I learn. It's a really difficult thing.

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