Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Celebrating A Need So Beautiful with Random Acts of Kindness and EPIC Giveaways

I fell in love with A Need So Beautiful. Suzanne Young has a completely fresh, heart wrenching take on paranormal romance. Instead of dangerous love triangles or damsels in distress rescued by the bad boy du jour, A Need So Beautiful focuses on love and sacrifice and the inevitable collision of the two.

Charlotte is one of the Forgotten, an angel who sacrifices herself to help people, only to disappear when her work on Earth is done. But she's also a teenage girl with a best friend and a boyfriend she loves. And she's forced to choose: Embrace her Need to help others or partner with dark forces to fight her destiny and stay with her loved ones.

Charlotte's choice left me thinking about the strangers in our lives who have gone out of their way to help us. People who didn't know us at all, but took the time to give us a helping hand and a little bit of encouragement when we needed it the most. And you know who we thought of? 

Literary agents.

As you may or may not remember we queried over 100 agents with our first doomed manuscript. Every morning we'd wake up and refresh our Hotmail account, praying for good news. We'd stare at our cell phones willing them to ring with THE CALL. We hung out on the Absolute Write and Query Tracker forums drooling over success stories and obsessing over writers who heard back from agents before we did. 

We had the same conversation every single day:

Lisa: Did you see that rejection from [Insert Pretty Much Any Literary Agent Who Reps YA here]?
Laura: Yeah. That blows.
Lisa: Yeah.
Laura: Are you refreshing our email right now?
Lisa: Sure am. You?
Laura: Yup.
Lisa: This sucks.
Laura: Yes. Yes it does.
Lisa: I'm not sure we're cut out for this.
Laura: Me neither.
Lisa: We could just give up?
Laura: Nah, let's just send some more queries.
Lisa: OK.

And so we sent more queries and the cycle started all over again. Eventually we would have just given up. I mean, there's only so much rejection a couple of sister writers can take, right? But we didn't. And the reason we never gave up is because we got one rejection that looked like this:

Dear Lisa and Laura,

So I've finally had a chance to review THE NORTH SHORE in full. You guys really know YA voice and some of your narrative is so strong, and I especially enjoyed the excerpts from the Modern Socialite's Handbook. All of that being said, I think that this story needs too much work at this time.

Although flippant POV and long backstory really worked for Jane Austen, it does not work in today's market and especially not in YA. Flipping from the parent's POV to one of the kids back and forth, from Lauren's to Mr. Bennet's...it completely keeps the reader from connecting with your main, YA characters. It also takes too long to get to the real story, which is when the Bingley's show up. You're trying to set the reader up with too much back story on the Bennet's and their lifestyle. Although it's all written well and even really funny at parts, it just isn't necessary.

I did really enjoy THE NORTH SHORE and I'm sorry to be passing. But I would look at future work from you two...there is definitely something there in your writing. If you decide to revise NS to make it from only a couple POVs and the pacing is picked up, I'd like to take another look as well.

I'm sorry I don't have better news at this time. Good luck with all of your submissions and keep me posted on its progress!

So, instead of giving up, we kept on writing. And because one very busy literary agent took some extra time out of her day to encourage a couple of newbie writers, we're now published writers. That agent had a profound impact on our lives and we will never, ever forget her.

And today to celebrate A Need So Beautiful and random acts of kindness we've partnered with bloggers and authors across the country to give away a chapter critique. There are TONS of other amazing prizes including 3 signed copies of A Need So Beautiful and signed books and critiques from Kimberly Derting, Daisy Whitney, Lisa Schroeder and Keri Mikulski. Check out A Good Addiction to see the full list of AMAZING prizes.

The contest will run June 21 - 28. There will be 1 winner per item, and then three people will also be chosen to win a signed copy of A Need So Beautiful in addition to their other prize. The signed A Need So Beautiful copies will be US only. 

Here's how you can earn entries:

Earn one extra entry for each of the following:

  • Take a picture of an author's book in the wild and tweet it to us and the author
  • Post a positive Amazon review for a book you loved
  • Donate a book to a library or classroom
  • Tweet a good deed you plan to do this week, using the #ANeedSoBeautiful hashtag

Earn 10 extra entries for each of the following:

  • Take a picture of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL in the wild and tweet it to us and Suzanne Young
  • Post an Amazon review for A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL
  • Donate a copy of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL to a library or classroom
  • Click here to enter the contest and please wait until you have completed all of your entries to enter. Multiple entries will be deleted.

Good luck and have fun!!!!


Matthew MacNish said...

That was a really nice rejection! In fact that's really a revise and re-submit.

I'm sure you've got worse ones out there somewhere. We all do.

I won't be entering, because I'm not in a place to need this help, but I will say: awesome contest, and even awesomer(er) prizes. Best of luck to all who enter!

Jen Daiker said...

I love when one agent gives you the confidence and encouragement that's needed RIGHT before you're about to give up. That's life changing.

I love the way to enter!!! Looks like I have some shopping to do :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

I agree with Matt, that's more of a revise and re-submit. Great letter! A lot of agents use form letters so any time they write something specific, it's gold.

Jemi Fraser said...

I totally agree. I've only submitted a few queries - but the literary agents have been amazing!! I've had such great advice - just wish I could revise more quickly!!! :)

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