A Touch of Gold Available Now!

I can’t believe this day is finally here! A Touch of Gold, my young adult book about the cursed daughter of King Midas, is finally available in stores starting Tuesday, August 14th…although I’ve heard it’s already on shelves in most Barnes & Nobles!

It’s taken 8 years from when I started writing the book to reach this point. So many people helped me along the way, and I can’t thank them enough. This truly is a dream come true.

In hopes of continuing that dream, I have a few favors to ask.

First week sales are really important not just because they help me make bestseller lists but because they effect my rank on Amazon, and a lot of smaller booksellers look at Amazon rankings to decide if they want to carry the book. There are lots of ways you can help with my sales ranking. The first and best way is to buy the book!

  • You can order the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore.
  • You can also call your local bookstore and ask if they’ll be carrying A Touch of Gold.
  • You can also request your local library branch carry A Touch of Gold.

 

The next best thing you can do is to review the book on:

You may have to wait until Tuesday to review it on Amazon, but that is the platform where reviews are most needed because once an author reaches 50 reviews, certain algorithms kick in to help boost the book’s visibility on the site. You also don’t even have to have read the book or have bought it from Amazon to leave a review. Something simple like, “It’s a great book,” counts!

Additionally, just getting the word out there about the book will help tremendously too.

  • You can tell any teachers that you know. Ask them to buy a copy for their school library or ask them to tell their students about it.
  • You can continue to spread the news on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

 

Studies show it takes someone seeing something 8 times before they’ll stop and actually investigate what the product is.

Thank you again for following me on this journey. I couldn’t have done it without you, and with your continued support, I hope to share many more books with you in the future!

Happy reading!

 

 

Prizes for Preordering A TOUCH OF GOLD!

Prizes for preordering! Ways to get signed/personalized copies! Giveaways! And more!

A TOUCH OF GOLD, a young adult fantasy novel about the cursed daughter of King Midas who faces pirates, betrayers, and thieves on her quest to retrieve her father’s stolen gold, releases in just over a month! Have you preordered your copy yet?

Preorder at any of these sites or at your favorite independent bookstore!

 

Why should you preorder?

Preordering helps my publisher know that you’re excited about the book and helps convince them to buy more books from me. Also, preorders all get counted during the book’s first week on sale, meaning authors have a better chance of making things like The New York Times bestseller list if they get a lot of presales.

The two single most important things you can do to help an author are to preorder the book and to spread the word on Facebook and social media sites.

 

Want to preorder a SIGNED copy of A Touch of Gold?

Are you interested in getting a signed/personalized copy of A Touch of Gold but can’t make it to my launch party? I’ve partnered with Kids Ink bookstore so you can get signed copies of my book. All you have to do is call them at 317-255-2598 to place your order, and they’ll ship it to you!

 

Prizes for preordering A Touch of Gold

In the coming days, I’m going to be publicizing my preorder incentive—that means anyone who preorders will get some really cool prizes when they send in their proof of purchase. Make sure you’re following me on the below social media sites to find out how to claim these amazing prizes! These prizes will only be for people who preorder, so don’t wait!

 

Near Indianapolis?

If you want to come to book event of the year (in my opinion), then come to Barnes & Noble River Crossing on August 17th at 7pm for my book launch party. There will be prizes, fun activities, and a book themed cake that you won’t want to miss!

Details here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/touch-of-gold-release-party-tickets-46200875061?ref=enivtefor001&invite=MTQ0Mjk3NjkvYW5uaWVzdWxsaXZhbjE2NjFAZ21haWwuY29tLzA%3D&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=inviteformalv2&utm_term=attend

 

Touch of Gold Final Cover Image

 

3 Ways to Create Conflict with Magic

(Note from Annie: Today we have a guest post from Katie Nichols all about how you can use magic in your stories and a chance to win a SIGNED copy of The Cruel Prince. These are brought to you by the wonderful people behind the Chapter One Young Writers Conference (for writers ages 11-20) and the new Chapter Twenty-One Conference (for writers ages 21-29). Learn more about both here: www.chapteroneconference.org and www.chapter21conference.org.)

Hello, magical people!

Today, I want to talk about magic, specifically magical conflicts.

I love fantasy stories, especially ones with captivating magic systems. And I love it when magic causes problems for characters. While good stories are full of conflict and problems for the characters to overcome, there’s something extra awesome about magic being the source of problems.

So how do you create magical conflict? How do you make magic not only awesome, but also a source of problems?

Look at it from a bunch of different angles and ask questions. Here are a few suggestions of questions to ask yourself, with lots of examples.

1.Where does the magic come from?

In Tangled, Rapunzel’s magic comes from her hair (and before that, it came from a magic flower). Her magic heals and gives youth. An old witch wanted to be forever youthful, so she kidnapped baby Rapunzel. So really, all of the problems in Rapunzel’s life—being kidnapped then living in a tower—came because of her magic and its origins in that magic flower.

Let’s look at The Lord of the Rings. If you know anything about this story, you know that it’s basically a journey to destroy a magic ring that houses the Dark Lord’s soul before said Dark Lord can get it back. So what problems arise from this magic? Well, it’s evil magic, so there are a lot of problems just from that (more on this later in the post). But it is also very powerful and everyone either wants the Ring or wants to destroy it. One does not simply walk into Mordor to destroy it.

Aladdin doesn’t actually have magic, but his friend the Genie does. The origin of magic here causes problems because the Genie is limited by his magic. He can’t bring people back to life, he can’t kill anyone, and he can’t make anyone fall in love with anyone else. And like the other two examples, many people want this magic and not for the most pure of reasons.

2. How does the magic affect the character mentally/emotionally? 

Another example from The Lord of the Rings, when Frodo is taking the Ring to Mordor, we see him slowly being (for lack of a better word) possessed by the Ring. He doesn’t want to lose it, he is losing sleep over it, he is sorely tempted to wear it, and all this gets drastically worse as the story progresses. Gollum is the picture of what happens when someone is completely consumed by the Ring and insanity is also a common effect of magic in stories.

Elsa from Frozen is someone whose magic has affected her emotions. In the movie, Elsa’s magic conflicts are caused by how others see her magic as well as how she sees it. In the beginning of the movie, she loves her magic as she and her sister play with it. But when her sister gets hurt by Elsa’s magic, she’s scared of hurting people, and she begins to fear her magic, to the point that she is isolated from the rest of society. How society and the character themselves feel about their own magic is a good thing to consider.

3. How does the magic affect the character physically? 

It’s common in magic systems (especially in RPG stories) for the character to become weak or lose some of their ability to do magic as they do it, like they have a limited supply of magic. To do more than they are capable of could be dangerous. A good example of this is The Glamourist Histories series by Mary Robinette Kowal. The glamour magic takes their energy and doing too much can be fatal. (If you are a Jane Austen and fantasy fan, I suggest looking into these books.)

There are other ways to physically effect a character with their magic. In Tangled, Rapunzel can’t cut her hair, or it loses it’s power, turns brown, and doesn’t grow back. In one of the stories I’ve been working on, one of my characters can turn into a dragon. Some ways this could physically effect him is that maybe he smells like smoke or has dry skin or a tint of green even while he’s human.

These aren’t all the questions that you can ask yourself for making magic cause problems, but I hope they help. For more questions you can ask yourself, I recommend looking at Brandon Sanderson’s Laws of Magic. (https://brandonsanderson.com/sandersons-third-law-of-magic/) He writes fantasy (I love the Mistborn series, personally) with amazing magic systems.

Now go create some magical problems! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Thanks for stopping by! Click here to enter to win a SIGNED copy of The Cruel Princehttp://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/50b1bee432/

YA Book A TOUCH OF GOLD is available for preorder!!!

I can’t believe this day is here, but my YA debut novel about the daughter of King Midas is available for preorder.

You can find it at:

Amazon link:
Barnes & Noble link:

Why should you preorder A Touch of Gold

1.) Publishers often make decisions about an author getting a second book deal based on preorder numbers.

2.) The more preorders, the more copies of the book they’ll typically print, which means they’ll then usually increase marketing budgets to sell all those books.

3.) All preorder sales hit on the same day, meaning an author could potentially make lists like the New York Times bestseller list because all those sales count for the same week.

4.) You’ll usually get a cheaper price. Preorders are usually discounted the earlier you order.

5.) You’ll make an author’s day! I can’t tell you how happy I was when a friend told me she’d preordered 10 copies of my book!

 

Also, feel free to add the book on Goodreads!

I will keep you all updated on book signings and appearances. Thank you all for your support. I couldn’t have done all this without you!

I Have a Book Deal!!!

I’m so thrilled to announce that I have a book deal with Blink (HarperCollins). My book, A TOUCH OF GOLD, is set to publish in Summer 2018.

Book Deal Announcement
Annie Sullivan’s Publishers Marketplace Deal Announcement for A TOUCH OF GOLD

So what do you do when all your dreams come true? Well, if you were me and got asked that question by your sister, you’d answer with, “Go take a nap.” So maybe that’s not the most exciting reply, but it might be the most honest one because it turns out making your dreams come true takes a whole lot of work.

Most people out there seem to think that you simply write a book and then **poof** you get a book deal. But there’s so much more too it than that. It takes an army of people.

Not only do you need teachers and instructors and mentors and peers to teach you how to write and help you become better, but you need an understanding family who lets you have time to write. You need critique partners and Twitter followers. You need agents and editors. The list goes on and on.

Not to mention this process can take years. I started writing A TOUCH OF GOLD way back in 2012. That’s right. 5 years. Did it take me 5 years to write? No. But it took that long for me to write it, revise it multiple times, let it sit a while, revise it again, have friends and critique partners read it, revise it again, get an agent, revise it after my agent read it, go out on submission, and finally get a deal. Not to mention I wrote several other books in the midst of all that going on.

But it was all worth it to write this blog post because this is the blog post I’ve been dreaming of writing for years, the one that proves all that hard work was worth it. The one that proves that not only do dreams come true, but so do fairytales. And mine is just starting!

Look for A TOUCH OF GOLD coming Summer 2018.

 

***To stay up-to-date on what’s happening with my book, be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my author Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnieSullivan/

 

 

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Sidekick Characters

Sidekick characters can breath life into a story and set your protagonist up for success. But in order to do that, you have to make sure you’re using your sidekick characters to their fullest potential.

However, if you include a sidekick, make sure your sidekick has a clear stake in the outcome of whatever problem your protagonist faces. Next, make sure they have a clear reason to trust and follow your protagonist. Also make sure they have their own backstory, even if not all of it is mentioned. Finally, make sure your sidekick has some effect on the outcome of the story. Whether they’re the ones who figure out one of the mysterious riddles or the ones who save the protagonist at a difficult moment, they need to have a role in the outcome in order to justify their presence.

So, once you know your sidekick is necessary, here are a few ways to make sure you’re using them to the fullest.

1.) Friend/Confidant

Use sidekicks as ways to get information across that the protagonist knows but the reader doesn’t. Maybe there’s a tricky piece of backstory you want to include or some piece of information that the reader will need to know later on. Sidekicks make the perfect sounding block.

2.) Comic Relief

While I’m sure we all wish our main characters were witty all the time, sometimes that role needs to fall to the sidekick. Give them opinions and help them lighten things up.

3.) Hope for the Hopeless

Sidekicks are there in the tough times. They can be the ones to give the protagonist the information or encouragement they need to go on when everything seems ruined.

4.) Access to Information Protagonists Don’t Have

Maybe your protagonist works somewhere where they’ll overhear a key piece of information the protagonist will need. Or maybe they’re off researching someone’s criminal history while the protagonist is off getting into trouble. Whatever it is, sidekicks can be a means of gaining access to information that the protagonist wouldn’t have been able to obtain on their own.

5.) The Company You Keep

Remember that who your protagonist chooses to spend time with says a lot about them as a person. Consider that when you’re creating your sidekick. They also need to balance each other well and have different strengths and weaknesses.

 

If you’re looking for inspiration on how to write a good protagonist, look at the influences in your own lives. Who has picked you up when you were down? Who’s joked with you when things were tough? What characteristics do those people have in common? Take them and meld them into one solid character who nicely compliments the characteristics your protagonist holds dear. You can also watch movies/read books with some of your favorite protagonists. Model your character after them.

Do you have a favorite protagonist? Let me know in the comments!

7 Tips to Get the Most Out of Any Writing Conference

I attended my first writing conference (the Midwest Writers Workshop) back in 2013, and I went in with one goal: to get a literary agent. Every decision I made was calculated on how best to accomplish that goal. Did I leave that conference with a literary agent? No. But I did leave with the knowledge and connections that helped me land one within the next four months. So here are my secrets to how you can get the most out of a writing conference.

1.) Treat it like a job

If you want to actually make money writing, then you have to treat it like a business. Invest in business cards. Start author pages on Facebook and/or create a blog or Twitter account. Make sure people can find/contact you after they leave the conference.

2.) Define your brand

Since you need to treat writing like a job, you need to figure out what your brand is and make sure you’re consistent. This means, if you’re writing picture books and an agent goes to your Twitter and sees nothing but tweets full of profanity, they may be turned off (unless that’s what your picture book is about, of course.) You need to encompass what you’re trying to sell. This means dressing the part, too. If you’re pitching an agent face-to-face, look presentable. However, if your brand is all about goth vampires, don’t be afraid to let that show in your clothing and makeup choices. You have to be the best representative of what you’re pitching them. This also stands true with alcohol consumption. While some people may need some liquid courage before facing agents during a conference’s cocktail hour, you can leave a bad impression if you consume too much. Keep in mind your brand encompasses all that you do and say.

3.) Strategically plan your agent interactions

Many conferences offer a chance to pitch agents. Take advantage of this. Of course, do through research ahead of time to see which agent is the best fit. At some conferences, they also offer everything from query critiques to first 10 pages critiques, often by editors and agents. If that’s the case, it could be worth the money to do both, especially if there were two or three agents who might be a good fit for your story. By doing a pitch with one agent, a query critique with another, and a 10 page critique with a third, you can successfully get feedback from all three and see if they’re interested. If nothing else, when you do query them, you can include that you met them at that specific conference, which always helps.

**Bonus Tip** Sign up for the conference early for the best chance of getting to pitch/have a query critique with the agent or editor you want. Slots often fill up fast!

4.) Find your people

Conferences are one of the best places to meet critique partners. Talk with as many people as you can to find other writers who write in your genre or age group. Take advantage of activities like “Find Your Tribe” to meet people who write what you do. Even if you leave without making any headway with agents, you might just leave with a new critique partner who can help you polish your next work in progress so it catches an agent’s eye. Or, a new writer friend might have an agent already and be willing to put in a good word for you.

5.) Don’t be a wallflower

If you’re shy or introverted, it can be hard to put yourself out there. But if there are opportunities to read your work aloud or have your first sentence critiqued during a session, speak up. You never know what agent has snuck into a session and is listening. The more you put yourself out there, the more you’ll get in return.

6.) Make the most of every opportunity

Having lunch and there’s an empty seat next to that literary agent you know would love your book? Take it! Did an author give a great session on world building? Stop them in the hallway and let them know. You never know what interaction could open a door for you. Be kind and sincere, and don’t be afraid to take chances. (Note: DO NOT approach literary professionals in the bathroom, and do not blind pitch them when you’re standing in the lunch line. Only tell them about your story if they ask, and generally, they will ask because they’re just as eager to find good stories as you are to get published.)

7.) Don’t be afraid to attend different sessions

Are you a fantasy writer? Don’t be afraid to attend a session on writing mysteries. You never know what tips you might pick up about adding suspense and writing about villains. The biggest thing is to go in with an open mind so that you can absorb all the information being thrown at you, and then, when you get back in front of your manuscript, you can sort out how to implement it.

 

Above all, have fun and make friends. Being a writer can be tough and isolating, but going to conferences is one of the best ways to break out of those ruts. Take chances, and maybe in a year or two, you could be that author giving a session on voice or point of view. Good luck, and I hope to see you at Midwest Writers Workshop this year!

 

 

How to Deal with Writer’s Block (featuring a T-Rex)

How do you deal with writer’s block? That’s a question many authors ask. Learn how to overcome writer’s block with these simple tips…presented by a T-rex!

 

Having any other methods you swear by for getting over writer’s block? Share them in the comments!

6 Common Struggles Writers Face and How to Deal With Them

Writers face issues great and small that have an impact on how well and how often they write. Some are more serious than others, but they all deserve attention in order to make sure you’re the best writer you can be.

1.) Not Having Time to Write

Many writers complain about not having time to write, and this is a major setback. Children, spouses, work always seem to come first.

Solution: If this is the case, then you need to treat writing like an obligation. Mark specific time on your calendar. Get up an hour earlier. Write on your lunch break. Hire a babysitter or join a mom’s group so you have someone who can watch your children every once in a while. It might even take finding a writing buddy that you meet up with once a week so that you’re held accountable. Or, instead of taking bits of time here and there, try blocking off one weekend where you can lock yourself in and write.

 

2.) Never Enough Syndrome

So many writers, published and unpublished, seem to suffer from what is commonly deemed “Never Enough Syndrome.” This can encompass everything from feeling like you’ll never be good enough to wondering if you’ll ever have a good idea again to feeling like you can never share your work with others because you fear what they’ll think.

Solution: First, recognize that bestselling authors feel this way, too. You’re not alone. It’s scary to put yourself out there, so start small. Find someone you trust with your writing- a friend, mentor, family member- anyone you can show it to at the start. Slowly start showing it to more and more people. Or, open a book by an author you love. Pick out one single sentence. Really look at the words. You could’ve written that sentence. It’s just several words strung together. You can do that. Also, surround yourself with other writers who can help pick you up when you’re having doubts, or attend workshops and conferences so you can constantly feel like you’re improving your skills.

 

3.) Anxiety

Along with Never Enough Syndrome, many writers suffer from anxiety and depression. It can be hard to write when symptoms set in. Just getting out of bed can be a victory.

Solution: Do whatever self-care you need. Talk to your doctor, a school counselor, or a psychiatrist. Whatever you do, don’t add to the weight on your chest by worrying about not hitting your current writing goals. Remember that your mental health is more important and needs to be addressed first. And once it has been, you’ll be in a better place to write.

 

4.) Rejection

If you are a writer, at some point in your career, you will have to deal with rejection. It usually comes from agents and editors turning down your book.

Solution: Find what makes you happy. A chocolate bar? A warm bath? A nice long run? Find that thing that will take the edge off your disappointment. Know that it’s not personal. There are so many reasons agents and editors reject a book- everything from already having a client who writes something similar to someone having a bad day and not being in the right frame of mind to read your work. Generally, you will never know why you were rejected, so don’t dwell on it. Instead, always make sure you’re writing something new so you’ve got something else to query or sub if this manuscript isn’t the one that lands you your agent/editor. (More often than you’d suspect, a writer’s first manuscript isn’t the one that lands them their agent/editor anyway.)

 

5.) Loneliness

Writers spend all day thinking about and talking to characters who are only real in their heads. It’s a very lonely profession.

Solution: Join a writer’s group. Write at a coffee shop. Call up your critique partners to chat. Go to a writing conference. Join Twitter and discover all the writers on there. All of these can help you realize you aren’t alone out there in the writing world.

 

6.) Writer’s Block

The plague of writers everywhere, writer’s block seems to rear it’s ugly head at the most inopportune times. Maybe you’re in the middle of a chapter. Or you’ve finished one book and don’t know what to start next. Either way, writer’s block stinks.

Solution: Read. Read a lot. It might just get those creative juices flowing. Or, try brainstorming with a friend or critique partner. Go for a walk around the block to clear your head, or come back tomorrow after you’ve slept on it. Don’t beat yourself up. The more stressed you are, the less likely you’ll be to come up with a good plot point. Maybe a yoga or a meditation class could help if you find yourself falling into that trap.

 

Whatever struggles you face as a writer, know you’re not alone. There’s always hope and help out there. Have other issues you’re struggling with or solutions to the problems above? Post them in the comments!

 

 

What to Look for in a Critique Partner

My last post focused on where to find critique partners, and this week’s post is all about making sure you’ve got the right ones.

Here are some things you should look for in a critique partner to have the best chance at being compatible.

  • Can you be candid with one another

The point of having a critique partner is so that they can help you make your work better through constructive criticism. If your critique only tells you how good something is or how much they like it, they really aren’t helping you revise and grow as a writer. They need to be able to approach your work with a critical eye in order to help you gain deeper insights into your work and what issues might need addressing.

  • Write for the same age group

This may not seem important, writing is writing, right? Well, to a degree. However, someone who writes for the same age group is going to understand that reader and the pacing of the story. Plots and timing are going to be very different for an adult novel versus a middle grade novel.

  • Write the same genre

Like #1 above, writing the same genre can be helpful because someone who writes science fiction or fantasy might understand world building and what needs to go into it better than someone writing a contemporary novel. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. As long as a critique partner gets your work, that’s what’s more important.

  • Make sure they have time for you

People are busy these days. If they’re not doing their own writing, they’re off doing any number of other tasks. And there’s nothing more frustrating than sending out your work and never getting it back. On the flip side, make sure you have time to help them with their writing in return.

  • Try trading sample chapters to make sure you like their writing

Before you officially agree to partner, try trading sample chapters. Maybe you’ll hate their writing. Maybe you’ll love it, but it’s better to know before you commit yourself to a whole book.

  • Different perspectives

It can be good to get different perspectives. Is your main character a female? Have a male critique partner read it and see what he catches. Or, if you’re a female writing a male character, see what a male critique partner points out as unnatural. (Side note: for certain works you may also want sensitivity readers if you’re writing outside your own experience.)

Other aspects that might signal you’ll be good partners include having the same sense of humor, liking the same authors/books, and being able to articulate feedback in a way that makes sense to each other. Keep these in mind when you meet potential critique partners, and you’ll be off to a good start.

What do you look for in a critique partner? Share your thoughts in the comments below.