How getting a literary agent is like winning the lottery.

I wanted to write about something different today: literary agents. The holy grail of an aspiring author. A lot of people compare finally getting an agent to winning the lottery, while others say it’s skill and perseverance that gets you there. I agree with both. While hard work is what makes your writing good, getting an agent (and getting published) does rely on some degree of luck. So I’ve made a list of just how much luck you need to land that agent offer.

There are six numbers on the average lottery ticket, and there are six criteria for an agent that are pure luck:

  1. Subject matter. The agent has to personally like what you’re writing about. Whether vampires or the revolutionary war, this has to be a subject they’re passionate about.
  2. Voice. The agent has to be enthralled with the writing. Some like it flowery and others like it concise. It’s all subjective.
  3. Characters. The agent has to connect with the characters on a deep and personal level. Care for them the way you, the writer, does. This is kind of like dating, and we all know how hard dating is.
  4.  You. The agent has to be on the same wavelength as you, the writer. Agents facilitate writing careers, not just sell a book. The two of you have to mesh in order to work together, and a clash of personalities will only get in the way of that. Also, if an agent asks for revisions you don’t want or has a different vision for your book, they may not be a good fit either.
  5. Current clients. Your work may be amazing, but if the agent already has a client with a very similar work, you’re out of luck.
  6. Current publishing trends. You may have written the perfect dystopian novel, but publishers just aren’t buying them anymore and an agent won’t waste time trying to sell it. Time to shelve it for another day and write a different book.


And there we go! Six lottery numbers that you have to draw before you hit the jackpot, and that’s after writing the perfect novel. So good luck to all you querying writers out there, may the odds be ever in your favor.

PS: For anyone just entering the querying world, check out – a 100% free querying resource to get you started.


The awesome super awkward anxiety ridden first bookstore book signing!


This Saturday I had my very first bookstore book signing and it went way differently than I expected.

First of all, it was awesome. My family, friends, and strangers being there, seeing my name on my book, purchasing it and having me sign it – it was a dream come true.

Second, it was horrifying. I had a lot of people rsvp saying they’d be there, but I was still scared I’d be sitting there alone staring into space listening to crickets. Not everyone showed up, but enough to where I was greeted and always had someone to talk to. Yay!

Third, and the one that really got me, was the realization that if I didn’t smile and talk to every single stranger I saw, I would not sell any books. People did not come up to me to see why I was sitting there or strike up a conversation. I had to do it myself. Most of them thought I worked there, even though I had a huge sign saying I was the author right next to me (with my photo!).

My problem? I have really bad social anxiety. I could never be a saleswoman, striking up a conversation with strangers at the store with an ‘are you looking for a new cell phone carrier?’ or ‘would you like a bath remodel quote?’. Every time I looked at someone entering the store, my body would begin to shake and my hands sweat, but I said hi anyway. Most time they just say hi back and walk faster. But sometimes, they slow down and take a closer look, and I give them my pitch. Sometimes it worked and they walked away with my book in their hands. Other times they congratulated me and went on their merry way.

On Sunday, I had a book signing at another bookstore, and this time I knew what I was getting into. I perfected my pitch, got myself ready to stop people who are holiday shopping, and sell some books. And I did.

Even so, I’d be happy never to have to do it again. I hate being the annoying salesperson I myself always try to avoid eye contact with. But, I understand now that it’s part of the gig, and I will have to continue on if I want to be a successful author.

The Sailweaver’s Son by Jeff Minerd – blog tour stop and excerpt!


I have been honored to be a stop on Jeff Minerd’s blog tour to promote his new YA fantasy book, The Sailweaver’s Son, published July 30th by Silver Leaf Books.

The Sailweaver’s Son combines epic fantasy with a dash of steampunk and creates a world unlike any other – Etherium. A world where mountains rise like islands above a sea of clouds and adventurers travel the sky in sail-driven airships.

When fifteen-year-old Tak rescues the survivor of an airship destroyed by one of the giant flammable gas bubbles mysteriously appearing in the sky of Etherium, the authorities react like a flock of startled grekks.

Admiral Scud accuses Tak of sabotage and treason. Tak’s father grounds him for reckless airmanship. Rumors spread that the bubbles are weapons devised by the Gublins, a race of loathsome but ingenious underground creatures. The King’s advisors call for war, hoping to win much-needed Gublin coal.

To prove his innocence and prevent a misguided war, Tak must do what anyone knows is suicide – visit the Gublins and find out what they know. When the wizard’s adopted daughter, an oddly beautiful and irksomely intelligent girl from the Eastern kingdoms, asks Tak to help her do just that, he can’t say no.

The adventure will take Tak from the deepest underground caves to a desperate battle on Etherium’s highest mountaintop. It will force him to face his worst fears, and to grow up faster than he expected.


He’d seen nothing like it in his life. No sky rider ever had. It was an enormous bubble. Twice the size of the battleship. As it rose into the sky, the bubble wobbled and shimmered, squished into lopsided potato-like shapes then snapped back to roughly round. It was more or less transparent, but its rippling surface glistened with a rainbow of colors where the sunlight played on it. The bubble rose with alarming speed, rolling this way and that with the wind. It was not on a collision course with the battleship—yet. It was some distance off the port bow.

The lookouts didn’t see it until it was too late. As the giant bubble drew level with the battleship, Tak heard the faint ringing of alarm bells. The ship came to a full stop, propellers going still, sails slanting upward to create drag. Tak could imagine the startled looks on the faces of the men on deck. He was wearing such a look himself. Then the wind shifted and gusted again. The sky riders have an old saying: Our lives rely upon the wind, and the wind is not reliable. The saying proved true for the men on the battleship. The wind took hold of that bubble and hurled it directly at them.

Too late, the captain cried the order to turn hard to starboard, trying to veer away. Too late, the propellers leapt to life and the ship lurched, listing heavily with the effort of making the turn while men scrambled in the rigging to adjust the flapping sails. Large battleships like the Vigilance are known for their strength and forward speed, but they are not known for their maneuverability. The bubble hit the ship broadside and enveloped it entirely.

And then both ship and bubble exploded into a burst of fire that left a glowing yellow spot like the sun behind Tak’s eyes, which had snapped shut. When he opened his eyes, blinking, the bubble was gone and the ship was engulfed in flames. The sails were ablaze. Horrified, Tak watched as burning men leapt from the deck like showers of sparks, their flaming parachutes useless.

As Tak sat stricken in the stern of the Arrow, gaping in shock and disbelief, he felt the first rumbles of the giant explosion in his chest. He felt hints of its heat on his face. And then he saw the shock wave expanding in all directions from the ruined ship.

Including his.


About the Author

Jeff Minerd’s YA fantasy adventure novel, The Sailweaver’s Son, was released by Silver Leaf Books this year. Jeff has published short fiction in literary journals including The North American Review. One of his stories won the F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Competition, judged by the late novelist and NPR book reviewer Alan Cheuse.

Jeff has worked as a science and medical writer for publications and organizations including the National Institutes of Health, MedPage Today, The Futurist magazine, and the Scientist magazine. He lives in Rochester, NY.



Author’s website





Authors, would you rather me buy your book or use Kindle Unlimited? (+ poll)


I’ve been realizing that I purchase at least one book a week from the Amazon Kindle store thanks to Bookbub and other recommendations. The books I purchase are almost always on sale, so 99c – $2.99. I’ve been eyeing the Kindle Unlimited program, and it seems like it would still save me money in the long run. However, I buy books because I support authors, so I want to hear from you. Would you rather get a sale on a discounted book or a full read on Kindle Unlimited?

Please reblog for more authors to see and participate!

Ideas are easy. It’s making them into something that’s hard.


If you’re ever thinking about telling an author about your great idea for a novel, please stop.

I’ve been warned that once I ‘come out’ as a writer, people will be throwing ideas at me of what they think I should write about.

I never realized just how true that is.

Ever since I announced my book deal, I’m being approached by others telling me of awesome ideas they have for a book I should definitely write. All I need is an idea, they say! Everything else will come. I’ve even gotten texts of witty dialogue I could ‘plug in somewhere!’ because it’s so easy to write a story around a great idea!

Well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Ideas are easy.

I have an entire Word file of ideas for books. Ideas I have thought through thoroughly (I bet that’s a mouthful) and have plot outlines of. Ideas of main characters, calculated twists, and perfect endings.

Ideas that cannot, without taking months upon months of work, dedication, and more ideas, be made into something.

A book is not just one idea. It’s an entire world, a slice of time put down in words.

It’s circumstances that drive the plot forward. It is the growth and the change between the first chapter and the next. It’s never just x happens and y has to z. Each step has to mean something. Each decision should be carefully calculated on the writer’s part to seem real. The main idea accounts for less than .001% of what truly happens to make reading a book worthwhile.

It’s interactions between all the characters. The world does not consist of the protagonist and the antagonist. It’s full of people (or whatever constitutes as a people) and we have to create them out of nothing to make the reader care for them. They are not ‘extras’ in the background. Supporting characters do just that – support the book in a way the main characters cannot. That is never part of the main ‘idea’ but it’s a huge part of the writing process.

It’s endless amounts of research. I’ve never been to 1800s France or traveled by boat and yet somehow I have to make do with Google. I can’t just make it all up or it won’t feel real. How can you show in words something you’ve never seen? How can you describe a feeling you’ve never felt? Whether the fear of an air raid siren or a gunshot to the leg, it’s things like that that make writing seem impossible at times, and have nothing to do with the ‘idea’.

And lastly, it’s making it all work. Life is not simple. There is no one direction, no one path, no one door. While writing, we have to make the world work. We have to make sure that each part is seamless with the rest. Continuity is preserved. There are no plot errors or time jumps. It’s not just the spelling and grammar that we have to worry about, it’s everything.

 An idea cannot be made into a 50,000+ word manuscript. A collection of ideas woven together with blood, sweat, and tears can.

I still can’t believe I wrote even ONE such manuscript.

I have a lot of ideas. I want to do them all but I have to prioritize. I already write slow because English is my second language. It’s hard enough to write as is. Someone else’s idea won’t even make the backlog.

So yeah.

That’s my PSA for the day.