FicFest: Introducing Team Japan

Welcome! We are excited to be part of FicFest and read all your lovely Middle Grade manuscripts. So without further ado, meet the members of our team!

Team Leader: Kyra Nelson

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.23.16 PMKyra Nelson in a YA author and freelance editor. She spent two years interning for A+B Works literary agency and has helped teach publishing industry classes at Brigham Young University where she also teaches editing classes. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in linguistics and is researching vocabulary in YA literature.

Some of her favorite MG titles include The Penderwicks, The One and Only Ivan, When You Reach Me, and Wonder.

Twitter: @KyraMNelson


Team Member: Judi Lauren

original profile shot

Judi was born in the Midwest and misses those winters. She now resides in an area where there are way too many bugs and green leaves during December.

She’s a survivor and fighter of many things and is drawn to writing realistic books that explore a darker side to the teenage years.

She’s a proofreader and editorial intern at Entangled Publishing. She also works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and loves to read any YA, NA, and adult books in her spare time. She has an unnatural obsession with Chicago, Dean Winchester, and Friends (the TV show).

Some of her favorite MG titles include Percy Jackson, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Dork Diaries, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, and When You Reach Me

She’s represented by Tina Schwartz of The Purcell Agency.



Team Member: Hannah Davies

Hannah DHannahavies is an intern with author powered publisher Patchwork Press and is one of the admins for the Write All Year site. She writes YA and NA fiction in various genres and hopes to publish a novel in the future. Currently, she is part way through an English Literature and Creative degree at Greenwich University in London, where she spends much of her time writing essays, riding buses and trying to keep up with reading. Her short story ‘Scorpio’ debuted in May 2015 in the Polaris Awakening Anthology.

Favorite MG title include Harry Potter (obviously), The Tale of Despereaux, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Inkheart and the His Dark Materials Series.


Twitter: @AG_Author


Dear P2P16

After a lot of deliberation, I’ve sent in my pick for P2P16. Let me tell you, it was not easy. I have been blown away by how much talent showed up in my inbox. The editor/author pairings won’t be revealed until tomorrow, but there were a couple things I wanted to say.

First of all, thank you all so much for trusting me with your manuscripts. I really am honored that I’ve been able to read your work. I could go on and on and on about how impressed I was with all the submissions. There were submissions that I really liked that didn’t even make my list of requested partials.

On the other hand, that made choosing nearly impossible. So much of my choice came down to personal taste. A lot of it also had to do with finding a manuscript that was the perfect balance between too clean and too messy. Too clean, and there wasn’t enough I could do for it. Too messy, and I wouldn’t have time to help it.

What I’m saying is that you should all keep querying. I don’t think I got any queries that didn’t have at least one thing that was appealing. Publishing can be a rough game to play, but it’s so worth it.

You guys are awesome, and I’d be happy to work with any of you. I hope to see you all in print one day.


Write a Killer Hook

This week I’ve been doing a couple #askeditor sessions as part of Pitch to Publication (which I’m sooooooo excited for, btw). I had a lot of people asking about writing hooks, so I decided to address it on the blog.

First, let me start by saying that a hook and a 35 word pitch aren’t necessarily the same thing. The 35 word pitch is a super short summary of your book. The sole purpose of the hook is to pique the interest of the reader.

Here is the simplest formula I can give for writing a hook: MC+something interesting about them.

Yeah. It can be that easy.

The “interesting thing” can be any of the following:

  • A special ability they have or something they do
  • A reference to the inciting incident
  • An interesting thing they did
  • A hint of the conflict they’re about to face
  • The character’s goals
  • Something unique about the setting, or where they live
  • Literally anything interesting about the MC

Here are a few great hooks, which follow this formula:

Query 26 something the character does: For seventeen-year-old Cas Leung, bossing around sea monsters five thousand times her size is just the family business.

Query 89 reference to the inciting incident: After witnessing the suicide of a peer, seventeen-year-old Leighton Cross moves to New York City to escape from her past.

Query 70 unique setting: 11-year old misfit GWENDOLYN GRAY has a big imagination, which can cause a lot of trouble in a world where creativity is a crime.

Query 76 character goals: Seventeen year old Arresa is determined not to be a figure head in her political marriage, even if it means being a public figure instead of hiding from her problems.