New adult author and book blogger Victoria Smith gives us some insight on how she built a community of likeminded individuals over the internet, creating an impressive online presence.
Promoting new adult fiction through book reviews, networking, and promotions, she has helped many authors gain success and a voice in an underappreciated market.
Looking for a reviewer or someone to connect with? Check out Miss. Smith’s blogs and NA Alley, a resource for all interested in new adult fiction.
Having recently obtained a publishing contract for her science fiction romance novel, The Crimson Hunt, Miss. Smith offers some advice on creating a query package. She has provided links to submissions.
If you do nothing, click on the links below and check out her examples. Examples of synopses and queries helped me create a straight-to-the-point cover blurb, landing me review requests even though I am self-published author. So thank you Miss. Smith for sharing the love and knowledge.
Straight from the blogger’s mouth: Growing a market for New Adult Fiction
Can you tell me about your blog and the objective you hope to achieve?
Sure! My blog is about my journey as a new writer as I write characters that fall between the categories of Adult and Young Adult fiction. I write what’s called “New Adult” fiction, which features characters that are usually between the ages of 18 – 30. “New Adult” displays these characters’ journey as they transition into adulthood. They can be featured in college, starting their first jobs, or paying their first bills. The publishing industry hasn’t really taken to this type of fiction yet, so my blog discusses my experience with writing this type of fiction despite the low market for it. I also review books, which feature twenty-something aged characters, so others can read books about “New Adult” characters. I try to spread awareness of this new category through my experiences writing it and the reviews I do.
As a book reviewer, what do you look for when you consider reviewing a book?
First, I have to make sure that the books I review are perfect for the audience that reads my blog. I try to feature books that are, what I like to call, “perfect for twenty-somethings.” It can be Young Adult fiction or Adult fiction, but it has to be able to reach that audience. A good example would be maybe a 17 or 18-year-old character that has become completely independent due to unique circumstances. Say they are a single parent, or they have become the soul provider of their family because of an injured parent. Maybe they grew up in hardships and have had to rely on themselves to survive. These are mature experiences that could definitely relate to twenty-something readers and writers.
I also try to make sure that romance is one of the central themes of the writing. I love reading Young Adult and Adult romances and find those stories compelling. I’m also a big fan of speculative fiction in contemporary settings. Say a girl is a college student by day and a superhero at night or the local bartender down the street who took the job to pay for school is an undercover alien. I love seeing stories like these!
How did you get your blog started and how long did it take before you saw results?
I started my blog November of 2011. It took about a month and a half when I started gaining more followers. I held contests and joined Twitter. I also sought out other bloggers who reviewed books like I did, or were writers like me. I commented and participated on their blogs then they would come to mine and do the same. Before I knew it, I started to get a following and the rest is history as you say!
What are some tips?
The biggest tips I can give are to join Twitter and find other blogs like yourself. You have to network if you want people to come to your blog. Make friends! Not only is it fun, but you also get to meet some cool people.
As a writer, I know you said you were undergoing the querying process. Can you talk about a bit about your book, the querying process and what you have learned?
I actually just started researching the querying process recently for my new adult science fiction romance, THE CRIMSON HUNT. My book is about a college junior who falls for a mysterious collegiate on her campus. But her involvement with him lands her at the heart of a murder, in which she has been named the prime suspect. He is the only one who truly knows of her innocence, so she becomes completely reliant on him to survive. But as the two become closer, she realizes that he may have had more involvement with the murder than he lets on. She has to determine who her true allies are before she loses more than just her rights as a free citizen.
With this project, I was editing and getting my packages together for publishers because I knew I would be submitting it by the end of the summer. I created a standard package by making a two-page synopsis, blurb, and query letter, which included a blurb about the book and my writing credentials. While getting the package together, I heard about a contest from an editor that was actively seeking new adult manuscripts. I entered the contest about a month ago and won. Here’s my entry here. I submitted my full manuscript to them and they offered me a contract for publication about two weeks ago! So, I am now officially a new adult author. Here’s the announcement I made on my blog about it here.
I suppose I learned that you just have to make sure that you concentrate on your work first and foremost. Really polish your manuscript to the best of your ability, so when opportunities like pitch contests and other things come around you are prepared. Obtain a critique partner and beta readers to read your work. They’ll catch things that you might not necessarily have seen yourself.
If you could share a bit of wisdom with aspiring authors who desire to create a successful blog, what would it be?
As writers we naturally want to show our work to the world, so it’s easy to only want to discuss your personal craft on your blog. But what you have to make sure of is that there is a balance. Research your reader and feature things that they would like to see on your blog then insert your own stuff into the mix. You’ll build a following then you can feature more and more of your own work. Make sure you network with other writers and readers via Facebook, blogging, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. to create friendships. They will come to you if you come to them with the same awesome attitude and spirit!
Connect with Miss. Victoria Smith:
- Book reviewers needed? Connect with Summer Lane (lawreigns.com)
- Summer Lane: Writing Belle, Indie and self published authors welcomed (lawreigns.com)
- YA authors needed! (jennykellerford.wordpress.com)