"Gearing Up to Get an Agent" Blogfest has Begun!

Deana Barnhart is kinda like Chuck Norris. When she's not raising kids, writing novels, spotlighting new authors or providing resources for aspiring writers, she's dreaming up brilliant ways for all of us to build our platforms, get connected and reach out to each other to make this blogging world a friendlier place.

Her latest brainchild is her "Gearing Up to Get an Agent" July Blogfest, which spotlights agent-grabbing elements (platform building, learning the craft, the novel and queries) in a unique and interactive way. Here is our topic for Week One, and check out her blog, DeanaBarnhart , for more information or to join in on the fun.

WEEK ONE: "I Just had to ask..."

What burning questions (ab
out writing of course) do you have? It doesn't matter how ridiculous you think it may be, just ask. Post the question on your blog and we will hop around the blogs trying to help each other out. Discussions about topics on writing can really pump you up for your novel, plus you can make connections, follow one another, brainstorm platform building ideas...whatever. This will be our time to ease into the blogfest and get to know one another.

Here are my questions, and I would looooove to hear your feedback, whether or not you are participating in the blogfest:

1.  How long is too long for a young adult novel?  
Mine is a young adult mystery / urban fantasy, and I'm pushing 100,000 words, which I feel may be a little long. According to QueryTracker, it seems like most young adult novels are approximately 70,000-80,000 words, but I once heard urban fantasies tend to run a little long, so I'm not sure if I should cut back my word count or not. What do you think?

2. Which avenues have been most effective to network and spread the word about your blog?  I'm an active member of QueryTracker and GoodReads; I also occasionally post on SheWrites and AbsoluteWrite. I find a lot of new blogging buddies through existing blogging buddies' recommendations, and I usually troll around and read others' posts for good ideas. I'm not crazy about Twitter yet, and I've mostly kept my Facebook page to my non-writing life, but I'm definitely open to suggestions. How did YOU find the majority of your followers?

That's all for now, I think. Thanks in advance for your help!

The First Bi-Annual Wonderland Bloggy Awards!

Let's face it, Mondays are generally the very worst day of the week--especially for those of us currently in the midst of the horrible literary agent submission process. Not only do we have to wake up early and drag ourselves to work, but we also have to check our email for rejections.

Agents seem to work in a flurry on Mondays, so we cross our fingers that our query letters haven't been dumped into the "let's clear out this inbox and fire off some rejections!" Monday slush pile. We hold our breath as we watch our emails download, and we feel a pit in our stomach every time we see the words "Re: QUERY" appear like magic between letters from friends and advertisements for 1-800-Flowers or WeightWatchers.com. Could it be a partial or full request, an offer of representation, or is it simply a "Dear Author" form rejection letter? Sometimes, I don't even want to click and find out.

Imagine my surprise this morning when I checked my email and realized I actually had some good news waiting for me instead. The lovely, positive and always amazing Anita Howard actually spent her weekend creating beautiful badges for her Blogger friends, and she was generous enough to give me my very first blogging award: her Inspirational Blog Award. I almost melted, and look at the beautiful badge my blog now gets to wear!

If you haven't found her already, I'd HIGHLY suggest getting to know Anita through her blog, "A Still and Quiet Madness" and through her thoughtful posts (as raven1) on QueryTracker.net.  Here's the link to her First Bi-Annual Wonderland Bloggy Awards, and I'm sure she'd appreciate it if you visited her.  Thanks again, Anita; you have truly made my day! :)