Writers: Finding What’s Hot & Guidance

New writer’s often wonder where to look for what’s trending in the category and genre they write. Or perhaps, they want good old fashion tips on writing and encouraging stories of how other authors succeeded. Writer’s can find help almost anywhere these days on personal blogs of other writers. But today I thought I’d share some of my favorite digital/print magazines and associations. And although some of these require a paid subscription to achieve their full benefits, trolling as an unpaid subscriber can still profit the writer. (But of course, I recommend subscribing when the budget allows.)

  • Publishers Weekly is the international news website of book publishing and bookselling including business news, reviews, bestseller lists, commentaries and more.
  • Writer’s Digest is a resource for writers, celebrating the Writing Life and What it Means to be a Writer in Today’s Publishing Environment. It also is the place to find Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents.
  • The Writer is full of features you can use to improve your writing, including before-and-after examples of improved writing, more literary markets than ever before, practical solutions for writing problems, selected literary magazine profiles, tips from famous authors and hands-on advice.
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America is a professional organization for authors of science fiction, fantasy and related genres. Esteemed past members include Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, and Andre Norton.
  • Romance Writers of America is a nonprofit trade association, with a membership of more than 10,000 romance writers and related industry professionals, whose mission is to advance the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy.
  • Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a non-profit , 501 (c)3 organization which is  one of the largest existing organizations for writers and illustrators. It is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals writing and illustrating for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. Several of the most prestigious children’s literature professionals sit on the SCBWI Board of Advisors.
  • Children’s Book Council is the nonprofit trade association of children’s book publishers in North America, dedicated to supporting and informing the industry and fostering literacy.

I hope you find gold nuggets of information while visiting these sites. And as always, happy writing and good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction

Interview: Brent Taylor Literary Agent

Great things are happening in the literary world. One of the latest is former editor, Brent Taylor, becoming a literary agent. But let me tell you, Brent is no stranger to this new hat. He interned for eight months at Book Cents Literary Agency and two years at The Bent Agency before being hired at TriadaUS Literary Agency earlier this year.


Brent Taylor

1)      I was devastated you had to recently drop out as a mentor of a contest until I learned the super awesome reason. Can you tell us the journey of how you became an agent with TriadaUS?

It’s very long, but the abridged version is: I spent years working under various agents and agencies, and one day an incredible opportunity fell into my lap. Rest is history, etc. (Read more…)


Twitter Logo

#PITMAD, hosted by @Brenda Drake

Don’t forget the quarterly pitch event with Brenda Drake is coming up this Thursday, December 4, 2014 on twitter under the hashtag #PitMad. If you are new to the game of writing, this is where you create a 140 character pitch for your FINISHED manuscript and tweet for agents to read. Things to remember:

  • Pitch submission time is 8am-8pm EDT (New York time)
  • You must fit the hashtag of #Pitmad within the 140 characters.
  • Include the category and genre in the 140 characters.
  • Change tweets up. (Twitter will remove identical ones thinking they are spam.)
  • DON’T FAVORITE TWEETS! This is for agents only. (If you want to support a friend, do it by retweeting.)
  • If you won’t be available this day, schedule tweets using Tweetdeck.
  • Only tweet once per thirty minutes so you don’t hog congest the feed.
  • Don’t tweet agents and editors directly unless they tweet you first.
  • Scammers can’t be controlled on an open pitch party. DO YOUR HOMEWORK before you submit from a favorite.

For additional tips, go to Brenda’s Drakes Pitmad page. As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction



Thanksgiving is a designated time to remember what we are thankful for in life. For many, it’s having our health to spend time with family and friends while gorging on amazing meals until our stomach feels like it will explode. But there are others who might be joyful they survived a fatal illness to be here celebrating with people they love. Or maybe, there are those thrilled to still have a job, maybe paid a mortgage off, or even happy because they got that iPhone they’ve always wanted.

As for me, I’d like to thank:

  • My family and friends who’ve supported me with my writing.
  • My readers. (Because without y’all, I’d have no reason to have a blog!)
  • All my critique partners, beta readers, and anyone who has ever glanced at a few pitches/pages/chapters and offered feedback (The list is SUPER long and I LOVE you guys!).
  • Contest hosts for supplying fabulous opportunities with agents and mentoring, and for selecting me at some point in the past for one thing or another. (For example: Brenda Drake, Authoress, and Jessa Russo.)
  • Slush readers. (I know your eyes cross and we don’t send enough chocolate!)
  • The creator’s of Preditors & Editors, Writer’s Beware  and Absolute Write Forums. (Trust me when I say they’ll save you from agent and publishing scams.)
  • All the Amazing author’s who’ve allowed me to interview them this year!
  • And finally (but not last), to God for giving me the strength to get through each day. (For numerous reasons, but especially my health.)

I’m sure there are many things and other people I may have forgotten, and ask forgiveness if I have. Everyone in my physical and virtual life are very important to me. Y’all give me strength to become the best me. And yes, you complete me! (Go ahead, grab a tissue.)

Whatever your reason for being thankful today, I wish you the Happiest of Thanksgivings!


P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA Fiction

Critique Partners


If you’re a writer, I can’t stress enough the importance of finding critique partners/beta readers. That’s right, I spoke in plural terms. Each partner might uncover different aspects of your story, such as weaknesses in your character, plot holes, typos, stilted dialogue, pacing and much more. No matter how perfect you think your story is, someone will find an error. And it’s better to find as many errors as possible before you start submitting to agents or publishers, and most importantly BEFORE you self publish!

So where do you find these partners? I found most of mine on Twitter hashtags during writing contests. Someone almost always puts a call out to swap stories for critique. Many times, you gain a permanent partner. There are private writing groups on Facebook that you can join, or places like CPseek. Absolute Write Forums, Write On Con events, local writing groups, and even English departments at your local college and university. Also following blogs of agented writers (such as Brenda Drake or Authoress for starts), can help you find opportunities for free critiques. I’ve found that the writing community is extremely supportive of one another, and among them is a wealth of knowledge!

Things to look for in a partner:

  1. They not only praise but offer the needed critique. If a partner does nothing but praise over your work, they don’t offer you any room to improve.
  2. They offer suggestions. Okay, this doesn’t mean they tell you exactly how to fix something, but at least tell you why something doesn’t work for them. This way, you know what direction to go.
  3. Similar tastes. If you write for middle grade, you may want to find someone who does the same because you both understand ‘voice’ for that genre. Or maybe you write strictly fantasy and want someone who writes the same. But remember, finding someone who writes exactly the same genre and category isn’t completely necessary, as long as they have a passion for the types of stories you write. (But it does help.)
  4. Can meet your dead line. That’s if you have a dead line. If you do, be clear up front and state the time frame. (Ex: You hope to polish your manuscript before entering an upcoming contest.)

There might be other things you desire in a critique partner, but this list is just a starting foundation. For ideas on the worst critique partners, read Chuck Sambuchino’s The Top 10 Worst Types of Critique Partners

As always, good luck and happy writing!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA Fiction

Pitch Contest with Entangled Publishing, hosted by Brenda Drake

The Queen of Contests, Brenda Drake, is hosting a pitch event with Entangled Publishing on November 10, 2014. If you write romance, or have romantic undertones in your novel, this pitch event might be for you.

To enter, you’ll need a 100-word pitch (max) and the first 100 words of your manuscript. You will also need to research which line your MS falls under and know what the editors are looking for.

Single-title Imprints

Category Romance Imprints

Brenda breaks these lines down and offers a link to the editors likes here. The event will be live on Brenda’s blog, so be sure you’re following her! You’ve only got a few more days to polish those pitches.

As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction


Contest: 2014 Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction by Authoress

This post is to remind you that the submission window opens tomorrow for the 2014 Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction. This contest is hosted by Authoress on her blog Miss Snark’s First Victim. Here are some important dates to know:


October 28: Adult fiction (no erotica), 9am-5pm EDT (100 max)
October 30: Adult fiction (no erotica) , 9am-5pm EDT (100 max)
(Note: NA is included with the adult rounds and should be labeled as such.)

November 4: YA/MG fiction (all genres), 9am-5pm EDT (150 max)
November 6: YA/MG fiction (all genres), 9am-5pm EDT (150 max)

November 14: Adult winners will be notified via via email (25 total)

November 21: YA/MG winners will be notified via email (35 total)

November 28: The 60 winners will be posted on Authoress’ blog
December 2: Agents begin placing bids at 11am EDT (Auction closes 11pm)

December 4:  Winners announced

Authoress has lined up a total of TWENTY-ONE agents for this contest! How awesome is that? Here is a list to entice you to enter:

If you’re not familiar with this contest, know that it has an entry fee of $15 US dollars. Follow Miss Snark’s First Victim blog for further details!

As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction.


October is the time for ghosts and ghouls to scare the bejeebers out of us as they creep out of the closet. Even more exciting…it’s NIGHTMARE ON QUERY STREET month! This is a fabulous writerly contest hosted by Michelle, Michael, and SC.

What’s that? You don’t have a scary manuscript to enter. NEVER FEAR! The contest is designed for only your pitch to be scary. You need to write a paragraph of no more than 100 words about what the most fearsome obstacle your main character has to overcome and submit with your query and first 250 words of your manuscript. So, your MC doesn’t have to be fleeing a group of vampires to be entered in this awesome contest. Oh no! Your MC’s most fearsome obstacle could be the eight-year-old nosy neighbor that will rat him out about the party he threw last week if he doesn’t buy that $500 WII system for her.

Now hurry and get to planning your pitch! The submission window opens at 12 noon (EST) on October 15th. The window will close at 12 noon (EST) October 17th or when they receive 225 entries. But know there are rules to be followed, so read everything here to make sure you clearly understand the submission guidelines.

As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction





The #Pitmad Pitch Contest on Twitter

It’s #Pitmad time! This is a contest on twitter, hosted by the fabulous Brenda Drake, where literary agents troll the tweets to see if they want to make a request for your story. Remember, this is for completed manuscripts only! How to enter:

  • Create a 140 character pitch, including the category and genre. (Hint: Abbreviate the category. Adult=A, Young Adult=YA, Middle Grade=MG. And do the same for the genre. Urban Fantasy=UF, Fantasy=F, Paranormal Romance=PR…etc.)
  • Be sure to add the hashtag #Pitmad in the 140 character pitch or it won’t be seen in the feed.

Rules to follow:

  • If you see another person’s tweet you like, DON’T favorite it. (This is for agents only.) However, you can retweet the pitch.
  • Switch your words, category, and hashtag around when you pitch. (Twitter sometimes won’t repeat the same tweet.) You can also have creative alternate pitches to use. I’d recommend having at least three different pitches for the same story.
  • Don’t overpitch. Check Brenda’s blog for her exact rules, but usually she asks writer’s to pitch only once every thirty minutes to an hour. This keeps the feed from being clogged up and agents running away screaming.

How to know if an agent likes your pitch and what to do:

  • If an agent or editor likes your pitch, they will favorite your tweet. (That’s the little star that turns yellow when they like it.)
  • Agents and editors usually will tweet what to do after they favorite your pitch, so check their twitter feed. Some may want only your query, others may want pages from your manuscript. Follow their rules! If you can’t find their guidelines, ask them politely. They may just want you to follow their standard guidelines on the agency website. (I recommend adding the #Pitmad hashtag in the subject line of any email sent so they know they requested your material.)

The contest runs today, September 9, 2014 from 8:00am-8:00pm EDT. So you’ve plenty of time to join the fun.

Good Luck!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction


Secret Agent Contest by Authoress

Just a quick post to inform y’all that the Secret Agent Contest submissions are open until 6:00 PM EDT. This is a wonderful opportunity hosted by the infamous Authoress on her blog Miss Snark’s First Victim. Here is the page that lists the guidelines for submission. (Note: the guidelines is an earlier post by Authoress and can mislead that the contest isn’t open. If you click on the link I provided above “Secret Agent Contest”, you’ll see she IS in fact open for submissions now.)

Good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA Fiction