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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe each discuss the same three queries, unpacking why queries are meant to be short and sweet; the difference between a setup and a reveal; agent burnout and pitching the most exciting info about your novel ASAP; and upping tension by subverting character expectations in the first few pages. Also, Carly surprises us by advocating for a prologue, and Carly and CeCe disagree on one of the queries!After which, Bianca chats with Emma Straub, author of THIS TIME TOMORROW and owner of Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, about a smart strategy for dressing for tour, her inspiration for her most recent novel; planting clues and foreshadowing through your manuscript; the importance of writing well at a line level; and how Emma's unpublished works helped her on her journey to publication.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.comEmma can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @emmastraub and her website is www.emmastraub.com
In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca chats with Hanny Mary McKinnon, author of NEVER COMING HOME, about how to write characters that we root for even though they’re bad; pacing at a scene or chapter level; adding in “sparkly touches” during the editing/revision stage; how to ensure a reader won’t want to put your book down; and knowing when a scene or chapter isn’t enhancing your story After which, Bianca chats with industry expert, Jane Friedman about how the publishing industry is faring; the lack of diversity in and social dynamics of the industry; current trends in publishing; how BookTok has been driving book sales; self-publishing vs traditionally publishing; thinking long-term when you’re making the decision about which publishing route you want to take; and all of Jane’s resources available for writers.After which, Carly and CeCe answer all of your burning publishing questions!Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.comHannah can be found at @hannahmarymckinnon on Instagram and @HannahMMcKinnon on Twitter, and at www.hannahmarymckinnon.comJane can be found at @janefriedman on Instagram and Twitter and at www.janefriendman.com
In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe each critique two query letters. In the process they discuss closing the distance between narrator and reader; ensuring the reader knows exactly who to root for and what the hook is; how secrets in a query letter must carry inherent stakes with them; voice-y hybrid second person; and planting curiosity seeds.After which, Bianca chats with Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas, about a ‘scaffolding’ writing technique; incorporating mythology into your writing; Stacey's writing process and journey to publication; being intentional with your opening pages; and the secret to incorporating backstory.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.comStacey can be found at @staceyrswann on Instagram and @StaceySwann on Twitter, and at www.staceyswann.com
In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca first chats with Jessica Payne, author of Make Me Disappear, about getting "the call"; how long the editorial process can take before going on sub; how publishing is like dating; how to tell when you’re close to getting offers of representation; writing under contract while launching a debut; and establishing relationships with Bookstagrammers and a potential launch team before you’ve sold the book.Bianca then talks with Amy Jones, award-winning author of Every Little Piece of Me about writing as rewriting; saving your deleted work; how drafting a novel is like building a house; place-holding chapters and  scenes; and drafting mode versus revising mode.After which Carly and CeCe answer your burning questions.Finally, Emilie Sommer from East City Bookshop gives you comps titles!Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.comJessica can be found on Twitter at @authorjessicapayne and on Instagram at @jessicapayne.writer and at www.jessicapayne.netAmy  can be found on Twitter at @amylaurajones and Instagram at @amlaujo and at www.amyjonesauthor.comEmilie can be found on Instagram at @emiliegsommer and East City Bookshop can be found at @eastcitybookshop
In today's Books with Hooks, we're joined by Paige and Rianne who submitted their work for critique. Carly and CeCe discuss how to make your query properly voicey and following the ‘language’ of your novel;  cornering your protagonist to create tension; the need for a personified antagonistic force in your query/novel; and the need for active emotions.After which, Bianca chats with Emily Henry, NYT Bestselling author of Book Lovers, about developing characters; the progress made in the romance genre; writing as an inherently political act; what draws Emily to writing about publishing; and Emily's advice for writing good dialogue and witty banter. Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.comEmily can be found at @emilyhenrywrites on Instagram and at www.emilyhenrybooks.com
In today's Bonus Episode, CeCe chats with Sarah Cantin, Executive Editor at St. Martin's Publishing Group and the editor of the #BookswithHooksBC pick, The Ballerinas. They discuss what made Sarah fall in love with the submission for The Ballerinas;  what “pre-empt” means in an offer/deal; instantly knowing the genre vs pondering the straddling of two genres; the ratio of submissions vs offers; what to do when a book doesn’t sell as well as you thought it would; likeable unlikeable protagonists; and Sarah's book recommendations. After which, Bianca chats with Susie Orman Schnall, the award-winning author of We Came Here to Shine, The Subway Girls, The Balance Project and On Grace. They discuss hiring a professional editor to put your best foot forward for querying; rejections from publishers and the importance of talking about them; understanding the hook of your novel; how to manage the anxiety of being a writer; trusting in your agent’s capabilities; and allowing yourself to feel shitty, but also remembering to measure your successes and celebrate them as you keep going.Finally, Emilie Sommer joins us from East City Book Shop to answer your comps questions!Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comSarah can be found at @sarahgcantin on TwitterSusie can be found at @susieormanschnall on Instagram and at www.susieschnall.com Emilie can be found at @emiliegsommer on Instagram and East City Book Shop can be found at @eastcitybookshop on Instagram and at @eastcitybooks on Twitter 
In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe each review two query letters. In the process, they discuss being specific with hooks and ensuring that you're labeling/branding novel genres correctly; how to create plot points that will make a novel more upmarket/pacey; how emotionality builds tension; the ways in which your author bio should relate to the plot/idea of your book; dealing with the tropes of upmarket women’s fiction; and pages that deliver on tension.After which, Bianca chats with Courtney Maum, author of the memoir The Year of the Horses, about advances from publishers; sticking with your book baby even if it means going to a different, smaller publisher; figuring out how to approach a memoir after writing fiction; the difference between memoir and recollection; the guiding principal in a memoir; and incorporating misrememberings into your memoir.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.com Courtney can be found at @cbmaum on Instagram and @cmaum on Twitter
In today’s Bonus Episode, Bianca chats with Jennifer Fawcett, author of Beneath the Stairs, about her publishing journey; positioning yourself in the market for editors—and why comps and knowing your genre are so important; writing a book that stays true to what you want to write, but is also marketable and satisfies the readers of that genre; and having the setting become character.After which, Bianca chats with Lydia Kang, author of The Half-Life of Ruby Fielding, about fitting writing into a busy work and home schedule; how your writing pace is not going to look the same as everyone else’s; keeping the same agent as you go through multiple genres as a writer; and researching historical fiction. Finally, Carly and CeCe answer your burning questions!Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.com Jennifer can be found at @AuthorFawcett on Twitter and at @jenniferfawcett_author on Instagram and at www.jenniferfawcett.orgLydia can be found at @lydiakang on Instagram and @LydiaYKang on Twitter and at www.lydiakang.com   
In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe evaluate the same three query letters, discussing developing character while developing plot; leveraging the reveal in a way that ramps up stakes and tension; having appropriate stakes for the age group and genre; framing what’s happening around the main character(s); how we need disruption, imbalance and conflict in the MC’s life, especially in the opening pages; and giving a personal universal element that the reader can imprint on in the opening pages.After which CeCe interviews Jennifer Close, author of Marrying the Ketchups, about the inherent anxiety that comes with writing, and how feeling insecure and doubtful is a part of the process no matter how many novels you’ve written; how Jennifer’s process has changed now that she’s published four books; how to make so-called ‘quiet’ novels unputdownable and so-called ‘passive’ characters compelling; Jennifer Close’s list of Golden Advice to first-time writers; and the importance of sitting with editorial feedback before working on edits.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comJennifer can be found at @jenniferaclose on Instagram and @jenniferclose on Twitter
In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca chats with Alisha Sevigny, author of The Oracle of Avaris, about the difference between MG and Upper MG; the importance of reading in the genre you want to write in; guarding against talking down to kids or teaching a lesson; taboo subjects for MG and how to approach writing difficult topics. After which, Bianca chats with TJ Alexander, author of Chef's Kiss, about their publishing journey, trying to find comps when you're breaking new ground; the psychology behind certain tropes; the importance of figuring out which POV will best serve the story; maintaining tension in romcoms; outlining or not outlining a romance novel; and emotional edging.Finally, Laynie Rose Rizer from East City Bookshop answers your burning comps questions!Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comAlisha can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @alishasevigny and at www.alishasevigny.comTJ Alexander can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @tjalexandernyc and at www.tjalexander.comLaynie can be found on Instagram at @thelaynierose and East City Bookshop can be found at @eastcitybookshop
In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe are joined by Kim and Jessica who submitted their queries for critique. They discuss how to elevate a query so that it matches the quality of the pages, reminding us that the goal of the query letter is to get an agent to read those pages; how to lean into specificity to elevate a query; toeing the line between giving away too much and too little in your query; how to successfully write a multi POV query; and how to balance discussing theme and plot in a query.After which, Bianca chats with Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of Take My Hand,  about how not to not ‘hit’ readers over the head with your moral themes; how to  make  characters who might traditionally be considered to be 'bad' sympathetic; inner and outer conflict; how to conduct extensive research; and defending your structural choices. Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comDolen can be found at @dolenperkinsvaldez on Instagram, and at www.dolenperkinsvaldez.com  
In today’s BONUS EPISODE, Bianca chats with Matt Bell, author of Refuse to be Done: How to Write and Rewrite a Novel in Three Drafts, about how teaching has helped them become better writers; revising in layers versus all at once; how there's not just one way to write or revise a novel; revision tools for if you don't have beta readers; and the responsibility of being a creative writing instructor. After which CeCe chats with debut author, Amanda Pellegrino, author of Smile and Look Pretty, about the query letter that connected Amanda to her dream agent; how long it took Amanda to write her first draft; how Amanda broke the rules when querying (and it worked!); the importance of working with an agent who challenges you; the editorial work that went into getting her manuscript ready; researching professions to write characters with authenticity; how it felt like to go out on submission to publishers; writing for film and TV versus writing novels; the value of getting the bad ideas out to land on the good ideas; the importance of surrounding yourself with people you trust; how being self-disciplined without putting pressure on herself has served Amanda well; the importance of social media in marketing and promoting your book; and the generosity of the #WritingCommunity.Finally, Carly and CeCe take your questions!Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comMatt can be found at www.mattbell.com and on @mattbell79 on Twitter and InstagramAmanda Pellegrino can be found at www.amandapellegrino.com and at @amandagpellegrino on Instagram and @amandapellss on Twitter
In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe evaluate two submissions each and discuss not feeding the reader all the information right up front; how the reader should be the co-pilot; that understanding how much you should reveal is a complicated  dance; not starting with a child's POV when it’s an adult novel; and having things happening in the first pages and not just setting the sceneAfter which, Femi Omotade joins Bianca again to interview bestselling and award-winning Lisa Scottoline, author of What Happened to the Bennetts. They discuss channeling empathy to create realistic characters; how all writing leads to other writing;  how writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised; the importance of endings; and how Lisa's writing has evolved over the course of her career.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comLisa can be found at @LisaScottoline on Twitter and Instagram, and at www.scottoline.com Femi can be found at @thebookalert on Instagram
In today's jam-packed Bonus Episode, Bianca first chats with Grant Ginder,  author of Let's Not Do That Again, about “unlikable” characters and what they might reveal about us as readers; the 5-Act structure; framing a scene to play with dramatic effect; and specificity in scenes according to what would be important for each particular character.After which, Bianca chats with Tracy Wolff, bestselling author of The Crave Series about Tracy's journey to publication and writing across multiple genres; elements in YA that aren’t necessarily in other genres; being authentic to the experiences of your YA character; and the challenges of writing a series.After which, Emilie Sommer from East City Book Shop joins us to give you comp titles!Use the code SUPERTEA for 15% off your entire order at shoplakeandoak.comFind us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comGrant can be found at www.grantginder.com and on Instagram and Twitter at @grantginder Tracy can be found at www. tracywolffauthor.com and on Instagram at @TracyWolffBooks and on Twitter at @TraceyWolffEmili can be found at www.eastcitybookshop.com and on Instagram at @emiliegsommer 
In today's Books with Hooks, Hannah and Beth join Carly and CeCe to discuss their submissions. During the chat, Carly and CeCe chat about the difference between ‘heart’ and ‘hook’; raising the stakes in your novel; a good way to describe a ‘quiet’ novel in a query; sharing anything that elevates your novel’s structure and style in your query; and how to deal with the issue of writing (or avoiding writing about) the pandemic. After which, Bianca chats with Gina Sorell, author of The Wise Women, about the genesis of an idea; family/sibling relationships and points of view; techniques for giving backstory/context; being an ‘underwriter’; and Gina's advice for emerging writers.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comGina can be found at @ginasorell on Twitter and Instagram and at www.ginasorell.com
In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca chats with Lee Gowan, author of The Beautiful Place about taking twelve years to finish a novel; the process of figuring out when your novel is done; advice on how to find the right beginning; cannibalizing your writing; the importance of knowing where your novel is going, and how cutting things out can help you figure out key parts of your novel.After which, Bianca chats with Leo Carver, author of The Gardener's Guide to Seeding the Soul, about the process of writing non-fiction; putting a story arc in your non-fiction which lends itself to structure; turning challenging circumstances in life into a positive with creativity; writing a proposal; and transferring frustrations with work, etc. into energy for your creativity.And finally, Emily Schwab joins us from Book Ends in Winchester, Massachusetts, to suggest comp titles. Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comLee Gowan can be found at www.leegowan.com Leo Carver can be found on Instagram at @leo.carverBook Ends can be found on Instagram at @bookendswinchester Emily Schwab can be found on Instagram at @paperbookreader
In today’s special episode of Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe welcome author Rachel Kapelke-Dale and her agent Sarah Phair to offer feedback on three query letters from members of the Books with Hooks Book Club. During the chat, they address how withholding information at the start of a story can create tension, not starting a story with descriptions on the weather (and how that is like wearing capri pants), and how reading a book out loud can help with proofreading.  After which, CeCe chats with Rachel Kapelke-Dale, author of THE BALLERINAS, and her agent Sarah Phair about how Rachel and Sarah started working together; the original pitch copy and framing device for THE BALLERINAS and how both changed over several rounds of edits; how the author might now know what genre they’re writing in until they finish the story and how comp titles can help with figuring it out; and how weaving in significant and active foreshadowing from the very first page can elevate a story. Find us on our socials: Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing Facebook: @tsnotyaw Website: www.biancamarais.com Rachel can be found at @rkapelkedale on Twitter and @rachelkapelkedale on InstagramSarah can be found at @SarahPhair on Twitter and https://www.greenburger.com/agent/sarah-phair Show notes link: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250834560/theingenue 
In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca begins by chatting with Chloe Benjamin, bestselling author of The Immortalists, about handling the perfectionism-induced burnout after finishing The Immortalists, and the techniques she uses to pace herself; the romanticization of being an artist and struggling with mental health issues; the toxicity of grind culture;  and various ways for you to research and organize your work.After which, Bianca chats with Olivia, a brilliant 12-year-old writer who she coaches, about what Olivia's learned and the advice she'd like to share with all of you!Finally, Rebecca Speas of One More Page Books joins us to answer your comp questions!Find us on our socials: Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comChloe Benjamin can be found at: www.chloebenjaminbooks.com and on Instagram at @chloekbenjamin and on Twitter at @chloebenjaminOne More Page Books can be found at www.onemorepagebooks.com and on Instagram at @onemorepagebooks and on Twitter at @justonemorepageRebecca Speas can be found on Instagram and on Twitter at @SpeasySpice
In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe kick it back old school and both discuss the same three submissions. During the chat, they address dialing back on the exposition in the opening pages; keeping it to two comps and not trying to tick off all the genre boxes; not starting a story with the protagonist imagining too much; matching descriptions of surroundings to what the character is feeling about what’s going on presently in their life; making sure the “ick factor” is clearly laid out in the query letter; and how world-building can be whatever you want it to be as long as you’re making deliberate decisions so there isn’t an issue with plausibility.After which, Carly and Bianca chat with Glendy Vanderah, author of The Oceanography of the Moon, about the benefits of Amazon First Reads for debut authors; how initial success can be a blessing and a curse; the journey of rewriting an earlier "lost" manuscript which became her newest novel; how far you can take an unlikeable character while still keeping the reader interested; and the art of teasing out backstory while keeping readers from getting frustrated.Find us on our socials: Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comGlendy can be found at www.glendyvanderah.com and on Instagram at @glendyvanderah 
In today's BONUS EPISODE, Bianca first chats with Rosie Walsh, bestselling author of The Love of My Life, about when a story forces a plotter to become a pantser; figuring out how to work in backstory after the midpoint twist; pulling a manuscript apart and putting it back together multiple times; how the only way to learn how to write a book is writing one; knowing how to pitch your book despite straddling genres; hiding something in plain sight and the care it requires when it comes down to word choice; how the natural world can inform plot and character; how characterization is a process of painstaking layering; allowing your characters to be beige in early drafts; and putting your manuscript in front of non-writers to see a reader's reaction to a story. We then answer the questions you've phoned in with.After which, Bianca chats with NoViolet Bulawayo, the award-winning and bestselling author of Glory, about writing satire and building a lexicon; using allegories in your writing; using your art to be part of something larger; how to be engaged with the times, to facilitate important conversations; writing animals as characters; and her tips for emerging writers.Finally, Bianca is joined by East City Bookshop book buyer, Emilie Sommer, who takes your questions to help you find comp titles! Find us on our socials: Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writingFacebook: @tsnotyawWebsite: www.biancamarais.comRosie Walsh can be found at www.rosiewalsh.com and on Instagram and Twitter at @therosiewalsh.NoViolet Bulawayo can be found at www.novioletbulawayo.com East City Bookshop can be found at www.eastcitybookshop.com and on Instagram at @eastcitybookshop on Twitter at @eastcitybooksEmilie Sommer can be found on Instagram at @emiliesommer
Comments (2)

Teresa Wilkinson

this recording is utter crap you can barely make out what anybody is saying you need to take this down it's rubbish

Feb 10th
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Michael Scott

Thanks for this podcast. I believe that good writing skills are important and therefore start working on improving them. Although, writing has never been my strong point, and I have always found the final paragraphs the hardest to do. This source has proven to be quite helpful to me https://paperap.com/conclusion-generator The free paragraph generator always helps me cope with the final part of my work, and thanks to this I get a good result and a high grade.

Nov 24th
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