Category Archives: Guests

Guest Post: Easy People Sketching by Suhita Shirodkar

Guest Post: Easy People Sketching by Suhita Shirodkar

A big ARHtistic License thank you to Suhita Shirodkar for the helpful advice in this awesome article! You can see more sketches by Suhita on Sketch Away: Travels with my sketchbook.

Sketch Away: Travels with my sketchbook

If you don’t sketch people often and don’t know where to start, go to a cafe. People sit pretty still, you don’t have to draw full figures, and most people are pretty busy looking at their phones or computers. Which makes it easy to hide at that corner table, to look closely (even stare), and to not worry too much about them disappearing before you finish drawing them.

Since I have two sessions of my People and Places workshop coming up this week, I thought I’d do some easy people sketching today. So I headed to the cafe at my local Barnes & Noble.

I usually start with a page or two of very quick gesture sketches.

And then I played with layering some pastels over my brush pen gesture drawings.

I kinda liked how I could do a very quick gesture capture, then go in with pastel and come back around a…

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DaniA big thank you to Dani Fairhurst of Flourishing Freelancer for these proactive suggestions for productivity. The ideas work for blogging as well as other kinds of writing, a myriad of arts, and, really, any tasks at all.

I’m not even sure if “batching” is the technical term but whatever it’s called, it definitely increases productivity. I’m fairly confident I’ve read other blog posts that refer to batching as a thing so we’ll go with that word.

I am usually good when it comes to batching but things are pretty busy for me right now what with working full time, running two blogs and trying to train for a half marathon (I’m massively unfit right now so this actually a big challenge!). And so I’ve let myself slip into a habit of writing when I need to hit publish on a post. I always plan to be ahead on posts and social media but I’m just treading water right now, which I need to get sorted.

Anyway, one of my favourite ways to stay ahead of the game when I am actually getting stuff done is batching.



The theory behind why batching can help your productivity is that your brain loves repetition. Repeating a task over and over again allows your brain to create neural pathways and, as a result, become more efficient. Well, that’s the theory anyway. Obviously, everyone works slightly differently so don’t panic if batching doesn’t work for you.

Batching helps with efficiency and productivity on a practical level too. If you’re sitting down to batch write blog posts or edit photos, you’ll have all the relevant software etc. open on your computer. I know that if I try to write a blog post and create the images and do my research all in one sitting, that I waste hours flicking between websites, tabs, programmes. It’s just not an efficient way of doing things. You’ll also probably find that you’ll work out the best order to do things in to complete a task quickly if you repeat it over and over again in one sitting. Bonus!


Here’s how I set up an effective batching process that works for me and my blog:


You can batch whatever you like! Sit down for a few minutes and write a list of tasks that you do regularly for your blog. Here’s a list of things that I like to batch to get you started:

  • Content planning
  • Researching new content/ideas
  • Blog writing
  • Taking or finding suitable stock photos
  • Editing photos
  • Scheduling social media updates
  • Reading and replying to emails
  • Looking for and applying for freelance work
  • Blog maintenance
  • Reading and replying to comments on my blog
  • Reading and leaving comments on other blogs
  • Stats and data analysis
  • Invoicing/income tracking

There are certain things that you can’t batch such as impromptu blog posts and Twitter chats. But if you start batching other tasks, you should find that you’ll have more time for those other things that can’t be batched.


How often you do a certain task will depend on the nature of the task. For example, I schedule social media posts once a week but only work on blog maintenance once a month. Here’s the same list from above with how often I do things:

  • Content planning – once a week
  • Researching new content/ideas – once a week (sometimes twice if I’m struggling)
  • Blog writing – 2-3 times a week
  • Taking or finding suitable stock photos – once a fortnight
  • Editing photos – once a fortnight
  • Scheduling social media updates – once a week
  • Reading and replying to emails – twice a day (am and pm)
  • Looking for and applying for freelance work – twice a week at the moment
  • Blog maintenance – once a month
  • Reading and replying to comments on my blog – once a day
  • Reading and leaving comments on other blogs – 3-4 times a week
  • Stats and data analysis – generally once a month unless I’m trying a new approach to something then I like to keep a closer eye on the impact it’s having
  • Invoicing/income tracking – once a month

Have a think about how often you want to do tasks and don’t be afraid to change it after a week or month of trying it if things aren’t working.

One of the best ways to decide on how long to set for a task is to time yourself. Do each task and time how long it takes you on average. Then set yourself realistic time limits based on that. Now, if you’ve read my post on being an organised blogger you’ll know that I don’t personally like to set time limits. So, how do I deal with this element of batching? I think about roughly how long tasks might take me and use that to decide which tasks to allocate to specific days. So if I know that the posts I’m going to batch draft are going to be time-consuming, I won’t schedule anything else for that day. But if I know that taking and editing photos won’t take long as I already have a lot of unused images, I’ll schedule something else in on the same evening.

This is just how I like to work – I don’t like having exact time constraints because I panic! Haha! Some of you might work better with time-specific deadlines so just do what works for you.

Another factor to consider when deciding how long to spend on each “batch” is how often you plan on doing it (see number 2). It might be that you want to several smaller batches throughout the week or just all in one go, once a week.

As with number 2, don’t be afraid to make a decision and then change your mind later if it’s not working well. It’s all about learning and progressing.


Think carefully about when you’re going to batch, both in terms of time of day and in terms of order of the tasks. It’s all well and good scheduling “blog writing” for Monday morning but you won’t get very far if you’ve not scheduled “researching new post ideas” until Thursday afternoon. Unless of course, you’re writing up last week’s research. But you get my point. Make sure your tasks are scheduled out in a logical order.

Try working at different times of day too and see when you work best. For me, I write better in the morning and like to save things like photo editing for the evening when I’m watching TV.


When it’s time to schedule your social media posts, close down your emails and everything else that’s not related. Focus solely on the task that you’re batching for the whole allocated time slot. The only time I deviate from this rule, as you’ve seen, is when I’m editing photos when I’ll sometimes have the TV on in the background. Cropping 100 images to the right size is pretty boring if there’s nothing else going on!

I’ve mentioned it before, but now seems a good time to talk about the Pomodoro technique. This is a technique where you work for 25 minutes with no distractions at all and then take a 5-minute break. This is a really great way to stay focused on big tasks, such as batching posts if you’ve set aside a whole day.

Remember to keep your blogging goals in mind the whole time too!

So, that’s how I batch. If you’re looking to become more productive and blog more efficiently, I’d definitely recommend batching. Let me know how you get on in the comments below!

Guest Post: Preparing Your Synopsis: Questions – Format – Checklist…by Kathy Temean

Guest Post: Preparing Your Synopsis: Questions – Format – Checklist…by Kathy Temean

A big ARHtistic License thank you to Kathy Temean for this well-thought-out process for writing a synopsis.

This illustration was created by Katherine Tillotson for NICE TRY TOOTH FAIRY. She was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Here’s the link:


1. Who is my main character. Do I have more than one Main Character? Is my main character a heroine/ hero. Do I have both a heroine and a hero?


2. What do they want? What do they need?


3. What brings the hero and heroine or the two main characters together?


4. What problem do they encounter at their first meeting or shortly thereafter?


5. How do they overcome their initial problems and achieve some measure of success?


6. What happens to spoil the initial success?


7. Where does this new problem lead?


8. What risk do they take to deal with this new challenge?


9. What is their ‘dark moment?’


10. How do they overcome this last obstacle?’

Asking these questions should help you structure your synopsis. Remember, standard format is 3rd person present tense.

How to format your synopsis.

Use a one inch margins on the top, bottom and sides. Justify text at the left margin only. Use Times New Roman 12 pt. font. Type your name, address, phone number, fax number and e-mail address, each on a separate line single-spaced at the top left margin on the first page of your synopsis.

If you can fit your synopsis on one page, then you can single space the text with a space between paragraphs . If it goes over one page, then double space your text. Editors generally want one or two pages, but if you must go longer than you must – just keep it tight. You should always check a publisher’s submission guidelines, just to make sure you are following their rules before submitting.

Here are some things to help guide you through the synopsis writing process:

• You want to briefly tell what happens. This is one place you can ignore Show, Don’t Tell.

• Your goal should be to give an escalating series of turning points, a strong central crisis, a dramatic climax and a satisfying resolution.

• Introduce your main character first. Type a character’s name in all CAPS the first time you use it in the synopsis. Why? It helps the editor remember or find your character names.

• Remember your synopsis should showcase your unique voice.

• The synopsis should reflect your story. If it is humorous, be funny, etc.

• Start with a hook.

• Use present tense. This gives the story immediacy.

• Write the high points of your story in chronological order. Keep these paragraphs tight.

• Always answer basic who, what, where, when, why–early in the synopsis.

• Don’t waste words or time describing settings, unless crucial. Sometimes it’s enough just to put the date and place at the top, then start your synopsis.

• Omit unimportant details.

• Only include backstory if it is necessary to give the editor the information they need about the character’s motives.

• Always resolve the external plot question before you resolve the internal and/or relationship question.

• If it’s not a turning point, it doesn’t belong in the synopsis.

• Don’t use secondary characters in your synopsis, unless they are absolutely critical to the emotional turning points of the relationship. Even then, try to get by with the using the secondary’s relationship to the major characters (sister, teacher, boss.) They are too hard to keep up with and only add clutter. Only name them when necessary.

• Clearly convey the central question of the story, and what the resolution looks like. And resolve it at the end — don’t leave the editor guessing. They hate that, so spell out the story, including the ending.

• Rewrite your synopsis until each sentence is polished to the point of perfection. Use strong adjectives and verbs. Make every word count.

Synopsis Checklist:

1.   Is your synopsis between one and three pages?  Double spaced if more than one page?

2.   Does the opening paragraph have a hook to keep the editor or agent reading?

3.   Did you use capital letters the first time you introduced a character?

4.   Did you show your characters goal, motivation, conflict, and growth?

Your synopsis should give a clear idea as to what your book is about, what characters we will care about (or dislike), what is at stake for your heroes, what they stand to lose, and how it all turns out.

5.   Have you hit on the major scenes, the major plot points of your book, and include the ending?

6.   How you gotten to the who, what, where, when and why in your synopsis?

7.   Do you keep the interest level up throughout the synopsis?

8.   Is there good flow between  paragraphs.

9.   Have you avoided all grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes?

10. Do you think you captured the flavor of your manuscript?

Talk tomorrow,


Guest Post: Playing With Resist and Watercolors by Alice Hendon

Guest Post: Playing With Resist and Watercolors by Alice Hendon

A great big ARHtistic License thank you to Alice Hendon for this fabulous idea. I’ve ordered my resist pen, and I can’t wait to try this. Check out Alice’s other work at The Creator’s Leaf.

Zentangle All Around recently had a prompt to think outside the box. Try something you’ve not done before. A product, a technique, anything that breaks the block we artists all feel at one time or another. Christine called the prompt: Break the Block!
Months ago I bought a Prima product called Watercolor Resist Pen. A bottle of liquid that allows you to mask off an area so you can have contrast when you watercolor. It has a needle tip on it and you just squeeze. I used a piece of mixed media paper and made scrolls and loops using the resist pen. Then I put it somewhere safe from Aurora to dry overnight.
The next day, I used a small watercolor set also from Prima and watercolored my paper. I slopped on a lot of water to start with – then added the color. It was cool to watch how the color moved to the borders of the resist and sat there. I was curious about the amount of water I added. I really thought it would seep under the edges of the resist lines.
Here is what it looked like dry. I did not use a heat gun to dry this. I wasn’t sure how the resist would react with the heat, so I just stuck it back in the safe spot and waited. I really love how the colors mixed with each other. Notice – when the color bumped up to the resist lines, as it dried the resist pushed the color back in on itself. And made those cool little wiggly edges all around. I love it!
Yesterday, I started peeling off the resist. It pulled up in a little rubbery strip, kind of like rubber cement did when we were kids. Notice that the color did not seep under the resist like I thought it might. It left a good crisp, clear line.
And the white line left behind looks exactly like the resist line did. All the little blobs and blunders I made – not thinking ahead of time where I wanted to go – all still show up. But that’s ok. I like it! Next, I will take this sheet and start tangling it up!
Resist and frisket are the same things. And I truly believe rubber cement would do the same thing. Just remember with it – the fumes are killer for headaches. We don’t even have any in our house just for that very reason.
Just have fun and play some today.

Alice’s Adventures in Covent Garden


Thank you to Donna of My OBT for this guest post about the fabulous ballet, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! Click “View original post” under the photograph to read the article and see the videos. I especially like the caterpillar.


ballet ROH/Johan Persson

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A big ARHtistic License thank you to Sheree Crawford for this wonderful article, which first appeared on A Writer’s Path. Be sure to read the exercises at the end of the article–they’re dynamite!


Mindfulness is the hot thing right now; it’s being talked about, summed up, and debated in all corners of society, and so it’s reasonable to ask whether or not mindfulness can be applied to writing. Well, the obvious answer is of course it can! How is another matter.

If you’re one of those still in the dark there are plenty of resources which will help you to get a grip on it. At it’s heart, however, mindfulness is about self-awareness; being aware of our thoughts, feelings, and  our bodies, and recognising how these things affect our behaviour, moods, and even mental well-being (you can use mindfulness to control anxiety, for example.

For writers the effects of anxiety, depression, and emotional exhaustion are just as, perhaps more, disastrous as for those in more “mainstream” employment, but while mindfulness can help you with all this I’d argue it can help with things like lack of focus, writers block, proofreading, and even serial abandonment of writing projects. Here’s how:

1) It helps you to remain present

Mindfulness is largely about being present, being in the moment, and choosing to be that way. No-one is 100% focused, but when we are mindful we can steer our trains of thought into productive directions. It’s not about ignoring the tangents your brain takes you on (these can be key when you’re writing), but rather about learning when to abandon them.

Much like with meditation you should not aim for “nothingness” when you practice mindfulness in writing (in this case, nothing but your goal rather than blankness), but instead be aware of when and how you stray. Follow the train of thought to the end, if its useful, but be aware of where it’s leading you; if it becomes entirely unrelated or of no use remove yourself and refocus on your writing.


2) It can help you circumvent writers block

Old school gamers will get me here; remember when your console used to overheat after a full day of playing, and suddenly it wouldn’t do anything and you were worried it would never ever work again….

That’s writers block, but the overload happens in your brain.

Mindfulness can help you to combat this in a few ways. Firstly, if you practice mindfulness you will learn to recognise when you need a break; take breaks, it is allowed. Secondly, when you choose to be fully in the moment you can remove yourself from the fear of underproduction (or non production) because very often it is this fear which creates the block. Thirdly, you can also use this to distance yourself from internal judgement.

“Waiting for the muse” is one of those things that stems from consistent judgement of unfinished work; not everything you commit to paper must be gold, and you’re not actually, you know, committed to it. Mindfulness can help you to de-clutter your brain; when you’re aware of your thought processes and the ideas floating around you it’s easier to order them efficiently.

3) It makes you a better editor and proofreader

Mark Twain famously and aptly said that when you think you are reading “proof” you are really reading your own mind; we fill in what we thought we wrote, or what we intended to write with our minds when we proofread our own work. This is why mindfulness is so key to efficient proofreading and editing.

Proofreading is a complex, draining, and time consuming process which requires you to be focused at all times. Now, there are many tips and tricks as to how you can make it easier (I’ve written one blog post about that myself), but at the heart of it all is being mindful. You need to realise when you’re getting fed up and skimming, skipping, or filling in from your mind, and when you catch yourself you need to either re-focus or tale a break.

Editing, too, is intensive, and practising mindfulness is useful here in many of the same ways it is when proofreading, but additionally it can help you to recognise sections in need of cutting or editing. Focusing on how each section makes you feel, and how it engages you will make you a better editor. Are you tempted to skip because you’re tired, or because it’s poorly written?

Mindfulness exercises for writers:

The Flush; this is a really simple exercise that I call the “flush” because it’s literally designed to wash out all of the detritus first thing in the morning/when you first sit down to write. This is simple; sit down with a notepad and a pen or pencil ( there are plenty of claims regarding writing by hand, but I say this just because it works your hand and wrist muscles, and eases the eyes into focusing before hitting the harsh light if a screen).

Now, whatever has been rattling in your brain, whether its a scene, some dialogue, or just a word, write it down and let that lead you. It might be nonsense, of course, but follow the train of thought to its natural end point. Et Voila! The Flush.

The Clapback; if you get completely derailed by negative thoughts or doubts, as we all do at some point, get yourself a fresh document or piece of paper and jot down positive responses to the worries/fears/criticisms you’re plagued by. This will let you exorcise them, and might even make you feel better.

Block-Be-Gone; when writers block makes a scene impossible to finish close your eyes, take three deep breaths (cliche, I know) in through the nose and out through the mouth s l o w l y… and root yourself in the scene. Write your own reactions as the characters, or the description as you see it in your mind as best you can; it might not be “Just Right”, but it’ll act as a placeholder until you have something better to replace it with. This lets you move on without skipping.

The Duracell Bunny; another block-buster (not in the Hollywood sense, obviously) is what I call the “duracell bunny”. Pick the part of your scene that most interests you and write from that point, perspective, or about that thing as fast as you can, ignoring spelling, grammar, and sense, for two minutes. Let your excitement carry you, and you’ll be surprised how much can change in 120 seconds!

Guest post contributed by Sheree Crawford. Sheree is a UK based content writer and ghostwriter and often writes about the art of writing.

Guest Post: How to Find and Reach Influencers to Help Promote Your Book by Angela Ackerman

Guest Post: How to Find and Reach Influencers to Help Promote Your Book by Angela Ackerman

Many thanks to Angela Ackerman for this guest post, first published on Jane Friedman’s website.

Today’s guest post is from writing coach and author Angela Ackerman (@angelaackerman).

As a writing coach and avid user of social media, one of the most heartbreaking things I see is when an author puts a ton of effort into writing, editing, polishing, and finally publishing a book—only to see it fail to gain traction in the marketplace. Often this comes down to a marketing misstep that’s all too common: failing to understand (and therefore reach) one’s ideal book audience.

I’ve posted about how to find your book’s ideal audience before, so I won’t wander down the same trail. Instead, I want to look at another piece of the marketing map that can greatly improve your success rate with reaching your audience: influencers.

Books on shelves

What Is an Influencer?

Influencers are the people who are already doing a great job of connecting with your ideal audience, because it is their audience too. They have a good reputation, are visible, and they interact with your potential readers every day. Hmmm, sounds like people we should get to know, right? Exactly!

Influencers are not one-size-fits-all. Each author will have different ones depending on the audience they are trying to reach. However, one common ingredient with any influencer is that they are worthy of our admiration for the trust and respect they’ve earned with their audience. And admiration is a key ingredient of any healthy relationship—but I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Influencers for a fiction author might be:

  • popular authors who write very similar books
  • bloggers who are passionate about a topic or theme that ties into the author’s book
  • well-regarded book reviewers
  • bookstore owners
  • librarians
  • organizers of literacy or book programs and events
  • teachers and instructors
  • groups and organizations that cover the same specific interest featured in the author’s book
  • celebrities (hey, it can’t hurt, right?)
  • businesses that cater to the same audience as the author’s in some way
  • forums and websites dedicated to the same topic/event/theme explored in the author’s book
  • well-connected individuals (who endorse the book or author to other influential people)
  • people who are passionate about a particular topic/theme (that ties into the author’s book)
  • fans of the author and her work (if the author is established)

And that’s just the start!

Because influencers are recognized and have clout with your shared audience, they can really help you reach your readers. Not only that, but they are a living, breathing example of how to connect with your audience the right way. There is much to be learned by examining how an influencer engages with others online. In fact, if you want to see an example, check out this post by Author Accelerator’s Jennie Nash, who wrote about shadowing me online. (I had no idea, so this was eye-opening for me as well.)

When you determine who an influencer is, it isn’t just a matter of you asking them to help you. People are generally busy, and whoever you’re approaching likely works very hard if they hold a position of influence. They may already have a lot on their plate.

This might sound like a closed door, but it isn’t. It just means that, as in most things, there’s no marketing shortcut, and honestly there shouldn’t be, because we’re talking about creating a relationship with someone. Relationships, to work, need to come from a place of sincerity. Healthy ones are balanced, with each party giving and receiving.

How to Reach Out to an Influencer

Angela Ackerman

Angela Ackerman

When you’re seeking to engage with an influencer, your heart needs to be in the right place, so choose carefully. Get to know this person. Admire their work. Because if you truly appreciate what they do, you will naturally want to help them further succeed. And while of course you hope they’ll return the favor, that’s not your endgame. Creating a relationship is.

Sometimes an influencer will already know you. Maybe you are in the same circles, and have a friendly connection. In that case, it’s really just about you making it a priority to actively show you care. This can be done by trying to boost their visibility however you can (tweeting, mentioning, sharing links to their work, talking about them and their work online, recommending them, etc.), and lending a hand here and there because you want to. Think about what they need to better reach their audience, and then proactively help them do it. Tag them online. The relationship should naturally grow because they will see what you’re doing and will want to do the same for you in return. Helping each other out leads to collaboration, and with a shared audience, this becomes a win-win for both of you.

If you don’t yet have a relationship with an influencer, the first step is getting on their radar. To do this, think about what your strengths are, and what you can give. Put yourself in their shoes: what would you like help with in their position? If they are an author, a business owner, or an organization, visibility is usually welcome. So, how can you give them a shout out and help your shared audience find them? Can you blog about them, or recommend them in some way? Or what about sending a personal note to let them know you admire their work and what they do for others, and that you’d like to help if they ever need it?

If it’s a librarian, a teacher, or a nonprofit group, maybe there’s some way you can use your skills to help them. Can you volunteer your time? Show that you appreciate what they are doing, be it promoting literacy or an interest you share (because it will tie into your books, remember)? Perhaps you noticed they mentioned in a blog post that they wanted to know more about something and so you do a bit of research and send along a few interesting links their way. In all things, seek to provide value.

Generally speaking, when you consistently help someone or show interest in what they do (influencer or not), they will notice and appreciate it. A relationship naturally forms—they will want to know more about you. That’s your goal: to create a friendship that feels natural and authentic, and to have the type of connection where either of you can help, ask for advice, brainstorm ideas, and possibly collaborate with in ways that can help you both. In this way, you both grow and benefit.

Remember Anyone Can Be an Influencer

Are you cultivating strong relationships with the people you interact with day to day? I hope so! It’s just as important as seeking someone “established.” After all, a writer who asked you to look over their query letter might end up selling a five-book mega-deal a year from now. Or be affiliated with an organization looking for a speaker or visiting author. Maybe that blogger you contacted as a source of knowledge on a certain topic may become a huge fan of your work and want to help the world discover you.

Bottom line, wouldn’t you just love it if one day someone came to you and offered to put your name forward because they liked and admired you? So, adopt the mindset of a giver. Ask yourself what value you can add, what you can do for others. If you can help, do, because you never know when it will come back to you tenfold. (This is coming from someone who knows this firsthand!)

How Do You Find Your Influencers?

Determine who your exact audience is. Then, pay attention to the movers and shakers who interact with this group. These might be authors, businesses, special interest groups, forums, bloggers, and other individuals that produce content or a product that ties into the same topic, interest, theme, or element that you have written about.

To help with this, I put together something I call the Influencer Hot Sheet. This will show you what to look for to find your exact audience influencers, how to break down what they do online that helps them be successful (so you can do the same), and finally, ideas on how to build a relationship with them.

You can find it and many other marketing handouts on my Tools for Writers page.

Happy writing and marketing!

You can visit Angela at her sites for writers, Writers Helping Writers and One Stop for Writers.

Guest Post: #PitMad by Brenda Drake

Guest Post: #PitMad by Brenda Drake

A big ARHtistic License thank you to Brenda Drake, the creator of #PitMad, a quarterly event on Twitter where authors post a 140-character pitch to be read by receptive agents and editors. You can find Brenda here and here.

The next #PitMad date is June 8, 2017. You have one week to prepare your tweets! Read on…



RULES (as of March, 2017) – READ CAREFULLY!!!

What is #PitMad . . . ?

#PitMad is a pitch party on Twitter where writers tweet a 140 character pitch for their completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts. Because #PitMad has grown over the years, industry professionals are finding it overwhelming to search the feed. It goes by so fast now, it’s a little mind-boggling. And we don’t want to scare off the industry professionals.

So our new rule is that you may only tweet three (3) pitches (they can be different pitches or the same pitch) per project for the day. You may pitch more than one project. I suggest every four hours or so tweet a different pitch. Or tweet during breakfast, lunch, & dinner breaks.

Please keep in mind, we never know what agents or publishers will be on the hashtag, so make sure you research each requesting agent or publisher. You do not have to send requests to those requesting if you don’t want to work with them. Read this post by Claribel Ortega for reasons why doing your research before hitting send on that request will save you tons of heartache.

INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS – TO SEARCH FOR A SPECIFIC CATEGORY OR GENRE, put #PitMad-(sub-hashtag) (i.e. #PitMad-MG) in the search engine at the top of your Twitter page. Doing this will give you only the tweets for that sub-hashtag. If you have any questions or would like another sub-hashtag added to the list, @ me (@brendadrake) or one of hosts monitoring the feed.

There will be unfavorable tweets on the hashtag during the day, please block all spam/porn ones and report them as you see them. To view #PitMad spam/porn free just put this up in the search tab: #PitMad -biturix -google or go here.

Rules for #PitMad . . .

Everyone is welcome to pitch. All genres/categories are welcomed. Must be completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts. You can pitch more than one manuscript. You may only tweet three different pitches for one project for the day. I suggest every four hours tweet a different pitch. Make sure to include the hashtag #PitMad and your genre/category (if you can fit it).

The pitch must include the hashtag #PitMad and the category (#YA, #MG, #A, #NA, #PB etc.) in the tweet. The “#” is important to include. It will sort the categories to make it easier for the agents/publishers.

The agents/publishers will tweet their submission preferences and favorite your tweet if they want to see more. If you get a favorite from an agent or publisher, follow their submission preference and send them their request as soon as you can. They should have tweeted what they want you to send, so check their twitter feed for that information. If they haven’t listed it, follow their submission guidelines on their websites. Make sure to put“PitMad Request: TITLE” in the subject line of your email when sending your request.

Don’t tweet agents and publishers directly unless they tweet you first.

Don’t favorite friends tweets. The agents will be requesting by favoriting tweets. so let’s keep that for requests. Starting with our December 1, 2016 event, we will now allow Retweeting of your friends tweets. Please use Quote-RT and add a comment to the retweet to express your support if possible.

If you can’t be there, you can always schedule your tweet by using Tweetdeck or some other application that schedules tweets.

And finally, be nice and courteous to each other, and especially to the industry professionals. We’ve had some success stories come out of our previous #PitMads and we’d hate to have it canceled due to abuse. If you do see abuse, please report it to Twitter or notify one of the hosts of the event. Thank you!

Below is a list of sub-hashtag categories and genres to separate your pitch from the main #PitMad feed.

Hashtags …

Age Categories:

#PB = Picture Book
#C = Children’s
#CB = Chapter Book
#CL = Children’s Lit
#MG = Middle Grade
#YA = Young Adult
#NA = New Adult
#A = Adult


#AA = African American
#AD = Adventure
#CF = Christian Fiction
#CON = Contemporary
#CR = Contemporary Romance
#DIS = Disabilities
#DV = Diversity
#E = Erotica
#ER = Erotic Romance
#ES = Erotica Suspense
#F = Fantasy
#H = Horror
#HA = Humor
#HF = Historical Fiction
#HR = Historical Romance
#INSP = Inspirational
#IRMC = Interracial/Multicultural
#MR = Magical Realism
#M = Mystery
#Mem = Memoir
#MA = Mainstream
#MH = Mental Health
#LF = Literary Fiction
#NF = Non-fiction
#R = Romance
#P = Paranormal
#PR = Paranormal Romance
#RS = Romantic Suspense
#S = Suspense
#SF = SciFi
#SPF = Speculative Fiction
#STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
#T = Thriller
#UF = Urban Fantasy
#W = Westerns
#WF = Woman’s Fiction

Here’s the dates for our upcoming quarterly #PitMad events:

March 23, 2017 (8AM – 8PM EDT)

June 8, 2017

September 7, 2017

December 7, 2017

For more information about Twitter Pitching . . .

Visit this post by agent @carlywatters here and this post by #PitMad alum @DianaUrban here. And here find a post from Diana on how to filter out spam from the #PitMad feed.

Articles about #PitMad:


Publishing Trendsetter

Guest Post: Day and Night Houses by Margaret Bremner

Guest Post: Day and Night Houses by Margaret Bremner

Many thanks to Margaret Bremner, Certified Zentangle Teacher, for sharing her process for this series of drawings. (I especially love how she began them with washes.) For more inspiration, visit her website, Enthusiastic Artist.

Occasionally I do a piece of art with day on one side and night on the other. I recently had a request for a house like this, and color was preferred to black and white.

I started five tiles to give both myself, and the person who wants one, some options. I used Winsor-Newton watercolor markers to do colored washes. Here they are, barely begun.

Frequently I identify the roof shapes first. That seems to place the building for me. After that, I focused on the skies and vegetation. Some moons and suns and clouds also appeared.

Here, the ink drawing is nearing completion.

And here they are, all done, shaded and fine-tuned. Of course, I like some better than others; that’s always the way. The one at the top right has been claimed and will be on it’s way once I mount it on canvas and paint the surround.

Final note: here are two, mounted, painted, and ready to hang:

‘Like Night and Day’ and ‘Always Welcome’

Guest Post: Writing a Memoir of Restoration, Renewal, and Rediscovery by Marilyn L. Davis

Guest Post: Writing a Memoir of Restoration, Renewal, and Rediscovery by Marilyn L. Davis

Thanks to Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog and to Marilyn L. Davis for this insightful article.

Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog

By: Marilyn L. Davis

“It has always been on the written page that the world has come into focus for me. If I can piece all these bits of memory together with the diaries and letters and the scribbled thoughts that clutter my mind and bookshelves, then maybe I can explain what happened. Maybe the worlds I have inhabited for the past seven years will assume order and logic and wholeness on paper. Maybe I can tell my story in a way that is useful to someone else.” ― Nancy Horan, Loving Frank

While Nancy Horan’s book is a novel, this passage helps explain the power of memoir or reflective writing. I’m a huge fan of the genre, in part, because it began my recovery from substance abuse, but more importantly, this type of reflective writing healed me in ways I could not imagine when I first started writing.


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