Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My BURN OUT Cover Reveal and Publication Date

I'm beyond excited to announce that BURN OUT has a cover! A huge thanks to my fellow YA Valentine, Lynne Matson, for doing my formal cover reveal over at the YA Valentines. They are an amazing group of writer peeps, and there are links to more of them in that post. Also, check out the awesome Kelsey Ketch from Ketch's Book Nook and my fab critique partner, author Valerie Kemp, who helped to spread the cover love. I LOVE (yes, in all caps) this cover, because my cover designer, A. Castanheira, at EgmontUSA is uber talented and awesome. In celebration, I'm doing a giveaway. First, here is the cover that perfectly captures my main character Tora, and her world:

I seriously stared at this for like an hour, because 1) did I mention I love it? 2) it reminds me of Star Trek which I also love and 3) I finally feel like my book is A REAL THING. Also, I have a real publication date: April 8, 2014! That's less than a year away which is mere minutes in the publishing world.

To celebrate my cover happiness, I'm doing a giveaway. The winner will win the YA Book of their Choice PLUS a copy of DEFY THE DARK (a short story anthology by amazing YA authors, including Myra McEntire, Carrie Ryan, Saundra Mitchell, and the aforementioned Valerie Kemp). The contest runs through Tuesday July 9 and is open to US residents (sorry, but I'm doing another giveaway soon that will be global).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Last but not least, I'm so excited to announce that my book is available for pre-order on Amazon. I'm giving something special to every single person who pre-orders, so let me know at kristi (at) kristihelvig (dot) com.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Release Day for DEFY THE DARK

I'm so excited for today! It's the release day for DEFY THE DARK, a collection of stories by awesome writers including Carrie Ryan, Malinda Lo, Rachel Hawkins, and one of my critique partners, the fabulous Valerie Kemp. I've read Valerie's story, STILLWATER, and it's incredible...I can't wait to read the whole book.Valerie is doing a giveaway of Defy the Dark and discusses what inspired her story. Hurry, because you only have until Friday the 21st to enter!

From Goodreads: It features 16 stories by critically-acclaimed and bestselling YA authors as they explore things that can only happen in the dark.

You can order the book here. Also, if you don't win Valerie's giveaway, you have another chance to win next week. I'm giving this book away too, because I have something big to share with everyone...so check back for details next Tuesday the 25th!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cover Reveal for DEFY by Sara B. Larson

One of my fellow 2014 Valentines, Sara Larson, is revealing her awesome book cover for DEFY (Scholastic). The official release date is....January 1, 2014. Happy New Year to Sara! I'm so excited for her and so in love with this gorgeous cover:

From Goodreads: 
The fiercest member of a prince's elite guard is actually a girl disguised as a boy, who gets embroiled in a deadly game of thrones while keeping her secret, and realizes she has far deeper feelings for the prince than she thought.

I can't wait to get my hands on this one, and in celebration of her cover reveal, Sara is giving away two books to a lucky winner! Enter below for your chance to win...good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

3 Tips for Dealing with THE EDIT LETTER

Whether you are traditionally or self-published, at some point you will receive an edit letter from either your publisher or your hired freelance editor. If you've already received one, you know why I used capital letters. Just the idea of this letter can inspire fear, insecurity, and dread. I saw writers in social media comparing the length of their letters, "Wow, yours was only five pages long? Mine was twenty-six." After reading some of these disclosures, I actually emailed my editor and told him I just needed to hear that my letter was less than twenty-five pages long. He thought I was kidding. For me, it was mostly a fear of the unknown, e.g. what if they want me to re-write the entire book, replace all my characters with new ones, and change the genre from sci-fi to contemporary romance? So yes, the fear can be irrational, but it's still there.

Anyway, after getting the letter (which, thankfully, was WAY less than twenty-five pages), and later, after finishing all of the edits and having them accepted, I thought, "Huh, that wasn't so bad after all." More importantly, I couldn't believe how much stronger my book was afterward. So, here are three things you should do after you read your edit letter for the very first time:  

1) Nothing. Seriously. Don't open your manuscript. Don't bust out the highlighters and red pens. Don't think about how you're going to address the plot issue raised about chapter seventeen. So what should you do? Take a day and let it all sink again. Then, when you're ready, read the entire letter again before you do anything. The subconscious mind is a powerful thing and I'm a big advocate for "sleeping on it." By the time I re-read my edit letter, the answer to several issues had magically appeared in my head, and I hadn't even started on the edits yet. Next, read the comments by your editor within the manuscript itself. Let these sink it as well, even if your fingers are twitching on the keyboard.  

2) Talk to your editor. Schedule a phone call with your editor after you've done Step 1, not before. This way, you can ask for clarification on any issues that you are still unclear about. If you're going the traditional route, you can also discuss the expected time frame for edits. I had one month to do my edits, so I knew I'd have to work quickly. This phone call only lasted about 30 minutes for me, and I hung up feeling very confident about what I needed to do. Excitement had replaced the fear--well, mostly.  

3) Develop a strategy. Some writers I know like to go through the edit letter and address each point in turn, so they can check it off as they go. This works great for some people. For me, after talking to my editor and reading his first few comments within my manuscript, something clicked and I went through the entire manuscript without even looking at the edit letter. When I finally went back to the edit letter at the end, I found that I'd addressed almost everything, and only had to tweak a few more minor things. I tend to be less detail-oriented and more big picture oriented, so this system worked better for me. Everyone is different, so listen to what other people have tried, but do what works best for you.

I'd say you can relax after this hurdle, but I'd be lying. I only had one week of downtime after turning my edits in before I received my copyedits to do. That's another post, but I'm finished with those now as well...hence, why I have time to do my first blog post in forever. The bottom line is that having a great editor is priceless, and the end product is totally worth all the blood, sweat, tears, and Haagen Daaz ice cream.  NOTE: If you haven't tried the Caramel Creme de Leche variety, you don't know what heaven tastes like.

In other fun news, I saw my book cover and can't wait to share it, because it's SO FREAKIN' COOL! Also, I have a shiny, new website coming soon, and I'm posting a book rave today over at the YA Valentines.

Any other editing tips you'd add to the list? Any favorite editing snacks, like ice cream?