Guest Post: Plot Without a Cause Contest

Imagine a YA publishing process without gatekeepers.  One where editors and agents read the manuscripts that readers love, not vice versa.  One where anyone with a knack for writing, a passion to succeed, and a little flair for self-promotion, has a fair shot at being published.

All too frequently, this isn’t the case.  Books often get rejected for reasons beyond authors’ control.  One editor turned down an ultimately successful book by saying, “The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the 'curiosity' level.”  The book in question?  The Diary of Anne Frank.  Furthermore, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only about 10% of all YA books accepted for publication feature “multi-cultural content.” Clearly, there are some blind spots that need addressing in the publishing industry.

It’s with this vision in mind that Publishizer is launching its YA book proposal contest called Plot Without a Cause.  Publishizer is a startup seeking to fill a hole in the publishing industry through crowdfunding.  It works like this:

You write the book proposal.  You know the book proposal I’m talking about.  The one you’ve been daydreaming about for years.  The one that just popped into your head last week and you haven’t stopped thinking about since.  The one for the manuscript that’s been dearly loved by you but maybe not so much yet by the publishing industry.  That one.  Then you register (for free!) on Publishizer’s website and post your proposal in the Plot Without a Cause section (again—for free!).

Now this is when you’ll have to start hustling.  Crowdfunding runs on pre-orders, so you had better start promoting that proposal.  Reach out over social media, post on your blog, email your old roommates—whatever it takes to start building buzz.  If you get the most preorders by the time the contest ends, you’ll win $1000 dollars.  And if you don’t have the highest number of preorders, don’t worry—you’ll still be queried to major publishers who fit your proposal.

Previous Publishizer contest participants have gotten interest and landed deals with a variety of traditional publishing companies, including Harvard Square Books, She Writes Press, and Weiser.  Publishizer takes a small commission on pre-orders when you choose a publisher at the end.

Every year, thousands of books are rejected by the publishing world for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the book—they’re too mainstream or not mainstream enough, too similar to books already being published or too different from books already being published.  Or the literary agent just doesn’t stand to make much money on the deal so they pass on a perfectly good book!  Imagine how many brilliant YA manuscripts go unpublished every year thanks to frustrating rejections.  Imagine how many hugely talented authors quietly give up on their dreams, just because the gate to a traditional publishing path isn’t open to them.

With their new YA book proposal contest, Plot Without a Cause, Publishizer is seeking to level the playing field.  Publishing decisions shouldn’t be based solely on a literary agent’s judgement or how many friends you have in the industry. They should be based on quality of writing and how many readers the book attracts.

Great books get overlooked all the time, and this is an opportunity to show acquiring editors that yours is worth paying attention to.  Not to mention the readership and funds you could gain in the process.  Crowdfunding (or crowd-publishing, in this case) is growing in popularity and brings a personal touch back to book sales—for readers and publishers.  Are you in?

Book Review: Fallen Star (The Nocturnals #3) by Tracey Hecht

Summary: In The Fallen Star, Dawn, Tobin, and Bismark awaken one evening to a disaster: all of the forest's pomelos have been mysteriously poisoned! As the Nocturnal Brigade sets out to investigate, they encounter Iris, a mysterious aye-aye, who claims monsters from the moon are to blame. While the three heroes suspect a more earthly explanation, the animals of the valley are all falling ill. And then Tobin gets sick, too! The Nocturnal Brigade must race to find answers, and the cure, before the pomelo blight threatens to harm them all.

Release Date: May 2017
Age Group: Middle Grade
Source: Review Copy from Author
Reviewed By: Ms. Leger

The Fallen Star is the 3rd installment in The Nocturnals series. This series is one of my absolute favorite middle grade reads, I always learn something new in each adventure. I like how the author focuses on one of the members of the brigade and this time it's Tobyn who happens to be my favorite! I love his personality. The new animal we are introduced to (I don't want to give it away) is a really strange creature I knew nothing about. As usual I had to do some research and was able to enlisted a few student to help. As expected, we had a blast learning about this odd animal.
I just find so many positives about all of The Nocturnals books. Not only am I kept in suspense, I am always surprised by the outcome. Such a great read for not just middle school kids but adults too. I would recommend this series as a family read-along too, I especially think dads would enjoy reading these adventures with their kids.

Ms. Leger

Don't forget to follow the Nocturnals Word Wednesdays & really cool animals facts on Twitter @fabled_films. I know it stretches my vocabulary and I really enjoy learning the unique bits of information about various animals.

Vlog Review: Freckleface Strawberry and the Really Big Voice by Julianne Moore

Strawberry Freckle Face & the Really Big Singing Voice
Academy Award–winning actress and New York Times bestselling author Julianne Moore brings us more adventures from Freckleface Strawberry!

Freckleface Strawberry’s very best friend, Windy Pants Patrick, has a BIG problem. His outside voice doesn’t seem to fit inside of school. From the lunchroom to the classroom, he’s just TOO LOUD! Is there anyplace in school where his big voice can fit? Parents, teachers, and librarians alike will love this light-hearted way to talk to children about when to your their INSIDE voices and when to use their OUTSIDE voices. And young readers will take comfort in knowing that what makes each kid different is also what makes them shine.

Find activities and other fun stuff at!

We are pretty sure that Freckle Face Strawberry has a striking resemblance to our very own Macy Kate and she was pretty darn excited to review a book by Julianne Moore, aka Fellow Red. We are told that Red's have a special bond, maybe even a super power. 

You just might be surprised at Macy Kate's favorite character! Enjoy!

Blog Tour: Comics Extravaganza Featuring Science Comics

Science is where it's at! I really love and appreciate all sciences - mechanical, human, environmental, biological, social... you get the idea. I still get #thefeels at the start of every semester just from the anticipation of teaching a new group.  I love to see the "light bulb" when they start to piece science together.

Now, if you can find a fun, cool way to grab the attention of a young reader (any reader) and get them interested in history & science, you my friend have found a gem! And I think that Science Comics are real gems, who doesn't like a picture version of fun facts. So lets take a few minutes and get to know the author behind the latest Science Comics: Flying Machines, Alison Wilgus.

Hello Alison!

Tell us your first memory of reading a comic or graphic novel.

I was an enormous fan of Garfield as a young child. We owned all of the collections in print at the time, and I would beg the adults in my life to read them to me as bedtime stories.

What's your favorite comic or graphic novel, and what do you love about it?

I love too many comics to choose favorites, but one book I keep coming back to is "The Less That Epic Adventures of TJ & Amal" by EK Weaver. It's a love story that follows two men on a cross-country road trip, and it's hilarious and charming and just an absolute joy to read. The two of them begin as strangers, and EK does a fantastic job of showing us the slow, stuttering process of the two of them getting to know each other. She has an amazing eye for character, how people talk and move and share space with one another, and every time I revisit this story I find some thoughtful detail I'd missed the last time through. "TJ & Amal" was originally serialized online as a webcomic, but it really is a graphic NOVEL in the way it's paced and structured, such that experiencing it as a collected volume for the first time was immensely satisfying, that feeling of reading something as it was intended to be read, drinking it all down in one long sitting.

Tell us a little about your latest graphic novel. 

My latest book is "Flying Machines: How the Wright Bothers Soared," a recent addition to First Second's middle grade Science Comics series. It's narrated by Katharine Wright, sister to Wilbur and Orville, and follows the early years of aviation history as well as the basic physical principles of flight. It's illustrated by Molly Brooks, and I'm pretty thrilled with how it turned out! We wanted to show kids the chain of innovation -- how each new development in technology or knowledge is built on the progress of everyone who came before, and how every innovator exists in a community of their peers. The Wrights were amazing people, but they weren't the only ones doing great work in the pursuit of a practical aeroplane!

Click HERE to see the complete list of Science Comics

If you want to read about more of the latest comic releases, jump on over to one of the blogs listed. Happy Reading Friends!

YA Bibliophile interviews Shannon Hale
Fiction Fare interviews Tillie Walden
A Backwards Story interviews Landis Blair
Bluestocking Thinking interviews Mike Lawrence
Book Crushin interviews MK Reed
Miss Print interviews Scott Westerfeld
Ex Libris Kate interviews Box Brown
Love Is Not a Triangle interviews Nick Abadzis
The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia interviews Molly Ostertag
Adventures of a Book Junkie interviews Nidhi Chanani

Movie Review: 47 Meters Down

I only have two great fears in life. One, I am afraid of heights, like my throat starts to close off and I just want to pee. I know, totally weird response. My second greatest fear is the deep ocean but is so much more detailed.

I love to travel and I have a traveling tribe but we have never taken a cruise. Why? Because I know there is a giant octopus waiting in the deep, beautiful ocean waiting to EAT ME. But here is the real kicker, I love SHARK WEEK on the discovery channel. We have shirts & blankets for it. I.Watch.It.All. I'm beginning to  think I have a very disturbed sense of fear.

Just recently I have gotten the courage to consider a cruise but then I decided to go the movies last night...

I'll tell you how you survive, YOU DON'T CLIMB INTO THE CAGE! I thought Jaws was scary back in the day but 47 Meters Down kept my heart rate at a beat that would be classified at a level of Vigorous-Intense activity, basically my heart freaking ran a marathon for the duration of the movie.

Would I recommend 47 Meters Down?  

Abso-freaking-lutely! I brought 3 of the monsters to see it. I had two in my bed last night afraid of, you guessed it, SHARKS! I bet I never have to worry about any of them asking to go on a cruise again. :) #suckers

The way I see it, 47 Meters Down counts for at least an hour of physical activity for the day. The heart can't lie.

I see you Mandy Moore, I.SEE.YOU
Side note: We have a pond. We will now have an unused, probably shark infested, pond. The End.

image sources: & Mandy Moore Instagram