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Halloween memories from a bestseller

Thought it would be fun to share some insider favorite Halloween memories from one of my favorite authors. And she agreed!! So, here in pic form, straight from the undisputed Queen of Furball Nation herself, is Quinn Loftis’s favorite Halloweens.

Personally, the smurf costume has to be my favorite. Comment below to let us know which you like best, and don’t forget to pick up Quinn’s Grey Wolves series, werewolfy fun perfect for the season.

Happy Halloween Ya’ll!

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Vacationing in the Lost City of Atlantis?

Ran across this today. Over the years, I’ve been known to send this travel advisory to enthusiastic Midnight Guardian readers.

~ATLANTEAN TRAVEL ADVISORY~

The Mogdoc Royal Empire has been informed of your imminent crossing of the barrier. According to our records, you have been classified as HUMAN. Therefore, we would like to welcome you to the beautiful, lost continent of Atlantis.

We hope you find our residents charming. If any should extend an invitation to dinner, please do not hesitate to comply.

Just a few rules to help make your trip more enjoyable…

Bring a flashlight

The evil that banished our land across the barrier plunged us into a world without sun or moon, a land of forever night. From our experience, humans often find it difficult to see in the dark without assistance. This beacon will also make it easier for us to find you if you should escape become lost.

Discard your Token upon arrival

While it is true that humans must hold an Atlantis token to cross the barrier, once you arrive you should discard it or hand it over to the nearest mogdoc authority. Common sense may tell you that you need to hold onto it to get back, but common sense is so overrated.

Avoid the village known as Elsted

Please know that this destination is not a safe haven for humans as you may have been told. It is old, secluded, and infested with rodents.

Never question these rules.

You can trust us, we’re mogdocs.

We hungrily await your arrival.

Featured pic by Chen YiChun at unsplash.com

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2016 Fall Premieres

It’s that time of year again. Time to check the DVR every day because it’s filling up quickly with new episodes and premieres. So much to talk about, I’m going to do this in a few parts, with a new post each week. *SPOILERS* Read More

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The scoop on House of Gammen, Literacy Leaders, and everything else I can think of

Busy.

This year has been a roller coaster—fast, frantic, and at some points, yes, it even made me nauseous. So I’d like to take a moment to step off the ride and give you all an update.

This summer, I started Bryna’s Literacy Leaders. At its core, it’s a monthly e-newsletter for teachers and youth librarians with ideas for book-inspired snacks, classroom activities, and downloadable worksheets, and a bunch of giveaways. But it’s more than that. My vision for Bryna’s Literacy Leaders is that it becomes a resource hub for those out there looking for innovative and engaging ways spark an interest in reading for the next generation. If you know of a teacher or librarian that’s feeling a little uninspired lately, I urge you to direct them to the Literacy Leaders page where they can learn more and subscribe for free.

In September, I released my first audiobook. Posted a bunch about it on Facebook, so you might be tired of hearing about it, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop gushing over it. For Wrong Side of the Grave, the narrator’s voice is just soo dreamy. He makes rocker Eric come to life. You can sample the book here.

I’m starting to book engagements for next year. I’ve already made commitments to appear at the Roanoke Author Invasion and Utopia in Nashville (formerly UtopYA).

And there’s some big news, but it’s not quite ready to release yet. Like super big news, and it’s killing me to keep it all in. Let’s just say that it all coincides with the release of House of Gammen, the 6th and final installment of the Midnight Guardian series.

iStock_000004032250SmallOkay, so that’s my most received question, isn’t it? When is House of Gammen going to be released? I’ve been promising it for a very long time. All I can say is, YES, it is coming, NO, I don’t have a date, and YES, it is going to be epic. Sorry, the mogdocs won’t let me say more at this time. But soon. Subscribers to my New Book Alert will be the first notified when a release date is set and will even get a sneak preview at a chapter or two.

That’s all for now. See you across the barrier.

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Let’s Do the Time Warp – UtopYA style!

UtopyaCon2015_Badge_Exhibitor_MEDIUMI’m packing my bags for sunny Nashville, Tennessee, and the annual UtopYA con. The event, coordinated by Social Deviants, seems almost like a reunion, a gathering of indie writers from across the nation (and even a few international authors).

What I love most about UtopYA is that everyone is a fangirl. Doesn’t matter if you’ve sold one book or thousands, if you are a hobby reader or a book blogger with an army of followers, everyone is treated as an equal.

This year’s theme is time travel. I think I did a Snoopy happy dance when I heard it. I’m an absolute sucker for time travel stories. (check out Butterman Travel by P.K. Hrezo). And being the nut that I am, I declared to myself right away that I wanted to kick butt with my display.

IMG_0126You have to see it. I’m doing a whole Men in Black theme for my latest book, Wrong Side of the Grave, but I gave it a time twist. You see, Doctor Emmett Brown has joined forces with the MIB to stop a time disturbance in Nashville. Yep, I’m kind of a geek (of course, you already knew that). Even my convention booth has a story.

Anyway, visitors can stop by my booth, pick up a Save the Clock Tower flier and if Jennifer’s number is on the back, they win a prize like a flux capacitor car charger, futuristic sunglasses like in Back to the Future 2…heck, I’m even giving away a journal with a cover that’s a reproduction of George McFly’s Match Made in Space novel.

I’ll have BRAND temporary tattoos, toe tags “from” Rigby Funeral Home, signed bookmarks and cards. So, fill your bags up while you sit back and watch the MIB’s Secure Network screen. (oh yeah, that should be all kinds of fun).

My little sis and mom at UtopYA in 2014. Can't take them anywhere - LOL!

My little sis and mom at UtopYA in 2014. Can’t take them anywhere – LOL!

And I’m not the only one who is going all out. Starting this Wednesday, I’ll be featuring the cool giveaways that UtopYA authors will have to offer. You can catch the #CountdowntoSwag on my twitter, @mogdocnews, or instagram @butlerwroteit accounts.

Great Scott! I’ve got to go back…back to UtopYA. See you there!

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Do Word Counts Count 2015

I like numbers.

After all, I do pretend to be a banker from time to time. And what can be more banker-ish (that is so not a word, but should be) than my annual Do Word Counts Count? post. It’s an annual look at the word counts of bestselling teen books as well as a comparison between traditional and indie published word counts.

It’s the first question that most new authors ask, but there isn’t much out there on the topic. While there are no official ranges for fiction novels, there is an expectation.

To start, we take a look at bestselling authors. Below is the Barnes & Noble bestselling teen fiction list from earlier this month. Every book on it is traditionally published, which should give us an idea of strategy for the market makers.

Barnes & Noble Bestselling Teen Fiction 5/4/15
Novel Page Count Word Count*
The Heir by Kiera Cass 368 92,000
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir 464 118,384
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard 400 100,000
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen 432 108,000
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas 432 108,000
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 384 96,000
Paper Towns by John Green 336 84,000
After the End by Amy Plum 352 88,000
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 240 60,000
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews 304 76,000

*Word counts are estimated based on the standard of 250 words per page

Weird random fact: The 1st place book in today’s 2015 list has the exact same number of pages as the 1st place in the 2013 list (The Fault in Our Stars).

Last year’s B&N Teen Bestseller word counts averaged 88,875 words. This year’s average is 93,038.

To get an idea of word count average for indie authors, below are the current bestselling books from Smashwords, a leading distributor of indie novels. As you will see, these are significantly lower word counts than their B&N counterparts.

Smashwords Young Adult/Teen Bestsellers 5/4/15
Novel Words
His Bad Boy Ways by Faye Aden 55,850
Flit by Abieth Winter 78,810
Wisdom by Amanda Hocking 91,079
Torn by Ashley Stambaugh 83,040
Newborn by Joshua Dee Preece 19,670
Undeniably Chosen by Shelly Crane 152,550
Crutch by Alex Rushmur 2,600
Bloodline by Kei 9,950
Masked SheWolf by Yara Gharios 108,550
Rise of the Valiant by Morgan Rice 81,050

Last year’s Smashwords list included a novella, so I think it’s interesting to note that this year’s list contains two: Newborn and Bloodline.

Average word count for books distributed through Smashwords is 68,314, well under the 93K plus we saw from the B&N bestsellers. Not surprising. The last two years have demonstrated the same as traditionally published works on average tend to be longer than indie published work (though there are exceptions).

As a writer, I typically hear 55k-80k is the way to go for a Young Adult novel. I used to hear that a debut author should never go over 100k as publisher’s, tight with their dollars, often find it hard to justify printing that many pages on an unknown. These numbers seem to reinforce those mindsets with a decreasing average word count every year.

Here’s the comparison over the last few years that I’ve been doing this post.

wordcount

 

Bottom line: Keep it short and sweet, kids.

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