Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Search Terms Find Your Site?

Inspiring Me Today: Google Analytics and Claire Legrand

Recently, Claire Legrand did this awesome (lol. Read to see why I laugh) blog post about the hilarious search terms people used to find her blog. While my results can’t hope to compare to her baffling results, I did find my results (from Google Analytics) interesting.

My top results are:
  • S Kyle Davis, Kyle Davis, or some other variant obviously.
  •  Various searches for info on J.K. Rowling’s plot planning sheet because I analyzed it here
  •  Intern Amie variations because I defended her back in the day
  • Dialog vs. Conversation variations because of this post
  • “Finding a plot” variations for similar reasons
  • Logline-related searches because of a critique session I did once
  •  Searches for Steven Malk because I did a post on something he said in an interview once
  • Jodi Reamer variations because I mentioned her ONCE in passing
  • Searches for other people I’ve mentioned in passing, etc.
  • yWriter variations because I’ve mentioned several times how the software is awesome and free

So, those are the normal results. What about the weird ones?
  • kyle davis” stranton. you make one Office joke…
  • Celtic demi-goddess. You know, you can just say you think I look nice in my photo. You’re taking the flattery too far.
  • Faster faster kyle davis. Fine, fine. I’ll hurry up.
  • Graffiti on the wall interview skills. I’m not sure what this means
  • How do you get “a thicker skin”? some sort of body armor perhaps?
  • If your name is kyle your name is davies. No, it’s Davis, actually, and that’s a logical fallacy.
  • Kyle davis it’s your life Great, now I have Bon Jovi stuck in my head. “Bow wow.”
  • Meaning of “ledger domain”. This is because my book used to be called “The Ledger Domain.” If you’re searching for this, it’s a pun. Legerdemain is a French-based word meaning “sleight of hand” or magic
  • Nextbook 2 (and variations). No clue why searches for this come to my site. Maybe Nextbook wants to sponsor me! If so... sure! I’ll say they’re the best things ever if you give me one for free!
  • Semiotic analysis of beatles blackbird. This. Is. Awesome. If someone actually does this, please leave the link in my comments.
  • The man in the trenchcoat and the fedora dreams umm… creepy…. (especially if you’ve read this book)
  • The usual suspects logline. I love this movie, but... ???
  • What influenced james patterson to write daniel x? Kyle, remember: if you can’t say something nice...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Five Years with an Amazing Woman

Inspiring Me Today: My wife
Yesterday, I celebrated five years being married to a truly amazing woman. I don't normally get super personal on this blog, but I just wanted to say that Wendy Davis is, in a word, awesome! She's smart, funny, and kind. She's also my best friend.

Wendy Davis is my ghostwriter. She's the one that helps me come up with the ideas, from the big ones to bits of dialog.

Wendy Davis is my alpha reader. She reads my work and lets me know if its crap.

Wendy Davis is my crit parter. She thumbs up the good ideas, and (very kinds) thumbs down the stupid ones.

Wendy Davis is my biggest supporter. She encourages me to keep going, tells me it's going to be ok, and lets me leave her alone with the kids so I can write--or run off to a writers conference. I couldn't do this without her.

Thank you Wendy! I love you!


Oh, and if you're curious, here's Wendy's blog post on our 5 years. She said it much more eloquently than I did, but then she's the real writer in the family.

Love You Something Fierce: 5 Years: "Five years ago, my whole world changed with two simple words...'I Do!' Five years ago I put on a beautiful gown, my momma put my veil on, ..."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How to Pitch

Inspiring Me Today: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

So, as many of you know, last weekend was DFWcon. I do have coverage coming. I promise. Just need a bit of time to edit the videos.

Anyway, I met so many authors there, and they were all trying to tell me about their story. What I found was that a lot of people have no clue how to do that.

Don't feel bad. I didn't either.
Here's a case in point. I was walking back to my room after The Gong Show, a hilarious and enlightening event where a deep-voiced "movie trailer"-style announcer read anonymous query letters. Five agents had "gongs," which they would sound at the point they'd stop reading. Anyway, the thing they said over and over was, "Get to the story! What's the story?!"

As I was walking back from this event, I started up a conversation with another conference-goer about The Gong Show. She complained, "They always tell us they need the story, but it makes no sense! It's all so confusing and contradictory. I have no idea what they're looking for!"

Well, I'm going to tell you what they're looking for. And really, you've probably heard it before. When the agents want the story, they want to know this:

When [beginning of book] happens, [main character] must overcome [what stops him/her] so he/she can [goal] before [bad stuff happens]. 

That's it. That's what they want to hear. And they want it soon, not two-thirds of the way through the query or pitch. Work hard and develop that sentence. That's your pitch. If you have that, you can do any of those other little marketing things. You can scrunch it down into a twitter pitch. You can expand it into a query letter. You can even use it as a springboard in a face-to-face pitch or elevator speech. 

Now, don't tell me your book doesn't fit into this formula. It does. Or rather, it should, unless you've written something really REALLY experimental (which you shouldn't attempt unless you're already a very accomplished author, because this takes skill). So figure out what the inciting incident, goal, obstacle, and stakes are. Who knows? You may find you need to revise your manuscript to really bring this out. I've done that. My book is much better for it.

Oh, and the other thing you'll need for your pitch: the hook. What's a hook? Well, we'll get to that next time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blog in Brief: Questions for THE CALL

Inspiring Me Today: Suzie Townsend, Maria Gomez, and WriteOnCon

Ok, so last night was WriteOnCon's monthly chat. I was reading through the transcript, which is simultaneously hilarious and informative. Lots of great nuggets of info, but this bit from agent Suzie Townsend was gold. If any of you are lucky enough to get "the call," here are some good questions to ask the agent before agreeing to representation.

I don't know if there's one single most important question. So here are a few:
  1. Does the agent want to rep you for just this one project or are they intersted in your other ideas and your career as a whole?
  2. What happens if this project doesn't sell? Do they shop your next project or let you go?
  3. Who handles their subrights and books to film?
  4. What happens if (god forbid) something happens to your agent (they get sick, stop agenting, win the lotto)? Who handles your stuff then?
  5. How communicative is the agent? How much do they share with the writer? How do they prefer to communicate (via email or phone?)
  6. How editorial is the agent?
That's all I can think of right now, but those are important.

So yeah, that's awesomeness, and I thought it needed to be posted somewhere people could find it.