YA Scavenger Hunt 2020

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt 2020! This bi-annual event was  organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors — and a chance to win some awesome prizes!

 

 

At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize. ONE lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team!

But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 120 hours!

 

 

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are FOUR contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM – but there is also a red team, a blue team, and a purple team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GOLD TEAM, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, APRIL 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

SCAVENGER HUNT POST
Today, I am hosting LISA MANTERFIELD for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
Lisa Manterfield is the award-winning author of emotionally-charged Young Adult fiction. Her second novel, The Smallest Thing, was a finalist in the 2019 American Fiction Awards. Her work has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, and Psychology Today. Originally from northern England, she now lives in Northern California where she can often be found pulling weeds and daydreaming in her vegetable garden.
 
Find out more information by checking out Lisa’s website or find more about the her book here, The Smallest Thing on Amazon!

THE SMALLEST THING
 

“The very last thing 17-year-old Emmott Syddall wants is to turn out like her dad. She’s descended from ten generations who never left their dull English village, and there’s no way she’s going to waste a perfectly good life that way. She’s moving to London and she swears she is never coming back.

But when the unexplained deaths of her neighbors force the government to quarantine the village, Em learns what it truly means to be trapped. Now, she must choose. Will she pursue her desire for freedom, at all costs, or do what’s best for the people she loves: her dad, her best friend Deb, and, to her surprise, the mysterious man in the HAZMAT suit?

Inspired by the historical story of the plague village of Eyam, this contemporary tale of friendship, community, and impossible love weaves the horrors of recent news headlines with the intimate details of how it feels to become an adult—and fall in love—in the midst of tragedy.”

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT and MESSAGE FROM LISA
Hi Everyone,
This is the inspiration board I created for THE SMALLEST THING. Some of the pictures were taken in the real-life village of Eyam, showing the real Emmott and the cottages where she lived. You might also spot Aiden and get a hint of a little love story blossoming in the midst of tragedy. You’ll also spot Em’s 18th birthday cake!I’m about to release Em’s story as a serialized podcast. Can’t wait to share that with you very soon.Happy hunting and good luck!
Lisa -x-
You can follow Lisa on:
Facebook: /AuthorLisaManterfield
Twitter: @lisamanterfield
Instagram: @lisamanterfield_

REMEMBER
Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, LISA MANTERFIELD, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 15. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the GOLD TEAM and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
CONTINUE THE HUNT
 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author: MICHELLE REYNOSO

 

Writing is Hard

Every now and then someone decides to make a big post in a writing group  to announce that they’re going to quit writing. Often, it’s accompanied by paragraphs of whinging that it’s just “too hard”.

Please, don’t do that.

Yes, writing is HARD. For some, writing is an actual career. It’s a business we pour time, energy, and money into. Like any career, we need to constantly be learning and expanding your skills. We need to make sincere connections and invest in our business. We need to hire sub-contractors (editors, cover designers, etc.). And, we need to remember to be a kind boss to ourselves; take days off to recharge, celebrate victories (even the small ones), and treat ourselves once in a while.

And, there’s another harsh truth: Talent only gets you so far. The key ingredient for success is determination. We make a choice every day about whether or not we’re going to commit – to our partner, to our family, to our job, to our passions … Am I going to dedicate the time and energy to learn more and be better? Am I going access the resources others have provided? Am I going to push back against the random stumbling blocks life puts in the way?

The reality is: Writing isn’t for everyone. That’s okay. Not every career is a good match, right? It’s perfectly acceptable to career-change, but there’s a difference between realizing it isn’t working for you and giving up because it’s more difficult than you expected.

Writing doesn’t work for you? Fine. That happens. People change careers all the time. You want to walk away – that’s okay, but please: Close the door quietly behind you. Keep your “I Quit” posts out of writing groups. PLEASE. You don’t know who is going to read your post and be negatively affected by it. Your frustrated post can cut the knees out from someone who may be having a difficult moment or new authors just starting out and feel unsure of themselves.

Protect the well-being of others by being professional when you “career change”.

Presenting Your Professional Self on Social Media

I wrote this in response to some very bad advice being given to new authors.  I hesitated to share it publicly because it’s from a conversation in a FB writing group and it got me blocked by admin and banned from the group. Apparently, it’s controversial. But, I stand behind my reply and want to share it with other professionals. (That is, anyone who deals with and sells product or services to others.)

The original post stated (paraphrased since I was blocked before I could screenshot it for accuracy): If you’re constantly posting negative things on your personal Facebook profile and it’s chasing away your readers, make a second account and post only positive, uplifting things there. Moreover, this was suggested specifically as a branding tactic so your followers see you as someone who is positive and admirable … even if you’re not.

Notice, this isn’t the same as suggesting that you keep your personal profile separate from your professional one to keep your personal life private. The poster was very specific about “constant negative posts” driving away readers.

DON’T DO THIS!

First, it’s against Facebook’s Terms Agreement. One account per person. If you’re a professional, you really don’t want some petty person report you and have your professional profile shut down.

If you want separate entities, your have the option of Pages and/or Groups. Yes, yes; I know: the algorithms are making harder to get organic views to push you to pay for “boosts” and ads. If you don’t want to use a Facebook Page, encourage people Follow you so they see only your public posts.

More importantly: If an author (or other professional) is constantly making negative posts on a their profile, they definitely should not friend their readers, clients, and fans. I’ll go a step further and say that (in general) clients, fans, etc. should not be on our profile or privy to our private life. They can “follow” and see only public posts, but your private life should stay exactly that: private.

And, what about readers, clients, and fans who are family and IRL friends? Plainly put: They don’t want to hear constant negativity, either. They love you, but ultimately they’re going to walk away from your drama for their own emotional well-being.

There’s a difference between sharing about the rough patch you’re going through or an unpleasant experience and making so many negative posts that other people no longer want to see your content. One is being transparent and relatable. The other is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

Suggesting negative people start a second profile so they can pretend to be something else to their readers is NOT branding. It’s lying. If someone is an undesirable person in real life, that’s going to leak out.

We can’t hide our true Self.

If we want to succeed, we need to be accountable for what we post on social media. Even on our personal profile. Even if it’s private. It’s important to understand we can’t say whatever we want, whenever we want. There are consequences to being an unpleasant person and for authors and other professionals, it’s loss of support, sales, and reputation.

Instead of violating Facebook terms and risk getting your account shut down so you can LOOK professional, it’s wiser to actually BE professional. Even on your personal profile. Have class and be considerate of others – Just like you would be in real life.

We don’t just walk into a room full of friends, family, and colleagues and just spout off over and over. We need to actually control (and be accountable for) what comes out of us; whether it’s spoken to people in real life or posted on social media.

Instead of expending valuable time and energy babysitting a second account in an effort to be viewed as a decent person, invest your time in learning how to authentically connect and communicate with your audience (personal and professional).

If what you’re posting on social media so negative it turns people off of you and your product/service, the problem isn’t that you’re sharing personal trials. It’s YOU.

Take a moment to self-evaluate:

  • Are you dwelling in the negative?
  • Are you always in a crisis?
  • Are you attacking, complaining, cutting down, soap-boxing …?
  • Are you not authentic in your support of and/or connection with other people?
  • Are you making promises you don’t keep?

That type of behavior exhausts people emotionally. It mentally drains them. It has nothing to do with whether or not they’re going to read your books. If your posts are regularly “taking away” from people, you’re going to lose them. Period.

I’m not saying you can’t be true to yourself on your personal profile. Or that you have to hide parts of yourself. I’m saying you need to take a look at how and what you communicate with others so you aren’t robbing them of their joy and peace of mind.

Before you post, think about what you’re about to put out to your social circle.

  • Is this issue going to matter in 3 weeks? 3 months? 3 years? Will you even it remember it in a few month’s time?
  • Can you rephrase it in a more positive light? Or turn it into a positive learning moment?
  • Is it something you could discuss with a friend or therapist instead of blasting on social media?
  • Type it out, leave it for 3 days until you feel better. Then, consider rewriting or not posting.

This applies to political or religious post, as well. I know you feel strongly about it. How can you communicate your view without making others  feel attacked? You won’t necessarily change anyone’s mind, but if you don’t drive them away, you might be able to teach them something or open them to a new point of view.

If you sincerely cannot control yourself due to medical issues, I suggest your get someone to help communicate with your audience while you seek professional help.  I want you to succeed and if that requires taking workshops or talking with a professional to help you, then do so. You deserve a better life and by helping yourself, you are in a better place to help others.

However, if someone thinks they’re fine and don’t want to make the effort to change how they communicate …. Good Luck. A second profile to hide that they’re a negative person is like a Band-Aid on a gangrenous wound.

Readers Ask: “What’s the Best Advice You’d Give Someone?”

This is a tough question to answer, because I’m a very opinionated person and have bushels of advice on a lot of topics lol The one bit of advice I have that applies to  all aspects of life would be this:

☀️ ALWAYS trust your instinct. Call it your higher self, or super conscious, or whatever you need to, but it receives everything you experience, even if you didn’t consciously notice it. It processes the data, evaluates possible situations/outcomes, and sends you signals to let you know what’s in your best interest for survival (physical, emotional, spiritual). Trusting your instinct is actually trusting yourself, which is vital for you to thrive and blossom.

⭐️ If we trust your instincts and something didn’t work out, we have a tendency to start doubting ourselves. Don’t do that. Look around at the people you rely on. One of those people is not your ally. They may be smiling and saying the right things, but they are sabotaging you.

❗️Usually, it’s the person who wants to step up and “fix” your “mistake” or “comfort” you. They don’t want you to succeed because your success equals a loss of some sort to them (ie. they lose their victim, student, fan, advantage, promotion, etc.). Or, your victory puts you “above” them in their mind, which means they’re being diminished. In some cases, it’s as simple as: If your hard work pays off for you, they will be expected to put in an effort to better themselves or their situation. But if you don’t succeed, you’ll stay on the same level as them.

❤️ Mr. Rogers said his mother once told him: “Always look for the helpers.” That beautiful advice keeps us seeing the positive in humanity.

When you follow your instincts and do what you know is right, but “fail” or find yourself blocked,  Auntie Rosa says:

“Quietly look for the assassin and remove yourself from their sphere of influence.”

That advice keeps us being the positive in humanity.

Side Note: Some of us were raised by “assassins” who undermine or override our decisions, block our autonomy, and blame us for “failures”.  We grew up not trusting ourselves because we’re always “wrong”. We were groomed to surround ourselves with other “assassins” who keep us off balance and second-guessing ourselves. If this is you, please get help to learn what a healthy relationship with others (and yourself) looks like. Then prune your social (and family) circle accordingly.

How To Write a Blurb

After your book’s cover snags a reader’s attention, your blurb needs to hook them in and make them want to buy it. Yet, as important as the blurb is, some authors  don’t give it the time and effort it deserves. Others simply don’t know how to make a blurb that grabs.

A good blurb needs to be short and concise while conveying the vital information of the story:

  • Introduce Hero
  • Introduce Setting
  • Outline Situation
  • Describe Problem/ Goal
  • Introduce Opposition
  • Describe What’s at Stake

Your blurb also needs to have a good hook to make the reader want to buy, so make sure that last part (what’s at stake) is big enough to create urgency.

Your blurb should read something like this:

Hero McGoodie just wants to enjoy a lazy summer, fishing and day dreaming. A strange set of footprints in the woods draws national media attention to his small town and tourists from all across the continent invade his fishing spot while looking for the source of the footprints.

Determined to reclaim his peaceful summer, Hero concocts a scheme to lead the media circus away from his community. However the owner of the mysterious footprints seems to have other plans, and Hero’s worries about invaders are about to reach intergalactic proportions.

So the break down looks like this:

  • Introduce Hero: Hero McGoodie
  • Introduce Setting: small town and surrounding woods/Hero’s fishing hole
  • Outline Situation: Strange footprints are drawing unwanted attention
  • Describe Problem/ Goal: Media and tourists are interfering with Hero’s summer plans
  • Introduce Opposition: The owner of the footprints
  • Describe What’s at Stake: Hint at an alien invasion (Note: Only hint about what is actually in the story. Please, don’t mislead your reader, even if the red herring is part of the story.)

Practice getting your blurb as concise and, if possible, run it past your editor for help with structure.

Good luck and happy writing <3

Download the Blurb Cheat sheet here or right click the image below and save.