May 8, 2013

Midweek Mayhem: The good, the bad, the pitch-y... Keepin' it real! #RT13 #dragonsFTW

Excited and tired...switching planes.
Sooo the mayhem shall be slightly different today as I have EXCITING news to share with you, my darlings!! Squee!!! Okay, so let's jump right in. Last week I attended my very first RT Booklovers Convention and lemme just tell you, it was AMAZING. I'm gonna keep it real though too, so prepare yourselves :P So when my friend Kat and I landed in Kansas City I had an email from one of the agents reading a partial of Becoming waiting for me in my Inbox...and it was a form rejection, so all kinds of thoughts started swirling through my head in a vortex of self-doubt. Dunno if you know this about me, but I'm OCD and extremely paranoid about everything. LOL Which left me thinking: OMG, am I really cut out for this? I have pitch sessions...can I actually do them? Am I good enough? The usual self-doubt song and dance ;)

Anyway, once we arrived at the hotel, we met up with Lucy Briand and her husband for supper. We had drinks, laughed and enjoyed hanging out. It was so much fun that I thought: shoot, I'm networking and putting myself out there, this week is gonna be great no matter what happens!

Monday was more networking--AKA drinking--finding our way around and I was able to squeeze in some editing time too. Tuesday was the plotting class with Cherry Adair, which was fantastic! She is HILARIOUS. She is also an amazing plotter. During the middle of the all-day class she suddenly got a story idea and almost completely plotted it by the end of the class! Definitely inspiring. She even took the time to meet with each one of us (60+ students) individually to discuss our plots. Really cool! Wednesday was a blur of workshops, networking and mentally preparing for my pitches on Thursday. I was feeling good, had met lots of people, and was pushing myself out of my wallflower comfort zone :P

Me at my very FIRST signing!
Thursday I had my pitch session with one of the agents who was already reading a partial of Becoming. It went well even though I felt like I stumbled and bumbled all over the place. Then an hour later I had a pitch session with a publishing house. The pitch went well and the editor loved my premise, but passed. Her reason was that their New Adult line was just getting started and they wanted titles that would appeal to the greatest number of readers and since Becoming is a f/f story she reluctantly said no. Well, after that I was feeling pretty frustrated and concerned. I love my story, but I started doubting myself again. (Erm, being a writer is like riding an emotional roller-coaster every second of every day :P) Soo, I went back to my hotel room and threw a pity party for myself. Invited all the usual party-goers: self-doubt, paranoia, angst. Then mid-party I began debating whether or not I should do the pitch-pa-looza session on Friday. So I emailed a dear friend for advice. She always gives me a swift kick when I need one, and that's exactly what I needed. She said that I was at the convention to pitch and that I needed to do it even if it was difficult. Well, I am sooo glad that I listened!!! More on that soon. But first... Becoming finaled in the American Idol writing contest hosted by agents Louise Fury and Nicole Resciniti at the Convention!! Out of 80 entries only 20 went to the final round and Becoming was one of the 20!!!!! ZOMG, I was stoked!! More on that soon too... Boy, I really am a tease :P

And FIRST ever book signing!!! Thursday afternoon I signed Witch Way to Turn at the EXPO and it was so much fun! I didn't sell all the books I brought, but I did sign quite a few copies, gave away promo items and confidently told readers what my book was about. I call that a success! This is the pitch I used to talk about Witch Way to Turn: A witch-halfling must unravel an assassination plot while torn between the vampire convict sent to protect her and the preternatural assassin sent to kill her. It was quick and easy for me to say! ;) Ohhh, I even had readers come up and say that they had already bought Witch Way to Turn on Kindle but they still wanted me to sign something. I was all: heck yesss I'll sign something! :D I was flyin' high and it was awesome! I was ready for Friday and pitch-pa-looza!

Action shot!
I must've practiced my Becoming pitch at least 100 times Friday before the palooza! I said it aloud walking around the hotel room, and I practiced saying it to the mirror. Yes, I did :P So the time came and I was ready! I walked into the hotel ballroom with my head held high. Forcing myself to not be a wallflower, I scanned the huge room full of agents and editors and found the first one on my list. The three-minute timer was set and I pitched! I was a bundle of nerves on that first one, but after she requested, I was all: I can totally do this!!! *bounced from table to table talkin' about dragons* I came out of there with 2 Full requests and 2 Partials!! Before I left though, I went up to Ms. Amazing Agent (I'm not revealing her name cos I'm not sure if I'm allowed)--one of the American Idol Writing contest judges--and didn't even have to pitch cos she already LOVED Becoming since she'd read the first three chapters because of the contest! Annnnd guess who was sitting next to her??? One of my awesome Twitter friends!! Angi Black--who is now Ms. Amazing Agent's intern! Angi had read Witch Way to Turn and had been talking about it to Ms. Amazing Agent, so Ms. Amazing Agent said it sounded fantastic and wanted a copy! Soooo, of course, I tried to reign in my crazy and play it cool--erm, fail. I was all: Of course I'll give you a copy!!! And I'll sign it too!!! *squee and giddy hand clap* Yes, I am the epitome of smooth :P I ran--quick like a bunny--back to my room, got the book--Facebook and Twitted about it cos, well, y'all need to know about these things--and then ran back downstairs, book in hand! After I gave Ms. Amazing Agent the book, I decided to do one last pitch. Let me tell you, it was fabulous! The agent was sooooo excited about my pitch, she actually leaned across the table and grabbed my hands! She was all: That sounds fantastic! I want to know more! She even said that my pitch shocked her--in a good way :P--and she was NEVER shocked by pitches! Holla!!! Success!!! So I'm flyin' uber high, right? OMG, I'm all: my RT experience can't possibly get any better! But waaaaait, it totally did!!

My dragon slippers were friends with vampire bunnies...
And now to my most fantastical, amazing news yet!! It happened at the final round of the American Idol writing contest. I was just a small-town girl, waiting to hear the first page of her dragon story read aloud... There were sooo many good stories read, that I didn't know what would happen. I played it cool until one of the agents started to read mine and my heart became a jackhammer and I could've sworn the entire room heard it! o.O I'm not sure I actually breathed for however long it took for her to read 250 words aloud, and then I waited as they wrote notes and made comments... They totally loved it!! One of the editors was all: Me wants!! But for this round the crowd--in American Idol style--voted. Becoming didn't win BUT Ms. Amazing Agent asked me to stick around because there was an honorable mention... So, I'm all that's cool, I just had no idea what it meant. Wellllllllllll, what it means is this: Ms. Amazing Agent wanted Becoming no matter if it won by popular vote or not cos she thinks it's fabulous! So she offered me a mentorship!!!!! She requested that I send her the full manuscript, she'll do edits, give me her feedback and then we'll discuss and if I'm open to those changes she'll take me on as a client!!!!!!!!!!! ZOMG!!! *spins and spins and spins until dizzy* I couldn't believe it! I was literally in shock!! Shock I tell you!

Inspiration cover art by Danielle Fine
Altogether I came out of the RT Booklovers Convention with new friends, a greater self-confidence, EIGHT total requests for Becoming and a mentorship!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm just so thrilled and excited!!!!! There's still work to be done and no contracts have been signed yet, but this is happening!!! Writing is such an emotional journey, and there have been so so so many times I've wanted to quit, but I have stories inside of me and they need to be told! And I want y'all to read them! :D

I have no idea what the future holds--doors open and doors close--but I'm grateful for each day and thankful for every opportunity to learn, grow and share.

Phew... That was a long post! LOL Thanks for reading it!

And because I know you just have to have it...The random picture portion of this post!! :P They're in no particular order and cos there are soooooo many I'll keep the summaries brief... Oh and they were all taken last week at the RT Booklovers Convention.
It's hard to tell, but that's actually NEON orange!

Anybody know what this thing is called?? Tickled my fingers :P

A dress made of paper...


Those are M&M's trapped inside that table!

That didn't survive the hour...

The hotel room...

The hotel bathroom...

The view...24 floors up.

The tiny death trap on the way to the Convention...

Lego kids...
Can you guess what this is? ;)

A certain someone's pillow and stuffed animal...not mine, but I prolly should say whose :P

Waiting in line for the YA Teen event...

*FANGIRLS* ZOMG, Nicole Peeler!!!

Me and Rachel Vincent!

Me and Cecily White! I so totally interviewed her on my blog...check it here!

Me and Gennifer Albin!

Yes I so asked a random person if I could take a pic of their books :P

Me and the awesome Heather Van Fleet!!!!

You can barely see it, but I wrote letters on my fingertips as cheats in case I needed reminders during my pitch ;)

Kiera Cass hit #1 while at the conference! She lives in Virginia :D

Paper flower promo item...

I'm in the book!!! :D

My badge!

Liquid courage...

Plotting class project...

Me on the morning of the first day...

Banshee with no make-up after the first day...lolz

And last of all... CHOCOLATE


  1. I knew all about this exciting stuff and I still squealed reading this! Congrats, girl!! You deserve this so, so much! :)

    1. Awww!! Thank you, chickadee!! It was sooo wonderful to finally meet you in person!!! Thanks for hanging with me! :D

  2. SQUEEEEEEEE! So happy for you! This is fantastic! But we knew Becoming was "the one" didn't we? Will get all details Saturday! :)

    1. Wahoooooo!!!!!!! Thank you, chicka!!!!! Becoming is definitely "the one"!! ;D

  3. That is so fantastic!!! Great things are happening for you! Tweeted.

    1. Thanks so much, Ella!!!! :D *fingers crossed*

  4. OMG OMG!!! I am SOOOOOO thrilled for you!!!!! You so totally deserve this!!!

  5. SQUEEEEE!!! OMG OMG OMG!! *does the DinoDance* YAY!! *flings cookie confetti* WHOOOO HOOOOO!!

    Congrats woman!

    1. Oooooooo!!!! Cookie confetti!!! Thank you, lady!! I'm really excited!!! *keep your fingers crossed* :D

  6. I'm so happy for you and your first RT and I know you're going to make it!! I was so sad to hear about your stress!! (We taught the "perfect pitch" at the RT Advantage workshop Wednesday morning....would that have helped??? Do you want me to email it to you? Of course--now that you're through the gate, it's probably not as helpful! LOL!)

    Exciting and wonderful to hear how things unfolded though and again, here's one more fan cheering you on from the wings!!

    1. Awww, thank you so much, Renee!!! The perfect pitch class sounds awesome! I'm not sure how I missed it, or I woulda totally been there! I took something similar at RWA and really got a lot out of it. I'd love more info on it tho, so if you don't mind emailing it that'd be great! My email is... bynum(dot)karen(at)gmail(dot)com

      My very first pitch was at RWA 2 years ago and I was scared out of my mind...I totally read my query from a notecard and thought I was gonna pass out :P I feel like I'm finally making progress, but there's always room for improvement :)

      Thank you bunches!! And I really appreciate you commenting!!

  7. Congratulations Karen!! You sound like you had an amazing time and there was SO much good news in there I don't know how you kept your head from flying off your shoulders. I really wish I could've attended this one (I would've stuck to the walls and smiled rather than pitched but still would've been fun) and it would've been great to bump into you and cheer on your successes. Writing can be difficult, protracted and filled with self-doubt, so its always good to hear the other side of it...the positive stuff. Anyway, best of luck for the future - I hope you and Banshee go all the way to the top! :)

    1. Thank you so much, Gareth!! It really was an amazing time! You cracked me up with the 'head flying off your shoulders' comment! ;) I wish you coulda been there too!! Ohhh, I had someone come up to me and say: "hey, I know you." I was all: You do? :P She said: "Yeah, I follow you on Twitter." I was like: That is sooo awesome!!!

      You are so right about writing...we just gotta keep at it! I've been attending conferences for about 5 years and pitched at the past's very encouraging to me to be able to see improvement :) It can be a struggle, but eventually the right thing will work out! Don't they say it's all about timing? Patience is such a hard thing tho :P

      Thanks a bunch for commenting! Banshee and I appreciate it!! :D

  8. Congratulations! This is such great news and of course well deserved! Your hard work is paying off. I always knew you could do it! You are awesome! I am so proud. Love ya!!

    1. Awwwwww!! I appreciate that! Thank you sooo much, ma!!! Love ya too!! :D

  9. Congratulations, Karen. Wonderful news. So happy for you.

  10. ZOMG!! I can't believe the amazing and talented Karen Y. Bynum was in my hotel room and took a pic of my Spidey Beanie Ballz! lol.

    Glad to hear that your first RT was such a great and rewardingly eventful week. Hope to see you again next year in New Orleans and maybe, just maybe, we will join you in sporting one of those coveted RT badge flowers!!!

    1. LOL You are too funny, Dan!! You knew that Spidey Beanie Ballz pic was gonna be posted somewhere!!! I believe Kat tweeted it too :P hahaha

      Thank you sooo much!! I'll totally be there! Lucy will definitely be sporting that RT badge flower!! I love how passionate she is about her work! I can't wait to read more!! And y'all are sooo adorable together! Had a blast hanging out with you guys!!

  11. Of course you nailed it! You are so awesome! Go you!

  12. Way to go Karen! So excited for you!

    After I read that synopsis of Becoming for the first time, I had no doubt someone there would latch onto it. I can already tell it's going to be an amazing story! I seriously can't wait to read it. And...if you ever, you know...need another beta reader... pick me, pick me! :-D

    Your go-get-em attitude really is inspiring. Gives me another boost in the writer confidence department. Now I'm like... "I want to be like Karen!" ;0)

    1. Thank you, Marlene!!

      Yayay!! I am soooo excited about this story!! I feel like it can go so many places and have so much marketing opportunity! I can't wait for you to read it!! Ooo, thank you for the beta reader offer! I'll definitely be taking you up on that!! :D

      Awww! <3 I'm happy to be able to share the things I've learned :)) And I'm thrilled to know my experiences can help others!

      Thank you bunches for sharing!!

  13. Wonderful post and full of great news! I am so thrilled for you!

  14. Yippie Kai Yay! So happy for you and fingers crossed for a contract(s). Here's hoping to a fight over you and your story. RT sounds like a blast!

    1. Woo hoo!!!! Thank you, Kary!! My fingers and toes are crossed too! :D Ooo, fighting...over me?! That'd be soo freakin' cool!!

  15. Great post! I'm glad you decided to go with me. Other than our crazy first flight, I had a great time. Next year we have New Orleans!

    1. Thank you, Kat! Ooo, me too!! Dang, that was a crazy first flight...Eep! lol o.O Looking forward to New Orleans! :D

  16. Wow..very cool! :) Congrats and the event sounded fun! :)

  17. More power to you, Sister Woman! Congrats, as it's blue skies from here on end!