πŸ’ŒπŸ“« Newsletter: πŸ‘€ An Inside Look at Working with a Writer’s Coach

My Writing Journey

I attribute my recent success in publishing to my time working with a writer’s coach. To define “success,” I should probably give you a little background into my publishing career. Fifteen years ago I started writing as a hobby (2009). After a couple of years and multiple, terrible books later, I wrote something that was pretty decent (2012). It got me an agent (2013), and we went on to sell it to a small publisher (Albert Whitman, 2014) for a small advance (less than $5K) and in 2016 my YA debut South of Sunshine was published. Fast forward seven years later (2023), where I sold my second novel, my adult debut, In the Hour of Crows, at auction for six figures to a big publisher (Mira books with HarperCollins.) I call that a success. And, as you saw above, I sold my next book in a good deal so I think what I’m doing is working. Let’s get to it.

Good Lord, y’all, I made SO MANY changes over those seven years: got rid of some “friends” that were holding me back, cycled through two agents, shifted from contemporary romance to gothic fiction, and I exited the YA world entirely and stepped into adult fiction. While all of those changes affected my career, it wasn’t until I leveled-up my writing skills, through my writer’s coach, did I finally get the career I had always wanted....

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πŸ‘€ An Inside Look at Working with a Writer’s Coach by Dana Elmendorf

And I sold another book!

Read on Substack


Announcing: GRAVE BIRDS coming Summer 2025

 πŸŽ‰I SOLD ANOTHER BOOK!!!!πŸŽ‰ I’m thrilled to announce that Mira has bought my next book, GRAVE BIRDS! I can’t wait to tell you guys more about it in the coming months. I’ve been holding onto this secret forever! It has been incredible working with Mira and my editor, Meredith Clark. I’m so excited that I get to keep working with this amazing team. πŸ₯‚Cheers to many more books together!πŸ’ž and thank you to my amazing agent @jill_marr for helping make my dreams come true.

IN THE HOUR OF CROWS author Dana Elmendorf’s GRAVE BIRDS, a young woman who was brought back to life is now haunted by grave birds. When bizarre events begin to plague her small town in South Carolina following the appearance of a mysterious, handsome devil, she must rely on the visions they show her to stop his plans for revenge. Pitched as a modern twist on THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO for readers of Adrienne Young and Alix E. Harrow, again to Meredith Clark at Mira, a good deal, for publication in summer 2025, by Jill Marr at Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency (world). 
Film/TV: andrea@dijkstraagency.com

πŸ’ŒπŸ“« Newsletter: My Agent Search Experience and Query Letter

Hey, y’all! It’s March. Which means February is over. (That was fast.) Annnnnd I didn’t send out a newsletter in February. Yikes. But hey, life around me kind of blew up (in a good and bad way), and I’m just now getting my head above water. I sure hope y’all can forgive me. I’m here now and that’s what’s important, right? Plus, I think I’ve got a good one for today’s “My Writing Journey.” (Or so I hope you think it’s a good one.) It’s about my “My Agent Search Experience and Query Letter.” Isn’t that like finding a pot of gold, when you can read a successful query letter?!? I sure thought so when I was new in my journey. And I hope my advice/tips/tricks help you out in your agent search.

MY WRITING JOURNEY


While I wouldn’t consider myself a query expert by any means, I have gotten three agents over the last ten years. And my query letter for In the Hour of Crows landed me an agent who got me a six-figure deal (for one book) at auction with a big publisher. So I’d call my query letter a success. Everyone’s experience in the query trenches is different. This is my story. This is what worked for me…three times. (If you want to hear more about my experience working with three different agents, you can check out my November newsletter “Navigating Through 3 Agents” here.)

AGENT SEARCH

There are so many agents and agencies out there, it’s hard to know who is legit, who is good at their job, who is a go-getter, who is a heavy-hitter, who is a right fit, etc. etc. etc. Just because an agent is at a big agency, doesn’t mean they can sell your book. And just because they are at a boutique agency, doesn’t mean they can’t sell you big. All that to say, know what you want out of your career.

When I first started, I just wanted to get published. The second time around, I wanted someone who take my career to the next level, which for me meant an agent at a bigger, well-known agency.…Agent #2 couldn’t sell a book for me though. By the time I got to my third agent, I was tired of fucking around. I had wasted a lot of time, and I wasn’t getting any younger. I wanted someone who could get me a big deal with a “Big 5” publisher, period. (Yes, I know it’s not five now.) That also meant I had to write a really fucking good book they couldn’t resist. (I’ll write more about that in a future newsletter.)...

To read the full newsletter, head on over to my Substack where you can read my actual query letter, see examples of my personal notes to agents, and view my query stats.  

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πŸ’ŒπŸ“« Newsletter: How To Advance Your Writing Skills

My Writing Journey
EPISODE 2 - HOW I ADVANCED MY WRITING SKILLS

I contribute a big part of my recent success to the fact that I put a lot of time and effort in leveling up my writing skills over the last seven years. There are quite a few factors that went into “leveling up.” I don’t think I was a bad writer before, but I do believe I was a descent writer. Maybe I’d even say a good writer. But what I’ve learned in the last 14 years, good isn’t always good enough to get published. Much less get published well, for me that meant big advance, big publisher.

I know you might be reading this post for the secret formula or hoping to find the shortcut answer that will change your writing game forever. It doesn’t exist. There are, however, things you can do to improve your writing skills and increase your chances of getting published and find the success you dream of. Let me first start by mentioning what you all have heard before and don’t want to hear it again, but I’m going to say it anyway….

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e-Galleys & How To Advance Your Writing Skills by Dana Elmendorf

So much bookish news, Ep. 2 My Writing Journey, and my favorite things.

Read on Substack


✨COVER REVEAL✨

 ✨COVER REVEAL✨ for IN THE HOUR OF CROWS 😍

Isn’t she gorgeous!!?? I absolutely love it. Mira books did an incredible job capturing the hauntingly beautiful atmosphere of the book. I love the misty Appalachian mountains, the sparkling hints of magic, the beautiful crow you will meet in the story, and the gorgeous purple and orange of the setting sun…in the hour of crows when the day is no longer but the night is not yet.

And a HUGE thank you to Serene Heiner (@magicalbooknook) for doing this goofy video with me!!! She is simply the best!!!! (Falling over the chair is epic! πŸΏπŸ«ΆπŸ»πŸ˜‚) If you haven't seen the cover reveal instagram reel you have to check it out!  

Can you believe it’s only 6 months until IN THE HOUR OF CROWS hits the shelves? June 4, 2024  I can’t wait to share it with you all. And if you want, you can add it on your Goodreads TBR list, It’s also available for pre-order!  

Book Description: 

In a small town in Appalachia, people paint their doorways blue to keep spirits away. 
Black ferns grow where death will follow.
And Weatherly Opal Wilder is a Death Talker. 

When called upon, she can talk the death out of the dying and save their lives; only once, never twice. But this truly unique gift comes at a price, rooting Weatherly to people who only want her around when they need her and resent her backwater ways when they don’t. 

Weatherly’s cousin Adaire also has a gift: she’s a Scryer and can see the future reflected back in dark surfaces. Right before she is killed in an accident, Adaire saw something unnerving, and that’s why Weatherly believes she was murdered—never thinking for a moment that it was an accident. But when Weatherly, for the first time, is unable to talk the death out of the mayor’s son, the whole town suspects she is out for revenge, that she wouldn’t save him. 

With the help of clues Adaire left behind and her family’s Granny Witch recipe box, Weatherly sets out to find the truth behind her cousin’s death, whatever it takes. 

Imbued with magic, witchery, and suspense, Dana Elmendorf’s In the Hour of Crows is a thrilling tale of friendship, identity, and love.