Erin is Carin’: My Editor’s Advice on How to Get Published

Kevy my life-crush has this one joke he loves to tell…

KEVY: What’s Lisi’s favorite thing to make for dinner?

ANYONE WITH EARS: I dunno, what?

KEVY: Reservations.

(Fake laughter.)

I roll my eyes when he tells it even though it’s true. I can’t cook. And those who can’t do should turn to those who can.

So when S.R. Rhodes sent me a message on Facebook on the difficulties of getting published, I turned to my brilliant editor, Erin, for the answer.

Need a visual? Here we are last week in my office. She was in San Diego for Comic-Con and stopped by Laguna for an afternoon of chit-chat and shopping. The owner of an ah-dorable local boutique called Isla gave us free matching key chains because we bought up the store. As you can see, we were very excited. erin

My excitement continues because Erin put some serious thought into her advice and if you follow it, I will be reading your books someday.

Here is S.R. Rhodes’ question:

Hi Lisi,

For me, queries can be a bit intimidating. I feel like literary agents focus so intensely on the query letter that the manuscript itself, good or bad, has little importance. I know that rejection is a part of life but in the “author” world it has become overwhelming, especially when no criticism is given. I have read books, web blogs and digest magazines with tips on queries, and just when I think I’ve figured it out… another rejection. No publishers will accept manuscripts without representation except for the ones who ask for hundreds of dollars up front. My passion for writing is a well-lit flame that will never burn out. I write day and night- typing, pen and paper or talking into recording devices. I’m not a quitter…I will fight for my dreams hopefully gaining more knowledge and skills along the way. I need some insight from another author, which is why I’m messaging you. Any words of wisdom? Thank you.

S.R. Rhodes

Now Erin, over to you…

Hi readers,

Lisi asked me to answer a few questions for you. I know a lot of you are aspiring authors and that is fantastic! Keep writing! As with any artistic calling, it can be hard to break out and get your work noticed. For large publishing houses, the standard policy is to only accept manuscripts that are submitted through an agent. This is largely just a matter of volume—editors couldn’t possibly answer every single query if it was an open-door policy and most publishers do respond to every submission they get. So here are some ideas on making your way in the publishing world…
1) It is easiest to get your manuscript seen by a publisher if you have an agent. An agent truly is a great advocate for an author. So do consider trying to get representation for yourself.

2) Editors keep their eyes peeled for talent out in the world. Try other forms of writing—try your hand at journalism by writing for websites, magazines or newspapers and build up a clip file of published work. Write a blog on a topic that interests you and try to drum up a following. Or self publish through a variety of different platforms and try to garner an initial readership for your book that way. (These kinds of projects are all great experience that you can use to pitch yourself to an agent as well.)
3) Consider paying a small fee to a freelance editor to review your manuscript and help you revise. There are a lot of great people out there who can help you take your writing to the next level.
4) Attend writing workshops or attend a full writing program. It will help you polish your work and meet other authors.
As with any career, the best thing you can do is network! Take classes, talk to local professors or authors, attend seminars, join a writers association—there are trade organizations for all aspects of the publishing industry. Apply for an internship at a publisher, or an agency, or to assist an author. The more people you meet, the more people you are connected to through their connections. The more people you know, the more you can talk about your projects and get advice. If you network your way to an editor, sometimes you can get someone to look at your work without an agent.
Basically, you need to do everything you can to put yourself out there and make connections. You also need to make sure you are putting your best work out there. Really take your time to develop your writing, and if you can’t get anyone to notice the first book you write, write another! A writer’s work is never done (as Lisi can tell you!). Keep creating…and good luck!


I have to go make my dinner reservations for tonight. I’m expecting company.



Cellph Help

Most people would describe me as easy-going but that’s not to say I don’t have my pet peeves. Chief among them is a person who is quick to point out a problem without providing a solution. That’s just crop-dusting negativity and we don’t need any more of that. So when I came across the following list of ways cell phones are destroying our lives I was instantly peeved. Partly because I can name fifty ways cell phones have saved my life. But mostly because this cellph-hater didn’t offer any solutions.

Lucky for you, I’m on it.

Cellph-Hater: Cellphones are ruining our relationships. Before we thought that cell phones hurt our relationships with significant others, but now we’re finding that essentially all relationships are affected by cell phones due to lack of being present and attentive. They are distracting us even more than ever before instead of “keeping us connected” as they’re being marketed.

Cellph-Help: Boundaries, people. No cellphones at the table. No texting when you are with a 3-D person. No texting while someone is lecturing you about how much you’ve been texting lately.

Done. Next…

Cellph-Hater: Using your cell phone too much gives you acne. A ton of bacteria from hands and fingers, touching flat surfaces or random things in your pockets or bag, and your own oils from your skin all hang out on the screen.


phoneDone. Next…

Cellph-Hater: Cell phones are hurting our sleep patterns. The soft blue glow our phones emit conflicts with the melatonin and other hormones that make you sleepy and allow for more peaceful sleep. Looking at our cell phones right before bed to check one last email or send one more text also messes with our brains ability to relax and find sleep easier.

Cellph-Help: I agree. So read these series

Clique Pic     Alphas Pic     Monster High Pic     Pretenders Pic

 before bed and you’ll be fine.

And… Next.

Cellph-Hater: Cell phones are ruining our eyes. Studies are showing that we are focusing too hard and too long on the small objects on our cell phone screens, i.e. words in a text message. We’re finding the need for glasses or contacts is far more frequent in younger people these days than ever before.

Cellph-Help: Go into settings and increase the size of your font. Then try to limit your texting to five minutes every hour. I got special glasses with a yellow tint because I’m facing a screen all day. While the yellow doesn’t look very jazzy it does minimize glare which helps my peepers.


Cellph-Hater: Cell phones can give us saggy jowls and are ruining our posture. Vain? Maybe. But people are going to regret this in years to come. Staring down at our phones all the time is also bad for us because it can change posture. One doctor told The Daily Mail that looking at your cell too much can cause pain in your neck or shoulders because leaning forward like that “squashes the top of your spine and compresses the nerves that go up to your head.” This can cause headaches and also make us feel tired and stiff.

Cellph-Help: Text upside down.


See? Problems solved.




Pretenders Vs Celebs


Why? The voices are starting to blend. Below are ten quotes. Some from celebs and some from the Pretenders. Can you tell them apart?

These brief character descriptions should help.

Sheridan Spencer
Age: 14
Passion: Actress of the highest order.
Goal: To become a future star of the screen, including but not limited to; TV, film, computer, and tablet.

Andrew Duffy
Age: 14
Passion: Basketball.
Goal: Make Nobel High’s Varsity team. Then dominate.

Lily Bader-Huffman
Age: 14.5
Passion: Andrew Duffy.
Goal: Fit in at Noble High so I never have to be home schooled again.

Vanessa Riley
Age: Almost 15
Passion: Being the best.
Goal: Keep my parents from getting divorced. Win more awards. Get better grades than Lily. Steal Blake away from Lily. Have more goals than anyone else.

Age: My birth certificate says 14 but I am emancipated from my parents so I seem more like 18.
Passion: I don’t have time for passion.
Goal: Survival.

. . .


1. “Confidence is key. Sometimes, you need to look like you’re confident even when you’re not.”
Who said it? Sheridan Spencer or Vanessa Hudgens.

2. “I’m not trying to be famous at all.”
Who said it? Jagger or Zac Efron.

3. “I’m intimidated by the fear of being average.”
Who said it? Taylor Swift or Vanessa Riley.

4. “I’m ready to stray from my comfort zone and play ‘down and out.’”
Who said it? Sheridan or Vanessa Hudgens.

5. “The grand scale of it all made me feel tiny. So pure and unfettered.”
Who said it? Lily or Taylor Swift.

6. “I think you have to be cool to be a good flirt, and I don’t think I’m very cool.”
Who said it? Harry Styles or Andrew Duffy.

7. “I know my flaws before other people point them out to me.”
Who said it? Lily Bader-Huffman or Taylor Swift.

8. “I am a lot of things but lazy isn’t one of them.”
Who said it? Vanessa Riley or Justin Bieber

9. “I can’t wait for life to get back to normal.”
Who said it? Duffy or Harry Styles

10. “The news was a sucker punch to the heart.”
Who said it? Selena Gomez or Vanessa Riley.

I’ll post the answers Friday on my Facebook page.



Home of the Brave.

Happy belated Fourth, Americans!!! Despite my Canadian passport I still celebrated. See?

USA(We have Canada, Norway, and Brazil represented in this photo. Can you spot the American?)

Yes, it’s true, there isn’t a party I won’t crash. But I also happen to believe in this one. This is a fantastic country (even though it’s in need of some serious group therapy) and the advantages that come from living in the free world are too numerous to count. But the thing about this holiday that really sparks my sparkler is that it celebrates independence—something I do on a daily basis. (Notice how I managed to make a national holiday all about me? I know, pretty slick.)

I celebrate it by putting mustard on my popcorn instead of butter. I celebrate it by choosing not to wear a bra today even though I need one.  I celebrate independence by following my instincts even when they lead me to lonely places. So when Jannette posted this question…

Hi Lisi!! I was wondering if you could share any advice on becoming a strong and successful, career-orientated girl in life! Since most of your books targets towards teens, this is the stage when we are still trying to figure out what we want to be when we get older. However, as a loyal fan, I know for sure that you are extremely successful and has had a wonderful and exciting life (I mean MTV? Seriously, that is beyond cool ) Thank you so much for taking your time to read this!!! Love Yah LISI!!

…I can respond by saying:

Jannette, are you asking me how to be strong? The answer is confidence. Confidence comes from making choices that are right for you, not anyone else. If they are right for you, you can stand by them with strength. That’s the ONLY way. Making the right choices comes from following your instincts. Knowing your instincts comes from listening to the voices in your head/gut even when they’re telling you to do something that is hard or lonely. Success comes from loving what you do so much you’d do it for free. What if you don’t know what you want to do yet?  Be patient. Your “instincts” might not know yet. You’re young. Just listen to what they’re saying now. Those voices may not know how your story ends but they will help you write a little bit of it each day. And before you know it you will be living inside a book you love. And the best part? It will have been written by you, for you. If, and only if, you’re not afraid to break away from the pack when those voices tell you it’s time.

They don’t call this the home of the brave because it it rhymes with banner yet wave

(Well, that can’t be the only reason.)

In case you need a little extra inspiration, check out this promo for a new line of girls’ toys made just for independent thinkers.


(If I feel like it.)


P.S. Did you figure out which one of my friend’s is the American?

Guest Post Today on the Office Elf Blog

Hi everybody. Alisha here, Lisi’s Office Elf. First off, I am so sorry for the late blog! Earlier today when I was ready to post this, my Internet went out and I had difficulties for the rest of the day. To nutshell the story, I never got it back but was able to find a friend across town who let me take over her desk and finish clicking “Publish” on the blog. Anyway, I know you all were waiting for a post from Lisi, so I hope mine will do in lieu of hers this week.

Lisi was in a crucial writing zone and couldn’t be torn away from Pretenders book 2 so she asked me to guest blah-g. Read up on some beach wisdom over on the Office Elf blog by clicking the red patriotic cookie and Lisi will be back next week with another ah-mazing post! Happy Independence Day, all.

4th of July cookies

Alisha, Office Elf