3 S.R. Johannes: "The Familiars" - Book giveaway and Guest Post by Andrew Jacobson

Monday, August 30, 2010

"The Familiars" - Book giveaway and Guest Post by Andrew Jacobson

Today, Andrew Jacobson from the new book, The Familiars has stopped by to talk about winning log-lines.

Comment and you will go into a drawing for the HB!

The Familiars Summary

Running to save his life, Aldwyn, the street-wise orphan cat, ducks into a strange store. Moments later Jack, a young wizard-in-training, comes in to pick out his familiar – a magical animal companion. Aldwyn’s always been clever. But magical? Apparently Jack thinks so—and Aldwyn is happy to play along. Anything to get out of town!

Once home with Jack in Stone Runlet, Aldwyn thinks that he’s got it made—a life of ease with a boy who loves him. He just has to convince the other familiars—the know-it-all blue jay Skylar and the friendly tree frog Gilbert--that he’s the telekinetic cat he claims to be.

Then, after the sky lights up with an omen, the unthinkable happens. Jack and the other young wizards are captured by the evil queen of Vastia. Together Aldwyn, Skylar and Gilbert must save them—but how?

On their thrilling quest across the land, the familiars will face dangerous foes, unearth a shocking centuries old secret, and discover a mysterious destiny that will change them all forever.

Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

ADAM JAY EPSTEIN spent his childhood in Great Neck, New York, while ANDREW JACOBSON grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but the two met in a parking garage out in Los Angeles. They have been writing for film and television together ever since. The Familiars is their first book.

One day, Adam asked Andrew, “Are you familiar with what a familiar is?” And from that simple question, Vastia was born, a fantastical world filled with the authors’ shared love of animals and magic. They wrote every word, sentence, and page together, sitting opposite each other.

Adam Jay Epstein lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jane, their daughters, Penny and Olive, and a black-and-white alley cat who hangs out in their backyard. Andrew Jacobson lives with his wife, Ashley, and their dog, Elvis, four traffic lights away.

THE FAMILIARS will be produced for film by Sam Raimi and Sony Animation.

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GUEST POST – “Telephone”

There was an old game we would play on the bus back in my summer camp days called “Telephone.” I’m sure you’re familiar with it. You would start by whispering a sentence into someone’s ear, and then they would whisper it to the person sitting behind them, and so on throughout the bus. When the message reached the person in the last seat, they would repeat what they heard out loud. So, if you started by whispering, “I took my girlfriend to the zoo today and saw pigs wrestling in the mud,” the last person might announce something akin to “My girlfriend is such a pig that she should wrestle in a zoo.” And everyone busts into a fit of giggles.

Now imagine you’re a literary agent or an assistant editor or an editor. A writer pitches you their manuscript idea over the phone or in a query letter. In order to get that idea sold, you will have to relay it up the ladder to your boss, and then to their boss, all the way to the person at the top of the company who can say, “Yes.” It’s no different than the game of telephone you played on the bus when you were 8, except now there’s nothing funny about your idea getting mangled and people passing on your ideas.

I’ve read a lot of query letters from aspiring writers pitching the ideas for their book manuscripts or screenplays. And most of them would be darn near impossible to pitch up the ladder. Before anyone ever reads the first page of your manuscript, I can guarantee that you will already put yourself head and shoulders above your competition if you can summarize your idea concisely so that it can navigate its way through the telephone game.

How? With a winning log-line. This is a Hollywood term. I don’t know if people in the book world use it as often – maybe here it’s referred to as a synopsis – either way, the principle is the same. Log-lines are where good, sellable ideas begin. They are the short blurb in TV guides that tell you what a program is about and help you decide if you’re going to watch it. On a cold call or in a query letter, the log-line is what’s going to determine if the person on the other side is going to read your manuscript or not.

Yes, ultimately it will be all about good writing and execution. Of course. That goes without saying. But I think people underestimate how hard it is to even get that gatekeeper to read your material in the first place. So why not stack the odds in your favor, and have that killer one-liner to hook a reader?

-- Andrew Jacobson

Learn more about “The Familiars”
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24 comments:

jpetroroy said...

Interesting analogy!

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

Fantastic way of looking at loglines. I had to prepare mine for a conference recently, and when I thought about saying it, it was very different than writing it. Still not sure I have it right, but I'm definitely approaching it from a new perspective.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great advice on the logline - I'm going to have to work on that!

Love the look of the book - the students in my class would love it!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Your book sounds great. I love stories about wizards. Good luck with the book and the movie.

A Pen In Neverland: Angela Peña Dahle said...

You have given me plenty to think about with here. I'll never think of queries/pitches or a synopsis the usual way again.

Riv Re said...

Yay! The Familiars! I've been meaning to read this...

Taffy said...

I worked and worked on my log line before I worked on a query.
Now I need to work and work on my query!

Gail said...

I'll add "The Familiars" to my list to read! Appreciate your perspective on hook sentences/loglines. And by the way.... neither one of you look old enough to be married, let alone have kids!!!! :-)

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Oh man the telephone game. Well that makes sense and puts things in perspective lol.

My kids would LOVE to read the Familiars! One more to add to the list :) A movie would be so cool!

Andy Plemmons said...

I'm looking forward to reading the Familiars and bringing it into my library as well. Thanks for the great post.

Deb Salisbury said...

The Familiars looks like a fun book! I'd love to read it.

Angela M. said...

Now if only I could conjure a logline without having to produce sweat and tears over the word-cutting!

Robin Reul said...

Great advice about log lines. I thought it was hard enough to turn 305 pages into a one page synopsis, but condensing it into one sentence is overwhelming, to say the least. Your book sounds fantastic and very fun!

Carolyn V. said...

The book sounds so great! And the logline just sounds so hard. =)

Kayla :) said...

I'd love to read this book! It looks so good! :D

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

This looks like such a fun read! What a great post!


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Elana Johnson said...

Oooh, another book to add to my list. I've been piling them up lately.

duwarr said...

Great information about log lines! Thanks for the tip.

Larissa said...

What a great way to think of log-lines! And so so true!

Thanks, Shelli and Andrew!

Jess said...

You guys know I think this is adorable and can't wait to read it. :P

Ishta Mercurio said...

1) The Familiars looks great, and I'm looking forward to reading it; and 2) this is a great tip about log lines. I've actually heard that it can be a good thing to write one before you've even written much of your novel, to keep yourself on the right track as you write.

Thanks!

C.A. Marshall said...

This looks AWESOME. It reminds me of the Chester the cat in Holiday Inn and Harry Potter mashed together! Two awesome things should make this book doubly awesome! Awesome squared!

Tina said...

This looks like such a great book! I love the bright colors in the cover as well. I'm looking forward to reading this :)

throuthehaze said...

This sounds like such a good book. The cover is so cute!
throuthehaze at gmail dot com