Announcing the 2014 Holiday Giveaway


Image by Ashley Ruggirello of Cardboard Monet

It’s no secret that Christmas is my favorite holiday, and those that have hung around here for awhile know that I tend to celebrate it by doing a giveaway every year. This year’s no exception, though I am starting it earlier than normal due to the fact it’s my birthday today, and I’m feeling especially generous. 😉

What do I have hidden up my sleeve this time? Something I think many of you will be super excited for. See, I’ve teamed up with the design genius behind the REUTS Publications book covers to bring you a self-published author’s dream — a full-fledged, FREE prize that will take your manuscript from draft to publication-ready. Yep, Cardboard Monet’s Ashley Ruggirello and I have combined our freelance prowess to offer one lucky person the following:

  • A comprehensive, top-to-bottom, full manuscript edit (including structural & line edits)
  • A polished, publish-ready eBook cover design
  • Assistance creating the all-important book blurb
  • A final proofread of the type-set, ready-for-print galley (typesetting/formatting itself is not included though)

It might not be all-inclusive, as you will still need to find a formatter and to create your own marketing materials, but I think you’ll agree that’s a pretty significant monetary value being offered up for free. Every author knows that the two most expensive aspects of self-publishing are the editing and the cover design, so why not take advantage of this rare chance to gain both in one fell swoop?

I’ve got your attention now, yes? 😉

Here’s what you have to do:

Round One:

Starting right now, you can enter to win via the Rafflecopter form. Simply fill out the various possibilities, and your name will be added to the hat. Enter as many times as you’d like until the form closes at midnight on January 2nd, 2015.  On January 3rd, I will select 100 names at random via Rafflecopter’s handy little service. Those lucky people will move on to round two. (And yes, they will be announced on the blog, so you’ll all know who to congratulate.)

Round Two:

This is where the competition gets a little fierce. The 100 winners will be required to submit a query, along with the first 5 pages of their manuscript, via email. (Specific instructions will be sent to the winners on the appropriate date.) I will review them all, and much like an acquisitions editor, I will select the final winner based both on potential and the quality of your pitch. I’ll be looking for the person I think will gain the most value from our help, so your manuscript definitely doesn’t have to be perfect yet, but it does need to be complete. Also, I will consider novellas, but not short stories.

My final decision will be made by January 30th, 2015, and the lucky winner will be announced. So sharpen those pitches, people. Make it so I absolutely have to pick you.

Good luck!


35 thoughts on “Announcing the 2014 Holiday Giveaway

  1. I hope this is where we are supposed to leave our comment where we pitch our book. 🙂 I’m assuming it is. So, here’s mine:

    Book title: The Dream Descent

    Pitch: A pair of grieving boys—each with a supernatural deal to rescue their own family from Purgatory. When their two souls are forced to share one body, it’s a fight for survival where the winner takes all.
    This sounds like a great giveaway. Super excited!! Also, are we allowed to enter more than once? I have two completed manuscripts, both of which I plan on self-publishing.

    • You are 100% right, this is where you leave your elevator pitches! And yes, you can definitely enter more than one manuscript. 🙂

      Good luck! And thanks for participating!

  2. Book Title: Embers

    Pitch: Branded a failure for her last botched mission, 22-year-old Celosia desperately volunteers for the next one: taking down the corrupt Council with a team of her fellow elementally-gifted mages. But with Council spies, uncontrolled magic, and the distraction of unexpected love, Celosia will have to push her abilities to the breaking point to complete the Ember Operative–and finally prove she’s worthy of redemption.



  3. Great giveaway!

    Here’s why you should pick Callous Fate:

    Dr. John Smith is a prestigious psychiatrist who has heard it all over the years but his new client Nicholas “Nick” Scratch claims that he is the Devil. But after experiencing several violent demonic attacks, Dr. Smith wonders if his client is telling the truth. Fearing for his soul, Dr. Smith races all over Boston in search for a solution to his problems. Some people have enough skeletons to fill a closet while other have enough to fill a crypt but Dr. Smith is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure they stayed buried. But as Dr. Smith soon realizes that the Devil is in the details and those details threaten to shatter a life that was built on lies. Told from Nick Scratch’s perspective, one can’t help but to wonder if he is just clinically insane or if he is the Devil in disguise. It still doesn’t change the fact that Nick Scratch believes that human souls are like diamonds and he intends to collect them-starting with Dr. Smith’s soul and making it his plaything.

    • I accidentally posted something when I wasn’t finished yet. Here is what I meant to write.

      Title: Callous Fate

      Pitch: Dr. John Smith is a prestigious psychiatrist who has heard it all over the years but his new client Nicholas “Nick” Scratch claims that he is the Devil. But after experiencing several violent demonic attacks, Dr. Smith wonders if his client is telling the truth.

  4. Wow! This is a really amazing giveaway – thank you so much!!!

    Book title: MY SOUL TO GIVE

    Pitch: Celina fears the demon she made a deal with has his claws all over her husband’s murder, and she isn’t just an opportunistic soul grab. When she uncovers a way out, she’ll have to decide if she still wants revenge or if she’ll betray a master of deceit in the faint hope of reclaiming her life and soul.

  5. Hi Kisa! Thanks for this awesome opportunity!

    Book Title: Pulse

    Pitch: Rowan Platts, a biology student working on her dissertation, gets in over her head while trying to advance her career, joining onto a secret, government backed research project being held in the laboratories she’s studying at. The midnight transportation of a body-shaped bag and the armed, suited men littering the halls seem right out of a conspiracy theory, but it all makes sense when the subject of their study is revealed; a boy, with striking blue and an uninhibited taste for human blood.

  6. Title: Hello World
    Elevator Pitch: When people become our most advanced technology, Scott takes the help of a human information drive to find his lost sister.
    Why This Story: You’ve already seen the query for this adult sci-fi, I’d love to show you more so you can meet Scott!


    Pitch: Déjà vu takes on a whole new meaning when Daniel Smith, Information Retrieval Unit Agent, learns his recent flashbacks are really the memories of Max Duncan, a scientist who is presumed dead. Daniel vows to solve the mystery of the scientist’s disappearance, and in the process discovers that he and the missing scientist share more than a few memories: They share the same life.

    Why you should take this on: This adult light sci-fi project has an intriguing concept, but could really use the help of a professional editor to get it out into the world. I really like your communication style 🙂

    • Intriguing! You know I’m a sucker for these kinds of complicated narrative webs, so you’ve definitely hooked my eye. Thanks for entering! Best of luck with the random generator gods! 🙂

  8. Hi Kisa,

    I’m very excited to enter your contest! I sent you my #PitMad submission last go around, and I have revised my manuscript a bit since then with the feedback I received since. I haven’t heard back from you yet so I’m hoping this might catch your eye.


    Pitch: Think “Pretty Little Liars” meets Alice In Wonderland. When 23-year-old Elizabeth discovers a dark Wonderland during a meditation, she also discovers that Alice wants her dead. Alice’s warning: “Welcome to Wonderland. Catch me if you can!” Can Elizabeth navigate Wonderland in time, following Alice’s cryptic clues, to find her and escape Wonderland or else be trapped there in Alice’s clutches forever? Conflict: Elizabeth is facing some dark inner demons and an even darker secret. Obstacle: Alice knows her secret, and wants to use it against Elizabeth to seal her fate. Twist: Alice’s true identity will shock you, revealed in their climactic confrontation.

    Why you should take this on: As a book publicist myself I’ve been looking at publishing trends for 2015 and I noticed that this upcoming year not only marks the 150th anniversary of Alice In Wonderland, but re-tellings are a big trend this year. I’m also in the book industry myself so while I’m a first time author I’m not new to this world! I’ve gotten several professional editing eyes on my project and would love your help getting it out there!

    Thanks for your time and consideration, Kisa!


    • Thanks, Anna! I remember this one, and now I’ll have to investigate why you haven’t heard from us yet. But regardless, thank you entering the contest, and for your super professional pitch. Good luck! 🙂

  9. What an incredible giveaway!!!

    Name: Amanda Carney


    Category / Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

    Word Count: 120,000

    Mini Pitch: It begins with awkward words and lingering glances, but Parsley’s connection to the odd man and his dark eyes soon burns bright. So bright it might destroy not only her heart, but her life, too.

  10. Thanks for the giveaway!! As you know, I’ve been crossing my fingers to win a reader report since Ava Jae’s contest. So this is amazing! 🙂

    Title: THE SIX

    The pitch:
    Six high school students in Flagstaff, Arizona test a new social media site where what users do online happens in the real world. When one uses the site to orchestrate the murder of her ex-boyfriend, some of the students race to shut the site down while others will stop at nothing to protect it.

  11. Title: RESCUE ME

    Category/Genre: Commercial/Adult

    Word Count: 84,000

    Pitch: Tired of popping pills, Jimmy quits his meds and lands on the psych ward. His husband Jacoby’s had enough and has to decide: pick Jimmy up like usual or give up and get a divorce.

    I finally found the comments. I think I forgot how to work the internet *facepalm*

  12. I had one all typed out but the phone ate it. Instead, I decided to just paste my synopsis. 🙂 Hope that’s okay.

    The Characters:

    Alex and Ethan Offal

    The Problem:

    Ten-year-old Alex Offal pays his twin Ethan to take his place in the class play but his brainy brother masterminds a stinky and embarrassing climax.

    10-year-old Alex Offal got the lead in the class play! Problem is, he doesn’t want it. To make matters worse, it’s for a grade. And he has to kiss a girl. In front of everybody! Gross!

    He thinks it’s a great idea to bribe his identical twin brother, Ethan, to trade places with him. He will do Ethan’s chores and Ethan can deliver his lines. Ethan agrees to his plan but he wants a contract first. Alex agrees. They both sign and the swap begins. Alex thinks he is safe. With a genius like Ethan in charge of his grade, what could possibly go wrong?


    For starters, it’s harder than he thought to pretend to be Ethan. His attempts at his brother’s obsessive-compulsive habits, advanced vocabulary, and archaic expressions are a tough sell on their parents. Worse still, Jack Butyric, the class bully, discovers their plot and threatens to tell the teachers unless they pay what he wants. Lucky for them, Ethan planned ahead to blackmail Jack.

    But Ethan has even more up his diabolical sleeves than blackmail. Alex learns of Ethan’s stinky plot the same way everyone else does. Thundering through the microphone at the climax of the play. Afterward, Ethan says he just wanted to help his brother. He claims he just wanted to ensure that Alex will never be put in a scenario like this ever again.

    The fart was for his own good.

    Alex isn’t so sure.

    How can Ethan’s explosive flatulence in the play possibly do him any good? Thousands of people heard it! He’ll be going by horrible nicknames the whole rest of his life! Alex intends to clear his name. He doesn’t want to be known as the one who dropped the bomb. Or does he?

    The book ends when his teacher hands him a newspaper review of Ethan’s performance in the play. The critic gave him an 18 star fart!! With that in mind, Alex decides against clearing his name after all. Nobody’s ever had a fart like that! It just might get him in the Guinness Book of World Records!

    Ethan can’t even take credit for it. That makes it all worth it.

    Some say the odor from his brother’s fart still lingers in the air of the gymnasium on hot days.

    Alex feels really sorry for anyone having to smell that Offal stench.

    WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE THIS BOOK: Penguin Young Readers Group expressed interest in it several months ago and I got some really good feedback on it from an editor there. She said that it needed some restructuring but I can’t figure out where to put anything extra in. Also, young boys are the most difficult group to capture and sometimes that means writing about really gross things. Ethan’s advanced vocabulary will expand theirs in a way that’s fun to them. They’ll also identify with the way that Ethan treats Alex. Additionally, due to the high nature of Ethan’s vocabulary, I kept the word count low so as to not make it too intimidating for the readers who are struggling.

    • Yep, it sure did. They linger in moderation until I approve them, so that probably why it wasn’t showing up when you checked. It should be there now, though. 😉

  13. Thanks! I’ve published one book already on my own, it’s a picture book called Tortellini, It’s doing well. We even have a coloring book tie-in. 🙂 I was uncertain if I should stay the course with this particular book or give it another whack. 🙂

  14. Book Title: Define Me
    Genre: F/F contemporary
    Pitch: A geeky girl with a warped sense of humor falls for her fashionista best friend and begins to question everything she thought she knew about love and sexual orientation.

    Why you should take this on: F/F is an underrepresented genre that needs more visibility. This book contains a diverse cast and is written with copious amounts of humor thrown in while dealing with serious topics.

  15. Thank you for another awesome opportunity! I have recently submitted a query to you in response to a #Pitchmas favorite also.


    Pitch: After nineteen-year-old amnesiac Annisten survives a close call with death, members of the highly secured private community of Woodland become very involved in her life. Including Zac, who she can’t stop herself from falling for. She learns about his abilities to show her visions through his eyes and to move at the speed of thought. He informs her that he is from another dimension here to stop others who are taking over human bodies and coming for her. Wesley, who has cared for her, claims that she has a mental illness and that Zac doesn’t exist. Zac claims that Wesley’s body has already been taken over. Annisten must find truth in time. If Zac is right, her lost memories may hold the key to saving the ones she loves.

    Why me: Like most new writers, I have a fulltime job and two teenagers that limit my time to write. After two years of heart-filled dedication to completing this transcript, I am seeking your assistance in advancing to the next step of introducing her to the world.

    Thanks again!
    Crystal Christie

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