Friday, March 25, 2016

Giveaway Round-Up!!

Hi :) I don't think I've ever done this before, but I've got several giveaways going on, for different books, in different places, sponsored by different people. It's chaos, I tell ya! :D I decided to gather all the links into one spot for those of you who love to win free books, which is all of you, right? Here you go:

1. Win all of my books! Ends 3/31 (US only)
This one is the mother of all contests, sponsored by Paper Lantern Lit and me, hosted by PLL on their Twitter. In honor of the re-release of Venom as Venomous Kiss, you can win e-copies of all of my work-for-hire books written in collaboration with PLL under the pen name Fiona Paul, plus signed physical copies of all of my solo books. All you have to do to enter is follow @paperlanternlit and @pstokesbooks and retweet this tweet.

2. Win one of my books + a $25 gift card. Ends 3/31 (INT)
This one you have to work for. It's for graphic design types. I'm looking for a great sticker I can use to help promote Girl Against the UniverseCheck out the details! If you've never designed for print but like making quote/image pairings, drop by back the blog in a couple of weeks because I'll be doing a social media graphic contest then.

3. Win Girl Against the Universe. Ends 3/28 (US only)
This is a HarperTeen sponsored ARC giveaway on Goodreads.

4. Win a signed paperback of Liars, Inc. Ends 3/31 (US only)
This is a Goodreads giveaway sponsored by me in honor of Liars, Inc.'s bookaversary :) Liars, Inc. turned one year old on March 24th. I wanted to make this INT--I really did--but paying $20 to send a book that most people worldwide can buy from The Book Depository for $15 didn't seem like a good use of my promotional budget. So I'm sticking to my rule where I pay INT postage mostly to send ARCs. Never fear, more INT contests coming, like this one...

5. Win a signed ARC of Girl Against the Universe. Ends 4/9 (INT)
Check out my guest post over at Pop Goes the Reader and enter to win a signed ARC while you're there. Jen and I are sharing our thoughts about overused and potentially harmful mental illness tropes in movies, TV, and books.

Want more? Upcoming contests include:

6. Win a signed ARC of Girl Against the Universe (INT)
    Win a pre-order of GATU/Vicarious (INT)
Have you entered the YA Scavenger Hunt before? It runs from 3/29 to 4/3. One lucky winner will get a signed GATU ARC as part of a 20-book prize pack. I'll also be running a secondary contest for a pre-order of GATU or Vicarious. Oh and my bonus content is a non-spoilery, swoony phone conversation between Jordy and Maguire <3 See you then!

7. Win a finished hardcover copy of Girl Against the Universe (INT)
Do you like to make quote/image pairings or fan art that can be shared on social media? I'll be running a contest starting on 4/4. Details here on the blog.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Great GATU Sticker Design Contest

It's time for another great Girl Against the Universe contest! Maybe you're not the writerly type so designing a book boyfriend wasn't for you. Maybe you want to show off your design skills instead. Well you're in luck! I'm looking for an awesome sticker to use as part of my GATU promotional material. This sticker will be a 2 inch x 2 inch finished product that I will give out at events and as part of a swag pack for future giveaways, including possibly a pre-order incentive.

Here's an example of a sticker designed by Yun-A Kwak. Note that this sticker was not
created specifically for this contest, so it might not fit the template below.

If you're interested in starting a graphic design business or amping up the business you already have, being able to tell potential clients that you've designed for a multi-published Big Five author might be a nice thing to add to your resumé. The contest is open internationally. Winner gets their choice of a signed finished copy of The Art of Lainey, a signed finished Liars, Inc., or a signed ARC of Girl Against the Universe, plus a $25 B&N gift card. If you live outside the U.S., instead of the gift card I'll let you pick one book from The Book Depository, max price $25. If you win and live in a non-TBD country, I'll give you your choice of any second paperback YA book and pay the shipping to your country. Winner(s) will also receive 5 copies of their printed sticker.

In order to win, the sticker will need to incorporate either the title or part of the GATU cover design/colors in some way. You do not need to do both, unless you want to. You can use your own graphics as long as you are the copyright holder, and/or come up with your own tagline or text. Your sticker must fit the template below and the design must keep the critical graphics and text within the safety lines but extend out through the bleed lines.

In other words, what should print out is everything inside the blue dotted line. However, because the machines aren't perfect, for error-margin reasons, the critical elements need to be inside the green and yellow lines, and the image needs to extend out to the red. This template is from Here is a link in case you need specs, sizes, color information, etc. You can also download templates specific to your design software. In order for your design to be printable, it will need to be high resolution. Here is a link to a high resolution cover image. Let me know if you can't access it.

If you have never designed for printing before, you might want to hang onto your idea because next month I'm doing a GATU quote/image and fan art contest. The prize will be just one book but there also won't be as many technical requirements.

All submitted designs will be shared via my social media. If I like more than one design enough to print it, I will award runner-up prizes. Please note that if you use the cover design, selling these stickers without permission from the designer and artist is a violation of copyright.

Possible text for your sticker:
Your sticker does not need to have text, but it can. If you've read the book, you can use anything that stood out to you. You can also use part of one of the quotes that are listed on Goodreads.  You can make up your own tagline or phrase. Or, if you like, consider this huge list of tags I submitted to my editor when I was flailing for a tagline myself. (Did you think there was some genius in promotions with the title of Executive Tagline Generator? I wish ;D)
  • Life is risk.
  • Luck is a game of inches.
  • Worlds are about to collide.
  • Everything is riding on this.
  • It's time for an upset.
  • Don't count out the underdog.
  • The ball is in your court.
  • Sometimes the Universe just takes what it wants.
  • Sometimes you have to fight for everything.
  • There's a fine line between luck and tragedy.
  • You can't win if you don't play.

  • You can use any part of the cover design and any quotes from the book or make up your own quotes. You can also use one of the suggested taglines from the list above. You cannot use other artwork/images unless they belong to you.
  • My skill in design is very limited, so I am unable to help with technical questions beyond referring you to the Printrunner webpage that is linked above. Again, this contest is primarily for people who have designed for print in the past. Next month's contest will be for digital graphics.
  • Submitting a design means you are giving me permission to share the graphic on my social media and, if selected, print the image for use in distribution for book promotion.
  • You can enter up to three times.

  • Despite the fact that Printrunner shows a bordered sticker in their image, I recommend a solid or repeating pattern background. The problem with a border is that these are machine-printed and if the machine is off even a hair you're going to end up with a thick line on one side and a thin line on the other.
  • Be sure to preview your image at 2 inch X 2 inch size to make sure your text is readable before submitting.
  • Don't worry if your design looks like there's too much space on the outside. Again, what's between the blue and red dotted lines isn't going to print.
  • Have fun with this :)

Final designs need to be emailed to me in your file format of choice plus a .JPG for easy sharing at pstokesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com by March 31, 2016, subject: GATU sticker design contest.

General questions? Put them in the comments.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Great GATU Create a Book Boyfriend WINNER!

Hi :)

First of all, thanks for your patience. I just turned in an 85,000-word  #SeekritBook to Harper for 2017 publication (I hope) that I wrote in six weeks, so that's part of why I needed more time.

Judging your entries involved the following:

  • printing them out so I could read them without knowing who each boy belonged to
  • going through each category and highlighting the things that resonated with me in different color pens
  • adding up the points, looking at the top three with respect to the books I'll be pitching to HarperTeen and Tor Teen later this year (Mostly Harper, since two of the Tor pitches take place abroad, with stories that limit the major characters somewhat)
  • deciding which boy felt like he would fit in one of the books I'll hopefully be writing
  • deciding which boy felt like a boy I could competently write without having to make major changes to him

Please note how subjective those criteria are. If your book boyfriend didn't win, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with him, or you. I appreciate how many of you took the time to do this, despite it being a subjective contest. I hope those of you who are writers used this as an exercise and were encouraged to think more deeply about all of your characters.

So, after a lot of waffling, I have picked a winner and a runner-up:

Don't get the wrong idea. I know nothing about Pokemon ;)

Winner is Alice L and her book boyfriend Aaron Jenkins!! Alice wins a signed ARC of GATU and her choice of any book from Book Depository. I am also going to try to incorporate Alice's book boyfriend in a 2018 or 2019 novel.

Aaron Jenkins is half Italian, half Japanese, with dark brown hair and dark eyes. He's 5'11" and has an athletic body type. He is an atheist. He has a little crook in his nose from when broke his nose by accidentally walking into a glass door. He has a dimple on his right cheek, a scar on his chin (from when he went skateboarding and fell), and slightly chapped lips.

Aaron stole my teen girl heart with his chapped lips, his "swishy" hair (it's one of his best features) and his personal ad:

Hi, my name is Aaron, and I love animals (but not in a weird way), puns, and the Oxford comma. I can cook sometimes and I'm really good at kissing (and maybe a little more, wink wink).

I love me some Oxford commas ;) I also really like Aaron's deepest regret "teasing that girl in elementary school relentlessly" and his words to live by "Why bother with a cunning plan when a simple one will do?" I was not familiar with this quote. Google tells me it is credited to Terry Pratchett. Mostly, Aaron feels very real to me, and he also feels like a boy I could incorporate seamlessly into a future romantic contemporary book.

Runner-up is Sarah M and her book-boyfriend Parker Lewis!! Because it was so hard for me to choose, I'm giving Sarah her choice of a signed copy of The Art of Lainey, Liars, Inc., or a signed GATU ARC. Sarah, please email me your choice to pstokesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com

Parker Lewis is half white/half black, bisexual, 5'11, 175 lbs, brown hair, hazel eyes. Has a scar on his forehead after falling out of his treehouse when he was eight, has a particularly dark freckle under his right eye, and when he gets nervous, his stutter comes back.

In addition to being a diverse guy, Parker has really diverse hobbies like rock-climbing and origami. I love that his deepest hope is "to travel the world" and his words to live by are "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all." (Ambrose Redmoon.)

Overall, there were colored pen marks on every single entry meaning that every one of you wrote things that made me stop and go "Ooh, nice." Your personal ads were particularly fun. I will resist the urge to excerpt from them so this blog post doesn't get excessively long, but thank you all for the enjoyable time I spent hanging out with your book boyfriends :) 

And again, there are no losers here, all right? Similar to the same way an agent will read a submission, my decisions were based on gut instinct and personal preference as much as anything else.

Congrats to Alice and Sarah, and thanks again to everyone who entered. And if I can sell more books *fingers crossed* hopefully you'll see Aaron Jenkins in a Paula Stokes book someday :)

In the meantime, are you in the mood for another fabulously fun contest?? Check back next week for the Great GATU Sticker Design Contest. Prizes to be decided :)