Elle Cosimano




With the new year upon me, I’m reflecting back on 2017’s successes as well as lessons learned. I’m also looking ahead, revisiting my goals, marketing plans, and my policies with regard to author events.

If you are interested in scheduling an author event, I am available for conferences panels, writing workshops, speaking engagements, and school visits. You can learn more about that here.

But before you do, I want to share a few of my lessons learned, as well as some online resources I’ve found for making the most of your author events.



Legal Requirements of the School District

Some school districts have adopted firm background check policies with regard to school visits in order to meet state laws or jurisdictional rules. Schools may require visitors to be fingerprinted by local law enforcement offices, have a liability insurance policy, or to submit to background checks before the event. Fees are usually associated with these processes, and also time commitments. School representatives should be aware of their jurisdictional requirements and plan accordingly. Authors should be informed in advance if they will be required to visit the district ahead of time to complete any necessary fingerprinting or paperwork, especially for those flying in from out of state (or country). I recommend authors include provisions for this in their contracts, and ask educators to confirm with their administrators before scheduling.



Event Contracts

A contract is just a written agreement between the author and the host of the event (usually a school or library). A well-executed agreement is a great way to protect everyone involved in the event of an unforeseen cancellation. It’s also the best way to make certain everyone, including the author, the publisher, booksellers, administrators, educators, and students, are all on the same page regarding expectations for the event.

Authors (especially debut authors): If you schedule your own author events, I strongly recommend having an Author Event Contract in your tool kit. Planning events is time-consuming, and often requires a lot of pre-paid expenses on the author’s part. A contract will protect you from financial loss in the event of an unforeseen cancellation by your host. As a general rule, I do not book any non-refundable travel arrangements or hold a date without a signed agreement. If you do not have a template for a clear, concise, comprehensive event contract, ask around within the author community, or drop me a line. I’m happy to share a copy of mine.

Educators/Hosts: Check with your administrators before scheduling an event, and definitely before suggesting the author pack bags and book flights. Does your school district require W9s, a written agreement generated by the school district office, a copy of the invoice, or anything else prior to budget approval? Does your county or state require background checks, fingerprinting, or liability insurance policies for non-professional school visitors? How long do these processes take, how much do they cost, and who schedules them?


Now that we’ve gotten all this messy contract stuff out of the way, here are some amazing posts, interviews, and checklists I’ve found to help educators plan dynamic, successful author visits. Have any questions about making the most of your author events? Drop them in the comment section below!












02, 2018 |

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AHHHHHH!!!!!  I am so excited to finally be able to share this news! WHEN WE WAKE is now listed on Goodreads. Go forth and add it to your TBR shelves!




23, 2017 |

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#TweetATree Contest Winners!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the #TweetATree contest. I loved seeing your pics. And I can’t wait to personalize these books and send off these gorgeous prize packs!

Here are the Twitter handles of our five winners. If you’ve won a prize pack, use the CONTACT form on this web site to send me your shipping address. (Remember, prize packs will only be shipped to UPS eligible addresses in the US or Canada. Prizes must be claimed by July 7th.)

NOTE TO WINNERS: In the comments form of the contact page, please remember to provide the following–

  1. Your complete name as it should appear on the UPS sticker
  2. Your full shipping address (UPS eligible only)
  3. An email address in case we need to reach you
  4. Your name as you would like it to appear in your personalized, signed copy of The Suffering Tree

Ensconced in Lit‏ @CAhnBooks

Steph‏ @StephanieMorera 

hannah‏ @hannahsandgren

TheLibraryLarvae‏ @LibraryLarvae

everything is the wo‏ @vegandaemon


Hooray and congrats to all the winners! I look forward to sending out your prizes very soon.



29, 2017 |

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THE SUFFERING TREE Prize Pack Giveaway!



My next creepy, mysterious YA thriller, THE SUFFERING TREE, releases TOMORROW, June 13th, with Disney Hyperion. To celebrate, I’m hosting a contest with a tree-mendous giveaway!



Each of the five winners will receive one prize package containing a signed, personalized hardback copy of THE SUFFERING TREE plus bookmark, sticker, and a gorgeous original, handcrafted Tree Ring Moleskine Journal.





Five winners will be chosen at random. Remember to use the hashtag #TweetATree so we can find your tweets and shares!



Simply Tweet an original photo of your favorite tree (it can be spooky, atmospheric, beautiful, hulking, willowy, blooming, or bare… just make sure the tree is the focus of the photo) along with any of the following captions:


#TweetATree! I entered to win THE SUFFERING TREE release day prize pack #giveaway! http://bit.ly/2stFyxH


#TweetATree for a chance to win this epic tree-themed #giveaway! #TheSufferingTree http://bit.ly/2stFyxH


Check out this treelicious prize pack #giveaway! #TweetATree #TheSufferingTree http://bit.ly/2stFyxH


Want to write your own caption? Tree-rific! Just be sure to include a link to the contest post http://bit.ly/2stFyxH, plus the #TweetATree hashtag.

Want to earn bonus entries? Share your #TweetATree photo plus caption with hashtag on Instagram, Tumblr, or Facebook for up to three more chances to win!







  1. Photos must be your own, (or you must have permission of the owner of the photo to use the image in this contest).
  2. Winners must provide a valid UPS shipping address. Prize packs will be shipped via UPS to the US/CAN only.
  3. Contest period will run from noon EDT June 12th to noon June 26th, at which time the contest will close to entries and winners will be chosen at random.
  4. Winners will be announced here on my blog at noon EST on June 30th. Winners must claim their prize by email, including a valid UPS shipping address, no later than July 7th.
  5. Entries must contain the #TweetATree hashtag and contest link to be eligible.
  6. You may enter up to 2x per day via Twitter. Only 2 tweet entries per person per day will be included as entries in the final drawing.
  7. One bonus entry may be earned for sharing your tweet on Instagram, Facebook, or Tumblr, for a maximum total of 3 bonus entries during the contest period.



Just for fun, before you rush off to snap that pic of your favorite tree, comment below with your answer to one of the following questions:

–           If I could be any tree in any place in any time period, I would be a . . .


–           I can’t wait to read THE SUFFERING TREE because . . .


Thanks for participating!

Can’t wait to see your pics!





12, 2017 |

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It’s official! The cover reveal for my upcoming YA thriller, THE SUFFERING TREE (coming June 13, 2017 from Disney*Hyperion), is now live at YA Books Central! Stop by and enter for a chance to win a pre-order PLUS a signed copy of HOLDING SMOKE! And check out a little love note from me, my inspiration for the story, and my thoughts on this exquisite illustrated cover! Do you love it? Want to read it? Don’t forget to add it to your GR shelf today!


30, 2016 |

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Many readers of HOLDING SMOKE responded that the story made them think differently–that it opened their mind to questions about youthful offenders and their lives. Many expressed a curiosity to understand more about the world in which Smoke, Ben, and Martín lived.

Research was tough for this book. Because of privacy laws surrounding juvenile offenders, I was unable to physically tour a youth correctional facility, so I relied heavily on documentaries, news articles, and first-hand accounts by professionals who’ve worked in these kinds of environments. While the “Y” in HOLDING SMOKE is a fictional setting, it’s based on details gleaned from very real places.

Here’s a look into some of my research. I’m including links to videos that will take you inside a few of these facilities, and into the day-to-day experiences of those who live and work within them. I’ll also include some links to websites and articles below. Note, not all of these are prisons. Some are jails or detention centers, which house juveniles awaiting trial. Some are prisons/correctional facilities/rehabilitation facilities, where juveniles might serve out their time after conviction and sentencing.

If you connected with Smoke and you loved his story, please consider leaving a review on your favorite retail site.

Thanks for reading!

(Below: not a similar facility to the Y, but an example of a riot and escape in a youth detention facility.)

Pendleton in Indiana: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendleton_Juvenile_Correctional_Facility


Pendleton in the news: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-02-26/young-murderer-gingerich/53251806/1


Pine Grove in Pennsylvania: http://articles.philly.com/2001-04-02/news/25330601_1_juvenile-offenders-young-offenders-violent-juvenile-crime


Joliet in Illionois: http://www.thejha.org/joliet


Okeechobee in FL: http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93861&page=1


also http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2001-03-14/news/0103140386_1_lionel-tate-young-inmates-juvenile-justice


Red Rock Academy/Summit View in Nevada:


 (A re-purposed max sec adult facility used as a max sec youth prison, as was the case with the “Y” in HOLDING SMOKE.)


For those looking for an compelling non-fiction book on the subject, Last Chance in Texas: The Redemption of Criminal Youth by John Hubner is an inside look into the Giddings State School in Texas, which was designated a max sec juvenile correctional facility in 1980 and has housed some of the states most violent youth offenders. (In Holding Smoke, the ideas for the warden’s mentor program and his conference in Texas were inspired by the programs instituted by this prison.)


26, 2016 |

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Nearly Found Giveaway!


I came home and found a surprise box of NEARLY FOUND paperbacks in my mailbox! I can’t travel with all these extra books, so let’s have a giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win a signed paperback of NEARLY FOUND plus a Nearly Gone Clue Journal by August 1!

Rafflecopter will choose 20 lucky winners! This contest is open to US residents only. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


19, 2016 |

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I get a lot of email from readers. I love hearing from fans of Nearly and Reece (and now Smoke too!). And I do my best to reply to every inquiry. But lately, most of you are asking the same question, and so I thought it would be a good idea to answer it here on the blog.

Question: When will you write another Nearly book?

Sadly, the answer is not up to me.

Actually, it’s up to you.

I’ll explain why.

I would love to write another Nearly book! When I sold Nearly Gone to Penguin, we sold it as a two-book deal with the hopes that we could publish more books in the series,  *if* it was popular and successful, and *if* we had enough sales to make the investment of a third book worthwhile to the publisher. It costs the publisher a lot of money to produce, market, and distribute a book, and they carefully evaluate the financial success of a book when deciding whether or not to invest in that series again.

By most measures, the Nearly books have been incredibly successful! Nearly Gone has won awards and recognition and both books have received critical acclaim. Nearly has a lot of fans and readers out there. But we haven’t seen enough sales of the books to make a third installment possible. And by sales, I mean actual sales. Not downloads. Not free ebooks. Not pirated copies. I mean legit sales. That’s what counts when the publisher factors in the actual, measurable financial success of the book.

So… back to the question.

Yes! I would LOVE to write another Nearly book. Yes, I do want to share answers to all your burning questions about Nearly and Reece and her father. But in order to do this, we need to sell a LOT of books. This is true for all beloved series books. But the good news is, there are ways YOU can help.


Ways to help your favorite series live a longer life:

  1. Buy the books… Free downloads and illegal copies do not count toward the sales figures publishers use when determining the success of a book. If you want your favorite authors to be able to keep writing about your favorite characters, the best thing you can do for them is to purchase a copy of the book from an authorized seller.
  2. Pre-Order the next book in the series as soon as it becomes available. Don’t wait until the release date to show your support for the series. Decisions about future books are made very early on. The stronger the pre-order sales, the higher the likelihood the publisher will consider renewing the series beyond that next book.
  3. Can’t afford to buy it? Check it out from your local library. If they don’t have it, request it! Libraries buy LOTS of books, and the higher the demand for a book, the more copies they try to keep on their shelves.
  4. Write a review! Did you know that when you write a review on Amazon, it helps the author? More reviews mean more promotional opportunities for that book. Amazon gives better visibility to books with more reviews. You can also share your reviews on Goodreads, B&N, and your local library’s website. Every review helps build exposure and buzz for your favorite books.
  5. Tell your librarians, teachers, and friends about your favorite books. Referrals are a great way to build buzz for a book.
  6. Ask your school or local library to host an author event. Inviting the author to your community is a great way to support the authors, by encouraging more people to discover them.
  7. Donate a copy. Already bought one? Have some cash to spare? Consider buying a copy for a local hospital, homeless shelter, prison reading program, or a school with limited library resources.

So the next time someone asks, “Elle, when will you write another Nearly book?”, my answer will be, “That’s entirely up to you.”

Crossing fingers we can make it happen someday.

Thanks for reading!




23, 2016 |

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Spring 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt


Welcome to the Spring 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to access exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are eight contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the ORANGE TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, a green team, a teal team, a blue team, a purple team, a pink team, etc… for a chance to win a whole different set of books!


Orange Team (1)If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.


And don’t forget to read all the way through! Stick around at the end of this page for a chance to win my other books and some excellent HOLDING SMOKE SWAG!


Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve hidden a secret number in red. Collect the hidden numbers of all the authors on the orange team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).


Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.


Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 3rd at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.




Today, I am hosting author Austin Aslan on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!


Austin Aslan was inspired to write his young adult sci-fi survival eco-thrillers The Islands at the End of the World and The Girl at the Center of the World while living with his wife and two children on the Big Island of Hawai`i, where he earned a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo. A National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, he can often be found exploring the wilds of northern Arizona in a tent on a punctured air mattress. In other lives, Austin drove ambulances way too fast, served as an ecotourism Peace Corps Volunteer in a Honduran cloud forest, and managed a variety of local, state, and federal issue campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @Laustinspace.


As sixteen-year-old Leilani and her family learn to live without electronics, farming the land as her ancestors did, she finds strength in her relatives, her friendships, and her strange connection to the Emerald Orchid–the force whose presence caused global devastation–but suffers regret over what she must do to survive. An exciting and satisfying sequel that continues the thrilling ideas and adventure of THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD.

WOW! I can think of about 50,316 reasons to listen to Austin’s exclusive content below! Fascinated? You can also find out more information by checking out Austin’s website or find more about Austin’s book here!



During the Tucson Festival of Books I was honored to be one of a handful of YA authors interviewed by a dynamic group of Tucson teens, others among them including Andrew Smith, Emily Lockhart, Lisa McMann, Isabel Quintero, Jennifer Nielson, and John Rocco! Their interviews are also available following the link.

I realize you’re not not likely to listen to this full interview (if you do have time, go for it!), but check out the excerpt, at least, if you have a second!





And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by all the amazing authors on the orange team! To enter, you need to know my secret number… Did you find it? Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the orange team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!





Enter this Rafflecopter drawing for a chance to win a little extra something from me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, the extraordinary Paula Stokes!


What’s in Elle’s shorts?

A lot of readers have emailed to share their excitement over NEARLY FOUND (coming June 2, 2015) and HOLDING SMOKE (coming in 2016). I know, I know… June is a long time to wait, and a lot of you have asked if I’ve written anything else? The short (very short) answer is yes! I have a few short stories and essays floating out in the world and I am happy to share them with you.


The Good, The Bad, and The Uncertain in The Huffington Post: in which I talk about the lessons I learned as a prison warden’s daughter, and how my childhood shaped my thoughts on character development.

What’s In A Name? on The Big Idea with John Scalzi: how I named my character, Nearly Boswell, and the Big Idea behind Nearly Gone.

Short Stories:

*UPDATE (Nov. 19, 2015):  It has come to my attention that the staff at Goodreads classifies short stories as follows: “any short stories made available online do actually count as books”. For this reason, I’ve withdrawn the short story material from the Tumblr site where these fun little serial story experiments were originally posted, to avoid confusing readers and diluting my bibliography with serial projects that were never intended to be distributed or marketed as ebooks. These shorts were originally posted in the spirit of sharing raw and unedited test material with fans and readers for fun. They were never intended to be promoted or marketed as ebooks. I apologize to anyone who would otherwise have enjoyed them, that I can no longer make them “available online”.

The Thaw (Urban Fantasy): Winter and Spring are ill-fated assassins, in love but unable to share their seasons on earth.

The Oath (Horror): a group of teenage girls try to shirk a pledge that binds them to a possessive and deadly poltergeist.

When The Angel Comes (Magical Realism): the angel of death replays a man’s life choices through an old silent film.

Three Little Words (Dark Contemporary): the birth of a pyromaniac.

The No-Tell Motel (Psychological Thriller): a twist on the old urban legend of The Vanishing Hotel Room.

The Hand That Feeds (Thriller): metamorphosis of a sociopath.





07, 2014 |

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