Rachelle Gardner

Do I Need a Book Proposal?

Book proposals! Who needs them, and when? You need to prepare a book proposal if you’re pursuing traditional publishing (as opposed to indie) and you’re writing NON-FICTION (including memoir). If you’re writing fiction, then you don’t need a full proposal, but you’ll need to prepare a synopsis, and probably gather some comps as well. There…
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Will an Agent Be Interested in My Self-Published Book?

So you have an indie-published book and you’re thinking about pursuing traditional publishing? That’s fantastic. Welcome! Most agents and publishers aren’t interested in your already-published book. Instead, we want to see your NEXT book. I’ve seen wonderful indie-published books that have sold units in the six figures, and traditional publishers still didn’t bite. Why? Partly…
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Do Debut Authors Have a Chance at Getting Published?

New writers often worry that there’s no place for them in publishing. I constantly hear writers calling it a catch-22. “You can’t get published if you’ve never been published.” That couldn’t be further from the truth! Publishers are in constant need of fresh voices, so they’re always looking for a strong debut author. In fact,…
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How do I Know if I Need a Literary Agent?

There are different kinds of publishers you can approach – from traditional, full-service publishers that operate on the advance + royalty model; to smaller publishers that use a co-op or hybrid model (author and publisher share costs); to self-publishing companies in which the author pays the costs. Most of the publishers in the first group,…
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Introducing Gardner Literary

  Hey friends! I’ve opened a new agency. Here’s the full press release: Literary agent Rachelle Gardner, formerly of Books & Such Literary Management, announces the formation of Gardner Literary, a full-service agency representing diverse authors at the crossroads of faith and culture. Gardner has been an agent since 2007 when she joined WordServe Literary.…
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What’s the Secret to a Great Query Letter?

Query letters! We all have to write them (yes, even agents) and they’re SO important. What’s the secret? It’s understanding this most important point: The purpose of a query is get someone to want to read your manuscript. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not to explain your whole book or tell your whole story. It’s…
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What is Considered a Strong Author Platform These Days?

Platform! Everyone’s favorite subject. If you’re writing a nonfiction book, you’ll need to build a platform before getting a publisher and ideally, before you submit to agents. Think of platform as a fun and positive part of the journey. Your goal is to build a community, to engage in conversations, and to become a trusted…
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Do I Need to Write My Whole Book Before Finding a Publisher?

Should you write the whole book first? Quick answer: Fiction: Yes, a complete manuscript is required (assuming you’re a debut author) Nonfiction: You typically need three solid chapters along with a book proposal. You don’t have to write the whole book. Some notes based on my experience: If you’re only sending 3 chapters, make sure…
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There is no rejection, only redirection

This is a quote from author Matt Haig in his book “The Midnight Library.” But I think — maybe? — he wrote it with a wink toward his fellow writers. Isn’t it freeing to think of rejection as REDIRECTION? I’ve always said that every “no” gets you that much closer to a YES. Every “no”…
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Can I Write in Both Fiction and Nonfiction? Can I Write in More Than One Genre?

  Oh writers, you’re so darn creative. Always wanting to branch out! Wanting to write different kinds of books! Okay, so, as an artist, you have complete freedom to do what you want. However as a published author, i.e. a businessperson, you have to think of things besides your creative freedom. There’s branding — will…
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Should I Edit as I Go, or Save the Editing for Later?

Who’s excited about the crappy first draft??!! That’s what we’re shooting for. While a few writers find success through editing along the way and making everything perfect as they go, MOST are better off writing whole chapters or even whole books before going back for revisions. Some authors use a technique called “fast drafting” in…
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Identify Your Novel’s Genre

Writers often ask me, “How do I figure out what genre my book is?” While the answer is straightforward for some people, it can be a tricky question for others. It becomes even more complicated if you’re also resisting the idea that you have to put a classification or label on your novel at all.…
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Is This What You’re Feeling Right Now?

I sat down to write this post and just kind of stared at the screen for a while. Found myself clicking over to Facebook for a bit, then resolutely back here to write. Hopped over to check email but there’s nothing new since ten minutes ago. Has anyone texted me lately? No. Back here to…
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Minimize the Obstacles to Publication

When you’re a debut author trying to break in to traditional publishing, one of the most important things to remember is this: Minimize the obstacles. You already know it’s not going to be easy to break in, so you want to avoid making it even more difficult on yourself. This is why agents give so much advice…
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