Rachelle Gardner

What would make my memoir stand out to a publisher?

📚 First, it’s important to know that a memoir is not your life story (that’s an autobiography). Your memoir is a piece of your story, centered around a particular time or event in your life that sent you on a different trajectory. 📚 Make sure you know your theme. Is it a coming of age…
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Should you pay for a critique or professional edit?

If you’re looking for an objective opinion—one that doesn’t come from your writing partner, critique partner or your best friend—then paying a professional editor may be a good idea. Someone who hasn’t been involved all along in your brainstorming and writing process can look at your book with a fresh mindset and point out things…
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What are Beta Readers and What do they Do?

Beta readers are a writer’s taste-testers. After your manuscript is complete and you’ve gone through a couple rounds of revisions with your critique partners, and you feel like it’s as “final” as it’s going to get, you give it to 1 or 2 beta readers before submitting to agents and/or publishers. Many contracted authors use…
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Should I accept a contract from a small press or wait for a large house? Or should I self-publish?

This is kind of like that old show “The Price is Right.” Do you want the new living room set, or the unknown behind door number two??? It’s a tough decision, not knowing exactly what your choices are. . First, ask yourself: In my heart of hearts, do I WANT a large publisher, or will…
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Should you enter writing contests?

  ✍🏼 It’s a personal decision, but there are a few good reasons writers enter contests. ✍🏼 First, the prize money! That’s always nice. ✍🏼 But what if you don’t win? Was your time spent entering the contest wasted? ✍🏼 Entering the right contests can be helpful for writers of both fiction and non-fiction. The…
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An incredibly exciting and yet bittersweet announcement!

This is an incredibly exciting and yet bittersweet announcement! 💙 We’ve been waiting so long to tell you about this beautiful book that Rachel Held Evans wrote. Brilliant children’s book author Matthew Paul Turner finished and fully realized it, along with our gifted illustrator Ying Hui Tan. It’s the fulfillment of one of Rachel’s many…
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What can an agent do for me? Do I need one? How much do they cost?

  . If your goal is to publish your book with a medium to large traditional, royalty-paying publishing house—then you want to seek agent representation. Very few large houses these days accept submissions from unagented authors. . Getting an agent is one way to know you’re on the right track. If you get a yes…
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How Do I Find Comps for My Book?

The dreaded comps! When you’re trying to interest an agent or publisher in your book, you’re often asked to provide “comps” — other books that could be compared to yours, or books that might compete with yours. A good book proposal always has a “Competition” or “Comparable Books” section, and even if you’re self-publishing, it helps…
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Can I Use Song Lyrics in My Book?

Song lyrics! It’s oh-so-tempting to use them in your novel, isn’t it? Or your memoir. Songs can be so evocative… they can express that exact right feeling in the exact right way. But hold up. Sometimes it’s not the best idea. If you’re going to include lyrics – or excerpts from poetry – you’ll need…
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Guest Post: 5 Common Proposal Mistakes – An Acquisitions Editor Shares Some Tips

by Kara Leonino, Tyndale House Publishers When she walked over, all the signs were there. I could tell that her smile was trying to say, “I am excited to be here,” but fear was hovering close. As she sat down, I could see the subtle shaking in her hands and the lilt of her voice…
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Why Would Someone Want to Read Your Book?

You probably know why you’re writing your book. But do you have a good handle on what would make someone want to read it? It’s important for you to not only know this, but make sure it comes through any time you’re talking about your book — pitching it, writing a query, writing a proposal…
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Help! Someone is Using My Book Title!

  Book titles! Here’s the important thing to remember: **YOU CANNOT COPYRIGHT A TITLE.** This is why you see the same titles on multiple books, movies, songs, albums – any creative work. Nobody has a claim on any particular title. You want to name your book The Godfather? Go for it. When you’re thinking about…
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Why is it so Hard to Find an Agent?

Ah, the age-old dilemma. How to get an agent? Why does it seem like such an uphill battle? It even sometimes feels like agents are actively trying to keep you out! Exactly WHY is it so hard? First, let me be clear: we agents love nothing more than saying YES. Our favorite things are finding…
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How Long Should My Book Be?

Word counts! Here are some ideal word count ranges. If you’re trying to break in, stay within these guidelines to decrease your obstacles to getting published. Adult fiction: 75k-100k words (sweet spot is 80-90) Sci-fi or fantasy can be up to 120k. YA fiction: 50-90k Nonfiction: 70-80k Memoir: 75-95k Self-help: 40-55k Children’s picture books: 300-1000…
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