Posts

Going Postal (About Shipping & SASE’s)

Today I went to my P.O. box and found a bunch of manuscripts I’d requested. And as always, a couple of them had been sent Priority Mail or even Express. Here’s my advice: Don’t waste your money! Only send it Priority if the agent or editor has asked you to. Otherwise, sending it Priority is…
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ASK THE AGENT: How I Get Clients

“How do you get most of your clients?” As you know, I’m in a “building” phase of this agenting gig, actively looking for clients. It’s been about three months and I’ve brought 16 writers into the agency. I thought you might find it interesting to know how I got each one. Obviously a great deal…
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How Long Will It Take?

One of the most frequent questions I get is, How long? How long should I wait before following up with an editor on a submission? If I get an offer from a publisher, how long before they send a contract? How long until I see my first check? When will my manuscript be due? When…
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FICTION Platform

Today we’re going to talk about platform for fiction writers. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, a platform isn’t necessary in order to sell your novel to a publisher (although it’s a definite plus). Publishers and agents are still looking for great stories. If you’ve written a wonderful novel, everything else is icing.…
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Non-Fiction Platforms

I’ve had some people tell me lately that they’re starting to hate that word platform. (See yesterday’s comments.) I’ll let you in on a little secret: I feel the same way. I sometimes wish the whole idea of platform would just go away and we’d be free to simply publish the books we love. Like…
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Answering Questions About PLATFORM

I seem to receive more questions about platform than anything else, so I’m doing 3 whole days of posts to try and clear up some mysteries. 8 What is a platform? Your platform refers to the means by which YOU will help sell your book by your presence in the media and/or the public sphere,…
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Ask the Agent: Decisions, Decisions

If you have a bunch of book ideas, how do you decide which ones are viable? FOR NON-FICTION: Spend some time on each idea, one by one. First work on a rough outline of what the book would be. List the themes and topics you’d want to cover. Ask yourself: is there enough material here…
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No Laundry Lists, Please

I wrote previously about authors arguing with me when I send them a rejection (here). They write back trying to convince me that I’m wrong and I should take another look. There’s another kind of “not taking no for an answer” I get sometimes that seems like a better approach because it’s not an argument,…
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ASK THE AGENT: Paying Back Your Advance

Do authors ever have to pay back their advance? I mean, what if the advance is $5,000 but I only sell 2,000 books? Do I have to pay that back, or is that just the gamble that the publisher takes? No, you don’t have to pay back your advance for lack of sales, or at…
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How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book?

Last week I told you how book royalties work, and your comments brought up some important issues. One of them was the idea that the publisher makes a significant financial investment in each writer, with no guarantee that the book will sell. This is important to recognize and understand, because it’s one of the reasons…
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