Publishing

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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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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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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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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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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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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