Publishing

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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,…
Read More

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,…
Read More

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.…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

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.…
Read More

Announcing Author School’s Next Session

Two years ago, my partners and I launched Author School with our inaugural course, “Pen to Published.” Since then we’ve had a great time walking through the basics of writing, publishing and platform-building with 700+ students. The responses at the end of the course have positive (well, raving actually!), as in this review from student…
Read More

Finding Comparable Books

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 if you…
Read More

Free Workshop! Tuesday 9-15-20

. Hey writers, I’m offering a free 1-hour online workshop in advance of the next session of my Pen to Published course at Author School (which starts Sept. 29th and registration is open https://authorschool.com/rachelle/). In this free workshop, we’re going to cover eight things you need to focus on as you pursue publishing. There will…
Read More