Publishing

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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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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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…
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Knowing What We Don’t Know

When facing massive uncertainty, as exists in today’s highly interconnected global economy, it is essential to appreciate both what one does know as well as what one does not know.  ~Vikram Mansharamani Publishing has been operating in an atmosphere of uncertainty for years now. Right now we’re in a pandemic which has affected all businesses as…
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What if We Reject a Bestseller?

A writer asked: “How many bestsellers have slipped through reputable agents’ hands? I am curious to know how an agent deals with such a loss when a bestseller was in their hands and they rejected it.” This is an interesting question, because most editors and agents have passed on books that went on to success (if not…
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Find What You Control, and Take Action

Here are some truths:  We are in the midst of a pandemic and everything is off kilter. Publishing is going to be affected and no one is quite sure what the future looks like. Even before the pandemic, it has always been challenging for writers to get their books traditionally published. With self-published books now…
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