Submitting

Is there anything you should avoid in a query that would lead to an automatic rejection?

  Is there anything you should avoid in a query that would lead to an automatic rejection? . People ask me this question all the time, and I want to start by saying that every agent is different, and we probably have different things that make us immediately decline a query. . For many agents,…
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How Many Queries Should I Send Out?

  When you are looking for an agent, how many queries should you send? . The short answer is: as many as it takes! . There are several hundred literary agents out there. Once you’ve narrowed it down to agents who rep your genre, you’ll probably still have a pool of 100, 200, or more.…
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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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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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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 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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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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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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Questions to Ask a Small Publisher

If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance you’re a writer and you’re going to be published someday if you’re not already. In today’s publishing environment, there are plenty of options (as you know) and if you don’t have an agent, you may find yourself talking to a smaller, independent publisher. It’s hard to…
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Mail

Should You Re-Query an Agency?

One of the most common questions I receive is, “When is it okay to send another query to an agent who previously passed?”Another is, “If an agent passed on my query, can I send the query to another person at the same agency?” There are various scenarios to consider, so here’s an overview. First, whenever…
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Botched Communication

  I want to tell you about an incident at a writers’ conference that was sort of heartbreaking for me. We agents have a lot invested in these conferences, just like the writers do, and sometimes we have disappointments too. I met with a writer who pitched me a couple of projects. She seemed like…
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Why You’re Getting Rejections

Awhile back, Nathan Bransford had a terrific post on “Why You Are Receiving Rejections.” He says if you keep getting rejections, it boils down to two reasons: either your query isn’t strong enough, or your query is fine but your project isn’t resonating with agents. So true! He’s nailed it! He’s absolutely right! But I have…
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One book

Why You Should Pitch a Single Book

If you’re like most writers, you’re probably not writing just one book. You’ve written multiple books, possibly in different genres. You may have a whole 3 or 6 or 9-book series planned. So the question naturally arises: Should I pitch my whole series to an agent? Should I tell them about my entire body of work?…
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