Submitting

Sharp pencils

Writing a One-Sentence Summary

Let’s discuss the one-sentence summary, also known as a logline, a hook, or a one-sentence pitch. What: About 25 words that capture your novel, memoir, or non-fiction book. Why: To get someone interested in reading your book. When to use it: The start of a query, book proposal, or anytime someone asks you, “What’s your…
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8 Things To Do While You Wait

I heard a delightful interview with NY Times bestselling author Paula Brackston on the Grammar Girl podcast, in which she talked about the writing process and the life of a writer. “I was one of those overnight successes that takes about ten years. I’d been trying to get a novel published for a long time. I wrote short…
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What Not to Say in a Query

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a huge fan of candy corn.” Okay, I know you’d never put that in your query (unless your book is about candy corn). It tells me something about you, yes, but it’s not actually relevant to the project you’re pitching me. You know better than to do…
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God Told Me to Write This Post

People always ask me about the clichés we hear in queries, and last week someone asked me what makes my eyes glaze over in a pitch. Here it is, hands-down: “God told me to write this.” And let’s not forget its many variations. God laid it on my heart. God gave me this idea. God…
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Questions on Queries

Here are a few questions I often receive about queries and what I say in response: You said “don’t pitch a novel unless it’s complete.” Do you feel the same about query letters? Do we only query completed works, or are ideas fair game? If you are sending a query to an agent, only pitch…
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Don’t Send Me Everything You’ve Got

I’ve written previously about authors arguing with me when I send them a rejection. 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, but…
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How to Write a Terrific Author Bio

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how difficult it can be to write about yourself in a bio—after all, you’re a writer! But I understand it’s not as simple as that, so here are a few tips to make it easier. Write your bio in first person for query letters, third person for most other purposes…
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Knocking on door

Steps for Approaching an Agent

So, I happened across a Facebook group for writers and there was a discussion about finding an agent. One of the writers mentioned that an agent to whom she’d submitted had requested a book proposal for her non-fiction book. Her question was: What is a book proposal? Perfectly good question. But it shows this writer needs…
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Answering Questions about Queries

I get mail! My inbox is always filled with questions. Today I’m answering some I’ve received on the topic of Query Letters. You’ve said on your blog, “don’t pitch a novel unless it’s complete.” Do you feel the same about query letters? Do we only query completed works, or are ideas fair game? If you…
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Minimize the Obstacles

I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview: When you’re a debut author trying to break in to traditional publishing, one of the most important things to remember is this: Minimize the obstacles. You already know it’s not going to be easy to break in, so you want to avoid making it even…
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Pitching Your Projects

I’ve posted on this topic numerous times, but since I’m going to a conference this week and will be hearing dozens of pitches, I wanted to go over (once again) some tips for pitching to agents and editors. We can probably all agree on the “don’ts” of pitching your project. Don’t pitch in the bathroom.…
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Creatively Pitching Your Project

I’m blogging over at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview: This week, we’ve been telling you about our experiences at the ICRS convention where we spent the bulk of our time talking with publishers and editors about you — our clients. These meetings put us in the same position you’re in at a writer’s…
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sigh

Query Lines to Make an Agent Sigh

I was going through my current batch of query letters, and while many of them are very good, it reminded me how difficult it is to write a strong pitch. You have to accomplish so many things in a concise format: introduce your book in a way that the agent wants to read it; give…
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Secrets of a Great Pitch

Next week I’m headed out to the ACFW conference (American Christian Fiction Writers) and I’m sure I’ll see some of you there! Rachel’s post yesterday on the Books & Such blog gave some great advice about talking to agents and editors at conferences: It’s Not All About the Pitch. But I know many of you…
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