Submitting

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I Write Multiple Genres – How Do I Choose An Agent?

Dear Rachelle: I am about to search for an agent. My first book is a memoir, and an agent said he would like to see it. My second book will be a novel, set in South Africa. I believe it will sell very well in South Africa, less so in the USA. Do I select…
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broken heart

Decoding Query Rejections

In yesterday’s blog comments, Marielena wrote about the responses she was getting to her query letter. She said: I know it’s probably individual to each agent, but what makes a book “not a good fit” — is that a polite way of saying the book still needs work? That’s a good question, Marielena. Yes, it’s…
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Simultaneous Submissions

Writers often ask whether it’s okay to do simultaneous submissions, meaning sending your query to multiple agents at one time. Just to ease your mind, most agents agree that it doesn’t make sense not to do simultaneous submissions. It’s too inefficient to send something to one agent, then wait until they respond before sending to…
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Classic books

How Important Is Your Book Title?

I was talking to a writer who mentioned she hadn’t worked too hard to come up with a great title for her book. When I asked her why, she said she’d been to a workshop taught by an editor at a major publishing house, who said, “Don’t get too attached to your title — there’s a good…
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Advice for Agents (Including Me)

I’m teaching at two writers’ conferences this month, and that means I’ll have quite a few one-on-one meetings with writers. There are plenty of blog posts giving advice to authors for how to behave at conferences… but for some reason, we never see advice for agents! I guess we’re just supposed to know this stuff by osmosis or something.…
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stack of letters

When to Re-Query an Agent

One of the most common questions I receive is, “When is is okay to send another query to an agent who previously passed?” Sometimes people are talking about re-sending a query for the same book that was already queried; the writer has either improved the query or improved the book and wants another shot. Other times,…
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Rejected

Think YOU Don’t Like Pass Letters?

Neither do I. Here’s a look at some that have hit my inbox: “It’s not clear who the intended audience really is.” “It felt like a class research paper at times.” “I like the plot and hate the execution.” “The setup has so much potential for conflict, yet the story is dull.” “The content and…
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woman with luggage

What Should I Bring to a Conference?

Hi Rachelle, I have a question about attending a fiction conference. Lots of posts are flying around the Internet about bringing one sheets and the first 1-2 chapters of each novel to give to editors when meeting with them. I’m going to design a really nice one-sheet with 1-paragraph synopses of my two novels. Should…
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How To Write A Query Letter

*The Definitive Guide* Query letters are a recurring theme here since every writer needs one, and there are hundreds of posts online full of query advice. But I wanted to give you a simple, straightforward set of instructions. Queries should include the following three elements: Something about the book – enough to make the agent want more  Something…
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How To Write a Book Proposal

There are several books available on writing book proposals. My favorites are: Write the Perfect Book Proposal by Jeff Herman. I like this one because it contains ten real-life proposals that sold. The Literary Agent’s Guide to Writing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal by Andy Ross. This one’s short and to-the-point, and the last time I…
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Elevator Pitch Critiques

How about some critiques of those elevator pitches? I’m impressed and amazed at how many of you contributed them in the comments to my post last Wednesday. Obviously I won’t be able to critique most of them, but hopefully you’ll get something out of these few that I’m going to address. A couple things before…
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Nervous Wreck

Crafting Your Elevator Pitch

I hope you’re learning something from this tutorial on verbal pitches! Today’s the day I’m going to ask for your pitches in the comments so pay attention. One of the keys to pitching that I haven’t mentioned yet is the correct timing of a verbal (or elevator) pitch. When do you give one? The answer…
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glass_elevator_cruise

Your Verbal Pitch

10 Tips for a Winning Elevator Pitch Continuing on our theme of pitching your book… today I’m going to give a few tips on creating a brief verbal pitch for your book. 1. Remember that you are going to be talking to someone. While many of these tips can apply to written pitches, pay attention to the fact…
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Pitching Your Novel

Last week we discussed pitching your project to agents and editors at a writers’ conference. Today I wanted to address that a little more. One thing I’ve noticed lately in fiction pitches – verbal pitches or queries – is that some writers want to tell all about the theme or the emotional journey of the…
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