Submitting

Reasons for Submission Guidelines

As you know, almost all agents have Submission Guidelines posted on their websites and/or blogs. Agents who blog and Twitter always remind writers to follow guidelines, and some agents reject without responding if you don’t follow them. But why are the guidelines so important? Are we just picky and anal people, obsessed with power and…
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Agent Query Policies: Stop the Griping!

Ever since I’ve been an agent, I’ve listened to writers complain about the unpleasant aspects of the publishing industry. Part of my job is helping authors navigate these difficult waters. I try to talk my clients through the hard parts of publishing; and on this blog, I do the same for many writers who aren’t…
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Tell Me the STORY

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 story, but they have a hard time conveying the actual story. Every novel has a theme. There’s a character arc, in which a character…
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Querying Multiple Agents

Catherine M wrote: “I know you can send out multiple queries, but what if there are three agents who have asked to see your manuscript after a verbal pitch at a conference? Do you send to all three?” The protocol is always the same. If you’re querying multiple agents at once, simply mention that fact…
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Two Things That Don’t Help a Query (Part 2)

“My mother [best friend, husband, Great Aunt Matilda] told me I needed to write my story.” “For years, all my friends have been telling me I should try to get my work published.” “God told me to write this book.” Believe it or not, none of this is relevant in a query. It doesn’t help…
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Two Things That Don’t Help a Query (Part 1)

“I got up today and decided to wear purple socks.” Now, I’m sure you can see how a line like that wouldn’t help your query. Does it tell me something about you? Yes. Is it relevant to your book? No. Does it help an agent make an informed decision about whether to represent your book?…
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Proposal to Publication – Part 5 of 5

Title, Cover, and Marketing PlansWhile your book has been going through the editing and production phases, the art department, sales department, and marketing department have been busy creating the packaging of your book and planning how to market, promote and sell it. The timing of each of these steps varies, but will be happening behind…
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Proposal to Publication – Part 4 of 5

Pre-Production → Once the major editing is completed, your manuscript normally goes to copyedit. A copyeditor will take a detailed look at your manuscript, correcting grammar, typos, and punctuation. She/he will also flag anything that seems unclear; checking footnotes for accuracy and format; making sure all necessary elements are in place; and making sure all…
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Proposal to Publication – Part 3 of 5

The Writing & Editing Stage * Now that the contract is finished, you should have some interaction with an editor who will outline your writing/editing schedule and expectations. * You also should receive some kind of “welcome packet” from the publisher, a written set of author-instructions telling you about style requirements, permissions, and other aspects…
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Proposal to Publication – Part 2 of 5

The Contract Stage4 So, you’ve heard that your book has been accepted for publication. Yipee! 4 Your biggest question will probably be: How much MONEY do I get? You’ll be offered an advance which might be lower than your lifelong dream, but more than you have in your checking account right now (if you’re lucky).…
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Proposal to Publication – Part 1 of 5

This week I’m going to take you on a journey through the publishing process “From Proposal to Publication.” I’ll give brief explanations of what’s happening at the publishing house during each of the stages, and what’s expected of the author. Please note this a generic overview… the process can vary substantially from house to house.…
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Have You Written More Than One Book?

Katie asked: I have written three books that I’m hoping to finish revising this summer, all in the same genre. When I’m ready to start submitting, how do I decide which one to submit? And let’s say I submit a book to an agent, they say no. Can I query the same agent with a…
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Query via Email or Wait for Conference?

Jill asked: Say I’ve been doing the research, investing an agent’s website and following the blog for a while and I’ve decided I want to query that agent. Would it be better to do a cold query (following all the submission guidelines, of course) or wait for the possibility of an appointment at a conference,…
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A Funny Thing Happened…

On the Way to my Query Box Last week, as you know, I was away at a conference. I was responding to email the best I could on my Blackberry. I have my email structured so that queries won’t appear in the regular inbox; instead, they get filtered into the query box. They receive auto-replies…
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