Submitting

Query Critique: Halfway to Anywhere

The query: After three days of lying in bed with her life crumbling around her, college freshman Stephanie Miller needs to get out of her room before she goes insane. She decides to go to the One Force House; a guy she’d met recently had told her she could come there if she ever needed…
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Writing a Series

(Today’s peek into my mailbox.) Dear Rachelle, I’ve been writing a series of novels, and have completed six books. My question is: How do I go about submitting a series? I have a query that describes the series an includes an excerpt from each book. Would this be the correct way to present the series?…
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Query Critique: Dealers of Light

The Query Dear Ms. Gardner: Moira is a nurse practitioner with a hidden talent, one she knows little about- the ability to send healing energy she calls “Light” into others to augment healing. When one of her patients dies in her arms passing along not only a powerful gift, but a dire warning of doom,…
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Query Critique: Circle of Reasoning

The Query: Hello, Ms. Gardner, I am seeking representation for A Circle of Reasoning, a 77,000 word women’s mainstream novel. Catrine Teddi and Austin Sanchez have been separated for over four years because of a misunderstanding. They are reunited by the disappearance of their child because of someone’s mistake. Between the anger and blame, romance…
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Query Critique: Iron Makeover

(This is the first of the query critiques I’ll be doing over the next few weeks, probably one or two a week. Look for them on Wednesdays and sometimes Thursdays. Please bear in mind that these will be longer than my typical posts. ) The Query: Hi there! I’m seeking representation for my 60,000-word non-fiction…
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It’s a Relationship

Last month I wrote a post on the Top Ten Query Mistakes. The first two points were all about personalizing your query to the agents. They were: #1. Not making me special, and #2. Not caring who I am. Now if you didn’t know me, those might seem like kind of narcisistic statements, and believe…
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Q4U: Does the Query System Work?

Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed one of the refrains popping up around the blogosphere every now and then is the idea that the “query system” is inadequate. There’s got to be a better way, people say. This system is inefficient and unfair and just doesn’t work. I actually think the query system…
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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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