Submitting

What Not To Say (part 87)

I was watching American Idol last night (duh) and the judges were bringing contestants in one after the other and telling them either “You made it through” or “You’re out.” That’s how it feels when I’m going through my query box, reading them one after the other. You’re in, you’re out. Just like contestants on…
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An Embarrassment of Riches

Wow, that was an amazing discussion yesterday on the writer’s passion. Thanks for contributing! If you haven’t read all the comments from yesterday, you really should. They offer an incredible amount of invaluable advice and encouragement. And speaking of passion! It’s showing up in my inbox in the form of queries about 10 to 20…
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The Elevator Pitch, Third Floor

I hope you’re learning something from this 3-day tutorial on elevator pitches. (I promise, agents and editors will appreciate your efforts!) Today let’s talk about the process of crafting the elevator pitch. I think your best chance for success is to take it seriously as a multi-step process (because I know you have nothing else…
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The Elevator Pitch, Second Floor

So, how did you do on your self-critiquing? Some of you offered astute rewrites. Way to go! Today I’m going to give you a few more hints about elevator pitches. → Always be prepared. You never know when you’re going to come across someone who will ask, “So what’s your book about?” At conferences, there…
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The Elevator Pitch, Part 1

It has come to my attention that I’ve failed you. I asked you to send elevator pitches, without previously teaching you about elevator pitches. Mea culpa, mea culpa. I’ll try to make up for it over the next three days by giving you lots of tips about how to craft a successful pitch. (I won’t…
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Q4U: What’s Your Book About?

Okay guys, work with me here. Close your eyes (AFTER you read this post). Imagine you’re at a writer’s conference, waiting for the elevator up to your hotel room. The agent of your dreams walks up and stands beside you. He/she smiles and says “Hi.” You manage to return a coherent “Hello” in response. “Enjoying…
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The Art of the Query

If you’re trying to sell a book to a publisher, or an article to a magazine, you’re familiar with The Art of the Query Letter. Many of you have asked me to write more about query letters, be more specific about what “a good one” looks like, maybe give examples of query letters that got…
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Ask the Agent: Requested Materials

Lisa wrote with this question: When you request a proposal at a writers conference and ask for the first five chapters and a synopsis, is that all you want? Or do you want a market analysis, character sketches, etc.? This is a great question, because it once again points out the need for clear communication.…
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Ask the Agent: Query Publisher or Agent?

Chatty Kelly asked a common question on Friday: Why would you query an agent over a publisher? What are the pros & cons? Okay, in the first place, fewer and fewer publishers are accepting unagented submissions. So if you want to get published, it’s becoming less viable to do it without an agent. Agents are…
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Making it Easy to Say No

Awhile back, someone asked me, “What are the Top Do-This-and-You-are-Dead mistakes people make in pitches, queries, and book proposals?” My answers:a Bore me.a Pitch something I don’t represent.a Pitch something that sounds derivative, been-there done-that, nothing unique.a Show me that your writing isn’t yet up to publishable level.a Approach it with the attitude: What the…
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Q4U: Your Tips for Agents & Editors

Yesterday I gave you some tips for making a great pitch at a conference. But as blog reader Karen pointed out, we agents and editors could use some tips, too. So tell us… what would make you more comfortable pitching to us at a conference? What do you need to hear from us? And let’s…
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Buried in Queries

I’ve been wading through queries lately. I got behind for awhile and I can tell you, I will NEVER do that again. It’s so much easier when I keep up. As a general rule, I’m going to try and empty my query box a couple times a week, but right now I’m in ketchup mode.…
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Writers Beware – Don’t Try This At Home

Sometimes my in-box turns up the most interesting things. For example, this query I received: r It showed over a dozen agents’ email addresses in the “to” line. r It was addressed to “Dear Sir/Madam.” (I don’t answer to either.) r It was not even remotely related to “Christian worldview” which is our agency’s specialty.…
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Going Postal (About Shipping & SASE’s)

Today I went to my P.O. box and found a bunch of manuscripts I’d requested. And as always, a couple of them had been sent Priority Mail or even Express. Here’s my advice: Don’t waste your money! Only send it Priority if the agent or editor has asked you to. Otherwise, sending it Priority is…
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