Happy Eclipse Day, everybody! First things first. I’m heading to Palos Verdes and San Diego at the end of the week, and I would be so excited to meet you/see you if you’re in the area! Check out the info below!
You know how much I love getting your emails, and it’s really fun that I have been getting SO many emails lately about the manuscripts that you’re working on, your agent searches, your query letters, etc. That makes me so excited because it means that you are telling your stories and there are going to be so many great new things out in the world! I decided to compile a little bit of my advice for all of my writer readers out there just in case you need it. These are the things I’m most commonly asked, all in one place!
How did you get published?
My first two novels were published by Berkley Books, a division of Penguin Random House, and now I am with Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. If you are looking to go the traditional publishing route with a “Big Five” publishing house, an agent holds the keys to the kingdom.
Some smaller and mid-sized publishing houses will look at your manuscript without having an agent, but no matter which route you go, an agent is your tour guide to this big, wide world. His or her knowledge is invaluable.
How do I get an agent? (For more tips check out this post on how I found my agent!)
I wish I had some fancy, magic secret, but I found my agent the good, old fashioned way. The good news for all of you out there who don’t know anyone in publishing, I didn’t know one, single soul that could get me “in.” So I bought this book.
And this book, got out my highlighter, highlighted everyone who represented what I wrote, and made lists.
I made a list of my top 10 agents, wrote my dead-level best query letter and sent! I was fortunate enough to sign with one of the agents in that first batch of 10, but here was my plan—and my advice: If you send 10 query letters and don’t get a single request to read your manuscript, tweak your query letter.
Also, make sure you take a peek at the agent you are querying’s website. Every agent likes to see different things. Some only want a query letter, some want pages, some want a synopsis. Make sure you send what that particular agent wants so that they can consider your submission.
If you’ve been querying your heart out and need a little something extra, I have never been to one, but I have heard that pitch conferences can be great. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this one: http://newyorkpitchconference.com
How do I self-publish my book?
I have not self-published, so I’m not much help in this arena!
I Need More Help!
If you are serious about becoming a writer and want to dive in more deeply to really polishing your manuscript and getting actual, hands-on help with finding an agent and a publisher, I strongly, strongly recommend The Fifth Semester. Whether you’re working on fiction or non-fiction, Ann Garvin and Erin Celello are amazing authors, personal friends of mine and are offering an experience unlike any other.
Writer’s retreats are also a fabulous place to get to know other writers and get advice from published authors. I recommend Tinderbox Writers Retreat hosted by award-winning author Kimberly Brock. Kim is an amazing teacher and I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this last year. Many of the attendees return year after year.
I don’t write non-fiction, so I don’t know a ton about that, but if you’re looking for help with your proposal, check out The Beautiful Writers Group.
Can you read my manuscript?
I am not an editor by any stretch of the imagination, so I’m not really in the business of reading manuscripts, but lucky for us, I have friends who are! I highly recommend professional editing because it’s just too hard to catch your own mistakes. Here are some of my favorite, brilliant friends who are editors and also happen to be genius novelists:
Kathryn Craft: http://www.kathryncraft.com/for-writers.html
Aimie K. Runyan: aimiekrunyan.com
Julie Perkins Cantrell: http://www.juliecantrell.com
Heather Webb: http://www.heatherwebbauthor.com
Kerstin March: http://www.kerstinmarch.com
Word Bird Edits: http://www.wordbirdedits.com
Can you blurb my novel?
First, congrats on your novel. Yay, you! I love writing blurbs for other authors and am so grateful for the amazing authors who have done it for me! If your publisher would like to send me a copy I would be thrilled to read it and consider writing a blurb.
Can you be my ghostwriter?
Wow! I’m so flattered. Thank you so much for thinking of me. I am open to discussing ghostwriting for projects that already have a deal in place.
Helpful Resources for Authors:
Best of luck on your writing journey. You are going to be amazing!
Also, if you are a writer or reader looking to connect with other writers and readers, make sure to check out Bloom. It’s the Facebook group for the fabulous group of women writers, The Tall Poppy Writers, that I am so lucky to be a part of. It is full of writers who love answering questions and giving advice and awesome readers and people! We have a lot of fun over there, so make sure you join us!
Thanks again, my friends, for all your love and support. Not a day goes by that I am not incredibly grateful for every last one of you!