What Did You Learn?

November 16, 2013

Getting Published: Print Run No Longer a Guarantee?

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , — ax20 @ 8:52 pm

One sad bit of news I came across recently is the idea that publishers are not always going to offer a print run for books they acquire. While I understand their perspective (a print run is much more expensive than just making a book available digitally, as a writer, it feels like cheating. The book you can hold in your hand and display on your shelf is the symbol of success for most aspiring authors.

Read more about the situation here: For Major Publishers, Will Print No Longer Be the Norm?

September 4, 2011

Getting Published: Rejections

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , — ax20 @ 11:31 am

Is your book getting rejections? Don’t get discouraged. Some bestsellers have gotten numerous rejections before finding the right home:

Fourteen Best Selling Books Repeatedly Rejected By Publishers

August 22, 2011

Getting Published: Are Agents/Publishers Too Picky?

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , — ax20 @ 9:32 am

In the struggle to get published, many authors feel that agents and publishers are being too picky and can’t understand why their manuscripts are getting rejected. Here is a good post explaining the agent and publisher’s perspective:

Are Agents & Publishers Too Picky?

August 15, 2011

Getting Published: The First Five Pages

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , , — ax20 @ 1:15 am

Many agencies ask for the first five pages of a submission. From those first five pages they determine if they have any interest in reading the rest of the manuscript. Though people wish an agent would look at more, there is a reason that you need to make those first five pages count:

letters from the query wars

August 10, 2011

Getting Published: How to Find an Agent

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , , — ax20 @ 10:55 am

One of the hardest parts of being a writer is the submissions process. Who should they submit to? How do they know which agency is right? Here is a great article detailing the initial search process:

How Do I Find an Agent

Getting Published: Formatting Your Manuscript

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , , — ax20 @ 10:35 am

There is nothing more frustrating than reading a manuscript that is improperly formatted. Even worse, it is a nightmare for the design team to work with a manuscript that isn’t done right. It is also a mark of inexperience and lack of research, two qualities an agent/publisher never wants to see in a writer (not that no writers can be new to the publishing industry, but they should do their research if they are).

Margins:
• Margins should be the Microsoft Default (top and bottom 1 inch, left and right 1.25 inches). It should be formatted to look like the actual size of a book.

Font:
• Your manuscript should look as though you typed it. It should not be handwritten or use multiple fonts.
• Make the font 12 pt (Times New Roman or something equally legible with all the letters the same size.) You should not try funky fonts for “atmosphere” or to imitate handwriting.
• Keep the text black on a white background.
• Do not play around with the font for the first letter of new sections or chapters; leave it in the same font and size as the rest of the manuscript (those details are for the designer to do before sending the book to the printers not for the author to do while typing the manuscript).

Spacing:
• Double-space your manuscript. (do not manually create it–Word does not work as a type writer, if you reach the end of the line and have more to say in that paragraph, simply keep typing, Word automatically goes to the next line.) For double-spacing, you go into Format→Paragraph and change line spacing to double.
• Don’t insert extra lines between your paragraphs.

Header:
• Put your name and the title at the top right of every page.
• Include page numbers.

New Paragraphs, Scenes, and Chapters:
• The start of every paragraph should be indented (you can accomplish by pressing the tab button).
• New chapters should begin on a new page (you can accomplish this by going to Insert and then Page Break).
• Make sure it is clear when one section ends and a new scene begins. (Some people do this by simply making a few lines between the paragraphs. Others like to put three stars on a new line between sections or add a number symbol, which represents a blank line.)
• The chapter header can be anywhere from one to six double-spaced lines down from the top of the page, and can be centered or left justified. You can title your chapters, or just write Chapter One or Chapter 1.
• Keep chapter formatting and titling consistent throughout.

Pictures:
• The formatting for everything, including the notes for pictures, should be consistent. The numbering should be in numerical order (no 3a, 2b, 5c).

Cover Page:
• Put the title half-way down the page, centered, with “by Your Name” underneath.
• Include your name, contact information (make sure this includes an email address), and word count.

Printing:
• Only print on one side of the paper.
• Do not staple the pages together.
• Print on nice white standard sized paper.

Getting Published: Submission Dos and Don’ts

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , , , — ax20 @ 9:46 am

Querying agents (and publishers) are hard work and many first time writers (and even the more experienced ones) feel at a loss when trying to do it. Here’s some quick tips for how to do it.

Some Dos:

  • Do keep your query to 1-1.5 pages at most
  • Do include a synopsis
  • Do include your manuscript length by word count (and make sure it is appropriate for the book you are writing)
  • Do let your work stand on its own (you telling someone else that you are fantastic will not convince them to take on your book, only the strength of your writing can do that)
  • Do address a specific person whenever possible
  • Do include a brief summary of the work and your writing experience
  • Do proofread everything you send before submitting
  • Do make sure the formatting for your synopsis and sample pages is correct
  • Do mention your market and similar titles (your book can be a cross between one book and another, but there is no way there is nothing remotely similar to it)
  • Do say how your book differs or will stand out from its genre
  • Do make sure to submit all requested materials
  • Do make sure they work with the genre you have written before sending it
  • Do make sure your manuscript is properly formatted before sending it
  • Do go through the agent/publisher’s website before submitting to make sure you haven’t missed anything and have a good sense of what they are looking for

Some Don’ts:

  • Don’t make synopsis longer than 1-1.5 pages (double-spaced!)
  • Don’t insult other agencies or publishing houses
  • Don’t sound arrogant, cocky, or hostile
  • Don’t sound desperate or beg
  • Don’t provide a sample from the middle of the book (if you’re book cannot catch a reader’s attention in the beginning, they don’t want it)
  • Don’t say there are no books out their like yours (let’s be honest, there probably are or they probably don’t exist for a reason)
  • Don’t mass email agents or publishers
  • Don’t write your life story about what inspired you to become a writer (no one needs to hear that when you were three your teacher told you that you had a good imagination)

With so many reasons to reject a manuscript, don’t put yourself out of the running before anyone has read your book at all. If you get the querying process right, you have already improved your odds. Agents and editors would much rather work with someone who knows what they are doing (whether do to experience or good research) to someone who appears too lazy to have made sure to check.

July 29, 2011

Getting Published: Why Agents Can’t Always Provide Feedback

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , , — ax20 @ 11:55 am

It’s natural, when your submission is rejected to want feedback, but the fact is, most agents won’t (and more importantly can’t) provide it. Here’s why:

Why an agent can’t give you feedback at the query stage

July 21, 2011

Getting Published: More on Queries

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , — ax20 @ 12:54 pm

There are so many things that it takes to get a manuscript requested. Read about one manuscript reader’s day and what she chose to request:

Getting Past the Gatekeeper

Getting Published: Improving Your Query Letter

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , — ax20 @ 12:52 pm

Knowing what to put into your query letter is a tricky thing and there are tons of small mistakes you can make to hurt your chances. To see some mistakes you should avoid, read here:

Spot the Deliberate Mistakes

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