How to find an Agent…

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

WritingWednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. If you have any tips please share them with us.

I cannot believe this is the last Writing Wednesday of August. I am not ready for Fall, I never am.

If you are planning to publish traditionally you will need an agent. Here are a few tips to help you with your search.

Finding an agent

Before you look for an agent:

  • Have your manuscript finished, professionally edited and formatted to industry standards.
  • Prepare a query letter.
  • A query letter is the next most important thing you will write after your manuscript.2
  • A query letter is a formal letter sent to editors, agents or publishers to propose your work to them.
  • This letter will prompt them to request more information, or not.
  • The standard query letter is between 200-550 words. Never more than 750 words and contains: The title and word count, the genre, a short description of the story including the beginning, middle and end, your target audience, and a short author bio.
  • Have several people critique your letter. Have your editor go over it.

If you book is non-fiction you will need a proposal. If an agent likes your query and is interested in more information they will ask for your proposal. A proposal is a business plan for your book. Most non-fiction writers write the proposal before they write the book.

It contains a cover page with word count, genre, title short description and your contact information.

A table of contents

  • A two page summary (synopsis) of your book. Think of what might be on the back cover of the book.
  • Target Audience. Who will buy this book and why. Do not ever say everyone will love this book because they won’t. Pick a specific demographic and then two sub demographics.
  • Research on the competition. What titles out there are similar to yours? Remember that competition in the book world is a very good thing. If there are numerous titles that means there is consumer interest. Agents and Publishers love competition. List these books and explain why they are similar and why they are different. Why is your book better?
  • Your Platform- how you will be able to reach your target audience (where you are on line, business contacts, your church, groups or organizations you belong to, connections etc…)

Platform

  • Author Bio- Who you are and why you are the best person to tell this story and the best person to promote the book. Include resume information.
  • Your marketing and promotion plan. Only list what you know you can do not what you hope to do. Example: Do not say I will appear on Oprah’s show and she will love my book unless you can make that happen. Make your plan concrete and include numbers. The secret to creating this plan is not how many ideas you have but how many connections you have and the action steps you are willing to take to improve your presence.
  • Chapter Outline with a brief description of each chapter.
  • Sample chapters- Choose your absolute best chapters (complete)
  • Have several people including your editor go over your proposal.

If your book is fiction you will need an outline.

  • A synopsis (again think back cover)
  • A brief description of each chapter
  • Your bio, resume and contact information.

Once you are confident you are ready to contact agencies or publishers you will need to create a list of your top 30 or 35 choices. Agents have specific genres they prefer to work with. Make sure you only put agents on your list that accre

If an agent or publisher offers you a contract, be sure to have the contract checked by an attorney

Where do you find agents?

  • querytracker.com
  • writersdigest.com
  • Google your genre and literary agents
  • Conferences

List the agent, the agency, their e-mail and their specific submission requirements.

Once you have your list complete you can start querying agents or publishers.

You should send 3-5 every couple of days. If you get a response be sure to note it on your list.

*Never query more than one agent at an agency. They work together. This will get you blacklisted.

* Address your query to a specific agent, personally. Spell their name correctly. (this is VERY important)

* If an agent requests more information and then requests a phone call this is GOOD news.

* Never Quit- if you believe in your story you will find someone else that believes in it too.

* If you receive 10 rejections, tweak your query.

*The best chance you have to get an agent is to be referred by someone or to meet one at a conference or a pitch event.

Good Luck and Happy Writing,

Doreen

 

 

 

 

 

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

Preparing for Author Events…

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

WRITING WEDNESDAY

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesdays I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

As much as I intend to stay in the moment and enjoy every single second left of summer it is time to plan for the fall, winter and spring.

Florida Does Beach Feet

If you are like me, achieving your writing goals is nearly impossible during the summer. Having a book to market, a new one coming out this fall and writing another has kept me busy and I didn’t quite meet my goals so of now I am in panicked catch-up mode.

How did you do with your writing goals over the summer?

I have a few author events coming up and I need to start preparing for them so I thought I would share what I’ve figured out with you.

Preparing for Author Events

I’ve been reading a lot lately about authors that no longer want to do book signings because they have no luck with them. While I agree that there are times when no matter what you do to prepare for the event people just don’t show up and other times there can be a line out the door.

What I have learned is there are things you can do to improve your chances for a successful event. The fact is publishers are not doing much these days to market and or promote their authors. Book stores depend on the author to bring the crowd to their store. It is up to us to advertise; market and promote ourselves.

Two months before the event:

Contact the community relations manager (CRM) and ask if they have ordered your books from their distributor or if they need you to supply them. Ask if he/she sends out press releases and if they do provide them with your bio, high definition book cover and author photos. I always send my own press releases too.

Barnes and Noble

Most newspapers have an event calendar online that you can add your information to. Place a series of ads in your local newspaper or magazine advertising the event. Ads can be pricey so ask about specials or discounts and check the rates of large and small publications. You don’t want the ads to run sooner than two-weeks before the event but they may have to be ordered weeks in advance.

Create and order postcards. I use Vista Print and use my book cover, author photo and the bookstore’s logo or a photo of the front of their store. Ask the CRM if they will put the postcards on their counters.

391291_10150931534786837_1999866615_n

Create a Facebook event. I always mention that I have a gift for the first ten people that buy the book. I get ten gift bags from a dollar store and pens, candy, small notebooks, bookmarkers and other small items from Sam’s or BJ’s. It doesn’t have to be much and the ten small bags with bows look nice on your table.

217862_10150931533916837_1521519632_n

Send pitches to your local TV and radio show producers.

Six weeks before the event:

Send out an announcement to your e-mail list. Add the event to your website/blog and check with local bloggers to see if they will do an ad for you on their blog. These can be as inexpensive as $15.00 a month. Some will offer to do a write up and a review as well.

Mail postcards to everyone you know, friends, family and co-workers. Ask them to spread the word.

Book Signing Postcard

One Month before the event:

Think about how you will set your table up. You may want to bring a table cloth that matches your book cover, business cards, bookmarkers, a stand to put your book or poster on and a big bowl of candy. I put a sign up on my table that says ‘Meet the Author.’ Believe it or not sometimes people just have no idea what you are doing there.

Attend one or two author events at the store and network while you are there.

Big Blue Marble Book Store

If you can afford to hire a professional photographer to take photos during the event it can create a lot of interest in you and your book.

Write an announcement for the store to use. I write three so they aren’t repetitive.

Two weeks before the event:

Follow up with whoever you invited. Place reminder calls. Create social media posts. Do not post about the event more than once a day. It can annoy people. Two or three times a week is plenty.

What are you going to wear? Whatever you decide on it should be business casual.

The Event:

Plan to arrive ½ hour early so you have plenty of time to set up your table and deliver the announcement you wrote to the person who will be doing the announcing.

Bring a small gift for the CRM. One of the small gift bags is fine.

Get out from behind your table and mingle. Always have a book in your hand. If someone ask you what the book is about hand them the book with the back cover up and invite them to read the synopsis.

580991_10150931535281837_1258534842_n

No matter how many people show up, have fun. I once had a signing and only two people showed up. One of them was the host of a radio show, she invited me on her show and I sold dozens of books because of that appearance.

Ask the CRM if you can sign a few books to leave in the store. Post on social media that you left signed copies at the store.

After the event:

Send a thank you card to the CRM and let him/her know that you are available for future events, author panels etc.

Good luck and happy writing,

Doreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

Elevator Pitches…

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesdays I like to share information I picked up along my journey to being published, marketing my first book, editing and preparing to be published again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then…

If you like the information I hope you will share it!

Elevator Speeches/Pitches

At a recent workshop, one of the presenters challenged us to stand up and give a 30-second elevator speech or pitch on our writing, business etc…

I volunteered and my speech was awful. It was time to come up with a new one.

People conversing

 

Imagine stepping on the elevator at a large writers or blogging conference and standing next to you is one of the most sought after literary agents in the business. It would be normal to feel tongue tied and nervous but these opportunities are few and far between so you should be prepared.

Elevator Pitch

 

An elevator speech is a 30-60 second summary of your book or your blog. The point of the speech or pitch is NOT tosell anything; the point is to get the recipient to want to know more, to start a conversation with you and to ask you for more information and a submission.

Have you ever stumbled for words when someone asks you what you do, what do you blog about, what is your book about? I have and it always leaves me feeling so unprofessional.

Coming up with 30-60 seconds that answers who, what, when, why and where is not easy. As uncomfortable as it can be you must practice it out loud until your pitch feels and sounds natural not rehearsed. You also want to have two or three versions so you can adjust for the audience and practice, practice and practice.

Keep in mind that 9 out of ten times while you are trying to sell someone they are not listening to you. They are trying to come up with a way to sell something to you, so you have about 5 seconds to make enough of an impact so they actually listen to you.

not listening

A few tips:

Don’t give spoilers

Don’t go into plots or characters

Give the title and genre

Be enthusiastic

What do you offer?

Present a call to action towards the end

End with a question that requires more than a yes or no to answer

Avoid buzzwords ex: out of the box, streamline, awesome etc…

Try to come up with a word or a phrase that will help the recipient remember your name and the title of your book or blog.

Practice, practice and practice

And finally, smile and be prepared to answer follow-up questions after you give your speech.

Do you have an elevator speech and if so do you have any tips?

If you give me your best pitch in 140 characters and your twitter user name I will tweet them out throughout the month.

Happy Writing,

Doreen

My elevator speech for The Stranger In My Recliner [Fall 2015]

My husband brought  home an 80-year-old homeless woman one night. She stayed with us for 2 1/2 years. What happened was so ridiculous, heartbreaking, frustrating and hysterical I had to tell the story.

Sophie Book Cover

 

 

 

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

Politically Correct or Not…

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means it is:

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day

IWSG badge 2

I am SO excited to be co-hosting this month along with Nancy Gideon, Bob R Milne, Chrys Fey, Bish Denham, and Pat Garcia!

Post your thoughts on your own blog. Write about your writing doubts and the fears you have or have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group as well as the other co-hosts and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers at all stages of writing.

To join us, sign up here:

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Visit our Facebook Page here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13

Twitter: #IWSG

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Wednesday is also Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Writing Wednesday is the day I like to share what I have learned on my journey from writing to publishing to marketing my first book and then doing it again. The type of information I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

Politically Correct or Not

My summer was so laid back. I was relaxing and enjoying the slow pace and occasionally working on my third book, anxiously awaiting the final proofs and the release date for my second book.

Bench

And then it happened. Somebody posted something that I knew was not true and going against that little voice screaming from deep down inside of me, I went about trying to prove that person wrong. It got ugly fast and I wasn’t the only one that day whose comment and inboxes were flooded with the ugliest, hateful and most vial messages.

I was so hurt and angry with myself for falling into that trap and going against my own rules of not getting too awfully deep with politics or religion on my blog or on social media.

eye-crying

What happened to the art of debating? There were rules. You stick to the issue and the facts. You don’t get personal. We accepted defeat gracefully or we accepted to agree to disagree. Now it seems we are not happy until we have driven the last nail in the coffin of the person that dared to offend us just by having a different opinion than our own.

Last week I saw posts that wished evil things on our president and other posts that called half of the women in America f*&@ing idiots.

I’m not sure if I am more embarrassed or more frightened for our country. I am definitely worried about the example some women in prominent positions and older women are setting for younger women. They are watching, listening and paying attention.

My Grand girls

How do you decide what is appropriate or not appropriate for your blog, social media or writing in general?

Happy writing,

Doreen

Quote always be kind

 

 

 

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

Self Publishing?

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

WRITING WEDNESDAY- Rerun

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

SELF PUBLISHING

I am not an expert in Self-Publishing but I know a lot of self-published authors and I am planning to self-publish myself, in the future so I have been taking notes.

There are a lot of advantages to Self-Publishing:

  • The Author has total control
  • The time frame. Your book can be published in a few months vs. 18 months-2 years
  • Royalties of 20-80% vs. 5-15%

The disadvantages of Self-Publishing are evaporating quickly. The success stories are mounting. Like any business venture (yes writing is a passion but publishing is a business) it will take research, investment, hard work and most importantly a great product to have any chance at success. No matter which publishing choice you make it will be difficult at times and will take time and patience but it will be so worth it. I cannot even describe how amazing it feels to hold your first book in your hands.

Bristol boyz stomp Louie

Once your manuscript has been critiqued and professionally edited by a literary editor and you are planning to self-publish on your own, you will need an ISBN number [International – Standard Book Number] for your book. This is a social security number for the book. There are a lot of company’s out there that will be happy to sell you an ISBN # but BOWKER is the International clearing house for these numbers so you might as well skip the middleman and get it from them. The cost is $125.00. If you are using a company to assist you with self-publishing they may offer to get the ISBN# for you. Deep discounts are offered to companies that buy multiple #’s so they may offer it to you for less or include it in their package. If they charge more than $125.00 you can easily apply for it yourself.

Quote You are Amazing today!

You will need a business plan/proposal or an outline for fiction

If you are planning to self-publish 100% than Amazon is the place for you. Smashwords is One of the Amazon companies for e-books and Create-Space is used for print books.

If you use Amazon for publishing your book will never be available in an actual book store. This is because Amazon Publishers will not process returns. You will have to design all of your marketing around online booksellers. Amazon offers a KDP (Kindle Direct Program) a program that offers some marketing opportunities.

amazon_200x200

Lightening Source is a company you can use if you want your book to be available in book stores. They process returns, for a charge. All publishers, even traditional ones charge you for your returns.

To have any chance at having your book in a book store, your publisher has to be willing to offer your book to them at a wholesale discount price of at least 55% off the cover price. The books must be returnable if they do not sell within the stores allotted time-frame.

All print books are delivered through a book distribution center. The two major distributors are Ingram and Baker & Taylor. If the publisher you are planning to use does not use one or both of these distributors, move on from that publisher.

Here is a list of random Self Publishing Boutiques that offer a variety of packages to authors and come with some good references. As always never sign a contract unless you have had it reviewed by an attorney.

  • Blue Lobster Book Company
  • She Writes Press
  • Book Locker
  • Turning Stone
  • Lucky Bat Books
  • Assisted Publishing

Tate Publishing and Enterprises- Tate offers a publishing package that includes editing, formatting, cover design, ISBN#, copyrighting, marketing assistance and they handle returns. They deal with Ingram so your book will be available to any store, school or library that wants to stock it or make it available for order. Once your book sells 1000 copies, Tate refunds your investment. They basically operate like an Independent publisher. There are many other companies out there like this one and new ones are being started every day.

I cannot stress enough for you to have any contract reviewed by an attorney and ask for and check references. It is also a good idea to order books from several authors of any company you are considering, so you can check the quality of the printing etc…

A good book to read is Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur/ Guy Kawasaki

*FYI-Tuesday is the only day of the week that new books are released

Traditional Publishers make their money selling 100’s of copies of only several titles verses other publishers that make their money selling 100 copies of thousands of titles.

If you have any experience with self publishing it would be great if you could leave tips in the comments. Did you work with a company that you were thrilled with, please share.

If you have any questions please leave those in the comments and I will do my best to answer or find someone who can.

Happy Writing,

Doreen

This Saturday August 1, 2015 (Can you believe it is almost August?) I will be at The Big Blue Marble Bookstore (7pm) with author friends, Maria Casale and Dylaan Rhea. We will be reading from our books and talking about writing and women under pressure. We are bringing snacks…

Big Blue Marble Book Store

551 Carpenter Lane /Philadelphia, PA 19119

I am SO excited and such a nervous wreck because I am going to be co-hosting (for the first time) The Insecure Writers Support Group for August! Next Wednesday right here!

Coming Soon!!

Sophie Book Cover

 

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

Threat Level Elevated

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

One of my biggest complaints about VA medical centers is the unsafe feeling I have whenever I am in one. Am I crazy for thinking that here in United States any facility attached to our military should be the safest property in the country?

Weapons not permitted sign

Was Jack Nicolson’s character in A Few Good Men correct when he said, “We live in a world of walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns.” He went on to say, “You want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.”

Last week we had another attack on homeland military properties and four Marines and one Navy sailor lost their lives. These are no longer random attacks. The bodies are piling up and before more are added it is time we rethink the decision to unarm our armed services.

For the past nine-years whenever we pull up to the guardhouse at the VA Hospital in Philadelphia more often than not the sign on the post reads ‘Threat Level Elevated.’ There is a guard there who is either smoking, talking on a cell phone or sleeping. The sight would immediately cause me to feel overwhelmingly frightened. These guards aren’t even military which if you ask me is ridiculous. Is our nation that short of MP’s that we have to hire security guards to protect (or not) our armed forces, our veterans and their families?

Threat Level Elevated

Once past the guardhouse the parking garage is dark and unattended.

Inside the building the first thing I notice is the dingy, dirty floors, windows and walls. I don’t want to touch anything. The next thing I notice are homeless people sleeping on garbage bags filled with their belongings. Are they homeless veterans?

You never know who you will be riding in the elevator with. It could be a veteran fighting with his wife, someone having a severe PTSD episode or someone under the influence of something or all of the above.

I was thrilled last week when we pulled up to the guardhouse and were asked for ID, finally!

It lasted only a few days. Last night we drove up to and right past the guardhouse where the guard was sitting inside the house with his eyes on his phone. He never looked up as we drove past. My heart sank and my anxiety rose.

I want to know there is a man or woman on that wall, behind the camera or in the guard house protecting us, all of us.

Marine

What has more impact on our feeling of safety and security and what has more impact on someone with criminal intentions, a sign that says no weapons permitted past this point or a Marine in full uniform with a handgun on his hip?

 

 

 

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

So Many Publishing Choices…

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesdays I like to share information I picked up on my path to being published, marketing and preparing to be published again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

Publishing Choices

The publishing business has changed so dramatically over the past few years and there doesn’t seem to be any slow- down in sight. It is still so unclear who the winner will be in this evolutionary process and that can cause more than a bit of anxiety for new as well as established authors. The good news is if you want to be published, you have choices…

This is a brief overview of the different Publishing Choices available and the pros and cons for each:

Traditional Publishing

Traditional Publishing is still number one through six in sales, in publications and in best -selling titles, in the world. Those top six companies (not in order) are:

 

Hatchette Book Group

Harper Collins

McMillan

Penguin Group

Random House

Simon and Shuster (name owned by CBS)

books

 

Each of these companies also own dozens of smaller companies known as imprints. An imprint may be used when publishing in a narrow field such as sci-fi or fantasy.

 

How it works:

Traditional publishers in most cases will only work with literary agents. If you want to be traditionally published you will first need an agent.

Submit your query and then if requested submit your finished, professionally edited manuscript to an agent that specializes in your genre.

If they decide to sign you they will have you go through another round of edits

They will try to sell your manuscript to a publisher

They will negotiate a contract on your behalf

They will receive a percentage of your sales

 

Once they have sold your manuscript to a publisher:

You will go through yet another round of editing

A cover will be designed and a title will be decided on

Conceptual editing will be done (styling)

 

The Advantages of Traditional Publishing:

 

They put up the front money for editing, copyrighting, distribution, listing with vendors,   ISBN number, some marketing and advertising. They may even provide an advance.

 

Chances are much better for international sales

 

The big Publishers have connections w/ T.V., radio, Magazines etc…

TV

Your book will be released in Hardcover and then 8 months to a year later it will be re- released in paperback.

 

Prestige and credibility

 

Disadvantages of Traditional Publishing:

Lack of control over everything involving your book including style, title, where it is sold, how it is marketed etc…

 

Earnings- You do not get paid until your advance is paid back (if you received one), royalties tend to be paid at lower percentages than other publishing choices.

 

The process tends to be impersonal.

 

If the Publisher does not make their initial investment back in two-years they may drop you.

 

The time frame from signing to publication can take up to two-years.

 

Independent Publishing

 

Independent Publishers tend to be smaller companies and can be imprints of a larger company. Most of them operate ‘under one roof’ meaning they have editing, marketing etc…in house.

There are hundreds of Independent Publishing companies with new ones starting every day. Just a few examples in no particular order are:

 

Publishing Genius Press

Akashic Books

Coffee House Press

Black Balloon

A Strange Object (new)

Tin House

Gray Wolf Press

 

Advantages of publishing with an Independent Publisher:

 

They may or may not require you to be represented by an agent

 

Offer better royalties

Dreamstime image id 138166

 

More individual author attention

 

Prestige and credibility

 

Time from signing to publication can be as quick as one year

 

More willing to work with new authors

 

Disadvantages:

 

Less opportunity for international sales. Not impossible but unlikely

 

You will need to do most of the marketing

 

Your book may be released as an e-book prior to paperback release. It may not be released in hardcover.

 

Subsidy, Vanity, Print on Demand and Assisted Self- Publishing Companies

 

This is where the publishing water gets very murky. These companies charge fees for services. Some of them are very good companies that do exactly what they say they will do and some of them are very bad companies. Some of them are extremely choosy over what they accept for publication and others will print anything. If you choose this route for publishing you must research the company. Have any contract looked at by a literary attorney, request author references and order a few books that the company published to check the quality.

These companies may offer different publishing packages ranging in price from $10,000 for complete preparation to release services, $5,000 for less services and $600 or less for assistance with self-publishing such as ISBN number (your books social security number) copyrighting and formatting for Amazon and Barnes & Noble listings.

 

Advantages to these types of Publishing:

 

More control artistically

 

The highest royalties paid

 

A good option for special interest, regional, self-help, speakers, cookbooks and celebrities

 

Quick turnaround time, a year sometimes less.

 

Disadvantages:

Some of these disadvantages are changing, rapidly. The stigma surrounding self -publishing is eroding. To break through these barriers, write a good book and make sure it is professionally edited.

 

Some libraries and book stores, still will not stock these books.

Barnes and Noble

 

Perceived Lack of credibility.

 

Some professional reviewers still will not review these books.

 

Some authors self-publish poorly edited or not edited at all books and it hurts all self-published authors.

 

Again, this is changing rapidly!

 

Companies to avoid at all cost (This list is not complete. Always research, check references and have a literary attorney read any contract.)

 

Author House

Xlibris

Vantage Press

i universe (also known as Writers Club and Writers Showcase)

Trinity

Trident

Publish America now known as America Star

 

Whatever route you choose for publishing, if you write a great story and have it edited professionally, the readers will come! Just like anything worth having in life, you will need to make an investment to get a return.

 

Are you a published author? What Publishing choice did you make and why?

 

Are you a writer hoping to be published? Which publishing choice do you thing would be right for you?

Happy Writing,

Doreen

Quote writing

 

 

 

 

 

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

To Agent or Not…

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

WRITING WEDNESDAY

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

To Agent or Not and How the Heck do you Find One…

Writing a book is such a personal even solitary act, a creative process. Publishing, marketing and selling a book is a difficult even brutal at times business process. Authors have choices today and if your decision is to give traditional publishing a try, you will need an agent. Agents handle the business of selling a book to a publisher and negotiating the best possible contract for you.

Before querying an agent your manuscript needs to be complete which includes having been professionally edited by a literary editor. Believe me the editing is not a step you want to skip. It isn’t all about grammar. It is also about plot and character development, story flow and identifying holes in the story. It is an expense and it takes time but it will save time in the end and will definitely improve your chances of landing a good agent and a lucrative publishing deal. Consider it an investment in your book and in your future. The book should also have been beta read by at least three readers. You will also need to have a complete proposal which includes a synopsis and a query letter.

The Write Life has some good tips for querying:

http://thewritelife.com/ask-a-literary-agent-query-letter/?utm_source=The+Write+Life&utm_campaign=a663795067-main_list_11_6_13_11_5_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ae07a22b59-a663795067-96873517&mc_cid=a663795067&mc_eid=c62f5fcd41

I used query tracker to research agents. You want to read their bio and make sure what they are looking to represent is what you wrote. You also want to learn something personal about them. Most importantly you want to spell their name correctly and follow their submission guidelines carefully. If your query is not formatted and submitted correctly there is a 99.9% chance it will be discarded. Agents receive 100’s of queries a week. They do not get paid unless the author gets paid so of course they will choose to work with authors who can follow directions.

The best way to pitch an agent is in person and the way to do that is to attend writers’ conferences, workshops and pitch fests. If pitching in person you also want to research the agent. Learn something personal about them and use it to start a conversation.

Prepare and practice your pitch. Include who your target audience is, the word count, why you are the best person to write this book and a brief synopsis that includes the beginning, middle and end of the story. Have a few questions for the agent in mind as well as a few talking points to use if you have time to fill.

The New York Pitch Conference: http://newyorkpitchconference.com/pc-registration.htm [all genres]

New York Writers Workshop: http://www.newyorkwritersworkshop.com/fiction-pitch-conference [fiction]

#PitMad on Twitter is another great resource to get your work in front of agents who are actively looking for authors to represent. For information on PitMad:

http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad

My tip would be to plan your tweets and schedule out ahead of time and have fun with the process. I have personally heard a few success stories from PitMad participants.

Quote Believe in HOPE

Good Luck and Keep Writing,

Doreen

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

How to get your book in a book store…

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey from writing to publication, marketing and writing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. If you have any tips please share them with us…

How do you get you and your book in bookstores…

To have a chance at having your book stocked in a book store, your publisher has to be willing to offer your book to them at a wholesale discount price of at least 55% off the cover price. The books must also be returnable to the publisher if they do not sell within the stores allotted time-frame.

Barnes and Noble

Barnes & Noble Bookseller

All print books are ordered and delivered to stores through a book distribution center. The two major distributors are Ingram and Baker & Taylor. If the publisher you are planning to use does not use one or both of these distributors, move on from that publisher.

It is possible to have a CRM (Barnes & Noble) or an Event Coordinator (Independent) to allow you to bring books to the store and have them manually put them into the store’s inventory. This is not something they like to do so you will have to convince them the book has received decent reviews and that you can get people through their door.

Big Blue Marble Book Store

Big Blue Marble Book Store Mount Airy, Pa.

If you have an agent or a publicist they will most likely ask you for a list of place’s you would like to have a book signing or a reading.  Chances are they have a business relationship with the event coordinators for those stores and will have a better chance at booking you than you will have on your own. If you don’t have an agent or publicist, don’t give up. Follow the stores on social media, share their events and most importantly attend other author’s events at the stores and get to know the employees.

Once you have an event scheduled you will need to do your best to get customers through the door. Social media alone will not work. You also cannot count on foot traffic in the store. Once people realize you are selling something they will go the other way. You need to be creative to get them in front of your table. I use chocolate and promotional items like book markers, pens and notebooks.

Chocolate is the reason

Print postcards and ask the book store to keep them on the counter, mail them to everyone on your address list and ask other stores if you can pin one on their bulletin board.

Print flyers, do an e-mail blast, send press releases (see PR post,) post the event on the calendars of every local newspaper and magazine (online and in print if available,) write a blog post, social media posts  and place a small add in your local newspaper.

Once the promoting is done it is time to completely stress out over what to wear, just kidding (no I’m not!)

Other suggestions for book signing/reading locations:

  • Libraries
  • Gift shops
  • Book Fairs
  • Holiday Fairs
  • Charity Events
  • Book Clubs

Did you know that if you go into a library and donate paperback books it is possible (highly likely) they will be thrown in the trash can? Libraries prefer hardcover books. Like bookstores they also use their own major distributors to order books.  Ask the librarian what their policy is before leaving books. You would be better off donating books to Hospice facilities and homeless shelters if they will take them.

Happy Writing,

Doreen

I will be at the Big Blue Marble Book Store on August 1,2015-/551CarpenterLane/Philadelphia/19119/ Time 7:00pm. There will be lots of chocolate and cupcakes. For more info:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1608653506076683/

 

 

 

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

It’s Wednesday I must be Insecure…

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr

The first Wednesday of every month is officially

Insecure Writer’s Support Group day #IWSG

IWSG badge

Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your writing doubts and the fears you have or have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

To join us, sign up here:

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Visit our Facebook Page here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

It is also Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Writing Wednesday is the day I like to share what I have learned on my journey from writing to publishing to marketing my first book and then doing it again. The type of information I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

Summer Writing Slow Down

I am officially fighting the summer writing slow down. Of course it would hit me when I have a final draft deadline for my 3rd book on August 1st, my second book being released in September and numerous freelance projects that are due in July. Yikes.

There is no good excuse for me not sitting down to write because I am on medical leave from my day job.

The only thing I have to blame is the summer. I want to sit by the water with my husband, walk through the park, play with my grandchildren and take naps.

Florida Does Beach Feet

I’ve been sleeping in and it feels so good but it must stop. I’m writing it and saying it out loud. I will be in my chair writing from 6am-10am. No social media, no e-mail, no phones, just piling up the word count. I think I can make it work if I give myself some time each day to enjoy being outside or taking a nap.

Writing is hard

I can do this, right?

Do you neglect your blog and your writing once the thermostat heats up? If I didn’t have these deadlines I would allow myself to slow down for a few weeks. How about you?

Happy Writing,

Doreen

Fall Schedule  is filling up. I hope to see you…

 August 1, 2015-Blue Marble Book Store/551 Carpenter Lane/Philadelphia/19119/ Time-TBD/Panel

September 3, 2015– I will be facilitating a workshop at the 2015 Power Conference/ ‘Books Are The New Business Cards’ Registration info coming soon…

The 2015 Power Conference

The Power Conference will take place Thursday, September 3 at the Montgomery County, Maryland Conference Center/North Bethesda Marriott (near White Flint Metro).  The Power Conference is an annual business development conference for women in business in the greater Washington, DC area, that includes over 40 business workshops led by professionals/experts, a tradeshow with 90+ exhibitors, a Booksellers Cafe for women authors, an inspirational keynote lunch, and a  presentation of the annual StartRight! Business Plan Competition winners.  More than 800 people attend this conference.  

September 16, 2015– Boscov’s/1067 Baltimore Pike/Media/19063/ 6-8p.m./Author Panel

September 21,2015-Ridley Township Library/100 E. Mac Dade Blvd./

Folsom/19033 Social Media Workshop/ 6-8pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Email, RSS FollowShare on Tumblr
Available at all booksellers!

Subscribe/Follow
Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz
Awards
  • Family Funny August 28, 2015
    Many, many years ago, my mom's side of the family started a fun little tradition.  Someone sent a birthday card that was so cute and funny to one of our farm-loving relatives that it had to be recycled to another family member. For years, it was passed on, signed and dated, sometimes with notes added. […]