Write the Whole Book Before Pitching?

4679004_sI’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview.

Classic wisdom for unpublished authors seeking traditional publication has been that if you’re writing a novel (fiction), you need a complete manuscript. If you’re writing non-fiction, you need a book proposal plus two or three sample chapters. If you’re writing a memoir, who knows — everybody has a different opinion.

Here’s what is true and will always be true: unpublished fiction authors MUST have a complete novel before trying to get an agent or publisher. No question, no exceptions.

But things are changing in publishing, especially when it comes to non-fiction. In some ways, the standards are higher. It’s more of a risk for a publisher to say “yes” to an unproven author. And in light of this reality, I’m going to make a bold and probably controversial suggestion.

No matter what you’re writing, even if you’re already published, even if it’s non-fiction or memoir:

Consider writing the whole book before you search for a publisher.

Why would I say such a thing? A few reasons:

1. It lowers the risk for the publisher.

Click here to read the whole post at Books & Such.

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What’s Changed in Publishing?

Transformation

I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview:   I began blogging as an agent in January of 2008, and it’s remarkable to look back over my past posts and notice how much has changed in six years. When I started, I didn’t even have a Kindle. Now my family owns five Kindles […]

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What’s Your Book About?

PubSmart

I have a post up at PubSmart today. In case you haven’t heard, PubSmart is a new writers’ conference debuting this April in Charleston, SC, with the goal of bringing together self publishing, traditional, small press and hybrid. PubSmart is about introducing new models that lead to smart decisions about how to seize opportunities in […]

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A Facebook + Amazon Event for Writers

Tomorrow (Friday 2/28) I’m participating in a fun online event in which authors of 16 e-books specifically for writers are discounting their books to 99 cents, and will be hanging out on a special Facebook page to chat and answer questions from writers. The graphic below shows all the books available, and each one is individually […]

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A Typical Day for an Agent

circus-juggler

I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview:   I enjoyed Wendy’s post yesterday about how agents spend their time. She did a great job of describing how agents work on their clients’ behalf, and I wanted to add my own two cents to further explain how we organize our days.   People […]

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Will the Book Biz Follow the Way of Music?

I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview:   One of the recurring themes of this blog is how publishing is evolving, and you probably know that for the last few years, people have been comparing our current situation to the music industry’s revolutionary changes over the last fifteen years. If we’re smart, the wisdom goes, we’ll […]

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7 Ways the Writer’s Life is Like American Idol

American Idol

I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview:   I’m often struck by the similarities between the competition reality shows on TV these days, and life in the publishing environment. The programs bring together hopefuls in an endeavor—baking, fashion, business, movie makeup, singing—and pit them against each other. Along the way, the competitors make […]

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Puppy Training Techniques for Writers

I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview:   One of the difficult things about being a writer is having those days when you’re lacking inspiration, the words aren’t flowing, and you feel stuck. Pile enough days like that on top of one another and pretty soon you have the dreaded writer’s block. Ugh. […]

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Nobody Writes Good First Drafts

Crumpled paper

I spend a lot of time working with my clients to edit and revise their proposals and manuscripts. I give notes and suggestions for improvements. Sometimes I take them through draft after draft, until everything seems just right.   I know it’s tiring for them, and sometimes frustrating to be pushed to go over it […]

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What if Someone Steals Your Idea?

top secret

I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview: Last week I wrote about two ways your work can be used without your permission: plagiarism and piracy. But questions have come up about another kind of problem that worries writers: What if someone steals your idea, and writes a book on the same topic […]

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Books Covers and My Experience with 99 Designs

How Do I Decide

Whether you’re self-publishing or working with a publisher, creating an effective book cover is extremely important. I’ve worked with publishers on hundreds of covers, and now I have the experience of working with designers on the cover of my own first e-book. From my perspective, the single most important thing to understand about book covers […]

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Somebody Stole My Words!

Thief

I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview:   If you write and publish books or blog posts (or submit to agents, editors and publishers), you may worry someone might steal your work. I have two things to say about this:   1. Yes, at some point there is a good chance somebody […]

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Trust Me, You Need a Good Editor

red pen spilling ink

I just finished reading a self-published book on a topic I’m passionate about, by an author whose blog I occasionally read. As I’ve mentioned before, I regularly read self-pubbed books, and the fact that I work in traditional publishing doesn’t mean I’m biased against them.   It does, however, mean I’m aware of the ways […]

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You’re Too Good to Quit

gold medal

In our house, we’re getting ready for competition season in gymnastics to begin this weekend. My daughter is a USAG level 7 gymnast with some pretty ambitious goals and it takes a lot of the family’s time and focus.   But recently my daughter was convinced she needed to quit gymnastics (after seven years and […]

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