Posted on Jan 14th, 2013 | 29 comments
If you are a blogger, you owe it to yourself to study your blog stats at least annually, if not more often. It’s fascinating what you can learn and how much you can improve your blogging by paying attention to your traffic patterns. In just a few minutes of looking at my most popular post rankings for 2012, I gleaned some useful tidbits:
♦ My “About” page and other informational pages (Submission Guidelines, etc.) are viewed much more often than I’d realized, which reminded me to keep them up-to-date. It’s annoying reading a blogger’s “About” page that’s clearly not current.
♦ Of my 40 most-viewed posts of 2012, only 24 were written and posted in 2012. My archives get a lot of action, especially on basic topics such as titling...
Posted on Dec 10th, 2012 | 105 comments
I asked readers on my Facebook page for questions they’d like me to answer on the blog. It seems many are dying to know the secret to getting an agent.
Stephanie asked: What is the single most important thing when approaching an agent?
Aleah asked: What’s the best way for a first time novelist to get their foot in the door with an agent? Where should one start?
These questions always make me feel like the writers are hoping I’ll reveal the secret handshake or code-word that will break down the barriers to getting an agent. I wish it were that easy! But it’s a process, with no shortcuts and no magic. Here are some things you can do:
1. Write a great book. If your book isn’t marketable, nothing else will matter. You’ve got to have a book people want...
Posted on Sep 18th, 2011 | 38 comments
I know my readers are savvy web surfers, and you’re reading blogs and websites to learn about agents and publishing. But I cannot overstate the value of having this print resource on hand!
The 2012 Guide to Literary Agents is now available—and it’s less than twenty bucks. I think it’s an incredible value. Here’s what you’ll find inside:
Contact info and submission guidelines for hundreds of legitimate literary agencies.
Info on over 100 writers’ conferences around the country.
Complete glossary of publishing industry terms.
Over 40 articles written by top literary agents, addressing researching agents, writing queries, attending conferences, and much more.
Of course you won’t want to miss my article on Non-fiction Book Proposals!...
Posted on Aug 1st, 2011 | 64 comments
*The Definitive Guide*
Query letters are a recurring theme here since every writer needs one, and there are hundreds of posts online full of query advice. But I wanted to give you a simple, straightforward set of instructions. Other places you can find specifics such as how to write a strong pitch for your book, or how to write an author bio. But here are the basics on queries.
Queries should include the following three elements:
Something about the book – enough to make the agent want more
Something about you – tailored as appropriate for your book
The first 3 to 5 (or so) pages of the manuscript pasted into the email (IF the agent requests it in their guidelines, which I do)
Tips for a great query:
It starts with a few sentences designed to make me want to read your...
Posted on Jul 29th, 2011 | 80 comments
There are several great books available on writing book proposals. My favorite for non-fiction is:
Write the Perfect Book Proposal by Jeff Herman. I like this one because it contains ten real-life proposals that sold.
Author and writing mentor Mary DeMuth has created two in-depth proposal tutorials, one for fiction and non-fiction. You can find the links here on my blog under the tab “Resources for Writers.”
If you’re a WordServe client and we request a proposal from you, we’ll send you our book proposal template. Meanwhile, here are bare-bones outlines of non-fiction and fiction book proposals.
Note: You’re highly unlikely to have a winning book proposal if you try to write one based strictly on a few blog posts. Make the effort to get access to an in-depth...