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Category Archives: Publishing

Seeking an Agent?

If your goal is to take the traditional publishing route then yes, you should be seeking an agent. Let me do clarify one thing though….if you are submitting to indie publishing houses then no, most will accept manuscripts straight from the author however if you are looking at large conglomerates then yes, you need to find an agent. Most of these will only accept submissions from agents.

Word to the wise…there is no formal education that a person must obtain in order to call themselves an agent. In other words, just ensure you use caution and do some serious research before reaching out. You want to find someone that not only knows the industry inside and out, but someone who has some serious ties to the publishing industry.

Here are some words of advice passed along from Ginny Wiehardt (http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/thebusinessofwriting/tp/agenthowto.htm):

1. Finish Your Novel.

Finish writing your novel before contacting literary agents. Have other writers read your book, take a novel writing class, or hire an editor. We all have blind spots as writers; identify them before contacting any agents with your novel. And make sure that the first 30 pages or so are especially strong. Agents need to see that you can set up your story effectively.

 

2. Establish Credibility.

An agent will be more likely to pay attention to your work if you have published in smaller journals and magazines. Find an excerpt from your book that can stand alone and begin sending it out. (Other ways of establishing yourself as a serious writer include winning a contest or getting an MFA.)

 

3. Research Literary Agents.

In finding an agent, you’ll do much of the same research you do when looking for a job. And as with a job hunt, there are many tools at your disposal. Learn about the essential ones here.

 

4. Write a Query Letter.

Your query letter is your one-page audition: your chance to catch an agent’s eye. Introduce your novel with a short, compelling synopsis, then share the credentials you’ve been working so hard to accumulate. These dos and don’ts will further help you craft a professional, dynamic letter.

 

5. Start Writing Literary Agents.

Once you’ve finished your novel and researched the market, you’re ready to start querying literary agents. Dive in and see what happens. Even if you don’t land an agent right away, hopefully you’ll get feedback, both about your writing and about where it might belong.

 

As you proceed, questions will inevitably come up: What fees should you expect? Can you send to more than one at a time? What if you have more than one book? For answers, refer to the agent FAQs. You can also follow one writer’s path to finding an agent.

 

You CAN do this! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 

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It’s a Process

It really is a process. First the writing, then onto the publishing. My wife recently started a local women’s book club. Her first one was a huge success. She found out that the author of the club’s first read is actually local to us, contacted her and was able to have her attend their first meeting.

She’s traditionally published 10 books I believe. I’m envious that I wasn’t able to attend because she took the group through the entire writing and publishing process.

For instance, she is currently working on a new book. The main character in this book works a trade in which the author really doesn’t know much about. To learn about the trade, she spent a day with an expert and learned enough, enabling her to write about knowledgably the subject.

I’m sure there was more, but that’s what I learned second hand from my wife. J

The publishing process is really what intrigued me the most. First, the author reads back over her manuscript 8 times before she sends it to the publisher. Yes, 8 times. Once she’s satisfied, off it goes. It’s first sent to someone that checks over her facts, to ensure accuracy. Okay, I must admit that this is something I’ve never thought about with the traditional publishing process however it does make sense.

Once the accuracy of actual facts is verified, it’s passed on to the editor and so forth.

Suffice it to say that I wish I could have spoken directly to the author myself. In fact, I’m thinking about trying to find out if I can score an interview with her, so you just might actually be reading one soon; one that I’ve conducted myself.

Another thing that can be said for this is to realize that although this author is traditionally published, she is marketing. My wife said she spoke off and on about her latest book that is soon to be released. Let’s also realize that she attended my wife’s book club. Goes to show that regardless as to whether or not an author is traditionally or self-published, that marketing is a must.

Okay, so no new great words of wisdom in this post. I wish I could tell you more about the process, but I’ve shared what I’ve learned and hey, maybe I’ll find out more from the author soon!

 

Have a good Tuesday! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 

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Interview with Dean Koontz

Happy Monday! Regarding the title of today’s post…how many of you thought that I actually interviewed Dean Koontz? Let’s see a raise of hands. Just kidding but, I do wish I had been the one to conduct the interview however I’m not quite that famous or well known in the industry. Not yet. So in the meantime, I have found an interview for you to enjoy. I think we can learn a lot from famous authors and how they got their starts. Taken straight from http://www.deankoontz.com/writing-qa/:

You had an agent in your early years tell you that you’d never be a best-selling writer. Did that discourage you or make you more determined to succeed?

 

I have more self-doubt than any writer I’ve ever known. That is one reason I revise every page to the point of absurdity! The positive aspect of self-doubt – if you can channel it into useful activity instead of being paralyzed by it – is that by the time you reach the end of a novel, you know precisely why you made every decision in the narrative, the multiple purposes of every metaphor and image. Having been your own hardest critic you still have dreams but not illusions. Consequently, thoughtless criticism or advice can’t long derail you. You become disappointed in an agent, in an editor, in a publisher, but never discouraged. If anyone in your publishing life were to argue against a particular book or a career aspiration for reasons you had not already pondered and rejected after careful analysis, if they dazzled you with brilliant new considerations, then you’d have to back off and revisit your decisions. But what I was told never dazzled me. For example, I was often advised, by different people, that my work would never gain a big audience because my vocabulary was too large.

 

It’s been said that writers reveal their own struggles, fears, dreams, etc. through their work. Which of your novels reveals the most about you?

 

Everything I believe about life and death, culture and society, relationships and the self, God and nature–everything winds up in the books, not in one more than another, but equally, title after title. A body of work, therefore, reveals the intellectual and emotional progress of the writer, and is a map of his soul. It’s both terrifying and liberating to consider this aspect of being a novelist.

 

I’ve read that you will rewrite a page until it’s right before moving on, sometimes redoing a draft thirty or forty times. This must make for a slow process. Approximately how long does it take you to write one novel?

 

I work 10- and 11-hour days because in long sessions I fall away more completely into story and characters than I would in, say, a six-hour day. On good days, I might wind up with five or six pages of finished work; on bad days, a third of a page. Even five or six is not a high rate of production for a 10- or 11-hour day, but there are more good days than bad. And the secret is doing it day after day, committing to it and avoiding distractions. A month–perhaps 22 to 25 work days–goes by and, as a slow drip of water can fill a huge cauldron in a month, so you discover that you have 75 polished pages. The process is slow, but that’s a good thing. Because I don’t do a quick first draft and then revise it, I have plenty of time to let the subconscious work; therefore, I am led to surprise after surprise that enriches story and deepens character. I have a low boredom threshold, and in part I suspect I fell into this method of working in order to keep myself mystified about the direction of the piece–and therefore entertained. A very long novel, like FROM THE CORNER OF HIS EYE can take a year. A book like THE GOOD GUY, six months.

 

You are one of the most prolific fiction writers of our time. What keeps you going?

 

In addition to the enchantment with language and storytelling, there is the fact that I wouldn’t know what the hell to do if I were not doing this. Some leisure is fine, but not an unrelieved diet of downtime. I’m also writing to ensure that our foundation–which focuses largely on organizations for the severely disabled, critically ill children, and dogs–will be deeply funded and able to support those organizations long after Gerda and I are gone.

 

You are known as perhaps the hardest working novelist of our time. To what do you attribute your work ethic?

 

Two things. First, I am enchanted by the English language, by its beauty and flexibility, also by the power of storytelling to expand the mind and lift the heart. Language and story offer possibilities –intriguing challenges–that I couldn’t exhaust in many lifetimes. The work is joy when it’s going well, even when it isn’t. Second, I believe that talent is a gift and that it comes with the sacred obligation to polish and grow it.

 

As a young writer, did you encounter rejection?–Allison, Pennsylvania

 

I sold the first short story I wrote. Then I received over 75 rejections before making another sale. My first four novels were never published. Later, after I’d been selling genre fiction routinely, I wrote a mainstream novel, ALL OTHER MEN. Editors sent me enthusiastic letters about it, said they loved it, but turned it down because they felt it was too disturbing and too avant garde to be commercial. But let me get to the heart of your question: young writer. There seems to be an implication here that I’m no longer young. I am as young now, Allison, as I have ever been, and not because of any form of dementia. I am young because my work keeps me young and the daily wrestling with our beautiful and supple language keeps me limber and youthful, as well. You may think that is bullshit, and it is, but it’s a sincere kind of bullshit.

 

How important were college creative-writing courses to your success?—Alberto, Washington

 

I’m sure that the right teacher, in a well-designed course, can be a great help to beginning writers who are trying to find their way, but I have no personal experience of that. I found my own way by doing two things. First, I read 150 books a year, sometimes more, (very little TV, later no blogging, no e-mail, that’s how), fiction in all genres, contemporary novels but also the classics, poetry, and a variety of nonfiction. Second, I revise every page of a novel twenty or thirty times, whatever it takes, before moving on to the next page. This line-by-line immersion focuses me intently on language, character, and theme. I began this ceaseless polishing out of self-doubt, as a way of preventing self-doubt from turning into writer’s block: by doing something with the unsatisfactory page, I wasn’t just sitting there brooding about it. I have more self-doubt than any writer I know, which seems healthy to me, and now this method of working, this line-by-line immersion, no longer seems arduous; instead, it delights me. While my conscious mind is on the micro world of a single page, my unconscious is always working on the macro world of the entire novel.

 

When did you decide you were destined to be a writer? At what point in your life? —Marcy, New Jersey

 

After a devastating ankle injury forever ended my ice-dancing career. Actually, nothing is destined. Everything depends on the unstinting exercise of free will, and hard work.

Have a good one. (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 

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