Tag Archives: publishing

What’s YOUR Agent Pitch?

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great, productive weekend. I must admit that mine wasn’t spent writing. It was in fact, a “handyman” type of weekend. I installed a new kitchen faucet, worked on my truck and well yeah, I did admittedly have fun as well. I suppose I was ashamed to admit that I didn’t get any writing done but hey, the things I DID accomplish can give some great writing ideas. Right?


So I have found a workshop that appears to look pretty good. It’s with Writers Digest. I do have to admit that I have personally never taken any of their workshops but have heard from others that they are pretty good.


This one is taking place this Thursday, so I wanted to get word out there. Here’s what you’ll learn:

•How to make the perfect pitch

•How to deliver the flavor your book to whet the reader’s appetite for more

•How to keep the momentum going through the All-Important-Page-One

•How to start in a logical place—yet from a compelling perch

•How to identify the most exciting elements that illustrate your work

•How to encapsulate (in clear core points) when proposing a book

•The five key takeaways you need to entice an agent/editor

•How to amplify your chances for being selected

•What to do—and what not to do—when summarizing your book in 200-250 words. You want the neurons in the agent’s mind to decide, “Yes, keep reading!”

If you want to see more and/or register, click


Have a great, Happy Monday! (Evin –


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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 –


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Dog Eat Dog

For lack of a better term…yesterday I was flamed on a popular social networking site. Suffice it to say, I was flamed for offering advice to an author. I mentioned pricing in the comment and was not aware at that time that mentioning pricing in the group was not allowed. I do not use that as an excuse however because I should have made myself aware of the group rules.

Another group member decided to flame me, letting the group know that due to the low cost I was charging a client, that my editing was horrible and I was only ripping the client off because his/her book would need an additional edit due to the horrible edit I was going to give him/her.

I emailed this individual privately to take it off the board because I ashamedly let myself get into a flaming war in the group, for everyone to read. The response from this person was calling me foul names using language that I won’t even attempt to use here.

I let this get to me because for one, this person knows nothing about the quality of work I do. Secondly, I’m wondering to myself as to how an adult could act this way. At first, I wanted to hang up the towel and leave this business. See, Sapling is a part-time job for me at the moment. Writing, publishing and anything to do with books has always been a passion of mine. I began writing creative stories as early as grade school. I always excelled and received very good grades in my creative writing and English classes.

I’ve always wanted to me a writer, but never took any advanced classes because like many, I grew up hearing, “You’ll starve. Only a very few make any real money in it.” As a result, I set off in a completely different direction and have worked in many different positions. Currently I work full-time as a technical writer, which is now a position I’ve worked in for over 10 years. It’s writing, but maybe not the type that most people think about when they think of a writer. I have a graduate degree in education, primarily adult education. Now at the age of 40, I am working on my first novel and wondering if I should actually take some of those advanced writing courses. I do write and sell articles and have written numerous short stories but have yet to have any of my actual stories published.

I’ve gotten off track here. I wanted to throw in the towel yesterday and leave the world of publishing. Why? Because sometimes it’s dog eat dog. I wondered further last night however as to what would happen if a majority of people in this business decided to throw in the towel, simply because of the derogatory comments of one person (or even more for that matter). Heck, this could be said for anything and anyone’s dream really. Very few come without sweat, blood and tears from time to time. Most people fall flat on their backs before truly succeeding in something. Although not really verified, I’ve always heard how Stephen King has decorated one wall of his office with rejection letters by various publishers. Just imagine if he had let those drive him away from his dream.

So I want to tell all of you…yes, there will be times you will want to give up. There might be flaming and hateful words. There might be someone out there telling you that you are not good enough, or that you need to find a “real job.” Don’t listen. If this is what you want to do, don’t listen because at the end of the day, YOU are the one that has to look at yourself in the mirror and YOU are the one that knows what you dream truly is.

Go forth and conquer, my friends. (Evin –


Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized


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How to REALLY get published

No, I am not talking about a “get rich quick” scheme. No, I am not going to try to sell you an ebook that will ensure that your book will be published tomorrow. I’m going to go along with the New Year’s Resolution theme. We all tend to make them. Right? Do we always stick with them all? Probably not. What if you were to make a resolution that would help you to get published? Not quite ready to be published yet? Well, how about something that would help your writing? The secret is…..

ATTITUDE! Yes, your attitude. I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking to yourselves, “Seriously? Now how often have I heard that one?” See? If you are thinking that, there goes your attitude. If I had a dollar for every author that I have spoken with, who has told me, “I really don’t think this will ever be published because I know it’s not good enough” or something along those lines, I’d be rich. Seriously. Look at this: “Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars.” – Frederick Langbridge

Before I go any further, I want to have you do this (if you have a Facebook account). I want you to click here: and go “Like” this page. You will have access to a plethora of quotes to keep your attitude positive.

Our attitude can determine so much in every aspect of our lives, including your writing. If you think you’ll never get published, you won’t. If you think you can’t finish your novel/writing, etc., you won’t. It’s that simple. If Anne Rice or Stephen King felt they’d never get published, do you think they’d be where they are today? No.

It’s not too late to make one final New Year’s Resolution and that, is to resolve to have a positive attitude about writing and publishing in 2013. If you think you can, you can and you will!

Just my .02,

Evin (aka Mr. Guru

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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How to find time to write over the holidays

For some, the holidays provide a great opportunity for some good writing. Nothing like being home, wrapped up in front of a nice, crackling fire…away from work and the cares of the world. Then again, the kids and spouse/partner are home, the in-laws are in for a visit and the kitchen is bustling with activity as the turkey bakes in the oven. How, amongst the hustle and bustle will you ever find time to write?

Wonder no more my friend, because Brandi-Ann Uyemura from The Writer Magazine has shared the trick!

Prioritize. If you want to write during the holidays but think you don’t have the time, remember: You do. You just need to plan for it. “Think about writing as a good habit, like daily exercise, brushing teeth,” says Rochelle Melander, a writing coach and author of Write-A-Thon. Prioritize your time by scheduling writing sessions in your calendar and start committing to that schedule now.

Set deadlines. Some writers need deadlines to get things done. If you don’t have a project deadline, create your own and ask a buddy to hold you accountable.

Delegate. Melander suggests setting boundaries and delegating tasks to others. This year bring the side dishes and offer to help clean up after the Thanksgiving party. This will eliminate hours of prep time and save you extra minutes to write.

Disconnect. From the Internet, that is. Consider unplugging for a while and you’ll find oodles of time you didn’t know you had.

Look for hidden moments. “Over the years, I have discovered that there are hidden moments during the holiday season when no one is expecting me to be anywhere or do anything,” Melander says. You may find time waiting in line at the grocery store or bank or in between buying holiday gifts. Plan to have a notebook with you for those unexpected precious moments. Or follow Melander’s lead by writing in the early morning before the kids are up.

Photo by Sheri Inman

It requires some extra effort to write during the holidays, but a shift in perspective might help. Instead of perceiving your writing as an additional task to check off your to-do list, think of it as a rare opportunity to pen that perfect character, juicy scene, or dynamic drama inspired by your real life. In fact, why not let the winter trimmings, joyful songs, holiday festivities and even your obnoxious relatives become characters in your next writing project?

But what if you still can’t find the time to write? Don’t beat yourself up about it. You may not be able to get to all of your projects this season. “Writers do more than just write,” Melander says. “They also need to develop ideas for new projects.” Sometimes being productive means taking a break. Read that novel you’ve always wanted to get to, watch that holiday play. Seeking activities that tickle your senses and experiencing the magic you felt as a kid will do wonders for your writing.

I’ve found that engaging in a bit of winter whimsy lifts the doldrums of daily writing. I’ve never regretted it, and my writing has yet to take a hit from my simply being and enjoying life. Try it yourself and see if it doesn’t lift your spirits, inspire a breakthrough, and energize you so that come next year you’ll be refreshed and ready to write.

– Hoping Santa brings me something good this year  –  Evin Wilkins (www.mrgurupublishing)

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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


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How to pick a literary agent

Thinking on taking the traditional publishing route? You’ll probably need an agent. Let me say this first…you do not always need an agent however, if you are planning on submitting to the publishing house giants such as Bantam, Penguin, etc., then you will need one. In fact, most of the large publishing houses will only accept submissions from agents. 

That being said, how do you pick the right literary agent? Jeremie Kubicek ( shares how:

Choosing an agent to represent you in your publishing strategy can be overwhelming. Barnes and Noble and Amazon will sell you reference books with list after list of agents. The process can feel like job hunting if you are not careful.

Based on that I want to share with you how I chose my agent forLeadership is Dead and why I did. If you are writing a book this post could save you hours of headaches and provide clarity for your publishing plans.

1. Get your act together – organize your thoughts, clarify what you want before you talk to an agent. You won’t get much time to tell someone who you are, what you want and how you plan to change the world. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

2. Make a list of things you want in an agent. Most of you may not know, so let me share what I wanted.

a. My agent needed to get me and believe in me.
b. I wanted an aggressive team who could open many doors.
c. An agent needed to play in the world I am most comfortable in – business and leadership.
d. Noted success helps. Who they have worked for before gives me confidence.
e. Marketing is key. I needed someone who was adept in promotion, publicity and marketing because that is not the core strength of most publishers.
f. Available. While I am not high maintenance, I definitely needed some one to help me through the first time author process.

3. Ask other authors who they work with. There is nothing better than a reference. To cold call is to waste time. Find a credible author and ask them or find out who they use.

4. Interview face-to-face. Invest in a flight to meet with them and interview them as much as they interview you.

5. Ask them to walk you through the entire process. One, you will learn. Two, you will hear their philosophy. If there is no connection, move on. Hopefully a few phone calls before this meeting will sniff out any issues.

6. Have the right expectations. Realize that agents make money on advances and royalties. While the good agents will serve the whole process, their main focus is on the right author with the right content and distribution at the right time. Always remember how agents are motivated.

I called 4 agents or agent groups. Three of them were referred to me and one approached me. I eliminated one group because they were too closely aligned with other partners. I needed space and fresh ideas. Another agent was eliminated because they were too slick for me. The last two were hard for me because I really liked both of them. I felt one of them was better at the publishing process and the other better with marketing.

Based on all of this I chose to go with Dupree Miller and Shannon Marven as the lead agent. She is amazing. We have a close relationship and I try to help them as much as they help me. I was introduced to her through a business partner, Dr. Henry Cloud, who had great things to say. Their track record was strong, but more than that I felt they knew my market best out of any and specifically Shannon knows who I am and believes in my mission.

There are many other outstanding literary agents. While I didn’t choose them I would recommend Chip Shuneman, the former publisher of Time Life books, and Chris Ferebee of Yates and Yates. While I have never worked with Robert Wolgemuth I have heard great things about him as well.

I hope this gives you a bit more insight and helps you in your pursuit. Good luck and happy writing!

Just another blog post by Mr. Guru (aka Evin Wilkins at:

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


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