writing knowhow
writing knowhow

learn the inside scoop from writing & publishing experts
book editors' pet peeves

Editors agree: Any of the following will earn you a quick rejection:

And from one editor, this bit of personal insight:

My All-Time, Nerve-Gangling, Major Turn-off, Ugly-as-Sin, Nails-on-the-Blackboard, Chapter One Pet Peeves 
                (How can a reader follow what’s happening?  I’m confused.)
                  (Why bother?  I’ve read this before – maybe not this book, but everything is way too familiar.)
                (Isn’t there something more interesting on TV?  Or YouTube?  I’m bored.)
                (Oh, come on, now…  Who would do that?  I don’t buy it.)
                (Who’s shouting?  Who’s cursing?  No one?  Then no exclamation points!!!!!  Yes, too many make 
                me shout.)
                (Who wants to read about that?  I’m grossed out.)
                (Who would want to be in such an ugly place?  I feel like a nasty voyeur.)
                (Why did I just spend all this time with this character?  I feel cheated.) 
                (Don’t I have better things to do?  It’s putting me to sleep…zzzzzzzzz)

What agents and editors are always looking for: 
“A good story well told.”  
~ John Saul
All writers need to keep gathering bits of information like seashells to keep their ideas and style fresh, and to keep the marketing of their work professional and up-to-date.  Like all entertainment industries, publishing is not static.  So requirements, fashions, and processes may seem to shift with the winds.  Relying on information that is out-dated or unreliable could prove embarrassing, and maybe even costly to you.  Because we are a group of agents, editors, and publishers working in publishing everyday, we can provide you with the most timely, most relevant, most valuable information.

When we find something we feel writers should know, we'll share it here. 
international writing documentary "Scribes" 
now available here for FREE:

Watch the writing documentary, "Scribes," by filmmaker Rusty Nixon, to get the inside scoop on what it takes to break into publishing and become a professional writer. It features writers conference workshops, keynote speeches, and one-on-one interviews with powerhouse agents and editors, producers, and publishers, as well as some of today's bestselling authors, including: Terry Brooks, Elizabeth Engstrom, Diana Gabaldon, Anne Perry, John Saul, Michael Slade, Jack Whyte, and more.  It's a humorous, honest, and sometimes painful look at the writing industry.  Sit back and relax, watch and learn.

writers be wary

Don't be pulled in by a ruse.  The Internet is ripe with carpetbagging wolves - both individuals and companies - prowling for unsuspecting, hopeful writers.  Hiding under sheep's clothing, these wolves are only out to pray on your ego and take your money for over-priced services and less-than-valuable information.  Common are those with all flash and no substance, those selling information that is long-outdated or available elsewhere for free, and those who purchase a good name only to squeeze it for as long as they can maximaize profits.  

While you're on the Web also look out for the failed, bitter wannabe writers who, rather than working to improve their writing and professionalism, spend their energies online casting blame on anyone and everyone they perceive contributed to their failures.  Often these trolls lurk in chat rooms and in comment sections, lashing out in sprays of negativity to anyone who will let them.

Despite these few bad apples, you'll find the genuine writing community is incredibly positive, generous, and helpful.  Attend a writers conference to experience it first hand and meet authors, editors, and agents who give back by attending writers conferences.  For listings of hundreds of conferences throughout the US, Canada, and Europe check out Shaw Guides to Writers Conferences: ​
book agents' pet peeves

Literary agents agree: Since they are working on spec until they sell a writer's work, they cannot waste time on writers who give the impression they are anything less than dedicated, professional writers.   Most agents receive 50-100 queries a day, everyday, so they are very quick to hit DELETE and never look back.   They know there's an excellent writer who is a joy to work with, waiting just around the corner.

Commit one of these sins and you'll be labelled rude, lazy, immature, or a diva - whether true or not - and you may have burned a bridge once and for all:

our best advice for querying book editors & agents

​Write the best book you can, study the industry, build your platform, prepare yourself for publishing, and research editors and agents to target your queries.  Then, and only then, write a kick-ass query letter of two paragraphs - one about the book and one about you - which makes them ask for more.  

The biggest mistake writers make is querying too soon.  Without a doubt, the #1 reason for rejection is that you or your book is not yet ready.
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