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.
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 Common are those with all flash and no substance, those selling information that is long-outdated or available elsewhere for free, and those who purchase a good name only to squeeze it for as long as they can maximaize profits.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:
You do not go to the agency website for firsthand information, relying solely on info from secondhand sources.
You have outdated information about the agent or agency in your query.
You do not follow agency submission guidelines.
You are unprofessional.
You send out a shotgun query.
You assume an agent remembers your last email.
You do not send requested material when an agent asks for it.
You send requests to be friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other social media.
Your premise is tired or clichéd.
You have no platform - and no desire to build one.
You do not show any knowledge of your target audience.
Your query is full of typos, misspellings, bad grammar, errors.
Your text rambles and lacks focus.
Your query runs more than 500 words.
You don’t include enough info about your book or yourself.
Your tone is cocky; your claims are grandiose.
You tell the agent how to do their job.
You only convey how wonderful you are.
You ask for special treatment.
You expect others to do your work.
You have money demands.
You have no knowledge of publishing or the marketplace and show it.
You offer excuses why you can’t do something.
You tell too much; you telegraph your amateur status.
You query again with the same book when it’s already been rejected.
You call the agent on the phone or send nagging emails.
You respond poorly to a rejection.
You overload agency email boxes with announcements about your self-published book - especially after you've been rejected!
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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