Wayne Hastings is a publisher who is generous enough to share his experience and wisdom with authors on an on-going basis. This article, for instance, gives four key points on creating promotional materials for the prospective agent/publisher that clearly communicate your topic and who you are. Every article like this saves me from making a mistake that could cause the rejection of my book.
I’ve found that during my author interviews one of the most common questions I get asked is if I have any advice for aspiring authors. And I do! A lot, actually. So I thought I’d put together a list of some things I wish I’d known before taking the leap into the publishing pool.
1. You won’t make a lot of money.
Weirdly, a lot of people assume that being an author is a get-rich-quick kind of job. Sorry to disappoint you if you’re one of those unfortunately misinformed people, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s a sad reality but it’s incredibly rare for an author to make enough money to live off of their book sales. Sure, you hear of authors like J. K. Rowling and James Patterson making millions off their books, but they are some of the few…
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So first I was struggling with writing ANYthing for the book proposal, and now I have three! How did this happen, you ask? Well, I plunged in and used a format given in an article recommended by the agent. Getting it done was like shrugging off a bearskin coat and letting the furry mass thud to the floor. THEN, I reviewed the agent’s personal suggested outline and that morphed into yet another book proposal version. Now I’m re-referencing the agent-recommended book, “Book Proposals That $ell”, which will probably birth an even heftier version. After that, I will undertake the mind-convulsing task of blending all three together into a proposal so vast it will cause the agent’s desk to sag. The agent will steady his sliding computer with one hand and call Rent-A-Crane with the other to raise the proposal off his desk and into the shredder. He will enclose the equipment rental bill with my rejection letter. Or – I will miraculously blend all the key points in an intuitive flow so phenomenally persuasive it will catapult the agent into the CFO’s office to issue me an advance. Maybe somewhere between the two scenarios, you think?
Before this, I would have approached a prospective editor with chocolate. Now I know better! This is extremely information to anyone seeking editorial help/review with a manuscript, and it is also a good read if one (not to say “I”) were thinking of doing more editorial assignments. Enjoy!
Today we have a fantastic guest post by Richard Held from Held Editing Services!
Hiring an editor has its benefits. An editor can make typo and grammar corrections, eliminate passive voice, alert authors about plot holes and patchy character development, and can offer advice on character and plot development, as well as assist with fact-checking and other tasks.
Some authors, however, do not know how to approach an editor. When these clueless scribes contact an editor, the latter often finds his/her time is wasted—and time is money for an editor, especially a full-time one.
Here is what to do—and not do—when approaching an editor.
Do: Communicate clearly.
Do you think your manuscript needs a detailed proofread to eliminate lingering typos, or do you think your document needs a light copy edit to eliminate some rough grammar? Knowing what kind of help you need before you query will help smooth the…
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If prospective agents ever read these posts, I’m doomed. They’ll order extra alligators for the moat. Ever since I decided to write a cover letter and book proposal, my freelance writing assignments found a stray Viagra tablet somewhere and multiplied like happy little rabbits. I need the income, of course, but I am completely unhorsed (alligators, rabbits, horses – ye gods) as to my original goal. Now I wouldn’t share my brain scatterdom with just anyone, you understand. Only with you, my fellow salmon, leaping and straining to make it upstream in the publishing process. (Add salmon … at this point, why not?)
Right now, I am sitting outside in spring/summer sunshine beneath an indecisive sky. Birds have trees for chat rooms and they are discussing life at eloquent length all around me. I’m sitting at a round plastic table beneath the pines, my laptop connected by an infinite extension cord. Thunderstorms appear, thunder and storm, and disappear with unpredictable suddenness here, so I could be a literary lightening rod right now but is any risk too great to take for one’s book?
I will now attempt to summarize my book in 40 words. Not here, in this blog – but after I post this. Why not now? Because the 40-word summary only exists in conversation to friends when I explain that I can’t write it. Suddenly, there it is! And I frantically enquire, “What did I just say? Do YOU remember it?” “Um, of course,” they reply supportively, “You said …” and then they amble off into a long discourse, paraphrasing the aforespoken 40 words in about 2,000, which is what I do every time I try to write it. Wish me luck.