December 22, 2020 · 6:59 am
Via today’s New York Times, there’s an extremely strange phishing epidemic that affects both established, big-name authors and newbies alike—basically anybody involved in a querying and/or publication cycle. Someone is impersonating editors and agents, requesting drafts of manuscripts in progress toward publication, then “disappearing” the manuscripts. No one thus far has an adequate theory as to what happens to the drafts that have been stolen. They’re not being published online; there’ve been no ransom demands, no threatening follow-ups. The perpetrator seems to be someone with extensive expertise and contacts in publishing.
Since I’m not querying at the moment, I’m out of the loop that might be affected by this weird business, but it looks as if those of you who are should be extra vigilant. Confirm with your agents and editors that the requests for your latest draft are legitimate. Inspect email addresses carefully. A tactic appears to be substituting “rn” for “m” in some names.
The article will fill you in with more detail. Let us know if you’ve experienced a version of this.
November 19, 2019 · 9:05 pm
Maybe most of us know exactly what genre we’re writing for. Wish I was one of “us.”
This piece from Penny Sansevieri via Anne R. Allen (the wonderful @annerallen) via Chris the Story Reading Ape (inimitable @Storyreadingape) lays out a path for one of the most onerous tasks for me as I query my WsIP: finding “recent” “best-selling” books that are “similar to my book” yet, of course, slightly inferior.
I. e., “comps” or “comparable titles.”
I’ve read comments by agents on their blogs that if I can’t come up with perfect matches for these descriptors, I just haven’t done my homework.
After wallowing in self-pity for a while, I’ve discovered some of the “homework” assignments Sansevieri suggests, with some decent results. I’ve had the experience of finding that books that come up when I type in my keywords aren’t at all like my books. She offers some ideas for solving that problem I haven’t tried yet.
One of my biggest problems, as she suggests, is finding time to read widely enough to locate books in the same universe as mine. I’ve used the “Look Inside” feature to get a general sense if I’m remotely in the right category. Even using that metric, of the three I thought most likely to match one of my books and bought just to see, one fell into a completely different universe. I won’t know if the others are good matches until I read more of them.
Any ideas, in addition to those Sansevieri provides, for speeding up this process? (Not that I don’t like reading. So many books, so few lives.)
What do you do to find comps?
Filed under Finding literary agents for writers, genres for writers, looking for literary editors and publishers, Marketing books
Tagged as amazon categories, amazon keywords, Amazon rankings, finding comparables for your books, how to query an agent, how to sell books, Marketing books, querying agents
November 7, 2019 · 2:07 pm
I’ve given up fighting. I’m doing it, I’m doing it!
I wonder how many creative writing classes and MFA programs include a course in query-writing. I guess if you’re a superbly outgoing person capable of making such a stunning impression in an elevator that you get an automatic request for your fulls, you don’t have to.
Where can I find a class in how to be that person?
Doing the Things You Don’t Love to Get to Where You Want to Be
April 20, 2019 · 4:05 pm
Succinct, clear advice for the OTHER awful task once the book is finished. I’m in the process, so this came right on time. Thanks, @KMAllan_writer. (And Chris the Story Reading Ape, for sharing this).
Perhaps the most feared thing after a synopsis for writers is the query letter.
Mostly because it has so much riding on it. It’s your chance to make a good impression on an agent or publisher, and you only have a few paragraphs to do it.
You want your query to lead to a request for your manuscript; it needs to be strong, interesting, and not feature any of these don’ts.
Query Letter Don’ts
1. Don’t talk about yourselfmore than the project you’re pitching. The agent/publisher needs to know about your book first. You, second.
2. Don’t skimp on story hooks. A hook is called such for a reason; it hooks the reader and makes them want to read more. If your query doesn’t mention at least one hook, rewrite it so it does.
3. Don’t give away too much. Yes, this contradicts the last point, but even though…
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April 20, 2019 · 12:35 pm
Down the Synopsis Wormhole
I’ve been caught up in revisions, queries, pitches, and yes, my WIP synopsis for the past month. At least @BillFerris over at @WriterUnboxed gives me a reason to laugh at my wandering efforts to tell a 99,000-word story in 1000 words! Maybe he’ll help you over the hump of writing your synopsis. Enjoy.
Filed under business of writing, Finding literary agents for writers, looking for literary editors and publishers, Publishing, writing novels
Tagged as creative writing, Editors, fiction, how to write a synopsis, novel synopsis, publishing, querying agents, submitting your book, writing, writing a synopsis, writing novels, writing queries for novels