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Men were more likely than women to pitch one editor again, even if their previous work together did not go smoothly. But women cold-approach editors more readily than men do, among other findings from this survey of science journalists. But I think pitches are like stories: They should be as long as they should be and no longer than that. It could just be an interesting juxtaposition of ideas or a really cool technology.

Plus "worst pitches ever. Surprisingly, the works of highest quality came from the group being graded on quantity, because they had continually practiced, churned out tons of work, and learned from their mistakes. What is the best way to connect with this editor? What are the most interesting points of the data? Should I use bullet points or just a few short paragraphs? So what causes an editor to show interest? Must-read for authors of YA and middle grade fiction. But those who have one—staff writers at major media outlets, YouTube influencers, those with connections to the film industry—seem to land book deals more easily than others.

That kind of clear thinking and intention comes through in queries and makes certain writers and projects stand out more than others. EM: "For a non-fiction writer, a solid platform is essential these days, as is previously-recognized expertise in that particular subject. This is as helpful an analysis of what authors should know about their rights in the new electronic world as you are likely to read. It starts on pp. Print those pages out and highlight them! Her most valuable comments are on book publishers trying to becoming licensing agents for e-rights while taking a print publishers' share of income and without doing what a licensing agent ought to do, and since authors will very quickly learn how much they can do without the publishers, they are playing a dangerous game.

Authors: there IS no standard on e-publishing terms, so do your homework. At a minimum, read this article. There is a growing demand for 'own voices': the words, dreams, thoughts, and experiences of creators who have historically been marginalized and ignored How to write a book proposal If you don't have experience in book publishing, it is important to understand the process of getting a book published.


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Although the process has changed and the option of self-publishing is now a more realistic alternative , certain things are still true for getting the imprimatur of a major publisher. You will almost certainly need an agent to place a book, for example, especially if you're a new writer. To get an agent, send a one-page query first to see if they are interested in receiving your book proposal.

If you're seeking a publisher for a novel you'll probably have to write the whole novel first to show that you can pull it off but even then you may start with a proposal and sample chapters. If you're writing nonfiction, you won't normally write the whole thing first, but will sell the concept from a book proposal, a sales piece for the proposed book--to find out if publishers see a potential market for a book on a particular topic and think you have the chops to pull it off and can also attract a big enough audience for the book.

Indeed, you will probably need to sell the book from a book proposal even if you have already written the book, because the acquiring editor needs something to share with colleagues in the editorial meeting, where decisions are often made about whether to commission a book and to bid against other publishers for it.

Some writers are great at articles but cannot pull off book-length projects. In short, how many books can you sell because of "who you are or who you can reach" see Jane Friedman's definition of platform. How many followers do you have on social media? Where does your work appear?

What is your main competition and what unique advantage do you have? Access to unique sources? Personal involvement? Time passed since an earlier book on the subject has been done? Fresh material? If you have a video of yourself giving a dynamic talk, you might include that, or a link to it or part of it. Read the publishers' submissions instructions, because some want electronic submissions.

Find out what they prefer, to increase your chances of being considered. You can see this played out in the rejections received by award-winner Rebecca Skloot. Some types of nonfiction can be credibly pitched by anyone with proven journalistic or storytelling skills. Think of a narrative nonfiction book, such as Seabiscuit. If your book must succeed based on its ability to artfully weave a story, then your strength as a writer becomes more and more important. In this column, Lynne asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together.

She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. You have to understand the process! It gives your approach definition. Memoir writers: Be sure to read the final section on pitching a memoir.

A practical dash of reality.

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You have to work to get the editor interested in you, and then outline exactly who will buy the book once you've written it. Writer's Digest. Michael Hingston, Medium, Here's another book proposal, in full. This one's about hockey. Michael Hingston, Neither sold, but they are well written. Developing a 'selling' book title Much good advice here, and remember: The title alone can sell the book, so don't look for one that is especially meaningful to you but won't necessarily grab most readers.

And when you have a good title, run it by a few people to market test it. Even better, get others to help you find a title. I spent two years interviewing people for a history of the department of psychiatry at the University of Maryland, and then invited everyone interviewed or in the department to suggest potential titles and subtitles. You can see the cover here with cover art by Linda Sibio. Don't get too attached to your working title; expect pushback from the publisher's marketing or editorial department; work with your editor; appreciate the value of group brainstorming; don't stick with a title that requires explanation; and other valuable advice.

If you're pitching your book to agents or editors, the perfect title for your book will define your subject and grab their positive attention. It should be a label they can confidently share with colleagues in editorial board meetings and use to convince the powers-that-be to release money to acquire your book. The authors provide good examples of titles plus subtitles to emulate if you are writing a prescriptive or platform-driven book or if you are writing narrative nonfiction, literary nonfiction, memoirs, or biographies.

Disproportionately, they are mysteries. Check out the Kindle and Amazon Keyword Search.

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Would a reader feel cool if someone saw them reading a book with that title? With tips on how to find the right elements. How to Find and Choose the Right Literary Agent and other Q's and A's about agents Agents vary on many counts including how much and how well they help you shape your proposal, how aggressive they are in finding you a publisher, how well they know how many publishers and how much clout they have with them, and how reliable they will be about protecting your interests after the book is published , so finding one through another writer friend is perhaps the best way, especially if the friend can also recommend you.

This much is true: For the big traditional publishers, your chief way of getting your foot in the door is through an agent, as they screen out the 95 percent of manuscripts that are not close to viable for most traditional publishers those who sell through bookstores and to book clubs, etc. Traditional advice about finding an agent: Look at the acknowledgment page in books you admire or like the one you are writing and see what they say about their agent, if anything. Check sources below to make sure any agent you approach is interested in the genre you are writing in.

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Ask writers you know if there is an agent they recommend for a particular type of book the kind you are writing or want to write ; ask those with agents or who know agents if they would refer you to their agent if you're a likely match. Attend conferences with pitch slams--which are popular now at many writers conferences.

He describes the tastes and track records of the agents and editors listed therein. It's not updated annually and agents do move around. You can subscribe to Publishers Lunch a free e-letter mailed daily to 45, publishing people , a sampler version of the premium Lunch Deluxe. How do you find one? What you should submit to an agent, how to choose one that's right for you, what to expect from an agent, and are all agents equally good? It's "an ability to sell books because of who you are or who you can reach," she writes.

Publishers and agents "seek writers with credentials and authority, who are visible to their target audience as an expert, thought leader, or professional," and she explains visibility and target audience. Does past representation impede your ability to find a new agent? Helpful information, including a list of questions to ask an agent you're considering or approaching. Search their database of members by genre or name.


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Interview conducted by e-mail after panel conversation held at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, Virginia, on March 19, A bad agent wants you to change your story, drastically perhaps, to make it more attractive to prospective buyers. You can rail about how unfair that is, and how it makes publishing into an incestuous little club, and to a degree you would be right.

There is a market, however tiny, for good books, and there are a small number of smart, hard-working people who live for the thrill of finding a talented author.

If you are one of those talented authors, then it is your job to stop whining and figure out how to make it easy for them to find you. Check out the pitch workshops, too. Be sure to read the items any good agent will negotiate.

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Some consider it a conflict of interest if an agent offers to refer you to an editorial service--some agents run editorial businesses on the side, or get a referral fee for referring you to one. It might not be the best way to find a good editor or book doctor. Similarly, many consider it a conflict of interest that agents are beginning to act as publishers, since agents are supposed to represent authors' interests with publishers--but that's another whole ball of wax.

As for why you might want an agent: The smaller publishers will often accept submissions directly from authors, but the big five or six major publishing groups generally require submissions through an agent--partly because agents filter out some of the worst material, screening authors and mss. A good agent will know how to orchestrate a book contract in the author's best interest--will know where the publisher might bend or be known for never accepting certain terms.

Not to mention that the whole process of negotiating contracts is odious to most authors, who tend not to understand the implications of various contract terms, to know that they can ask for alternatives, and to know which ones ought to be deal breakers. Even if you have an agent, it may pay to join the Authors Guild and get its book explaining book contract terms--so you know how to talk to your agent. Not surprisingly, many first-time authors are so excited to find a publisher that they accept the contract the publisher sends them, not even daring to ask questions.

Don't give up rights that will put you in limbo if the book goes out of print which is highly likely. An agent is expected to be tough and in theory at least can protect your long-term interests. Some do that better than others, and experience helps, which is one reason I'd think twice about using novices. There's one agent BD we'll call him who routinely sends out calls for writers for projects that require a good deal of research on often complex topics.

This is not an agent you want representing you. He or she is going to be your champion, fighting for you and your work every step of the way. You need someone who wants to be your partner for this book and beyond. See also Ask a Literary Agent Lukeman answers aspiring authors' questions about writing and getting published. You get [screenwriting] jobs by being great in a room, having what the people who you meet with want, and impressing the hell out of them with your personality and talent.

If you can do this, then you get to keep your agent or manager to go out and do it again, keeping in mind that the person waiting in the outer office when you finish is there to do the same thing. The content is available for one year on the website, with authors retaining all rights to their books but giving TaleFlick the chance to bid on their dramatic rights and present the stories to studios and production companies. TaleFlick was started as a response to the industry's demands for original intellectual property Author-agent agreements contracts Should you sign a contract? A clear written contract protects both the author and the agent.

The contract should spell out what happens to the representation and commission should the relationship end. And do you want your agent agreement to last for the life of your book? Bestselling Australian author Kate Morton is being sued by her former agent for breach of contract, even though a physical copy of this contract never existed.

The agent asserts they came to a payment agreement over the phone, and thus that agreement must be upheld for the life of her current novels. Passive Guy, Agent Alex Ben Block, Hollywood Reporter, The latest move in a year legal battle over rights to control the works of the late author of 'Grapes of Wrath,' 'East of Eden' and other literary gems. Sangeeta Mehta on Jane Friedman's blog, By definition, literary agents are writers' representatives The agent clause is the clause in a book publishing contract that says payments come to author through the agent.

So what happens if you and your agent fall out? Rusch provides a roadmap to pitfalls common in this clause. Do your homework! A good agent is also smart about what works. The big money almost always goes to the agented author whose work is sold to a big house. The rest of it is, from an overall industry perspective, still a sideshow. With writer-pays options becoming not only more common and accessible, but more sensible as a commercial choice and, indeed, becoming part of the step-ladder to commercial success, it increasingly will not.

Arrangements "where the agent actually charges a fee for helping an author manage self-publishing options, are going to have to become more common in the future. Should you, the writer, hire an editor? Rather than thinking of beta readers as a single group, or of beta reading as a single event, many people use different groups of readers fellow writers and nonwriters, for example at different points in their writing early draft, revision stage, final version , and for different reasons. Molly Greene on what to look for in an editor or beta reader, at various stages -- development, redevelopment, consolidation.

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