Tip #1: Develop a good idea of what’s in store
The shorter while saying what you need to say the better. A query letter is just what its name implies—it queries the interest of the agent in your book idea. So make it stimulating and intriguing. So it has to be fast and convincing. In a paragraph, tell what your nonfiction book is about and what you hope to accomplish with it. Or tell the basic premise of the plot of your novel.
The synopsis would naturally go beyond the elevator pitch and tell what happens and how things turn out. Note: Almost any plot, when reduced to a one- or two-paragraph synopsis, sounds ridiculous. Help them envision how to pitch it to publishers, but be careful not to oversell. You can say that your audiences have been enthusiastic or that beta readers have expressed excitement.
Sell the agent on yourself. What qualifies you to write this book? What else have you published? What kind of tribe have you built? Where can they read your blog? Some want only this. Leave nothing out. For fiction, rough out the entire plot in a few pages.
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Three trusted colleagues have produced masterful works on how to write book proposals, so check out what they have to offer:. The competition is so fierce these days, I would lean toward a full proposal almost every time. The only instances when I might fire off a query would be if an incredible opportunity fell in my lap and I thought an agent could help me jump on it before I had time to craft a proposal. For instance, if a major celebrity wanted help with a book and chose you to write it, a fast letter to an agent might get a quick response.
Otherwise, take the time to put together a professional proposal that shows an agent you know how to work and can be thorough. Keep that in mind and be ready to get busy. But few can see their way through to the end. Use these submission guidelines:. Remember, the editor is on your side. Throw a private temper tantrum if you must, but then cool down and listen.
Let them to do their job. Exhaust your efforts to traditionally publish before resorting to self-publishing.
Even honest self-publishing executives will give you this advice. So nothing comes out of your pocket. With self-publishing, however, you pay for everything from design to editing. Too much copy on the front and back covers. Poor typeface and interior design. Lousy writing, editing, and proofreading—sometimes clearly nonexistent. Publishing your own book is vastly different than it used to be. Your end product can now look much more professional, and your price per book is much more reasonable. Print-on-demand technology now allows for low-cost printing, so you can order as few as two or three books at a time for the same cost per book as you would pay if you were buying hundreds.
So, you no longer need to store countless copies in your garage or basement. And self-published books look nicer these days too, because writers have demanded it.
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If you resort to this route, realize that you are the publisher now. You have to advertise, promote, and market your own book. Admittedly, selling enough self-published copies to actually net you more money than you would make selling more traditionally at a lower royalty rate is rare, but it happens. Experts say as few as one percent of all published books can be accommodated by bookstores and that the rest must be sold through other channels like the Internet, direct mail, and by hand. Each of these elements will dramatically increase the professional look of your final product and, thus, your hope of selling more books.
Do NOT skimp on them. More than , books are self-published every year in the United States alone. So there are many companies to choose from. They might even give examples of a few titles of theirs that have sold into some stores or even made some bestseller list. That means your book will get no personal attention from a salesperson and no more emphasis than any of the tens of thousands of other titles on the list.
That said, when you do need to self-publish, legitimate companies with proven track records are ready to assist you.
Do your homework and go beyond an Internet search, which will likely turn up beautiful websites for countless companies putting their best foot forward. So find previous customers and ask about their experience. You want a company who will answer every question straightforwardly and without hesitation. If you feel hard-sold, run. A litmus test question for the publisher: Ask if they would advise you to exhaust your efforts to traditionally publish first.
When writers run out of money to invest in their book, too often the first place that suffers is the content itself. Writers may understand that they are not experts in cover design, layout and typesetting, marketing and promotion, warehousing, distribution, and sales. But they overrate their writing and editing and proofreading abilities. What they wind up with is a handsome product that looks like a real book but reads like the manuscript that made the rounds of the traditional houses and was rejected. Having been in the writing game for 50 years and the book business for 40, that is something I am able to tell you.
To use an ancient adage, cream rises. That may sound like something scratched on a cave wall. But it simply means that readers recognize quality.
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You or your agent may be looking for a deal from a traditional publisher. Or you may have chosen to self-publish online, in print, or both. Free Download: Want your own copy of this guide? If you really want to become an author, it can be done. Before you go, be sure to grab a FREE copy of my ultimate self-editing checklist that will help you make your writing lean and powerful.
Just tell me where to send it:. Share 1K. Pin Share Click here to get a free PDF version you can read anytime.
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Writing Your Book Surprisingly, most people never get this far. To avoid becoming part of this sad group, you need a plan. Research and Plan To give your manuscript the best chance to succeed , skip this step at your peril. Two main ways you should be preparing: 1. Do the research. How to prepare for a job interview You never get a second chance to make a great first impression during your job interview, so knowing how to prepare for a job interview and having a well-prepared plan is vitally important to increase your chances of landing that dream job.
Research the company Organisations look to hire people with similar values to those of the company culture. The following interview preparation tips will give you a guide as to which aspect of the company should be researched: Company financials: Check the company website. Doing a Google search can also uncover the current state of the company. Have they gone through a merger? LinkedIn is also a good source of information. Culture: Look at LinkedIn and Facebook or check Google reviews for comments by current or former employees. Executive team: Look through the company website to research the company hierarchy and find out who the executives are.
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