Monday, August 4, 2014

Publishing 101: How do you get a book published?

by Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie writes young adult contemporary novels and is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com. Her novels include The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series (Revell) and the Ellie Sweet books (Playlist). You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website including the free novella, Throwing Stones.

I have basically no understanding of the medical field and the terms they use. (Which are all initials or Latin, it seems.) So when I called Children's Mercy Hospital here in Kansas City last week, I found myself asking a question that I was sure was laughably incorrect. "Hi," I told the operator. "My son's neurologist needs my husband and me to get some genetic tests done. Where do we go to ... uh ... get our genetics tested?"

So I understand why sometimes people ask me questions about publishing, and they don't even know how to correctly ask for the information they want. Unless you were raised in close proximity to an author, that's where we all start. Clueless about how to even ask the right questions.

While books and authors take different paths to bookstore shelves, I'm going to detail the most common journey for a traditionally published book. By traditionally published, I mean a book that a publisher pays you to publish, not one where you're shelling out money for covers and editors and marketing packages.

So while yes, you could bang out a first draft and upload it to Amazon.com right now, I'm talking to writers who want to become like the  novelistsStephen King, J. K. Rowling, Suzanne Collinsthey admire.


How do you get your manuscript turned into a book?

Step One: You write the book.

For a fiction writer, you must write the entire book before you can do anything else. And by "write the entire book" I'm not talking about just a first draft. Your book needs to be edited and polished before you can do anything else with it. 

This step alone might take years. It may involve taking writing classes, going to conferences, joining critique groups, reading craft books, hiring a freelance editor, and many, many rewrites. But if you want to be published, you have to write a great book first.

Argue all you want about how terrible the writing is in Fifty Shades of Grey or The Shack or Twilight. First of all, it's rare for a book to get published if it's not written well. Secondly, is that really what you're after? To have a book that's a success despite lousy writing? I'm guessing not.

Don't look for shortcuts on this step. Ignore the people who say, "You're still writing that thing?" and focus on making your book great.

Step Two: You start the query process.

Literary agents and editors

So you've done step one. You've written (and rewritten ... and rewritten ... and rewritten) a great book. Now you get to decide who to approach with it. A literary agent, a person who works on behalf of a writer for a percentage of their earnings, or an editor, who works for a publishing house. An editor is mandatory for traditional publishing but a literary agent is not. We'll discuss that in detail in a minute.

Whoever you approach, you do it with what we call a query letter. Query letters are business letters that are several paragraphs long. They introduce you, describe your book in a paragraph, and ask if the agent or editor is interested in seeing more.

Typically, editors who work at large publishing houses won't read from writers, only literary agents. Smaller presses, like WhiteFire Publishing for example, will look at queries from both agents and writers. If a house accepts queries, they'll post that on their website like WhiteFire has. I cannot stress how important it is to follow the guidelines listed on the website. Your query letters will not be a one size fits all tactic. Writers frequently attempt that, and it gets them rejected. A couple years ago, Jill Williamson posted examples of query letters that sold.

So since editors who work for medium and large publishing houses can be difficult to access, what should you do if you want to get your book in front of them? For many writers, the answer is to find a literary agent.

Same as actors or athletes have agents, so do most career novelists. Literary agents are all different from each other, but generally speaking an agent is a person who has good contacts in the publishing industry. Because they've spent time building relationships with editors and other industry professionals, they're able to get your manuscript in front of editors. Agents also help with contract negotiation, conflicts that arise between writers and their publishing houses, and career guidance. Depending on their personality and strengths, they might also help with strengthening your story, figuring out what would be best to write next, and emotional support when you're having a particularly rough time of it. (If you're curious about the day-to-day of an agent's life, literary agent Amanda Luedeke did a great post for us on that.)

It's impossible to say, "This is the best agent in the world," because different writers need different things from their agents. The important thing to note about agents is that you should run from those who charge reading fees, or who say they might be interested in you ... but first you should pay to have your book looked at by this service. If you have questions about anyone, Preditors and Editors is a great resource.

Quickly, before we move on to step three, query letters are not the only way to find agents and editors. Writing conferences are my favorite way (read: where I've had the most success) or sometimes writing contests. Increasingly, social media can be an effective way to connect. Many agents and editors have a presence on Twitter and you can learn a lot about them there, or on their agency blogs. (Other articles that might interest you on this topic: How to find the right agent for you, Basics about finding a literary agent, Finding a good literary agent)

Step Three: You submit a book proposal.

When you start the query process (whether you're sending out query letters or heading to a conference or whatever) I would recommend having the following ready:
  • A page that lists your title, genre, word count, your bio, a one sentence summary of the story, a back cover copy style blurb, andif it's a seriesvery short blurbs about the other books.
  • A 2-3 page synopsis of your story
  • Sample chapters. Three is standard, but sometimes they specify just the first chapter.
If an agent or editor likes your query letter, they will likely ask to see those things. Trust me, you do not want to be on Google searching, "What is a synopsis?" when an agent asks you to send one. I did that the first time around, and that is NOT the time to be learning how to write a synopsis.

Instead, be getting these things ready as you work on your query letter. Putting together a proposal can feel tedious, but this is a critical step if you want anyone to read that great book you spent all that time writing. Do yourself a favor and do the tough work to make it good. (Other articles that might interest you: How to Get Your Novel Published: Creating a Book Proposal and 10 Reasons To Write a Fiction Book Proposal Before You Write Your Book.)

What happens if they like your proposal?

Option A: They ask to see a full manuscript
Typically over email, especially if it's an editor, but also sometimes for agents too.

Option B: They say, "No thanks."
This could happen for a variety of reasons. They might not like it. They might not think you're quite ready for publication. They might like it but not think there's a market for it. They might like it, but they have a client who writes something similar and they don't want clients competing against each other. There are tons of reasons.

Option C: They say, "Hmm. Maybe. Would you consider rewriting this part?"
This isn't too unusual. It happened to me with my first agent, who pointed out my annoying tendency to write in a passive voice. She said, "If you rewrite, I'll take another look." I rewrote. She took another look. Within months, I had my first contract. 

But the suggested revisions aren't always that simple, nor are they always an obviously good change. Sometimes it's just that they have a different opinion about where the story should go. Before you do any requested revisions, make sure it's something that YOU agree with. Because there's a chance you'll make the changes and they'll be like, "Nah..."

Step four: They want to make it official.

So you've sent your full manuscript to the agent or editor. They love it. Now what?

If it's a literary agent: You should at least have a phone call. Some agents who've been in the biz for a long time, or who have full client lists and aren't actively looking for clients, are more insistent that they meet someone before they sign a contract with them. 

If you're anything like me, at this moment, you're feeling so desperate you'll do anything for them to sign you. Sandra Bishop is my agent. She was my first choice, and I can't even tell you how nervous I was on the phone when we talked. If I'd been pregnant with a girl a the time, I probably would have named my child after her if I thought it would mean she'd take me on as a client.

BUT AGENTS DON'T WANT TO WORK WITH CRAZY PEOPLE. They know we're writers, and some crazy is inevitable, but one of the reasons they want to talk to you is they want to make sure you're a good fit.That they'll like working with you. And you need to know the same about them. Having the wrong agent is no fun at all. This is a time for you to ask questions, and you should take advantage of it because you're looking for the right agent, not just an agent. (Chip MacGregor has a great article on his website about choosing an agent. The whole thing is good, but number six talks specifically about questions to ask someone you're considering working with.)

If it's an editor: An editor works on a team with other editors. Or even if it's a small press, they still have people who they answer to. So if an editor likes your book, they will likely send an email talking about how much they like it and they'll say, "I'm going to bring it to our next editors meeting to get their feedback." If those editors like it, then the editor will take it to a bigger meeting called the pub board. At that meeting, a large group of people from different departments in the publishing house will decide if your book is a good investment. 

Jill Williamson wrote an amazing post about how all this goes down. You can read about the publishing process here, and you can also read about everything that happens between your book being bought by a publishing house to the day it hits shelves.

Step five: Your agent works to get your book published.

So say that back at step four, you found the right literary agent for you. What happens now (assuming your book proposal was put together nicely and they don't need any changes from you) is that they query editors on your behalf. Maybe five or so. Maybe fifteen. It just depends on the project and the agent's style. 

This is why it's important that you work with an agent who has great contacts in the industry, and why you don't just pay your best friend to act as your literary agent. The right literary agent can get your books in front of the right editors who work for the right publishing house who can make your great manuscript into a great book.

One additional note: Expect to wait

At a glance, this looks like five easy steps to getting published. Many aspiring writers are disheartened when they learn that getting published isn't quick or easy. Writing the book can take years. Finding the right agent can take years. And even with a great agent, that first contract can take years too, depending on the market and your genre. 

I don't say that to discourage you. Rather I say it so you're aware that getting your book published might feel akin to a slow hike on a confusing trail that eventually leads to someplace surprising, breathtaking, and completely worth it.

One more additional note: I'm no one special. I spent most my growing up years in Kansas City; an excellent town, but not exactly the hub of the publishing world. I didn't know anyone who worked in publishing, not even as a clerk in a bookstore. The first time I tried to get a book published, I didn't know my genre or what a literary agent was. I just printed off five copies of my 90-page single-spaced book and mailed it off to a few houses that accepted unsolicited manuscripts. Almost everything I know about publishing, I learned by doing it wrong first. And yet, by the age of 26, I was multi-published, had my books translated into another language, and was working with my first choice agent. 

When I talk to aspiring writers, there's often this sense of, "I might as well just self-publish, because it looks impossible to get traditionally published." And that is an absolute lie. It's not impossible at all. It's very difficult and it requires patience. And yeah, it would be a lot easier if you happened to be one of Stephen King's kids. But if I can go from where I was to where I am now, I think anybody else can do the same.

Have questions about getting published? I'm happy to answer!

65 comments:

  1. What kind of writing classed did you take? Thank you for taking the time to help young writers.

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    1. It's a pleasure :) My writing classes have primarily been at writing conference. I also listen to a ton of writing books or writing classes, and that works too if you can't make it to a conference. Or blog posts. Blog posts can be like mini writing classes :)

      I don't really recommend or not recommend classes at a junior college or something. It really just depends on the teacher.

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  2. What if you live in a different country than publishers? Is this a problem, or does it not matter? --Savannah

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    1. I've never lived outside of the U.S. but my observation is that It depends on which country you're talking about. Canada is no problem. I see a decent amount of Canadian authors in writing groups and stuff. I also see some from South America or Mexico. I can think of a handful in the UK who are published with US publishers. Maybe a handful from Australia.

      I'm sure there are ins and outs I'm unaware of. And I'm sure someone has blogged about it somewhere, so it's certainly worth Googling.

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    2. A related question is this: Does an author have to personally be present at any point in the publishing process? --Savannah

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  3. This is a spectaular post and resource for new writers! Thanks for writing it, Stephanie!
    ~Sarah Faulkner

    Inklined

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    1. Writing it was partially selfish. I get asked this all the time, and I finally thought, "You know instead of half-answering and rewriting the same thing all the time..."

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  4. Is there any way to get published by a certain publishing house? Because I LOVELOVELOVE Shadow Mountain, and it's my dream to get published by them. I know they publish a lot in my genre, but is there any chance? Or is it more just luck?

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    1. Of course. Writers target publishers all the time. Do they have submission guidelines on their website? You can run an internet search looking for conference where the editors are going to be and you can pitch to them there. Or contests where the editors might be judges.

      Just the fact that you're a fan of them will help a lot. You already know their brand and style.You like what those editors have acquired. And you'll be able to speak eloquently on what makes your book different from what they already have.

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    2. Yay!! Thank you so much!
      *flails happily*

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  5. Love the bit about crazy people. =)

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  6. I was wondering do publishers prefer long books or shorter books?

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    1. It depends on the publisher. There are some who publish mass market books (like Love Inspired) who ask for MS between 50-60,000 words. Trade paperback books (the 5.5x8.5 books you most often see in bookstores) are usually in the 70-100,000 word range. Occasionally they'll be longer; some publishers are lenient there, others very strict. If you're writing contemporary fiction, I usually advise folks to aim to 75-85K. If writing historical, the norm is 100K. YA books tend to be lower, at about 65K words.

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    2. do you know around how many words publishers like the speculative genre?

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    3. Emily, is it YA or adult? Spec fic tends to be longer, but with YA, they ask for under 100k. For adults it can be over that, but only if necessary. Jill's Blood of Kings books, which are adult fantasy, are all 150+ if I remember right.

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    4. Wait--Blood of Kings is adult?! When did I miss this?!

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  7. Thank you so much for this post! It's really informative and it gives me an excuse to ask some publishing questions. (It's just kind of awkward when I have a question but the posts for that week have nothing to do with my question, and yet I post it anyway.) Anyways, here are some questions I have:
    ~Should teens state their age in their query letter? If so, where would we put that in the query?
    ~If a writer debuts in a certain genre, does he/she have to keep writing in that genre, or can he/she branch out into multiple genres?
    ~How much does platform matter in being published as a teen?
    ~I blog under a pen name due to my parents' and my concerns about privacy. However, if I publish a book, I want to publish it under my real name. Should I switch over to blogging under my real name to avoid confusion in the future, or is it okay to blog under a pen name?

    Thanks!

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    1. Happy to give you a place to ask your questions :)

      I don't think teens should state their age in a query because I don't think it counts in your favor the way you want it to. Speaking from my experience, as a teenager, I was very unique among my friends. I was the only one who had written a book and tried to get it published, and this made me very interesting to a lot of people. But the publishers perception if you say, "I'm only fifteen and I wrote this book!" is that you lack experience and that it's probably not a well-crafted book. Obviously, that's not necessarily true, but they will likely think some version of that. So I wouldn't lean on your teen status. You can make it clear you're young and hip without getting specific. Does that make sense?

      Genres. You will be asked to stay with your genre for a bit, yes. It doesn't mean you're married to it forever, just that a publisher wants to know you're able to grow a readership. Pick a favorite author of yours. What if they came out with a book that was completely different than the genre you know and love of theirs? Sarah Dessen writes charming YA contemporary fiction that I love. But if Sarah came out with an Amish Witches In Space book, there's no way I'm picking that up. A big genre switch like that can feel like a broken promise to a reader.

      Platform matters for all authors, not just teens. It doesn't matter AS MUCH for fiction writers, but it's still pretty stinking handy. It's a real bummer if you get on Twitter to Tweet about a book sale to 22 people. I get that it doesn't sound fun or artistic, but platform is important to us all now.

      Eventually, if you want maximum benefit from your blog, you'll want to use the name you publish with. But if Mom and Dad say no for right now, then of course, that should be honored.

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    2. Thanks so much for clearing all of those questions up for me. My only concern with querying agents is that I might get an agent only to find that he/she doesn't want to work with me anymore when he/she finds out my age. However, I think I'll take the path that you suggest because if I state my age I might not even get an agent at all.

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    3. I think you'll find that in your bio, it'll be fairly clear that you're a young person. Especially if you have a blog address that you include. They'll have a way of knowing that you're young before it progresses. I guess my point is let's hook them with your great writing rather than giving them a quick excuse to say no when they see that you're a teen. Agents find ways to work with teens all the time, so that will sort itself out.

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  8. Hi Stephanie!

    I read Go Teen Writers a lot for literary advice, and you and Jill have such a helpful tone about your posts. They tell it like it is, and yet don't kill the dream at the same time. Thank-you for all your hard work and loving encouragement.

    I especially appreciated today's article. I've been polishing my book for several years now, and hope to be in the querying stage in the next six months. It's a scary prospect when I'm a newbie author, but your article helped me take heart!

    Thanks again,
    Schuyler

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    1. Oh, that's so sweet Schuyler! I'm glad we're an encouragement to you. I'm so proud of you for the hard work you've put in on your book!

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  9. Thank you, Stephaine! I'm in the rewriting stage right now, but hearing this all is such an encouragement! :D

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    1. I'm so glad to hear it, Hannah! You're at a very important stage - keep at it!

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  10. Stephanie, thank you SO much for posting this. The publishing process is the part of writing books that I seem to know least about, so this was very educational. I do have one question, though--or several questions all part of one bigger question ;) How much does it cost to send in queries/proposals? And how much does it cost to have an agent? Thank you!

    walking in the air.

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    1. Hi Hannah! I'm glad this was helpful to you.

      All queries cost you are effort. Everything is electronic now so there's not even postage. And agents work for a percentage of what you make. So I never write checks to my agent. She does, however, take 15% of whatever I make from publishers. And that's why agents are so particular about who they represent. If they want to be able to pay their bills, they have to invest their time wisely.

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    2. Oh, wow! That's amazingly simple...besides getting to having an agent of course :)

      walking in the air.

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  11. Sometimes it feels like I will never reach this stage. At the same time I don't want to reach this stage. As a young teen, talking to agents and editors is the scariest part of the writing process. The post really helped spell out some of the things that could happen when I start looking for agents. Thanks!

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    1. I so understand that feeling! It sounds like you have a few years before you'll need to talk to agents or editors. And most of them are very kind people who understand you're nervous. Especially if you're young.

      At my first multi-day conference, I was 22 but I look really young for my age. (I'm 30 now and it usually shocks people when they learn I have two kids.) Anyway, I was walking in the hall and an editor pulled me aside and told me how wonderful it was that I had come and how much she admired me for coming on my own. I'm sure she thought I was 16 or something.

      My point is that being young will win you some points :)

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    2. Haha, thanks!

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  12. Thank you so much for this post! I have it bookmarked for future reference now. ^^
    I do have a couple of questions, but since most of them have been addressed in other questions, I'll just lurk and watch for responses... But one question that wasn't asked, so I was wondering... Do you have any experience in getting published under a pen-name, or how that would work? Would it be more difficult, or complicated, and if so, what should I expect?

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    1. I don't have anything published under a pen name, though I have acquaintances who do and there's nothing special about the process. You'll still query and submit under your regular name, and then when the time comes (as in, you're working on a contract with a publisher) you tell them that you want to publish under such-and-such name. People do it for a variety of reasons, and unless you want to publish your books as Xseshgi Yalkgnogs or something else that's impossible to pronounce, you should be fine.

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  13. Thank you so much for the post! While I'm not in the stage where I can begin to look for agents, I haven't even finished half of my first draft, it is always nice to have these things in mind.

    I have one question though. As I live in Peru and not the US, I wonder if that is a disadvantage for editors and agents in any way that might make them be hesitant to publish me. It also makes it hard for me to be able to go to conferences and meet them myself. Will this prove to be a problem in the future?

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    1. Yes, it certainly makes conferences and such much trickier.

      Someone asked a similar question above, and I answered: I've never lived outside of the U.S. but my observation is that It depends on which country you're talking about. Canada is no problem. I see a decent amount of Canadian authors in writing groups and stuff. I also see some from South America or Mexico. I can think of a handful in the UK who are published with US publishers. Maybe a handful from Australia.

      I'm sure there are ins and outs I'm unaware of. And I'm sure someone has blogged about it somewhere, so it's certainly worth Googling.

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    2. Thanks! I hadn't seen the post :P sorry

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    3. No problem! It can be tedious to dig through comments, so I get it. It was quite easy for me to copy and paste :)

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  14. 1. This post was super-awesome and helpful -- very interesting to me right now.
    2. I hope you and yours are doing well.
    3. The medical terminology part made me laugh and reminded me of a client I once heard telling a doctor what she believed her dog had. What she meant to be saying was "sarcoptic mange," but what she actually said was "cycloptic mange." There were a few chuckles at the lady's expense -- mostly as we pictured a one-eyed dog with a bad skin condition. But you are right -- those names and terms can be extremly confusing! You seem to have navigated them quite well and communicated clearly. :D
    4. Thanks again!

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    1. I'm so glad it was helpful! And yes, we're doing well. Our son has epilepsy, so they had done genetic testing on him to see if they could determine a cause. Which they did, and now they want to know if those genes came from me and my husband or if Connor is unique :)

      Cycloptic mange - ha!

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  15. They know we're writers, and some crazy is inevitable. lol... So I signed up for the newsletter and I have got to say again- TEEN writers might be a novice writers best resource out there, regardless of age!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm so glad you find the site helpful :)

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  16. Thank you so much for posting this! It gives me an excuse to fangirl about your book. And I'm between drafts right now - but one...week...away...from six...it's like my weekly countdown on here. xD -, so I'm doing some pre-emptive research on publishing. Honestly, for years I had no idea there was so much involved, probably because I read a book where the MC finished a novel and then sent it off handwritten to a publisher at the end. He didn't hear back from the publisher before the book was over, but I still feel like the author lied to me...

    I'm reading your Ellie Sweet series for the first time. First of all, I love love love the first one and what I've read of the second. (Had to get that out of my system.) It's like you wrote me into a book, except I don't have frizzy/curly hair, glasses, or parental permission to bring my laptop to school; I write middle grade fantasy, not YA historical romance; I don't live in California; people at school already know I'm a writer, since I practically had a nervous breakdown in homeroom when I thought I'd lost my novel; I don't write people into my stories - very risky, as Ellie finds out; and I haven't yet found any boys like Palmer or Chase. But other than that...okay, okay, I might not have that similar a life situation to Ellie, but I see parts of myself in her.

    As to how this relates to publishing... People always tell you not to write yourself in as the main character (I agree with them now, having written myself into the first chapters of a book, only to find I make a very whiny narrator) but it seemed to work well for Ellie. Is she a minority, or are there plenty of exceptions to the rule? And do editors really give such short deadlines for such substantial edits?

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad that you like the books, Miri! (Or at least the first and the first part of the second :) I understand what you mean. Sometimes characters just resonate with us, even if at a glance our lives aren't totally similar.

      Okay, by "it seemed to work well for Ellie" do you mean because Ellie is very similar to me? Or do you mean in the fiction she's writing? The biggest problem I see with manuscripts where the MC is basically the writer (including the early ones I wrote) is that the writer really struggles to give the MC flaws or make them struggle very much. Instead, they tend to write about what they wish they looked like or how they wish their life went. And sometimes those stories are very helpful for US to write, but they don't always work well for others, if that makes sense.

      And yes, sometimes editors really do give that short of deadlines for substantial edits. They don't mean to, but if a book has been fast-tracked for some reason, it just kind of crunches everything. Or if you have an editor that's disorganized or something.

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    2. Sorry, I meant the fiction she's writing, what with the name of her protagonist being the witty Lady Gabrielle. Which is not to say that Ellie isn't witty, since she's writing the book, but, you know. If she did completely base the MC off herself, then she must be honest about her own flaws. Like you said, writing self-inserts makes the writer struggle with that. In one of my (mercifully abandoned) novel starts, the MC was basically me. I intended for her to be perfect - like meeee *snorts*, but when I let my brother read over it and he said the narrator came off as whiny and a little arrogant. Ouch. So I guess it was useful for me in finding my own flaws.

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    3. Ack, I rearranged the latter part of the first sentence without reading over it. 'The name' shouldn't be in there.

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  17. This post--and your Go Teen Writers book--has been so helpful to me. :) Writing I can do, but editing and getting published is a bit daunting for me, so thank you!

    Question: I've heard so much conflicting advice about query letters (tell them your age/don't tell them your age, write a little bit about you/let the story speak for itself, make it long/make it short, capitalize the title/italicize the title, etc.), and I was wondering, how do I know what's right for my query letter? Does it depend on the kind of story I'm querying, my style of writing, the agent, or is there a go-to format for every single query letter?

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    1. You're so sweet. I'm so glad that this and the book have helped.

      Those are great questions. I vote to not tell your age because even thought it IS a big deal and super cool that you've written a great book at your age, that's not the way it reads to a typical agent or editor. To them it's more likely to come across as, "This is a book written by someone who likely isn't ready to be published." In that sense, it's best to let your writing speak for itself.

      You should write a little bit about you as it relates to the book. So if your book is about, say, a girl who is an excellent violin player then it would be fitting for you to mention in the query that you've studied violin for X amount of years.In your bio, it might be reflected that you are a young person, likely a teenager, but I wouldn't recommend coming right out and saying it. Just my thoughts.

      I honestly don't know if you're supposed to capitalize or italicize the titles. Query letters should reflect your style, of course, but don't lose sight of their purpose. They're a business letter that's both an introduction and a sales pitch. I wouldn't wander too far away from that.

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  18. What if someone decided they wanted to be self-published and did it right? I have read many posts on different blogs about how self-published writers can be successful and how more and more people are self-publishing. Would it be wiser to try and do it that way instead of going traditional?

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    1. I think that's up to the individual. Yes, there are self-published writers who are very successful and there are traditionally published writers who are very successful. Most of us are somewhere below that :) What I WOULD say is

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    2. Lol. Accidentally hit publish :)

      What I would say is that you don't want to self-publish out of fear or lack of patience. Traditional publishing isn't the right path for every writer, but if you still think of self-publishing as settling, then I don't think it's the best idea.

      And of course there are a lot of factors. How long have you been writing? Have you invested in your craft? That kind of thing. Because my answer for that is different for a young writer who's finished their first book than it is for someone in their forties who's been writing books, going to conferences, and entering contests for 15 years but just can't seem to catch a break.

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  19. Great post! I'm at Step 4 right now: the editor is taking my manuscript to the pub board. So fingers crossed lol!


    Alexa S. Winters
    thessalexa.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. That is so awesome! I wish you the best of luck! Do you have an agent or did you just send straight to the publisher?

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    2. Thanks! And straight to the publisher. She asked for my manuscript after I was a finalist in a pitching contest.


      Alexa S. Winters
      thessalexa.blogspot.com

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    3. That is so beyond awesome!!! What contest was it? :)

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    4. Thank you! And it was Pitcharama.


      Alexa S. Winters
      thessalexa.blogspot.com

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  20. I learnt a lot from that - great post! :)

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  21. Thank you very much for this post, Mrs. Morrill! It covers so much and answers a lot of questions for me; it was very helpful! And it also rather inspired me to keep on climbing. :)

    Thank you again!

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  22. I just want to thank you. This was so, so helpful. You've saved me from making so many stupid mistakes. Although my story is a long way from being ready to be published, I'll certainly be using these tips and this information. I've decided to get your book, just because I know it will be even more helpful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. ^-^

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  23. Thank you so much for writing this article! It's very informative and encouraging.
    I know age isn't important in query letters and that you should never include your age, but I was also wondering if you're a teen at what point it might matter for your publisher to know that.

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    Replies
    1. My understanding is that as a minor, you would need a parent to sign a contract. So it's certainly something to be brought up if you get to that stage.

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  24. Thank you so much for this interesting and helpful blog! I absolutely love writing and I'm in the process of finishing my very first draft of a book. My book is kind of a Jane Austin type romance novel set in the Georgian era in England. However, I'm a little worried that there won't be much interest or market in such a genre. Do you have any suggestions or advice in any way?

    ReplyDelete

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