Posts tagged: Querying

Stop querying that old manuscript and move on already!

By , May 21, 2012 12:00 am

 

Happy Monday! 

This week one question is on my mind: How long is too long to query a novel?

Have an opinion?  Comment and let us know!

"Indie Progress" Cartoon by MMRule

The Real Reason We Love to Write

By , April 23, 2012 12:00 am

 

As inspired by Elie Wiesel’s truthful quote:  God made man because He loves stories.

"The Indie Divine" Cartoon by MMRule

Five Types of Writers that Bog Down the eBook Market

By , April 9, 2012 1:30 am

 

Searching for an Agent Leads to the Discovery of…

As part of my agent search, I cruised through Amazon to check out authors who write books similar to my WIP.  When my search terms yielded a fairly lengthy list, I hoped that I found some great leads!  A few clicks later, I realized that most of the names led to self-published novels.  After I read a few sample pages and chapters, I created this list instead of crying for the future of publishing while eating ice cream out of the container.

No matter how learned or experienced we are, I think we writers somehow have a piece of each type deep inside of us!

…Five Types of Self Published Authors that Bog Down the eBook Market!


Angsty post-graduate.  Writes poetry that she believes is an enigmatic mirror to her soul, but everyone else recognizes that it is just nonsensical and dumb.  Believes that her poetry means that she is destined to be the next queen of literary fiction.  Her book has no plot.  At all.


Bored housewife.  Has read Twilight.  LOVES TWILIGHT!  TEAM JACOB OMG!  Writes for the YA market.  Still does not yet realize what YA means.


Mid-life crisis guy.  Has a soul sucking job and features characters with equally terrible work.  Thinks that being a professional means that he is actually too qualified to write a novel, but does it anyway as a hobby.  Hopes that his hobby will lead to millions of dollars so he may retire.  Likely does not read anything other than memos and reports.  Is afraid of the dark.


Egocentric.  This person has experienced something personally memorable yet mundane, like childbirth, illness, a family death, etc., and wrote a memoir.  The idea could work if he or she were a celebrity, but this isn’t the case.  Thinks that odd spelling and sentence structures give the memoir an innovative voice. Believes that every person is a unique snowflake.  Does not realize that journaling would have been the better option.


Johnny Good Writer.  Tells a good story.  Knows how to write a good query and good synopsis.  Never graduates past being good.  Manages to write original ideas by almost exclusively using cliches.

Are there more than five stereotypical types?  Comment and tell us about it!

The number one reason agents receive too many queries

By , January 16, 2012 12:00 am

 

I have a theory as to why literary agents receive so many terrible, unprofessional queries:

"The Indie Norm" Cartoon by MMRule

If you are serious about finding an agent, do your best to deviate from the norm!

 

2012 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

By , January 2, 2012 12:00 am

 

Happy New Year! 

For all of you motivated indie writers out there, remember that you may already be doing enough to help further your writing career!  If you have an effective routine, don’t feel the need to over extend yourself just because it is the start of a new year.

 

Feel like you do need a resolution?  Tell us about how you plan to change for the better!

 

"Indie New Year's Resolutions 2012" by MMRule

Time Management for Indie Writers

By , October 17, 2011 12:00 am

 

"Indie Time Management" by MMRule

 

How do you balance work, family, friends, writing, blogging, social networking, etc.?

Does making a schedule help?  Comment and share your tips!

 

Eleven Signs That You Don’t Spend Enough Time on Your Work in Progress

By , August 29, 2011 12:00 am

 

I try to remain very cooled headed when it comes to querying and waiting for a response.  I expect nothing but the fact that I did my best, that I will always try to improve, and that an agent’s/assistant’s having to read thousands of unsolicited queries is a terrible experience.

 

"Indie Naivete" by MMRule

"Indie Naivete" by MMRule

Fighting the Vortex of Insanity

Designing a literary cupcake after Bransford’s book, however, gave me some jitters.  Bransford is active on Twitter, Facebook, his blog, etc.  Unlike when I write about Stephen King or send out a query letter, I heard Disneyesque birds singing all around me that the person whose opinion matters most very well could see my work and like it.  (For the record he did!)

 

Life Must Continue

The experience made me wonder what would happen if I were able to sit in front of a computer all day with my imagination fueling me.  Fortunately I don’t own a smart phone and have errands and work related responsibilities to complete every day, so it was easy for me to continue living my life while I waited to see if Bransford would notice my post.  But my mind still went to dark places that day.  So many places, in fact, that I surpassed a “top 10″ list!

 

The Exception to the Rule presents Eleven Signs That You Don’t Spend Enough Time on Your Work in Progress.  I’ll let you guess if I’m guilty of any of them!  I admit to nothing and I do not believe that it takes one to know one!  Seriously.

 

11 Signs That You Don’t Spend Enough Time on Your Work in Progress

11.  You read that form rejection letter so many times that you convince yourself that it really was personalized in some way.

 

10.  You bought a smart phone so you can access your email 24/7—just in case an agent asks for a partial.

 

9.  You follow agents on Twitter and keep @mentioning them so they will notice you and realize that you should be represented!

 

8.  You think that having common interests with an agent means that he/she will definitely want to represent you.  (Yes, Stacia Decker, I agree that people should take care of their teeth! I can tell you’ll love my novel!)

 

7.  You dream daily about the movie version of your book and pay no attention to the fact that Dakota Fanning has aged five very formative years since you realized that she is the perfect embodiment of your protagonist.

 

6.  You think you’re friends with your dream agent’s assistant because his/her name appears on your gchat sidebar ever since you received that emailed rejection.  You don’t care that you two have never chatted!

 

5.  You keep track of when agents tweet so you have insight into their work ethic and can guess when they might respond to your query.

 

4.  You have a tab open in your web browser that shows a clock for every time zone where you are querying.  (Come on.  What will that accomplish?)

 

3.  You believe that there is a need for a site that provides more information than querytracker.net

 

2.  You founded querytracker.net (Sorry, Patrick McDonald!)

 

1.  You are only interested in learning about agents, querying response rates, etc. because you have that writing thing DOWN!

 

Now it’s time for your thoughts!

Comment by adding your additions to the list. 

Or reveal which numbers on the list sound a little too much like you!

Special #FollowFriday Post: The Aspiring Writer Google Search Story

By , August 11, 2011 7:45 pm

 

Happy Friday!

In honor of #FF, I created a Google Search Story to help us start the weekend with a smile.

The Aspiring Writer Google Search Story

 

Which search terms best represent your story?

Add your thoughts to the comments for this post or share your own search story.

The Benefits of Querying—Even If You Want to Self-Publish

By , July 25, 2011 12:00 am

 

The decision to circumvent the querying process and jump straight into self-publishing seems like a “working smart” move for many aspiring writers.  And who can blame them.  No one wants to lose weeks and months waddling through rejections when companies like Lulu and Amazon make it easy to shuffle through the self-publishing process and give a metaphorical middle finger to the “heartless” agents.

 

But these writers fail to realize that there are benefits to querying an agent that will assist with the self-publication process.

 

Querying Even One Agent

  • Forces authors to truly understand what they’ve written.
  • Helps them to familiarize themselves with marketing and publication standards.
  • Provides a much needed reality check.

"The Indie Bard" by MMRule

Better Understand Your Novel

Writing a query letter (and the often requested synopsis) is an exercise that no writer should bypass.  Querying forces an author in roughly one page to address the big questions that are otherwise too easy to avoid:

  • What are the most essential plot points of my book?
  • Is there a clear genre and hook?
  • Can others trust that I’m qualified to write this?

Answering these questions are essential when editing and polishing your book.  And querying not only forces you to think about them, but also makes you exercise your ability to do so concisely and professionally.

 

Familiarize Yourself with Marketing and Industry Guidelines

Query guidelines urge authors to consider issues like word count and target audiences.  If you want to take on selling your own book, you must know who wants to read it and whether it is a novel or really a novella or a series in disguise.  (It is never OK to have a 150+K debut novel!)

 

Get Real!

Finally, the likely form rejection letter (or silence) from an agent provides a necessary reality check.  It is too common for authors to use their imagination and talent to see the successful future they want in a less than worthy book.  Shattering the dream through even one agent’s rejection is helpful to pull authors back to reality.  The odds of success are against first time novelists.  The possibility of being the next King, Brown, Meyers, Harris, etc. are next to impossible.  If authors want to succeed, they should seek out some rejection and constructively turn that into added motivation to read daily, write more, and edit smarter.


Extra Bonus

Who knows what opportunities will present themselves once you query your book.  Maybe you will land an agent and a publisher, and someone else can worry about formatting your novel for the Kindle and Nook.  There is nothing wrong with having more than one option!

 

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