Jun 282016
 
found at: www.socialmediatoday.com

Image credits: socialmediatoday.com

 

When I talk to authors about marketing, the first thing I tell them is:  Sell Yourself. No, not on the corner with a cardboard sign – but, it’s similar. In a world when millions of books are being sold, what encourages a reader to give you money?

  Your smile?

Your friendliness?

Your reason for writing?

Your inspiration?

The fact you have three kids at home and want to quit your day job because it sucks out your creativity through a red solo cup and a torn straw?

 

That’s all well and good if you can communicate enough of that info during a brief meet and greet. That’d be one interesting conversation. Chances are, a reader will run across you through social media. Through avenues such as Facebook, twitter, and wherever else, you can reach across the technological barrier and enchant readers. Kitten pictures, lolcats, writing memes, Ryan Reynolds, and… a very strong political soapbox. In our current day and age, everyone has an opinion. And politics are a hot topic.

Found at: www.consumerprotect.com

image credits: consumerprotect.com

As we all know, nothing makes friends faster than sex, politics, and religion. </sarcasm>  Riiight.  Those three topics can ignite a flame that burns brighter and hotter than any lolcats.

If you have the fan base of Anne Rice, well, you have enough fans you can easily lose a few here and there without blinking an eye. Hell, by now you’re an institution.  The fact is, very few of us are Anne Rice. The fact is a new author, or even established authors, cannot afford to lose readers.  Your early career is a numbers game. The amount of emails you gather for promotional purposes. The people you romance into buying your book, into believing in you.  Then keeping them hooked for book 2, book 3, etc, etc. Repeat buyers are your bread and butter.

Taking a strong political stance can seriously damage all that effort and we both know marketing is a lot of work. Marketing can be the undoing of a good author. The time when a hermit can sit behind a typewriter and merely produce without interaction is gone.  Social media, websites, conferences, signings, readings, giveaways, blogging, and whatnot. It’s over whelming. Sometimes I feel caught up in a unyielding tide pulling me under.

 

So, is there a time when new authors should be political?

As always, you can ignore this advice and:

1.) Be ready to defend your ideas. Stand up, speak out regardless of the outcome. Any reader who likes your work will have to accept your views.

2.) Your book has a certain political stance – preach it loudly then! This goes for religion too.  Erotica writer? hell, post those sexy, half-naked kilted men.

Things posted on social media have been known to bite people in the rear end. It’s also inspired sales and made amazing connections. I, myself, have found and contracted several authors due to the ease of communication. I get to know an author beyond the frightening query and dreaded synopsis.

 

Being an author is a great accomplishment, but be thoughtful of what you post and be ready to stand behind it.

 

“You can’t right the wrongs because you’ll never understand the cause and you’ll be too busy dodging the effect.”
Author: Henry Rollins

 

 Posted by at 5:02 am
Jun 072016
 

FullSizeRender3“Got an agent rejection today. 7 months”

Authors,

I apologize profusely for taking 7+ months to respond to queries. To be honest, I wasn’t ready to be bombarded by so much interest. It was humbling and exciting. Since joining the Booker Albert Agency I have taken on 2 clients and am in contract talks with a 3rd.

In between this, I finished editing a manuscript from Divertir Publishing – book 2 in a 3 book series. I could have dropped the author, but the relationship between an editor and author is symbiotic – as is agent/author. We built up a fabulous rapport and I told him I would stay with him through the end of the series. I’m pretty sure he’s hating me right now after those edits though.

Unfortunately, it put me way behind in my slush pile. In the last few days I’ve caught up and now I’m reading everything I requested through those seven months. I hope you guys continue to have patience because I truly appreciate it.

– Jen

 

Just a heads up – if you feel the desire to hit “reply” and send a snarky response to an agent – try to refrain. It’s in poor taste and makes you look foolish. I UNDERSTAND the frustration of waiting and waiting but just don’t.

 

 Posted by at 5:10 am
Aug 232015
 

Cute-Girl-in-BookstoreLet me ask you a question. How often do you go into a book store? Whether it’s on or offline, book stores carry everything you could possible be looking. Comedy, romance, historical, YA, paranormal, etc, it’s right at your fingertips. Now, out of the thousands of books, how many books do you end up buying? How many books did you read the back of and brush past, not impressed?

Being an agent is similar. I have my tastes as do you. You might have a great premise you and your friends/family love, but it won’t sound appealing to me. That is the reality of publishing. When rejection letters say it is all based on individual tastes, we’re not lying. Trust me. If I don’t fall in love with your voice and characters, I cannot pour all my energies into building your career.

Sometimes your voice never gets past the first few pages due to editing. A manuscript that is too rough usually ends up in the rejection pile. Take the time to build your world through detail, both environmental and physical. Don’t head hop. Stay in a single POV until a break comes up. Don’t query before your manuscript is ready. I know you’re excited when you type “the End”, but editing to smooth out the bumps is so important.

Slow down and make sure you’re giving me your best submission. I know we’re both looking for one another.

 

 Posted by at 3:56 am
Aug 202015
 

victoriamsabersI just found out I was on QueryTracker which explains all the new submissions I’ve been receiving. Thank you for taking a chance on me. I truly appreciate it.

Let me start off by introducing myself. 

Five years ago I started out as a reviewer for Divertir Publishing. It was a pretty nice gig. After that, when the position opened up, I accepted the Senior Editor job and then, Acquisitions Editor. Yes,  that means I had full control over the slush pile. Reading queries from hopeful authors showed me the innate desire to create and be noticed. After the soul crushing journey of rejection from agents and bigger publishers, many people stumbled upon Divertir. They are small, family oriented, and very hands-on.  We could pick up manuscripts that weren’t “mainstream” and publish them because we loved the author’s voice or concept. In 2015 we published

Invisible Society Fables: Short Stories on Homelessness, by Phil Canalin.

Season of Mists, by me

Improbable Cause: The War on Terror’s Assault on the Bill of Rights, by Sharia Mayfield and Brandon Mayfield

Plus a few more in queue for typesetting. They are active, passionate and busy. Not to mention they’re always looking for reviewers! What I loved about working for a small publisher was the ability to jump start an author’s dream of publication. Agents oftentimes are willing to give an author a second glance if they’re previously published elsewhere. It shows they have determination and a willingness for growth. However, Divertir Publishing was a step in an author’s journey. We oftentimes lost authors because we encourage them to keep striving. A few now have agents and or bigger publishers.

 

That journey ended when I accepted a position with the Booker Albert Agency. Now a new one begins. Instead of being a step, I can stay with an author as they grow. It’s an exciting concept!

 

 

 Posted by at 4:28 am
May 162015
 

Season Of Mists is available on Amazon. But why not try a free sample first? Head over to Divertir Publishing to download your copy!

som_cover1_raw-ish2The year is 1888. Justine Holloway finds herself an orphan after her parents die in a horrific fire. She is sent to live with her godparents, Harold Mendenhall and his sister Frances. On the boat ride home, she meets Amun Farouk, a handsome Egyptian Ambassador who is also sailing to England to meet her godfather. What Justine does not realize as she dons the veil of mourning is that Harold runs a secret organization under the nose of polite society, much to the dismay of his genteel sister. The Council was created for the protection of humanity from the Varius, refugees from a parallel universe who shift their form while others channel the forces of magic. They seek refuge in Victorian London, hidden in the slums, easily forgotten until a human ends up incinerated or sucked dry.

Drawn into the plot against her will, Justine finds herself the object of a vampire’s lurid obsession. According to ancient texts, vampires kill humans for fodder, their blood and the air they breathe inferior, but this killer has other intentions for her. Does Justine’s survival depend on Amun or will he kill her to save humanity?

 Posted by at 10:53 pm
Jan 102015
 

som_cover1_raw-ish2

My first book will be published soon through Divertir Publishing. I just finished the last edits of the galley prints and now I am looking forward to the last leg of the journey.  The stages of this book has spanned several years. I started the endeavor after my mother died in 2008. Throughout my life, I sent her snippets of my work, bits of narrative I never truly committed to. Then, once I lost her, the drive to complete something became overpowering.  I cannot even tell you how many revisions this has gone through – how many friends I begged to read and edit, and how many times I played video games just to avoiding working on it.

 

In the end, the realization of having a publication ready book sitting on my hard drive is a great feeling. I will have more information regarding a release date so keep checking back.

 

 

Summary:

Justine Holloway prepares for her debut into society, compliments of her godparents, while the underworld of London groans with unfettered abhorrence. The Varius are refugees from a parallel universe who shift their form while others channel the forces of magic, an element that once flowed freely between both worlds. They seek refuge in Victorian London, hidden in the slums, easily forgotten until a human ends up incinerated or sucked dry. It is the job of the Council, created for the protection of humanity, to step in and eliminate the threat.

What Justine does not realize is her godfather runs the Council right under the nose of polite society, much to the dismay of his genteel sister. Justine suspects something mysterious is brewing when the handsome Egyptian Ambassador heals before her eyes. It’s an image she can forget and a mystery she wants to solve.

When a deadly vampire makes his devious intentions known, her survival might depend on this strange Egyptian. Unfortunately, he can’t figure out why he’s so drawn to her, or whether he must kill her to save humanity.

 

Excerpt:

A lanky man wearing the livery of a deckhand strode to the side of the captain’s cabin and peered into one of the portholes. He licked his lips and dug inside his pockets.  At first, Justine contemplated going to her cabin but his gaze did not alter as he stood, eyes fixated on the room she’d just left.

“Excuse me…can I help you?” Justine ventured. “Is there someone inside you wish to speak to? The captain perhaps?”

The man did not respond. He acted as if she was invisible. Whatever drew him to the cabin smothered any sense of life or breath. Without looking down to see what he brought out of his pocket, Justine noticed a metal necklace, a medallion of sorts, clutched in his grasp. He brought the trinket to his face near the porthole glass, hot breath fogging the glass. His long fingers rubbed the shiny metal, twisting it this way and that as if ready to smash it through the window.

“The Master said this’d find him…” His words came out in an elated whisper. The young man’s attention darted from the necklace to the window and back. He licked his lips again and finally blinked in rapid succession. Then, he smiled. The expression of delight brought a childlike innocence to his intense errand but it did not last. As before, he twitched, his hands trembling. “Why is it not working?”

Justine stepped back, fearing he’d throw the necklace to the floor in a rage. Snarling, saliva seething from his mouth, he beat the medallion. Was the man mad?

“Excuse me?” Justine repeated. “Are you alright?”

Whatever haze clouding the deckhands mind cleared. He jumped and stared at her, no doubt startled at her appearance. There was nothing between her and his pale eyes, so empty and devoid of color. It was as if she looked through a window into an empty room where nothing lived. Something vile animated his corpse, legs and arms moving towards her like a marionette. The railing was the only thing separating her from the frozen water below. Cold metal burned through her gloves. Justine shivered wishing she’d had run away when she had the chance. His breath brushed against her exposed skin, a putrid smell that made Justine feel compromised, unclean.

“Stop…you’re frightening me,” Justine whined. Nothing wanted to move. Her legs turned to stone beneath her. All she could do was stand there, desperately wanting to get away, to put as much distance between herself and the vile creature as she could. He was close enough to reach out and wrap his hands around her throat.

Oh God, please, let this not be Jack the Ripper. Justine had read the headlines of the murder stalking London.

The deckhand never touched her, yet she still felt his body. “Tell him to fear me for I know his secret.”

“Wh…what? What secret?”

Raised voices echoed from the cabin. Shoving whatever necklace he held back into his jacket, the deckhand ran down the length of the deck and disappeared.

Justine wasn’t quite sure what just happened. Had the man been speaking about someone in the cabin? Mr. Tinnen or the captain? Of course the easiest answer could easily have been the man was mad, but that did little to ease the panic. Her hands trembled and not from the cold. Justine grabbed the ends of her shawl and wrapped them tight around her. Every time she blinked, she saw his eyes burning into hers. She fled to her cabin and locked the door behind her.

 Posted by at 6:14 am
Jun 252014
 

editingredpen

 

1.) Phil Canalin’s Invisible Fable Society – Halfway through editing.

What an amazing book. Every fable pulls at my heart strings. Phil takes his reader on an emotional roller coaster ride. His characters jump off the page, a story to every faceless homeless person you’ve ever seen on the sidewalk. They’re so simple and yet poignantly written.

 

2.) The King’s Tournament, by John Yeo (Hope to start this by Monday)

 

3.) Darkest Hour, by Tony Russo

 

Have an interest in editing? Want to edit for Divertir Publishing? Send me an email at : j corkill (at) divertirpublishing (dot) com

 Posted by at 1:12 am
Jun 232014
 

chosenvillage

 

Welcome as Divertir Publishing celebrates our Summer of Romance. To us, romance means believing in the impossible, striving for discovery, and never giving up no matter the cost. It in inherent. Love fulfills that longing in us to be accepted by another – to be seen through another’s eyes and found perfect. Summer is that time for romance and the unexpected. 

The Chosen Village, by Sarah Welsh, is our first romance title and we’re giving away five copies to start your summer off properly!


Summary:


Savina Luciano, a waitress from a small, quirky Italian village, disenchanted with village life and desperately seeking change, finds herself unexpectedly involved in a string of mysterious events that take the normally sleepy village by surprise. Having spent the majority of her life feeling unsatisfied, insecure, and cynical about her seemingly insignificant life, Savina is caught off guard when two miracles come knocking at her door. She is forced to truly examine her beliefs and ideals, confront her wavering faith, and save a village on the verge of tearing itself in two over disagreements concerning fair trade practices between businesses on the east and west sides of town. Somehow, through it all, Savina realizes that her plans to leave her birth place and seek a more exciting life are outweighed by the magic and mystery hidden right under her nose. Were the miracles an elaborate hoax to bring tourists to the sleepy village? Will Savina survive the miracle that leaves her on the verge of death? Finally, can deceit, resentment, miracles, and love coexist in The Chosen Village?

 

How to Enter:

 51r9TgtwjKLJoin us over at our Facebook page as whet your appetite for adventure, romance and discovering who you truly are. Allow summer to open your heart and mind to new beginnings and, perhaps, even miracles.

Not s big fan of facebook? Post a comment here with your email address and you can enter into our giveaway!

See what readers are saying about The Chosen Village!

It will feel like you’ve taken a trip to Italy when you open this first novel by Sarah Welsh. Her characters begin to feel like family in this story of family, faith, romance, and finding oneself. You won’t be disappointed.” – Stacey Wagner (Goodreads)

 

“I just finished reading The Chosen Village. I love the Italian setting with it’s rich imagery, I felt that I was right there in Amedea! Sarah managed to write about the lovely setting and the character’s so well and with such rich descriptions that I felt and cared about each one of them. I loved the quirkiness and also the spiritual side of this book. It was really a fun, and interesting read!!” –  Laurell (Amazon)

 

“I’ve received my copy of “The Chosen Village” and started to read the first few chapters. I’m hooked! The story, setting, and characters are captivating and her writing style keeps me turning the pages to see what happens next.  Keep up the great work Sarah! And I’ll keep on reading. Thank You :)” Kara Ernst (Amazon)

 

 

Sarah Welsh’s Website: 

http://sarahannwelsh.com/
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

 Posted by at 2:58 pm
Jun 012014
 

cover200x300Allow me to introduce the wonderful characters from Darren Simon’s Guardian’s Nightmare. I had the privilege of editing Mr. Simon’s manuscript and I immediately fell in love with the feel of the plot. A nerdy, awkward heroine, an old bike that she can’t seen to get rid of, and a destiny she can’t escape. How many teenagers dream of being apart of something greater –  Born not of this world? It is powerful. We all have a longing to be great.

 

Allow me the great pleasure of introducing Mr. Simon’s characters.

Charlee Smelton:

Charlee is a thirteen-year-old girl struggling as an outcast and a loner in her new school. She loves comic books and imagines being a superhero, but whenever she sees her image in the mirror—a slightly rounded girl with thick green glasses—she thinks herself more a dweeb than a hero. Little does she know that her life has been a lie. That discovery is about to bring a frightening change that will force her to find the hero in herself to save her family, her city and the world from an evil across a dimensional divide. An evil she lets into this world.

Sandra Flores:

Like Charlee, something of an outcast at their school, Sandra becomes Charlee’s best friend. Sandra is tough, clever and not afraid of anything or anybody. That’s good because to be Charlee’s friend, Sandra is going to need all the courage she has—if she is to survive.

Theodora:

Dream or real—princess in danger or something else—Theodora comes to Charlee in a dream. She is a princess in some fantasy world being pursued by a dark knight under orders from the empress to slay her. But is Theodora real at all or just a creation of Charlee’s overactive mind, and why does Charlee shiver whenever around her. She may not want to find the answers to those question.

Tribon:

A massively large knight from the fantasy world of Charlee’s dreams, Tribon is a being to be feared. Everything from his long, pointy, bushy red beard to his leathery face to his sword as long as Charlee is tall generates feelings of terror.  But is Tribon—if he is real at all—more than he seems?  Coming to grips with that answer means facing truths about her life Charlee may not want to unearth.

Mr. Levenstein:

An elderly man, he walks with a limp and owns a deli in the city. When Charlee decides to ditch her bike in his alley, this wise old man who seems to know a lot about her becomes a part of her life whether she likes it or not.

 

Professor Smelton:

Charlee’s dad, a professor of literature at the university, is a kind man, who just wants to rebuild his relationship with his daughter. Since the family’s move to San Francisco, Charlee has been so angry with him. When somebody leaves an old bike on campus with a note that it should be given a new home, it reminds him of a bike he had when he was a child. He decides to give the bike to Charlee as a remodel project that might just help them rebuild their relationship. The problem is, Charlee doesn’t want it.

 

Mrs. Smelton:

Charlee’s mother is a tough woman out to protect her family. She sees the changes her daughter is going through and tries to reach out to her, but Charlee is not ready to talk. That’s unfortunate because her mother may just be the one person who can answer all of Charlee’s questions. Even if she does have truths to reveal, it’s information that might just come too late.

Mr. Flores:

Deputy Chief of the San Francisco Police Department, Mr. Flores is also Sandra Flores’ father. He is not thrilled with his daughter’s new friend, and he may have good reason to feel that way.

The bike:

One day, Charlee’s dad returns from his day at the university with a gift for his daughter. Could it be a new laptop? Could it be a ticket back home to the country? No, it is the ugliest reject bike from the ’60s she has ever seen with scratched white frame, white-walled tires, rusted chrome—a real mess. She hates the bike from the start and just wants to be rid of it. But for some reason, ditching it doesn’t seem to work. And why does she get an electric shock every time she touches it? What is this thing?

 

photo (1)To read a sample of Guardian’s Nightmare, head over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

 

Visit Darren Simon’s website or get to know more about him on Goodreads!

 Posted by at 5:01 am
May 262014
 

images (2)

Okay, you’ve written the next best seller – congratulations. The embodiment of months, maybe even years, of your life is sitting on your word processor.  Every word has been painfully scrutinized and stressed over. Four and five rounds of edits, sucking in your pride, swallowing the bitter taste of ego – all worth it.

You made it! Your precious creation is ready to be loved and adored by the world. In no time, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Random House and Penguin Group will be asking, no, begging to publish your masterpiece.

Firework streaks in night sky, celebration backgroundConfetti!

Woo!

Party!

Invite everyone you EVER knew and share the sweet taste of success. The cheating, lying ex-friend who never had the time to read your work? Yep, invite that wretched girl over too! (BYOB)

(Oh, I hope no one posted THAT video of you on youtube)

Oh Good.

Okay, so …now what?

So, there isn’t a house elf who makes it their sole responsibility to get your work published? No? Crap. Not even some kindly fairy ready to wave their wand over your book to have it magically in book stores? Wow, I wish that WAS possible. Sadly – nope on that account as well.

Now starts the fun (hole in your head) journey of getting you and your manuscript noticed.


query2Step 1: Write a Query

(A what?) This is your first, and sometimes only, impression you will be able to make.  Like your manuscript, it needs to be just as edited and polished.

The 10 Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Query Letter

(If you’re tempted to be cute and gimmicky hoping it will make you stand out, don’t. You’ll stand out but not in the good way. Trust me when I say agents have received so many queries they’ve probably read everything under the sun.

The Anatomy of a Query Letter: Step-By-Step Guide

Interested in seeing what was accepted by agents from other authors? Successful Queries

Just like your manuscript, get everyone you know to read it.  Sometimes we don’t have those crazy author friends – what next?  Absolute Write Water Cooler has a  Share Your Work section (password is vista), and a Query Letter Hell forum(password is vista) where you can post your query letter. Please read this thread first (same password). You need a minimum of 50 posts before you can start a thread in any of the Share Your Work forums.

Getting fifty posts is really easy. Being an author is never selfish. In fact, it is incredibly tit for tat. Read other people’s queries. Give your opinion. Offer to be someone’s critique partner and swap manuscripts.

Don’t think the first draft of your query is perfect because it isn’t and I don’t mean that in an ego-crushing manner. EVERYONE’S first draft of anything sucks.

Now that you’ve written and revised your query to the point of never wanting to read it every again – it’s time to write a synopsis. (woo…)

Step 2: Synopsis

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman), who has more than 15 years of experience in the publishing industry, posted a concise road map for writing a synopsis. She is the co-founder of Scratch Magazine, all about the intersection of writing and money, and the web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. She has served as a writing and media professor at the University of Cincinnati and University of Virginia, and is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest.

I highly suggest you check out. I could copy and paste what she’s written but Ms. Friedman laid it out so well. It’d be a crime.


My advice: 

First submit to agents first who don’t require a synopsis. Exhaust those choices. Then, focus on the agents with submission requires that require a synopsis.

“But you’re an editor!” you are no doubt wondering.

“Yes, I am.”

“And you’re giving us advice to go to agents first?”

“Yes.”

Why is an editor from a small publisher advocating going through agents first? I am going to be honest with you. It is in your best interest financially to try your darnest to find a good agent because they have the connections to shop your work to all the major publishers.

Exhaust all those options. Rack up a hundred rejections. Cry, edit more. Then, come find me and pitch your query.

No, any agent does not = a good agent.

I wasted a year of my life on an agent who contracted a book of mine. “Wasted” being the key term.


Step 3: Figuring Out Your Genre

First thing you must know is the genre your manuscript falls under in the literary agent/editor world. 

You see, not all agents represent the same stuff. For example:

Agent Jane Doe

FICTION GENRES
Literary Fiction | True Crime | Horror | Commercial Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Humor/Satire | Romance | Young Adult | Thrillers/Suspense


Let’s say you’ve written a romance but it also falls under suspense/crime with a haunting paranormal twist and your main character just happens to be a Bridget Jones wannabe – how would you classify your work?

Here are the genres. The break down can be found at : Agentquery.com.


wall-eGENRES
Chick Lit
Commercial fiction
Crime Fiction
Fantasy
Historical Fiction
Horror
Literary Fiction
Multi-Cultural
Mystery
Romance
Science Fiction
Thriller/Suspense
Women’s Fiction

Hopefully you found your genre somewhere in that huge clump of words.  Your next step is looking for agents who represents your work.

wanted lit agentStep 4: Finding an Agent

If you thought the query and synopsis was hard, get ready.  This next step brings all the excitement and let down you’ll probably ever feel in your writing career (sans actually snagging the book deal…or waiting for a pregnancy test). Every time someone tries to pacify you with “patience is a virtue”, you’ll want to strangle them. If they tell you to get a hobby, walk away and curse them under your breath.

Your best friends when going through the query process are these three sites:

a.) AgentQuery – this site lists (by genre and category) agents.Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, this is a wonderful place to start fishing in the agent pool. Put in your genre and good luck. I suggest starting with those who are accepting new clients and receive email submissions. It gets costly mailing out queries with a SASE.

(Make sure you keep a list who you send queries to – helps with double submissions and feeling like an idiot)

b.) Query Tracker – Not only does this site list agents and publishers (which Divertir Publishing is on) but authors can connect with each other regarding request/rejection times. Try to gauge how long they might have to wait in order to receive a response. Finding solace int he misery of other writers helps but don’t forget to celebrate their victories because it WILL be you one day.

c.) Absolute Write Water Cooler – These forums are were authors get together and , like query tracker, talk about agents and publishers. Seasoned and amazingly helpful authors are ready to help new people (as long as you’re nice) and look for those scary red flags when something doesn’t smell right. They’re the checks and balances of the publishing world. Sign up and start getting to know the writing community because you are not alone in your dream to publish.

Oh there are other great sites. Agent blogs, how-tos (like this fabulous one, darling), and other author blogs, but you will stalk those three – trust me.

Step 5: Wait

Yep – this is the most annoying part of the pursuit to publish. Waiting. This is the time where many authors give up halfway through and self publish. Agents can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 60 days to respond to a query. Hell, some don’t respond at all. It’s hard. It single-handedly decimates your ego.

Justin C. Key on Scribophile gives us 9 Things to do While Waiting for a Response to Your Query:

1) Revise your query. If you’re just starting out, chances are you don’t know what it is about your query that will decide its fate. Was it the joke you made in the beginning? Did you spend too much time describing the plot? Even though you read a template that said to put a general introduction in the beginning, maybe you are wondering if starting straight with the action will work. In the end, different agents have different tastes, and varying your product can help you gauge those tastes.

1295783_f2602) Look in to other agents. I’m assuming that your first round of agents was based on a detailed search. For example, if your story is a thriller than you probably queried a lot of agents who specialize in that genre. There are two main reasons to now consider broadening your search. The first is that you’ll be less likely to run out of agents, and the second, more serious reason, is that interest is very subjective. For example, I recently queried an agent and, curious, looked up some comments about him on agentquery.net. One person said he rejected them saying that horror is too hard to sell right now, and isn’t really his thing. This was back in May. Earlier this week, that same agent requested a partial on my horror novel. Point is, an agent out there who specializes in mystery could still fall in love with your romance (see what I did there?). It’s all subjective.

3) Read a good book. Now that you’ve started the process of looking for an agent, it could be helpful to delve back in to the land of the reader with a more critical eye. Knowing the process of query preparation,ask yourself how you might pitch a certain book. The plot is already proven to be publishable, so the only real hurdle would be getting an agent to read it. Think about these things. That, and if you’re reading, you’re less likely to be harassing your e-mail account. Which leads to…

4) Have a friend change your e-mail password. In the days of the smart-phone and the mobile devices, people can check their email every minute of the day if they want to, and some do just that. If you’ve been sending out email queries (and you should, some agents take only e-mail these days), you may turn in to one of these people. This just adds to the stress. Try to refrain from checking the old inbox any more than you normally would. Or better yet, set up a filter so that you know, specifically, when an agent has e-mailed you back. Otherwise, every ‘You’ve Got Mail’ (does AOL still do that? it’s been a while for me…) sound-byte will take about a year off your life.

5) Plan your next attack. Maybe for the first wave you used a basic template and sent out about 40 queries in a week. Sure, you made sure to address each to the right person, and maybe even allude to a book or two a certain agent has under his or her belt. But, much like trying different query styles, you should reconsider your approach as a whole. Might it be worth your time to only send out one or two queries per week and really research each agent, get familiar with their likes and dislikes, maybe even read a book of theirs or two? Probably. In the end, sending out 40 at a time may very well get you more responses, but how are you going to know if you don’t try.

6) Read agent blogs. There’s a lot of information out there, plus it can take the edge off the waiting process to read how human these people handing out rejections really are. They aren’t much different than you or I: they want to make an impact in the literary world, only for them that quest means sorting through hundreds of projects a month. Imagine if every time you wrote a paragraph you were forced to stop and think about 20 totally different ways to write it. Yeah, it’s something like that.

7) Compile feedback. Agents are busy, busy people, and instead of being rude to the many rejection letters you are destined to receive, try the ‘kill them with kindness.’ And this doesn’t mean beg. Simply a reply to the rejection (unless they specifically request no replies) stating that you really appreciate their time and are wondering they can share any specific feedback on why they passed. You may get a lot of silence but even if 1 out of a 100 gives some good advice, it’s all worth it, right?

8) WRITE. Don’t get so caught up in the stress of finding an agent that you forget to do what you love. Sending off a significant amount of queries can be satisfying, but also quite halting. It’s like you’ve traveled hundreds of miles just to end up at a brick wall to wait for an unknown amount of time for someone to drop you a rope. Starting a new project (or revising an old one, even the one you’re querying) will make you feel like you’re progressing towards something again. Not to mention, every writer needs the practice.

9) Frame your first rejection letter. (Okay, maybe you’d want to wait until you’ve actually reached success to frame it, but at least keep it somewhere where it can safely await the framing ceremony.) I’ve heard of some people making necklaces out of balled up rejection letters. Personally, I don’t think it’s fashionable.


Write-Bravely_2560-x-1600_1920x1200This can easily be the worst time of your life while your inbox comes up empty. However trust me when I tell you the journey is always worth the time spent. An author hardens, hones their craft and meets some amazing friends along the way. If you’re picked up by an agent – that’s amazing and I am so proud of you! If you end up at a small publisher – great job! Small publishers are blessed with some great authors (I know – we have so many.) Millions of books are published every year and a very small percentage comes from the big five. That means small publishers are discovering hidden and overlooked talent.

You are talented. If writing is your passion, don’t give up no matter how many rejections you receive. Google how many rejection letters the big names racked up before finally landing an agent/publishing contract. You can do this because you want it bad enough. Maybe it won’t be this manuscript, maybe the next one, but it will happen.

Have faith.

Have hope.

Good luck and may the force be with you.

 Posted by at 4:09 am