Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Musings: September 28 2014

Musing from the comfort of bed

Hey there Muser Friends and Family. Hope you've had a fun week and carried that through to the weekend. And, of course, may this week be filled with fun and giggles. Don't forget that saying...keep smiling, makes them wonder what you're up to (or been up to)

Let's get musing.

So this week we're going to continue the thought process started yesterday. We've mused on what surprised us about the process. This week....

...what do you need to remember when approaching/emailing/contacting a publisher?

I'm a step back from contacting the publisher myself.  I send the completed mss. to my agent, Cherry Weiner, and she makes the submission.  I then cross fingers and toes and wait.

(Chris...which I don't think some new authors realize this about agents. The person I was when I first came to the internet would have loved to have someome to break the ice and guide me through everything. Plus I love Cherry, she's super to work with)

Read the guidelines. Read them again. Make sure your submission conforms to them.

(Chris, oh yes, cannot repeat this enough)

First I consult The Writers and Artists Year Book or The Writers Digest, make a short list of agents and or publishers I want to submit to and then strictly adhere to their submission guidelines.

(Chris...dang, I had forgotten about this avenue)



Good question this week. A big thing I learned was polish that work til it shines. These editors see a lot (Seriously, a lot) of new authors. always put your best draft (3rd or 4th draft) forward. And always research the pub. house or magazine, buy a copy of their latest mag. or make sure to look at their books. Read their guidelines! always. Your work may not even get looked or thrown out after the first page if you don't follow this list.

...what do you need to remember when approaching/emailing/contacting a publisher?

Research. Research. Research. When considering which publisher to produce your baby: research. Research for the best editors. Research for the best house which publishes your genre. Research for satisfied (or unsatisfied) "clients." Research their cover designs. You want the best for your story. Research those who can give that.

I love MuseItUp and my fabulous editors and cover illustrator. Go Muse!

JAMI GRAY, author

What to remember when approaching a publisher…

I’ve given a few presentations on writing, and when I get this question I list three very important points to never forget when querying.

First, make sure you have the name right.  No one wants to be called by the wrong name, and boy do you feel foolish when you hit that send button and realize, “OMG, that’s the wrong person!” No amount of tears, bribery to the electronic gods, or pounding on the keyboard will bring that mislabeled missive back.  

Second—make sure your work fits them. Go to their site, check out their authors, make sure your story will have a place in their home.  You don’t want to send your carefully crafted space odyssey of brilliance to an agent/house who represents say, women’s fiction or literary non-fiction. Know your genres, and make sure you take the time to research those you approach.

Third—don’t copy and paste your query letter. Personalize it. Every. Time. You. Send. It.

For me, when I’m querying I have to remember to sell myself. That means, listing all the accomplishments my books have garnered. All of them, even the non-fiction pieces.  And writing the query in general? I dread it, every time.  I have to craft my query as if I picked my book off the bookstore shelf, flipped it over and read the back.  I try to make sure I personalize each query so the person I’m reaching out to can tell I’ve—1. Done my homework  2. Read their submission guidelines and 3. Understand what they’re looking for.  Otherwise it’s easy to get lost in the pile of incomings.

What do you need to remember when approaching/emailing/contacting a publisher?

Ken:    I knew if we were patient, Muse would finally send a topic we could answer! The answer is S.A.S.E.  Am I right?

Anne:  (Takes a deep breath. Sighs).

Ken:    No? Oh I got it! We have to tell the publisher we’re not submitting anywhere else at the same time.  Promise, cross our hearts!

Anne:  I don’t think so, Ken.

Ken:    Hope to die?

Anne:  (Long pause. Deeper breath.  Then … ) I think the important thing is to remember that there are hundreds and maybe thousands of books being sent to the publisher and that you have to make your book unique.  You have to describe it succinctly but in a way that makes the publisher just desperate to read more.

Ken:    Seriously?  Hundreds and thousands? And all against us?

Anne:  Are you paying attention?  The publisher is really the first reader that you have to attract.  If you don’t get past that first portal, you’ll never get to the others.  So whatever cool language you use on the publisher is going to be used on the ultimate readers.  You have to make yourself stick out in a crowd or there will be no sales.

Ken:    Would that be a big crowd?

Anne:  Pretty big, Ken.

Ken:    I think you’re just trying to make me cry.

Anne: (Sigh.) 

Dear reader, thank you again for joining us and we’d love to hear from you. Keep smiling and have a fun week. Never stop believing. See you next Sunday…nothing better than being cozy in bed with some Musings.

If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at

1 comment:

anne stenhouse said...

Such good advice from everyone. I think the amount of polishing needed is something that cannot be overstated. anne stenhouse