Since I won’t realistically be able to add updated posts on daily basis, I’m changing the headlines to read “Post #” rather than “Day #” from this point forward.
Further Update: One comment after I published this post (from a gentleman far more experienced with blogging than I) wondered why I needed the “post #” at all in the headline, since all posts are automatically sequenced by date. Given his good point, I’ve removed the additional heading designation. As I go forward, I’m sure things will be modified again–and I would welcome any suggestions about the post heading from others who’ve been at this awhile.
In an effort to find writers “out there,” one of the features I’ve been exploring is the Tag Surfer. As a result of comments I’ve been leaving on various blogs, there are a number of interesting people, of like mind, who’ve responded to me. For this I’m very grateful, and I’m looking forward to the expansion of those associations as they pursue their goals and as my journey unfolds.
Each day I will continue to find others whose own journeys are unique, amazing, and fascinating. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this for so long.
A few of the comments I’ve received have come from writers who are just beginning to enter the dreaded query process. Although this is probably information that everyone knows already, here are a few important points if you are planning to query.
If you are writing fiction, you need to have your entire book completed prior to sending out any query letters. This is really critical! If you are fortunate enough to find an interested agent, but you have to delay submission because your book isn’t finished, you’ll never get another shot at that agent again.
If you are a non-fiction writer, you’ll need the first three chapters, an outline of the rest, and a book proposal. Since this isn’t my area of expertise, here’s a good reference to start: How to Write A Book Proposal by Michael Larsen. There are plenty of other references as well, but this one is pretty comprehensive.
The good news about non-fiction is that you don’t have to finish the book before starting your query process. The bad news is that you have to finish a bunch of other stuff instead. Read and study to make certain you know what that “other stuff” entails.
Whether you’re a novelist or a non-fiction writer, the required elements of your work need to be completed in full before you send out a single query letter.
Then, once you’re ready to start, you’ll want to target specific agents rather than editors to maximize your time (unless you can cite someone an editor knows who has referred you to him/her). Only a teeney number of editors in publishing houses will accept “unsolicited queries” that have come in without an agent referral.
As you target the agents, narrow your list down to those who accept queries from new/unpublished writers, if you’ve never been published through the traditional path. Even though alternative methods of publishing are gaining legitimacy, agents in the business still don’t consider us “published” unless our book(s) have come through a traditional publishing house.
Also target agents who either say they specialize in the type of book you’re querying about or who have a track record of closing deals for those types of books. And, if an agent wants any money from you up front, run. Legitimate agents only get paid after they have placed your book with a publishing house.
A great source of how to do all of this is the 2010 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market (www.NSSWM.com). You can also check out www.WritersMarket.com for information pertaining to categories other than novels and short stories.
Again, as I said, everyone probably knows all this stuff already. But just in case, I thought the information might be helpful.
Plan Update–The Truth About Cinnamon
While waiting for the beta readers to complete my new book, my first task is to prepare the original version of The Truth About Cinnamon for the free serialization I hope to launch soon. I will be releasing the first seven chapters which, for my existing Cinnamon readers, will take people through the section on Amelia and three chapters into the section on Cinnamon. Depending on the interest, I might decide to go a little further. We’ll wait and see.
But the effort to get the chapters ready is substantial. First I’m cleaning up some of the formatting that got out of whack in the process of transferring the manuscript from the publisher to me. Once that is done, each chapter will need to be placed in a separate document that will become a pdf. And then I will need to figure out how to set things up so folks can download the chapters as I release them.
Once the chapters are available, the next trick will be to let people know there’s something interesting–and free–to download. If I can have all of that done by Thanksgiving, I’ll be happy.
The other Cinnamon task will be to edit the original version down by 100 pages, before the end of the year. Every now and then, as I write all of this down, I stop and ask myself what the heck I think I’m doing.)
Plan Update–Separation of Faith
Two of my six beta readers have notified me that they have finished reading the manuscript, and I have forwarded to them the eight questions I’d like them to answer. Those questions were designed to help me understand what changes I need to make to the book and also to help clarify the target audience for the book’s promotion.
Once all six of the beta readers have returned their questionnaires, I will begin the editing required to finalize the manuscript for submission to iUniverse. My goal is to have that task completed by mid-December. Getting the new novel through the production process will take longer than the 2nd edition process for Cinnamon. But we’re going to bring out the new version of Cinnamon ahead of Separation of Faith.
Sort of reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner preparations where a million things are going on at once, in order to ultimately serve a massive meal in three or four different courses.
As I said, sometimes I ask myself what in the world I think I’m doing. But I guess that’s what experiments are all about.
Quick Stat Update
Just checked the blog hit count, which is now at 251. At my last post, the number was 100. So at least we’re moving in the right direction … 🙂