Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tip O'Day for Authors #140

Guest blogger Al Lamanda has quick tips on getting published.

Your book is done. You’ve spent many months, possible years writing and polishing your manuscript and it’s finally complete. Now what? What good is your book without readers, so the obvious next step is to publish your work. Not even ten years ago, your only choice was traditional publishing. Today you have EBooks to consider as a second choice, but before you try the EBook route, you want to give traditional publishing your best shot.

To do that, you have to capture the attention of someone who loves your book. Someone has to read your words and say, “Wow.” But, who? The quickest and most effective way to a traditional publisher is through an agent. After all, that is what agents do, open doors for you to a publisher. To capture the attention of an agent, you must write the perfect Query Letter. Less than one page, to the point, a short bio if you have one, it has to capture the agent’s attention because they receive hundreds of query letters in any given week. Yours must stand out or it gets deleted. For some examples of query letters see the links I’ve included below.

Once you’ve written the perfect query letter, you now must send it out to agents. Do not make the rookie mistake I did and blanket agents with your query. That is a waste of time, theirs and yours. Here’s why. Agents generally read queries about books they are interested in and want to represent. Most will tell you upfront what they like and will represent, so why bother sending your mystery/action query to an agent looking for historical romance. Find the agents interested in your genre and query them. For a list of agents see the links I’ve included below.

What now? Well, be prepared for an agent to request a synopsis of your book, along with three or more chapters. Some will ask for the entire manuscript, but three is the general rule. A synopsis is a difficult thing to write. You must put into six to ten pages your entire 75,000 word plus novel, and do it in such a way that the agent is sold on you and will want to sell your book to the highest bidder. Check the links I’ve included for samples of Synopsis’s. Write yours, then rewrite it and polish it to perfection before sending it out.

There are no guarantees in the publishing world, but being prepared and professional does give you an edge. I hope these tips carry you forward, and good luck to you all.

Links to check out:
Predators & Editors

Al Lamanda is the author of the mystery/action novels Dunston Falls, Walking Homeless, Running Homeless and Sunset (2012 release date.)

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