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Our Service Philosophy

CONTENT

To help the author develop and create the best book possible. Material that has both commercial appeal and long-term value.

CAREER

To help the author determine the next best step in their writing career. Giving counsel regarding the subtleties of the marketplace as well as the realities of the publishing community.

CONTRACT

To help the author secure the best possible contract. One that partners with the best strategic publisher and one that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved.

Recent Posts

A Contest Win May Not Help You Get Published

If you are looking to be published, yes, DO enter contests.

But a contest win may not result in your book’s publication by a traditional publisher. Today I hope to help you become less frustrated and more understanding regarding some reasons why.

First of all, contests’ criteria don’t reflect all the requirements of publishers, nor should they. Most contests judge on such factors as grammar, compelling hook, character development, and story. This world exists outside of the constraints of a traditional publisher.

However, since agents and editors seek excellence in these areas, competitions are relevant and can be a great way to receive helpful feedback. A book can win a contest, but then editors and agents have other factors to consider, such as:

  • Word Count. Most contests don’t focus on word count. Yes, there can be calls for “long” or “short” entries, but these are usually for published books. An author can win an award, but an editor needing a 90,000-word book will not contract for a 40,000-word story. Authors revise and resubmit every day; but when you’re looking to be published, why not start with a book that fits the publisher’s guidelines for word count?
  • Judges Don’t Consider Category. Most contests allow the author to select the category to enter, which makes sense and should not change. However, many authors mislabel their genres. I’ve judged many an entry that didn’t fit the category, but still gave the entry high marks based on the contest’s criteria. However, when an author submits to agents and editors, a mislabeled manuscript shows shaky knowledge of the market. Please know that I won’t turn down a fantastic romantic suspense novel mislabeled as a contemporary romance, but why not be accurate from the start?
  • The winning entry may be a standout among a bunch of duds. I don’t mean to be harsh, but no contest boasts the same number of stellar entries each year. To cite another example, a horse that wins the Kentucky Derby one year might have won fifth place the previous year among faster horses. In any match, the pool of entries is a factor. Yes, the winning entry has been judged best out of that batch that year, and that’s always great. But there’s more.…
  • The world outside of the contest is colossal. You may be the hometown beauty queen; but regional level comes next, then state level, then national, and international. Small contests are like the hometown pageant. Yes, you want to tell everyone about your success; but know that traditional publishers seek to crown Miss Universe.

Your turn:

Have you ever been a contest judge? What did you learn?

What do you do when feedback from a contest seems harsh?

What have you learned from entering contests?

Which contests do you plan to enter this year? How did you choose?

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How to Write Plenty in 2020

We’re a couple weeks in, and it’s still hard to believe: It’s 2020! I’m still writing 2010 on the checks I hope no one cashes. I hope last year held many blessings for you, and I hope the coming year will be even better. Maybe you met your writing goals, …

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056 How to Find Your Hustle

Here are the show notes for the most recent episode of the Christian Publishing Show. You can listen to this episode here.   For the next few weeks, we will be releasing some “best of” episodes while I spend time with our new baby Thomas Gregory Umstattd, III. Episode Notes …

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Public Domain in 2020

According to the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act, works published between 1923 and 1977 were given an extension to their copyright from 75 years to 95 years. Works published after 1978 are under copyright for the life of the author plus 70 years. This means that works published in 1924 …

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