Tag s | Pitching

Three Reasons It’s Not Too Late to Submit

Sometimes I meet authors who wonder if they’ve waited too long after they’ve met with me at a conference to submit to me. Without exception (at least, without any exceptions I can think of), the answer is no. It is never too late. Why not?

  • If you’re going to conferences and taking classes to learn, I want to see what you apply. Writers attending conferences are, in part, students. Sometimes I forget that I entered this profession with a lifelong commitment to publishing and a journalism degree. Not everyone who wants to write for publication today had the chance to earn a degree. Or, they may hold one or more advanced degrees, but in different disciplines such as physics, law, or theology. Learning all they can about writing books for publication through conferences is a good move. That said, I want to see the manuscript that results from what the writer has learned, not one dashed off in a rush.
  • I have no intention of going out of business for many years. So, as Momma says, “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise,” I plan to be available to review your manuscripts for a long time. Any day is a great day to receive a superb proposal.
  • If a publisher goes out of business today, then it’s good that we didn’t submit to them anyway. I work with major publishers who are committed to their mission. That’s not to say it’s impossible someone will close tomorrow, but for the foreseeable future, the publishers I’ll be sending your work to will be in need of stellar proposals today, tomorrow, and decades from now. For them, any day is a great day to receive a superb project.

So if you write me to say, “I met you in (fill in city) in (fill in distant year), you can still submit a proposal to me. I’ll be happy to take a look!

Your turn:

Do you feel rushed to send proposals out soon after conferences? Why or why not?

What is the longest you waited to submit a proposal?

Have you ever rewritten a proposal based on what you learned at a conference?

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The Twelve Statements Before Christmas

I pondered whether I should write this post in verse to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas, but since there would be a lot of copy/paste activity involved, I didn’t feel like readers would get their money’s worth. Instead, I’ll do this in simple list form, focusing on …

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The Curse of the Writer

Speaking from an agent’s perspective…
I have more conversations with clients about their feelings of anxiety, apprehension or insecurity than almost any other topic. Almost every writer I have ever worked with as an editor or an agent severely doubts themselves at some point in the process.

Doubts occur in the midst of creation.
Doubts occur when the disappointing royalty statement arrives.
Doubts occur … just because…

It is the curse of the writer. Writing is an introspective process done in a cave…alone. It is natural to have the demons of insecurity whisper their lies. And, in a cave, the whispers echo and build into a cacophony of irrepressible noise.

Once I had an author with dozens of titles in print and over three million books sold turn to me and say with a somber voice, “Do I have anything left to say? Does anyone care?” I didn’t quite know how to reply so tentatively said, “Well, I like it!” The author responded with a grump, “But you are paid to like it.” After we laughed, we agreed that this lack of confidence would pass and ultimately was very normal.

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Yes, It’s Personal

We’d all like to think everyone will love all our books. But it just won’t happen. It’s personal, and that’s okay. Based on past posts, regular followers of this blog might conclude that I don’t like any book I start. That’s not true, but I’ll admit I’ve ditched a couple …

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WHAT Were They Thinking??

You know, one of the things I’ve learned since becoming an agent is that people have an odd sense of what’s appropriate. Happily, quite a lot of what I receive is well prepared and enjoyable to read. But I’d have to say that anywhere from a fourth to even, on …

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Work First, Book Second

For successful authors of non-fiction, no one career or life-path is common. Family situations, upbringing, education and experiences are unique to each person. Listening to an author explain how they became successful is always a combination of things someone else could never duplicate perfectly. It’s like someone giving a business …

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Are You Pitch Perfect?

A critical key to landing a book deal is the presentation of your idea in such a way that the editor or agent is completely sold out on the concept. In musical terms, perfect pitch is the rare talent to name or pick out a note without having any reference …

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How Do You Know What Will (or Will Not) Sell?

There is a mysterious magic embedded in the mythos of the publishing industry…the ability to pick successful books. I was recently asked “You say ‘no’ so often, how do you know when to say ‘yes?’” I wish I could claim that every agent and publisher have a secret formula that we consult …

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