For many new writers, the question is how to break in, get an agent, and get published. Authors can go many months—which can compound to years—without hearing about their manuscripts. How can a writer get noticed and noticed fast? How do you break in without connections? Like with all contemporary remedies, the internet has a hand in getting new authors noticed, and #PitMad is the quarterly Twitter event to get your manuscript picked up and published.
Oftentimes, developing target audiences can reveal interesting information about how to get the book into the hands of the reader. For example, if members of a target audience are likely to listen to podcasts, then the marketing plan for the book should include some reviews by podcasts they probably listen to.
Writing book proposals can seem intimidating. Writing the book was hard enough, and now you have to get other people to like it too. The number of resources for writing query letters is infinite, with published authors, agents, and publishers all weighing in on what makes a good query letter. But what about the next step—the proposal package?
What tone to use when writing a letter to an author or making queries on their manuscript is often one of the most crucial yet most challenging parts of an editor’s job. There are many factors to consider: Where are you at in the editing process? Are you speaking to the author directly, or are you addressing a senior editor? Is this the author’s first novel, or are they more experienced? With so many factors to juggle and so many tiny nuances, it’s no surprise that this is the area that trips up most novice (and sometimes more senior) editors.
Last year, a friend of mine was preparing a manuscript to be pitched to publishers and agents. He asked me to read his manuscript beforehand because he believed my editorial experience would provide him with insight regarding the plausibility of his book getting accepted by a publisher or an agent (it doesn’t). I told him the story was enjoyable but in need of structural work. After revising the manuscript twice, he approached me for tips on how to write his query letter, knowing that I’ve been involved with Ooligan. So to help new authors like my friend, I’ve compiled a list of five reminders that are helpful when writing the dreaded query letter.