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Advice For a Monday Morning

good_advice_mutt–From Karen:

Okay, I’m sharing this image just because I love it. Welcome to a new week!

I’m sharing this post from one of our favorite blogs, Women’s Fiction Writers, because I think you’ll love it. Women’s Fiction Writers Blogstress Amy Sue Nathan has just published her second novel! Check it out and support a sister.

In this post, veteran author Cathy Lamb shares her publishing history and some unconventional advice. DEFINITELY worth a read.

An exerpt:

“Your packet out to agents, online or by snail mail, looks like this: Cover letter, one page. Twenty pages of your story. Synopsis, one page.

Send this packet out to ten agents at a time. Yes, I did say ten. Everything you hear or read, here or on Jupiter, will tell you to send your partial manuscript to one agent at a time. Don’t follow that rule either. As you can see, I don’t really like rules. Too confining, too dull.

Why submit to multiple agents at the same time? Many agents will never, ever respond to you or your pages. Other agents will take months to read it. With others, the rejection slips will come back so fast, you will think the agent didn’t even read your book. And, he may not have. He may not be taking on clients.

Want more mean truths?  An agent will read the first paragraph of your work, MAYBE the first page, of your book, before he tosses it if his attention is not grabbed. If he likes the first paragraph, he reads the first page, then the second page, then the third.

He knows QUICKLY if your book is something he can sell to a publishing house. They’re experienced, they’re smart, they’re efficient. Never forget: They are BURIED in manuscripts.”

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6 thoughts on “Advice For a Monday Morning

  1. Elizabeth on said:

    Love the image! Thanks. 20 pages for an agent? What if he or she then requests the full?????

  2. Two cents I’d like to add. The first is that you shouldn’t be querying an agent unless your book is close enough to completion so you *could* send the entire thing in a jiffy if requested to do so. Secondly, agents and editors are not only inundated with unsolicited material but they also have the attention span of gnats. If you don’t grab them from the get-go, they have no reason to keep reading. As a personal example, I’m a script consultant for the movie biz and constantly receive explanations such as, “My plot doesn’t really kick into high gear until page 67.” Seriously? Do you really think an audience is going to sit in a theater for an hour and 7 minutes waiting for the plot to finally take off?

  3. Anonymous on said:

    Yes, Christina. I can’t imagine the panic of an agent asking for a “full,” and not having one to provide! And really, the first page has to rock. Hell, the first sentence does. Such pressure!

  4. It’s also critical to send an agent exactly what s/he requests whether it’s stated in an email or online submission rules. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked a prospective client to send me the first 5 pages and instead they attach their 111,000 word tome because they just knew in their heart of hearts I’d want to have the entire thing. Yikes.

    • Love this blog post–and this discussion. It always floors me to hear stories like what Christina just described. I would never, ever send an agent anything other than exactly what they ask for. I am a BIG rule follower (at least when it comes to submissions). But I do love the advice to break the rules about submitting to more than one agent. Submit to one at a time, and you could die with your manuscript crumbling in your creepy skeleton fingers. –Cathy

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