Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sara Barnard - Five Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Publishers @TheSaraBarnard

Five Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Publishers

You’ve made them. I’ve made them. Sue and Joe down the street have made them. Here are 5 things that publishers cringe at:

1. This book right here is the next best seller!

Nobody can predict whether or not your book will become a bestseller or how long it will stay on the charts. Enthusiasm is important, but if you feel that strongly about your book, you might want to rephrase your exclamation into something like this. “I have begun to build a marketing platform to reach as many readers as possible. I fully intend on working with my publisher, for the long haul, to make this manuscript shine.” If any part of that statement is untrue, you might want to revisit your motives for writing and what your intentions actually are.

2. I’m the next J.K. Rowling!

Again, your enthusiasm is admirable, but a narcissistic writer is something most publishers, editors, and agents will shy away from. Don’t compare yourself to J.K. Rowling unless you ARE J. K. Rowling. However, if she is your literary idol, reach out to her. Let her read your book and ask for an endorsement. THAT is the only time it is acceptable to name-drop in a query letter. So after developing a rapport with Ms. Rowling and gaining an endorsement for your book, you might put this in your query letter. “Though this is my debut novel, I feel my writing style most closely resembles Ms. J.K. Rowling. In fact, she has endorsed this novel. Here is that endorsement. Xxxxxxx.”

3. If you don’t accept my manuscript, I’m going to tell all of my writer friends not to publish with you.

Threats and blackmail attempts travel faster through the literary community than good news EVER will. If you feel you have to threaten to get people to read your work, again, revisit your motives for writing. Perhaps read a book on bullying. So if you threaten Joe Doe at Penguin, you can bet your bottom dollar that will stick with him and he’ll warn his friends at Harvest House, 5 Prince, and Viking, too. When your manuscript is turned down (which it will be if you threaten the publisher), you have just sunk your literary ship because when your name appears in the inboxes/mailboxes at Harvest House, 5 Prince, and Viking – it will be deleted.

4. I have already pre-sold 1,000 copies of this book, so the sooner you publish it, the sooner you and I will both be making money!

Don’t write to get rich or you won’t succeed. Get your motives in place before querying. Agents and Publishers were readers before they became successful and that is what that is where their hearts will always be first and foremost. What they want to see is people who LOVE to write books others will LOVE to read become successful. Money comes last. Passion for writing comes first. Plus, fine-tune your marketing skills. Build a platform, but don’t presale books. Ever.

5. This book sucks, it’s about my life and my life sucks. So don’t judge me.

Ouch. Approach and sell your project with the enthusiasm it took to get you through the writing process to a finished product. Make your project shine – trust me, when you get through the edits, you’ll see exactly how special it is.


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Genre - Romantic Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

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