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 Advice to First-Time Authors

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Posts : 5907
Age : 47
Join date : 2011-07-26
Location : Southern CA

PostSubject: Advice to First-Time Authors   Wed May 15, 2013 12:26 am

Advice to First-Time Authors

As the
former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson, I receive a lot of email from
would-be authors who are trying to get published. Because I make my email address public, it’s pretty easy to get to me.

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However, by the time I hear from people, they are usually frustrated.
They can’t get anyone in the book publishing world to respond, and they
are convinced that they have a killer-idea. “If only someone would just
read my manuscript,” they plead.The problem is that most publishers will not
review unsolicited proposals or manuscripts. When I worked at Thomas
Nelson, I personally received hundreds of proposals each year; my staff
received thousands. Publishers simply don’t have the resources to review
these. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.

So as an author, what do you do? Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Educate yourself. If you want to publish with a general market publisher, read 2012 Writer’s Market by Robert Lee Brewer. If you want to write for the Christian Market, read The Christian Writers’ Market Guide 2012 by Jerry Jenkins.
    Both books include writer’s guidelines and submission procedures for
    publishing houses. These books will give you a good overview of the
    literary marketplace.
  2. Follow publishing blogs. You can get some
    incredibly helpful advice and straight-talk from people who work in the
    industry. I recommend you start with these four:

    • Rachelle Gardner
    • Jane Friedman
    • Chip MacGregor
    • Yates & Yates

There are other blogs, but I have found these to be the most useful.

  • Write a killer book proposal. If you want to write (or have written) a book, I recommend you read one of my e-Books, Writing a Winning Non-Fiction Book Proposal or Writing a Winning Fiction Book Proposal. These eBooks will tell you exactly what publishers want in a proposal. They are used by numerous literary agents and publishers alike.
  • Have someone review your proposal. If you have a
    friend who teaches English or is a professional editor, ask them to
    review your proposal. You might even barter something with them. In
    addition, the Editorial Services section of 2012 Writer’s Market, lists over 500 entries, many of which provide some kind of critique service.
  • Find a literary agent to represent you. This is
    usually the only way to get in the door with a publishing company. Most
    publishers do not accept unsolicited proposals or manuscripts. Instead,
    publishers let the literary agents do the filtering. If you want a list
    of general market agents, you can buy 2012 Guide to Literary Agents. I have also compiled a list of agents who represent Christian authors. This is the only
    list of Christian agents I have been able to find. (This list does not
    constitute an endorsement, nor do I recommend specific agents.)
  • Consider self-publishing. It’s not right for
    everyone, but it no longer has the stigma it once had. It can be a
    legitimate—and strategically smart—decision for some authors. It all
    depends on your goals, your circumstances, and your resources. I wrote a post about this when Thomas Nelson launched WestBow Press, its self-publishing division.

  • Finally, don’t lose heart. This is probably the most important thing I can say to you. Yes, you will be rejected. I had over 29 publishers reject my first book proposal. However, it went on to be a New York Times bestseller. I know scores of authors with similar stories.

    Like many things in life, nothing worthwhile comes easily. But if you
    have a great idea and are persistent, you will eventually succeed.

    By the way, I have just published by new audio course, Everything You Need to Know to Get Published.
    It consists of twenty-one audio sessions on every aspect of publishing.
    It is literally everything I have learned about publishing in thirty
    years. It is a great “next step” in your publishing journey.

    God Bless, Lora  Nice Ta Meet Ya
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