Monday, June 22, 2009

What Author Blogs Do You Enjoy?

In the vein of my own blog, I'm always interested in discovering new blogs by authors, agents and others in the literary field. So my question to readers- what blogs do you follow? Please post responses and links!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Querying from the Publisher's Perspective

Have you ever considered querying a publisher directly? Although you will have a higher probability of success working through an agent, some people are successful submitting directly to a publisher. The following advice is from the blog Editorial Anonymous: A Blog of a Children's Book Editor:


The Autobiographical Portion of Our Program

When submission guidelines ask for a bio of the author to be included in the submission packet, what are editors looking for in general? I have no previous publications to list in the bio, I'm still trying to get that first publication.
1. Don't be cute. At this stage, the bio is about information, not personality. (The bio that eventually goes on your book's backflap might have some touches of personality, but that's later.) So don't tell me you're a "former kid" or that while you're not an expert on a subject, you have "a lot of theories" about it.

2. Don't be weird. Discretion is the better part of valor. You're making a good first impression, so don't over-share. If you're a mother, it's ok to say you're a mom and leave it at that. If you're a mother of seventeen children (twenty-two if you count your husband's other wife's kids), then it's ok to say you're a mom and leave it at that.

3. Try not to veer off topic. I really don't care how many pets you have. Or their names. Or their recent surgeries.

4. Tell me if you are a teacher (not a homeschooler), a librarian, a bookseller, or if you work in publishing. I do not care if you are a nanny, professional clown, swim coach, or ventriloquist. I don't care if you're a fricking play structure-- it's not about how many children you come in contact with, it's about how many children's books you come in contact with.

5. Tell me if there's anything that will help you market the book-- a blog, a lot of experience giving entertaining presentations, whatever. Keep this to the things that will look good on paper-- if you happen to have a cousin with a van/loudspeaker setup, you're going to have to talk us through how driving through the city streets broadcasting "Come And Sit On My Lap and Other Stories! A Magical Trip to the Funny Spot!" is going to help, and that's a conversation for later, possibly with our lawyers.

6. If you are writing nonfiction, tell me if you're a specialist in the nonfiction topic you're writing about. Do not tell me you're in insurance if your manuscript is about caterpillars or teddybears. And if your manuscript is about insurance, well, your manuscript had better not be about insurance.

7. Tell me about your previous books published at houses that paid you for your work. If there aren't any, say "I am not previously published."

8. If you can't say anything else, tell me what inspired you to write about this subject, while strictly adhering to rules (1) and (2). Do not tell me that writing about unicorns is your "dream vision." Do not joke that the idea for your novel about mail bombs came to you after a particularly vexing experience with a publisher's submission process. Do not tell me you're writing about china dolls because you have a collection of 379 of them from around the world and they line the walls of your writing room and with them watching you, you "never have to feel alone."

As I have said before, every query, every cover letter, every submission, is really just trying to get across two big things: (1) How great your manuscript is. (2) What a yahoo you are not.

If you can get those two things across, you don't really have to worry about anything else.

Link to original posting:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sarah Rees Brennan- Author to Watch

As I work to teach myself about writing and the publishing industry, I am always interested in finding new blogs that are interesting/ entertaining to read and also informative. The most recent blog I've discovered is that of Sarah Rees Brennan. She is a longtime writer from Ireland who is finally having her first novel published- The Devil's Lexicon. She writes a blog that has had a popular following for some time, though I must say her archive may be thin right now as her blog was recently hacked and erased (see Pub Rants blog today). She has rallied though, took back control of her space with help from tech-saavy friends, and is continuing to write. You can follow her journal as she talks about getting this first novel published.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Kindle and E-books

One of the hot topics in the publishing industry recently has been what the impact/ effect of Kindle, Sony Reader, and other e-book technology will be. JA Konrath wrote what, to me, seems to be the most interesting and eyebrow-raising response to the technology yet, especially since he uses his own numbers in the debate.

Check out his post below and let me know what you think.

Writers: If you are unpublished or self-published, have you considered publishing your book through Kindle or other e-book technology? What are the pros and cons that you see?
Also, if you have read any other interesting commentary on this subject, please share!