by Market Writer
If you are a writer, or an aspiring writer looking to get published, a query letter is something you should really take note of. Writing a great query letter can help get your foot in the door with some major publishers and on your way to having people view your book.
The main goal of a query letter is to the make a particular agent or publisher care enough about your protagonist and your plot that they want to read more. You are giving them just the right amount of information, without giving it all away, so they show interest in your book and want to work with you more on it. If you are a writer that writes fiction or narrative fiction, a good query letter is something you will definitely need to get an agent interested, and hopefully signing you to a book deal. A pitch, which is essentially what a query letter is, is all you have and what stands between your book hitting store shelves and it just sitting on your desktop. Although query letters are mainly for works of fiction, there are plenty of concepts in a query letter that a writer of any subject can learn from.
There are agents and publishers all over the world but it is important to note that they are all not looking for the same thing. One agent may be looking for a specific type of novel and another agent something completely different. It is important to do your research and know what the agent is looking for so you do not come off as generic and as someone who does not do their research. Agents in the very first line will look for someone who took the time to find out what the agent is looking for and what makes them relevant to be signed. They may be looking for a particular writer that is talking about a certain location, plot, idea, or type of book. All of these go together to help you create the perfect letter that tells the story of, well, your story. Your query needs to talk about what you have done, what you have accomplished, but most importantly what your book is about.
They need to know why your character is important, what they are fighting why, why they are fighting for it, and what their end goal is. All of this should grip the agent and once they are hooked, you are on your way to being published in no time!
From Market Writer
“How to get my book published?” is the question on every aspiring author’s mind and lips. After spending days, months or even years penning down that great story, an author hopes that publishers will be more than happy to take up the manuscript and turn it into a bestseller but sadly, that is hardly the reality. In the real world, one may face few or countless rejections before finally striking a fair deal. Getting a book published takes time, effort, persistence, smartness and patience in equal amounts.
Here are 3 tips which will help you getting your book published faster:
Write What You May Be Interested To Read
A publisher’s main motive is to make money out of books and the only way to ensure this is to publish books that will interest readers and fly off the book shelves in right numbers. Hence, for you to grab a publisher’s attention, it is absolutely necessary that the content you are offering is interesting, unique and capable of indulging a reader’s mind or imagination.
Firstly, it is most important that you write from your heart and not out of other’s books. Forgery is unacceptable. An author becomes successful only if he/she offers something to the readers that they have never read before. Hence, it is extremely essential that your work is fresh and has a unique identity. Secondly, when writing a book, you need to think from a reader’s perspective as well. Always write something that you will yourself be interested in reading.
Keep your work open to scrutiny and criticism. Accepting criticism in a positive manner will help you better your work after every rejection and will increase the chances of acceptance with the next publisher you will approach. Be receptive to constructive feedback and use it to make your work more admirable and interesting.
Harness the Power of Social Media
Social media is more powerful that you possibly know. A publisher is more likely to publish your book if you have thousands of followers on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Having popular social media accounts indicates that people enjoy what you write and that your work grabs people’s attention desirably.
All you need to do is set up your social media accounts and share snippets of your works with the world. You can also share short stories or articles. Actively respond to readers’ comments and initiate discussions. You can also follow other authors to know what they are doing better than you. More the number of followers on your social media accounts, better the chances of you getting published!
From Market Writer
Do you often go through lists of bestselling books and make your buying picks out of them? If yes, then it’s high time you break away from this habit and try something new for a change. There are plenty of books by new authors that come out every day. Not only do these books make for fascinating reads but also contain fresh and unique content that will amaze you and satisfy your book-loving soul thoroughly.
It’s Time to Explore Something New
While reading bestselling books may be a safe option, it does not carry with itself the same level of excitement that comes with picking up a book from an author you have never heard of before. After reading tons of reviews of bestselling books, there is little left for you to discover. Exploring new books will give you a chance to discover something new on every page!
Also, wouldn’t it be fun if your review of a book by a new author turned it into a bestseller? Reading books that are not part of classic bestselling lists will give you an opportunity to acquaint your friends, family and peers with new and exciting books.
Widen Your Perspective
Everyone has a different taste in books. While some like romantic dramas, others may prefer spy tales or thrillers. Hence, decide what genre indulges your mind the most and try out new books from that genre. This will help you experience variety from that genre and widen your perspective. You will surely have much more to say next time you will meet your book club mates!
The beauty of reading books by Indie authors lies entirely in the element of surprise. Every time you are reading a book by a bestselling author, you already know what to expect as you are familiar with that author’s style of writing and storytelling. However, reading books by Indie authors whom you have never read before gives you a chance to feel surprised now and then and enjoy the sweet feelings of amazement and wonder. This not only enriches your mind and soul but also makes your book reading experience worthwhile and enjoyable.
After all, what is the fun in reading a book if your heart already knows what might happen in the end? None, right? So why not give a chance to an Indie author today and let yourself be swept by a wave of surprise! After all, surprise is the spice of life.
Banned Book Week: Gradual and Silent Encroachments: The Dangers of the Restriction of Free Speech in Books
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh
Every year I write a blog for Banned Book Week, and this year is no different, and, sadly, there is no shortage of banned and challenged books in the US as well as worldwide. But, on the positive side, we at least have this opportunity to showcase the seemingly growing problem of special interest groups attempting to control the speech, thoughts, and beliefs of all. When I talk to people about Banned Book Week and my passion to eliminate restrictions in reading, I’m sometimes met with shock. That surprises me, but I think education is the key to make others more aware of censorship.
For those not familiar with Banned Book Week, it is the annual event, supported by the American Library Association (ALA), that celebrates our freedom to read and protests the censorship of books. The ALA recognizes the potential danger of the restriction of reading and the historical and contemporary impact it has on civilizations. Click here to read more about the ALA’s involvement in Banned Book Week.
I think it is important to note that books that are banned and challenged in the US may not be what people think. We’re not talking about some dark pornography or terrorist manifesto; we are talking about American classics like The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird. We’re talking about beloved children’s books like Harry Potter and young adult favorites like The Hunger Games. We are talking about books that shed a light on racism and other social issues like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and The Bluest Eye. We’re talking about books that make us think and create, that lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and society.
The reasons that books are banned or challenged are many, and while it may be tempting to blame it entirely on fringe religious and political groups, often it is ordinary people who initiate the challenges. Sometimes it is just well-meaning folks who just can’t understand why others don’t think or act like them. Sometimes it is a misguided notion that you can protect children by restricting what comes into their world. Valid points . . . to some extent. While parents have a right to restrict what their children read, they certainly don’t have the right to restrict my children’s reading. One person’s religious or political views that control their own choice of reading material shouldn't dictate what I choose to read and, by extension, think.
I get that some people think that The Color Purple, or similarly ranged books, isn't appropriate for all age groups, and it is not. It is not the easiest read in the world, and it deals with some very adult subjects. But no one is suggesting that your second grader be forced into reading it, and even if you oppose your high school student reading Invisible Man as an assigned book, I know of no school or teacher that doesn't have alternative books for students whose parents protest. But that doesn't mean that other students shouldn't be restricted from what is a learning and growing experience.
And you may say-what is the harm in taking The Sun Also Rises or Harry Potter out of libraries to keep these special interest groups from squawking? The danger is that when one first amendment right is chipped away at, it sets a dangerous precedent for others. I’m not suggesting that we are in imminent danger of becoming a real-life Fahrenheit 451 society (which ironically is on the banned list), but, as James Madison said: “there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
ALA Press Release: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2014/09/affirm-freedom-read-during-banned-books-week-sept-21-27-2014
Notable First Amendment Court Cases:http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorshipfirstamendmentissues/courtcases
Frequently Banned and Challenged Books: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics
ALA Banned Book Week 2014: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh
When I began doing research for this blog, which was originally about self-publishing versus small presses, I was a little surprised of the number of articles and blogs that listed do-it-yourself, small presses, and large publishing companies as “choices” for new authors. The idea that any of these is a given is unrealistic—and yes, I do mean to include self publishing, at least successful self publishing. While this seems like an issue solely for writers, this is good and bad news for readers too.
Most writers fantasize about being discovered by one of The Big Six (or Five depending on the day)[i], getting a six-figure advance, and having their book turned into a artsy, yet lucrative film—probably not going to happen. In fact, the odds are very much against it. Only one percent or fewer of a large press’s annual titles are from new authors and very few get any type of advance at all[ii]. The myth of a large publishing house spending oodles on marketing is a bust too. As markets shrink for print books, large publishers are also shrinking their marketing budgets. They only will spend what they think they can get back from sales. If you are a new author, then that will be low if any. With this unstable market and publishers going under or being sold at a rapid rate, they are taking very few chances.
I don’t want to come off sounding completely pessimistic—there are fairytale endings even in the publishing world. The author of Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James, turned a fan-fiction novel into a best-selling trilogy for Vintage, and Lisa Genova’s Still Alice was picked up by Simon & Schuster to rise to number five on the New York Times bestseller list[iii].
Five years ago, self-publishing came with a lot of stigmas, and many, including writers, saw it as something of a passing joke. People stopped laughing when Amanda Hocking made nearly a half million dollars in one month with her self-published series, The Trylle Trilogy[iv]. Self-publishing gives the power and the profits back to the author and allows new authors to test their wings without a stack of rejection notices.
But as most veterans of the self-publishing world find out, the path to success is fraught with roadblocks and pitfalls. While seemingly easy (write, upload, sell), it doesn’t take long for problems to arise. Many authors are completely vexed by art and font copyrights, the technical aspects of formatting for upload, book design not to mention ISBN acquisition, Library of Congress numbers, and BISAC classifications. Then comes selling . . . Creating a marketing plan is essential as well as understanding the limitations. When and where to put advertising dollars can be overwhelming to the novice and can bankrupt a modest budget in hours. Distribution avenues are often not offered to self-publishers as well as some venues, national chains, libraries, and others, won’t sell self-published books.
A new industry has sprung up to assist the self-published author get a book ready for publishing and marketing and selling afterward. Some of these are very expensive extravagances, and a few outright scams, but some are absolutely essential like editing, professional cover creation, and formatting for print and e-book.
Lastly is the small press. New technologies have given rise to numerous small publishing companies, like Word Branch Publishing, and, again, this is both good and bad news for authors and readers.
The bad news for authors is that the terminology, thus the results, are confusing. Although innovation is critical for success, some small presses are actually old ideas in disguise. I’ve listed a few types of small publishers below to help clear up the terms.
· Subsidy, or what used to be called vanity, publishers: The writer pays up front for all services like editing, proofing, and book design but keeps rights.
· Hybrid publisher: Doesn't charge for services, but may keep rights for books. Due to working with new authors, costs are kept low by contracting employees, working virtually, and using print on demand-POD. Distribution is sometimes limited, and marketing often falls on the shoulders of the writer.
· Independent publisher: The indie is a small scale version of a traditional publisher. They work with a salaried employees or small pool of contractors. They take care of all technical aspects, and usually have a marketing plan for each book in which they work in tandem with the author’s own marketing. They may use POD or short print runs depending on needs. They will often have wider distribution channels still depends on working in conjunction with the author for promotion.
In case you were wondering, Word Branch falls somewhere in between hybrid and indie. You can read more about it in Lynn Sarafinn’s article about WBP: http://www.crtwriting.com/1/post/2013/08/lynn-serafinns-blog-about-word-branch-publishing.html
Now, as for what all this means for readers is, again, both good and bad news.
Self-publishing has given readers a plethora of books from new authors. The amount of free and reduced price e-books means that an avid reader can fill his or her Kindle with reading material to last a lifetime for practically nothing. The bad news is that a lot of these books are just plain not very good. They sometimes are poorly edited, the author has not spent enough time rewriting, the cover is derivative or the story is stiff and unimaginative. However, more good news is that many diamonds in the rough are there for the reading, and it is a real joy to come across a really good author who you may have never discovered otherwise.
Traditional large presses will always have books that are in demand. Nearly all of the bestsellers come from the big guys, and they have the money and power to deliver the recognizable names. On the downside, they offer the reader a relatively limited pool of books that are salable to the masses. You end up reading what everyone else is reading[v].
Small publishers offer readers a choice usually at a pretty good price. Indies tap into a market that otherwise wouldn’t get notice and wide distribution. They are fairly selective in what they publish and have a personal relationship with the authors. Call or email a small publisher, and you will probably get an answer from the owner. However, due to a fickle market and the necessity of laying out large amounts of cash to get a book established, many small publishers go underwater leaving authors and readers hanging.
Large or small, new or old publishing companies, readers or writers—we have all been effected by the shakeup in the industry in the last five years. But I remain optimistic that we are going into a new renaissance of books and that the changes will benefit us all.
Suggested Reading and Links:
Word Branch Publishing’s sister companies assist writers with editing, covers, and formatting as well as marketing:http://www.crtwriting.com/ http://wordstreambooks.com
Why You Should Avoid Bestselling Books: http://theweek.com/article/index/261079/why-you-should-avoid-best-selling-books
The Wonderful World of E-Publishing: http://www.crtwriting.com/1/post/2012/06/the-wonderful-world-of-e-publishing.html
E-Books vs. ‘Real’ Books: http://www.crtwriting.com/1/post/2012/06/the-wonderful-world-of-e-publishing.html
[i] Hachette (publisher)
Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group/Macmillan
Simon & Schuster
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