BookExpo cont’d

Day 3. So many books! The publishers are waving them in our faces as we cruise the aisles, probably because attendance is down 20% from last year, and they don’t want to haul books back to wherever. Also, NY publishers don’t (apparently) want to come to Chicago, and a lot of other vendors didn’t either, so fewer of them had booths here.

A lot of digital publishers were here, although ebook sales are down, and print book sales have grown.

But lots of opportunities here for DIY publishing if you want to go that route. I was invited to a reception by Archway publishers, and talked with a few writers who were clients. One author had paid $7000 to get his book published and had, in the several months since, sold 71 copies, with only 6029 to go before he breaks even.

But the authors I spoke to — all first-timers — were happy to get their books out there.

Money aside, I’m reluctant to do that. The big pitfalls of self-publishing are the lack of publicity and promotion. I will keep querying agents.


View from my AirBnB host's apt.

View from my AirBnB host’s apt.

I am in Chicago at the big book event, BookExpo. I plan on looking up agents and publishers as well as collecting a book or two.

Membership? Feh!

Some might have noticed that the whole ‘membership’ aspect of this site is gone. It was really hard to set up correctly and no one was joining anyway. Membership was free to begin with, but now it’s even free of membership requirements. Enjoy!

The Hunt for an Agent, Part 2

OK, so you’ve written and rewritten and rewritten your query letter, and you’ve done your research into other query letters, especially ones that have resulted in request for the entire book (at this stage, that’s gold).

Now it’s time to send out that gem-like prose, your query letter. But to whom? No publisher will read queries, manuscripts or even Post-It notes that come in “over the transom,” as the saying goes. To get your book directly to a publisher, you will have to have a friend or client at the publishing house.

That’s why you need an agent. They are the middle-men and (mostly)-women who have relationships with publishers, and who can get your book in front of an editor, with luck, an editor the agent knows is right for your book.

Now it’s time to find that agent.

You want to find an agent who represent your kind of book. If (like me) you’ve written a YA, or Young Adult, novel, you’ll want an agent familiar with that market. Likewise for thriller, romance, picture books or self-help. Google something like “the top [your category] agents.” Google will oblige you with any number of lists. Here are a few sites I’ve found useful:
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Join the club – get a gift

As you might have noticed, I’m changing my blog to a subscriber version. This means (as you might also have noticed), that anyone can read a teaser of my blog posts, but only subscribers get the whole post.

To sweeten the deal, in exchange for your email address I’m offering a FREE downloadable copy of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles script I ever wrote, “The Fifth Turtle,” which was voted the number one best of all 193 TMNT episodes in a poll taken by the IGN.COM fan site. Here’s the link to the poll: Top Turtle.

To get your free script, click on the ‘Join Us’ link below.
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The Hunt for an Agent, Part 1

The Story Store is done. As I used to tell my writing students, That’s the easy part: now comes the hard part, selling it. And, unless you want to self-publish via Amazon, XLibris, or any one of the hundreds of vanity presses out there, you have to get an agent.

Publishers will not look at an unsolicited manuscript because there are liability issues involved, and because (I suspect) most submissions that come in “over the transom,” in the lingo, aren’t worth reading. If you know an author who’s actually sold a book or two, you might request a look-see from his/her publisher, but if the publisher doesn’t like it, you’re back to square one.

So: how to get an agent? Here’s my approach. Your mileage may vary.

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