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Querying Basics: 5 Tips for Landing a Literary Agent

Today’s guest post is by Dario Villirilli.

Writing a great book is not quite all it takes to get published. No matter how remarkable your manuscript may be, you’ll first have to effectively pitch it to literary agents. This entails crafting a great query letter, following industry dos and don’ts, ensuring the timing is right, utilizing the appropriate format, and targeting agents who are searching for projects like your own.

While rejection is an inevitable part of the journey, there are actions you can take to increase the chances of your query letter being read and seriously considered. So, in this post, we’ll share five tips to help you along the way. For a deeper dive into the art of querying, check out Susanne’s own guide.

1. Query when you’re ready

Since the querying process can extend over months (and sometimes years!), many debut authors make the mistake of starting to query their novel two or three quarters into its development. They assume that by the time they receive a response from an agent, their work will be complete and ready. But this approach holds two primary pitfalls.

First and foremost, you cannot predict when an agent will reply. It could take months, but it could also happen within minutes. If they request your manuscript and it’s not ready, you’ll likely miss your chance because they have nothing to evaluate or sell. Continue Reading…

How (and Why!) to Build an Email Following

Today’s guest post is by Scott Lieberman.

Perseus Books Group reached out to me. They wanted to pay me to write fiction. They would choose the topic. I’d write it.

I had never written a book. I had my work published in magazines. But that wasn’t what caught their eye.

It was my email list. My built-in audience.

They felt my writing style matched their book idea. And just as importantly (or maybe more so!) I had a platform upon which to market it.

If you plan to self-publish, your email list is even more vital.

Folks who join your email list are your biggest fans. We all get way too many emails. These kind people are willingly giving you permission to message them. You have their attention! Continue Reading…

The Secret to a Successful Book Publishing Career

Yes, I know there is more than one “secret.” But what is the most important aspect to garnering success as an author? Growing your audience or readership. And readers can’t glomp onto your books if they can’t find them online.

I’ve addressed this discoverability issue head on in my blog posts, my free Amazon success email course (click on the widget on the right), and in my Targeting Genre for Big Sales course.

This is a very personal issue for me because, once I got published, I thought my novels would jettison to the top of the best-seller lists. From all the great reviews and comments from agents and publishers and readers, I was confident I would see sales of millions of copies of my novels. Silly me.

I didn’t know then what I know now. Continue Reading…

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