Sunday, April 5, 2009

Top 10 Things I Learned at the Writer's Meeting...

Saturday I went to a meeting of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. I've wanted to go to one of their meetings for YEARS but something always seemed to come up. I had this date on my calendar for months and Friday night Frank threw something in my path. He had to work. The man hasn't worked on a Saturday in like six months but suddenly, when it's my time to finally go to one of these meetings, he has to work. This was a problem because he would be leaving at 9:00, I had to leave at noon, Nick had to be to work at 2:00 and Michael had no place to go. Not fun.

My future daughter-in-law is an angel. She swooped in to the rescue and for that (and many, many other reasons) I love her.

So I go to this meeting. It was an agent/editor panel discussion. I've done a lot of researching on line about the do's and don't's of submitting but man, oh man, I guess there are a lot of people out there who do not. Here are some of the top things that I learned:

1.) Follow the DETAILED submissions guidelines on the agent/editor's website. Each individual agency has their own guidelines. Please adhere to them.
2.) Each agency has their own estimated turnaround time in getting back to you. Do not harass them. They will get back to you on an average of 2-3 weeks but can take up to two months.
3.) Always, always, ALWAYS address the editor by name in your query letter. Do not address it "To Whom It May Concern", or "Dear Sir or Madame", and certainly do NOT address it "Hey Lady". Seriously, who would do that???
4.) Give as much info about your experience as a WRITER in your query and avoid saying things like "My mom really likes my book". They want to know about you and any relevant information to the writing.
5.) Remember, the query letter is to be mostly about the BOOK. They do need to know about you as the writer, but it is more important to get them information about your book.
6.) Do not do a bulk e-mail to editors with your query/synopsis. They get deleted immediately and never read. Write an individual letter to each individual editor/agent.
7.) Talk to other author's of the publishing house you are trying to submit to and find out if this is truly a group you want to get involved and do business with.
8.) Always include your contact information on everything you submit.
9.) Thoroughly polish your work before submitting. Make sure your work is free of grammar mistakes, spelling errors and typos. Fix them all before submitting.
10.) 75% of all submissions get rejected. Yikes!

Okay, so all in all, there weren't a whole lot of surprises - except number 10. I felt so excited about being there! As a first time visitor to one of these meetings, I was unaware that you had to make an appointment with the agents/editors to speak to them after the meeting. There was one particular editor that I really, really wanted to speak to but could not. So what did I do?

I introduced myself to her in the ladies room.

That little stunt may show up somewhere on the "Top 10 Things You DON'T do if you Want to Get Published".

No comments: