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Old 02-20-2013, 05:56 AM   #1
Pushingfordream
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Question Looking for some basic help, process by which I get my work published?

Looking for some basic help, process by which I get my work published?
I recently started writing a book. I want to know what I do after I have a rough menuscript. Obvisouly I edit like no tomarrow, but how do I propose my book to major publishers.

What is a literary agent? How do I contact editors/literary agents? Thanks
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:10 AM   #2
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Read the stickies posted at the top of the forum in the Query Letter Hell forum. That will answer a lot of your questions.

Get someone to read over/critique your story.
Go to Query Tracker and find agents for your genre.
Study Query Shark for tips on how to write a query.
Get someone to critique your query.
Read agent guidelines.
Submit - usually via email.

An literary agent is someone who represents your work and contacts and submits to editors on your behalf since a lot of editors won't look at unagented work.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:31 AM   #3
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pushingfordream.

Kat gave you some excellent suggestions!

I suggest your read all you can about writing, publishing, literary agents, and anything else you want to know about writing. This website is full of resources.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:20 AM   #4
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Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Since you're writing non-fiction, learn how to write a proposal. There are books on the topic.

You will not be able to submit work to major publishing houses yourself. For that, you will need an agent. To get an agent, please read all the stickies here and in the FAQs section that is right above this one on the forum menu.

Best of luck.

Blessings,

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:45 AM   #5
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Expanding on katci13's awesome response:

Get someone to read over/critique your story.
[Beta readers read cover-to-cover when you *think* you are done. Critique partners read bits and pieces to help you tighten the writing, craft the plot, etc. You can find betas and crit partners online or there may be a writer's group that meets in your area. You can do a google search on "<cityname> writer's group" and see what you find. You can also enter online blogger's contests to get feedback on your work. Off the top of my head, I'd point you to missnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com]
Go to Query Tracker and find agents for your genre.
[www.querytracker.net]
Study Query Shark for tips on how to write a query.
[queryshark.blogspot.com]
Get someone to critique your query.
[You are in the right place! www.absolutewrite.com/forums/ and log in (you must be logged in to see the Share Your Work forums) Enter the password shown on the thread link, scroll down to Query Letter Hell topic. You must have 50 posts here to put your work up for review by these fine forum members.]
Read agent guidelines.
On the Overview page for a selected agent on querytracker.net, you can click the link to the agency website. Each one will have a "contact us" or "submissions" tab/link that states what they want to get with your query. Some only want the query letter, some want a synopsis, some want sample chapters, etc. Give the nice agent whatever they ask for here. It lets them make an informed decision on whether they want to ask you for more of your work.]
Submit - usually via email.
[Most agents want you to cut-and-paste the bits they asked for (above) into the email itself. They won't open attachments because you might be a meanie sending them a virus.]

Last edited by CourtneyC; 02-20-2013 at 08:46 AM. Reason: thought of more goodness
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:06 AM   #6
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So your telling me that I am basically going to go searching through threads of 100's of literary agents, then send a literary agent who I don't know a "query letter" or advertisement of my book? then hope they like it and they will try to sell to a publisher?
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pushingfordream View Post
So your telling me that I am basically going to go searching through threads of 100's of literary agents, then send a literary agent who I don't know a "query letter" or advertisement of my book? then hope they like it and they will try to sell to a publisher?
Actually, I just noticed on the Welcome New Members thread that you are writing an autobiography. Therefore, as Siri Kirpal said, you must follow a slightly different process for non-fiction by submitting a proposal including you platform (who you are and how the kids know you i.e., social media followers).

Yes. We all have to play by these same rules. Unless you know someone in the publishing business and can catapult right over these submission requirements. For example, if you know a published author, they may be willing to say a good word on your behalf to their agent, who might take a look at your writing sample as a favor. Otherwise, you have to do it the old fashioned way as outlined above.

Here's the kicker: agents like for you to personalize your query letter, much like you would tailor your resume for a specific job application. They want to know why you think they would be a good fit for your work. You can figure this out based on the genres they represent and any other information you can glean from online interviews they've given, writing conventions you saw them speak at, etc. Then, if you get an agent who believes in your work enough to want to represent you (from the several thousand queries they receive each year), that agent then begins submitting your work to editors at publishing houses much the same way as you queried the agent. So, having an agent doesn't automatically mean you sold your book.

Best of luck!

Last edited by CourtneyC; 02-20-2013 at 04:46 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:34 AM   #8
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Wow courtney, your answer is extremely helpful. Thanks, my goal would to write something that I published by a big publisher, so the agent advice helps alot.

Would you recommend writing a first draft then rewriting the book, or just sticking with what you have written and editing?
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:12 PM   #9
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How you approach this depends on what kind of book you have written, so you need to be specific. Fiction is different from nonfiction, and memoir is sort of its own special thing...

With most nonfiction, you don't generally need to have finished the book. But if it's a memoir, and you're an unknown (i.e. you're not famous, or you haven't written a celebrity tell-all because you were deeply familiar with famous people, and your book isn't going to sell itself), it's probably best to have the whole thing polished and edited and completely done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pushingfordream View Post

Would you recommend writing a first draft then rewriting the book, or just sticking with what you have written and editing?
If it needs to be rewritten, then rewrite it. Make it the absolute best you can make it.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:38 PM   #10
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pushing,

I saw this thread and your other thread, and you seem very reluctant to edit. Here's the thing: This is a competetive field. Do you think Shaq or Kobe just showed up to play? No, they practiced. And anything that needed fixing, they practiced TO DEATH.

Writing is easy.....my kids could crank out 2000 words a day if that was all they had to do. Editing is hard. It is also what makes a "writer." You wanna succeed, you have to be very, very good. Damn near nobody is that good on the first draft, very few are even after extensive editing. There are no shortcuts here; you do the work, or you fail.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pushingfordream View Post
So your telling me that I am basically going to go searching through threads of 100's of literary agents, then send a literary agent who I don't know a "query letter" or advertisement of my book? then hope they like it and they will try to sell to a publisher?
Think of it like applying for a job, only with 8 times the number of candidates, some of whom are illiterate, and a minority of whom think it's appropriate to persuade the agent via the medium of letters calling them a c**t.


Agents don't know you from Adam and 90% of everything they receive is unpublishable. It's up to you to demonstrate you are in the top 1% they'll want to rep.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:17 PM   #12
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Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

If you're not a celebrity you need a complete, beautifully written and polished book. Get some editing down by someone who isn't a family member or close friend.

You also need a proposal. For that, you will need to know what else is out there in your subgenre. (Hint: Take a look at Grealy's Autobiography of a Face.)

Yep, you need to go into dozens of literary agent websites and see what they want. However, you can simplify the search by going into agentquery and doing a search for your genre. Then check everyone that comes up.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pushingfordream View Post
So your telling me that I am basically going to go searching through threads of 100's of literary agents, then send a literary agent who I don't know a "query letter" or advertisement of my book? then hope they like it and they will try to sell to a publisher?
Yep. But not till you've made it shine
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:02 PM   #14
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Ok thanks for everyones help, I decided that I will finish first draft, then go back and retype alot of sections... so when I'm done with the first draft I will print it and edit it chapter by chapter. Thanks
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pushingfordream View Post
I'm looking for some basic help, what is the process by which I get my work published?
I recently started writing a book. I want to know what I do after I have a rough menuscript manuscript. Obvisouly Obviously I will edit like no tomarrow tomorrow, but how do I propose my book to major publishers.

What is a literary agent? How do I contact editors/literary agents? Thanks
...

I couldn't help it. I'm being that guy. Sorry.

Editing in something useful.

Here is a very helpful post by a very helpful person who happens to be a successful New York editor.

This is the check list many editors and agents go through for rejection. As soon as you get a check mark, you get rejected, unless you make it clear until the last box.
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Last edited by Finis; 02-21-2013 at 09:05 PM.
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