What You Should Know About Self-Publishing

By Anna Parsons

So you finished writing your book and want to publish it—great! Completing a manuscript is an accomplishment you should be proud of. The next step is deciding how to pursue publication.

The-Shack-Hardcover-Front-CoverOne mistake authors can make is to self-publish a book with the intention of “really” publishing it later on with a traditional publishing company. The problem with this is that self-publishing is a legitimate form of publication, and many agents and publishers will not take on previously published manuscripts. The main reason for this is that if a book is available to the public and is not already selling thousands of copies, it indicates to publishers that there may not be a market for the book or that the author will not be able to help them sell it. There are, of course, exceptions where agents seek out self-published books or these books are picked up by traditional publishers (such as The Shack, Eragon, or Fifty Shades of Grey). But these exceptions are just that—special cases that aren’t the norm, and books that make the transition are usually self-published successes in which the author has invested a great deal of time and money. Continue reading

What the Submissions Coordinator Would Like You to Know

Querying can be a tricky and time-consuming process which can understandably become a bit frustrating with each agency having a different policy on how to submit. As the Submissions Coordinator for the agency inbox, I read every single query letter that is submitted to Holloway Literary. Here are a few tips that I would recommend to make your submission stand out. Continue reading

What Happens at an Editor/Agent Lunch?

By Rachel Beck

I think it’s safe to say that networking is a word that evokes fear and panic in a good number of people, coupled with the immediate desire to run away fast. This is potentially because networking is something that can be falsely associated with schmoozing, acting smarmy or showing fake interest in people. We all know those types, the charmers at any party who work the room like a pro—and watching it happen, something about it feels…inauthentic.

But I’m not talking about those people, who use events to make connections and home in on people they can use in some way. Or the people who buff up their resume and kill an interview with confidence, even though they’re not quite qualified for the role. I’m talking about networking in a purer, simpler form. In fact, networking is meant to be, and often is, a completely organic way of making connections, be they social ones or professional ones. You probably network at least a few times per month without even really being aware you’re doing it. And in publishing, networking is key to success, as great books most often come to life starting with a connection between an agent and editor. Continue reading

Why Word Count Matters

Let’s play Two Truths and a Lie. Which one of these following statements is the lie:

  1. A book should only be as long or short as it needs to be.
  2. One should keep writing, until it’s done.
  3. Length doesn’t matter as long as the story is good.

What’s the answer? All of them; and at the same time, none of them. One should  keep writing until your book is done, and then go back and edit, edit, edit, edit. A book should only be as long or short as it needs to be, however if it’s too long or too short, it’s a red flag that there are problems. And no, length doesn’t matter as long as the story is exceptional, not just good, and exception is determined by market and how well established the author is in the publishing community. For the rest, there are industry standards pertaining to book length. And the one truth you can count on is that word count matters. Continue reading

When Querying Hurts: Deciphering the Rejection

So you’ve carefully crafted a story that you poured your heart into, pulled hair out over, and lost who knows how many hours of sleep for. You send off a query to a handful of agents and wait. And wait. And wait some more. One day, you hear that fateful ping notifying you of a newly received email and…it’s a pass. Continue reading

Building Your Author Platform

Contrary to popular belief, building your author platform is not the same thing as marketing. It’s all about networking and creating a community of people who believe in the same things your book is saying. If you were to write a young adult contemporary romance, your community might contain young adults with a belief in love at first sight or a weakness for a good ol’ fashioned love story, publishing professionals who specialize in young adult romances, and other authors in the same genre. Continue reading

What Are Agents Really Looking for in Partials and Fulls?

Lots of writers ask why agents bother asking for a partial manuscript. After all, what can agents really find in those fifty pages? Wouldn’t it save a lot of time if agents just asked for the full?

Short answer? No. Not at all. Aside from just saving a lot of time, agents are also looking to see if they want to read more of your work. It’s much easier to give an interesting idea a fair shot when agents know they are only going to be committed to a shorter read. You’ve piqued the interest of the agent in your original query and now they want to see what else you’ve got.

Unfortunately, this seems to lead to heated debates with writers questioning whether or not agents can glean enough of the story to decide whether it’s good or not with only fifty pages. Continue reading