Nano to Publish

Mid June we had our usual Nano to Publish meeting. It was a couple of weekends back, I’ve been a bit snowed under with stuff, my apologies.

We got a new participant. Better late than never, right? And someone stepped up right away to be his critique partner. So that worked out. We’ll get him rolling on things.

I spent an inordinate amount of time talking about how to get a publisher. I know the workshop was originally conceived to help people self publish, but not every wants to go that way and it’s a bad teacher/leader who doesn’t tailor her information to the needs of the people. So publishing….

  • Follow the instructions on their website. Seriously they all have them. Pick up a book you like. Go to the page where they list the publishing information, now google the publisher. Right there at the top will be a link for submissions. It might be called authors or contact but less than fifteen seconds will get you there.
  • Follow the instructions on their website. The instructions will be specific and they do vary considerably between publishers, from NO unsolicited manuscripts we shred them to send the first three paragraphs of your novel, and only the first three paragraphs.
  •  Yes I just gave you two bullet point for following instructions, it was the number one complaint I have heard from agents and editors. Follow instructions.
  • Be professional. This is not the time to whip out your humor, sarcasm, or witticisms. This is a business letter you are writing. This was the second biggest complaint from agents and editors.
  • Pick the right person. Some small-medium publishers will even tell you which of their editors are looking for what kind of book and give you direct contact email for those editors.
  • Investigate carefully. Some “publishers” are looking to do no work on your behalf, they just want to run it through and collect their percentage. If you want that, Amazon is way cheaper.

And that was pretty much it. I took them through the examples I had looked up in about ten minutes of thumbing through my fave books and then clicking about online.

I talked some about conferences. You want to go to the bigger industry ones when you can take full advantage, when you’re fully prepared. That means, when you register early and can get slots for face to face time with editors and agents. And when you have a finished product. Sitting down with the editor of your dreams and then saying I have this idea for a book will be a cold wake up call. Sitting down with the editor of your dreams and saying, “I have a completed 85 K new adult mystery that focuses on the transition between college and a working life in the career the protag thought she wanted but people keep dying instead. She finds herself investigating these murders and loving that a lot more than accounting. I have outlines for three additional book in the series and am currently writing the second one.” Which one do you think an editor is most likely to say, “Here’s my card, I’d like to see that.” Yeah, me too.

We also talked about cover design. I can sum it up for you but spend an hour going to Amazon and poling around. In general covers are simpler now, with stark contrast that looks good in a one inch by two inch rectangle. LOL. Look at the best sellers in general, then drill down into the categories that will apply to your book. What are people doing there? I personally toss out any big names. Because their name sells the book as much as the cover or story.

One thing that seemed to surprise people, when you write a summary for a perspective agent or editor, you tell the whole story. This is not a back of the book teaser, they want the whole enchilada with chips and guacamole, bring me another beer please. The full arc should be there in it abbreviated form. I’ll write up a sample for next week.

In the mean time we’re doing more first page idol and expanding to titles, tag lines, back of the book copy, and summaries for editors/agents. If you’re working along at home, send me any of these things which I will read to the group and send you back the feedback.


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