I am just beginning to explore this world of writing and publishing and, as always, find that a bit of research at the onset saves brain cells later.
Before you head out to that conference or send off that email or letter to an agent or publisher, take a deep breath and congratulate yourself on having come this far.
Then analyze again as to how your book, poem or script will benefit the particular audience you are targeting. If you are wanting your writing to get a serious response, then make sure you know what it is they are looking for right now, how they want it presented and how they want it sent. If you skip these steps and don’t bother reading their requirements, how likely is it they will read your submission long enough to see if it is quality work?
If you are at a writer’s conference, and have paid all that money to go, why not google the presenters in depth and really see which agent and agency sounds like it would be a good fit? Do they have a website listed and perhaps a blog as well? Do you feel comfortable with what they have shared so far and does it line up with what would be best for your writing style?
So you did the handshake and smile very well. You did not slouch! You even made sure your shoes were somewhat clean, your outfit classy and you just knew you exuded confidence. Why? Because you are a writer and you know you write well and you are eager to show off your work because you know it has potential! You want them to be interested in representing you!
Do you have a catchy one line hook to tell the agent what your stuff is about?
Are the pages you present to the agent at your pitch neatly presented, easy to find, and professionally edited? Even those with degrees in English may benefit from a veteran grammarian!
Did you research to figure out what the rules of your genre are? I did not realize I was expected to open with action and that my nicely crafted page of setting was not a suitable first page! Ouch!
I found out there are rules for the number of words for each genre and that newbies might want to adhere to them until they become famous. Make sure you read up on the formatting of the pitch. Add details in the first two pages like your writing biography which may include other works you have published or your education. You may want a section that lists some current comparable books and their publishers and dates to show it is a viable commodity.
Your writing baby is now a commodity as you try and flog it to the nicest bidder. This is business. Make sure you list some suggestions as to how you will help market your infant. Sure, you will do a book tour or website or facebook page, won’t you? LinkedIn has groups you will join quickly
So when the agent asks you what the book is about and you throw out that hook sentence, you are ready to share a brief synopsis of the story. After all, you wrote out the two pages the night before. You know it flows smoothly and is intriguing. This morning you sat on the hotel bench outside and repeated those two pages loudly, over and over, until they were fully memorized!
You are just waiting to be asked what your book is about and you know the agent will then want to read a few pages of your actual writing!
As you wait for the reading and answer any questions, you know you have prepared yourself well and you can handle it calmly when you hear the words, “Please send me the manuscript.”