And because I really had NO IDEA how to write a non-fiction/memoir book proposal (need someone to diagram transcription RNA for you? Write out complex math formulas? Tell a fart joke? I'm your gal.) I figured that surely someone out there could use some insight or advice. Oh, not from me, because I'm an idiot. But I've found LOADS of helpful sites that have scads of great information. Here you go, under a cut!
Websites that offer terrific information for writers of all stripes - each one has links on them that discuss specifics of the writing process
- Hopefully everyone has been to BookEnds, LLC. Funny ladies, but they cut to the chase. Great links on the side for specific writerly needs.
- Nathan Bransford also keeps an entertaining blog with lots of dos and don'ts, and open threads for likes and dislikes from readers.
- I love Janet Reid's blog - she's funny, she cuts to the chase, and she often has lots of published authors chiming in on posts
- Editorial Ass has a great post on why you should never bypass an agent and go straight to a publisher, and remember that she works for a publisher
- Every writer, regardless of genre, should read Query Shark. Do not pass go, etc. etc. Really.
- Pub Rants has everything authors should know about the publishing game, what drives her nuts about the publishing industry, and tips and tricks to getting published - great links here, too
- For non-fiction writers, I found Spunk and Bite to be UTTER GOLD. One of the most beneficial links ever was found here: how to write a book proposal, and he shares his initial proposal so you can see how a successful one looks. THANK YOU, SIR.
- This site made me realize that I would never think of self-publishing. If you've done it and been happy, mazel tov; it's not for me. You'll probably re-think it, too. He gives it x number of mistakes and then to the trash. The likelihood of you hooking a "legit" publishing gig from a self-published book is next to nil, guys.
- Absolute Write: This is a great clip with the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books crew talking about e-publishing, and publishing in general. It's funny, too, as you'd expect. :) Great writer resources here for screenwriters, online writers, freelancers.
- One of the best: How Publishing REALLY Works - the links here are GOLD, as is the information within.
Oooh, I wanted to add here re: self-publishing. Please know that I'm talking about printing up and selling your own book without any sort of representation, not something like an online publishing group (like, Tor, etc.) It's about having an editor of some sort, and someone that can be honest with what you've written, because your grandma is going to love everything you do, let's face it. :) (Unless your grandma is the lead editor for HoughtonMifflin, in which case she might think it's crap.) Ha.
Advice that I can offer because I've screwed up in my quest to be published:
- Read EVERYTHING you submit out loud. Even if you've cut and paste something you've read out loud before. (Wanna know why? You might ut and paste something without picking up a letter. I'll see if you find it.)
- Read EVERYTHING on an agency's website before you submit. I had an agency swear up and down in Writer's Market that they looooove e-queries, and here's how to do it, only to find after doing it that they've made an amendment to their website saying that e-queries are the bane of their existence and get you an automatic black ball.
- Continuing on with #2, people leave agencies, their computers die, etc. There might be an extra note on the website that would make sure that your submission goes where it should, or, should you not read it, your submission goes to the circle file (the trash can.)
- Not everyone likes the same fonts, the same formatting, the same information. Not every agent that says they like [insert genre] likes YOUR VERSION of that genre. Check out their client list. Any of them sound like you? Don't waste your time, their time, or the paper, then.
- DO NOT FORGET THE SASE. Do not. First submission I sent? Didn't send one, because they asked for the submission! DERP. Now I don't get those papers back to be re-sent or to make sure they're recycled.
- Yes, you can resubmit the same chapter you just got back from a rejection. As long as it's not coffee stained, dog-eared, written on, obv.
- Don't resend a query letter to another agency and just erase the name and put the new agency's name. (I did not do this, mind, I've just read about people who have.)
95% of ALL QUERIES and 95% of ALL SUBMISSIONS end up in the trash. Don't give up. (And thanks to those of you that gave me that advice. Hopefully I've snagged something here, but if it turns out not, I'll keep my line in. You do, too, okay?)
And for those of you regular readers that are also published authors, feel free to offer up your advice in comments - always welcomed!
I'm now faced with an afternoon where I could be good and a) eat something finally today, something healthful and b) work out like a good girl, or I could c) gnaw on something quick-like, lay out in the sunshine with a book, possibly nap a bit, and d) go out for delicious Mexican food, maybe a movie, or hopefully food and drinks with me seester and her man. I like the choices of C and D, personally.
Tomorrow I'm going to be exciting and go to the garden-center and get a quarter-ton (no, really) of compost/manure and spread it out in the garden. Do I know how to have the best vacations, OR WHAT? I've already gotten multiple texts from the kids informing me of the toothbrushes they've forgotten (the ones I packed in plastic and put ON TOP of their suitcases) how they're already sunburned (even though I packed a tube of SPF50 for each of them and gave their father a spray-can of SPF 75, oh and they left at DINNER last night) and all the orb-weaver spiders my son has seen so far. NO ME GUSTA, but I'm glad they're enjoying it. All it takes is some discomfort, filth, fig newtons, and bugs to please my kids. MY JOB IS DONE HERE.