Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Fifteen Things You Need to Know B'twixt "The End" and "Send"

In a previous post I mentioned that querying is not the first step in being published. It's not even the fifteenth. Here's the list of the fifteen things you need to learn between writing "the end" and hitting send.

1. How literary agents are paid.
(and the corollary: don't pay money to any so-called agent)

2. How to assess whether an agent is legitimate

3. What a form rejection is

4. What a referral is
(and what it is not)

5. How to cut, paste, and copy using word processing software; how to attach a .doc file to an email.

6. How to send an email

7. Your website URL: why you need one before you query and what should be on your site

8. A synopsis

9. Where you can ask entry level questions about queries and publishing
(example: Absolute

10. What a query letter is (and what it is not)

11. What submission guidelines are and where to find them

12. How publishers "sell books"

13. The difference between publishers, agents, editors, publicists

14. What the "industry standards" are for manuscripts and queries

15. What the pace of the industry is: how long does it take an agent to reply; how long does it take a book to be published etc.


Anonymous said...

Your posts are consistently informative. Thanks. I'll make sure my website has all the required parts now - didn't know it was important, really, until reading your checklist!

Anonymous said...

Is your next post going to be the - The Fifteen Answers To The Fifteen Things You Need to Know B'twixt "The End" and "Send"?
And yes, the rule is if there are no trash bags left you can go home.
Have a Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

*takes notes*

Uhm...side note:

2: asses = assess
14: standarda = standards.


Have I ever mentioned how much I love your blog?

Heather said...

My favorites are definitely 5 and 6. Some people just don't get it.

I'm happy to say that I'm nowhere near ready to query (I still have a lot of editing to do), but I can answer most of those questions with confidence, and the rest I definitely plan on answering before I even think about writing a query.

BJ said...

A very good list, Janet. The only things that could make it better, I think, would be links to sources of that knowledge, especially those sources on your own site, like numbers 3, 4, and 10, though I'm sure you've covered many of the others.

Thanks, Janet!


Janet Reid said...

Mireyeh, thanks. I spellczeched of course, and missed "asses" How standarda got by, ...argh.

This is why you let a query sit overnight or longer before sending!


Unknown said...

You're amazing, and I love your blog. Thanks for all the great info you pass on on a regular basis.

And I'm happy to say that I know the majority of the items on your list, despite not being anywhere near querying. :)

jmartinlibrary said...

Oh Wise Mistress of the Deep,
I think you left you left one off your list:

16. Having opposable thumbs.

Best Regards,
Shark Bait.

lora96 said...

Thank you. I actually know most of the things on this list. For once, an industry blog made me feel somewhat competant. This happens seldom but it is always a nice treat.

Anonymous said...

I can put a check mark next to all but 8. Ah evil synopsis, I shall conquer you soon.

So, where is stalk agents on Twitter? That should be added to the list.

Anonymous said...

How important is number 7? And if I have two sites...which is more important - the one ONLY dedicated to literary pursuits or also the more fun one...where I have a rather respectable following.

_*rachel*_ said...

Ditto on knowing most but not being nearly ready to query yet.

I'm wondering about 7 the most. I've seen rumors of needing one before querying, or not needing one yet, and it's a bit confusing. What exactly do we need and why?

Anonymous said...

I thought I was all ready to query... and now I'm freaking out again. I didn't know I needed a website. Can anyone post a link on why I need a website BEFORE querying?


Janet Reid said...

Yo Princess, there's a list on the right side of the blog called Rules for Writers. One of them is Be Reachable.

Here's the link

Wingspan said...

I am new to your blog, but I've read Writers Digest cover-to-cover for years. I think I know the answers, but now I'm nervous that I might just think I do. I kept looking for links for each question to reassure myself, but could find none. I am with BJ in hoping you'll add them.

Love your blog!