Personal editing. Professional results.
August 25, 2023
Making a case for comps

Zebras are like horses. If you like horses, you'll like zebras. Comps are bullshit, one author carped at me. They're not easy to write, but it is easy to find authors who don't consider them useful. What's sometimes overlooked is how a comp makes a book easier to find. Here's a comp from a TikTok […]

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April 14, 2023
Agents and self-publishing pickups

In an author’s world, agents and self-publishing can lead to one another. Maybe you’re querying agents, once you’ve completed your fiction. You probably can skip to just completing the sample chapters if you’re querying nonfiction. (If you’re writing a memoir, see the advice for fiction.) After a lot of research in places like QueryTracker and […]

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December 23, 2022
Query letters flow off four Cs

You might have a reason to write a query letter, because you’d like a book contract instead of publishing yourself. To assemble a query, look to the four Cs. Those are the basic parts of a query: Connect, Context, Compel, Credentials. Connection is the place where you make it clear to an agent or editor […]

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August 27, 2022
What to expect when you query

"Is the book a strong commercial prospect for success?" That’s the question an agent or publisher asks. A debut author at a Big Five house — that’s a rare thing. The coveted slots often go to writers who have something of a profile already in writing, but the exceptions can prove that rule. Yes, you'll […]

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August 12, 2022
What an agent's request gets you

You may have returned from a writing conference this summer. There were three big ones in a row. Conferences in Austin, San Francisco, and New York all unfolded within 30 days of each other. Chalk up that close timing to the pandemic, which delayed San Francisco from its usual February weekend. A big prize from […]

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November 28, 2021
Everyone is taking everyone else's spot

Authors who are not of color, or identify with traditional gender, worry about their chances. Publishing, it feels to some of those authors, tilts hard today toward BIPOC, non-cis attractions. (If you're not caught up on your labels, those are Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color, whereas non-cis means to choose to not identify with […]

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October 16, 2021
What to do to get your book picked up

You've finished your book — or at least made it as good as you can. Now you want it to get picked up at a publisher or earn a spot in an agent's pool. What's next? You want to get picked up by readers, agents, or editors. This is a good time to think about […]

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July 13, 2021
Quick Tips to create better query letters

Fly your flag high for your book The Bookends Literary Agency posts videos to lead authors through the submission process. The agents at Bookends suggest these to-do's for your query process. Use your book's title and a word count range Use the right agent's name; don't query "Dear Sir" or "To whom it may concern" […]

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April 25, 2021
Know if you've got what it takes to be published?

Sometimes, in the course of coaching an author, they ask if they’ve got what it takes to be successful. The harder question is whether their book that we’ve development-edited can be published. Everyone who’s ever written a book has this question, asked every time. Asking it is the way you know you’re serious about your […]

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May 19, 2020
Agent intelligence flows from Writer's League

I took a deep class this month on attracting a literary agent. Offered by the Writers' League of Texas, it was provided good intelligence on getting books considered for representation. It might have been the single best $52 I’ve spent as an author and coach. For example, I learned that some agent businesses are a […]

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