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Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents

I’ve written before about the importance of stalking, eh, researching agents before querying. I know that I’ve covered why that is important and how it saves time. Something that I haven’t talked about is how to do this – aside from the obvious: follow them on twitter, friend them on facebook, register for their feeds and read their blog.

The internet does make for a smaller world, but a tangible, actual world still exists, and is comparably useful. So, once you find an online presence that is perfect for your manuscript, start looking for hard evidence. One extremely useful book is Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents. This title has come up in countless online conversations between writers and is suggested repeatedly to writers by agents. This book is 1100 (yep. eleven hundred) pages of information. Agents, editors and publishers have taken the time to complete a form of sorts that provides a little peek at their personality and what precisely they are seeking to represent. In fact, my agent crush wrote me personally to suggest it after reading a manuscript which she says she loved, but wasn’t right for her agency’s list. I say, if an agent recommends something by name, try it. If you want to try it, it’s here: Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2011

Another way to find out who may be dying to read your work is to go shopping (applause please). Go to your favorite book retailer, online or otherwise and read the back of books like yours. Very often, writers will thank their agent in the acknowledgment section. Then, you impress Ms. Agent by saying that your book is similar to So & So’s whom they represent. This shows that you did your homework.

A final thought, never underestimate the power of a librarian. You may have to ask more than one, but you will find one who is delighted to meet an aspiring writer and eager to assist. Network, people. Make friends, especially readers and literary minded folk. Librarians are both.

Vampire Diaries Giveaway – Changes

I’m changing the parameters on my contest. Go easy on me. I’m new, and this is my first giveaway.  I promise to learn from this and improve for the future. Bonus: my entrants get an easier job of entering.

In anticipation of the Vampire Diaries season premiere in September, I am giving away one copy of each of the Vampire Diaries Books. You can take a look at the contest tab for all the specifics. The change is this: To enter the giveaway, you only need to submit your name and email address. I’ll chose randomly from those. I’m hoping that less work means more entries.

However, if you had been thinking of entering a review here, please do! I’d love to post guest reviews, and if you have a site that you would like to add to the review, we can add that as well.

That’s all for today. There is a bachelorette dinner in my immediate future, and I must go. Don’t forget to submit your name and email for a chance to win book 1 on the LS Smith series, The Vampire Diaries!

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

I have just finished reading the first book in the Stephanie Plum series, written by Janet Evanovich. This book was entitled, One for the Money. In this introductory book, we meet the heroine Stephanie Plum. Stephanie is out of work and hocking furniture to by food and keep her apartment. Luckily for her, cousin Vinny is a bail bondsman and he needs some help. Stephanie then begins her new career as a bounty hunter. First up, her high school crush, a cop on the run for murder. The mystery begins. As we get to know Stephanie, we are rooting for her instantly. Her take charge attitude can’t be held down. She loves her nutty family and embraces her Jersey lifestyle. Stephanie is threatened, stalked, injured, you name it. She also does her share of those things among others. In the end, she gets her man. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in mystery and not easily offended. Be aware, this is not  a YA novel. Stephanie Plum is one tough cookie. What she sees and what she gets into are purely outrageous and intended for adult eyes/minds only.  I laughed, I blushed, I awed. Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from this reader.

Anyone else read this? How about other books in the series? What did you think?

A Mystery Challenge for my Birthday

It’s my happy birthday. In honor of my birthday, I have decided to try something new. I have been immersed in YA land for the last year. It’s time to climb out of that tunnel and expand. I realized while I was meeting with a wonderful librarian last night that I have never read a mystery (not since the original Nancy Drew series in 1980 something). So, I loaded up my cart with mysteries and pulled them home on my uhaul. How have I avoided this huge, high selling genre?

Here we go. I have eight mysteries by authors like Janet Evanovich and Meg Cabot. I will be book reviewing these mysteries and gleaning ideas and style points for a budding series of cozies that are evolving in my little head.  That’s your warning. I will be reviewing them as quickly as I can get to them, and I’d love to hear back from all those mystery readers out there. I know that there are tons of you. Let me know what you think if you’ve read the same book, or the series, or another author that you think I would love!

Tomorrow I will have details on a Giveaway! YA of course.

Warnings for the Overly Eager Writer

I suppose that we are all overly eager when it comes to something that we are passionate about. We all want to be the next big thing – whatever our thing is. We want to do our thing well, and BIG and with fabulosity. Here we go, it is my first official blog tangent. You may want to navigate away now. No? Fine, here you go:You won’t hear words like this from me often because I am more sunshine than rain…more joy than pain (also a Rob Base fan for- Evah) but, we must be careful with our hope. There are many a predator waiting to twist our excitement into cash- for them, and devastation for us.

As I learn more about writing and publishing, I am coming into contact with all sorts of people, not only writers, agents and editors. I am meeting people who LOVE LOVE LOVE my profound manuscript with its brilliance and decadence and these people can’t even believe that others have passed it up! Rightfully so, Julie Skepticism steps up and puts them in check. (I beg you to pull her out in these situations). Writing is a business. No one in it should be any less than a perfect professional. Overly zealous behavior is a big red flag. Excitement and perkiness in reference to how fun your manuscript is, that’s OK, but over the top schmoozing is all wrong. It is following this too showy schmooze that the person in question will tell you how they can get your book in stores in 3 months and make you a fortune. It only costs $5000 up front – from you. THIS IS RUBBAGE. No reputable publisher will ask you for money. Puh-lese.You may stick out your tongue at that point if you are so inclined. They are in no position to judge and no one who would blame you will ever talk to them anyway.

If you are planning to self publish, then yes, you will pay to do this because YOU are publishing it and paper isn’t free. On this note, there are plenty of ways to publish electronically or e-publish with print on demand, and it will not cost you a lot of money. Amazon is even offering 70% royalties on each book sold. So, before you take out a personal loan to pay that over-eager editor that only needs a few grand to get your book going, PLEASE check them out. Predators&Editors is a great site for this. Look into it.

Next, beware of those free discussion events (this is what happened recently and got me thinking of all those people who drank – in this case paid for first and then drank – the Kool Aide) where there is a book or kit to buy for more information. I attended a local event with a person who had been in the publishing business longer than I have graced this beautiful earth. This person was engaging and entertaining, a true salesperson. During the 2 hour discussion I came across ONE new term. ONE. Do you think that 2 hours in the presence of someone so acquainted in the business should have had a greater insight and knowledge to share? I do. I put my notebook safely on my lap after about an hour. It stayed there. Dormant. Maybe the speaker just didn’t get to it – all the information that decades in the industry have accumulated? Maybe. More likely, the new fangled thing called the world-wide-web has made all of that insider information available to anyone with an interest in learning.  At the end of this world rocking (not at all) discussion where we were prodded to ask ask ask, there was a time for book selling. We had the opportunity to buy 1 or 2 of this persons TWO ever published books. Then, the author smiled and autographed them.

The line was slow moving, so I spoke with a librarian first. She was serving cookies. Her line should have been longer. Anyway, I learned more, was treated better, and honestly connected with the librarian. She loved books and people, and it showed. Next, I ventured to the autograph desk where I was looked over, as if the author couldn’t see the book I wanted autographed. Didn’t see it because I wasn’t buying it. I only had a question for her. I wanted advice for a direction to move while seeking an agent for Death By Chocolate. Humor is a small, small, tiny, tiny niche. The author was cordial. Just cordial. The show was over. I wasn’t buying, and the author wasn’t thrilled. I got very little information and left. SO, in the end, I kept my $20, bought an iced grande non fat caramel macchiato, put change back in my pocket, and made an appointment to go and see the librarian – for FREE- the next afternoon.

I said all of that to say this – IT IS THE YEAR 2010. Information is free. You only have to look. If you need a book for more information than you can locate online, there are libraries. Use them, and use the resources inside – the staff. They want to help. That’s why they work at a library. Also, visit bookstores, chains have tons of educated and enthusiastic staff. Find a few independent bookstores, they are zealous, crazy-for-book-nuts to try and make it in the industry’s current climate. They love you already just for being a writer. They will help you.

You don’t have to pay. If you must buy a book, buy something that you love. Don’t buy a book to tell you how to get a leg up. Support your favorite authors instead. Buy their books.

AND NEVER PAY A SCHMOOZER unless they are selling bottled water to you in the desert. And shame on them anyways for selling water to a dying person.

End rant.

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