As part of my Guest blog series for authors and fellow bloggers I am proud to present another guest blog spot.
Make sure you check out Illusion (Eomix Galaxy Books) by Christa Yelich-Koth
5 simple rules to help you through that submissions door by Christa Yelich-Koth
I have worked with several agents, editors, and publishers. I’ve been offered publishing contracts for my books and passed. Yes PASSED! And now I currently co-own a small press, Buzz & Roar Publishing.
What does this mean for you? It means I’ve got the skinny on not only how to approach publishers, but how NOT to.
Here’s the breakdown:
You wrote a book. YAY! Biggest step is accomplished. Now all the nit-picky stuff.
Rule #1 when submitting to a publishing company: No Hype/Add-Ons
When submitting a query letter, please don’t say any of the following:
a) This is the best book ever.
b) God (or insert religious leader) told me you had to read this book.
c) This book will make a lot of money/ sell a lot of copies.
d) There has never been a book like this ever.
e) My book will be as popular as (insert best-selling title)
f) I have included sample pages WITHOUT you asking for them.
I promise you that if any of the above things are in your query letter, it will get rejected immediately. If it doesn’t, you should be wary about the company.
The above statements are not fact. They CAN’T be. Here’s why:
a) Unless you have read every book ever written, you can’t know if this is true.
b) Even if this is the case (and I have seen people say this before), that’s a relationship between you and whatever deity spoke to you. The agent/publisher can’t be swayed by that. If they are meant to read it, then it will happen.
c) You cannot guarantee this. And saying this makes the agent/publisher feel bad. What if they pick up the book and CAN’T sell a ton of copies. They will feel pretty dumb.
d) See answer to option (a)
e) See answer to option (c)
f) Big no-no. Be polite. Wait until they ask.
Rule #2: Pitch your book
Your job is to pitch your book. P-E-R-I-O-D. The people on the other end will decide if a) they have an interest and b) THEY CAN SELL THE BOOK.
This part (b) is the kicker that a lot of people don’t understand. An agent/ publisher’s job is to SELL BOOKS. That’s it. If they don’t, they don’t get paid. So even if you’re book is amazing, if they can’t sell it, they won’t take it.
I know. It sucks. But the industry is first and foremost a business. That means profit.
So keep it simple, clean, and precise. There are a lot of books and websites out there to help you with your queries. Use those resources.
Rule #3: Read the Agent’s/ Publisher’s Guidelines
Most companies will tell you pretty much exactly what they are and are not looking for. Don’t try to be clever. Don’t sell your zombie book to a romance publisher because two people had sex in the beginning. Besides, think about it. A romance publisher is going to target romance readers. Romance conventions. Romance book groups. That’s their focus. Even if people buy your book, they aren’t going to like it if they wanted romance. And they certainly won’t buy anything else from you. They may even warn others NOT to buy your book. Not a happy prospect. So read the guidelines and look for a publisher that will be as good of a fit for you as you are for them. Take the time. Tailor each query to a specific agent/ submissions officer. It will make a difference when they read it.
Rule #4: Have a finished book ready to go
Publisher’s may offer to help with line editing or final touches, but again, their job is the SELL your book, not be your mentor, workshop leader, or teacher. You have the time to go out and make your book the best possible version it can be. Get it professionally edited. Workshop it. Take classes. Ask friends to read it and provide feedback. Whatever works best for you to tell your story the best way you can. Why? Because if a publisher wants to see some pages, I guarantee that if your story is polished and professional, it will perk their interest. It shows you really care about your book, that you took the time, and that you are presenting a beautifully crafted product for them to sell. Remember! It’s all about being able to sell it.
Rule #5: Don’t resend under a different title name
You may think a publisher/agent isn’t reading your query, but you’d be surprised. You might also be surprised at how many ideas/concepts they remember. If they see you are trying to pitch your book again, just under a different title or author name, without major changes to the story, they will notice. And you know something? A lot of us talk to each other. Don’t take the chance of getting blacklisted because of impatience. Your book is worth the time and effort, not cheap tricks to make a quick buck.
BONUS: Don’t Give Up. Please.
Publishing companies are limited. The number that might be a good fit for your book is even smaller. Those that would be interested in you as an author even less. And those that have an interest in seeing some pages reduces the grand total some more.
One nice thing is there are always new presses popping up or employees of well-established places starting their own companies. Same thing with agents. So if you’re really focused on working with a publishing company, don’t throw in the towel right away.
Also, if you have another book you’re working on, think about starting with that one instead. (Unless it’s book #2 in a series or something like that.) Your book may not have a market right now—it doesn’t mean it’s not sellable.
About the author:
Christa Yelich-Koth is the author of the Eomix Galaxy Books collection, which includes her debut novel, ILLUSION, out from Buzz & Roar Publishing in Sept 2015. The second book, IDENTITY, will be available in fall of 2016.
Aside from her novels, Christa has also authored a graphic novel, HOLLOW, and comic book series HOLLOW’S PRISM from Green-Eyed Unicorn Comics. (with illustrator Conrad Teves.) The fourth issue will be released in Oct of 2015, with the last two issues scheduled to be released by end of 2016.
Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Christa was exposed to many different things through her education, including an elementary Spanish immersion program, a vocal/opera program in high school, and her eventual B.S. in Biology. Her love of entomology and marine biology helped while writing her science fiction/ fantasy aliens/creatures.
As for why she writes, Christa had this to say: “I write because I have a story that needs to come out. I write because I can’t NOT write. I write because I love creating something that pulls me out of my own world and lets me for a little while get lost inside someone or someplace else. And I write because I HAVE to know how the story ends.”
Christa is currently finishing up IDENTITY and has begun writing a new novel in the Eomix Galaxy Books collection entitled REVENGE, slated tentatively for 2017.
About the book:
Illusion (Eomix Galaxy Books)
Daith’s father is dead. His death caused a rip in the galaxy’s peace. The remains of his army are fighting to restore it.
But Daith knows nothing of this. Her memories have been stolen. She has been kidnapped. All she knows is that she has unparalleled abilities that could help end the devastation. Except without her past, how can she know if she’s on the right side?
Time is running out and Daith must choose: to search for who she was or use her gifts to restore order.