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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Researching Editors & Agents

In today's publishing world, Researching Editors and Agents has taken on new meaning. Not only do authors have more choices in their publishing paths, they also can choose multiple avenues, becoming a hybrid author. This leads to numerous questions.

1) Which publishing avenue are you pursuing (traditional print house, e-book/print house, e-book only house, self-publishing, or a combination)?
2) Are you researching acquiring editors, acquiring agents, or content/developmental, copy, and/or line editors?
3) Do you have a particular publishing house in mind for submission?
4) Does the path you want to follow require an agent for submissions?
5) If you've chosen to self-publish, do you want an agent for negotiating contracts for foreign/audible/print rights?
6) Do you write in more than one genre? Will you need more than one agent?
7) Are you prepared to write synopses and query letters?
8) Will you participate in pitch sessions at conferences and online?

Once you decide on your avenue, you can see which questions apply to you.

If you’re planning to submit to a publishing house that accepts unagented submissions, you’ll need to research not only acquiring editors but their publishing houses as well. Be sure that house or editor publishes or edits the genre/subgenre you wish to submit. Check their guidelines for details.

Follow publishers and editors on Twitter and like them on Facebook to see how they interact with authors and assess their general presence on social media. Get a feel for their personalities. Not every author will fit well with every publisher or editor. Take time to look at publishers’ websites, their submission requirements, and editor profiles/bios.

Check Preditors and Editors and Writer Beware for information on bad practices and complaints. Ask authors who’ve worked with those houses and editors whether their experiences were positive or negative. Were contracts problematic? Was the editing helpful, thorough, and professional?

If you’re planning to submit to a publishing house that accepts only agented submissions, you’ll need to research agents. Know what services you want the agent to perform before you query—representation as a submitting agent, contract negotiation for an offered contract, sales and negotiation of print, foreign, or audible rights. Think long term needs.

Check out the agencies’ websites, submission requirements, and agent profiles/bios. Agents have specific genres and subgenres they prefer. Don’t waste your time and theirs by querying a genre they don’t represent. Again, follow agents on Twitter and like them on Facebook to get a feel for their personalities. Some agents are more hands-on than others. Do you prefer more communication or less? Someone to take charge or someone to discuss every move with you?

Visit AgentQuery and QueryTracker for information on which agents represent which genres and whether they’re accepting queries and new clients. Always go to the agent’s website for the most up-to-date wish list, submission requirements, and instructions.

If you’re planning to self-publish, you’ll likely need content/developmental, copy, and/or line editors. Content editors review plot and character development. Copy editors check grammar, spelling, and punctuation, verify legal and usage questions (like trademarked names), and check/verify facts. Line editors are usually responsible for pacing, story continuity, and content. Some tasks overlap, depending on the editor’s skills.

Most reputable freelance editors have websites with a list of services provided and pricing. Contact fellow authors or join a self-publishing group for suggestions and recommendations. Ask for references and follow up by getting feedback from clients. Shop around!

Finishing your book is on the first step in becoming a published author. Educate yourself on the industry and learn everything you can about publishers, editors, and agents before you take the next step. A bad publisher/editor/agent is worse than no publisher/editor/agent!

What are your questions???

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

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