Publishers Tip Sheets

NON-FICTION:  For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

Ironically, in today's market place successful nonfiction has to be unbelievable, while successful fiction must be believable.
- Jerry B Jenkins

Words are a lens to focus one's mind.
Any Rand

There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder.
- Brian Aldiss

I get up in the morning, torture a typewriter until it screams, then stop.
- Clarence Budkington Kelland

Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.
- Rudyard Kipling

The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.
- Mary Heaton Vorse

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry.  Writers are like dancers, like athletes.  Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.
- Jane Yolen

Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing.  Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors.  Every stroke you put down you have to go with.  Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.
- Joan Didion

In fiction, when you paint yourself into a corner, you can write a pair of suction cups into the bottoms of your shoes and walk up the wall and out the skylight and see the sun breaking through the clouds.  In nonfiction, you don't have that luxury.
- Tim Robbins

Publishers Tip Sheets

Since this information changes often, it is recommended that you visit the publisher’s website and search for their tip sheet information.

 

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Submission Tracking

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Submission Tracking

By Linda S. Dupie

Recently a writer asked me how I keep track of my submissions, this is something I hadn’t thought about often, but something I do day after day.

There are as many ways to track your submissions, as there are writers, for simplicity we’ll look at three of the most common systems I have found while talking to writers. Some writers use their computers, others use index cards, notebooks, and some write the information on the files they keep for each project. Others use all of the above.

Whatever system you choose, make it work for you. When I first began, I was terrible about writing down where I sent my work. I thought I could keep it straight in my head. In the beginning, I tried every way but what worked best for me. I am a detail-oriented person, I like to have information available wherever I am, and I like it to be portable. I like to use file folders; I have a file for the project and a file for the publication. When I finish a project and choose a market I write that market on the front of the project file with the date submitted and the editor. I also place a copy of the manuscript and cover letter in that file. For the Publication file I place the writer’s guidelines and a copy of the cover letter in the file, and write the title of the project and date submitted to the publication on this file too. This system makes it easy to see what I have submitted, whether I look at the publication or project file. This system works well in the office or home but is not very potable. For portability, I use a notebook and index cards.

Organizing A Submission Notebook
I know many writers who use this inexpensive and portable way to track their submissions. The most common set up I have seen is the seven-column format. For example, your columns may look like this:

[Title][Magazine Publisher/Editor][Word Count][Date sent][Date Returned][Published][Pay Date/Amount]

As you send out each project fill in the appropriate columns, and as you hear from the publications fill in your open columns.

Using Index Cards
Index cards are as simple to use as the notebook. One advantage to index cards over the notebook is your ability to reorganize them. If you were to look in my box of index cards, you would see five categories:

1. Project (Index card used)
2. Publication (Index card used)
3. Outstanding Submissions
4. Ready To Submit
5. Published

I use two index cards similar to the way I use file folders. On one index card, I write the project name with word count, publication name, editor and date sent. On the second card, I write the publication name, contact information, and the title of the project and date sent. I keep the publication cards in alphabetical order at the back of the box. Then I have a section for Outstanding Submissions also in alphabetical order; as I receive responses I either move the cards to the Published category or to the Ready To Be Sent category. For a simpler approach to this system freelance writer Carol Sjostrom Miller does this, “When I finish a piece, I write the title on an index card. On the back of the card, I list possible markets for the piece. Then when I’m ready to submit, I write the magazine I submitted to and the date on the front of the card. If I get a rejection, I just cross off the market and put the next one beneath it, and keep going until it gets accepted…I just file the cards alphabetically by title.”

Using Your Computer
If you do the majority of your writing at the computer this may be the best and easiest way to track submissions. Using a database program like Access or your word processor with a table inserted allows room for more information and cross-referencing.

A database program like Access allows you to add columns that your notebook doesn’t have the room for such as the address of the publication and the time you spend on the project. You also have the ability to cross-reference your work. For example, you have the publication entered into the system you can cross reference the manuscript to the publisher to eliminate entering your information twice.

There is no one right way to track your submissions, be as detailed as you want. The key is to find the system that best suits your needs.

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What Makes a Good Non-fiction Query Letter?

NON-FICTION:  For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

Ironically, in today's market place successful nonfiction has to be unbelievable, while successful fiction must be believable.
- Jerry B Jenkins

Words are a lens to focus one's mind.
Any Rand

There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder.
- Brian Aldiss

I get up in the morning, torture a typewriter until it screams, then stop.
- Clarence Budkington Kelland

Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.
- Rudyard Kipling

The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.
- Mary Heaton Vorse

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry.  Writers are like dancers, like athletes.  Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.
- Jane Yolen

Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing.  Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors.  Every stroke you put down you have to go with.  Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.
- Joan Didion

In fiction, when you paint yourself into a corner, you can write a pair of suction cups into the bottoms of your shoes and walk up the wall and out the skylight and see the sun breaking through the clouds.  In nonfiction, you don't have that luxury.
- Tim Robbins

What Makes a Good Non-fiction Query Letter?

by: Michelle Ule
Books and Such Literary Agency

… You need a good hook, a succinct project description, a short bio and an explanation about why you’re the best person to write this book.

In addition, you need to present a case as to why this book needs to be published. Nonfiction is a harder sell these days than in the past because so much information is available for free on the Internet. We need to know why someone would buy your book rather than google your subject matter.

… read more

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Surviving a Book Proposal

FICTION:  For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.  Find what you want to know.

I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn them into monsters.
- Stephen King

If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it.  If you don't ask, the answer is always no.  If you don]'t step forward, you're always in the same place.
- Nora  Roberts

For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.
- Louis L'Amour

I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell and interesting story entertainingly.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle.  They read it to get to the end.  If it's a letdown, they won't buy anymore.  The first page sells that book.  The last page sells your next book.
- Mickey Spillane

All fiction is a process of imagining: whatever you write, in whatever genre or medium, your task is to make things up convincingly and interestingly and new.
- Neil Gaiman

Men always want to be a wonan's first love.  Women have a more subtle instinct: What they like is to be a man's last romance.
- Oscar Wilde

Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so slightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.
- Virginia Woolf

You can fix anything but a blank page.
- Nora  Roberts

I loved words.  I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them.
- Anne Rice

Surviving a Book Proposal

by Teri Brown

When the editor of EI asked me to write an article on book proposals, I thought, “Why me?” Just because I wrote a book proposal and actually sold a book with it doesn’t make me an expert. Experienced, maybe. But not an expert. So now you’re wondering why you should bother to read an article on book proposals by someone who isn’t an expert. I’ll tell you why…. because I survived it and I can tell you how you can too.

Survival Tip # 1

Believe that you can do it. There are quite a few extremely good books available on how to write a book proposal. However, even the best can portray the process of writing a proposal as confusing and rather daunting, if you’ve never done one before. Take a deep breath, tell yourself over and over that it isn’t that hard and that you really can do this. Millions of people do them. The trick is to do a really, really good one that will garner you a nice advance and a big sale. But don’t think of that now or you’ll be to overwhelmed to even begin.

So start on the proposal and remember to breathe.

Survival Tip #2

The library is your best friend. I know you think it’s your computer, but for now it’s the library. While you’re there pick up Elizabeth Lyon’s excellent book, “Nonfiction Book Proposals Anyone Can Write: How to Get a Contract and Advance Before You Write Your Book”. This is a great book and fairly non-threatening to the novice. Get to know your library as it will come in very handy for.

Survival Tip #3

Research, research, research. Don’t scrimp on this one. Not only will the research you do now help you to write a great proposal, but it will help you write a great book. You will need to research your subject, your competition, your market and how you plan on marketing your book. Even if they have a top notch PR person they are still going to want your ideas and input and so they should… if you have done your research, no one will know the market like you.

Survival Tip #4

Set a deadline. If you are a major procrastinator you might want to set several. I will have x amount of work done by such and such a date, and then I will have this part of the proposal done by the next date. Even if you miss the deadlines it will give you something to shoot for. It will also help you to work at a steady pace.

Survival Tip #5

Warn your family that you will be rather preoccupied the next few months. If you walk around muttering about statistics or “that other book”, ask them to understand and tell them you will be fine once you send it off to the publisher. Right. Uh huh.

Remind them that there are perks to having a famous author in the family (…can anyone suggest any?).

While these five tips don’t guarantee that your proposal will garner big sales results, they will help you to maintain your sanity while you write it.

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