Posted in book covers, books, contemporary romance, cover design, date shark, date shark series, ebooks, editing, publishing, romance, writing

Re-releasing the Date Shark series

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Earlier this year, I got the rights back to my Date Shark series, and I knew it wasn’t going to be as simple as simply republishing them for several reasons.

The editing on the first book had been horrible, and I realized when I started re-editing that the edits I had sent back to the publisher five years ago had been ignored. I’d received multiple complaints about the editing from readers when it first published, but it was out of my hands at that point.

The editing did improve over time as the publisher I was working with upgraded their editing staff, but there were still enough errors remaining that I knew the entire series needed to be re-edited. That process took me almost five months because I didn’t have a lot of spare time after starting a new job at the newspaper and taking on a few too many freelance projects.

I also needed new cover art before I could republish the series. I was happy to redo the first book’s cover, but I had chosen the model art for books two through four, so at least I didn’t have to start completely from scratch. My main challenge was not being able to use the cool shark fin A in the original cover art and trying to find something comparable. My husband helped me choose a new font and rightly steered me away from trying to include any water-like effects and just go with the sketched shark logo instead.

My next challenge was when to re-release each book. I asked other authors and got advice on scheduling, but in the end, it took me so long to format each book that they ended up spacing themselves out well enough, for the most part. Books two and three released within days of each other because, honestly, I was sick of working on them and just wanted to be done.

Going back through these books was actually a fun experience overall. I hadn’t chatted with these characters in almost three years and had forgotten how much I loved them! Sabine and Michael’s story is still my favorite of the series, and rereading the books reminded me that poor Leo never got to have his own story.

I had planned to give Leo a voice as the final book in the series, but because of issues with the publisher and limited writing time back then, I stored the idea away for later. I do have some other projects that need attention, but I want to eventually come back to Leo’s story and finish off the series by giving him his own happy ending.

For now, the series is back up on all the major retailers and ready to meet new readers!

You can find all the links here.

Posted in query letter, writing tips

Writing a Query Letter: Part 3

To find the first part of this series, Click HERE. For Part 2, click HERE. To listen to the full discussion on the Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast, click HERE.

Paragraph Two of the Query Letter

9e9dd-largestackofbooksMini-Synopsis
Similar to the back cover summary
100-250 words

Expand on your hook
Explain more about your Main characters…
Problems/conflicts…
How adversity changes them…

Read back covers of other books for examples!

Paragraph Three: Bio

Brand new Author?
(You may want to skip this)

  • What to include?
    Is it meaningful to the query?
    Does it show personality?
  • Keep it short
  • Keep it writing related
  • Education
  • Work
  • Personal experience
  • Research

Publishing Credits/Awards

  • Awards
    • If you’ve won them…INCLUDE THEM
      Don’t be modest, but don’t go overboard

Publishing credits (BE SPECIFIC)
Journals
Online/trade magazines

Unpublished?
You don’t need to say

Academic or Nonfiction?
Shows you know the process

DON’T INCLUDE:
Church news letter, credits unrelated to professional writing

Self-Published: Include or Not Include?

  • Timing
    • It will be discussed eventually
  • Doesn’t hurt your chances
  • Be confident
  • Be ready discuss success/failure
  • Do you consider it a Mistake/Irrelevant
    • Leave it out
  • Does it make you a more desirable client?
    • Depends on success – mention sales numbers, length of time on sale
      • Success to some agents/pub = 5000 sales (per month…)

Open Blue BookWhat NOT to Mention

  • Social media presence/platform
    • UNLESS you have A LOT of followers
    • Agents will Google you anyway
  • Marketing Plan
  • Years of effort and dedication
  • Family/friends opinions
  • Past rejections/near misses
  • Apologize
  • Compliment your work
  • Discuss $$ your book will make

Thank You/Closing

  • Thank the agent/pub
  • Time & consideration
  • Alert agent/pub full manuscript is available upon request
  • Mention if your book is being considered by another agency
  • Series potential/written
  • Include contact information basics
  • Only offer exclusives for a short time period
  • Only compare your book to another in terms of style, voice, theme (Not $$)

Join me next week for a discussion on writing a great blurb for your query.


Listen to the full discussion now on my new podcast!

Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast: How to Write a Query Letter Without Going Completely Crazy

WPR Header Image

Posted in query letter

Writing a Query Letter: Part 2

To find the first part of this series, Click HERE. To listen to the full discussion on the Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast, click HERE.

123Parts of a Query Letter:

Paragraph One – The Hook
Personalization/Introduction
Book details
Hook

Paragraph Two
Mini-Synopsis
Think: back cover

Paragraph Three
Bio
Publishing credits/awards
Thank you/closing

Where do you start? Personalization

WhyPARAGRAPH ONE – INTRODUCTION
Why are you querying this agent?
Did you meet them somewhere?
Invitation/Request?
Researched their agency/house?
Referred?

Personalize
Make sure the agent or publisher knows why you chose their agency
NEVER open with DEAR AGENT/PUB
Find a connection – Research
Be professional

Paragraph One: Book Details

What are you selling?
Keep it simple
Title
Word count
Genre
Age group

This should all be in one sentence

Paragraph One: The Hook

The 3 elements
Character + conflict
Choices/stakes
Sizzle
Possible 4th element: setting/time period

Hook vs. Heart

Hook: What makes your book unique and interesting?

Heart: Why you’re story will affect readers.

Hook should be ONE SENTENCE.

What is sizzle?
Why your story is different from a million others
DON’T TELL THE ENDING

Hook Examples

5d093-alphabetvectorBridges of Madison County
When Robert Kincaid drives through the heat and dust of an Iowa summer and turns into Francesca Johnson’s farm lane looking for directions, the world-class photographer and the Iowa farm wife are joined in an experience that will haunt them forever.
The Kite Runner
An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present.
Wicked Hunger
Will the Roth siblings insatiable hunger for pain and suffering turn them into villains, or can they somehow find a way to become the heroes of their own dark story?

Join me next week for a discussion on Paragraph Two of the query.


Listen to the full discussion now on my new podcast!

Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast: How to Write a Query Letter Without Going Completely Crazy


Posted in publishing, query letter

Writing a Query Letter: Part 1

The query writing process incorporates some of the most frustrating aspects of publishing.

But…it’s necessary no matter what publishing option you choose

Typewriter illustrationWhat is a query letter?

According to Jane Friedman, the CEO and co-founder of Open Road Integrated Media, this is the definition:

To seduce the agent or editor into reading or requesting your work. The query is so much of a sales piece that you should be able to write it without having written a single word of the manuscript.

In other words, it’s your pitch to agents, publishers, and readers.

Query Letter Basics

◦ONE PAGE

◦Pitch to “sell” your book

◦Professional letter

◦First impression

◦Book MUST be finished!

But First…

How to sift through the billion search results to find an agent to query?

Blond Business WomanQuery Tracker

Agent Query

Publisher’s Marketplace

Preditors and Editors

Dark Markets (Short Stories/Mags)

◦Agent Interviews

◦Be as SPECIFIC as possible

◦Social Media Stalking 😉

Nest week I’ll be discussing the parts of a query letter in detail, or if you want the full lecture now, check it out out on the Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast now.

Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast: How to Write a Query Letter Without Going Completely Crazy

Posted in publishing

Publishing Primer: Publishers

What does it mean to have a publisher? Are you better off with one or without one?

DeathtoStock_Creative Community9What is a publisher?

This is a more difficult question to answer than you might think!

Later on, we’ll discuss the different types of publishers, but for now, let’s start with the basics:

A publisher is a person/company that issues books/journals/etc. for sale.

Prep your manuscript for publishing.

Other aspects depend on the particular publisher.

Dollar SignWhat are the advantages to having a publisher?

Cost
A reputable publisher should NEVER ask the author for money.
What costs are publishers fronting?
Editing: $500-600
Cover design: $100-600.
Formatting: $100-300

Time
Editing, formatting, design all take time away from writing
The author is free to pursue other interests like writing or marketing
Setting up a book for publishing also takes time

Expanded Distribution/Marketing Options
Publishers can get into places that authors often can’t
EX: book signings at chain stores, special programs, “in stock,” events, etc.
High volume production = better deals from printers or events

iStock_000023280434LargeHelp
Teamwork
More creditability (Sometimes)
Answers to questions

Marketing
Varies GREATLY
Smaller publishers = greater amount of marketing
Your success = their success
Larger publishers = bigger budgets and marketing departments
Some of the costs of marketing will be taken on by the publisher

Next time we’ll discuss some of the disadvantages of publishers.

If you’d like to learn more about the pros and cons of Agents, you can find part ONE here and part TWO here.