Posts made in June, 2016

What is the Best Way to Find an Editor / Agent?

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in FAQ | 0 comments

What is the Best Way to Find an Editor / Agent?

You’ve done it. You’ve put in the grueling effort, the rear-end numbing hours, the family-alienating dedication. You’ve studied your craft, honed your technique, and parsed your rough draft until you have a final product worthy of public consumption. You have written a book / short story / poem / screenplay and have decided to publish traditionally, and you are looking for an agent and / or an editor to represent you.

There’s just one problem: most editors, and a lot of agents, are not accepting unsolicited manuscripts. So how do you get your finished product in front of someone who has the power and resources to publish and distribute your work?

There are two very good ways. The first is to get the most current copy of the Novel and Short Story Market (or whatever version of the Market fits your work–there are several), produced by Writer’s Digest (you can get it from the Writer’s Digest website, or from most bookstores). That book is a comprehensive list of which agents and editors are searching for clients, what they represent, and how to contact them. It also contains essays that discuss current publishing guidelines and  how to prepare your manuscript for submission, and a section listing contests for the current year. Everything I learned about how to submit my work for publication, I learned from these Manuals.

The second way is to go to writer’s conferences and make a pitch appointment with an agent / editor you want to represent you. You can also have a portion of your work critiqued by an industry professional at most of these conferences. The best thing about the whole conference experience, however, is the people you get to meet. If it’s truly not what you know but who, then conferences are the way to meet the whos. Conferences can be expensive, but they are well worth the cost. Consider them a well-made investment in your future.

A few miscellaneous details to make your efforts more successful:

  • Make sure you have a quality manuscript. Take the time and effort necessary to make your work as professional as possible. Have it critiqued and / or edited (critique groups are great for this) and make sure it’s formatted according to the proper guidelines before you submit anything. Rumor has it not taking this advice is what gets most manuscripts an express trip straight to the slush pile.
  • If you’re not part of a writing / critique group… WHY NOT?? Writers write alone, but quality feedback from like-minded artists is what makes manuscripts come alive. Seriously: get thee to a critique group.
  • Develop your on-line writer’s platform. A thriving, active presence on-line is quickly becoming a prerequisite for consideration by traditional publishers. You need to have one in place before you even start submitting. Seriously, start now. (If you need help, I have several pins on Pinterest that cover this topic.)
  • Speaking of Pinterest… more information than you’ll ever use, right there. I have 34 pages devoted to various aspects of writing how-to, writing fantasy, writing YA, writing romance… you get the idea. Check them out here.
  • If you are on Twitter (if not, see two points above) follow Writer’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly. Both feeds frequently post tweets announcing new agents who are looking for authors to represent.


Now it’s your turn. What other questions do you have? Are there any pointers that I should add? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Happy writing!

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On Book Signings and Meeting Readers

Posted by on Jun 12, 2016 in My Writing Journey | 0 comments

On Book Signings and Meeting Readers

I met my second fan at a book signing yesterday (see the dedication in The Healer’s Rune to discover why second and not first). His first name is Phillip; his last name I withhold to maintain his privacy.

I was running late (my GPS had originally marked my destination as an empty field), and I was distracted by setting up my books while signing them (I have Lupus, and the exertion of carrying in and setting up my table and books left me winded). Fanning myself with a few of my bookmarks, I saw him standing off to the side, a copy of my book in his hands. Still a titch breathless, I politely remarked that he could purchase my book from me because it was not stocked by the bookstore. Phillip just as politely told me he had already bought the book and enjoyed it.

That’s when I realized he was not there to buy the book but to meet me. He had already read my story and enjoyed it so much that, when he learned I was coming to a bookstore near him, he was motivated to come and connect with me.

The moment suddenly became profound, and I did my best to honor it as such. Still fanning myself, still slightly breathless, I engaged Phillip in a conversation about the only common ground we had: my book. Imagining how I would feel to see Tad Williams or Neil Gaiman, or any of the other authors I admire (had I the access and the courage), I talked with Phillip unill I ran out of ideas and then asked if I could sign his copy of the book.

He said yes. With sweat beading down my neck, I wrote a personal note on the title page in purple Sharpie, signed it, and thanked Phillip for coming.

As I reflected upon this event last night, I realized that I should have asked him to take a picture with me, and I wished I had found a way to make the moment longer, to honor it more for what it was.

My debut novel is not quite six months old, yet it has touched someone deeply enough that he came to meet me. It is, for a writer, a moment of remarkable profundity. It is why I write–to give back to one of the most influential forces in my life by touching readers the way other authors have touched me.

Thank you, Phillip, for coming to see me yesterday. If you don’t mind, will you please send a picture of you with my book to my email address at I’ll put it with this post.

To the rest of you who have enjoyed / are enjoying The Healer’s Rune, I hope to meet you someday, as well. Remind me to take a picture!

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Author Visits

Posted by on Jun 1, 2016 in Creativity and the Writing Process | 0 comments

Author Visits

I am currently in the process of learning how to be THAT author who visits local schools, but I have no idea how to do it. If you, like me, share this passion and if you, like me, also don’t know what you’re doing, then have I got a blog post for you! Check out my resources page for How to Host an Author Visit to find links to instructional websites that I found helpful. If you know of any other useful resources on this topic, please reply in the comments.

As a shameless plug, if you are a school librarian or administrator in the Houston area and would like to have me  present in your school, send an email to me at I’m available to speak for Career Day, Library Day, Young Author Round Tables, and Creative Writing Skills workshops.

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