Stephanie Dale’s editing and publishing support has been exceptional, especially for someone like myself who doesn’t want to self publish. I have the deepest appreciation for her. She generously navigated me through the tediousness of editing and re-editing, helping me transform the creation of my manuscript into a thoroughly enjoyable learning experience, whereby I discovered the true writer within and learned to love the writing process. She was also responsible for guiding me to New York to find my wonderful and tenacious literary agent. Apart from the friendship we forged along the way, I was able to turn two unpublishable manuscripts into interesting and engaging completed books.
John Dahlsen, environmental artist & author
Let me guess . . . you’ve finished your manuscript, you have a book! Or at least a potential book . . . if only you could find someone to publish it.
A million new books appeared in the United States alone this past year, most of them self published. For those who don’t want to walk the road of self publishing, that leaves the mainstream publishing houses.
There was a time when publishers nurtured writers, were willing to take a rough manuscript loaded with potential and craft it into a bestseller. Those days are pretty much over. These days, it is the agents who polish rough diamonds . . . and those days are passing too.
In 2012, everybody – agents and publishers – want a polished manuscript. MORE THAN THIS, they want to know you are a marketable commodity.
This sounds scarier than it actually is.
But either way, for an unpublished author without serious contacts in the industry, preparing to pitch to agents and/or publishers is a lot of hard work.
‘After that, work and hope – but never hope more than you work.’
The African aviator Beryl Markham’s dad said that.
Never hope more than you work.
And Isabel Allende’s step dad said this:
‘Remember, all the others are more afraid than you.’
So the only question is: are you up for the hard work?
Of course you are.
Below is a bullet point list of what you need as you prepare to approach an agent. It’s a learning curve – you need to know that up front. You’re not gonna get it right first time – or maybe you will!
Regardless, the practice of putting this material together will clarify your mind in relation to your work and hone your presentation skills.
Most agents will let you know what they need from you – give them exactly what they need and only what they need.
And by all means, be as creative as you like in your bid for their attention. Just make sure you don’t clutter your presentation with fluff!
In May 2011, I flew to New York City with one aim – to find a US publisher for my travel memoir.
Here is the result:
If you want a hand, or you’d appreciate support with your publishing journey, call me.
PREPARING FOR PUBLICATION 8 POINT CHECKLIST
1. ONE PAGE SUMMARY (see below)
2. BRIEF SYNOPSIS
3. 500 WORD SYNOPSIS
4. CHAPTER OUTLINE
5. CHAPTER SAMPLES
6. AUTHOR BIO / CV
7. PROMOTIONAL TOOLS (Facebook/Twitter followers, professional networks etc)
8. ADVANCE PRAISE (find well-known people in your field and/or clients you have helped and/or readers who represent your market who are willing to give you advance testimonials)
ONE PAGE SUMMARY EXAMPLE:
(to assist you compile your own, I have included examples from my first book)
title: My Pilgrim’s Heart
author: Stephanie Dale
tag line: A woman’s journey through marriage and other foreign lands
genre: travel memoir
market: women, wives, mothers
- listed in distributor’s top five best-selling non-fiction books in Australia
- 2500 sales on zero promotional budget
- first print run – 1000 copies – sold in four weeks
expert (why are you the one person on Earth to write this book?):
- award-winning journalist and author
- teach writing and self-promotion
- pilgrimage – experienced at walking very long distances through foreign lands
- woman/mother/wife – cutting edge ideas on gender power balance, marriage & relationships.
standout qualities (this book is like…. / this book is unique because….):
My Pilgrim’s Heart is the latest in a women’s travel genre that began with Under the Tuscan Sun and whose most recent addition was the blockbuster Eat Pray Love.
My Pilgrim’s Heart is unique because, as one reviewer said, ‘it is the book about marriage I’ve never read because it hadn’t been written – until now!’
In 2007, Stephanie Dale walked 1500 kms across Italy, through the Balkans and into the Middle East with her adult son, Ben.
My Pilgrim’s Heart is an intimate account of the myriad landscapes, people and cultures Stephanie encountered along the way, as well as a steady narrative that exposes the subterranean world of a woman’s heart.
‘My Pilgrim’s Heart is a contemporary examination of the relationship between a woman and the masculine world. The quality of the prose is excellent, the humour is abundant and the travel component is absolutely galvanising.’ Jeni Caffin, (former) director Byron Bay Writers Festival