Promotions BLOG and tips
Wednesday, March 29, 2006



A great resource on the net...Writers Unlimited. This site is often overlooked by authors but readers know about it and many of the Harlequin authors know about it. For only $10 a month you join and will be included in their newsletter to 10,000 people. The site gets great hits. I did a banner there and was quite impressed with the amount of hits I got!

Writersunlimited.com

They do reviews and have some fun stuff on their site too!

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 8:31 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Hello all!!

The RED HOT Promotions class starts Monday!! Only a few more days to sign up. One of the classes is catering to a publisher so I have sectioned them off and I have a small group starting the 3rd so we have room for some in that class. I try to group people in ways that they get the most from class. So email me if you are interested. FOUR days and basically you have me as your teacher and servant for that time:) I will work with you one on one on anything and all you need to take it to the next level!

Lisarenjones@aol.com

Now, onward...Promo tips! That's what you came for! Sorry I am a bit behind. Deadlines snuck up on me.


AUTHORS - DON'T MISS THESE FREE PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES


One of the top reference sources for librarians in selecting what to buy, What Do I Read Next, is currently open to submissions. You can send your ARCs and cover flats to What Do I Read Next, c/o Shelley Mosley, 8619 N. 53rd Dr., Glendale, AZ 85302. For authors with over five books to their credit, send your titles and information to Shelley for possible inclusion in the new Biocritical Romance Dictionary. The dictionary is a combined effort of Shelley Mosley, 2001 winner of Romance Writers of America's Liberian of the Year Award, and John Charles, the 2002 winner of the Romance Writers of America's Librarian of the Year Award. For specific details, you can reach Shelly at deborahshelley@mindspring.com.

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 4:14 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Monday, March 27, 2006



Good Morning this Monday!!

A subject I have recently had come up KNOWING AND PROTECTING your VALUE...OPTION CLAUSES

Don't just blindly sign and not understand these rights!!

I had originally thought of this particular subject as JUST a newbie author subject as they looked for agents. What I have found recently is that many established authors DO NOT understand how to protect themselves in this area. Many have just signed away all their rights and don't know what it means to them. They are just happy to have a deal. We tend to do that as authors. Just sign! An agent says yes. We say YES. A publisher says yes. we say YES.

First, let me say this, I went to millions of conferences and spent a fortune LEARNING when I started out. I had the good fortune of being close to selling a large company and at a transition point. I was also scared to death of being in a new industry and no longer being the 'expert'. Does that make me a control freak? You betcha!! I can't help it. I NEED to feel in control and to me that means KNOWLEDGE...

One of the best things I did was go to a private talk Joan Johnston gave on contracts and protecting yourself. She went into great detail about how she secured a million dollar deal while other people, even better, more established writers had not.. I wrote so fast my hand was cramped...If you EVER get a chance to listen to her speak about career and contracts she is brilliant! She is also an attorney and a business person and it was that part of her on that podium speaking not the writer. So, that said, I tell everyone, be the CEO of your career.

Now all this said, there are some key points I have found that people are struggling with. ONE - PLEASE EDUCATE YOU...Because a person is called AGENT does not mean they will look out for you or that they are as educated as they should be. You want to think they are - it’s not true. I knew this going in because I had dealt with big named attorneys and found they didn't know squat. I'd learned in the corporate world that title does not make competent...

So contracts and genres:

-When you sign your contract the house is likely to ask for an OPTION on you next book.
-This can be divided down into very detailed specifics... AKA:

*next short paranormal erotic novella
*next short contemporary nonerotic novella
*next erotic paranormal over 80k novel
*next nonerotic paranormal over 80k novel

This can all be negotiated! You need to talk to your agent BEFORE you sign. If the house has all your rights then you are stuck and waiting until you finish all the books you have contracted and then they review and accept or decline.

Think about this. You waited a year to get your last book turned in and you are crunch for money. The current house makes an offer and you don't want to shop. You take it...You have established your pay and it will take years to go up!

What if you had already been selling to other houses? You're building readers. You are on the shelves more frequently because of this so sales are jumping faster. Each house knows you have options...


The moral...Option clauses. They MATTER. Ask about them. Learn about them. Make them WORK for you!

Happy Monday!

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 7:52 AM :: 0 Comments:

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Friday, March 24, 2006



ALL ABOUT PR column
by Theresa Meyers

Escorts for Authors

I’d like to let you in on a little secret. Most authors who hire PR firms and do book tours don’t do them alone. They have escorts.
Now before you roll your eyes and think I’m talking about buff, shirtless men who’ll go out to dinner with you in a strange town, let me explain. Author escorts are professionals who know the media of their city and can get you there on time. Often, they’ll even book the media for you or at least provide you with a media list of people you can contact to secure interviews and they’ll take you for drop in signings at all the local area bookstores.
All of this isn’t cheap, of course, and rates usually range from $200 for an eight-hour day to $300. Some charge mileage or fees for booking media on top of that. But talk about an investment that is well worth the dollar! What good would it do you to schedule an interview with CBS This Morning or Oprah if you got lost on your way there and missed it entirely?
When should you consider an author escort? Anytime you travel and can book interviews with the media or multiple booksignings, consider an escort. As I said, they know the media in town and can probably tell you in advance that it will take you X number of minutes to reach television station B from newspaper interview A. This can be invaluable for scheduling multiple interviews and book signings during a day (which you always should to make the most of your visit to a city). They will arrange for transportation and can pick you up from the airport or hotel. They then take you to each appointment and wait for you so that they can take you to the next. Not only will this alleviate the stress of driving in a strange town while maintaining a schedule, it will also give you time to think your next interview through or mentally psyche yourself up for the next booksigning. Without this downtime in between, authors can burn themselves out very quickly. They can also give you advice on restaurants or be a saving grace and get takeout for you.
Weather you are just visiting family for a vacation or on a book tour, making the most of your time in any place can be a boost to your publicity efforts. One word of caution. Make sure you publicize your stops in advance! It won’t do you much good to hold a booksigning if no one knows you’re coming!
But back to escorts. While there are escorts who specialize in their own city, there are others who can “network” you as well and organize several different escorts when you are visiting multiple locations on a book tour. Rather than give you a list of escort names for different cities (which I can if you call me), let me tell you about Emily.
Emily Laisy (pronounced lie-zee) is owner of one of the most connect author escort services I know called Authors Promotion Network. She can help you find an escort in virtually any city. She smart, polished and professional and can tell you in the blink of an eye what you need to know. (Just the kind of person a PR professional loves!) You can reach Emily at her office in Maryland by calling 800-861-1235.
While escorts aren’t a necessity, they are definitely an asset. For the extra money you can save yourself a lot of time, headaches and frustration. And who knows, I may be wrong, there may be some who are buff and will even go shirtless if you ask them to!

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 7:14 AM :: 0 Comments:

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006



I am sitting here with my Border's coffee, (not to be mistaken with Starbucks, which is much better) thinking through the many subjects I could talk about this morning.
If I make any tying errors I am caffiene deprived so be kind lol...

I used to sign on with authors to do their promo on a monthly fee basis and coordinated all fo their needs. One subject that came up with all of these clients was CHATS...So I decided this was a good topic. It is also one I am opinionated about and if you take any of my classes or even read this blog you will discover that I am often that! I don't deny it. So...

To chat or not to chat, that is the question....

***

First - What is a chat?


Review sites have chatrooms and they schedule authors to come to that on line chatroom and talk to readers.

***
For the review site a chat is a dream come true. They simply set up a schedule and have a chat moderator there during chat times. The author goes out and tells the world to come chat at that REVIEW site. The review site gets LOTS of free advertising.

Readers - the same ones come to almost all chats....its is rare to get a group over 15 and 5-8 is more likely. I don't care WHAT review site it is. This is just the way it is. AND...write down the names. I bet after a few chats you will find that the SAME people are there...


For the author...Is there a benefit.. YES and NO...I'll explain:

If you are a new author trying to break into the scene OR a print author who hasn't grabbed the pool you can get to on the internet, then promoting the chats on all of the yahoo loops gives you EXCUSES to send you name and books out in a promo. The chat itself is not the WIN. The promos that repeat your name is what is the win.

EXAMPLE: I worked with a Harlequin category author. When I said her name to a bunch of readers on a loop, they said WHO? These are readers who buy 20-30 books a month. They would LOVE to add another favorite to the list but they often don't know the authors so they simply don't buy them. If you are a category or midlist author who needs more readers, loop promos to the internet resource of readers can jumpstart your new pool of readers. Chats give you an excuse to do this.

Another time is right before a big release. Let's say you are a category or new NYC author or even a midlist author and you really need a buzz. An excuse to put that book in people's face over and over and to do it free is delivered with CHATS... Again its not the people AT THE CHAT but all the ones who see the promotion of the chat that makes this work...now remember to do this you MUST send out promos to a good 15 or 20 yahoo lists of readers otherwise the value factor of getting the book in front of thousands of readers is LOST!

Now, once you do a rush of chats, continuing to do them is a waste of valuable time. You could be writing books. Still, its a good way to JUMPSTART and that is the ONLY time I suggest it.

Convincing authors of this is often hard. See, authors, especially those who start small press, see other authors chatting and they feel they must do it too. Usually after finding themeselves exhausted and talking to the same people night after night, they decide they don't want to live every night doing chats...

So, yes there is a VALUE to chats.

Remember to put a dollar figure on your time!
Time.....Your biggest assett....How much is it worth..


•Math Problem Illustrates the Issue:
–First, give yourself a salary - $10/hour
–Then calculate the amount of time an activity will take – A reader’s loop takes an hour of your time per day/5 days per week, 4 weeks per month
–How much will you get “paid” during this time? $200/month
–At $2/book royalties, calculate how many books you must sell to make the activity worth it. In this case, are you getting an increased lift of 100 books per month?

FEEL free to ask questions about chats! Shoot them at me!

Lisa

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 9:27 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Message Points--what they are, how they work and how to find yours
by Theresa Meyers
President, Blue Moon Communications


Many authors think about promotion of their book and reach a panic state about having a pr plan and selling the book. But before you do any promotion for your book, you need to take a step back and work on message points. Why? Because without this, you are going to be wasting your time and money creating and executing your promotion plan.

Why do you need a message?

Part of the reason you hardly ever see authors interviewed in the media is because they don't have a message outside of the obvious, Buy My Book. That isn't going to cut it with the media. They are in the business of delivering stories. Let me explain how this happened.

Ever since the introduction of CNN in 1980, news has fragmented and metamorphosized into neo-journalism. The goal of every good reporter use to be objectivity. That's changed. Journalists, television producers and radio hosts are expected to be story-tellers. They're supposed to give a story a face, show it with details instead of telling about it, give it context and meaning for their viewers, listeners and readers. That's why the first thing you'll see about a ship coming home from war isn't the ship, it's three weeks in advance of that and it'll be the mom at home with the kids who've painted their house red, white and blue with a huge yellow sash across the door, or better yet, the brand new dad with twins whose wife was called off to war and how Mr. Mom has been coping. What they are doing is giving characters for us to identify with.

As story tellers you're one-leg up on the rest of the business world when it comes to promoting your product. You understand the basics of story telling are good characters, conflict and stories with heart that produce an emotional, visceral reaction in your audience. That's exactly what the media want from you.

But let me give you this word of caution. The same story telling abilities can also be a weak spot for writers. Instead of 80 or 100 thousand words, you have to reduce your message down to fit the instantaneous nature of today's media. The single biggest mistake people make is not knowing their message. In general authors as authors don't interest media at all. You don't make the phone's ring off the hook at the radio show. No one cares you've written a book. Most shows aren't about books, so producers and editors naturally assume (until you show them different) that you won't appeal to their audience. You have to have a hook and be the solution to a problem.

Finding Your Message Point

Finding your message points isn't easy, but can be done with guidance. It's kind of like looking for something that's lost. Until you know what you are looking for, it's going to be a long search.

Let's start here to give you an idea of what you are looking for.
Three strategies will interest media the most:
1. Identify a problem - Americans often confuse sex with romance.
2. Point to an opportunity - Businesses that sell products to women can have
an inside edge if they read romance because the target demographics are identical.
3. Explode a myth - Romances are only sex in a dust jacket.

Of these, exploding a myth gets the best response. Romance is perfect for this. Think of the following myths: romance readers (and writers) don't have a life and are frustrated housewives; romances are just sex books; romances are only read by women; romances aren't serious books in the publishing industry; romances are all formula writing; romances encourage loose morals and fantasy existence; romances degrade women. OK, now let's add some of them you've thrown at me later that have to do with the public's perceptions of self-published, POD-published or other situations. Myths: these aren't real books because they don't come from New York; authors who self-publish can't write; POD is shoddy printing done in some one's basement; author's only self-publish when they can't get published by big houses.

By exploding any one of these myths, you can drawn in the media, who will gladly debate it with you. Remember it isn't the truth you are asserting, but the juice the media can get out of it that counts. Perception is the reality here. When pitching a producer or editor, in thirty seconds or less you need to hold up the myth and then shoot it down.

Research has shown an audience will remember no more than three key message points. Everything you say, everything you speak about, needs to connect back to those points.

You need to stop thinking of yourself as a writer, and start thinking of yourself as a social commentator, waiting in the wings. Ben Aflec and J Lo get married, why do celebs marry other celebs instead of ordinary people? How does celebrity status change relationships? How do busy people find time to fit romance into their lives?

In developing your key message points, which will be different for each of you, I want you to consider answers to these questions:

What themes appear in my work over and over again no matter what the
subgenre?
Are there certain characters that appeal to me? Why or why not? What does
that say about how I view life and relationships?
What is important to me?
What one thing do I want to leave behind for them to remember?
What causes do I want to advance?
How do these blend with my career as a novelist?
What can I offer as social commentary (on relationships, blending work with
family, how creative people contribute to the fabric of our society, etc.?
You are a mother, daughter, friend, sister, member of the community, reader of books. Think outside your role as a writer to what else you have to offer as opinion.)
What can I offer as small business commentary? (You are a small business owner. What makes that especially difficult in today's economy? Is your industry doing better than others? Why or why not? How have the downfall of technology and the war affected your business? etc.)
What is a problem I see?
What is an opportunity I think everyone should know about?
What are the biggest myths about what I do, my readership, or what I write?
What are the truths that explode those myths?
Now take your answers to the above and come up with three statements that you want to repeat over and over again as part of your brand. (Example: My client Jeannie Brosius, a humor columnist with a book, found that all her work revolved around the very reason she writes: Laughter is the best medicine. This may be old hat for others, but because she is a humor columnist who writes about motherhood and everyday life, the connection between what she writes, who she is as a person and the fact that many of her stories revolve around Dr. Mom fixing things works well.)

Now it's your turn:
My Three Message Points are:

1.
2.
3.

The Reductive Phrase or Sound Bite
We're also going to go one step further here. We're going to work on your sound bite. I want you to think for a moment of a large megaphone, like you used to see cheerleaders use in Happy Days. You're going to shove all your message points into the big end of that megaphone and what comes out the small end will be your sound bite.

By definition a sound bite is a reductive phrase that encapsulates more than the words contained in the phrase. For example, when Johnny Cochran said to the jury in the OJ Simpson case, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." he wasn't just talking about the glove. He was talking about the circumstances of the case, the sense that somehow this was tied into racial issues and much more. It all just got boiled down into that one phrase which was repeated on every news broadcast across the country.

We need to boil down your message points to an even finer level. A one liner that will be used in every interview, every speech, every talk you give. How does this work for fiction? One of my clients found her books, both category and single title, came back toone strong point. The very reason she chose to write romance: "It's all about the happy ending." Why do you write romance? "It's all about the happy ending." Why do people read this trash? "It's all about the happy ending." What makes romance sell to the tune of over one billion dollars a year? "It's all about the happy ending." Why do people seem to be leaning toward lighter fiction during a time of war. "It's all about the happy ending...they need it, they crave it. There has to be an escape from harsh reality to keep us sane and in touch with our human side."


From Message Points to Media Plan

Once you have your message points and a sound bite to work with you can start work on a media plan. Before you budget, you need to think big. You can always scale back, but the best and most innovative ideas come when you aren't placing restrictions on yourself. Just go with it for now and you can get down to financial reality in a moment.

The first place to start on a media plan is your book's publication date. Ideally, you'll want to have about six to eight months in advance of a book's publication to begin your work. Once you have a date then you can start on the publicity plan checklist. Some of it will apply to you, some of it might not. Work with what does and improvise the rest as your budget will allow.

PROMOTION SCHEDULE CHECKLIST


Title:
Release Date:

TWELVE TO SEVEN MONTHS AHEAD:

Get a "business" address (a P.O. Box or something similar for privacy)
Send manuscript to Romantic Times, Affaire De Coeur, Publisher's Weekly, etc. forearly review.
Ask publisher for list of reviewers and send a personal note. (Publisher may send letters out for you.)
Send manuscript to long-lead publications such as women's magazines like Cosmopolitan.
SIX MONTHS AHEAD:

Send announcements to "up-coming publications" columns in newspapers, trade magazines,etc.
Request extra covers from publisher (for displays in stores that carry your book and for publicity use)
Reserve ad space in publications advertising your book/ ask if they can use a regular photo or will need a slide/transparency.
FIVE MONTHS AHEAD:

Get bookmarks and flyers designed and printed. (This must be done as early as possible because flyers have to reach distributors, wholesalers and bookstores four to five months before your publication date. Look into using Romantic Times' Bookstores That Care mailing list.)
Have stationary and business cards printed.
Have photo taken professionally (will need both black and white and color head shot).
Update personal mailing list.
Contact local sales distributors/sales reps and arrange for as many copies of your book as possible to be sent to wholesaler. Tell them you want them for promotion and autograph sessions.
FOUR MONTHS AHEAD:

Write to wholesalers, distributors, booksellers and sales reps. (This can be a postcard, personal letter or flyer.) Become personally acquainted with as many as possible. If traveling, contact the reps serving that area (leave bookmarks, flyers, business cards etc.)
Send flyers to distributors and bookmarks to bookstores.
Make sure your or your publisher has mailed galleys to Romantic Times, Affaire De Coeur, etc., national magazines and online review sites.
Send announcements to regional and local newsletters.
Notify high school and college alumni newsletters.
Write an author profile for magazines advertising your book.
Gather TV/audio clips or any press clippings for book tour pitches to media.
Write 10-15 sample questions/tips for interviews and press kits.
Write press releases.
Update media database.
Update your website.
Start planning book tour (if planning to do one).
THREE MONTHS AHEAD

Assemble press kits. Place it on your website too.
Double check media database and write pitch letters.
Send bio, photo and book cover to publications advertising your book.
Prepare questions for hosts to ask during interviews (for publicity and book
Check with retailers in book tour cities regarding stocking your books.

TWO MONTHS AHEAD

Send press materials to all national media-TV talk shows, national radio, national TV and print media.
Send press materials to local newspapers, radio and television.
Send autographed copies of your book and a pitch letter to local newspapers, radio and television talk shows (or news/morning programs) to secure interviews.
Schedule autograph sessions at local bookstores.
Send letters and information packets to Community Relations Coordinators (CRCs) at Barnes and Noble bookstores to arrange speaking/autographing sessions.
Send books and press kits and make follow-up calls to all national television/radio shows and print media.
Start follow-up calls to media and bookstores in each city on book tour. Be sure to follow-up EVERY package you sent out.
Update schedule for book tour and book travel, hotel and author escorts for each city.

Update information on your website for appearances and contests related to your book.

Update your information and upload reviews and book information on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and other sites.

ONE MONTH AHEAD


Mail bookmarks to bookstores.
Mail postcards and/or newsletter announcements to fans.
Send thank you notes to local wholesalers, route drivers, stockers, anyone you talked with or contacted about your book.
Set up time to arrange displays in local Barnes and Nobles for your speaking session.
Write a small blurb regarding your talk and book for the CRC to include in the B & N newsletter.
Get extra B & N newsletters from the CRC to send out to your personal mailing list or give him/her labels to mail newsletters out.
Prepare and practice presentation for B & N speaking session.
Send any special requests for the booksigning/speaking session to the CRC two weeks in advance.
ONE WEEK BEFORE AN EVENT


Confirm signings one week before.
Try to speak with store manager to generate excitement over speaking session and
booksigning.
Write a memo to the booksellers (very brief) explaining who you are, what your book is about and ask the store manager to mention your event at the daily meeting. Offer a book to be raffled off to booksellers the day of the event.
DAY OF THE EVENT

Check PA system 15 minutes before speaking.
Check to see if refreshments are available. (Water is a must for a speaker, also ask about coffee or tea and where to put cookies for audience if at a booksigning.)
Check chair placement to be sure the audience can see and hear you clearly.
Arrange staging area (where you'll speak) with your books.
Bring pens and autograph stickers.
Ask CRC to make an in store announcement 15 minutes and 5 minutes before
you are scheduled to begin speaking.
Check to see that the music in the store is turned off before you being speaking.
Personally thank as many of the store employees as you can when you have
finished speaking and autographing.
Assist in cleaning up the event, if time permits.
Check schedule for the next day (if on book tour) and make necessary calls and preparation.
WHEN YOU GET HOME
SEND THANK YOU NOTES TO EVERYONE.

Send pictures and updates to your web master to update your website.
Sit down and start working on the next book.

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 7:31 AM :: 1 Comments:

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006



How to get a media interview
By Theresa Meyers
President, Blue Moon Communications

There are two things that take up the bulk of a publicist's time. One is writing pitch letters and the other is getting on the phone and cold pitching. I loathe it. OK, perhaps not as much as calling 500 media people after I send stuff to follow up on it, but still it is hard work.

As we've discussed in the last lecture, pitch letters are a lot like query letters. The big difference is that you are selling yourself for an interview instead of your book to an editor. Very similar in purpose to a query, the pitch letter is meant to gain a media person's attention and make them ask for more. Unfortunately, there are plenty of books on how to write a killer query and virtually none on how to write a perfect pitch letter.
Most PR people learn how to craft a pitch letter from trial and error (and advice when they can find it).

First things first - format: A pitch letter, like a query, should be limited to a single page. Limit your prose to three paragraphs and keep them clean, concise and direct. Use one inch margins and print it on letterhead or nice quality stationary. Make sure you have called ahead of time and gotten the correct spelling of the person's name and his or her title. If you aren't sure whether the person is a Mr. or a Ms., ask. If you don't know who you're looking for, ask. It is perfectly acceptable to say, "Could you tell me who books talent for the Leeza show? Do you know how far in advance they book a show?" It is better to play dumb and ask lots of questions than send your material to the wrong person. If you think the slush pile at a publishing house is ominous, it is nothing compared to a producer or editor's collection of daily pitches and press packets. A pitch letter can be sent alone or as a cover letter to your press release/press packet.

Content: The first paragraph should introduce yourself and the subject. This is where you need a hook, but one that explains exactly what you have to offer, who you are, when the event is happening and where it will be. These are known as the five W's of journalism and should be included in every pitch letter and press release you write.

The second paragraph should explain why the producer or editor/reporter should have you on the show or include you in an article in their publication. For city and regional media, give them a local angle. It can showcase you as a local person, give a local example of a national incident or trend, or be related to the community. An example would be if you saw an article in the Wall Street Journal touting how writing a book can be a quick road to success. Copy the article and attach it to a pitch letter that offers to give the reporter an inside look at what really happens to authors from a local source.

For national television, radio and print media, tie yourself to a national trend or incident. Remember that reporters are always looking for material that can be tied to a holiday, is timely or gives a new slant to a current trend or issue.

The third paragraph explains how you can be reached. Give them phone numbers and voice mail even if it is already printed on your letterhead. If you plan to contact them, tell them when.

Above all, make sure that what you are pitching is what the media person needs. Don't pitch your book signing to the gardening editor or the financial editor, you'll only make enemies. Research is important. Look at back issues of a publication or watch/listen to a show before you pitch. Get to know what types of people they interview, what topics seem to repeated often and which journalist is the one reporting. If this seems like a lot of work, it is. But thorough investigation will pay off in better responses from the media. Their number one complaint is that they receive material which is not suited to their publication or show.

Media people need and want fresh ideas for their publications and shows. If you give them what they need, and make it easy for them, the more likely they will be to use your material and possibly interview you. Remember to think like a journalist on a deadline when you're writing a pitch letter. Keep it clear, concise and direct and your pitch might give you a home run.

So how do you do this? How much information is too much? What is the best way to hook them? How can you make sure they'll read through to the end?To answer these questions, one of the students in the class has kindly given me permission to go through her class assignment and analyze it for you so you can see the process I go through when writing a pitch letter.

******************************************************************

SAMPLE PITCH LETTER VERSION #1

Dear XXX:

What about choice?

I've often wondered why the minority rule. Why is it two or three outspoken people can control a situation? Because they instill fear? Because they're obnoxious? Or is it just easier to give into laziness rather than argue with them?

As the author of the children's book series, Fortune Tellers Club (Llewellyn Publications), I have dealt firsthand with situations of exclusion because of this blunt minority. I've been denied book signings by store managers, both chain and independent. I've been shut out of school presentations. I've been told no too many times, based on the objections (or possible objections) of a select few. Why? Because my twelve-year-old book characters solve mysteries using divination.

As a parent, I believe we should review what our children are reading and help them to make the right choices. However, I feel parents have a right only to choose for their own children - not mine - not the neighbor's - not everyone's. It is wrong for an author to be denied the opportunity to sell her books based on one or two parents, who feel the content is inappropriate for all. This is clearly a form of censorship, and denial of my first
amendment rights.

I'll be contacting you next week about a possible interview for your program.
At your request I'd be happy to send you a packet containing my bio, FAQ, and
censorship statistics. You may reach me at 555-321-1234 or author address@email me

Censorship comes in all forms. Awareness is the key to freedom. It's all
about choice.

Best,
**************************************************************

ANALYSIS OF SAMPLE PITCH VERSION # 1
In the general, this pitch letter is more editorial opinion that pitch. (Which would be great if we were pitching an op ed piece for the newspaper, which you can do, by the way.) There are lot of "I" statements (I've often wondered, I have dealt, I've been denied, I believe). These tend to turn journalists off because their automatic response is "Why do I care? I don't know you." We can turn this around by showing how it impacts their audience, making them care more about the subject matter.

Second thing that grabbed my attention was that the real meat of this story that makes it different from anything else, is buried at the end of the second paragraph. The fact that people are scared because the children use divination in the book is fascinating. What about it scares people so much they'd have this reaction? What does that say about our society? Personally, I'd push that to the front for my hook. It's different, fresh and can get a lot of people talking about something that they are passionate about--freedom of religion, freedom of speech. In fact, if you wanted to, you could even put a post war spin on this thing and get some stunning results!

Third item is the tone. Much of the word choice in the letter pointed to anger, frustration and a feeling of injustice. These aren't real high on ringing the sympathy bell with journalists. It comes across as whining, even if you don't intend it that way. They figure if you are whining in the letter, they don't want to hand you a mic and have a half hour of it on the air.

Fourth is turning the driving home point away from yourself and toward the journalist. Rather than wrapping it up with your thoughts, get them thinking. Show them what you can do to bring heat and juice to their show.

The contact paragraph was fine. I also liked that she included her message points toward the end. The end is what people tend to remember most, if they get that far in the letter.

Here's how I'd solve the issues above and rewrite the letter:
********************************************************
PITCH LETTER VERSION # 2

Dear XXX:

Flame's licked at the edge of the Harry Potter book, curling it quickly into charred black remains. Book burning is alive and well in our country. On March 26, 2001, 45 members of the Harvest Assembly of God Church in Penn Township threw books, CD's and other items they found offensive to God into the flames. They were only oneof hundreds of groups across the country. Unfortunately fires aren't the only agents of censorship. During Banned Book Week, September 20-27, 2003, show your readers just how far people are willing to go to censor their reading materials.

Today censorship is as close as your child's classroom. Stories with any fantasy element like Harry Potter or those found in the Fortune Tellers Club, a group of young sleuths who solve mysteries using divination, are considered too risky to be read and therefore banned or blocked by bookstores, school programs, libraries and more. Are you aware of who's deciding your child's choices? What are we so afraid of? What can we do?

As a multiple-published author of children's fiction I can give first hand accounts of what's being done currently to ban books that don't fit the conventions of a few, and share with your audience what they can do to protect their children from censorship. Awareness is the key to keeping the freedom of choice we enjoy in this country.

I'll be contacting you next week about a possible interview. A full press kit is available upon request or available online at my website www.unconventionalfictionauthor.com. You can reach me at 555-321-1234 or writemehere@unconventionalfictionauthor.com. In advance, thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,
*********************************************
I hope you can see the difference it tone, story hook and push here. I've tied it to a reporting window of opportunity, Banned Book Week, because I know they are going to be reporting something on it. I've positioned myself as an authority on the subject matter and pointed out a problem, censorship in schools - who decides.

Now I'm going to move into phone pitches.

PHONE PITCHES
The phone is one of public relations most important tools. But there is a right way and a wrong way to approach calling editors, producers and reporters.

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes public relations professionals make is not followingup on every item they mail out. Too many pitch letters, press releases and press kits go unnoticed because there is no follow up call made, and that, is money wasted.

As an author working on your own public relations you will need to make "the call" to a reporter, editor or producer at some point in time. When you make your follow-up calls, the following techniques will make you sound like a PR pro:

· Know what your key message points are ahead of time and write everything down on a paper you keep near the phone. Many times you'll have to leave a voice mail and will have the reporter/producer/editor call you back. Having the information at your fingertips will prevent you from getting flustered when they call back.

· Practice in advance what you are going to say and how you say it. Use a tape recorder to help you if you're not confident about how you sound.

· When you talk on the phone, SMILE. You can hear a smile! Standing up also changes your demeanor on the phone.

· Immediately state your name.

· Always check to see if you are calling at a good time. Some media are on deadline and will not be receptive no matter how perfect your material is for them. If they say no, ask them when would be better to call them back, then do it.

· If it is a good time, get to the point by telling the producer or editor who, what, when and where of your pitch.

· Be enthusiastic, energetic, chatty, upbeat and personable. You can talk passionately and freely, but keep it brief and sincere.

· If you've got their attention with your hook, but haven't locked in an interview, tell them a story related to your hook. If they seem interested, but not hooked, offer a no-strings-attached interview for five minutes.

· Remember that no doesn't mean no. It may really mean not right now, or it isn't right for my section or show. Be persistent without becoming obnoxious. Don't give up until they say DON'T CALL ME. And even then don't take it personally.

· If you get voice mail make sure you have a script written. Give your name. You then have 20-30 seconds to pitch yourself and tell them why their talk show or magazine needs you and what you can offer. Tell them what you've already sent and then restate your phone number. Here's an example:

Hi Michael.
This is Theresa Meyers and I'm calling to discuss an interview exclusive for the Leeza Show. Do you know one of the biggest problem Americans have in their relationships is confusing sex with romance? Author Amy Gerret, can shed some light on why society is failing to keep relationships meaningful. She'll be in Los Angeles on August 25th on a book tour. Would you like to have her give your viewers her top ten ways to get romance back in a relationship? I sent you her latest book, In The Storm, and a packet of materials last week. You can reach me weekdays from 9-5pm pacific time. My name again is Theresa Meyers and my number is 360-895-0879. That's 360-895-0879. Thank you.

Along with these "do's" there are some definite "don'ts" when it comes to making follow-up calls.
· Don't pretend to be familiar with the producer.
· Don't call multiple producers at the show.
· Don't ever lie.
· Don't attempt to keep the producer on the phone longer than three minutes unless they are actively asking you questions.
· Don't say anything you don't want quoted!

Talking with these folks isn't as daunting as it may seem. The practice of making follow-up calls on each and every piece you send out also teach some discipline. After all, if you have a choice of sending out 500 or 200 press kits and are trying to decide if it is worth the extra money, you can balance that choice with the time and effort it will require to make the phone calls for each of those kits.

Do public relations professionals actually make that many calls? You bet! Even if you dread doing it, it is well worth it. Once you start making the calls, you'll get a flow going and it will become easier. With practice, patience and persistence you should see more interviews being booked or publicity increasing as a result of making "the call".

I hope this more in-depth discussion of pitching has been helpful and given you new insights.

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 6:22 AM :: 0 Comments:

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Monday, March 20, 2006



On this blog I will share promotional tips for all points in career. For some that is finishing a book and taking the big agent step:
I have had the opportunity to assist some of my promo clients with agent proposals(I do promo work and write) and , of course, I have seen some succeed in getting an agent and even a NYC deal, and others not. It's such an exciting and scary step. Exciting is the key word though!

I try to offer suggestions and hope they help..

-One -Know the agents you are querying. Pick a target list and have a reason for picking them. Don't just send out tons of letters and not have a plan. Remember a good agent is the goal not just AN AGENT. I did the get a bad one thing. I lost a year towards my career. RESEARCH. Also why beat yourself or your pocketbook up sending out queries to for sure NO'S? That just beats up your confidence for no reason.

-Two- Do a letter. A bio that is about your writing not about your gardening habits and the movies you love lol...PROOF it. Get it proofed. Make it shine. The agents and the publishing houses are effected by a bad economy. Most are doing more with less staff. Why get ruled out because you didn't proof or format properly. It would be the pits to get ruled out for being too much future work in their eyes when your writing is wonderful! Go to Charlotte's site and look up NYC formatting. It's a great detailed write up of how to format.

-Three- THE HARDEST ONE OF ALL - Be patient - Send out some letters. If you get no's revamp. What did you change? An example...I have a book my agent is going to shop. When we first talked about how to pitch it we talked it out.. There were two options. One brought out the kick butt heroine theme rather than just the paranormal theme. Maybe your pitch is off just a little..If you send them all out at once you can't adjust. You have lost. I know its hard not to rush at things. We are forced to hurry up and wait and its torture. I've decided writers have to pass a WAIT test and prove we can do it before we succeed. I sadly believe I walk the line of failing the WAIT line often lol!

-Lastly - Interview the agent if you get an offer. BELIEVE you are good enough because you are! Don't feel like the lesser. This is easier said than done. We are soooo happy to have our agents, we don't want to rock the boat. It feels so big to get one. BUT believe me, its painful to live a bad one. Ask your RWA group, the lists, other writers, WHAT you should ask and make a list. AGAIN, I failed at this the first time! It is so darn discouraging to feel you take a step back and leave. And some people don't leave. YEARS pass and they stick with that first choice fearful of being without again. Fearful it puts them on a different level of closeness and success.

I hope this helps a little:)

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 7:48 AM :: 0 Comments:

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Sunday, March 19, 2006



Publishers Marketplace is a HUGE resource for writers. Here many agents post their deals and you can see what editors are buying what work and what agents are seling what. You have a link to all kinds of industry news as well!

http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 10:05 AM :: 0 Comments:

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Saturday, March 18, 2006



An author friend of mine Leigh Wyndfield, put together some stats on promotion and time..

Time.....Your biggest assett....How much is it worth..
•Math Problem Illustrates the Issue:
–First, give yourself a salary - $10/hour
–Then calculate the amount of time an activity will take – A reader’s loop takes an hour of your time per day/5 days per week, 4 weeks per month
–How much will you get “paid” during this time? $200/month
–At $2/book royalties, calculate how many books you must sell to make the activity worth it. In this case, are you getting an increased lift of 100 books per month?
–Now, it’s more complicated than this, because you are building rapport with these folks so they’ll buy all your books and spread the word for you BUT do these activities really pay off.

I found these stats really eye opening. So many people feel pressured to interact on the loops....but do they pay off? What DOES pay off?
Take your sales, and your time, over a small window of time, and see your growth. MEASURE the results. Does your next book sell more? Do the loops for one release but only advertise the next. TEST the results. Measure you time. Would you make more money and go further in your career by writing another book? By getting that agent proposal done? By making your website more exciting to get people coming back to you? By building your newsgroup and spending time with YOUR captive audience?

These are all things we will be covering in the RED HOT class April 3-6th as well!

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 8:18 AM :: 0 Comments:

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Friday, March 17, 2006



I was given this list yesterday..Always be sure to check out the agents before signing!


Writer Beware suggests that writers searching for agents avoid
questionable agents, and instead query agents who have actual track
records of sales to commercial publishing houses.

THE LIST:


*The Abacus Group Literary Agency
*Allred and Allred Literary Agents (refers clients to "book doctor"
Victor West of Pacific Literary Services)
*Capital Literary Agency (formerly American Literary Agents of
Washington, Inc.)
*Barbara Bauer Literary Agency
*Benedict & Associates (also d/b/a B.A. Literary Agency)
*Sherwood Broome, Inc.
*Desert Rose Literary Agency
*Arthur Fleming Associates
*Finesse Literary Agency (Karen Carr)
*Brock Gannon Literary Agency
*Harris Literary Agency
*The Literary Agency Group, which includes the following:
-Children's Literary Agency
-Christian Literary Agency
-New York Literary Agency
-Poets Literary Agency
-The Screenplay Agency
-Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency)
-Writers Literary & Publishing Services Company (the editing arm of
the above-mentioned agencies)
*Martin-McLean Literary Associates
*Mocknick Productions Literary Agency, Inc.
*B.K. Nelson, Inc.
*The Robins Agency (Cris Robins)
*Michelle Rooney Literary Agency (also d/b/a Creative Literary Agency
and Simply Nonfiction)
*Southeast Literary Agency
*Mark Sullivan Associates
*West Coast Literary Associates (also d/b/a California Literary
Services)

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 7:23 AM :: 0 Comments:

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Thursday, March 16, 2006



THE BASICS OF AUTHOR BRANDING
By Theresa Meyers
President, Blue Moon Communications
I know you've heard pr people mention the word "brand" and thought, "what is she talking about?" Well, here's a quick and easy discussion of what an author brand is,how it works, why you need it and what to do with it.

WHAT IS A BRAND?
First off, let me give you a concept to wrap your brain around. The word "brand" is used to refer to a product or company name or anything unique that identifies something using a logo or trademark. Many people think the marketing term brand was actually borrowed from the cattlemen in the 1800s when there were no fences and cattle were marked as belonging to a person via the brand on their hides.

The marketing term or concept grew out of a need to identify products and developed into a serious approach to why consumers were attracted to a specific product and how they made their purchasing choices. Author branding is an extension of that effort.

WHAT IS AN AUTHOR BRAND?
Today when we talk about an author brand we are talking about building an image, perception or identity that is used to create "emotional Velcro" first, a perception of higher quality second and that little "something special" that no one else can offer third. Here's an example: When someone walks into a bookstore to purchase a novel by Nora Roberts, they don't say, "Can you tell me where I can find, The Three Fates?" They say, "Do you have the latest Nora book?"

HOW IT WORKS
Let's take the concept one step further for you. If you were to look on the back of the mass market edition of The Three Fates you would find there is no cover blurb, there is no letter from the author. In fact, there is no wording at all. All there is, in full-color glory, is a picture of author Nora Roberts. Her name, her face is a brand in and of itself.

STEP ONE (emotional Velcro) is achieved because they love her stories and are moved by them. This in turn leads readers to believe that they have formed a relationship of some type with that author and understand him or her. Because of this emotional attachment, they are willing to purchase a book written by this author simply because her name is on it.

STEP TWO (perception of higher quality) is achieved because this author brand has received accolades from every sector of the industry in the form of awards and top placement on the New York Times list. The author has garnered numerous RITA awards and is usually considered synonymous with romance, in fact being dubbed by media "the queen of romance". All of this contributes to the consumer's perception of higher quality of this material. If the writer wasn't good, she wouldn't be getting all this attention, right? (Not necessarily folks...but we'll talk about that a bit later in the lecture.)

STEP THREE (a little something special or distinction) is achieved via the author's voice. Now this is unique to fiction as a product because in other product fields certain attributes of your product can be ripped off or copied by rivals. In fiction it's a totally different ball game. No one is going to write exactly the way you do. It's what's called your author's voice. It's the thing that will make a reader read to the end of your book in the middle of the night even though they know they have to get up early the next morning for an important meeting.

Wrapped altogether, a brand is an implied promise to the consumer that they'll be receiving a particular thing consistently from an author. That's part of the reason that publisher's don't like author's to change their writing style too much or hop from one sub-genre to the next because it might upset the consumer who feels that the brand hasn't delivered.

BRAND BUILDING FIRST, BRAND AWARENESS SECOND
Here's the problem. Even if you run out there a create a great buzz and get all kinds of brand awareness, unless you can define what makes your brand unique and different from others in the same product field (books here), you're doomed to failure. That's part of the reason that advertising isn't enough to build a strong brand. Branding is more than a logo, color scheme, tagline or message points. These are just tools to help you in creating a solid brand that you can then build and make people aware of.

Because branding at it's roots is based first on establishing an emotional connection, publicity often works better than advertising to get your foot in the door. It is used to help you make a connection with people, create word-of-mouth through reviews, interviews, chats and workshops at conferences. If you can communicate CLEARLY AND CONSISTENTLY your brand, you will go a long way toward developing that emotional Velcro with your consumer. It's about creating distinction in the marketplace.

This is why I encourage beginning authors to get out there and get involved. By having your brand pop up all over the place online, at conferences, etc., you are getting people talking. This is also where media interviews come into play and using your message points. Remember when we first talked about message points one of the things I asked you to focus in on was what made you different. This is why. It comes down to building your unique brand.

Ask yourself this. What good is it going to do if I see a commercial about a brand new soap that I've never heard of? There's very little chance I'm going to go race out and buy it especially if I like my old soap just fine, thank you very much.

Now rewind yourself to before sitting down and seeing that commercial. What if I've heard about it from some of my friends? What if I'd just seen the name of the soap in an article in a women's magazine about great new products? What if I got a sample and liked the smell? Now imagine that I see that commercial again for the first time with all of this experience behind me. I am far more motivated to find out what all the fuss is about and possible take a chance on the new soap even if I'm still attached to my old soap. Does this make more sense?

Now you understand why advertising is one of the main tools you will use to help you create brand awareness, but isn't the foundation piece for building a brand. You need to create the emotional drive and connection first, then the perception of higher quality and finally make your point for why you are unique.

At this point I have to stick in a word about author quotes. Author quotes in this industry are what we call Brand Equity. This means that whoever you are quoting has a certain worth in your consumer's mind. By having this author vouch for your work, you are in essence telling the consumer that this new product has the same or better worth than the product they are used to. This is why your publisher and consumer will get more excited by a cover quote from Nora Roberts than Samantha Smith. They know Nora, they love Nora, and they will for an instant transfer a teensy bit of that love to you, long enough to buy your book, with a cover quote from her.

Since most of us aren't going to get that, a cover quote from a well-respected person who writes similarly to you will do. Don't be afraid about asking for one, but do it professionally in writing and always let them know that you would like them to consider your book for a quote.

Remember when we talked earlier about how it takes between 7-10 impressions for people to recall your brand? This is the process of building brand awareness. By getting your name out there in reviews, interviews, ads, conference speaking opportunities, book signings and the like, you are going to be contributing to the development of your brand's awareness.

You might also recall that I said in publicity perception is everything. It's the same with your brand. Even if you develop a strong brand and build a great awareness for it, if you don't manage it correctly, it can flop. To manage your brand you have to decide how you want people to perceive you. You can use publicity and your message points to continue to shape and manage how your multiple publics perceive your brand to keep it healthy.

At this point you might be scratching your head and asking, "Why do I need an author brand anyway? I'm small right now."

The point is you want to grow big, right?

You can take a long, painful, expensive trip to get to from point A to point B without a road map or make it there for far less expense, time and effort with a map. All I am trying to get you to do it creating your brand is build your map first.

WHY DOES THE BRAND MATTER?
What are some of the benefits of a strong author brand?Strong brands bring in dollars. A strong brand will influence buyers to consider purchasing you first when they have only limited money to buy their books. It will create a loyal readership that will bring you bigger contracts from publishers. It will help you win award because you stand out clearly against other brands in the same market space. It will make what your story is about nearly meaningless. Whoa. Did I just say that? Yep. I did.

Think back to the Nora book. The publisher believes so strongly in the Nora brand that they didn't even put a cover blurb about the book on the back. It didn't matter what the book was about. It was Nora. That was enough. THAT is where you want to focus to getting to. When your brand is that strong, you too will have a high rate of success. That is where we'd all like to be.

BUILDING A STRONG AUTHOR BRAND
So how do you go about building a strong brand?

STEP ONE: Have a great product.

STEP TWO: Figure out what your message points are and what makes your brand unique and stick to it. If you aren't the first in your market category, then create a new market category for yourself. For example. My client Janelle Denison had been writing very successfully as an author of hot sexy books for Harlequin's Blaze line. But when she broke out into single title with Wilde Thing (due out in July), hot and sexy weren't enough. There are a lot of erotic writers out there who write hot. So what we did was coin a new phrase for her. She is an author of wild loves stories. Not wild as in Cheeta and Tarzan, but wild as in romances based on emotions and drives that are so close to the surface that they tap into a person's animal or gut instincts to just go for it. Find a word or phrase you can to define what you do or your unique aspect and own it.


STEP THREE: Grab their emotions. Your message points are at the heart of your branding because they should reach in and squeeze an emotional reaction out of your consumers.


STEP FOUR: Build all aspects of your brand equally. Your brand has visual elements (what your website and letterhead looks like, what your professional photos look like), verbal elements (your message points that you should use in all your written and spoken communication and interviews) and kinetic or action oriented elements (how you physically act around your consumers at a book signing, being approachable after a workshop, and acting like a professional at conferences).


STEP FIVE: Be consistent in marketing your brand. All aspects of your brand need to communicate with one solid core of messages. Your image and how you act needs to back those messages up. In public you are your brand. When you are interviewed you are not you, the author, you are the brand. It has to be in everything you do. That's why it's so important that it come from who you are and what you want people to remember.


STEP SIX: Deliver on the brand. Consumers are fickle. You disappoint them, you'll loose them. Whatever your brand image, make sure that you stick to it. This is the reason that many publishers will require you to take on a new pseudonym if you are doing something different. (ie. Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb). The brands are different.


STEP SEVEN: Always continue to evaluate, build and refine your brand. The only way you'll know you're doing it right is by the success you achieve. Look at other author brands. Analyze them and see what makes them tick. Your brand's value will constantly change as society and your consumers change. Make it your business to keep your brand evolving to keep up with your changing career. When the image you have in the marketplace is not consistent with your brand, you need to refine the brand and adjust it to make it fit. This is a continuous process.

When your brand really begins to take off, it will be the brand, not your book that the publisher is paying for. That is why New York Times Bestsellers make so much more than other writers. Their brand as a bestseller is worth bucks to a publisher.

I'm not saying your brand will achieve success overnight. But if you have the map, you will get there.

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 4:30 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Monday, March 13, 2006



For more details go to Charlottedillon.com under formatting! She has a great deal on this on her site!

The formatting rules for big print publishers and e-publishers aren't the same. People started

mixing the two up. E-pubs use the word count you get from WP's like Word, they ask writers to use italics

instead of underlining, and so on. Some pint on demand and smaller presses ask for different things too.

Even some of the newer normal print publishers have different guidelines. (Some of these new guys are

coming up with almost strange formatting and submitting guidelines.)



The battles over which formatting is correct and which isn?t, when it comes to the bigger print pubs, often

gets heated. In fact, I?ve heard it and seen the arguments so much that I finally sat down and typed up a

survey. I then sent it out to more than two dozen print-published authors. Some had just been through

their first sale; others had many published books to their credits. I picked a mixture of publishers too.

Some of the authors wrote for Dell and Avon, some for Silhouette and Harlequin, plus a few others.



When I got my surveys back from those kind authors, guess what I found.... More than 95% of them still

use the same old standard novel formatting that most sites and most writing books suggest you use. That

old well-known courier font size 12, 25 lines per page, the one inch or so margin....or the 10 words per

line. They also still use underlining instead of italics and skip two spaces at the end of each sentences

instead of one. All of the old standard formatting we have been using for years, that so many say or dead

and gone.



So If you are sending your work to a print pub, an agent, or an RWA chapter writing contests.....you

should feel safe to stick with that old standard. It?s not really that big of a deal, and no one who isn?t

brand new to the writing world will think you are odd or not a pro for using the normal novel formatting

rules. The standards really do help you and the publisher figure word count in a way that tells them just

how many pages that manuscript will become when it?s a printed book, and with the cost of ink and paper

and postage always going up, you can see how that would be an important thing to know.



If you are sending work off to an e-pub, a small press, or even a new print press, look at their guidelines

and if they have formatting suggestions, FOLLOW THEM. In fact, if any pub, agent or contest list a

preferred font, size, or formatting in their guidelines...GO WITH THAT. If the publisher you want to send

your work to asks for Bookman size 18 font, 12 lines per page, on purple paper, then that?s what you

send them. (Smile) If they don?t ask, the standard is a great way to go.



If not, big deal, don't sweat sticking with the tried and true. It's easy, and you'll find all the info you need

on it below. Then you can let the important things drive you nuts, like grammar, pace, plot, and all of that

other great stuff. I promise you that the most important thing you put on those pages you will be sending

off -- is the writing.

Manuscript Format & More







Print work on clean, white, letter-size paper, 20 lb. weight. Print on one side only. Standard

novel formatting is using a font like Courier size 12, Courier New 12, or my favorite, Dark

Courier 12. All print should be clear. Most houses don't like dot-matrix. Using colored paper

doesn't catch an editor's eye, it only shows how new you are. The same holds true for strange

fonts or work printed too small or too large.



Click here or here to get a free Dark Courier download. To find out how to install a new font

-- Click Start, Windows Explorer, Help, Fonts, and then Adding to Your Computer. There

should be step by step instructions there.



A few fonts just for fun. 1001 Free Fonts -- Thundrune's Free Fonts -- Gnome FONT

Database -- FontFile.Com



Leave at least a one inch margin on all sides. You might find one inch is fine, or you might

need to set your side margins a little larger. You want your lines on the page to come out to

about 10 words each...and for once I am talking about using the word count you get from

which ever program you are writing in.



A header should be on each page, giving your manuscript's title, name, and page number.

Example....



A COWBOY'S WILL DILLON 1

or

A COWBOY'S WILL/Dillon 1



Title Page. This is your info dump page. A lot goes here. I've seen this done two ways, and

have been told both are fine. 1) At the top left of the page list your full real name, your

address, phone number, and e-mail address. On the top of the other side of the page, list

word count. About halfway down the page, center the MS title in caps, the word "by" goes

below that, and then your name. If you wish, you may add your pen name below your read

name. 2) Go half way down the page, center your MS title in caps, the word "by" goes below

that, and then your name, just like above, but instead of your name, address, phone number,

word count, and the rest, going at the top of the page, with this type it goes at the bottom of the

page, in the right corner.



On the first page type Chapter One about half way down the page. Center it. Skip a line, and

start your story. Each new chapter should start on a new page, and be set up the same way.



Chapter length. Most chapters kind of find their own place to break, where something major

is about to happen or where there is some kind of question left hanging. A place where the

reader won't be able to put the book down for at least a few more pages. A good length to

aim for though is somewhere between 15 and 25 typed pages. The 15 being for shorter

novels, say 70,000 words, and the 25 better for novels around 100,000 words. In the end,

you'll feel what is right for your story and for each chapter, and that's what you should go by..



Word count. Each full page should hold 25 double-spaced lines -- all but the first and last page

of each chapter . An editor will count each page, full or not, as 250 words. {Of course this is

for standard MS formatting -- a courier 12, 25 lines per page, 10 words on each line = 250.}

So a 400 page manuscript is a 100,000 words. To get those 25 lines, if you are using Word,

instead of clicking on double space, click on exactly, and then 25. (Find step by step info on

setting up Word at the bottom of this page.)









Word Count by Page





PLEASE NOTE: This word count only works if you use the standard MS formatting of a

courier 12, 25 lines per page, about 10 words per line. If you are using some other format,

then you'll need to figure your word count with another formula.





160 pages = 40,000 words

180 pages = 45,000 words

200 pages = 50,000 words

220 pages = 55,000 words

240 pages = 60,000 words

260 pages = 65,000 words

280 pages = 70,000 words

300 pages = 75,000 words

320 pages = 80,000 words



340 pages = 85,000 words

360 pages = 90,000 words

380 pages = 95,000 words

400 pages = 100,000 words

420 pages = 105,000 words

440 pages = 110,000 words

460 pages = 115,000 words

480 pages = 120,000 words

500 pages = 125,000 words











For print pubilsher don't italicize words. If you have text that should be italicized, underline it. I know there is a lot

of talk about underlining being old hand, but most print published writers I asked, still use it. If you are going to

enter your MS into an RWA writing contests, most judges will expect underlining as well. (But like I said above, if

the publisher you are targeting ask for it to be done some other way, do what they ask -- and e-pubs and small

presses almost always ask for some other way.)



How many spaces after the end of a sentence? This is another thing that I hear a lot of talk about, but it seems

when asked, most print published writers still skip two spaces at the end of sentences. I don't think it's really a big

deal, so do which ever you prefer, unless an editor tells you one or the other. (Of course if you use two spaces,

and then the next publisher you sumbit to asks that you use only one, it's easy to do a find in Word for two spaces

and then a change to one. You can't do a search for one and change them to two, since that would be every

space.)



Skip a line for a scene break. If it falls as the first or last line on a page, I show it with three pound marks. In fact,

I places those marks between every scene break. That way if things move around, say I reformat or do a rewrite,

I don't lose those breaks. Example...

# # #



You should NOT submit a query letter, or even chapters, until the manuscript is completed and ready to go;

unless you already have a couple of books published. There are just so many people who start novels and then

never finish them, that publishers and agents like to deal with completed works until you have proven yourself.



How to submit. After that finished manuscript is polished and ready to go, it's time to send out a query letter.

Some publishers will take chapters, but most want only a query letter and a short synopsis. {You can click on the

highlighted words here to get to my pages on them where you will find samples and links.} A query letter often

gets you a quicker answer. If the query and synopsis are good enough and the editor thinks your story could fit

her needs, you also might get to skip being asked for the first three chapters and get a request for a complete

instead. With waiting times being nearly a year, and even much longer, who wants to wait that long to hear on

three chapters, and then wait again just as long, or longer, to hear about a complete. If you send in a query and

short synopsis, they can be folded and placed in a normal size business envelope -- don't forget the SASE. If you

send in chapters or a complete, of course you are going to need a large envelope for this. The large brown kind

works well for chapters, or even a short manuscript, but for a long one I've found the larger Priority envelopes you

can get for free from the United States Post Office are great. Do not staple pages. Bind them by placing a large

rubber band around them. If the manuscript is long, you can place one rubber band length ways, the other width

ways. Don't forget an SASE envelope that is large enough to have the work returned to you. When you send that

manuscript, don't send it in a way that will cause the editor or agent to have to sign for it. Either send it with a

simple delivery confirmation slip, or enclose a SASP that the editor can place in her out box to be returned to you.

Note that your SASP might not come right back though, since the package might not get open for a long while.

Depends on the house.

Posted by Lisa Renee Jones :: 9:22 AM :: 0 Comments:

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