Monday, July 25, 2011

Guest Author Wendy S. Marcus

 Today it is my pleasures to introduce Wendy S. Marcus. She brought me back to the blog world early so that should tell  you something. One lucky commenter will win a free book, plus who can't use some business sense in the game of publishing. Take it away Wendy.

Getting Noticed – Without Donning a Red Feather Boa or Scenting Your Manuscript
By: Wendy S. Marcus

Hi Nancy!
Thank you for hosting me on the 26th stop of my blog tour to promote my debut Harlequin Medical Romance, WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH. Today I’ve decided to chat about getting noticed – without donning a red feather boa or scenting your manuscript.

There are tens of thousands of writers seeking publication. For those of you who choose to go the traditional route, how can you get an agent/editor to read your manuscript ahead of the hundreds of others on their waiting-to-be-read list?

First, and foremost, you need to write and complete a quality, full-length manuscript. Yes, I said full-length. With a beginning, a middle and an end. Why? So you know you can do it. And so the agent/editor knows you can do it. I once read on a blog how a writer ran into an editor at a conference and pitched an idea for a book. The editor loved it and requested the partial. The writer sent in the first three chapters. The editor bought it. The writer cashed her advance check. And couldn’t finish the story. She missed her deadline and had to return to money.

Okay, you have your completed manuscript. It’s been spellchecked, critiqued, and beta-read. It’s ready. You’re ready. Now what?

You could get a list of publishers/agents/editors and blanket the publishing countryside with your submissions. Maybe even use one of those submission services to broaden your reach while decreasing your effort. I wouldn’t recommend it.

First, I once attended a seminar where an agent talked about submission services. Their e-mails all arrived in her inbox looking the same. She could pick them out immediately. And she deleted every one without reading it.

Second, don’t waste your efforts tallying up all the submissions you’ve sent out. Quality is much more important that quantity. Take the time to do your research. Focus in on the agents/editors who are looking for submissions in the genre/subgenre your manuscript falls into. Maybe focus in on new agents/editors who are looking to build their author lists.

Personalize each submission cover letter. Add something from the agent/editor’s website. Find out what authors they work with. If there’s a particular author you love, whose work you think yours resembles, mention it. Have you met the agent/editor or seen them speak at a conference? Mention it. Do you follow their blog? Was there a specific post that resonated with you? Mention it.  

Now. How to get the attention of an agent/editor the untraditional way.

1)    Once you’ve identified your top 10-20 agents/editors, visit their websites daily to see what’s new. Subscribe to their blogs. Follow them on Twitter. Did you know some agents/editors run random pitch sessions on their blogs? It’s a way to bring your work to their attention without having to risk landing in the slush pile and a way to bring your name to their attention.

2)    Find out what writing contests your agents/editors are judging and enter your work. And even if you don’t win, always send off a thank you note to your judges. I once read on a blog where a published author judged an entry in a contest and absolutely loved it. Since the entries were kept confidential she didn’t know who wrote it. She was shocked when the entry didn’t place. She’d hoped the entrant would send her a thank you note with her contact info. so she could forward the information on to her editor. The entrant never sent a thank you note. Opportunity lost.

3)    Find out what conferences your agents/editors are attending throughout the year and see if any are close enough for you to attend. This is money well spent, folks! Sign up for an appointment to pitch if they’re taking pitches. Or look for the opportunity to chat with them. Do not be hard sell. (I think we’ve all heard the story of the wannabe author who followed an editor into the ladies room.) This is not the way to go. But chatting about how much you enjoyed their seminar, or how lovely their necklace is, or even how much you enjoyed the food at lunch will open up a dialogue between you. Here’s a link to a post by Angela James, Executive Editor of Carina Press, on how to start a conversation with an editor at a conference
http://nicemommy-evileditor.com/blog/2011/05/03/how-to-start-a-conversation-with-an-editor-at-a-conference/ Maybe as things are winding up, you can throw in, “Would it be okay if I sent you my manuscript about….?” Now you have an opening for your submission cover letter.

4)    Visit publisher websites to see what they’re looking for. Many will put a call out for submissions for upcoming anthologies or lines where submissions may be lacking.

5)    If you write romance, become a member of the eHarlequin and/or Mills and Boon communities. Both offer excellent resources and opportunities for new writers.

6)    Remain open to possibilities other than what you first envisioned. Let me explain. When I wrote WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH, I had targeted Harlequin Superromance. But one day while perusing the Internet, (a favorite past time of mine) I stumbled upon an announcement for a pitch contest for Harlequin Medical Romance. Even though I was a nurse, I’d never considered writing for medical romance. I didn’t know much about the line, and wasn’t familiar with the Mills and Boon branch of Harlequin. But never one to pass up an opportunity, since my hero and heroine were doctor and nurse, I slaved over my two paragraph entry, was one of five winners, got assigned an editor, worked at revisions for six longs months, and finally sold in October 2010!

7)    Think outside the box. Here’s a link to a post where NYT Bestselling Author, Carly Phillips discusses her big break: http://www.carlyphillips.com/diarypg1/ Carly identified an opportunity, got creative, and got herself catapulted to NYT bestseller!

I hope you found this information helpful and that you’ll take a few minutes to check out an excerpt from WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH here:  http://wendysmarcus.com/books/

To learn more about me, or read an excerpt from my second book, ONCE A GOOD GIRL, please visit my website: http://WendySMarcus.com

Or visit me on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Wendy-S-Marcus-Author-Page/184507031577429

Or Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/WendySMarcus

Or Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4823224.Wendy_S_Marcus

And if you’d like to purchase WHEN ONE LIFE ISN’T ENOUGH, it’s available here:

Amazon U.S.: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=wendy+s+marcus&sprefix=wendy+s+marcus

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flirting-Society-Doctor-Enough-Medical/dp/0263885925/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308233911&sr=1-1

Mills and Boon Aus: http://www.millsandboon.com.au/product.asp?productid=4371&dest=%2Fcategory%2Easp%3Fbookcategoryid%3D27%26page%3D1

Harlequin:
http://www.eharlequin.com


So what do you think? Did you find this information helpful? What else have you tried to catch an agents/editors attention? Did it work? Also, if you have any questions about medical romance I’m happy to answer them. One lucky commenter will win the 2in1 edition of my book which includes a complete novel by author Janice Lynn.

A contest...very cool. I enjoyed having you as my guest Wendy. Nancy

34 comments:

Kiru Taye said...

Thank you so much for the advice, Wendy.

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Kiru!
You're welcome! One other bit of advice I'd like to add is be on the lookout for opportunities to purchase agent/editor critiques in fundraising auctions - such as Brenda Novak's annual auction to benefit Diabetes. This auction runs every May and is how I got my agent!!!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Nancy!
Thank you so much for having me at your blog today.

And in case anyone is interested in purchasing the paperback edition to When One Night Isn't Enough, here's the direct link:

http://www.eharlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=23898&cid=264

Jackie S. said...

Very interesting! Enjoying Wendy's tour and have added a couple of her books to my "cart"!
jackie.smith[at]dishmail[dot]net

N. R. Williams said...

Welcome to my blog Windy. I see we have some visitors already.

Greetings Kiru and Jackie, thanks for coming by.
Nancy

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Jackie!
Thank you for followng me on my blog tour!

Lynne Marshall said...

I N.R. - I saw you mention at Nas Dean's blog that Wendy was visiting you today, and I can never skip a chance to wave to Wendy! Love your debut book!

These tips are fantastic. I agree with all of them. Most important of all - write a good book!

Ju Dimello said...

Fab advice, Wendy!!!

Especially the part about completing the book... In my case, it was a little tricky experience.. I won the pitch for the very first MS I had completed !

And you can imagine.. obviously got R'ed..learned loads in the process...but I would say, it was worth it....since it gave me the inspiration to keep writing (still....)

But there're times when I've wondered...how it would have been if I'd had more "trials", ie learning MS's under the belt when I had won the pitch...loads of what if's and maybe's pop up..but then, every step is a learning !!!

Thanks for opening up a world of possibilities! And I never knew a thank you note could be so beneficial :)

Ju Dimello said...

Oh! And how could I forget to mention, Wendy!!! I stayed awake a whole night to finish your book.....

Ahem..I thought I was going to savor it chapter by chapter... (As if!)..Fell in love with Jared and Ali.....:sniff:.. I didn't want to leave them!!!!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That writer that couldn't finish the book - I bet that happens more times than people realize.

N. R. Williams said...

Nice to meet you Lynne.

Nice to meet you Ju. Wendy does have some great advice.

Hi L. Diane.

Thanks everyone for dropping by.
Nancy

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Lynne!
I'm so happy you enjoyed my book. That's quite a compliment!

And thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Ju!
I'm so glad you found my advice helpful! It takes lots of time and practice and yes, luck, to get published. Keep working! Never give up your dream!

I'm so happy you liked my book! I've said it before but I'll say it again...saying it made you stay up so you could finish it is the best compliemnt!

Thank you for stopping by, and for your dedication to visiting me on my blog tour. It is very much appreciated!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi L. Diane!
I'm sure it does. Because writing a complete book is difficult, especially a full length book.

Thanks for stopping by!

Ann Best said...

Thinking outside the box, Wendy, is what we have to do!

This guest post is every bit as awesome as the one I posted for you on my blog. There's a lot of great information here for writers who have reached the point of querying. You DO have to personalize the query or you WILL be deleted.

I hope your book sales are climbing!!
Ann Best, Author of In the Memoir, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

The Golden Eagle said...

Thanks for the advice!

Who knew a note like that could be so influential.

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Ann!
I'm glad you like my posts. I do try to make each one different. And personalizing your submissions is key. Each edior and agent wants to feel like you've chosen them for a reason, not because they were number 27 on a list of 100.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi The Golden Eagle!
Sometimes it's the smallest details that make you stand out.

Thanks for stopping by!

Beth said...

Wow Amazing and great advice.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Wendy,

Thanks for the great advice. We get to learn with you something new all the time.

Thanks for taking the time out to chat with us all here today.

Hello Nancy, thanks for hosting Wendy and her wonderful post today.

Wendy, we all who've already read your book WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN'T ENOUGH are eagerly waiting for your next book, ONCE A GOOD GIRL!

Your storytelling is addictive! You now have your own brand of sizzle!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Beth!
I'm glad you liked it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Nas!
Thanks for the compliment! My own brand of sizzle. I like that. I'm so glad you enjoyed When One Night Isn't Enough. My next book. Once a Good Girl, will be out in the UK in December and in the U.S. in January 2012.

Thanks for stopping by!

J.L. Campbell said...

Solid tips, Wendy. Gonna tweet and check out that other article too.

Wendy S Marcus said...

Thanks, J.L! And thanks for stopping by!

Wendy S Marcus said...

Thank you all for visiting me today! And a special thank you to Nancy for having me!

And the winner of my book giveaway is....

Kiru Taye

Congratulations, Kiru! Please visit my website at http://WendySMarcus.com On my Contact page you'll find my e-mail. Please send me your mailing address and I will mail you out a copy of my book!

N. R. Williams said...

To close.

This was a great post Wendy and congratulations Kiru Taye. I look forward to reading your book as well Wendy.

I will be back Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 with the next installment of the plot post. I look forward to seeing everyone then.
Nancy

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Nancy, Hi, Wendy,

This was so helpful Wendy, thank you so much. It's true that many of us don't realize how many opportunities we really DO have.

My post today featured patience, and I think with so much patience a writer could really get their work noticed.

Thanks for all the great advice....

Nas Dean said...

COngratulations Kiru! You have one super medical romance coming you way! When One Night Isn't Enough is a hot, sensual story. You'll love it!

And to all friends, you have another chance of winning Wendy's book in the 2in1 book giveaway by following Wendy on her Blog tour.

Next stop is RomCon on August 11th. For more links please visit Wendy's website or

http://rbpp-wendy.blogspot.com/

L'Aussie said...

Hi Nancy and Wendy. Great post. Great advice. All the best for your book Wendy. Thanks for following. Hope to see more of you.
Catch you later Nancy

Regina Richards said...

Hi Wendy,

This is a great post because you outline the process step by step, which is so helpful. Thanks.

Jules said...

Very insightful article Wendy, best of luck on the book.

Nancy, hope we both get back here at the same time and get to catch up together. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

alexia said...

Great post!! Conferences are definitely an awesome way to get a foot in the door.

Misha said...

Great advice. I recently started stalking agent blogs so that I can see who I'd like to query.

I'm hoping that it will make things easier later on.

:-)

N. R. Williams said...

Hi everyone. Thanks for your comments.
Nancy