Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Queries, Endorsements, and Editors

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Queries, Endorsements, and Editors

Happy Halloween!! It's been a while since I've been here, for sure, but you can catch all my latest action at my author blog, SUPERMAN DISPOSITION at:

supermandisposition.wordpress.com

You can also go there to see that I was at MIYAVI's concert in Toronto on Devil's Night, moshing and then mingling with the star. What a wonderful night!

So, I come to you today to talk about my experiences and offer some advice for getting in touch with agents, editors, publishers, and even celebrities.

I’m in the process, now that the entire manuscript of TETHERED ROMANCE is complete, of getting it ready to send queries and pitches out to agents and editors. So I wanted to share this process with you, because I know there are tones of resources out there on the “how to”, but I haven’t seen any directly from an author that’s been through the process. Also, something I’ve recently done is requested celebrity endorsement, which is something that pretty much 0 authors attempt. I’d like to also share that as an option.

I published THE REALITY FILTER without an agent. I approached the publisher directly with my pitch, because it was a small publishing house, I was able to do that. A literary agent is not necessary for an author, but it does help a great deal to have one, as some houses will not accept queries or pitches unless they are from an agent. To bypass the agent, authors must go to the house’s acquisition editor. The acquisition editor in the house is the bigwig who’s going to filter all the manuscripts that are received, and pick out the ones that will make it into judging. Whether you are pitching to an agent or an editor, the format is the same:

Query must be one page in length – no longer.

Opening sentence should be the hook – the book in one sentence that is going to grab attention. Like a tagline. This should also include your explanation of why you chose to query this particular agent/editor.

The mini-synopsis, one paragraph in length, which explains the entirety of the book. It should also explain why the book is new and different and deserving.

Your author bio – it should be concise and include your awards, previous publishing experience, and really only needs to get personal if you have some kind of expertise that makes you the only person able to write your book. Otherwise, keep it very professional.

So, if you’re a new author and it’s your first time querying, you maybe don’t have any awards or publishing experience to talk about. In that case, talk about your education, because it will most likely be related to what you have written, and it gives you some concrete credentials.

You shouldn’t stray from this format when writing a query. With that said, everyone’s query is going to be the same as yours, so make sure you’ve put as much into writing it as you have the book that you’re pitching, in order to stand out. The query should reflect your passion for your work, and your passion to share your message – without becoming personal. It’s not an easy thing to write, and authors sometimes spend months writing and rewriting the query. Some other things to include:

Word count – unless your book is very very long for a first time publication, which can be a deterrent.

The first 3-5 pages, unless the agent/editor states that they only want a sample on request.

Now, on to Celebrity Endorsement.

I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve recently requested celebrity endorsement from Marilyn Manson. Can you blame me, really? With all the evidence pointing to the fact that I am the Marilyn Manson of literature, of course, it had to be done. Celebrity endorsement is something that authors don’t generally think about pursuing. The misconception is that endorsement is for products such as Nike or Kitchenaid, but in fact the book is a product, and it is targeted to an audience just like any other product.

Writing a request for endorsement is particularly more difficult than writing a pitch for an agent/editor. First you must determine where to direct your request. This can be in the form of:

Record labels
Studios
Agents
Stations
The celebrity themselves.

For my request, I was talking to Cooking Vinyl, Mr. Manson’s record label. There is no form letter way to write a request, but a few pointers I can give you:

Explain exactly why you are requesting endorsement from this particular celebrity, and make a good argument as to why you are suited to work with each other.

Think essay – provide two or three points to your side of the story (argument) and then explain them in detail.
You want to capture attention right away, and make the go-between or the celebrity feel right away that they might have a connection with you – so giving a few strong points right away will capture attention.

Be sure to explain exactly what it is you are requesting endorsement FOR – your book, your career?

Be very gracious without repeating “thank you” or “I appreciate” too much. You want to be gracious for the person to even be reading your request, and considering it. But you don’t want to come off like you’re just another crazed fan, or begging.

Include all of your contact information – address, e-mail, phone, anything else. You want to make it easy to get in contact with you.

After you have sent the request, be prepared to wait. Sometimes you can wait for months and months, and in that case I think it’s okay to re-send the request, stating that you had previously sent it and are just bringing it to attention again, and refreshing their memories. But know that just like an agent/editor, celebrities are busy people.
I hope this has been helpful! Any questions? Leave a comment or e-mail me. You can also leave a post on Superman Disposition’s Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

P.S. Jevanael

P.S. Jevanael's latest book is The Reality Filter. You can find her online at www.supermandisposition.wordpress.com and on Facebook.

Go to P.S. Jevanael’s Author Page