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Submission Questionnaire Resources


Author Profile Resources

Should You Be Using a Pen Name? by Helen Sedwick

How To Publish Anonymously Under a Pen Name? by Larry Donahue

3 Reasons You Need an Author Website (Before Your Book’s for Sale) by Amanda Shofner

Unpublished Writers and Websites: Should You Have One and What Should It Say? by Jane Friedman

The Importance of Having an Author Website by Travis Morgan

Stephen King’s site has an excellent example of short and long biographies.

Writing an Author Bio – Examples of Professional Bios

How to Write an Author Bio When You Don’t Feel Like an Author…Yet, by Annie Allen

How to Write Your First Author Bio.So You’re an Author Without a Social Media Presence: Now What? by Jane Friedman

Why Authors Need To Build Followings On Social Media — And How To Go About Doing It, by Steven Spatz

Manuscript Profile Resources

What’s in a title?

13 famous books that had very different working titles, by Chris Sayer

How to Choose a Bestselling Book Title for Fiction or Nonfiction

Scribe Guide to Writing a Perfect Book Title, by Tucker Max

Series or no?

The Essential Guide For Writing A Series Vs. A Standalone Novel

Characters

Here’s an example of a short hero description: 

Sherlock Holmes is a deductive genius. The original CSI, his keen eye finds clues no one else sees and his analytic mind interprets them with acuity. He is always right, and knows it, and therefore perhaps a little annoying to those around him. He seems detached from everyone except his side-kick Dr. Watson, and yet his drug habit deeply engages him with the crime-ridden, class-divided, evil world of late-Victorian London. 

And an example of a short villain description: 

A foe so fearsome that people are scared to say his name. ‘You-Know-Who’, ‘The Dark Lord’ and ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’ are some of his more snappy nicknames, but we shouldn’t joke, for he is “the most evil wizard for hundreds and hundreds of years.” With a skull-like face, red eyes and snake-like slits for nostrils, he’s unlikely to win any beauty contests: a vile and villainous creature all round. And yet, he’s all that just because he wanted what he couldn’t have: a happy life with Harry Potter’s mom. (Adapted from: The Greatest Villains of Literature)

If you want more ideas, take a look at these descriptions of a few great movie villains

And if you need some tips on how to create characters in your fiction, check out: 

Six Steps for Creating Compelling Book Characters, by Helga Schier.

How to Create Instantly (& Instinctively) Recognizable Characters, by Helga Schier.

Conflict

Here are a some examples of conflict description:

A gigantic shark threatens the lives of hundreds of vacationers, but the greedy town council demands that the beach stay open. The new police chief in town must go after the shark himself – despite his fear of open water. (JAWS)

A mystery writer finds himself stuck in a house with his #1 fan after an accident that left him unable to walk. When the die-hard fan learns that the writer killed off her favorite character in the next volume of his series, she stops at nothing to try and make him bring back her favorite character. Who will survive this multi-layered struggle between life and death? (MISERY)

If you’re interested in an analysis of conflict and how it translates into plot, check out these articles:

Using Conflict in a Story 7 Types of Conflict in Literature

All that descriptive stuff about your book

If you’ve ever wondered why agents, editors and publishers ask for these various versions of a pitch for your book, here’s a great little story that says it all:

What’s Your Book About? How to Make a Pitch

And here are some links to articles that will help you structure your pitch tools: 

Writing a Killer Logline

Book Logline: What It Is & How To Write It

LOGLINES AND TAGLINES ARE DIFFERENT And You Need Both For Your Novel by R. Ann Siracusa

Loglines and Pitches — How to Reduce Your Book to a Sentence, by Erica Verillo

Top Box Office Logline Examples

The elevator pitch

The elevator pitch as we see it builds upon logline, tagline, hook and comparison statements. It’s quick and economic but with detail. So avoid conceptual statements that belong in a literary essay. Your pitch needs to be immediately captivating (hook, premise), give us basic information about your story (protagonist and antagonist, story problem/conflict), offer an idea of the audience and leave us wanting. So, no need to tell us how the story ends as long as you’ve wet our appetite. 

You can also mention other details–if they are relevant to your book’s potential success or a reader’s enjoyment. Think features such as a particularly edgy narrative voice or a theme that makes the book irresistible in today’s market place. Basically, that pitch must tell give us an idea of the “So what?” So, show us why we should care.

Here are some links that might help:

5 Steps to Writing a Killer Elevator Pitch for Your Book, by Jennie Nash

Paula’s Elevator Pitch Formula, by Paula Munier

The Synopsis

5 Tips on How to Write a Synopsis, by Courtney Carpenter

How to Write a Novel Synopsis, by Jane Friedman

How to Write a Book Synopsis, by Carly Watters

Professional Editing

Should You Hire a Professional Editor? by Jane Friedman

Marketing Plan Resources

Most authors we know would rather have a root canal procedure than think about marketing. But, if you want to be a successful author these days, you can’t avoid the dreaded “M” word.

Online Search & Keywords

71 Ways to Promote and Market Your Book by Kimberley Grabas

How to Market Your First Book: 9 Tips You Need to Know

How to Promote Your Book Online On A Tight Budget, by Lale Byquist

Attachments Resources

Formatting your manuscript

How to Format a Book: 10 Tips Your Editor Wants You To Know, by Blake Atwood

And before you hit submit, look at these Top Ten To Dos:

  1. Make sure your word count falls somewhere near the sweet spot for your genre. A 200,000 word murder mystery likely is a tad verbose. If it is, revise and edit and cut cut cut before you submit. 
  2. Make sure your story hits the intended genre. A murder mystery without a murder won’t quite cut it. Neither will a historical novel that plays in the future.
  3. Are your characters relatable, rounded and dynamic?
  4. Does your plot have forward momentum? Do your scenes build upon one another?
  5. Do things change rather than just happen? In other words, is there an inciting event, some point of no return in the middle, and a climax/catharsis in the end?
  6. You’ve got some dialogue, right? Or else, how do we get to know your characters?
  7. You’ve got some narration, too? Or else, how do we see your world and follow the action?
  8. Hunt down clichés and stereotypes and tropes. 
  9. Read it out loud to find those missing words or constant repetitions you missed.
  10. Run that spell-check.
  11. Did you run that spell-check?