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
The Importance of Having an Author Website by Travis Morgan
Stephen King’s site has an excellent example of short and long biographies.
Manuscript Profile Resources
What’s in a title?
13 famous books that had very different working titles, by Chris Sayer
Scribe Guide to Writing a Perfect Book Title, by Tucker Max
Series or no?
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.
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:
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:
And here are some links to articles that will help you structure your pitch tools:
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
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
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
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 Promote Your Book Online On A Tight Budget, by Lale Byquist
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Are your characters relatable, rounded and dynamic?
- Does your plot have forward momentum? Do your scenes build upon one another?
- 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?
- You’ve got some dialogue, right? Or else, how do we get to know your characters?
- You’ve got some narration, too? Or else, how do we see your world and follow the action?
- Hunt down clichés and stereotypes and tropes.
- Read it out loud to find those missing words or constant repetitions you missed.
- Run that spell-check.
- Did you run that spell-check?