Showing posts with label editing query letters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label editing query letters. Show all posts

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Good Things Come in Fives: Five Editing Myths, Five Edits for Your Query Letter


Editing IS Marketing: Boning Up on First Impressions

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers

First impressions are important. We all are aware of that as we brush our teeth and try to unknot the rat's nests from the back of our hair each morning. In fact, first impressions are part of our marketing efforts, too. Whether we authors are trying to get an interview or a TV appearance or marketing our books using e-mail or social networks, editing is an essential part of that first-impression effort. Generally that first effort is a query letter or proposal. Thus editing equals great first impression. That makes it an integral part of a marketing campaign.
 
Here are a few tips to help writers avoid blunders in the documents first seen by those who can make or break a writing career or at least say “nay” or “yea” to the project that counts—the one you’re working on now. First up are five myths that can sabotage your efforts and five tips to make your query letter the selling machine it was meant to be follow. All are little tidbits from the winningest book in my #HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers, The Frugal Editor (https://bit.ly/FrugalEditor).
 
Five Editing Myths Waiting to Trip Up Your Campaign to Market Your Work
•    If your English teacher told you something is okay, it is.
(Nope. Language rules and style guidelines have changed since you were a sophomore.)


•    If a manuscript or query is grammar-perfect, you'll make a great first impression.
(No! Lots of things that are grammatically correct will annoy publishers, agents, and other gatekeepers like feature editors.)


•    Always use your Spell and Grammar Checker.
(Maybe. Some well-known editors suggest you don't use it at all, but The Frugal Editor gives you dozens of ways to make it your partner instead of your enemy.)


•    Your publisher will assign a top-flight editor so you don't need to worry about your manuscript.
(Maybe, but don't count on it. Besides you can be a better partner for an editor—whether she is assigned to you by your editor or you hire one for yourself-- if you know something about the process; you'll know better when to nix her suggestions! In any case, I suggest hiring an editor of your own before you submit your manuscript.)


•    Formatters and editors will take care of the hyphens, ellipses, and all the other grungy little punctuation marks that English teachers avoided teaching because they knew basic grammar but nothing about publishing.


(Chances are, you'll catch even great formatters and editors in an error or two if you know your stuff!)

Five Things to Avoid for a Pristine Query Letter
 
We are selling our work when we approach any gatekeeper, an editor, an agent, a contest judge. Here are five little things to pay attention to when you edit your query letter so you'll look like the professional you are.
 
•    Don't tell the gatekeeper you always wanted to write. You can think of something more pertinent to your cause (and something more original!) than that.
•    Don't use the verb "quote" when you want the noun "quotation." Some stylebooks will tell you that it's okay, but agents can be a picky lot. Use zero-tolerance grammar rules for your queries.
•    Don't pitch more than one book at time. You want to give just one of them your best shot.
•    Don't call your novel a "fictional novel." By definition, a novel is fiction.
•    Don't overdo exclamation marks, question marks, or the use of sentence fragments. (Yes, fragments are acceptable when they're used for a good reason.).
 
Here's one last suggestion for fiction writers, a take-away from the best writers’ programs around: Avoid using italics for internal thought. In the in the sample chapters you must include with your submission. In your synopsis. And any other place they rear their very pretty little heads. Italics are being used more and more these days and lots of writers see how convenient and easy they make writing fiction. But those in the know see this as indication that the author hasn’t master important techniques like point-of-view, transitions, and dialogue tags. The best (and busiest!) agents and publishers recognize it as such and might be tempted to reject rather than spend valuable time grooming an author for the big time.
-----
 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction, a former publicist for a New York PR firm and was an instructor for the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program for nearly a decade. She is an editor with years of publishing and editing experience including national magazines, newspapers, and her own poetry and fiction. Her multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter is in its third edition from Modern History Press (https://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII) and won USA Book News' best professional book award and the Irwin Award. The Frugal Editor (https://bit.ly/FrugalEditor) is top publishing book for USA Book News and Reader Views Literary Award. Her other books from Modern History Press are The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need To Know To Sell Your Book in 30 Minutes or Less(https://bit.ly/BookProposalsII) and Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers (https://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII).
 
Learn more about the author and her career-boosting books at https://HowToDoItFrugally.com




Saturday, September 5, 2020

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Shares Frugal Book Promoter Tips and Myths

Editing IS Marketing:

Boning Up on First Impressions


By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers

First impressions are important. We all are aware of that as we brush our teeth and try to unknot the rat's nests from the back of our hair each morning. In fact, first impressions are part of our marketing efforts, too. Whether we authors are trying to get an interview or a TV appearance or marketing our books using e-mail or social networks, editing is an essential part of that first-impression effort. Generally that first effort is a query letter or proposal. Thus editing equals great first impression. That makes it an integral part of a marketing campaign.


Here are a scattering of helps gleaned from my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books (https://howtodoitfrugally.com) but especially my Frugal Editor (http://bit.ly/FrugalEditor) and the fun little booklet, Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers (http://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII), just released in its second edition by Modern History Press,  
 
Five Editing Myths Waiting to Trip Up Your Campaign to Market Your Work
•    If your English teacher told you something is OK, it is.
(Nope. Language rules and style guidelines have changed since you were a sophomore.)
•    If a manuscript or query is grammar-perfect, you'll make a great first impression.
(No! Lots of things that are grammatically correct will annoy publishers, agents, and other gatekeepers like feature editors.)
•    Always use your Spell and Grammar Checker.
(Maybe. Some well-known editors suggest you don't use it at all, but The Frugal Editor gives you dozens of ways to make it your partner instead of your enemy.)
•    Your publisher will assign a top-flight editor so you don't need to worry about your manuscript.
(Maybe, but don't count on it. Besides you can be a better partner for an editor—whether she is assigned to you by your editor or you hire one for yourself-- if you know something about the process; you'll know better when to nix her suggestions! In any case, I suggest hiring an editor of your own before you submit your manuscript and you’ll love my Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips (bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) for building the confidence you need to say no an editor no matter how professional she is.
•    Formatters and editors will take care of the hyphens, ellipses, and all the other grungy little punctuation marks that English teachers avoided teaching because they didn't know how to use them either.

(Chances are, you'll catch even great formatters and editors in an error or two if you know your stuff!)


Five Things to Avoid for a Pristine Query Letter
 
We are selling our work when we approach any gatekeeper, an editor, an agent, a contest judge. Here are five little things to avoid so you'll look like the professional you are.
 
    Don't tell the gatekeeper you always wanted to write. You can think of something more pertinent to your cause (and something more original!) than that.
    Don't use the verb "quote" when you want the noun "quotation." Some stylebooks will tell you that it's OK, but agents can be a picky lot. Use zero-tolerance grammar rules for your queries.
    Don't pitch more than one book at time. You want to give just one your best shot.
    Don't call your novel a "fictional novel." By definition, a novel is fiction.
    Don't overdo exclamation marks, question marks, or the use of sentence fragments. (Yes, fragments are acceptable when they're used for a good reason.).
 
Here's one last suggestion for fiction writers 'cause they're so often neglected when it comes to marketing. Avoid using italics for internal thought in the synopses sections of your marketing tools or in the sample chapters you must include. Italics are being used more and more these days, but using them often becomes a crutch that enables writers to avoid writing great transitions and point-of-view. The best agents and publishers will recognize it as such.

 

----


MORE ABOUT THE GUEST BLOGGER


Carolyn Howard-Johnson, an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction, a former publicist for a New York PR firm and was an instructor for the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program for nearly a decade. She is an editor with years of publishing and editing experience including national magazines, newspapers, and her own poetry and fiction. Learn more about the author at  https://howtodoitfrugally.com. Her The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't won USA Book News' best professional book award and the Irwin Award. The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success TheFrugalEditor is top publishing book for USA Book News and Reader Views Literary Award. The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need To Know To Sell Your Book in 30 Minutes or Less is a helpful little booklet available at at the link above and is now in its second edition from Modern History Press.  . And don’t miss another booklet Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: The Ultimate Frugal Booklet for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copyhttp://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII, also from Modern History Press. You can get all Carolyn's books at the How to Do It Frugally link above.

 





Thursday, April 30, 2015

Midwest Review: "Highly Recommended" Book for Writers


Title: The Frugal Editor: From Your Query Letter to Final Manuscript to the Marketing of Your New Bestseller
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
First Edition Published by Red Engine Press, Branson, MO 2007
A multi award-winning book including USA Book News best professional book
Second Edition Published by HowToDoItFrugally, 2015
ISBN, Second Edition: 978-1505713117

Available The e-book, available from Kindle, was given a nod by Dan Poynter’s Global E-Book Award.
Also available as a paperback, published spring of 2015

 

Reviewed by Christy Tillery French for Christy’s Bookshelf at Midwest Book Review and featured in Jim Cox’s Midwest Newsletter

As the literary market continues to tighten its proverbial belt, today's writer must assume more of the responsibilities surrounding book publishing than ever before. No longer can a writer depend on a publisher or agent to accept a manuscript in need of editing, and submitting a manuscript that isn't as near perfect as possible will, in all probability, result in rejection. To the rescue comes acclaimed author Carolyn Howard-Johnson with The Frugal Editor, the latest in her How to Do It Frugally series.


This little gem is a must-have for any writer, published or not, bestselling or unknown. Filled with valuable tips, The Frugal Editor touches on all aspects of self-editing, such as how to spot common grammatical errors, from superfluous adverbs to confusing dangling participles, as well as how to organize the workspace, format the manuscript, and use Word's tools to the fullest. Also included are sample query and cover letters, and pointers on correcting intrusive taglines, when to use an ellipsis, and correct spacing, to name a few. The book takes the reader step-by-step through the editing process, from rough draft to galley. No questions are left unanswered, no topics left uncovered. This generous writer goes so far as to recommend resources through other books and websites, with plenty of advice from agents and editors.

The Frugal Editor is one of those reference books every writer should have by their computer for constant use and study. Highly recommended.

Christy Tillery French
Reviewer


MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the classes she has taught for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program.

The first edition of The Frugal Book Promoter was named USA Book News’ “Best Professional Book” and won the coveted Irwin Award. Now in its second edition, it’s also a USA Book News award winner and received a nod from Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Awards. Her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success was also honored by USA Book News and won Readers’ Views Literary Award. Her marketing campaign for that book won the marketing award from New Generation Indie Book Awards. The second edition e-book was honored by Next Generation Indie Awards in the e-book category and by Dan Poynter's Global Ebook Awards. The second edition paperback will be released in spring of 2015.  


 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Query Letters: An Essential Writing Skill For Now and the Future


As I was working with my husband on the promotion for his book What Foreigners Need to Know About America From A To Z (http://amzn.to/ForeignersAmericaUS) I realized how much I’d forgotten about my American history, but it also made me aware I should be reminding you all of the format to use for your query letters.
I noticed that many authors believe query letters are only necessary when they're trying to interest an agent or publisher, but learning to write and edit an effective one is a skill that you will continue to use all during the marketing campaign or your book--and the one after that.
Query letters are the introductory letters you use for every kind of request you make. When you request a review of your book. When you ask to partner with a retailer for and event, workshop, or book signing. When you pitch a feature story to an editor of your local newspaper. Or guest spot on a radio station. The list is endless.
Yep, it may be time to review the section on writing and editing query letters (page 27 in your paperback edition) in The Frugal Editor (http://budurl.com/TheFrugalEditor). It starts on page 27 of your paperback edition.
It includes query letter pet peeves direct from the mouths of famous agents and sample letters in the Appendix like avoiding making judgements of your own work. For agents "awesome" is a four-letter word!
If you have The Frugal Book Promoter (http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo), jump back to the Index and look up “query letters” to learn everything you’ll need to know about them.
Here's tip number one to get you started. A query letter asks something of the person it's addressed to. Don't avoid that question. Nike says "just do it." The query letter rule is "just ask." Your contact needs to know what you want from them. They may wear more than one hat, but in any case, you'll want to be clear just because that's what professionals aim for.
-----
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Techniques for Cultivating Creative Writing Ideas by Deborah Lyn

Make cultivating ideas part of your writing process. Creative writing needs inspiration—motivation will follow quickly to get that personal ...