The Emotional Tai Chi of Getting Your Work Out There

Process # 1

The Product

  1. Finish work*
  2. Create log line
  3. Write synopsis/ query
*   a) revise
b) revise
c) revise


  • When I, as the reader, have a sense of closure
  • When words, images, voice and tone are the best possible
  • When nothing needs to be added, nothing taken away
  • When there are no redundancies except for deliberate ones, e.g., codas
  • When spelling, syntax, grammar, are correct

When, to the best of my ability, MY VISION IS REALIZED

Now That You've Done all This, Have a Chocolate Bar, a Cup of Tea, or a Bottle of Champagne. Then sit down to work on your



.Process # 2

Getting It Out There

  1. Answer these questions:
    • What books are like mine?
    • How is mine different?
    • Who is my reader?
    • How can I help promote it?
  2. Brainstorm contacts -- acquaintances from lit conferences, writing groups, et al
  3. Research agents:
    • read acknowledgments of like books
    • research, e.g., The Literary Marketplace (at the library; any of the numerous books sold at book stores
    • Ask colleagues
    • And Google, Google, Google!
  4. Contact agents
    • Through e-mail if okay with agent in question
    • Send exactly what agent requests
    • Keep query letter & synopsis short, succinct, and accurate; (no bragging, please, and nothing cutesy)
    • Enclose a SASE
    • Write to thank agents when they've taken the time to consider your work
    • Offer an exclusive period of time to consider your book, if they show interest, e.g. six weeks, (during which you agree not to market it elsewhere).
    • Consider a Postal Blitz,* in which you mail out to many agents at once, as per directions above
  5. Create Plan B:
    • Research independent and university presses -- are any of them right for you?
    • Consider co-publishing with a reputable press -- but only after you taken all the other steps

"I just finished Justine and this afternoon after tea, I'll begin Balthazar."
- Lawrence Durrell, author of The Alexandra Quartet, in a letter to a friend

© Copyright, Rosemary Daniell, 1999-2009
With thanks to Zona Rosan Brad Johnson

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