Micro, weeds-level #pubtip: if you're a ghostwriter, editor, or fellow literary agent helping an author with proposal or manuscript content, for the love of God, please don't insert fawning "house ads" for your other clients in their text. Looks so greasy.
Something I’ve realized in coming up on two decades of proposal editing: authors almost ever need to divide their chapters into Part I, Part II etc. I.m.e. this is most often an unconscious attempt to end-run the hard work of developing a strong central argument. #pubtip
A #pubtip that's getting increasingly relevant in the work-from-home era: if agents do not clearly welcome submissions by mail or list an address on their website, *absolutely do not go to creepy lengths to look up their home address and send them a physical sub that way.*
Reason number a billion not to let rejection in this industry throw you: like most good agents, I have to pass on a HUGE number of projects with commercial potential because I just don't have the room in my brain. It's not even a judgment on the work! #pubtip
Random #pubtip: the most common issue I see with otherwise promising fiction MSS is the excessively picked-over first 5%.
Do not procrastinate downstream by obsessively rereading and smoothing these early pages.
Also, you do not need that prologue, and we all know it.
Anna Sproul-Latimer @annasproulHere's a HUGELY useful longform nonfiction-writing #pubtip from FOLLOW THE STORY by @JamesStewartNYT: when you're delivering your book's elevator pitch, do you use the word "about?" As in: "it's a book about trees?" If so, there is probably something wrong with your pitch. (1/2)
"About" is a red flag word. It usually means you're conceptualizing your book as a topic (the existence of a thing) vs. a story (a propulsive and transformative journey of self-evident value for the reader). "Isn't it neat that x exists" isn't a book.
Grouchy #pubtip: I don't think there's an agent on Earth whose submissions policy is "please cold call and leave a voice message if we don't pick up." The reason Neon doesn't have an office phone # is not so that submitters can prove their hustle by finding our nonpublic cells!
Hi! I just wrote an email to a prospective author about an understandable tactical error this person had made in the querying process. Because it's important that other authors not inadvertently make the same mistake, I'm going to share it here as a #pubtip.
I just wrote this in a client memo and think it's universally applicable enough to warrant a general #pubtip: an asterisked line break between passages in a chapter is usually a sign that an author hasn't done enough rigorous thinking about transitions or argument yet.
Anna Sproul-Latimer @annasproulHey, here's a random #pubtip thread that applies at all times, but especially so right now: of all the things that are greatly overrated in the life, success, and overall quality of a book submission, "momentum" is probably the most overrated of them all.
This is one of those #pubtip threads that is really really impt to know and one of the top 2 things I wish authors *did* know before starting a nonfiction publishing career. (The other one is "treat it like a small business.") YES, I am RTing myself in a naked grab for more likes
Hey, here's a random #pubtip thread that applies at all times, but especially so right now: of all the things that are greatly overrated in the life, success, and overall quality of a book submission, "momentum" is probably the most overrated of them all.
Anna Sproul-Latimer @annasproulAnyway the pub tip is this: if you, a nonfiction writer, are my husband, and your reader is butter churn lady, what do you really need to tell her before quantum leap or whatever takes you away again? You have 10 seconds to grab her by the shoulders. What does she need to know?
Is your elevator pitch succinct and clear? Is it urgent and valuable enough that butter churn lady gonna pay attention? That is all.
Anna Sproul-Latimer @annasproulYour evening #pubtip is brought to you by something @matt_latimer once did when we were on a date in Colonial Williamsburg: pretend he was going to run up to every single colonial re-enactor and start screaming at them about the future.
E.g.: "Butter churn lady! Yes, you! Butter churn lady!! Oh my God I'm from the future! Do you have a pen? I need to tell you things! 9/11! The Civil War! Oh my God write this down there's no time!"
Eternal #pubtip: if you're an author publishing a book, you need a therapist. I wish I were being funny here. You need one, unless--bless you--you are Earth's most even-keeled Mr. Peanutbutter of a person. Most are expensive, yes. Look into sliding-scale clinics/Talkspace.
Hey memoir/personal narrative nonfiction writers! Editorial #pubtip: there are two extremely common first draft proposal issues I see over and over, and if you’re ahead of this note before submitting to me or any nonfiction agent, we will be so impressed.
Random #pubtip for authors: if anyone on your pub team ever sends you an email saying, "great news!!! X rights (audio, foreign) are going to be picked up!!!", pause and remember that this much enthusiasm often = "please say yes to this and don't ask questions"
Anna Sproul-Latimer @annasproul@RebeccaOser_URC @grubstreet @jessregel I guarantee you that barrier(s) between you and a book deal do not include you just getting that one chance to sit under fluorescent hideousness in a hotel conference room and razzle-dazzle one special, special agent for 120 seconds.
Morgan Jerkins @MorganJerkinsMultiple people have asked me if you need social media to be seen by the publishing world and I'm the wrong person to ask that. My agent and first acquiring editor found me here. Some friends of mine who have book deals can say the same.
A good agent will not encourage your reptile instincts to white-knuckle onto any one lead. See yesterday's tweet thread on completion bias: one of our primary value adds is to push back against our clients' irrational bird-in-handism.