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Your writer’s voice is what makes your writing different than everyone else’s—it’s uniquely yours, even if you’re telling the same story as other writers.

It’s the personality of your prose, its fingerprint.

When speaking about this voice, we’re not referring to the sounds that come from your mouth when you talk. We’re talking about what the readers “hear,” feel, and visualize as they read your book. This includes your point of view, the way you describe the characters and convey the story, the emotions and images your words evoke, and more.

But perhaps most importantly, your writer’s voice reveals the honest, authentic you.

How do you find your writer’s voice? Let’s start by examining the voices that most beginning memoir writers tend to focus on, and go from there.

Multitude of voices

Generally speaking, memoir writers wrestle with five kinds of voices:

  • In-person voice
  • Imagined voice
  • Desired voice
  • Acquired voice
  • Writer’s voice

Occasionally, these five voices are one and the same, but usually they’re quite different. Many beginning memoirists get caught up in the first three voices on the list, when they should be developing the last one—their writer’s voice. Let’s take a look at each one individually.

In-person voice

This is what your friends hear, see, and feel when they listen to you telling your stories. The in-person voice is based on the words you speak, but is heavily influenced by your vocal inflections, gestures, facial expressions, postures, eye contact, and more.

Turn on a tape recorder, tell a story from your life to your device, and voilà! You have captured your story word-for-word, but without the sensory input, the story can feel “bare” and flat.

Now type up a transcript of the recording. With just the words in front of them and no verbal or visual cues, readers will notice the gaps and overlaps in your story, the digressions, repetitions, and other problems unnoticed by your in-person friends. Thus, your in-person voice is probably not the voice you want to use in your memoir. Even if an editor cleans up the transcript, eliminates filler words and repetitions, and sharpens the word choice, it should just be considered raw material for the memoir.

Imagined voice

Humans are imaginative creatures, and it’s quite common for people to believe that their own voice is something apart from what it really is.

On one occasion, we taped a client who told a lengthy story. We completely changed it, moved sections of the story around, cut out some large chunks and totally rewrote others, inserted missing information, and replaced over half of the words with stronger choices. Upon reading this very different version of the story, the client exclaimed, “You captured my voice perfectly!”

Of course, it was not his voice at all. He just thought it was.

Desired voice

Some authors are well aware of their voice and don’t like it one bit.

We once worked with a woman blessed with a very organized and sophisticated in-person presentation. She taped herself recounting several stories from her personal life, which we edited, making relatively few changes because it seemed to come alive on the page and capture the essential “her.” 

But when we presented it to her, she was horrified.

“That sounds just like me,” she complained, “but it’s not what I want.”

She wanted to come off more erudite and scholarly because, like many writers, she wanted her readers to believe she was “better” than she really was. Making her sound more professorial wasn’t difficult, but it disguised the person behind the words. And when writing a memoir, you don’t want to be wearing a mask.

Acquired voice

This is the voice you may use when speaking and writing.

It’s an artificial voice you’ve created. Perhaps it’s designed to highlight the parts of yourself that you like and hide those you don’t, or to make yourself sound either more Shakespearean or more “street.” Or maybe it’s supposed to help you fit in with one group or distance yourself from another.

Whatever the reason, the acquired voice is meant to make you seem like the person you think you need to be. It’s like layers and layers of wrapping paper hiding a present. Some of the paper may be necessary, but most of it is useless and distracting—all it does is obscure what’s inside.

Writer’s voice

This is the voice that emerges when you strip away all the wrapping of the acquired voice, put aside your imagined and desired voices, and forgo all the visual and oral elements of the in-person voice.

Your writer’s voice is the unvarnished you. While it may not be as pretty and polished as your other voices, it is always your most interesting memoir voice.

Remember, the best memoirs invite the readers into the author’s mind. You can’t do that when you’re hiding behind the other voices or pretending to be what you are not. You can only speak directly to your readers if you’re using your writer’s voice. It’s the only one that allows you to develop a strong connection to them.

As literary agent Rachelle Gardner says, “…your writer’s voice is the expression of YOU on the page. It’s that simple—and that complicated. Your voice is all about honesty. It’s the unfettered, non-derivative, unique conglomeration of your thoughts, feelings, passions, dreams, beliefs, fears and attitudes, coming through in every word you write.”

Some of our clients worry that their writer’s voice will be dull. “If we don’t dress it up,” they say, “the book’s going to be boring.”

In truth, the absolute best way to connect with your readers is to be as authentic, unguarded, and unselfconscious as you can be in your writing.

Finding your writing voice

To find your authentic voice, you must strip away all the other voices and search for the voice within you. Finding your voice is a process, one that begins with writing, writing, and writing some more.

Don’t edit yourself. Write up those stories you tell your friends, write about your childhood, your hopes and fears, your grandparents, your favorite summer vacation, your most embarrassing moment, and anything else you can think of.

Write stories about yourself and write letters to yourself. Then imagine that you’re writing to someone else, perhaps the kind of person who will want to read your book.

Keep writing. Adopt different emotions and attitudes; aim at different target audiences. Write something you’re angry about. Write about something that brings you joy. Write about something humorous and something sad. Write for your next-door neighbor, your significant other, and for the judge at traffic court. Write a speech you can imagine giving when you accept an important award. Write about the big fears and dark secrets you don’t want to confront.

When you’ve filled a huge stack of yellow pads—or Word docs—go back and read what you’ve written. Read it to yourself and read it out loud. Which passages sound good and which make you cringe with embarrassment? What “works” and what dies on the page? Which individual words and phrases are you proud of and which make you want to rip them from the page?

It’s all about honesty

Now ask yourself which passages seem most honest and authentic—not whether they’re the most polished or interesting to read, the cleverest or most dramatic. Which reveal the real you? Which would you write if you had nothing to protect, if you feared nothing at all, not even criticism from others?  

It can be difficult to identify the passages that are the most honest, for we’ve all built up layers of protection and pretense over the years and may not instantly recognize our true selves. It may take a while to learn to tap into your writer’s voice and to recognize the honesty it produces.

As writing guru Jane Friedman notes in her 5 Ways to Develop Your Writer’s Voice, “Developing your writer’s voice requires you to know yourself and reveal that self in your writing: this is who I am and this is what I care most about.”

Work with your writer’s voice

Your writer’s voice is without a doubt the best voice for your memoir. Yes, you can always improve upon it and polish it, but don’t change it.

Then, build your memoir around that voice. Pick a theme and stories that work best with it, and the memoir will ring true.

You may have to sacrifice some of your favorite stories, but it will be well worth it to create a more authentic memoir.

Examples of a good memoir writer’s voice

There is no right or wrong writer’s voice as long as it’s genuine. And that can be a subjective judgment, so what seems authentic to some readers may not work for others.

Here are the selections from among the opening pages of several noted memoirs, known for their authentic voices:

From Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love:

“I wish Giovanni would kiss me.

“Oh, but there are so many reasons why this would be a terrible idea. To begin with, Giovanni is ten years younger than I am, and—like most Italian guys in their twenties—he still lives with his mother. These facts alone make him an unlikely romance partner for me, given that I am a professional American woman in my mid-thirties, who has just come through a failed marriage and a devastating, interminable divorce, followed immediately by a passionate love affair that ended in sickening heartbreak.”

From Katha Pollitt’s Learning to Drive:

“‘Over there, the red jeep. Park!’ Ben, my gentle Filipino driving instructor, has suddenly become severe, abrupt, commanding. A slight man, he now looms bulkily in his seat; his usually soft voice has acquired a threatening edge. In a scenario that we have repeated dozens of times, and that has kinky overtones I don’t even want to think about, he is pretending to be the test examiner, barking out orders as we tool along the streets above Columbia University in the early morning.”

From Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie:

“The last class of my old professor’s life took place once a week in his house, by a window in the study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink leaves. The class met on Tuesdays. It began after breakfast. The subject was The Meaning of Life. It was taught from experience.”

From Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle:

“I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster. It was just after dark. A blustery March wind whipped the steam coming out of the manholes, and people hurried along the sidewalks with their collars turned up. I was stuck in traffic two blocks from the party where I was heading.”

Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime:

“I was nine years old when my mother threw me out of a moving car. It happened on a Sunday. I know it was on a Sunday because we were coming home from church, and every Sunday in my childhood meant church. We never missed church. My mother was—and still is—a deeply religious woman. Very Christian. Like indigenous peoples around the world, black South Africans adopted the religion of our colonizers. By ‘adopt’ I mean it was forced on us. The white man was quite stern with the native. ‘You need to pray to Jesus,’ he said. ‘Jesus will save you.’ To which the native replied, ‘Well, we do need to be saved—saved from you, but that’s besides the point. So let’s give this Jesus thing a shot.’”

If you’d like help with your memoir…

We’re Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor, professional, highly experienced ghostwriters and editors of memoirs, autobiographies, and more. Let us help you find your voice and write your fascinating, authentic story! Based in Los Angeles, we will travel to meet and work with you. We’re ready to go. Are you?

To learn more about how we work, see our About Us and Testimonials pages. Then give us a call at 818-917-5362. Let’s talk about your memoir or autobiography!

The post How to Find Your Memoir Writer’s Voice appeared first on Barry Fox, Ph.D..

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In works of literary fiction and certain other genres, writers are judged by their ability to use words in mellifluous, clever, and surprising ways.

But with non-fiction book on health, business, success, and similar works, readers are not interested in verbal adornment. They want to know what they need to know. Good writing is a must, but writing that interferes with understanding is a must-not.

Your writing can be very readable and persuasive if you remember that you’re just talking to your readers. So use plain old English. Be brief and to the point, be clear, and always be positive.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these 12 rules.

#1: Keep it Simple

You’re writing a non-fiction book, perhaps on about health, law, or business.

It’s describes your great new idea, and it’s intended for the popular press. That is, for regular folks, not experts.

So – what style of writing should you use?

Unless there’s a good reason not to, keep it simple.

Always remember why you’re writing: to persuade or move your readers. The best way to do that is to keep it simple. Don’t try to impress your readers with 50-cent words or overly-complex sentences. Just talk to them. Say what you want to say in simple, clear English.

Resist the temptation to be amazing! Instead, just “talk” to your readers.

Inspiring, or yawn-inducing? 

“I have a dream…” Four little words, simple, clear, powerful.

Much better than: “Impulses speeding along the neurons of my frontal lobes, leaping across the synaptic gaps, presenting themselves to me in the form of, as it were, a nocturnal visitation, coupled with simultaneous impulses in the speech and movement sections of my cortex, have compelled me to express this thought.”

“To be or not to be, that is the question,” is clear and to the point.

Much better than: “When reflecting upon the relationship between the pre-deceased and post-living, one cannot help but be struck by the magnitude of advantages inevitably accruing to the individual terminating the former state, yet, simultaneously, measure the aforementioned advantages against the potential deleterious outcome arising from the abovee-referenced activity.”

The point is to express ideas, not dazzle the readers with your word mastery

Dazzled readers become baffled readers who put your book down and tell their friends not to buy it. So keep it simple.

But don’t worry about looking simplistic, for using simple language does not mean that your writing will be simple-minded. Simple words, placed in simple but elegant sentences, can express complex ideas and convey powerful emotions.

#2: Keep the Pomposity Factor Low

How “elevated” should your writing be?

Well, when was the last time you walked up to someone and said, “As per our conversation of the 10th, I wish to provide additional information which prior to this time was not available.”

It’s probably been awhile since you said anything like that to someone, and it certainly should be a very long while before you write anything like that.

Effective writing does not require a special vocabulary, extra complex rules of grammar, verbosity or pomposity

You do not need to write: “Having ascertained the deleterious effects of the said product when utilized in the manner recently brought to our attention by the above-referenced, we shall recommend that it be used in only the prescribed manner.”

It’s perfectly okay to write, “Now that we’re aware of the problem, we’ll devise rules for using the product safely.”

Neither should you feel compelled to write: “Upon receipt of the information described here within, we shall immediately endeavor to bring the project to a satisfactory conclusion.”

The language in that sentence is slippery: Who is supposed to send the information? What is a satisfactory conclusion?

It’s simpler and much clearer to write: “We’ll finish the project as soon as you send the information.”

Be simple and direct

Don’t write as you imagine a pompous diplomat would speak. Instead, keep the pomposity factor low. Talk to the reader, using pen instead of voice.

Get rid of phrases such as: “Recognizing that one can actualize the beneficial potential of said program by effectualizing the process,” and “Allow me to reflect upon the nostalgia induced by the introduction of keepsakes to my memory.”

Unless you talk that way, don’t write that way. (And even if you do talk that way, don’t write that way.)

Just talk to your readers, plain and simple.

Which is easier to understand?

This: “Cephalic pain-relief of the common variety is generally effectively achieved with the oral introduction of medications of an analgesic nature specifically formulated from the original German formula to reduce the above referenced pain.”

Or this: Aspirin usually relieves headache pain.

This: The hundredth part of a dollar, when segregated from funds earmarked for expenditure, is equivalent to the same acquired as compensation for merchandise or services provided

Or this: A penny saved is a penny earned.

This: Thus you can see that my point, when viewed in the proper perspective, and according to guidelines of the parameters previously agreed upon, harmonizes with the arguments presented in favor of the position you have defended.

Or this: I agree.

#3: Short Sentences Are Sweet Sentences

The Lord’s Prayer is 66 words long.

The 23rd Psalm is made up of 118 words.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address contains 226 words.

The Ten Commandments are spelled out in about 300 words.

On the other hand, the “US Department of Agriculture Directive on Pricing Cabbage” is 15,629 words long! If length were all that mattered, the cabbage-pricing manual book would be a masterpiece.

It’s the weight of an idea or argument that counts, not its length

Your words don’t have to be big, your sentences needn’t be long, and your paragraphs don’t have to span several pages in order to impress your reader. In fact, most of the time you’ll make a better impression with modest sized words, sentences and paragraphs.

This sentence, for example, is way too long: “Work overload, which involves workers being required to perform too much activity in the allotted time frame, has been shown in many studies conducted in both government and non-government settings in several countries to cause increased gastric acid production, increased pepsin secretion and increased levels of serum pepsinogen, all of which may, acting either independently or collectively, lead to an inflammation of the lining of the upper gastrointestinal tract, a decrease in the ability of the mucosal barrier system to work, and, as a consequence, peptic ulcer disease symptoms in susceptible workers, with its attendant pain and epigastric tenderness.” (And yes, this is an actual sentence taken from a medical doctor’s report.)

That single sentence contains 98 words and several ideas, making it hard to follow.

The idea comes across much better in five sentences such as these: “Work overload occurs when workers are given too much work to do in the allotted time. This phenomenon has been examined in many studies conducted in several countries, involving both government and non-government settings. Results show that work overload causes increased gastric acid production, increased pepsin secretion, and increased serum pepsinogen levels. Individually and collectively, these increases may lead to an inflammation of the lining of the upper gastrointestinal tract and a decrease in the ability of the mucosal barrier system to work. In susceptible workers, this results in peptic ulcer disease symptoms, including the attendant pain and epigastric tenderness.”

Here’s another: “I am referring your grant proposal to our Grant Department, which reviews and processes proposals on a university-wide basis, since we have found through experience that this is the most expedient method, and for the additional reason that any one of our professional staff may be working on a proposal overlapping your own, and either an elimination of one, or a combining of two or more similar proposals, might be more efficacious.”

That’s another long sentence that defies easy understanding. It’s much easier to read and understand when written this way: “I am referring your proposal to our Grant Department, which reviews and processes proposals on a university-wide basis. Experience has taught us that sending all grants through this department expedites the process. It’s also an effective way to eliminate or combine overlapping proposals.” More sentences, fewer words, easier understanding.

There’s no law that says a sentence can only contain a certain number of words or ideas. So how can you tell if it’s too long? A sentence is too long if it contains so many words or ideas that it cannot be easily understood. Another rule of thumb: If it’s more than three lines long, it’s probably too long. When in doubt, read the sentence out loud to someone else. If he or she can’t easily follow the ideas, break the sentence up.

#4: Trash the Extra Words

A sentence should be no longer than it needs to be.

You don’t get brownie points for adding extra words. In fact, getting rid of extra words will help make your sentences more understandable.

Take, for example, this sentence: “The presence in this plant of a significant degree of nuclear radiation has been judged to be of a rather low likelihood by the engineer interpreter of the tests.”

That can be slimmed down into the more readable: “The engineer who studied the tests determined there was an insignificant level of nuclear radiation in the plant.”

Twenty-nine words become 18, and are much easier to read.

Don’t take all day trying to say what you want to say

Just say it! Here are some more examples of overly-long sentences:

  • “For an athlete, training is an essential part of his success, for the athlete depends upon his body to produce whatever results are necessary in order to excel and win.” Instead, how about: “Training is vital to the athlete, who depends upon his body for success,” or “Athletic excellence depends on training.”
  • “What I will discuss are the five major contributing factors which help our bodies to become the way they are.” Instead, how about: “Let’s examine the five major factors which shape the body.”
  • “Physical trauma is a very common contributor toward throwing the rotor assembly, its alignment and various constituents out of balance.” Instead, how about: “Physical trauma often throws the rotor assembly out of balance.”
They’re just in the way

Extra words and phrases are to writing what “ahs” and “ums” are to speaking – fillers, time-wasters, things you say or write when nothing else comes to mind. They also get in the way of the real meaning.

Here are some popular unnecessary extras, with suggested substitutions in parentheses:

  • What it is, is… (It is)
  • To be that of… (To be)
  • What I will do is… (I will)
  • There are noted to be… (There are)
  • At this point in time… (Now)
  • Make a recommendation that… (Recommend)
  • Perform a study of… (Study)
  • Of a difficult nature… (Difficult)
  • As to whether… (Whether)
  • A history of having had… (A history of)
  • She is someone who… (She)
Blessed are the brief, for they shall be read! #5: Combine For Clarity

Can sentences be too short?

Yes.

Too-tiny sentences can be annoying because they spread a modest amount of information across several sentences. Making your sentences too small forces you to add unnecessary words and to chop up ideas and descriptions.

For example: “See Dick. See Dick run. Dick is running to the Board Room. Dick is the CEO. The Board wants to fire Dick. The company is not doing well.” These sentences are simple and clear, but create a choppy paragraph.

Combine short sentences to smooth the flow. If one short sentence explains or modifies another diminutive one, the two can probably be combined. For example:

“The house has a beautiful garden,” is better than, “The house has a garden. The garden is beautiful.”

“The new gasoline resulted in higher prices and more pollution,” is better than, “The new gasoline has problems. The problems include higher prices and more pollution.”

“Monocytes engulf and kill antigens,” is better than, “Monocytes engulf antigens. Once they’ve engulfed the antigens, they kill them.” (The first five words of the second sentence only repeat the last two words of the first.)

Apply the same principle to phrases within a sentence.

  • Instead of, “He had a watch on his right wrist; it is a large watch,” try “He had a large watch on his right wrist.”
  • Instead of, “The horse is a female, she is three years old,” try “The horse is a three-year old female.”
  • Instead of, “Various types of scientists contributed to the vaccine. The types ranged from biologists to zoologists,” try “Various types of scientists, ranging from biologists to zoologists, contributed to the vaccine.”
#6: Favor the Active Voice

Which is better, the active or passive voice?

When writing a non-fiction book, should you write about the actor, or the action? In other words, should you use the active voice or the passive voice?

As a general rule, the active voice is better than the passive voice.

The active voice is more authoritative, to the point, and, well, more active than the passive voice.

The passive voice is useful but tends to be overused, watering down the text and slowing the reader.

What’s active and what’s passive?

Think of sentences as containing an actor and an action. If the actor does the action, the sentence is active. If the action is done by the actor, the sentence is passive.

  • “Joe hit Bob,” is active. (The actor, Joe, performs an action.)
  • “Bob was hit by Joe,” is passive. (The action, hitting, was done by Joe.)
  • “The nurse gave an injection,” is active. (The actor, the nurse, performs an action.)
  • “The injection was given by the nurse,” is passive. (The action, injecting, was performed by the nurse.)
  • “Greg is taking medicine,” is active. (The actor, Greg, performs an action.)
  • “The medicine is being taken by Greg,” is passive. (The action, taking medicine, was performed by Greg.)
Sentences may get more complex, but the idea is the same

In the sentence, “Determined to find chocolate milk, Howard drove his new car six miles across town to the market,” “Howard” is the actor, and “drove” is the action. This is an active sentence because the actor (Howard) is acting (driving). The sentence becomes passive if worded like this: “The new car was driven six miles across town to the market by Howard, who was determined to find chocolate milk.”

Notice how vigorous and direct the active approach is:

  • “Joshua passed the test.”
  • “Melanie purchased a briefcase.”
  • “The Ethics Committee reported…”
  • “Cholera ravaged the town.”

The reader immediately knows who or what is acting, and can form a mental image.

Images come a little slower with passive sentences

Passive sentences are not as strong or direct as active sentences:

  • “The test was passed by Joshua.”
  • “The briefcase was purchased by Melanie.”
  • “It was reported by the Ethics Committee that…”
  • “The town was ravaged by the disease.”
Active sentences focus attention on the actor, passive sentences on the action

If you were writing about Thomas Edison you would say, “Thomas Edison invented the telephone.” Saying, “The telephone was invented by Thomas Edison,” switches the emphasis to the telephone.

Since active construction focuses on the actor, it’s easy to assign credit or blame when the writing is active. For example, given the sentence: “The pounds are made to melt away,” you don’t know who to thank. Explaining that, “The Smith Diet melts the pounds away,” tells the reader who is responsible. Some people use the passive voice on purpose, hoping to weasel out of a problem:

  • “Design errors crept into the study,” is a way of trying not to say, “I made a mistake.”
  • “The meta-analysis was conducted in a less-than-optimal manner,” is a “don’t look at me” way of explaining, “Our analysis was bad.”

Whoever wrote the two sentences shown above was obviously trying to keep the boss thinking about the “design errors” and the “meta-analysis,” not about the blunderer who made the mistakes!

The passive voice can be useful

There are times when you don’t want to focus on the actor, because the actor is not as important as the action is. For example:

  • “Workers were hired and the job was completed.”
  • “Based on the examination and test results, a diagnosis of depression was made.”
  • “Grants were given for development.”
  • “The book was released in 1982.”

Sometimes the actor is unknown:

  • “Money was developed to facilitate trade.”
  • “Primitive medical techniques were refined through the centuries.”

The passive voice is also nice for a change: “The right atrium pumps the blood down to the right ventricle. The right ventricle contracts, sending the blood to the lungs. Inside the lungs, the blood exchanges its carbon dioxide for fresh oxygen before returning to the left side of the heart. Rich with fresh oxygen, the blood is then propelled through the aorta to the body.” After three active sentences, a passive sentence (“Rich with fresh oxygen…”) is a pleasant change in tone.

Finally, the passive voice can be just what you want to say: “Our defense against disease is ably handled by the immune system,” or “Wastes are filtered from the fluid by the kidneys.”

Favor the active voice, using the passive when necessary, and for variety

However, you should avoid sentences so passive as to be unreadable:

“Posing for our cameras was enjoyed by natives, except in those places where there was the belief that the taking of an image robbed the person of the soul.” Three passive constructions in one sentence (“was enjoyed by the natives,” “there was the belief” and “the taking of an image”) makes the sentence awkward. Instead, try: “The natives liked posing for our camera, except in those places where they believed having their picture taken robbed them of their souls.”

There’s no absolute rule on active and passive sentences. Overuse is made of the passive, however, so favor the active.

#7: Skip The Jargon

Experts know all the buzz words and abbreviations, but most readers won’t.

For example, foreign policy experts know “MAD” stands for Mutual Assured Destruction, which was long our nation’s policy for preventing nuclear war.

Physicians know that “blue bloaters” and “pink puffers” describe people in specific types of respiratory distress, but the average reader might guess that they are some kind of fish.

It’s blah-blah to my ears

These buzz words, abbreviations and other verbal concoctions are known as jargon.

Jargon helps people communicate – if everybody understands it. But since jargon is usually only understood by those in the field, skip it when writing for anyone else. Stick with plain old English. Using just a dash jargon and immediately defining it can spice up your writing, but a lot of jargon, or any unexplained jargon at all, will make your writing unintelligible.

When penning a poem to your loved one, you could say:

“My darling, I have entered into a cognitive-affective state characterized by intrusive and obsessive fantasizing concerning reciprocity of my amorant feelings by the object of my amorance.”(1)

Yes, you could say that, but it’s probably better to simply say, “I love you.”

You’ll get a much better response.

—-

Notes: 1) The “My darling…” sentence was quoted from the book The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson. William Morrow & Co., 1990, p. 19.

#8: Don’t Over-Love Yourself
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Unfortunately, the situation is confusing. The services offered vary from editor to editor, types of editing are sometimes given different names, services can be combined in different ways, and prices may be quoted either by word or by hour.

To help you sort through the various editors, I googled “what does it cost to edit a book” and randomly selected ten sites that offered editorial services and fees, skipping those that required me to enter my information and wait to be contacted by them. The sites I used included individual editors, self-publishing firms, a trade group, and a service platforms.

Here’s what I found, with descriptions and prices taken right from the websites. Please note that I’m not recommending any of these individuals or services, simply providing information.

Affordable Christian Editing – a group of six editors who “believe that there is not enough Christian or just clean, decent literature available out there.”

  • Copy Editing – $0.015 per word
  • Content Editing – $0.25 per word
  • Proof Reading – $0.01 per word

The Book Butchers – This is a group of “insanely talented book editors with decades of experience trimming meat from fat, separating skin from flesh, exact anatomical knowledge of fiction and non-fiction writing, and the right tools and techniques for each precision cut.”

  • The Quick Kill edit – $0.02 per word – proofreading, line edit, fix spelling and grammar, sales copy/summary revision
  • Extra Bloody edit – $0.04 per word – all of the above plus organza ton and content, plot and pacing, manuscript review
  • The Perfect Murder edit – $0.06 per word – all of the above plus formatting of print and ebook, and pre-publication proofread

Book Editing Associates – This services notes that “We screen, test, and monitor editors, proofreaders, and publishing consultants.”

  • Developmental Editing – Starts at 3 cents per word – “A developmental editor looks at the big picture.”
  • Copyediting – Starts at 2 cents per word – “polishing your prose at the word, sentence, and paragraph levels…. Copyediting is often considered a “mechanical” process, in that it focuses on the fine points of technique and accuracy.”
  • Line Editing – Starts at 3 cents per word – “intensive, word-by-word edit fixes awkward phrasings, queries anything that isn’t clear, eliminates unnecessary words, calls out vocabulary that is either too dense or too low-level, checks that analogies are apt, corrects grammar and diction errors, and so much more.”
  • Proofreading – Starts at 1 cent per word – “involves the identification and correction of typographical errors, punctuation errors, misspellings, and formatting inconsistencies.

Editorial Freelancers Association – a trade group consisting of “editors, writers, indexers, proofreaders, researchers, desktop publishers, translators, and others who offer a broad range of skills and specialties.”

  • Developmental editing – 1–5 pgs/hr – $45–55/hr
  • Basic copyediting – 5–10 manuscript pages per hour – $30–40/hr
  • Heavy copyediting – 2–5 ms pgs/hr – $40–50/hr
  • Substantive or line editing – 1–6 ms pgs/hr -$40–60/hr
  • Proofreading – 9–13 ms pgs/hr – $30–35/hr

EliteAuthors – a firm that offers editing, ghostwriting, cover design, and other services related to book publishing.

  • Developmental editing – $.04 per word – “turn a rough first draft into a finished final product”
  • Copyediting – $.016 per word – “thoroughly check your grammar, spelling, and usage”
  • Line editing – $.021 per word – “improve organization, characters, plot, and pacing”
  • Proofreading – $.012 per word – “so you don’t risk publishing a manuscript with lingering misspellings, grammatical errors, or typos”

Kirkus Editorial – They offer to “Have your book edited by experts from the nation’s top publishing houses.” According to their website, “Kirkus only selects editors who have worked on books published by the top publishers in the United States.”

  • Basic Copyediting – 2 cents per word – “A thorough cleanup that focuses on the mechanics of language—correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling, and typos. Copy editors also look for continuity errors…and they will make sure the timeline tracks and the details are consistent.
  • Collaborative Editing – 3 cents per word plus $99 for the phone call – “A developmental edit that focuses on big-picture issues like structure, pacing, tone, and characterization.… Along with the marked-up manuscript, you’ll receive a memo outlining the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses, with suggestions on how to approach revisions. Once you review the editor’s comments, you’ll have a one-hour follow-up phone call during which you can ask for clarification or further advice on next steps.”
  • Professional Editing Package – 6.5 cents per word – This consists of three rounds of editing and most closely resembles the editorial process at traditional publishers. It includes 1) the collaborative editing service and phone call as described above, 2) the copyediting service as described above, and 3) a final proofread to catch any lingering typos and finalize formatting.”

Reedsy – a site that “allows authors to find and work with the best publishing professionals: from developmental editors to book cover designers, publicists and translators.”

Reedsy examined the fees charged by the editors on its site and determined  “the average rates charged by editors on an 80,000-word manuscript” are:  

  • Developmental editing – $1,920
  • Copy editing – $1,360
  • Proofreading – $800

The Threepenny Editor – they provide “copyediting, manuscript critiques, developmental editing, and mentorship.” For fiction and literary nonfiction.

  • Line editing – “Rates typically vary from $5 to $7 per 250 words.”

The Write Proofreader – A team of editors headed by Kelly Bixler, whose mission is “Ridding the world of bad grammar one dangling participle at a time.”

  • “Most projects are $0.014 per word (which is $3.50 per page – based on a standard, double-spaced page of 250 words).”  

Xulon Press – this Christian self-publishing firm offers editing services

  • Basic Copy Editing – $0.025 per word – “catch and correct any errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and syntax…. Some formatting, such as block quotes, is corrected.”
  • Line Editing – $0.05 per word – “focuses on improving the flow and readability of your work so your message is clearly understood by the reader. Wordy or awkward sentences are rewritten, passive to active voice changes are made, paragraph and sentence length are adjusted, and transitions between thoughts and chapters are strengthened. Line Editing also includes the services of a Basic Copy Edit.”

Assuming the above prices are representative, the cost to edit a book begins at about $0.015 per word, and moves up to about $0.06 per word. Editors with excellent resumes and credentials may charge even more.

The post What Does It Cost to Edit a Book? appeared first on Barry Fox, Ph.D..

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Self-publishing firms offer a wide variety of packages. They’re convenient, but it can be difficult to sort through the may offerings, some of which are quite expensive and may contain more services than you need.

A package might be as basic as a choice of two cover designs from which to choose, plus an ISBN. Or it might be as complex as custom-designed book layout and cover, a full-fledged publicity push, having your book listed for sale in many online bookstores, and more. Additional services, purchased a la carte, include items such as editing, ghostwriting, and special marketing services.

Clients have asked me about the prices of these self-publishing packages, so I’ve listed the costs for the least and most expensive packages offered by 10 self-publishing companies.

These are general packages, not those specifically designed for children’s or poetry books.

Please note that I am not recommending any of these firms or packages, simply providing information. The names and prices of these packages are current as of April, 2019, and do not take into account any sale prices.

  • AuthorHouse – For black and white publishing, prices range from the $899 Discovery to the $12,299 Optimum package. For full color publishing, prices range from the $899 Discovery to the $2,899 Fundamental core plus package.
  • Balboa Press – For black and white, from the $1,099 Embark standard core package to the $14,999 Amplify package. For color, from the $1,499 Imagine to the $5,999 Illuminate package.
  • CaryPress – From the $895 Debut to the $8,455 Legendary package.
  • Dog Ear Publishing – From the $1,499 Basic to the $7,999 Ultimate package.
  • iUniverse – For black and white, from the $999 Select to the $7,699 Broadcast Pro package. For color, from the $1,499 Color Basic to the $5,499 Color Pro package.
  • Lulu – For black and white, from the $999 Classic to the $2,999 Blitz package. For color, from the $1,199 Classic to the $3,199 Artful.
  • Outskirts Press – from the $899 Economy to the $1,799 Ultimate package.
  • Westbow Press – from the $1,099 Essential Access to the $16,999 Premier Publicist package.
  • Xlibris – From the $899 Basic to the $15,299 Platinum package.
  • Xulon – from the $1,099 Basic to the $3,299 Elite package.

Among these, the least expensive is the $895 Debut from CaryPress; the most expensive is the $16,999 Premier Publicist offered by Westbow Press. As you can see, there is quite a range in self-publishing packages. Deciding which is best for you will require a lot of research, but it’s well worth the effort.

To learn more about self-publishing and standard publishing, see, “Book Publishing: A How-To.”

Note: The information in this article came from the company websites. Before signing on with any firm, read the contract carefully and check review sites to see if there are any problems or special issues regarding this firm.

The post Self-Publishing Package: What It Costs appeared first on Barry Fox, Ph.D..

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Although I’m a book ghostwriter, not a printer, I’m often asked about printing and publication. Many of my clients are not sure about the differences between digital and offset printing, or which to use for their book. Here’s a quick comparison of the two.

Digital Printing – Pros

  • Low set-up costs.
  • Economical for short and ultra-short runs.
  • Used for POD (print-on-demand).
  • Faster turn-around time than with offset printing, for there is less press set-up and maintenance.
  • Less waste.

Digital Printing – Cons

  • Print quality may be slightly inferior to offset printing 
  • Color quality may suffer, depending on the color scheme you’re using. Does not reproduce Pantone colors with 100% fidelity.
  • Cost per unit may be higher than with offset printing, depending on number of units printed.
  • Paper selection limited.

Offset Printing – Pros

  • Very high-quality printing.
  • Good color reproduction.
  • More economical for long runs.
  • Cost per unit falls with additional units printed.
  • Large variety of paper stock, inks, and finishes can be used.

Offset Printing – Cons

  • Higher set-up cost.
  • Increased turn-around time, for the press needs to be reset up for each job.
  • Expensive for short runs.
  • Cost prohibitive for POD (print on demand).

There are valid reasons to choose one form of printing over the over. If you’re looking to bottom-line it, remember that digital printing is more cost-effective for short runs, while offset printing is a better bet for long runs. (See my post titled “10 Book Printing Definitions” to learn about different print runs.)

The post Digital vs. Offset Printing: Which is Best for Your Book? appeared first on Barry Fox, Ph.D..

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Are you self-publishing your book, going the full DIY route, including arranging for your own printing?

There are many book printers in the U.S. and Canada, but no simple way to determine which is best for you. It takes some digging to find the one with the right combination of skills, services, and price. To help, I’ve prepared this list of 70+ U.S. and Canadian printers.

For each, you’ll find the company name, website, and the type of printing they offer, if indicated on their website: Digital printing (D), offset (O), web press (WP), short run (SR), and print-on-demand (POD). To learn more about these printing terms, read my post titled “10 Book Printing Definitions.”

NOTE: This list is not meant to be an endorsement of any company, just a way for you to start your search for a printer. The list is current as of April, 2019.

48 Hour Books – http://www.48hrbooks.com – SR

A&A Printing & Publishing – http://www.printshopcentral.com – D, O, WP, SR, POD

Action Printing – 
https://www.actionprinting.com/products/ – WP, D, F, SR

Adair Graphic Communications – http://www.adairgraphic.com/production/#print – D, O, SR

Adibooks.com – http://www.adibooks.com

ADR – http://www.adr.biz – D, SR, POD

Alexander’s Print Advantage – http://www.alexanders.com – D, SR, POD

America’s Press – http://www.americas-press.com – D, SR, POD

Bang Printing – www.bangprinting.com – D, O, SR

Bookmasters – http://www.bookmasters.com/services/book-printing – D, O, WP, SR, POD

BookMobile.com – www.bookmobile.com – D, SR

BooksOnDemand.com – www.BooksOnDemand.com – D, SR

CHG (Color House Graphics) – http://www.colorhousegraphics.com – D, O, SR

CJK (The C.J. Krehbiel Company) – http://www.cjkusa.com – D, O, WP

C-M Books (Cushing Malloy) – http://www.cushing-malloy.com – D, O, SR

ColorPage Marketing and Publishing – http://www.colorpageonline.compublishing/book-printing – SR

Consolidated Printers – http://www.consoprinters.com/servsprods.html – D

Country Press, The – http://www.countrypressprinting.com – SR, WP, POD

Covington Group – http://www.covingtongroup.net – D, WP

Digital Publishing of Florida – http://www.digitaldata-corp.com – D, SR

DR (Data Reproductions Corporation) – http://www.datarepro.com

ECPrinting – http://www.ecprinting.com – D, O, SR

Friesens Corporation – http://www.friesens.com – D, O, WP, SR

G&H Soho – http://www.ghsoho.com – D

Gorham Printing – http://www.gorhamprinting.com – D, SR

HCI Printing & Publishing – http://www.hciprinting.com

Houghton Boston – http://www.houghtonboston.com

IronMark Book Printing Services – https://ironmarkusa.com/book-printing

Jostens Commercial Printing – http://www.jostenscalifornia.com/ – D, O

Keystone Digital Press – http://www.kdpress.com – D, POD

King Printing Company – http://www.kingprinting.com – D, SR

Lake Book Manufacturing – http://www.lakebook.com

Lightning Source – http://www.lightningsource.com – D, O, SR

Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing Group – http://www.maple-vail.com – D, O, SR

McNaughton & Gunn – http://www.bookprinters.com – D, O,

Mercury Print Productions – http://www.mercuryprint.com – D, SR

Meridian Printing – http://www.meridianprinting.com

P. A. Hutchison – http://www.pahutch.com – D, WP, SR

P.O.D. Wholesale – http://www.podwholesale.com – POD

Patterson Printing – http://www.pattersonprinting.com – WP, SR

Phoenix Color – http://www.phoenixcolor.com/components.html

Pollock Printing – http://www.pollockprinting.com/books – D, O, WP, POD

Publishers Express Press – http://www.PublishersExpressPress.com – D, POD,

Publishers’ Graphics LLC – http://www.pubgraphics.com – D, O, SR, POD

Pure Graphix – http://www.puregraphx.com/self-publishing – D

Quality Book Press – http://www.qualitybookpress.com – SR, POD

Rose Printing – http://www.roseprinting.com

Sheridan Books – http://www.sheridanbooks.com/markets-served/books – D, O, SR, POD

Signature Book Printing – http://www.signature-book.com

Solisco Printers – https://solisco.com/language/en/home/ – D, O, SR

Sterling Pierce – http://www.sterlingpierce.com

Sun Graphics Book – http://book.sun-graphics.com

Sunray Printing – http://www.sunrayprinting.com/offset-printing/books – D

Taylor Specialty Books – http://www.taylorspecialtybooks.com – SR

Thomson-Shore – http://www.thomsonshore.com – D, O, SR

Total Printing Systems – http://www.tps1.com/our-focus/books – D, SR, POD,

Versa Press – http://www.versapress.com – O

Walsworth Publishing Company – http://www.walsworth.com/books – D, SR

Webcom Limited – http://www.webcomlink.com – D, O

Webcrafters – http://www.webcrafters-inc.com/digital_printing.html  – D, O

Whitehall Printing Company – http://www.whitehallprinting.com – WP

Whitlock Printing – http://wbsusa.com/index.php/17-360digitalbooks

Worzalla Printing – http://www.worzalla.com – WP

The post 70+ Book Printers appeared first on Barry Fox, Ph.D..

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If you decide to self-publish your book entirely on your own, you’ll have to find and work with a printer or print broker. Which one you select can make a big difference, both price- and quality-wise, so it pays to become familiar with the types of printing and printers available today.

If you decide to self-publish your book entirely on your own, you’ll have to find and work with a printer or print broker. Which one you select can make a big difference, both price- and quality-wise, so it pays to become familiar with the types of printing and printers available today.

Here are 10 printing definitions to get you started:

  1. Digital printing – A method of printing in which the information about the image to be created—that is, the text and graphics—is sent from a computer to the printer, then printed using inkjet or toner technology. Because there’s no need to create a printing plate and set it up on the press, digital printing is faster and can be less expensive than offset printing.
  2. Offset printing – The older but still effective method of printing in which the text and images to be printed are “burned” onto a printing plate, which is  loaded into a printer and used to transfer (“offset”) the image to a rubber blanket, then onto the paper or other printing surface. Also called offset lithography.
  3. Web offset press – An offset printing press that prints on a continual roll of paper, which is then cut up into individual pages or sheets. Also called web-fed press.
  4. Sheet-fed offset press – An offset printing press that prints onto individual sheets of paper or other surfaces.
  5. Long-run – Printing many copies of your book at once, from tens of thousands on up. Because you are printing so many, the cost per unit can be very low.
  6. Medium-run – Printing several thousand copies of your book at once; perhaps up to ten thousand or so.
  7. Short-run – Printing a modest number of your books at once, anywhere from 50 up to a few thousand copies.
  8. Ultra-short run – Printing a very small number of your books at once, generally less than 50.
  9. POD (print on demand) – A form of ultra-short run printing in which copies of your book are printed only when ordered, even if just one is ordered at a time. Because you are printing so few at once, the cost per unit can be fairly high.
  10. Print broker/print manager – An independent middleman who helps you locate the best printer for your project.

Although I’m not a print broker, I’ve prepared a list of book printers in the U.S. and Canada to help you begin your search for the right printer. I’m not offering an opinion on any of them, simply listing them to help you get started. Good luck!

The post 10 Book Printing Definitions appeared first on Barry Fox, Ph.D..

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You’ve got a great non-fiction book proposal in hand or maybe a finished novel and you’re eager to see it published. Unfortunately, not a single literary agent has agreed to represent you. Unless you’re willing to self-publish, is this the end of the road?

Not necessarily. Although the major traditional publishers do not accept unsolicited proposals or manuscripts, many smaller publishers do, including a modest number of imprints of major publishers. (An imprint is a “division” of a larger publisher.)

To help you find them, I’ve put together a list of thirty-five publishers who accept unsolicited submissions. For each, you’ll find a link to the contact page on their websites, as well as a brief description of the types of manuscripts they are looking for. As much as possible, all information I’ve included is quoted from the websites.

Some of these publishers only publish in digital form, while others publish “physical” books, as well. And some are traditional, royalty-based publishers, while others offer add-on services in addition to traditional publishing, so be sure to read a publisher’s website carefully before contacting them.

Good luck with your submissions!

Note: This information is current as of April, 2019 but can change at any time. Please note that I am not recommending any of these publishers; just providing information.

Just in: Five of the publishers previously listed are no longer accepting submissions, so I struck them from the list. I’ll relist them if they change their policies.

Albert Whitman & Company

See: https://www.albertwhitman.com/submission-guidelines-for-unrepresented-authors/

What they are looking for: “Albert Whitman & Company currently has an open submissions policy. We will read and review un-agented manuscripts and proposals for picture books, middle-grade fiction, and young adult novels.”

Andrews McMeel Publishing

See: http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/our-company/submissions

What they are looking for: “Andrews McMeel Publishing (AMP) is a leading publisher of humor, inspiration, poetry, and middle grade children’s books, publishing as many as 150 new titles annually. AMP is also the premier calendar publisher in the country, annually publishing calendars based on many top-selling properties.

“We’re always looking for new authors and new book and calendar ideas.”

Bancroft Press

See: http://bancroftpress.com/submission-guidelines-2/

What they are looking for: “We publish trade fiction and non-fiction, and we publish what we like. ”

Baen Books

See: http://www.baen.com/submit

What they are looking for: “We publish only science fiction and fantasy. Writers familiar with what we have published in the past will know what sort of material we are most likely to publish in the future: powerful plots with solid scientific and philosophical underpinnings are the sine qua non for consideration for science fiction submissions. As for fantasy, any magical system must be both rigorously coherent and integral to the plot, and overall the work must at least strive for originality.”

Celsea Green Publishing

See: http://www.chelseagreen.com/submission-guidelines

What they are looking for: “
Chelsea Green specializes in books that promote the “politics and practice of sustainable living.’”

Career Press

See: http://www.careerpress.com/?section=submission

What they are looking for: “…
quality, nonfiction books for adult readers seeking practical information to improve themselves in careers, college, finance, parenting, retirement, spirituality, and other related topics. We strive to deliver well-written, comprehensive books that inform, advise, and educate the reader.”

Chicago Review Press

See: http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/about-chicago-review-press-pages-512.php

What they are looking for: “…high-quality nonfiction that will sell year after year. We look for books with a well-defined, passionate target audience. Chicago Review Press publishes nonfiction in the following categories: African American interest, autobiography/biography, DIY, film, food and drink (not cookbooks), history, music, parenting, politics, popular culture, popular science, social science, sports, regional (Midwest), nature/outdoor/travel, true crime, and women’s interest. Chicago Review Press also publishes an award-winning line of children’s and young adult titles. We do not publish children’s picture books whether fiction or nonfiction. We do not publish books in the following subject areas: mind/body/spirit, religion, diet/fitness/nutrition, family memoir, self-help, business, poetry, or photography.”

Chronicle Books

See: http://www.chroniclebooks.com/submissions

What they are looking for: “Our list includes cookbooks, fine art, design, photography, pop culture, craft, fashion, beauty, home décor, relationships, lifestyle…”

City Lights Press

See:
http://www.citylights.com/publishing/?fa=publishing_manuscripts

What they are looking for: “…literary fiction; social, political, and cultural studies; poetry; and literature in translation.”

DAW (part of Penguin Books)

See: http://www.penguin.com/publishers/daw/

What they are looking for: “DAW accepts unsolicited submissions of science fiction and fantasy novels. ”

Diversion Books

See: http://www.diversionbooks.com/contact-1

What they are looking for: “Currently, we publish books in the following categories:

Non-Fiction: Business, Sports, History, True Crime, Pop Culture, and platform-based general interest titles

Fiction: Thrillers, Mysteries, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Young Adult.

Dreaming Big Publishing

See:
http://www.dreamingbigpublications.com/open-calls.html

What they are looking for: “We publish books for all ages, and are not afraid to push boundaries. We love books that shine a light on the good, bad, and the ugly of human nature. Sometimes, we just want a light fun read! No genre is off limits for us.”  

Forever Yours (part of Grand Central Publishing, which is part of Hachette Book Group)

See: http://labs.hbgusa.com/web/forever-romance/submission-guidelines.html

What they are looking for: “We’re interested in all styles of romance, particularly contemporary, diverse reads, romantic suspense, cowboys, historicals, and paranormal. .”

Gibbs Smith

See: https://www.gibbs-smith.com/submissions

What they are looking for: “Our main emphasis is on interior designarchitecturechildren’s, and cookbooks. Additionally, we accept submissions in the following subjects: arts and craftswestern humor with general appeal, general humor, and gift books.”

Harlequin

See: https://harlequin.submittable.com/submit

What they are looking for: “We publish a wide range of content and welcome writers from all backgrounds, cultures and communities to submit to the romance series or trade imprint best suited to their unique voice and story.”

Hydra (part of Random House)

See: http://wordpress.hydrapublications.com/submissions/

What they are looking for: “Hydra is actively seeking LitRPG of any type!… Subtypes include VR, no logout, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, dungeon core, harem, crunchy, light, moba, portal fantasy, town builder, and LitFPS, among others.”

Idiot’s Guide (part of Penguin)

See: http://www.penguin.com/static/pages/cig/submit.php

“We do accept unsolicited proposals, in printed or in electronic form, submitted by regular mail or by e-mail.”

Joffe Books (UK)

See: http://www.joffebooks.com/submissions/

“We accept submissions from agents, authors who have previously published or self-published their books, first-time writers, and anyone in between.”

What they are looking for: “Mysteries, Crime Fiction, Psychological Thrillers, Detective, Thrillers, and Suspense, are favourite genres ”

Kensington Publishing

See: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/page.aspx/submissions

What they are looking for: A broad range of fiction and non-fiction

Light Message

See: http://www.lightmessages.com/about/aboutlm

The company describes itself as a “general trade publisher”

Loveswept and Flirt (both are part of Random House)

See: http://www.randomhousebooks.com/loveswept-flirt/#becomeauthor

What they are looking for: “Loveswept and Flirt invites queries for submissions in contemporary romance, erotica, historical romance, paranormal romance, women’s fiction, and new adult..”

NCM Publishing

See: http://www.ncmpublishing.com/submissions.html

What they are looking for: “seeking tasteful provocative, intelligent fiction manuscripts in the areas of sexuality and erotica, romance, urban and street, science fiction, Christian fiction, and general interest, as well as nonfiction, and lively stories of all genres of fiction for the general population…”

Pants On Fire Press

See: http://pantsonfirepress.com/submissions/

“Pants On Fire Press is a book publisher that accepts unsolicited manuscripts from authors.”

What they are looking for: “We are acquiring Middle-Grade, Young Adult and Fiction for adults. We are looking for strong writers who are excited about marketing their stories and building a following of readers.”

Peachtree

See: http://peachtree-online.com/contact/

What they are looking for: “Peachtree is currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts and art submissions for publication consideration in the following categories:

  • Children’s fiction and nonfiction picture books
  • Early Reader fiction and nonfiction chapter books
  • Middle Grade fiction and nonfiction
  • Young Adult fiction and nonfiction

Regal Crest

See: http://regalcrest.biz/submissions/

What they are looking for: “Regal Crest is looking for LGBTQI novels with plots of action, adventure, drama, fantasy, mystery, thriller, romance and science fiction, or romance coupled with sub-plots of action, adventure, drama, fantasy, mystery, thriller, and science fiction.  Basically, we accept most genres, including non-fiction works.”

Skyhorse Publishing

See: http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/guidelines

What they are looking for: “We are open to receiving submissions for proposed books in the following categories:

  • Sports (Team and Individual)
  • Outdoor Sport (Hunting, Fishing, and Camping)
  • Adventure and Travel
  • Health and Fitness
  • House and Home
  • History
  • Humor
  • Military History
  • Business
  • Games and Gambling
  • Horses
  • Pets and Animals
  • Nature and Science
  • Food and Wine
  • Aviation
  • True Crime
  • Current Events

SMP Swerve (part of St. Martin’s Press, which is part of Macmillan)

See: https://stmartinspress.submittable.com/submit

“We welcome agented and un-agented authors, if you have a heart-racing, swoontastic story, we want to see it!”

What they are looking for: “We are looking for all sub-genres of romance, 25k-100k words. All books should end in a happily ever after or a happily for now (if the characters are continuing in a series.)”

Stone Pier Press

See: https://www.stonepierpress.org/submissions

What they are looking for: “We’re looking for books about good food; books that inspire support for climate-friendly, agriculturally sustainable, and good-for-us eating. We tilt toward stories that feature solutions and problem-solvers….We’ll consider narrative nonfiction, guidebooks, memoirs, young adult novels, biographies, and children’s books.  .”

Tor Forge (part of MacMillan)

See: https://us.macmillan.com/torforge/about/faq/#submit%20writing

“We have an open submissions policy and consider tens of thousands of projects a year.”

What they are looking for: Sci fi and fantasy, general fiction, children’s and YA

Workman Publishing

See: https://www.workman.com/work-with-us/author-submissions#artisan

Several of the company’s imprints currently accept unsolicited submissions:

  • Artisan Books – No specific information provided
  • The Experiment – “we publish both narrative and practically oriented nonfiction”
  • Storey Publishing – “The mission of Storey Publishing is to serve our customers by publishing practical information that encourages personal independence in harmony with the environment. The books we select to carry out this mission include nonfiction titles for adults and children on gardening, home reference, crafts, cooking, beer & wine, nature, raising animals, horses, building, farming, homesteading, and mind/body/spirit.”
  • Timber Press – No specific information provided
  • Workman – “…publishes exclusively nonfiction books for children and adults, as well as calendars.”

The post 35 Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Submissions appeared first on Barry Fox, Ph.D..

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How do you get a literary agent for your book?

Here’s a list of one hundred literary agents accepting submissions,
detailing the genres they represent (and those they don’t), submission guidelines, and other information taken from their websites, using direct quotes whenever possible. Please note that I am not recommending any of these literary agents or agencies; just listing information.

While this may be enough to get you started, be sure to read your chosen agency’s entire website very carefully. You may be with this agency for a long time, so you need to be sure the fit is right!

Note: This information is current as of October, 2016, but can change at any time. Check an agency’s website carefully before contacting them. For the complete list, see Part 1 and Part 2.

Joelle Delbourgo Associates – http://www.delbourgo.com/submissions

The agency represents “both narrative and prescriptive nonfiction: ‘big think’ books, groundbreaking research-based nonfiction, history and politics, psychology, parenting, business and economics, science, memoir, health and wellness, and true crime. Our fiction spans mainstream quality commercial women’s fiction to literary fiction, upscale mysteries, romance and fantasy. Whatever the genre, we seek quality first and foremost, distinctive voices, and original points of view.”

You are asked to submit:

  • “a brief overview of the proposed book.”
  • “Tell us something about yourself, specifically about
    your qualifications to write your proposed book. We are also interested in
    why you decided to write the book. Let us know if you are a previously
    published author, and if so, what you have published.”
  • “Let us know if your book has been self-published,
    please provide detailed publication data including sales.”
  • “For nonfiction, let us know if a proposal and sample
    chapters are available. If not, you should probably wait to send your
    query when you have a completed proposal.”
  • “For fiction and memoir, embed the FIRST 10 pages of
    manuscript into the e-mail after your query letter. Please no attachments.
    If we like your first pages, we may ask to see your synopsis and more
    manuscript. Both should be completed before you query us.”

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You
can learn about them by clicking on their names on the “About Us” page.

Send submissions to the specific agent you are querying, whose address can be found on his/her page on the website.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: Email queries only, no hardcopy submissions. No attachments.

John Hawkins and Associates – http://www.jhalit.com/#Submissions

The agency says: “Our interests range over nearly all of what we call trade books, i.e., the books you find in a bookstore. Fiction of all sorts, non-fiction  (contemporary journalism, history, biography, etc.), juveniles (although primarily young adult and middle grades, since we don’t specialize in illustrators, but having said that I should add that we represent several of the best), sci-fi and fantasy.”

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (commercial, literary, multi-cultural), biography, business, children’s books, foreign policy, historical narratives, history, medicine, nature writing, science, suspense, technology, thrillers, women’s issues, and world affairs.

You are asked to submit:

  • “A brief letter about your book (genre, summary and/or synopsis, word count, etc.)”
  • “A bit about you/your writing background.”
  • “For fiction: Include the first 3 chapters, or opening chapter of your novel as a single Word attachment.”
  • “For non-fiction: Include your book proposal as a single Word attachment. [The elements of a solid book proposal include: Overview; About the Author; Chapter Outline; Marketing/Publicity; Comparative Works; Sample Chapter.”
  • “Please put the word query in the subject line, and if you’d like your query read by a particular agent, please email them
    directly.”

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on their individual pages, which can be accessed via the “Agents” tab.

Send submissions to jha@jhalit.com

Typical reply time: 2-4 weeks

The Joy Harris Literary Agency – http://www.joyharrisliterary.com/contact

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (cultural, literary), biography, medicine, memoir, narrative non-fiction, pop culture, science, and technology.

The agency does not represent genre fiction, poetry, screenplays, or self-help.

You are asked to submit a query letter, outline chapter or sample chapter.

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on the “About” page.

Send submissions to submissions@joyharrisliterary.com

The Karpfinger Agency – http://karpfinger.com/submissions

The agency represents: “Our fiction list ranges from some of today’s best mysteries to fine literary fiction. Our non-fiction list includes narrative non-fiction, as well as memoirs, biographies and cultural and political analysis.”

The agency does not represent children’s picture books, drama, fantasy, poetry, romance, or sci-fi.

You are asked to submit:

  • For Kate Garrick: “Please include a brief description of your book in the body of the email, along with a short bio and, for fiction and memoir, the first five pages of the manuscript.”
  • For Barney Karpfinger: “a one-page letter of inquiry by regular mail. Be certain to include a brief synopsis of your book, a line or two about your background, as well as both your telephone number and e-mail address. Please print any supplementary materials on standard letter-sized paper.

“Novelists are welcome to submit a ten-page sample from the completed manuscript (we do not accept queries from writers who have partial manuscripts).

“Nonfiction authors may submit a proposal of up to ten pages. The proposal must include a table of contents from the proposed book, as well as a brief chapter-by-chapter summary. In addition, you are welcome to submit up to three samples of your published articles related to the topic of the book.”

Send submissions to: For Kate Garrick, send electronic submissions to kate@karpfinger.com with the word “Query” and your book’s title in the subject line; for Barney Kaprfinger, send hardcopy submissions to Barney Karpfinger, The Karpfinger Agency, 57 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011.

Typical reply time: 6 weeks

Kimberley Cameron & Associates –
http://www.kimberleycameron.com/submission-guidelines.php

The agency says: “All are welcome to submit.”

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (commercial, crossover young adult, historical, literary, mysteries, thrillers, women’s), animal/pet stories, environment, health, investigative, prescriptive, science, sexuality, spirituality, true crime, and memoir (voice- or adventure-driven, travel, adventure).

The agency does not represent picture books, poetry, screenplays, teleplays, or TV scripts.

You are asked to submit:

For fiction:

  • “Please fill out the submission form of the individual agent you wish to submit to.
  • “Attach the first fifty pages of your manuscript and synopsis if requested as Word or PDF documents in the submission form.”

For nonfiction:

  • “Please fill out the submission form of the individual agent you wish to submit to.
  • “Attach a full nonfiction book proposal and sample chapters as Word or PDF documents in the submission form. (Sample chapters should include the first chapter of the book and should not exceed fifty pages.)”

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them by going to the “Who We Are” page and clicking on their names, on the left.

Send submissions via: On the desired agent’s page, click on “Submit Here,” which is found right below the agent’s name. You’ll be taken to the submission requirements for that agent, where you will be asked to paste in a query letter, attach a nonfiction book proposal or the first 50 pages of your fiction manuscript, and provide other information.

Notes: Email queries only, no hardcopy submissions. Only query one agent at this agency at a time.

KuhnProjects – http://www.kuhnprojects.com/submissions

The agency represents: “We represent narrative nonfiction, practical nonfiction, memoir, history, politics and current affairs, business, biography, pop culture, entertainment, cookbooks and food narratives, lifestyle, design, and style projects. We also take on a select number of literary fiction, commercial nonfiction, women’s fiction, and young adult titles.”

Submission instructions: Fill out the submissions form on the “Submissions” page. You’ll be asked to select the agent to whom you are submitting, provide a “one sentence summary of your book proposal or manuscript,” identify similar books, paste the first 50 pages of your proposal or manuscript, and provide other information.

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on the “Submissions” page.

Laura Dail Literary Agency – http://www.ldlainc.com/submissions

The agency represents “fiction and nonfiction, commercial and literary, for both adults and children. We represent a wide range of diverse authors, including bestselling authors of children’s fiction, award-winning journalists, historians, chefs, and humorists.”

The agency does not represent illustrated adult books, poetry, or screenplays.

Submission instructions:

  • “Send a concise email query letter to: queries@ldlainc.com “Along with your book’s title, please include the name of the agent you are querying in the subject field. This helps guarantee that your submission ends up in the right person’s queue. (Example subject line: QUERY: TITLE for AGENT)
  • “Your query letter should include a short pitch, a short plot summary, and a short bio. Please also include publisher submission history and previous publishing credits, if applicable. If you are a debut author, do not worry.
  • “After your query letter, paste the FIRST 5-10 PAGES of your novel into the body of the email. Your writing sample MUST be pasted into the email, as we do not open unrequested attachments of any kind. You may also include a synopsis, but it’s not required.
  • “If you are an author/illustrator, we highly recommend creating an online portfolio, which you can link to in your query instead of attaching sample artwork to an email. (Recommendation: If you like the way this site looks, then you’ll love Squarespace.)
  • “Please do not query on a second, or third, project until we’ve replied to your first query.”

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on the “Submissions” page.

Typical reply time: 2-4 weeks

Notes: Email queries only; no hardcopy submissions. Have your proposal or manuscript ready to be reviewed before sending your query.

Leigh Feldman Literary – http://www.lfliterary.com

The agency represents: “LF Literary is particularly interested in: historical fiction, contemporary YA, literary fiction, memoir, and narrative non- fiction.”

The agency does not represent “adult and YA paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, romance, thrillers, mysteries, or picture books.”

You are asked to submit a “query letter and the first ten pages of the manuscript or proposal”

Send submissions to query@lfliterary.com.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Levine/Greenberg/Rostan Literary
Agency –
http://lgrliterary.com/how-to-submit

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (literary), business, food narratives, health, humor, illustrated books, lifestyle and health, memoir, narrative non-fiction, parenting, pop culture, popular history, psychology, science, social and political issues, spirituality, style and fashion.

Submission instructions: Fill out the submissions form on the “How to Submit” page. You will be asked to provide a summary of your book, a look at competing and related titles, and other information, and to attach a proposal or sample chapters. The attachment should be no more than 50 pages in length.

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them by selecting the “Team” page, which is found under the “Who We Are” tab.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Lippincott Massie McQuilkin – http://www.lmqlit.com/contact.html

The agency says it “focuses on bringing fiction and non-fiction of quality to the largest possible audience.”

The agency does not represent screenplays.

You are asked to submit “a query letter that briefly describes your project as well as any personal or professional information that may be relevant (for instance any awards you have won, regular media appearances you make, and/or professional or academic affiliations you may have)…. If your project is fiction, please also include the first 5-10 pages pasted into the body of your email.”

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on the “Contact Us” page.

Send submissions to: Electronic submissions should be sent to info@lmqlit.com; hardcopy submissions to Lippincott Massie McQuilkin, 27 West 20th Street, Suite 305, New York, NY 10011.

Notes: “Do not query more than one agent at the agency at one time, though if one agent passes on your work, you are welcome to query another. Include the word “Query” in the subject line of your email…. We prefer electronic submissions and will respond to those more quickly than we will hard copy queries, but we do accept hard copy queries…” No attachments.

Lisa Ekus Group – http://lisaekus.com/submission-requirements

The agency says: “The Lisa Ekus Group is a full service culinary agency. We provide Literary and Talent representation as well as Media Training and Consulting services.”

The agency represents “culinary non-fiction titles, specifically cookbooks, and sometimes other culinary topics, like nutrition-related health and wellness, wine and cocktail books, and food related narratives.”

The agency does not represent “fiction, poetry, or children’s books.”

You are asked to submit a book proposal.

Send submissions to: Submit via the form on the “Apply to be a Literary Client” page, which you can access from the “Contact Page.” You’ll be asked to provide some information and attach your proposal.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Liza Dawson Associates Literary
Agency –
http://www.lizadawsonassociates.com

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (historical, mysteries, plot-driven, sci-fi and fantasy, women’s, young adult), business, current events, food, law, narrative history, pop culture, social sciences, and sports.

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests and submission requirements. You can learn about them on the “Submissions” page.

Liza Royce Agency (LRA) – http://www.lizaroyce.com/contact

The agency represents: “From picture books through adult projects, fiction and non-fiction, LRA welcomes strong voices and plot driven works.”

You are asked to submit “a brief synopsis, a little information about yourself, including any social/media platform and/or marketing ideas you may have…”

Send submissions to submissions@lizaroyce.com.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: No attachments.

Lotus Lane Literary – https://lotuslit.com/submissions

The agency represents adult fiction and non-fiction.

You are asked to submit “a short bio, query letter, brief synopsis, chapter breakdown and first three chapters of your work. For non-fiction submissions please include a proposal that includes the above information and detailed information on competing books. Please send submissions as a word document with copyright clearly marked in the header: (c) author full name, year.”

Send submissions to contact@lotuslit.com.

Typical reply time: 15-18 weeks

Notes: Email queries only, no hardcopy submissions.

Maria Carvainis Agency – http://www.mariacarvainisagency.com/submissions

The agency represents “a wide range of fiction and non-fiction with special interest in literary and mainstream fiction, mystery and suspense, thrillers, historicals, contemporary women’s fiction, young adult and middle grade, memoir, biography, history, business, psychology, pop culture and popular science.”

The agency does not represent children’s picture books, poetry, sci-fi, or screenplays.

You are asked to submit “a query letter, a synopsis of the work, first 5-10 pages, and note of any writing credentials.”

Send submissions to: Electronic submissions should be sent to mca@mariacarvainisagency.com; hardcopy submissions to Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc., Attention: Query Department, 1270 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 2915, New York, NY 10020.

Typical reply time: 1 month

Notes: “All attachments must be either Word documents or PDF files.”

Martin Literary Management – http://www.martinliterarymanagement.com

The agency represents “adult nonfiction and children’s books, including picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction and nonfiction.”

The agency does not represent poetry, screenplays, or short stories.

You are asked to submit:

  • For fiction: “please include a query letter and the text of the first ten pages of your manuscript pasted in the body of your email.”
  • For non-fiction: “you may include the first ten pages of your manuscript pasted in the body of your email, if appropriate.”

There are two agents at the agency, each with specific interests and submission requirements. You can learn about them on the “Submissions” page.

Send submissions to the specific agent you are querying. You can find the appropriate email address on the “Our Submissions Process” page.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: Email queries only; no hardcopy submissions.

McCormick Literary – http://mccormicklit.com/guidelines

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (commercial, literary, women’s, young adult), arts, biography, cookbooks, cultural history, essays, humor, memoir, narrative non-fiction, politics, practical non-fiction, and science-based non-fiction.

You are asked to submit a query, indicating which agent you are querying.

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on the “Staff” page.

Send submissions to: Electronic queries should be sent to queries@mccormicklit.com; hardcopies to McCormick Literary, 37 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

McIntosh & Otis – http://mcintoshandotis.com/submissions

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (commercial, fantasy, historical, horror, literary, literary thrillers, mainstream, mystery, mystery/suspense, romance, sci-fi, women’s, urban fantasy), current affairs, history, memoir, narrative non-fiction, natural history, pop culture, sports, travel and adventure.

The agency does not represent free-standing poetry, screenplays, original theatrical or dramatic works of any kind.

You are asked to submit:

  • “Adult Fiction Guidelines: Please send a query letter, synopsis, author bio, and the first three consecutive chapters..
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How do you get a literary agent for your book?

Here’s a list of one hundred literary agents accepting submissions,
detailing the genres they represent (and those they don’t), submission guidelines, and other information taken from their websites, using direct quotes whenever possible. Please note that I am not recommending any of these literary agents or agencies; just listing information.

While this may be enough to get you started, be sure to read your chosen agency’s entire website very carefully. You may be with this agency for a long time, so you need to be sure the fit is right!

Note: This information is current as of October, 2016, but can change at any time. Check an agency’s website carefully before contacting them. For the complete list, see Part 1 and Part 3.

Donald Maass Literary Agency – http://maassagency.com/submissions

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (alternate history, contemporary, literary, middle grade, mystery, near-future thrillers, sci-fi and fantasy, steampunk, suspense, urban fantasy, women’s, young adult), humor, LGBT, lifestyle, pop-culture, Westerns, and “works that challenge their genre.”

The agency does not represent picture books, poetry, or screenplays.

Submission instructions: Check each agent’s page on the website for specific submission requirements. In general, requirements include:

  • “a query letter (be sure it includes both genre and word count)”
  • “a short synopsis (1-2 pages)”
  • “the first five pages of your manuscript”

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them by clicking on their names under the “Agents” tab.

Send submissions to the specific agent’s email address, which can be found on the agent’s page.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: Email queries only, no hardcopy submissions. No attachments. Only query one agent at this agency at a time.

Dunham Literary – http://dunhamlit.com/?how-to-submit,4

The agency represents “fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books, including both authors and illustrators.” Agent Bridget Smith “is actively seeking books with underrepresented or minority characters.”

The agency does not represent chapbooks, individual short stories, novellas, or screenplays.

You are asked to submit a query letter. “If submitting to Bridget Smith, please also include the first five pages of the manuscript in the body of the email.”

There are two agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them by clicking on their names on the left-hand menu.

Send submissions to: Electronic submissions should be sent to query at dunhamlit.com; hardcopy submissions to Dunham Literary, Inc., 110 William Street, Suite 2202, New York, NY 10038.

Typical reply time: 4 weeks

Notes: No attachments.

Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency – http://dclagency.com/submissions.html

The agency represents “literary and commercial fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, pop culture and young adult fiction.”

Submission instructions: “Query letters preferred via email (mail@dclagency.com). Below your query letter, please paste the first ten pages of your manuscript.”

Send submissions to: Electronic submissions should be sent to mail@dclagency.com; hardcopy submissions to Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency, 27 W. 20th St., Suite 1107, New York, NY 10011.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: No attachments.

Dystel & Goderich Literary Management – http://www.dystel.com/submission-requirements

The agency says: “We take our unsolicited queries very seriously. As a matter of fact, we have discovered many of our most talented authors in the ‘slush’ pile. We read everything that is sent to us, whether we decide to represent it or not.”

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (adult contemporary, commercial, literary women’s, literary, mysteries, paranormal, romance) art, business, biography/memoir, cooking and food, current events, health and wellness, history, lifestyle, narrative nonfiction, parenting, picture books, pop culture, psychology, science, sci-fi/fantasy, young adult and middle grade.

Submission instructions: “We prefer email queries, as most do nowadays, so please make sure your cover letter is in the body of the email. Synopses, outlines or sample chapters (say, one chapter or the first 25 pages of your manuscript) should either be included below the cover letter or attached as a separate document. We won’t open attachments if they come with a blank email, by the way.”

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on the “Who We Are and What We’re Looking For” page.

Send submissions to: Submissions should be directed to a specific agent. For email submissions, addresses can be found on the “Who We Are and What We’re Looking For” page; hardcopy submissions should be sent to a specific agent at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, One Union Square West, Suite 904, New York, NY 10003.

Typical reply time: 6-8 weeks

Notes: Only query one agent at this agency at a time.

Einstein Literary Management – http://einsteinliterary.com/submissions.php

The agency represents: According to the Association of Author’s Representatives, the agency represents fiction (historical, literary, mystery, romance, thriller, women’s), biography, memoir, children’s, young adult and middle grade.

The agency does not represent picture books, poetry, screenplays, or textbooks.

You are asked to submit “a query letter and the first ten double-spaced pages of your manuscript in the body of the email (no attachments) to submissions@einsteinliterary.com.”

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: Email queries only, no hardcopy, phone, or social media submissions.

Elyse Cheney Literary Associates – http://www.cheneyliterary.com/#scrollto-contact

The agency represents literary fiction, biography, crime, current events, history, memoir, politics, popular science, and narrative reportage.

You are asked to submit “a query letter briefly describing your project and professional background, along with up to three chapters of sample material.”

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on the “Agents” page.

Send submissions to: Electronic queries should be sent to submissions [at] cheneyliterary.com; hardcopies submissions to Elyse Cheney Literary Associates, 78 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10011.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: Only query one agent at this agency at a time.

Emma Sweeny Agency – http://www.emmasweeneyagency.com/Contact-us

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (commercial, fantasy, historical, horror, literary, magic realism, mysteries, realistic, speculative, thrillers), cookbooks, lifestyle, and narrative non-fiction.

Submission instructions: “Please begin your query with a succinct (and hopefully catchy) description of your plot or proposal. Always include a brief cover letter telling us how you heard about ESA, your previous writing credits, and a few lines about yourself. We cannot open any attachments unless specifically requested, and ask that you paste the first ten (10) pages of your proposal or novel into the text of your e-mail.”

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on the “About Us” page.

Send submissions to queries@emmasweeneyagency.com, rather than directly to a specific agent.

Notes: Email queries only, no hardcopy submissions.

The Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency – http://ethanellenberg.com/submission-guidelines

The agency says: “We consider work from everyone, and every year we take new clients based on their unsolicited submissions, including clients with no prior credits, recommendations or other kudos.”

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (children’s, ethnic, fantasy, literary thrillers, mysteries, romance, sci-fi, women’s), adventure, biography, cookbooks, current affairs, history, health, memoir, new age, science, pop culture, psychology, spirituality, and true crime.

The agency does not represent poetry, screenplays, or short stories.

You are asked to submit:

For fiction:

  • a brief query letter
  • a synopsis (1-2 pages long)
  • the first 50 pages (approximately) of your manuscript

For nonfiction:

  • a brief query letter
  • a book proposal (outline of the material, sample chapters, author bio, etc.)

For picture books:

  • a brief query letter
  • complete manuscript (text only)
  • if applicable, color copies of sample illustrations (4-5 examples), or, if submitting via email, 4-5 images of sample illustrations pasted into the body of the email

Illustrators, please send:

  • a brief query letter
  • representative portfolio of your work, or, if submitting via email, 4-5 images of sample illustrations pasted into the body of the email
  • color copies only—no original artwork, or, if submitting via email, a link to online portfolio

Send submissions to: Electronic submissions should be sent to agent@ethanellenberg.com to the attention of Ethan Ellenberg; hardcopy submissions to Ethan Ellenberg, 155 Suffolk St., #2R, New York, NY 10002.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: The agency asks that you “please do not submit the same project to us multiple times, and please do not submit more than one project at a time.”

Fairbank Literary Representation – http://www.fairbankliterary.com/submissions.html

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (general, literary, mystery, thrillers), architecture and design, biography, cookbooks, food and wine, humor, lifestyle, narrative nonfiction, pop culture, reference, science, works addressing race and class issues.

The agency does not represent “romance, poetry, screenplays, science fiction or fantasy, paranormal, young adult, or children’s books. We are also disinclined to accept historical novels set before 1900.”

You are asked to submit “a one page query letter introducing and briefly synopsizing your work. You may include a short sample chapter if querying by snail mail, or the first three pages pasted into the body of your email…”

Send submissions to: Electronic submissions should be sent to queries@fairbankliterary.com; hardcopy submissions to Fairbank Literary Representation, P.O. Box 6, Hudson, New York 12534. For sports and architecture books only, send submissions to matt@fairbankliterary.com.

Typical reply time: 4-6 weeks

Notes: No attachments.

Felicia Eth Literary Representation – http://ethliterary.com/?page_id=24

The agency says: “Though Ms. Eth prefers a small and selective list, she continues to search for new clients and new properties, primarily in adult fiction and nonfiction.”

The agency represents: “Areas of definite interest include – literary accessible fiction, historical and suspense novels with a literary bent that transcend genre, novels with a magical realism and/or a multicultural element, narrative nonfiction including memoir, journalism, unusual travel books, popular science, psychological and social concerns, women’s issues, fresh parenting ideas, culinary writing.”

The agency does not represent “genre fiction, including romance novels, sci fi and fantasy, westerns, anime and graphic novels, mysteries. Afraid no poetry. We are not connected to specialized publishers for academic or technical books. Additionally we do not handle picture books or chapter books for the juvenile market (except where the author is also a writer of adult books which we are interested in). We are not looking for Christian books, humor or how-to books. And we only handle books, no original screenplays.”

You are asked to submit:

For fiction:

  • “Please write a query letter introducing yourself, your book, your writing background. Don’t forget to include degrees you may have, publishing credits, awards and endorsements. Please wait for a response before including sample pages. We only consider material where the manuscript for which you are querying is complete, unless you have previously published.”

For non-fiction:

  • “A query letter is best, introducing [your] idea and what you have written already (proposal, manuscript?). For writerly nonficiton (narratives, bio, memoir) please let us know if you have a finished manuscript. Also it’s important [that] you include information about yourself, your background and expertise, your platform and notoriety, if any.”

Send submissions to: Electronic submissions should be sent to feliciaeth.literary@gmail.com; hardcopy submissions to Felicia Eth Literary Representation, 555 Bryant St., Suite 350, Palo Alto, CA. 94301.

Typical reply time: Variable

Fifi Oscard Agency – http://www.fifioscard.com/sub_guide.htm

The agency represents African-American, biography, business, cookbooks, health, history, lifestyle, mind/body/spirit, mystery, religious, sci-fi, science, sports, and women’s studies.

Submission instructions: Fill out the submission form found at http://www.fifioscard.com/sub_guide_form.htm. You will be asked for a synopsis, biography, and other information.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Fine Literary – http://www.fineliterary.com/how-to-submit

The agency represents: “I continue to be interested in all kinds of books but tend to be compelled by work that features characters that I cannot shake….I love the twists and turns of a great page-turner, can be seduced by a truly honest memoir and am delighted when transported by historical fiction….Regarding non-fiction: Cookbooks and lifestyle are a particular area of interest but I can be compelled to consider almost any subject that is honest and thoughtful.”

You are asked to submit:

  • For fiction: “Send a query letter, brief synopsis and the first twenty pages pasted into the body of the email.”
  • For non-fiction: “Send a query letter and brief synopsis. Tell us why you are writing this book and where it fits in the marketplace.”

Send submissions to: Electronic submissions should be sent to Query@FineLiterary.com; hardcopy submissions to 117 N. Mansfield Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Fine Print Literary Management – http://fineprintlit.com/submissions.html

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (crime, fantasy, genre, historical, literary, literate thrillers, middle grade, military, romance, romantic suspense, sci-fi, and some boy oriented young adult fiction), biography, business, entertainment, fitness, food and wine, health and wellness, history, lifestyle (including home renovating, decorating, food and drink, and sustainability), memoir, music, narrative nonfiction, nature, parenting, pop culture, popular science, reference, running, science, self-help, spirituality, style/beauty, and technology.

The agency does not represent screenplays, stage plays, or TV scripts.

You are asked to submit “a query letter with a synopsis of your book, your bio, and the first two chapters (no more than 30 pages) embedded in the body of your email.”

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them by clicking on their names under the “Agents” tab.

Send submissions to a specific agent by “clicking on the email button on the agent’s profile page.”

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: No attachments. Only query one agent at this agency at a time.

The Fischer-Harbage Agency – http://www.fischerharbage.com/www/submissions

The agency says: “The agency is extremely selective, representing a limited number of authors so that each receives exceptional service and attention.”

The agency represents “fiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction and current events.”

Submission instructions: “Please paste a short description of the project, your bio, and the first chapter of your book in the body of an email.”

Send submissions to submissions@fischerharbage.com.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: “Any queries with attachments will be deleted without being read.”

Fletcher & Company – http://www.fletcherandco.com/submissions

The agency represents various genres including fiction (commercial, literary), biography (narrative), business (soft), fashion, food, gift books (quirky), history, lifestyle/health, memoir, pop cultural trends, psychology, science, sci-fi, self-help, and spy stories.

You are asked to submit “a letter, brief synopsis and the first 5-10 pages of the manuscript/proposal pasted into the body of the email to info@fletcherandco.com.”

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on the “Staff” page.

Typical reply time: 4-6 weeks

Notes: Email queries only, no hardcopy submissions. No attachments. Only query one agent at this agency at a time.

Folio Literary Management – http://foliolit.com/agency#f.About

The agency says:

  • “Fiction: We are aggressively seeking upmarket adult fiction that’s appropriate for book club discussion; literary fiction and commercial fiction that features fresh voices and/or memorable characters.”
  • “Nonfiction: Many of us love narrative nonfiction – great stories paired with great writing – including memoirs – but also authors, experts, scholars, and journalists with well-researched, compelling and new ideas. We love authors who are ready and able to promote their work and expertise in all forms of media.”

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (commercial women’s), biography, business, celebrity, cookbooks, health, history, humor, lifestyle, memoir, military, pets, pop culture, religion, romance, and science.

The agency does not represent poetry, screenplays, or stage plays.

Submission instructions: The agency has detailed instructions for preparing submission materials for fiction queries at http://foliolit.com/agency#f.How-To-Submit—Fiction, and for submitting non-fiction queries at http://foliolit.com/agency#f.How-to-Submit—Non-Fiction.

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on the “The Team” page.

Send submissions to: Check each agent’s specific submission instructions.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: Only submit to one agent at this agency.

Foundry Literary + Media – http://foundrymedia.com/submissions

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (character-driven, commercial, historical, literary, speculative, suspense, thriller), adventure/travel stories, Christian nonfiction, cultural issues, health, history, humor, lifestyle, memoir, narrative non-fiction, pop culture, popular science, psychology, religion, science, spirituality, and sports.

You are asked to submit:

For fiction:

  • query letter
  • synopsis
  • first three chapters of manuscript
  • author bio
  • self-addressed stamped envelope

For non-fiction:

  • query letter
  • sample chapters
  • table of contents
  • author bio
  • self-addressed stamped envelope

There are multiple agents at the agency, each with specific interests. You can learn about them on the “Foundry Team” page.

Send submissions to: Electronic submissions should be sent to the specific agent’s email, which can be found on the “Submissions” page; hardcopy submissions to the specific agent at Foundry Literary + Media, 33 West 17th St. PH, New York, New York 10011.

Typical reply time: The agency responds only if interested.

Notes: Attachments are accepted. Only query one agent at the agency.

Frances Collin Literary Agent – http://www.francescollin.com/queries.htm

The agency represents: According to the Association of Author’s Representatives, Francis Collin represents fiction (fantasy, historical, literary, sci-fi), biography, ecology, history, memoir, narrative nonfiction, nature, travel, and world cultures.

You are asked to submit: No information is provided on the agency’s website.

Send submissions to: Electronic submissions should be sent to queries@francescollin.com; hardcopy submissions to Frances Collin Literary Agent, P.O. Box 33, Wayne, PA 19087 0033.

Notes: No attachments.

Francis Goldin Literary Agency – http://goldinlit.com/contact

The agency represents a variety of genres including fiction (progressive, sci-fi), biography, environmental sustainability, essays, food culture, history, history of science and..

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