Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Nine Ways To Grab an Editor’s or Agent’s Attention

with guest Dani Pettrey.

Today I’m going to be sharing Nine Ways to Grab an Editor's or Agent's Attention. This applies to both unpublished and published authors—as you never know when you might need to find a new agent or editor. 

1) Write an eye-catching proposal: 

Study how to write a really strong proposal. Various agents kindly share what they are looking for in a proposal. Here are some resources for you: 

http://www.stevelaube.com/guidelines/
http://www.rachellegardner.com/how-to-write-a-book-proposal/

As you can see, while each agent has his or her own particular preferences, every proposal should include:
Title page 
One sentence hook  (this is your brief moment to grab the agent or editor’s attention, so make it a great one)
Brief overview (think back to cover copy) 
Your bio 
Comparable books along with why your novel stands apart from others in the genre. Be sure that you’ve articulated what makes it unique. 
Your marketing platform (show that you are active and professional on social media) 
A strong synopsis 
Any possible endorsements you may have 
Sample chapters


2) Do your homework: 

Don’t send a proposal for YA fiction to an agent who doesn’t represent YA. Don’t send a steamy romance novel to a Christian publisher. Do your homework. Know the correct word count for your genre. Know which houses publish comparable titles. Research the agent you are submitting to. Become familiar with the tone and variety of titles they represent. Every agent and publisher has guidelines. Read them and listen to them. Follow their submission instructions precisely. And, whatever you do, please do not send anything extra such as gifts. 

http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/bribery-isnt-way-get-agent/




3) Continue to study the craft: 

You’re never done learning as a writer whether you’ve completed one novel or thirty. There is always room for growth. Published authors continue to attend conferences, to attend workshops, and to read craft books. Here are a few of my favorites:

My favorite conference  - http://www.acfw.com/conference    
A fabulous magazine and publisher of craft books -http://www.writersdigest.com
My agency’s blog where they share not only marketing tips but some really great craft lessons - http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/   

4) Be active and professional on social media:

It’s extremely important in this day and age that you are active on social media. That means finding at least one area of social media that you enjoy and really excel at in addition to also having a professional website available. Agents and editors will Google you. Being professional means not sharing anything you wouldn’t want the whole world, including the prospective agent or editor, to hear. It doesn’t matter if you’re published or not. If you are a writer, you’re a writer. Be sure to act like a professional one. 




5) The ability to succinctly tell what the novel is about, also known as the two-minute elevator pitch: 

You may very well end up sitting next to an agent or editor at a conference luncheon. Be prepared for them to ask what your book is about. Also be prepared to give a complete and succinct description. This is also known as the elevator pitch. Here is a wonderful tutorial resource for you: 

https://tutorials.writersdigest.com/courses/create-the-perfect-pitch-for-your-novel


6) Be prepared: 

If the agent or editor likes your pitch be sure to have professionally made business cards and a stellar one-sheet to share with them. They need a way to learn more about your story as well as a way to contact you. Here’s a sample of the one-sheet I used when I sold my debut novel:

 http://danipettrey.com/creating-an-eye-grabbing-one-sheet/


7) Be professional: 

I know I’ve said this twice before, but it begs to be repeated one final time. Being professional isn’t just about professional websites, social media posts, or business cards, but rather how you present yourself in person. The biggest recommendation I can make is to dress professionally. Don’t show up for a pitch session with an agent wearing ratty jeans, a sweatshirt, and tennis shoes. Wear dress jeans, a nice blouse, nice heels or flats, and a blazer. You want them to understand you take your passion for writing seriously as well as how you represent yourself.  If you are in the lobby bar at a writing conference in the evening, be sure your behavior is still professional. You never know who may be listening or watching. It’s okay to enjoy ‘down time’ with your friends, but still be professional. 


8) Write a great book: 

Everything else aside, if you don’t write the best book you can, you’ll never grab an agent or editor’s attention. Write the book of your heart with as much passion and refined craft as you can. Get feedback on it via a mentor if you’re able, or paid critique with an author at a conference, and make sure you finish the book. Many agents and editors won’t seriously consider a writer if they don’t have a finished manuscript. 

9) Pray:

Most importantly and what should come first and last—pray! Pray God will be with you in your writing, in your social media, in everything you do. Pray He will bring you to the right agent or editor in His timing and give you the patience you may need until that happens. I wrote for seven years before I got published, but looking back I can see it was exactly the right time for it. My girls were older and I was in a better position to really dedicate myself to writing and promoting. I’m thankful for God’s timing and still pray for him to be with me every step of the way. 

Following these 9 steps will ensure that not only do you grab an editor or agent's attention, but will do so in a positive way. Out of these 9 steps, what do you feel is most important in grabbing an editor or agent's attention? Is there something different that you do that works for you? Please share your experiences. 



Dani Pettrey is a wife, mom, grandma, and the author of Cold Shot, the first book in the Chesapeake Valor series, and the Alaskan Courage romantic suspense series, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, Silenced, and Sabotaged. Her books have been honored with the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award nomination, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award, among others.


She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves—the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, a son-in-law, and a super adorable grandson.



Today Dani is generously offering a copy of Cold Shot, the first book in the new Chesapeake Valor Series, to one reader along with a Starbucks gift card.


And because it's our birthday and Dani is such a terrific hostess, Seekerville is tossing in an ecopy of another new release (October 4, for Kindle) : Shadowed (Sins of the Past Collection): An Alaskan Courage Novella

Two winners, both announced in the Weekend Edition.




177 comments :

  1. Excellent reminders and info here.
    Thanks!

    #8 and #9 especially resonate with me!

    Thanks for being in Seekerville today. I'm going to check out your One Sheet! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for dropping by. Hope you find the One Sheet helpful too.

      Delete
  2. Dani, Welcome to Seekerville. I. Love. Your. Books. And I think I have them all in print version.
    Anything that gets books published is exciting. I'd love your new release. That was yesterday, right?
    Great post, great points

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Marianne. Thrilled you're enjoying the stories. Yep. It released yesterday on ebook. So glad you enjoyed the post.

      Delete
  3. Great post! Thanks for sharing your expertise with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you found it helpful, Dana :)

      Delete
  4. Welcome back, Dani and congratulations on yet another release. Shadowed looks like a terrific novella and okay, I cheated and read the reviews and folks are over the moon about this one.

    I think we should give you a giveaway prize for sharing that one-sheet with everyone. I can't tell you how many people ask us for resources for one-sheets every year. I'm actually going to go in and put an extra label on this post -one-sheet so I can find it to refer folks to for conference.

    THANK YOU!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks, Tina! I love Seekerville. You always give me the warmest welcome. Thanks again for having me. So glad you found the One Sheet helpful! Hugs.

      Delete
  5. This is an amazing post, Dani! What an incredible resource--and with links to even more great resources! I'm definitely bookmarking this one to reference over and over again.

    I can't pick which of the nine I think is most important. I think I would boil it down to my top three though: PRAY (it's embarrassing how often I forget this so thank you for the reminder), write the best book you can, and professionalism. I might be wrong or naive (haha), but it seems to me that if you have these three in place, the rest will follow a bit more easily.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Megan,
      I agree. If you have those three in place, the rest should follow well. Great point :)

      Delete
  6. Excellent post. I have to admit I wasn't aware of the one sheet so thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are super welcome. Hope you find it helpful :)

      Delete
  7. Dani, great, solid advice.
    It's nice to have it all spelled out. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mary! And, thanks for hosting me again. Love visiting with all you ladies.

      Delete
  8. Thanks, Dani - I'm working on #8 and doing a lot of #9 to get me to the end of #8. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great, Jan. It's awesome to have focus points to work on.

      Delete
  9. Seekers, I'm really enjoying your October themes!

    Dani, thanks for sharing your one-sheet. It also led me to your website bio, which I adore. So clever!

    ReplyDelete
  10. All very important points. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are very welcome. Thanks so much for stopping by :)

      Delete
  11. Dani!!! Welcome back to Seekerville, and I'm going to echo the thanks for all these good points, but especially the one-sheet. That's a great teaching tool right there, and well worth the price of admission!!! :)

    Birthday cake is a necessary evil here.... So let's do Pumpkin roll cake with cream cheese filling today! And a dusting of confectioner's sugar, of course!

    Dani, huge congrats on your growing success. You're in a tough market at a good time, and it's wonderful to see this. Happy dancing for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks so much, Ruth. You're so kind. Thrilled you found the post helpful. And, that sounds like a lovely dessert. Yum :)

      Delete
  12. Megan, I agree completely. Without prayer, who are we?

    And without the books to sell, we've got no chance to do so.

    And looking professional is clutch, too. Having said that, I am the person who creeps into hotel lobbies in the middle of the night and writes while everyone else sleeps...

    And it is kind of fun!!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is fun! I'll have to sneak down some time and try that :)

      Delete
  13. Dani thank you for the great post. It is one for me to keep in my "keeper book" and revisit again and again.

    I love all your books and can't wait to get your new novella.

    Many blessings to everyone!
    Happy Birthday Seekerville!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks so much, Cindy! So glad you found the post helpful.

      Delete
  14. Welcome, Dani! Congratulations on your recent release. I think all of your reminders are important. For me its prayer, prayer and more prayer. I'm not praying that I'll get another contract, or my books will have great sales. I pray that God will continue to be proud of the words I put on a page. Thanks for visiting today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for dropping by, and that's an awesome way to pray. I always pray He'll put the books in the hands of readers He wants to reach. It's all about Him. I often forget that, but then I'm back on my knees asking for His redirection. God is so good.

      Delete
  15. Hi Dani,

    Welcome to Seekerville! These are great tips, but prayer is the most important to me. I think we need to pray from the moment we begin to brainstorm our stories all the way through to the edited end. I pray my stories will honor God.

    Congratulations on Shadowed. It sounds like another great book! Thanks for sharing with us, and I know everybody wants in on the drawing. Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Jackie, and I totally agree. Prayer is most important. Thanks so much for the warm welcome.

      Delete
  16. Morning Dani,

    So glad you can be with us today. Thanks for nine great tips...all so true! I'd add practice the pitch. Doing so in front of a mirror helps, in my opinion. Or give the
    pitch to your friend, critique partner or spouse. As they say, practice makes perfect.

    So good chatting with you at CFRR. Such a delightful event.

    I've brought German chocolate birthday cakes...three of them to share throughout the day. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debby,
      Loved chatting with you too, and excellent points. Thanks for sharing the yummy cake too.

      Delete
  17. Jill Weatherholt, I am totally on board with your words. I've never cared about volume... although I love working!

    And I've never worried about awards or accolades... but simply to praise God and uplift women through my work. That's my goal, and everything else good that happens seems to arise from that.

    I love how you put it!

    ReplyDelete
  18. GERMAN CHOCOLATE???

    Ruthy goes all in with the cakes from Debby!!!!

    And I'm dying to make Tina's coconut cake.... but can't find the recipe.

    HOW WEIRD IS THAT???? I've saved it at least twice and it disappears.

    #conspiracy

    ReplyDelete
  19. Coconut Cake. Haven't made that in ages. Not since Captain Jack was with us on Unpublished Island.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have found the missing recipe... in our NYE files. One of these weekends I'm making and devouring coconut cake. Just because.

      Delete
  20. I actually do pray for contracts and for great sales and that my books would bless others and get good reviews. Because it's with those contracts and sales that I get my words, which are His words, into the hands of those He wants to reach. So it's a divine circle.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Dani,

    I just realized you either sold or sold an agent with a one-sheet. Wowza. How long had you been a member of ACFW before you sold? Who did you attend conference with that year? What a great return on your conference fee investment LOL. I love happy conference stories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sold without an agent to Bethany House by approaching my editor after their spotlight session. It was definitely a God thing. I was a member for probably 5 or 6 years before I sold. I know I wrote for 7 years before I sold. But it was all God's timing :)

      Delete
    2. WOW THAT IS A GOD STORY!!!!! AND INSPIRING TOO.

      Delete
  22. Welcome back to Seekerville, Dani. I was only able to give your list a quick read through since I'm getting ready to head out the door to the day job, but I plan to come back tonight and read it again. My two favorite items on your list were to be professional and pray! Writing is a talent from God. While I pray to sell a book and build a career as an author, I mostly pray that my writing honors Him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Rhonda! Hope you have a great day at work.

      Delete
  23. Hi Dani! Great post there. Love this list. Pray! O yes, and you're right about all the others. Love the 2 minute elevator speech. Sometimes I ask for 5 words to describe a book in my blog interviews.

    I have both Cold Shot and Shadowed. So no need to enter me. Starbucks card..hmm..lol. that's ok. I'll try the next one. *wink wink.

    Love this bday celebration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Annie,
      Thanks so much for dropping by. I love the 5 words to describe your book. Such a great idea!

      Delete
  24. So much good information no matter what you do. Being professional on social media, being able to explain a proposal in 2 minutes or less, and the most important --pray.

    Thanks for the good advice.
    Becky
    PS please enter me in all drawings. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi, Dani! Great post! Thanks for sharing. I liked the points Pray and Be Prepared. Pray-because God knows and Be Prepared-because God knows. When those situations work out that are God-oriented, you've got to be prepared for it.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Wonderful advice, Dani! We can never be reminded often enough - Be Professional. Especially at conferences. It's so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the setting and seeing old friends that we can forget people are always watching.

    God puts you in situations where we can be our best. Work with Him. Don't let Him down!

    Thanks for all the great reminders and joining us for our birthday bash.

    Your new book looks awesome. Much success!!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great tips, DANI! This is a major help for many who want to know what goes into an initial editor/agent proposal.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ruthy - creeping into hotel lobbies in the middle of the night to write isn't unprofessional! Just... dedicated? Haha.

    Maybe if you were slinking into meetings with your agent still in your jammies from writing late at night...that might not be the most polished, professional thing. LOL

    And Dani, I forgot to mention the one-sheet! That was also something I wasn't really aware of until this post, so thank you for the explanation and example. I had a slight panic attack until I opened your example and saw how simple but powerful it is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hahahahaha! I hate to disturb my roommates and if you take the time to get dressed, it's like five minutes instead of two... that's a big difference, right? So I sneak... and work... and it's kind of fun to see the lobby reactions! :)

      Delete
  29. DANI, what good advice. I've made mistakes in nearly all the nine areas, but I've had the "corners knocked off me" over the years and now know what not to do -- and I don't do it. Craft is important. Even multi-published authors are still working on it. Professionalism is important, even when an acquisitions editor keeps your partial for a teeth-gritting two years and then forgets who you are. I think "social" is the hardest for me, except for craft, which we should always be working on. I'm on Facebook and Linked In, and I hang out here when I can. That's pretty much it. But social doesn't work if you don't have the product, so I'm careful to balance it with working on craft.
    I'm flying high today, just had a chance to study my latest contest scores which were Not.So.Bad.
    Kathy Bailey
    Figuring it all out in NH

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Kathy. Balance is so important. Wishing you the best. Writing is a tough industry, but it sounds like you have the perseverance needed and that's awesome.

      Delete
  30. MEGAN is right. Prayer, craft and professionalism head the list.
    KB

    ReplyDelete
  31. Dani, you hit all the major points to help a writer succeed in this business. Prayer and listening to God's direction is key. I would only add that publishing is a business. Unless publishers make a profit, they shut down fiction lines or close their doors. It's our job to give them what will touch the hearts and minds of their readers.

    Please put my name in the kitty for the Starbucks card. I'm a bit of a coffee addict. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Dani, you hit all the major points to help a writer succeed in this business. Prayer and listening to God's direction is key. I would only add that publishing is a business. Unless publishers make a profit, they shut down fiction lines or close their doors. It's our job to give them what will touch the hearts and minds of their readers.

    Please put my name in the kitty for the Starbucks card. I'm a bit of a coffee addict. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Barbara! Excellent points to add.

      Delete
  33. Wow! Thank you so much for the warm welcome. You guys have been busy this morning. I'm so happy to be here and thrilled the post has been helpful to so many of you!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Love this series and this author! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    donnyandshelly at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Love reading Dani's books! She is for sure at the top of the list in Christian suspense. I so appreciate her using scripture & prayer in her books :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you're enjoying the stories, Susanne :)

      Delete
  36. Okay, testing, testing. We now have the comments embedded. Hurrah. Hope that helps, Dani.

    ReplyDelete
  37. What a great article! And who can pass up an opportunity to win coffee and a Dani Pettrey book?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks so much! Appreciate you stopping by.

      Delete
    2. Welcome to Seekerville H Elaine Summy. Writer or reader??

      Delete
  38. HELLO DANI!!! I LOVE your books! I SO appreciate the spiritual elements of your stories!

    TINA, thank you for embedding the comments! It is so much EASIER!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Caryl! Thrilled you're enjoying the stories.

      Delete
  39. So glad to have you as our guest today, Dani! These are excellent tips, and I especially appreciate your emphasis on the professionalism aspect. Whether it's the way we dress and present ourselves for a conference appointment or the image we project on social media, it all matters.

    BTW, the ACFW workshop you presented with Becky Wade was one of the highlights for me--the ideal way to wrap up the conference in a positive, encouraging way. Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Myra,
      Thanks so much and I'm thrilled you enjoyed the workshop. We loved giving it!

      Delete
  40. Hi Dani,

    I wholeheartedly agree with do your homework. There are so many resources online and in print to help authors out.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Oh my gosh...I was so excited for Cold Shot when I saw the cover...yumm (oh and Starbucks is good too!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks. Best of luck in the drawing.

      Delete
  42. Replies
    1. Well, Jenny, I missed your comment. Happy Wednesday. How's the writing going??

      Delete
  43. Good morning! This is some good information, and I especially liked what you had to say about keeping your behavior professional whether in public or on social media!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Rebecca.

      Delete
  44. Good morning! This is some good information, and I especially liked what you had to say about keeping your behavior professional whether in public or on social media!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I hadn't read a book in years until I found your book at my girls library time a couple weeks ago and now I'm done with the first three Alaskan Courage. Thanks for getting me back in the game, Dani! Can't wait to read all of your books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so awesome. Thrilled you're enjoying the books!

      Delete
    2. Welcome to Seekerville, Ashley.

      Delete
  46. GREAT post, Dani, and I'm so thankful for the links! I would have to say the absolute first for me is prayer. God keeps reminding me that His timing is perfect. So I pray for guidance and in doing the work. It seems like the second for me is writing a great book. When these pieces are in place, the other steps are easier to put together.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Great tips, Dani, whether we are writers or not! God's timing and guidance are so critical, no matter what goals we are pursuing! Best wishes to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Fedora! Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
    2. Welcome to Seekerville, Fedora. Thanks for stopping by and celebrating Dani's visit and our birthday month.

      Delete
    3. It's great to see you here in Seekerville, Fedora!

      Delete
  48. Wonderful, helpful post, Dani! Thanks for these great tips!!

    I once had a one-sheet professionally designed (she offered a one-time "deal"). Several editors and a couple of agents I met with at a conference wanted to keep it...not for my project...for the design!! LOL

    Regarding the elevator pitch...my sweet husband and I stayed at an historic hotel with an historic elevator (no more than two people and only an iron gate for door). One time it stopped two feet above the floor we wanted...we resisted jumping...so we rode it up again and back down...there would have been plenty of time for an extended elevator pitch on that ride!!

    Have a great day everyone...finishing my last cuppa and headed to the antique mall!! I'll have to write later this afternoon!!

    ReplyDelete
  49. HI Dani!!! Waving enthusiastically from Nebraska. I loved all the tips and give a hearty AMEN to them.

    I pitched at ACFW in August and it was terrifying and wonderful all at the same time. I had business cards made before the conference thinking I'd never even use them. I was shocked when my pile was depleted! It was a great way to meet other writers and be able to connect on social media, too.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Dani, when does the next Chesapeake series release come out? What's your conference line up for 2017. Any special appearances for booksignings readers should know about?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. STILL LIFE releases in January. I'm really excited about it. Hope readers really enjoy it. I'll be attending Romantic Times in Atlanta in May and possibly ACFW in Dallas in September. Thanks so much for asking.

      Delete
  51. Good morning, Dani and Seekers!
    Who knew being an author was so much work?!! Y'all are superheroes as far as I'm concerned! Write books AND maintain an active and professional social media presence? Talk about overworked and underpaid!!! Readers love you for it though, keep on keeping on :D

    I'd love to be entered in the drawings for Dani's books! It's been too long since I've read one methinks. (Did I use "methinks" correctly? I use it around the house just to get weird looks from my kids and hubby. Feeling spunky today... could be a dangerous day for blogging)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and the warm welcome, Beth :)

      Delete
  52. Hi Dani
    Thanks for such a great list. Bookmarking this for future reminding and links to the one-sheet and your uber cool website. I really need to get reading more of your books. The covers are all AWESOME! Winning one in the draw would be bonus.

    My favorite tip is: Pray. Lord knows I need that and also do that constantly. He always knows The Plan and what needs to be done. Now if I could just do a better job at listening...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deb,
      So glad you found the post helpful!

      Delete
  53. Hi, Dani!

    I got my agent's attention via a contest she judged. She read my entry and offered me representation. The same entry caught an editor's eye. This particular story didn't sell to her house, but a subsequent one did.

    Because of my experience, I'm an advocate of contests as a way to get the attention of publishing pros, especially for romance writers like me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point, Keli! Contests are a great way to get an agents and editor's attention.

      Delete
  54. RUTHY, I too have crept into hotel lobbies in the middle of the night to write. Usually it's because the conference or retreat has stimulated me so much I can't wait to get started on a new project, or apply what I've learned to an old one. You are not alone, as they said on the Twilight Zone.
    KB

    ReplyDelete
  55. DANI!! Welcome back to Seekerville, girlfriend, and it was SO great to see you in Nashville!

    This is definitely a keeper post from someone who obviously knows what she is talking about, so thank you for sharing these wonderful tips with us all.

    You asked: Out of these 9 steps, what do you feel is most important in grabbing an editor or agent's attention?

    To me, that would be the proposal that not only sells your story, but it can wow the publisher/agent in a way that says you're worth their time because you are an author who goes above and beyond.

    Before I was an author, I was a writer for a travel company, but I wanted to move up into this coveted buyer position where I got to travel to cool places. So every time there was an opening, I applied in the usual fashion -- resume. But I was passed over several times. So I prayed about it, asking God to give me favor and help me to get this next job if it was His will. Well, it must have been because there I am laying in bed trying to sleep, and the thought drops into my brain to "put together a proposal." Now, mind you, NOBODY did proposals for job interviews back then, especially if you were already in the company. So I studied the job description and did a fancy binder proposal that nailed every single point in the job description, showing the employer the experience I had and why they should hire me. Needless to say, I got the job and you know what the employer said to me? She said that she got lots of resumes, but she had never, ever received a proposal, and it was because of the time and attention I took that I got the job.

    So when I pitched a new series to my publisher, I pulled out the stops on a proposal, even though I would have only had to give them a synopsis and maybe one chapter. I'm a kitchen-sink kind of gal, so I threw everything in that proposal that I could -- series overview, 1-line premise, moral premise, Scripture theme, extensive bio with awards listed, promotional platform, 7-page synopsis for each book, first chapter, and graphics. And I think Ruthy has even put together proposals with actual sales numbers, which is pretty cool too.

    I'm happy to say that not only did that extensive proposal wow my agent (who said pubbed authors almost never put together anything this complete), but my publisher AND a second publisher who bid on the series too.

    That said, in today's climate of too few pub spots for too many authors, I think it's critcal to go above and beyond in getting an editor's attention.

    Hugs!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loved seeing you too, Julie! Great points :)

      Delete
  56. Hi Dani and welcome to Seekerville. What a timely post for me since I was just getting ready to send out a proposal. smile. thanks so much for sharing such valuable information.

    Have fun today. Looks like you have been busy. smile

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are super welcome. I did my research on what to put in a proposal so I'm glad everyone is finding it helpful.

      Delete
  57. I once asked someone to tell me about their book, give me your pitch, I believe were my exact words, because I do this a lot.

    Then she started in meandering and I interrupted, "No, give it to me in one minute. One paragraph, One hundred words. Let's practice your pitch."

    I do that a lot too.

    It took 45 minutes and it sounded like a charming story, but the POINT was missed.

    Work on that short pitch.

    ReplyDelete
  58. DANI, thanks for the great post! All nine points are very important. The area I feel weak in are the elevator pitch and social media. Thankfully my first sale came from my editor loving my proposal. So that tops the list for me of how to get an agent or editor's attention.

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
  59. The elevator pitch is something I am now making myself do when I write the synopsis. It's so much easier at that point, and it provides a steering wheel for the story. Frankly, when someone asked me to tell them my pitch in the past I accidentally drop my dessert in their lap as a distraction. Surprisingly, it works every time. Although they do avoid me as lunch mates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea, Tina! The point about writing the pitch when you write the synopsis. Not using the dessert bomb as a distraction. LOL

      Janet

      Delete
    2. hehehe It certainly helps my diet, Janet.

      Delete
  60. Prayer is huge, but even as I pray, I need to accept God's sovereignty. He knew the timing far better than I did. My craft wasn't as ready as I thought it was. :-)

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
  61. DEBBY, thanks for the slice of German Chocolate birthday cake! Yummy! It's great fun to celebrate nine years of the community of Seekerville. What a blessing it's been for me.

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
  62. #4 is so true! Social media is a huge tool these days if used well! And prayer! Love that you included that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 100 pages per Hour. WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, home of the overachievers and happy slackers.

      Delete
  63. Would it be okay to ask a question? Since we are talking of facing our fears, I am facing my fear of contest information and have questions. You would think as I entered contests I would have started a spreadsheet with that information, but, sadly, no. Is there a better way to keep up with that? Do you keep a list of contests that you've entered, which story you've entered in what contest, what you liked/didn't like about the contest etc? Or is that non-useful information? Also, what are some questions you ask to determine if you should enter a particular contest? Is there such a thing as a guideline to whether you should enter this story or that story to a particular contest? Thanks in advance for any help! I appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sally, I keep a simple spreadsheet for all submissions and that includes contests. That way I can search it easily. Submission name. Where submitted. To whom. Date. Route (email etc) Sale Rejection. As for the other, let me go get you some links.

      Delete
    2. Thank you! I will check these out!

      Delete
    3. I just write down the contests I've entered so I can remember each year :)

      Delete
  64. Welcome, Dani! Thanks for this awesome post. I echo what many of the others have said - - you've shared some super helpful tips and I'm adding this to my Keeper File. CONGRATS on your writing success (AND all of your awards - - Wow!).
    Before I get back to my editing, I'm grabbing a slice of Debby Giusti's German chocolate cake - YUM! :)
    Thanks again, Dani!
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

    ReplyDelete
  65. I think that probably the best thing I can do right now is to finish my book ;) Thanks for the tips, I shall have to be sure to remember them when I turn to Traditional Publishing.

    Please enter me for the drawing!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Also, I just have to know. Is Dani your real name, or is it just a pseudonym? If it really is your name then does that mean that your full name is actually Danielle? Because that is my name and I have NEVER met anyone who shares my name and yet goes by Dani like I do (I have met one Danielle though). Exact same spelling and and everything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's Danielle, but I've always been called Dani. How fun!

      Delete
    2. Dani's Unite!

      (isn't it annoying that every spellcheck says that your name is misspelled?)

      Delete
  67. Elevator pitch for No Way UP (and the whole series)

    What if, instead of Jacob and Esau's parents picking a favorite and pitting their sons against each other, they did everything they could to bring these two very different men together?

    In 1860 New Mexico Territory.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Tina, LOL HEY, was it NOT an accident that time you dropped my dessert in my lap???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no such thing as an accident.

      Delete
    2. Hey we can reply to individual comments. I thought the blog looked funny today.

      I'm a little slow, sorry. (this holds true in all areas of my life!)

      Delete
  69. Well done, Dani & Tina!

    Please enter me in the drawings.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

    ReplyDelete
  70. Dani, thanks for sharing those wonderful tips. I'm definitely going to check out some of the links. I've been thinking about seeking agent representation and it scares me, so your tips come at the perfect time.

    I already have a copy of Cold Shot and of the novella collection you wrote with Dee Henderson and Lynette Eason, so no need to include me in the drawing.

    Now for my fan girl moment - romantic suspense is my favorite genre and I love your books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks so much, Terri. Best wishes with finding the right agent :)

      Delete
  71. Gush your heart out, Terri. I do it all the time. I have no shame. Fan girls unite.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Thank you for the suggestions. Love your books.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Dani, thanks so much for this great post. I bookmarked a lot of it. I will find it useful when I finish my book.

    I have a question on websites. What did you put in your website before you were published? I can't imagine why anyone would want to visit a website of mine if I wasn't published.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had my bio so editors and agents could read more about me, I included my contest wins, the names of my manuscripts and sample chapters--I think. It's been a while now.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the link to the website post, Tina. I have bookmarked it. Dani, thanks for your info about your website. Maybe when I start entering contests I'll have something to put there, too.

      Delete
  74. Sandy these really are GREAT tips. All of them. HANG ONTO IT AND THE LINKS!!

    ReplyDelete
  75. Great blog today! Good stuff.

    The next time I blog, I think it will be on 9 Things you CAN do after having your eyes dilated. Unfortunately, reading Seekerville is not one of them... Neither is working on your edits. :( I'm not even sure the list extends beyond ONE.... take a nap until the blurred vision passes.

    But I'm here now with a clean bill of health for my still slightly blurred vision.

    SALLY, it's not too late to start your spreadsheet. There are other ways to keep up with your submissions, but the good thing about an Excel spreadsheet is that it's universal.

    I kept a spreadsheet of all the contests I entered, then later, spreadsheets of agents and publishing houses I queried and submitted to.

    Even after you sell, spreadsheets are great to keep a running total on units sold and earnings, not just for a yearly reconciliation against 1099s, but for a lifetime earnings and total units sold report for yourself for your writing.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You had me until the reconciliation stuff. Eyes now glazed over and I have not been to the eye doctor.

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much, Pam. Glad it was helpful.

      Delete
  76. It is definitely important to introduce yourself and your story in the right way. Doing my homework for the book I'm trying to publish traditionally made me realize just how annoyed they can get to receive something that doesn't fit their guidelines!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you found the post helpful, Boo :)

      Delete
  77. Also, please put my name into the drawing.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Great post, Dani - thank you!! I'm not a writer, however, some of your 9 tips would work for professions other than writing - especially the one on prayer. Always #1, I feel, for whatever task one undertakes!!

    Please drop my name in the drawing - thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you still found the post helpful :) Yep. Prayer is always #1. Amen!

      Delete
  79. So many great tips! I'm not a writer, but it's still really interesting!
    Also, I am definitely adding the Chesapeake Valor series to my wish list! Cold Shot sounds like a fantastic read!

    ReplyDelete
  80. This was so interesting - thank you, DANI! Especially appreciate the info on the One Sheet. Congratulations on your new book!!

    ReplyDelete
  81. I'm late! But what a great post, Dani! Thanks for blogging with us.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Many thanks for spending the day with us, Dani!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you all for having me! It's always such a joy spending the day at Seekerville :) Happy birthday!

      Delete
  83. Thank you for this great post on the process, perseverance, professionalism, and list of resources.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Hi Dani. Thanks so much for your work in posting this lesson. You included a number of great resources that I will keep at hand for future reference. Many thanks! (P.S. I love your books AND their covers!) :)

    ReplyDelete
  85. Great post! Thank you Dani. As an aspiring author who's just finished her first book, I'm soaking it ALL in.

    I read "Submerged" this summer and really enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  86. Great advice! I loved Shattered...especially Landon!

    ReplyDelete
  87. Such thoughtful and pertinent advice! I'm so excited to read your novella and your upcoming book Still Life!

    ReplyDelete