Thursday, August 22, 2013

5 Keys to a Successful Editor/Agent Appointment by Elizabeth Ludwig ~ Part 1

Elizabeth Ludwig
Few things strike fear into the stout of heart more than speaking in public. In fact, according to a recent Gallup Poll, the only thing more petrifying is a fear of snakes. Is it any wonder, therefore, that writers are often reduced to stuttering, terror-stricken imbeciles when faced with the prospect of sitting down with an editor or agent? After all, any hope for a writing career rests in their powerful hands. Blowing a 15 minute appointment/opportunity could be the difference between having a manuscript published or seeing it forever banished to the realm of unused computer folders! Right?

Wrong—and if that’s what you’ve been telling yourself before every editor or agent appointment, you’ve been setting yourself up for failure. Your appointment is intended to create interest in you and your work. It very rarely (if ever) leads to a contract on a manuscript that is sight unseen.

So, what can you expect from a successful appointment with an editor or agent? Well, it can mean the beginning to a long and wonderful professional relationship if your appointment leads to a request for a manuscript. It can also provide valuable insight into what the industry is acquiring, and finally, it can present you with a powerful network of contacts. With those goals in mind, I have created five keys to conducting a successful editor/agent appointment:

1. Conduct your appointment…did you catch my use of that word? Very often, authors approach their appointments as they would a trip to the gallows—with a whole lot of fear and very little confidence. The truth is, you are an inventor with a product you believe in, and what you’re really doing is looking for the best manufacturer of your idea. Don’t sit back and expect the editor or agent to guide the appointment. Know your material well, and let the appointment be about introducing yourself first and your work second.

Key #1 to a successful editor/agent appointment? Take charge. You have a product you believe in, so conduct your appointment with confidence.

2. Think back to grade school. What were the two words that made you break out in a cold sweat faster than a teenager at their first dance? 1. Pop. 2. Quiz. Right? And do you remember why they made you want to cry like a little girl? Because you didn’t study! But if you took the time to actually research the material, hearing the teacher utter the dreaded words was no big deal. In fact, your score was usually so high, you ruined the curve. What a difference studying can make not only to test scores, but to a person’s overall attitude. The same can be said for researching publishing houses. When you know what an editor is looking for, and what kind of books their house is currently publishing, you can approach them with a lot more confidence because you know your manuscript fits within their guidelines.

Key #2 to a successful editor/agent appointment? Do like your momma told you and study!

Dora here. What frightens you the most about pitching your book to an editor/agent?
Make sure to join us next Thursday when Elizabeth offers three more keys to a successful editor/agent appointment. See you then!

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Ana Kavanagh's only memories of home are of fire and pain. As a girl she was the only survivor of a terrible blaze, and years later she still struggles with her anger at God for letting it happen. 

At a nearby parish she meets and finds a kindred spirit in Eoghan Hamilton, who is struggling with his own anger--his sister, Cara, betrayed him by falling in love with one of his enemies. Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan longs to rejoin the Fenians, a shadowy organization pushing for change back in Ireland. But gaining their trust requires doing some favors--all of which seem to lead back to Ana. Who is she and who is searching for her? As dark secrets from Ana's past begin to come to light, Eoghan must choose which road to follow--and where to finally place his trust.

Elizabeth Ludwig is the award-winning author of No Safe Harbor, Book One in the Edge of Freedom series. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit