Ann Brodeur

Author of Sweet Hope and Happy Endings

TO QUERY AND TO SUBMIT

From Idea to Publication: The Journey of a Published Novel

Once you’ve written a novel you’re proud of and have spent the time doing edits (with or without an editor), it’s time to start querying your project.

If you’ve ever written and submitted grants you’ll realize that this part isn’t any different for writers. No two agents and no two publishers require the same thing from pre-published authors. One has to READ THE FINE PRINT carefully and tailor each submission as per individual guidelines. Some agents have online forms to fill out while others ask for email with a variety of items. Some may ask for a full book proposal, others are satisfied with the first three chapters. It is rare to find an agent who welcomes snail mail (but I did come across at least one in my research). Some request a cover letter with synopsis (a detailed road map of the stops and all the spoilers to the end) and sample chapters while others want the entire manuscript with or without all the extras.

I can’t stress enough to do your homework!

photo source: pexels.com

One thing I took away from my boot camp seminar with a literary agency was that if they receive a submission that doesn’t follow the guidelines, they won’t even look at it. It goes right into the reject pile. The reasons being several. So – if you want your submission to be read, READ the guidelines and then FOLLOW them to a tee.

There are oodles of resources out there to help an aspiring author to find an agent or a publisher.

An internet search will turn up thousands of hits that could take you days to search through. There are dedicated websites to aid your search (like Manuscript Wish List or Christian Writers Marketplace). There are online magazines which feature publishers or agents (like Writers Digest). There are some publishers who accept unsolicited and/or unagented authors (like Harlequin or Wild Rose Press). Sometimes publishers will open up a small window of opportunity to submit an unsolicited manuscript, meaning you don’t have to have an agent submitting on your behalf (like Hallmark).

There are Twitter pitches for various genres when authors can pitch an unpublished/unrepresented body of work to be picked up (like FaithPitch).

There are publisher blitzes and there are writing contests in which the grand prize is to be published with a small press. Check out writer’s blogs (like Seekerville or Writers Digest). At times they may feature a new editor or new agent trying to build their business. There are new presses popping up that may offer you the step up you need to establish your career.

Be wary though. There are scammers out there who will take you to the cleaners. Being a member of a professional writers group is an excellent way to find out information about publishers or agents you may be apprehensive about. Experienced writers will point you in the right direction. Another great resource is Writer Beware.

photo source: pexels.com

Once you’ve prepared your submission according to the guidelines, hit “submit” and get working on your next great novel! It’s a waiting game in publishing, so use your time wisely. Impress prospective agents or publishers with another book so that they see you are serious about your craft.

And that’s it. Time to start the cycle all over again.

Now go write your novel!

If you’ve missed the other parts of this series, click on the links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Book Review: AFTERMATH

BOOK BY: Terri Blackstock

A page-turning, nail-biting, who done it new release from Terri Blackstock will have readers hooked until the final page.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I can’t believe this is the first suspense I’ve read by this author!

Terri Blackstock is a talented writer who keeps readers guessing until the very end.

A victim of a stadium bombing copes with the trauma of leaving her friends behind to rescue herself. An innocent veteran is accused of the attack. A criminal defence lawyer who knows the accused. A best friend and wife’s last hope is an experimental treatment. All of these characters have something to prove and their paths will twist, turn and cross in so many different ways it may leave your brain spinning.

Descriptions of the bombing, post-traumatic stress, and the struggle with cancer and experimental treatments are detailed and create empathy toward the victims and their families. There’s a beautiful faith thread that ties two of the characters together, bringing about forgiveness and restoration into each of their lives.

An excellent read that I didn’t want to put down.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Net Galley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review: A DANCE IN DONEGAL

BOOK BY: Jennifer Deibel

A Dance in Donegal starts in America and follows newly minted teacher, Moira Doherty across the ocean to fulfill the final wish of her deceased mother – to take the vacant teaching position in her childhood home of Ballymann. With great hope and aspirations, Moira is sorely disappointed after arriving in the small town as her mission is continually thwarted.

Readers will learn the way of the Irish in this fictional tale, superstition and suspicion are valued above all else. Characters act on these ancient beliefs and treat Moira with contempt for much of her time in Ballymann to her puzzlement. There is a colourful cast of characters – some extremely likeable and others, not so much. Readers will have no problem envisioning the setting in Donegal with the author’s vivid descriptions of the beautiful setting in Ireland.

The pacing is slow to begin with and it doesn’t seem like much is going on. It isn’t until about mid-way through that the story picks up and leads readers through an interesting narrative.

Moira Doherty is a strong believer and many of the pages of this novel are dedicated to scripture, her own meditations and prayers. Yet, when faced with adversity Moira chooses to ignore what she knows is the right thing to do. This reaction didn’t quite fit with her character up to this point, however she had been placed in a difficult position prior to the event with the person in question she’s meant to help.

The main drawback for me was the use of Gaelic throughout the entire novel and the Irish accent written out in dialogue. I had to keep checking the glossary (so glad there was a glossary!) to see what the characters were saying. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if the phrases were sprinkled through the pages instead of front and centre.

All in all, a solid debut by Jennifer Diebel.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review: THE GIRL IN THE PAINTING

Book By: TEA COOPER

Looking for a book set somewhere other than small town USA? Then pick up a copy of Tea Cooper’s The Girl in the Painting which takes place in Australia, 1860s and 1910s.

This dual time novel is an interesting story that follows Irish Immigrant Michael O’Cuinn from London, England to the gold mines of Australia in the 1860s. Tragedy strikes his family more than once and as the story progresses we see how family means everything to Michael. His compassion for others is quite evident, and it’s that compassion that creates a bond stronger than blood relations between characters.

Jane Piper is an orphan who has an incredible talent for numbers. In the contemporary time line (1910s Australia) she is taken in by Michael and his sister. She blossoms under Elizabeth’s tutelage. When Jane and Elizabeth visit a special art exhibition, the story begins to unwind in a crazy kind of spiral that reveals our characters are not who we think they are and that their past is quite different than readers are led to believe.

The story begins slow, but sets the foundation for the last half of the novel. The painting for which the book is titled, doesn’t make an appearance until mid-way through the story. It’s this painting that sets off a bizarre series of events that keeps the reader engaged.

There is a great deal discussed about the Chinese faith in the historical story line, though very little is mentioned about the Christian faith. Catholicism plays a slight role in the historical setting. Not much is mentioned in the way of faith in the contemporary story. This is more of a clean read than one with a strong faith thread.

Despite the slow progression in the beginning, the persevering reader will be rewarded with a story that examines the true meaning of family and overcoming hardship for the sake of others.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

BOOK REVIEW: HOPE BETWEEN THE PAGES

Book By: PEPPER BASHAM

A beautiful narrative of how stories can help mend the broken parts of our past and provide a foundation for our future.

Contemporary heroine Clara Blackwell inherits the one hundred year old family Bookshop in Asheville, NC. There’s a question of ownership that sends Clara, her mother and cousin Robbie on a search for a missing deed, before her smarmy Uncle’s client can file a lawsuit against her.

Historical heroine Sadie Blackwell is the resident librarian for the Vanderbilt’s estate. She has a gift for bringing books alive and for choosing the exact one that a patron of the estate’s personal collection requires. A whirlwind romance, an adventure across the ocean and a tragedy from WW1 creates a trail of letters, hidden missives in books and locked away documents that will either prove or disprove the true identity of Blackwell’s Book Shop one hundred years later.

There are interesting characters and sweet romances that play through both the contemporary and historical time lines. Readers will cheer Clara on as she digs through the dusty boxes left untouched for decades. Readers will boo the villains of Clara’s and Sadie’s stories. Readers will admire characters who rise above the adversity, and the ways in which they do it.

Though the ending is somewhat predictable, the slow romance in the contemporary line and the thrill of discovery is a delight. And our hero from Sadie’s story, is the kind of hero readers will swoon over.

I received an ecopy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

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