If you want your book to be published by a traditional publisher and your favorite cousin is not an acquisition editor for such a publishing house, then you’ll probably need a literary agent in order to get your foot in the door or, more appropriately, your manuscript over the transom. Some publishers won’t even consider a manuscript unless it’s represented by an agent. But regardless of whether you want to send your as-yet-unpublished literary work directly to a publisher or to a literary agent, there are a few things you need to do once you’ve finished your first draft, revised it as you think needed, and run it through a spell checker and/or your mom, who is a spelling and grammar whiz.
The first thing you need is a knowledgeable, objective eye to edit your work and note any problems with spelling, grammar, punctuation, and the like—this is called “copy editing”—as well as with the flow of the prose, the initial hook, pacing, plot or character consistency, and other story elements. This latter function of editing is where real writing experience is needed; a spell checker and dictionary will not suffice.
What I can do for you: Copy Edit
As a professional copy editor with years of experience and a Royal Palm Literary Awards judge tasked with scoring novels on various aspects of story components as well as grammar, punctuation, and other mechanics, I have acquired the expertise to help you polish your masterpiece into the shining pearl you know it can be.
Once you’ve whipped into shape both the content of your story and the grammar and syntax of its presentation, you’ll be ready to send queries off to agents or publishers in an effort to seek representation and, ultimately, publication by a traditional book publisher. This means you need to write a query letter that includes a one-paragraph pitch for your book that will entice the agent or editor to request to see an outline or synopsis, sample chapters, or possibly the entire manuscript. And yes, if you are a fiction writer, you need to have completed that manuscript and polished it until it shines before you send out the first query.
What I can do for you: Query letter and Pitch
As author of the award-winning book The Novel Pitch: Everything You Need to Know to Write a Successful Query for Your Fiction, I can assist you in writing your query letter and, most importantly, write the pitch for your novel or short story. Having written more than 50 sample pitches in 15 major categories, I now have the understanding to write an engaging query pitch for almost any type of fiction—and my approach has been proven to work in the real world of New York literary agents.
Whether you do it all on your own, with the help of beta readers and a critique group, or use the services of a copyeditor and/or book editor, you need to have all the elements a literary agent or editor is likely to request before you send out queries. This means not only a completed manuscript in proper manuscript format but also an outline, synopsis, and brief author bio, all in smooth, error-free prose. That’s why I’m here to help.