Monday, March 26, 2012

You’ve Written a Book, Now What?

Here are more of my notes from LTUE. I hope you can glean something out of them like I did. No matter how many conferences I go to I always seem to mine some new gem of information from each one. 

Here are the amazing panelists and some of their awesome books:

Laura Bingham—Author of The False Prince, Alvor, and Wings of Light 

Jennifer A. Nielsen—Author of Elliot and the Goblin War and writing new series called Infinity Rings with James Dashner for Scholastic. 

J. Scott SavageFarworld Series and new series The Shallow Grave Case Files,  an MG mystery about monsters beginning with Zombie Kid coming out in spring 2013 

Chris Shoebinger—Publishing Director at Deseret Book and Shadow Mountain

Kirk Shaw—Senior Editor for Covenant Communications

Lisa Mangum—Editor for Deseret Book and Shadow Mountain and author of The Hour Glass Door

  • Revise! Revise! Revise!
  • Does 10 full revisions before anyone sets eyes on it
  • Does an additional 20 revisions
  • Prints off your day’s pages and read and correct them  on paper
  • When you finish a book, CELEBRATE! It’s a great way to recharge 
  • Has his family come in and help him on the last sentence.
  • Then he thinks about his next novel
  • Write 1 page a day (250 words) for 10-30 min
  • Skip 1 sitcom
  • Keep track of how much time you spend to unwind (watch TV etc…)
  • Listen to audio books
  • You don’t have to both read and write everyday. Read one day and write the next.
  • Get others to read your books. Find people with different personalities:
    • Some plot driven
    • Some emotional
    • Some grammar
  • Have a pool of people with different strengths:
    • Writer’s group
    • Email people
    • Find author friends to read stuff
    • Have people you can trust to give you honest feedback, the good, the bad
You have two chances with an editor
  • When you submit and when you do a rewrite 
  • You need readers and need to read and see flaws
  • Hire an editor
  • Traditional publishing
  • Keep your eye on the summit
  • Don’t get sidetracked
  • Everything you do should be to that goal whether you want to:
    • Self publish
    • Publish with a smaller publisher Shadow Mountain
    • Or 1 of big six 
  • If you want to find an agent know who your top choices are  
  • Read widely
  • Make a list of ten agents
  • Check websites for submission guidelines
  • Keep good records on a spreadsheet of when you send stuff out and the responses you get
  • As soon as send out queries start on next project. 
  • Switch to business mindset after you finish your book
  • There’s not just 1 way to get to summit
  • There are different paths you can take 
  • Just keep writing because you don’t know which book will make it
  • Give yourself time to get a book out
  • If you don’t get an acceptance move to the next book.
  • From the completion of a book to publication takes 2 years
  • It takes 1+ years from acceptance at Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain
  • Expect lag on the front end
  • Covenant takes about 5 mos. from submission to acceptance
  • 1-1/2 years from acceptance to publication
  • Revise, rewrite, marketing plan, contact info
  • From contract to arcs takes 2yrs
  • Build a website, relationships, reputation, and contacts with bookstores
Reasons for rejections:
  • The book is poorly written
  • It’s not the right market
  • The writing isn’t up to the idea’s quality
  • Bad timing. We may have already accepted something similar
Research publishers:
  • The “Big Six” require agents
  • If a publisher requires an agent (most don’t take unsolicited mss) find an agent first.
Jennifer wrote in her query that her book could stand alone, but if they wanted more it could be series. That’s how she sold her book


  1. There are some real gems in those notes. Thanks for sharing. I would have loved to be at that conference!

  2. I love that Jeff has his family help him come up with the last line.

    Thanks for the notes!