Friday, August 2, 2019

Call for Questions!

I'm planning a "behind the publishing curtain" series of blog posts (likely slated for next year) that will break down the publishing process. The goal is to help writers better understand what happens from manuscript to book!

I'll be interviewing industry professionals in the following areas:

  • Slush/vetting manuscripts
  • Representation/Agents
  • Editorial
  • Production
  • Marketing/PR
  • Sales
  • Cover Design/Artwork
  • Distribution
  • Bookstores
  • Libraries
  • Royalties/Finance
  • Subsidiary rights (film, translation, audio)
  • Published/Career

What I would love to hear from YOU is: what do you want to know?!

Please post any questions you have about the positions/steps above in the comments!

If you are an industry professional in one of the areas above and are interested in being interviewed, please pop me an email to connect!


  1. I'm not sure which category this falls under, but are release dates chosen based on when a book is sold to a publisher? (Like a specific amount of time from that sold date) Or are they chosen based on how much work a book needs or where they are in a revision process? Or are the revision timelines based on the release date of a book?

  2. I think most aspiring writers have many of the same questions. They've all been answered ad infinitum but agents, publishers, successful writers, etc, but they're still the top questions on our minds. (And frankly, we often get differing answers, so it's helpful to ask again.) For me, those are questions like:
    (1) What really makes a manuscript stand out in the slush pile? All of us in the slush despise the answers of "connects with me" or "good grammar/proofreading."
    (2) What can authors do to market their book successfully, and how much responsibility/involvement does the publisher have in marketing? (Asked by one whose career is in marketing, I'd feel comfortable shouldering it more on my own but I know many are intimidated by the prospect.)
    (3) How does an author ensure a successful *career* vs simply getting a book published?
    (4) What's the preference among agents/publishers for a series vs a standalone?
    (5) Once you've signed an author, what's the usual timeline for future book commitments? If it takes an author 5 years to finish their debut, should they expect the next one due in 6 months? How do you help authors in that situation?
    (6) How easy or difficult is it to cross genres, particularly crossing from something like SF/F to thriller/adventure - a jump that's not enormous (eg military sci-fi to upmarket women's fic) but still noticeably different.
    (7) If you're lucky enough to get multiple offers of representation, how do you pick a good agent? What should a healthy and productive agent/author relationship look like?

    I'm sure you've covered a good many of these topics on your blog already, so for that I apologize. These are just the top of mind questions for me, I hope some might be useful for you.


  3. 1.) If you are crafting a series a books, and the first is picked up by a publishing house when the author is without representation but the rest are not contracted, how does that work for the rest of the series? Does the author query with book two to agents? Scrap the series and simply do stand alones?

    2.) If you are without an agent and a publishing house publishes your book, is it possible for the agent to seek representation for subsidiary rights? Or does the publisher have to do request it?

  4. If you make significant changes to a manuscript after submitting a full request, is it okay to resubmit to them in the even they haven't responded to the full yet?

    Also, would it be okay to ask them this on Twitter if they are active on there? Just to be on the safe side before doing so.

    OR should I just wait until I get a response before even mentioning the changes?

  5. Is it okay to query two manuscripts at the same time? Not to the same agencies or agents. Just in general.

  6. Should you notify agents who have requested a full of one manuscript if you've completed another manuscript that's ready to query?

  7. I've heard of authors pouring money into marketing and it not helping sales at all. What really works when marketing?

  8. Thanks for asking for questions!

    When a manuscript makes it to an acquisition meeting, how long does the decision process usually take? What all is involved in that process?

    What metrics does a publisher use to analyze marketing success/failure? If there are no metrics, other than sales, how does a publisher measure marketing success?

    What individual author marketing strategies tend to be most effective? Are bookstore events/launch events a waste of time? Are there other strategies that are a better use of an author's time/money?

  9. How to break into the business of Lit Agenting? Applying for all the assistant gigs I can find but want to stand out as this is a life change moment for me. Thanks Natalie!