The Internet and social networking are wonderful things. So are conferences. I've accumulated a lot of writerly information over the years. Here are some things I've learned:
1. Double-space a manuscript with at least 1" margins.
2. Round off word count to the nearest thousand. Don't put 79,462 on your ms/query!
3. Use at least 12 point for your font. Be kind to weary agent and editor eyes.
4. To indicate mid-chapter scene changes, make hash tags # or asterisks * (centered). They are especially important to indicate scenes that end at the bottom of a page.
1. Don't put extra line spaces between your paragraphs. Don't. Do. It.
2. Don't number your first page. Your name, address, email, word count, & title go there.
3. Some editors detest the Courier font! It adds pages, for one thing. Times New Roman is the closest to a finished product page count, but always check submission guidelines.
4. Never underline. Use italics for direct thoughts, emphasis, names of ships/books/etc.
5. Never put two spaces after a period.
1. If you truly want to social network with others, make sure you have an email linked to your profile. TO CHECK: In Blogger, go to Dashboard, then Edit Profile. Add your email under Identity (this can be one you set up just for blogging). Then bloggers who reply to comments via email--like me--can respond to you. Yay!
2. You may have fewer readers, followers, or comments if you do the following: write long posts, have word verification, or have comment moderation. People are busy; these things slow them down.
AGENTS, EDITORS, PUBLISHERS
1. POV: A lot of successful YA manuscripts are in 1st person; it's really popular with teens. (And here I had only written in 3rd limited, before…)
2. Editing: The more polished your manuscript is as far as grammar, punctuation, and spelling, the greater your chance of acceptance. It's like brushing your hair before an interview. Editors these days have less time and budget to polish, so a near-ready novel is a very attractive thing. Agents love it too.
3. On Sub: Once you have an agent and go "on submission" to find an editor, do NOT post about it on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Editors don't want to Google you to find out you've been peddling your book for a year and they're last on your agent's list. Ouch. (Nope, I'm not on sub; I'm still revising and polishing.)
4. Advances: It's not always best to get a whopper advance from a publisher. For one thing, taxes take a bigger bite. For another, it's harder to sell well enough to "earn out" that big advance, and you may be met with less enthusiasm for your next book.
5. More on Advances: A writer doesn't get an advance all in one chunk. It's split up into 2 or 3 checks, for instance one at signing and one when the book comes out.
6. Contracts: If you signed a book contract with a traditional publisher today, your book would come out in TWO years; it'd be on a fall 2013 list. Small publishers and presses often work faster, though.
And speaking of not having too long of blog posts, I will quit here!
Did you learn anything, or did you already know all these things?
Do you disagree with any of these points--or have you heard info that conflicts?
Do you have other helpful tidbits to share? What have YOU learned??