Writing Excuses Episode 13: Submitting to Editors Part 2

In part two of our chat with editor Stacy Whitman, we discuss more about how to interact with editors: how to approach them at cons, how to inquire about work you’ve already submitted, and how to butter them up by asking about their current projects. To cap it off, we ask Stacy about her current projects.

This week from our sponsor, Tor: The Wolfman , by Nicholas Pekearo


23 thoughts on “Writing Excuses Episode 13: Submitting to Editors Part 2”

  1. Did something get cut off when you inserted the Tor advertisement? It seemed like there was something being said when it came in, but I could be wrong.

  2. It sounds like we’re losing something, but all the original words are there–there’s just a really abrupt break because we forgot to leave room for the ad and had to cram it in wherever we could.

    Last week we talked about how to submit by mail, and that’s very good to know, but this week’s focus on personal contact and networking is much, much, much more helpful. When you do your research and you put in your legwork, you can make connections with the industry that are far more valuable than just an anonymous submission.

    Keep in mind, though, that the number one most important (and most effective) way to get published is to write a good book. All we’re suggesting here are ways to get people to read your good book.

  3. Having heard now about submitting to editors, I’d be interested to hear what Howard’s take is on self-publishing and how it it is different from publishing with an editor. Any special pit falls or benefits?

  4. Do you want me to write about it, or do you want me to talk about it?

    Self-publishing is the ugly stepchild of the book business. It’s a rare case like mine when the self-published author garners both a full-time living AND a measure of respect. There’s pitfall number one.

  5. I cut out Brandon saying Umm, which is why you’re hearing a little bit there.

  6. Stacy mentioned a blog by Christa Nelson (sp?) in the podcast…any way to get a link to it?


  7. I spoke to Brandon today (Monday) about podcasting on “Self Publishing,” and he agreed that we could record that one during our next session. It won’t air for a bit, but we’ll definitely get to it.

  8. Great work this week. Thanks for all of the tips for aspiring not-sot-young-authors like myself. I appreciate the reminder that publishing has its own culture. One has to be literate in the expectations and practices before one can successfully participate in the industry.

    Stacy, thanks for mentioning PWdaily and Publishers Lunch, I was unaware of these resources.

  9. I like Writing Excuses a lot- but listening to these two ‘casts with Stacy has been a real treat. I want to be an editor someday, and so hearing a bit about what the job is like from a veteran was very nice.

    See if you can have Stacy on more!

  10. Here’s a question: At what point in the writing process should I start researching and approaching editors? Only after I’ve gotten my manuscript as far as I can take it alone, or is there an appropriate point before that?

  11. I’d also be interested in hearing an elaboration on word count. There was a discussion going on regarding preferred word counts from new authors that got sidetracked into another topic. Is there really a solid word count expectation?

  12. Jen: Researching editors and agents can probably come at any point. It’s a part of being market savvy, which, as the podcast discussed, is a wonderful thing to be. If you’re watching the market and keeping an eye on where books like yours come from, then you’ll have an idea of the editors and agents to approach when you have a manuscript that’s ready.

    As far as when to approach them, I’m defnintely no expert, but I’d personally polish up my manuscript as much as possible before sending it on (without beating it to death, of course). I can’t imagine that many people want to see a half-baked manuscript with the promise, “It will get better, I just haven’t fixed it up yet.” Especially if you’re going unsolicited and unknown, a finished manuscript is probably the sort you want to be presenting.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  13. Sorry haven’t responded. I’ve been in Atlanta at a trade show all week, and just this morning remembered that the second half went up today! I’m afraid I have to run out to the show right now, too, but I wanted to let anyone with questions know that I’ll try to get to them Friday or over the weekend. Thanks for the great comments!

  14. I enjoyed last week’s podcast with the fun/painful stories, as well as good meat to chew on. However, this week’s was the main course for me. For a new writer like myself, it was refreshing to hear that there are editor-friendly ways to build relationships and contacts. So much that is out there about subbing novels is the blind submission approach, which seems, well, not very efficient.

    Good stuff all! Thanks for everything Stacy!

  15. First off, I love this podcast, and the chemistry you have with each other gives me hope for peace between all members of mankind. I usually listen within hours of it going up. I have read all of Brandon’s books since I discovered who he was off of dragonmount (Alcatraz was my favorite, I read it aloud to my baby sister in a Shrek voice to our mutual delight), and I’ve been steadily working my way through Schlock. I’m looking forward to reading Dan’s book.

    Now that I’ve shared my love for all of you, I have a very weird situation and I was hoping that you could help me sort it out. I’m 23 and I authored a blog for a while that garnered me a small (think 8 point font) amount of internet celebrity and a publisher has contacted me wanting to know if I would like to write a book.

    I’ve checked out the credentials and everything is legitimate. Real publisher, real editor, actual books on actual shelves. She told me she would have to clear me with her boss, but left me with the impression that I was probably going to be published. I’ve submitted what she wanted (a sample of short stories I had written) and she seems happy with them, although I haven’t gotten an official green light yet. I wanted to ask you questions early in the process because I don’t want to make any mistakes that would jeopardize my chances.

    My question are as follows:

    1. Do I need an agent? If that’s too simplistic please dress me down and scold me, while educating me in the process.

    2. If the publisher makes me an offer is that when I should query an agent or should I do so now?

    3. I’ve done a lot of research on this: is this as bizarre as it seems?

    4. I’m sure I’m missing something, which is why I bow to your superior wisdom.

    Although science fiction and fantasy have always been my first love, I write narrative non-fiction if that changes anything.

    Thanks a million.

  16. 1. Do I need an agent?
    Absolutely. Agents are an author’s best friend in the entire world. Check Preditors & Editors, check this link: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2005/01/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about.asp
    and so on.

    2. If the publisher makes me an offer is that when I should query an agent or should I do so now?
    Go ahead and get one now. You won’t have to pay them until you get a deal anyway, so you might as well, PLUS a good agent will be able to tell at a glance if this is a legitimate deal and a good idea.

    3. I’ve done a lot of research on this: is this as bizarre as it seems?
    Yes and no.
    An editor’s job is to publish good writing that they think people will want to read. If this editor thinks you fit the bill, then that makes perfect sense. Just because it hardly ever happens doesn’t mean it can’t.

    4. I’m sure I’m missing something, which is why I bow to your superior wisdom.
    Well done, my young padawan. I hope I’ve been helpful to some degree.

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