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7-5 Publications That Renig on Payment

(c) 2009 by Mona Leeson Vanek

This is probably most relevant for those who write for magazines and such. Writers Weekly has a forum that tracks non-payers. Angela Hoy, owner\publisher of Writers Weekly keeps the site up-to-date.

Chapter 14 - Tending to Business:

Next: Chapter 15 - The Many Facets of Freelancing:

10-3 Publishing and Book Manuscript Format

(c) 2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

If you aren't sure how to format your manuscript William Shunn's site shows and explains how:

Cover page format of the manuscript of your novel
  • first and last name
  • address
  • phone home
  • phone work
  • email
  • [skip space]
  • 100,000 words (round down to next whole number)

UPPER RIGHT OF COVER PAGE (including the agent/agency, is a good reference.)
  • name of agent/agency
  • address
  • phone work
  • email
  • [skip space]
  • A [genre] novel (for example, A mystery novel)
  • [skip space]
  • by YOUR NAME
OR, if you have a pen name - by YOUR pen name. If you're already published in one genre and are now slipping over into another genre, it reinforces that point, which you should have already made in your query.

Extensive guidelines for preparing a wide variety of manuscripts can be found at The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University, Use the links to  find some of the best writing instructions you'll find on the web!

Good guides for formatting e-mail submissions can be found at flashquake,

Chapter 21 - Polish, Sell, and Enjoy Rewards!:

Next: 10-4, More Useful Links to Markets:


8-1 Negotiate Your Contract

Writers! Dig in Your Heels! Negotiate!
(c)2010, Mona Leeson Vanek

BOOM! Hey, got your attention, did I? Look at the small print in that contract! Now, before you sign it!

Do you see those little words, 'electronic rights in all medium known and unknown'? Or perhaps there are other far-reaching clauses? Do you have any idea what rights you're signing away?

The time to negotiate rights is before signing the contract.

Today most major magazines enter into contractual agreements with authors taking all the rights the writer will let them have, with clauses covering audiotape, microfilm, microfiche, CD-ROM, and broad electronic rights like database.

Many magazines have electronic versions and print versions. Some offers say, "Buys one-time
serial rights, including the right to reprint in the magazine for 50% of the original price."
Today's contracts at major as well as small-circulation magazines include the words 'and for electronic rights in all media known and unknown.'

Freelance writers may still strike everything beyond use in a single print edition by insisting on 'First North American Serial Print Rights Only -- all electronic rights excluded,' or ask for more money.
A writer has to negotiate these rights.

Rule 1: a contract is ALWAYS negotiable and the publishers almost always start with the most in-their-favor contract they think they can get away with. Many of them actually have two "standard" contracts, one they send to new unagented authors and another, more reasonable one they send to agents or to authors who obviously know the ropes.

Rule 2: the more rights you license, the more a publisher pays.

When you receive a contract you're not prepared to accept, write back and thank them for sending the contract and that you'll have your attorney look it over and get back to them ASAP.

Now they're on notice that you're not accepting ridiculous terms. Since it's always legal to act as your own attorney, and you ARE going to be looking the contract offer over very carefully, you're not lying.

Publishers generally are more receptive to a request to change their contract than they are to accepting another different contract. They feel that they're winning some and losing some, rather than losing their entire contract and having yours replace it.

Make the changes to their contract by highlighting the unacceptable sections and inserting notes. Or, or send a separate letter that references each section by number, with your suggested changes keyed to them.

If an offer lower than you like is made to you by an editor on the telephone don't be bashful about replying, "Well, I had in mind xxxx amount," upping the ante to reflect what you think your work is worth.

Even with successful negotiating, freelancers are too often finding themselves inadequately protected. For instance, when a writer negotiates electronic rights it's important to try to set time limits and to only sell one-time rights with archive-able reading option. ASJA advises writers to spell this out very clearly.

If you see one vicious clause, that boils down to 'rights of the purchaser to secure copyright as proprietor', or in other words, gives the publisher the copyright, always excise it. Also, the state where disputed issues will be heard is another important item.

Know what rights you are selling to the first publisher
  • Become familiar with rights, their terms and what they mean.
  • Ask the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) if you don't know, or do a search on the web and do your homework before you sign over to the publisher any rights you want to retain.
Don't presume that marking your manuscript with only specific rights, such as 'first periodical' or 'first North American Serial' reserves any rights to yourself. Make sure the information is in your contract.

Don't be afraid to negotiate every contract with vigor. Remember that asking about rights and kill fees marks you as a professional. Ask the editor to send you a contract reflecting the price, rights and conditions you discuss. Show that you value your work.

When the editor of a magazine says, "We can't change the contract," what is meant is "We won't change it for you."

After your article has been accepted and is scheduled for publication, make sure you have a copy of the final agreement executed in writing before the publication date.
  • If the publishing company delays until your accepted article is already in the pipeline, your position becomes stronger as the publishing date nears. Replacing it will be more difficult, and you have the editor's written or verbal agreement to purchase.
Be sure to contact the accepting editor periodically, jogging them that the contract hasn't been executed. Until it is, the manuscript remains yours to sell. On occasion, instead of signing a contract I objected to, I have provided my own contract which the publisher then executed before going to press.

There are, however, still many publications that don't use contracts.
  • According to US law, if there has been no discussion of rights, one-time rights or first rights are assumed. This is currently true for paper-print publications, but electronic rights are still, legally, far from being clear and are being influenced by many factors.
The Credit Union magazine guidelines provide insights:

Contract help is available from the following

Chapter 15 - The Many Facets of Freelancing:

Next: 8-2, Collecting What's Due You:


4-1 Active Voice or Passive Voice

(c) 2009 by Mona Leeson Vanek

Contributed by Edita A. Petrick

As you decide whether to use active voice or passive voice in your writing, Edita A. Petrick shares an easy way to distinguish between which you're using. Edita says, "I found this simple (below) for passive writing and voice very useful."

In simple terms, PASSIVE style presents character's action as: *** he was running, he was thinking, she is wondering, etc.

This style of writing gives the reader an undesirable degree of freedom to DOUBT everything the character does. This translates into doubting the writer's presentation.

With this style, the reader's automatic response is: WAS he...really? IS she...really? (running, thinking, wondering)

The reader is skeptical -- and free to question the writer's intent. So the writer is giving away his control over his character's action.

In ACTIVE style, the character's action is given: *** he ran, he thought, she wondered/she wonders.

The reader has only one response/reaction -- and that's the one the writer wants him to have: WHY did he run...? Why did he think that...? Why did she wonder...?"

That's precisely WHAT the writer wants to do - engage reader's curiosity (not doubt.) When the reader asks "WHY" -- (because if "was" is absent from his style, the reader won't have the freedom to use it to fling it back at the writer - Was he now, really?) -- he's ENGAGED in the story, participating, and will read on...and on, and on. WHY -- is that key word that the writer wants his readership to ask, not "WHY" is what drives the novel, its characters' through action and their motives.

To learn more, The Capital Community College Foundation sponsors The Guide to Writing and Grammar: Links will take you to whatever you want to know.

Chapter 9 - Querying and Related Issues:

Next, 4-2, Grammar Tutor Online:

7-3 What About Taxes

Fear Not The IRS
(c) 1998 Mona Vanek

*Note, Changes continue to be made regarding writer's income taxes. Always review the most recent tax laws.
In 1998, tax time awaited a group of us professional writers, as it does every year poised like an opposing ball team ready to intercept our plays. So a dozen of us joined forces and enlisted Len Goldberg, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to coach us.

While tax laws are always changing, some things remain constant and I'll share what we learned in a week-long online forum as Len answered our tax questions.

Whether you're a beginning writer or a well established one, incorporated or not, doesn't make a difference. Assuming writers have a "trade or business" from writing, a writer is the business and the internal revenue code requires reporting all income relating to that trade or business.

  • If we're operating as a sole proprietorship we normally report income and expenses on Schedule C. Business income includes gross income of less than $500 derived from any source, and net income of less than $400 from a Schedule C sole proprietorship business.
If we report freelance writing income as personal (Form 1040) individual income rather than as Schedule C Business Income we'll receive IRS notices, because they'll be confused.

Play by the rules, but play smart. Don't overlook reporting any expenses associated with earning that income. The intent of any business is to make money - ie: earning income that is more than expenses.
  • Instead of thinking you're giving the IRS "extra" income by reporting smaller fees we receive, remember that we are also "giving" the IRS extra income by "not" reporting all the expenses of earning those small fees.
  • The IRS) is always concerned that someone is using filing as a sole proprietor to write off hobby expenses.
  • They expect writers to do everything they can to prove it is a business
  • There is a rule that if a writer has a loss in 3 out of 5 years in a business the IRS could consider the writer's work to be a hobby and not a business.
Coach suggested that writers do the things that a business does:
  • Have business cards
  • Have a separate bank account
  • Register the business as a DBA (get the forms at a county courthouse or city hall)
  • Have signed contracts with clients
Using a web page to sell or publish, is another form of advertising and another indication of business motivation. It's also a legitimate business expense. If the IRS claims we have a hobby, we want to show through facts and circumstances that they are wrong. Many freelance writers incur losses in many years.

Some of our team worried about being on the bench, so to speak, while occupied writing a book, leaves them showing losses for 10 years.
  • In that case, our coach said that having excellent documentation can be critical.
It's essential to have good facts and circumstances to support our intentions. He calmed our jitters by saying that the IRS is pretty easy to work with if you're not trying to pull the wool over their eyes. They tell you in advance what the question is, what they're looking for, and what records they require. So, why a writer took certain deductions is important.

There is a 3 year statute of limitations from the date of filing so the IRS can go back 3 years in the payer's tax records.
  • Keep all records for 3 years.
  • Penalties result from not keeping adequate records and for disregarding rules and regulations.

The advantage to writing as a business is that it is easier to claim a loss if expenses outweigh income.
  • Whether one writes and sells as an avocation -- a hobby, according to the IRS -- or as a business (justified by the criteria outlined) a writer must assume hobby or business income is taxable in the eyes of the IRS. 
Like us writers, our coach was wary about giving out Social Security (SS) numbers.
  • Since our name is the name of the business, instead of using our social security number as the tax ID number, get a SS-4 Form (available from the IRS) to request a taxpayer ID number.
It's easy to get and handy to have, especially if a writer ever does business with another federal or state agency.
  • When you make over $600 from one client the client sends you an earnings statement at the end of the year, and reports it to the IRS.
  • Get Employer Identification Number (EIN) by filling out an application for form SS-4, and substitute that for your SSN.
  • Give the publisher this taxpayer ID number. 
Using an EIN may have subtle, far-reaching advantages of which I'm not aware, besides using it as a way to shield your SSN.

Our coach advised that we play honestly. We don't need to know if our income was reported on a 1099 Form or not. Smaller publications don't necessarily ask for a SS or tax ID number, or send a tax statement to a writer.
  • If we're not a corporation, there is a "de-minimus" rule that only payments made to the writer in excess of $600 need be reported to the writer and to the IRS on a 1099 Form.
Not receiving a 1099 from a publisher doesn't absolve the writer from reporting his\her total earnings. It's better to report all the income recorded in a business checking account from writing during the year.

Playing by the rules also means keeping copies of all the queries sent and all the rejections received to prove that we're working at being a freelancer, even if we're not making a major profit yet. It's also good for analyzing our game plan to make a profit from writing.

As long as we are earning year to year, there's no reason to show a profit motive, but keeping good records is a wise business practice.

If a writer is in a non-tax situation and is audited by the IRS, good records prove their motive is making money, not using writing as a tax dodge so,
  • Print hard copies of e-mail queries, manuscripts and rejections or assignments
  • Get telephone rejections confirmed in writing
  • Save copies of tapes with voice mail editor rejections of our proposals
  • Keep assignment letters from publishers
These are black and white issues in the law.

The writer's game takes us into complex grey areas.
  • For example: If the writer's conference we attend in New York, or the trip to Manhattan to meet with other writers and also to do some sight-seeing, has an agenda, is organized, documented, and is not sightseeing oriented, both are deductible. If we write an essay about it but the essay never sells, save the manuscript and the rejection slips, just as for any other writing.

Our writer-team members may not realize that preparing a tax form is an art form, but Goldberg told us that hiring a professional tax expert may save time and money and also reduce the likelihood of an audit.

At a minimum, writers want to meet with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for an hour just to understand what is deductible, what kind of records should be kept, etc., he counseled.

While we writers report what is ordinary and necessary to our business, it's not only where to put figures but how to put them that requires expert knowledge to get it right to the writer's best advantage.

Advising clients and helping them communicate with the preparer, is part of a tax expert's job.
  • Schedule C is essential, but there are also depreciation forms, fixed assets accounting, royalty forms, and others.
  • Self-employment tax, assuming they have income on Schedule C.
  • FICA (Social Security for self employed) is reported on Schedule SE and represents roughly 13% of net income.

 Our coach cautioned writers to always consult a tax expert before a freelance writer and their spouse incorporate their business under Subchapter S of the tax code. It can complicate life and tax reporting.

Special plays were laid out by our coach, like reinvesting our writing income into our business, by paying legitimate business expenses that are deductible; these result in our having less taxable income.
  • For example, lets say we need money for training, etc., or we must loan money to our business from our personal checking. That's one example of why having a separate checking account for the business may make record keeping easier.
  • Royalty payments, just like other business income, goes on Schedule C, but attach a note that the income is a royalty. Make copies of the royalty form and the checks, and attach them, too.
  • When "paid in complimentary copies" as income (Example: I write reviews of CD-ROM programs and receive free CD-ROMs and manuals. OR: I edit a regional history for a historical society and they give me a copy of the $75 first edition) if reported, use wholesale value.
  • If money is earned in December but not received until the following January, the income should not be include the income in this year's taxes even though the 1099 says it was earned. It's called constructive receipt -- if a writer receives the check the following January and it need not be report in the current year's tax. It goes in the next year's tax report.

The IRS wants its money and requires taxpayers to pay either through payroll deductions or estimated taxes.

As a business, estimated taxes must cover 90% of liability, based on last year's income. If the ultimate tax liability BEFORE withholding and estimated taxes is below $500 a writer need not pay any estimates during the year. If not, they are required to make estimated payments on a quarterly basis.
  • For example, if our tax liabilities for 1998 amounted to $2000 and we had no withholding we had to have made sure that we made four equal estimates of $450 each.

Coach said most people have no clue what their tax liability is going to be so the IRS allows some "safe harbor" rules to avoid being assessed interest and penalties for underpayment of estimated taxes.
One rule is to pay 100% of the previous year's tax via four estimates (net of any withholding.)
  • For example, lets say our 1997 tax liability before withholding and estimate was $5000 and we have $1000 withheld from W-2 income. In that case, to avoid any underpayment penalties we should have made estimates of $1000 each quarter -- the $5000 liability from 1997 less the $1000 we expect to be withheld in 1997 and the resulting amount divided by four.

Another exception is to annualize income. In other words if we have wild swings in income we can pay 90% of what our liability would have been for that quarter.
Believe me, this computation is complex and time consuming and most taxpayers shy away from that computation.

Using a record keeping system (like QuickBooks) allows a writer to split checks into multiple categories when necessary.
  • Example: I work as a freelance editor for a magazine and have expenses (long distance calls, copying, mailing, etc.) which the magazine reimburses me for, including my expenses and fee on the same check. I want the reimbursed expenses not to end up looking like income. I make up a category for reimbursable expenses and record them there.

It's proper to report the income "gross" in the income section of schedule C on the 1040 tax return.
  • For instance, that's also how to report $10 paid by a charitable organization for writing a press release. Also report the deductions to offset that income separately in the expense portion of Schedule C on the 1040.

Q. If the IRS determines my writing is an avocation, am I then not allowed to claim any expenses I incurred, such as the separate bank account, business cards, postage, etc.?

LG: Line 21,
"Other Income, can be used. Put our net amount on line 21. (Example -- if we have received $1,000 but the net after expenses is $300, put $300 on the line) and write a notation to tell them the difference is expenses to the hobby.
"The IRS provides various tax forms as an outline for tax reporting. We CAN add attachments to our tax return for anything necessary that isn't provided for in forms.
 "Say we and our spouse file jointly and tax payments covers 90% of the joint tax liability. Even if the income from our business exceeds $500 annually, if our spouses' withholdings combined with yours are large enough to cover any tax liability and thus we receive a refund, we have no obligation to pay any estimated taxes.
"What we are doing in that case is giving the IRS an interest free loan that will be refunded via the overpayment.
"If we are getting large refunds year after year we should consider adjusting our withholding accordingly. Some people love getting a large refund, but we are giving uncle Sam an interest free loan and we aren't even able to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom."

Q. I am writing a book so I've been writing fewer articles this year. Can my expenses be carried over to another year when I will make more?

"This is a complex situation. In general we report the expenses associated with the book in the year incurred. However we can use the income forecasting method whereby we allocate the expenses over the number of years we expect the book to sell."
  • For example, if we incur $5000 worth of expenses this year and want to use the income forecasting method and expect the book to be sold over 2 years, we would offset $2500 of these expenses from prior years against the income earned from the book.
Goldberg advised staying away from this method because once used, a writer must use it from then on for books. He wasn't an expert in that area, though, and advise us to seek someone who specializes in that field.

Goldberg provided many answers to vexing tax questions of concern to writers.

Using the knowledge gained from his answers makes it easier to approach a tax expert with the right information for tax preparation or to do taxes without incurring writer's block.

Chapter 14 - Tending to Business:
Next: 7-4, Formatting your manuscript in .pdf:


5-8 Newspaper Contracts

(c) 2009 Mona Leeson Vanek

Newspaper contracts differ from others. Try to always strike out an indemnify and hold harmless clause. And anything that about the author paying for any complaint or claim relating to materials made by third party at any time, and holding the publication harmless against damages, liabilities, costs, expenses, etc. You can say you've already warranted the material as being original, not previously published, not infringing on others' copyrights, etc., so I if someone sued the paper for what you wrote, well they'd chosen to publish it. Try to insert, 'to the best of my knowledge' for above representations and warranties.

Try to negotiate out a 'renewing rights' clause. If this is the first time you've sold to the newspaper, tell them you are striking it out as irrelevant since you don't have previous works published by them.

Grant the paper first rights (preferably for 30 days) and subsequent rights if the contract asks, because most contracts include it. Be sure the wording includes "nonexclusive." The paper is probably just protecting its butt because really, all they want to do is publish the piece on their web edition.

If the contract states 'moral right' and\or 'rights of identification of authorship' ask what is meant. A newspaper contract will usually have a clause giving them the right to edit. If you don't like what/how they edit, then stop submitting. Newspapers don't have the time to give authors the right to approve edits.

Tax indemnification is standard, since you will be 1099 as an independent contractor.

It's unlikely you can use an alternative contract to the one drawn up by their legal department and they already know what they are allowed to strike or insert if requested. A whole new contract would require a whole new legal review, which just won't happen.

Chapter 12 - Other Writing Opportunities:

Next: Chapter 13 - Genre Writing and Writing for Children:

7-4 Formatting Your Manuscript In .pdf

(c) 2009, Mona Leeson Vanek

When you format your manuscript it's often wise to save it as a pdf file. If you want a free version of a software to do that you may want to look into Open Office (an open source word processing program), which converts to .pdf.

PDFredirect 2 is also a free software program, and is available here:

There are also .pdf converters that you may want to try. Search .pdf converters online to learn more. And beware that some options, such as GhostScript have had serious bugs.

Tip, Bugzilla, is a good website where you can track issues with software.

Some authors claim that laying out a book in Word is never recommended (most publishers use either Quark or InDesign), but you really have to make sure your layout is correct in Word.

You can save as a PDF from any recent version of Word. The PDF option is an option when printing, not when saving. Look for the PDF menu at the bottom of the PRINT box. Most versions offer a number of PDF options. If you're on a Mac, you can save any document from any application as a PDF from the print box.

Aaron Shepard's book, Perfect Pages, talks about book layout using Word.

Chapter 14 - Tending to Business:

Next: 7-5, Publications That Renig on Payment:


4-5 Writers and Networking

(c) 2009 Jamie Proctor

Jamie Proctor, who teaches writing in Kentucky shared these tips about the importance of networking with other writers.
  • Go out of the way to engage writers, all writers, in conversations.
  • Take writing classes whenever possible.
  • Submit to the same editors over and over, particularly when a personal note is received.* Let all friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances know you're a writer -- you never know who knows a pro!
  • Join online groups, and be active in them.
  • Join local writer's groups. Start your own if you can't find one anywhere. A good place to find one is at the library -- just ask a librarian.
  • Attend conventions in the genre of your interest. They're out there -- just run a Google search for, say, mystery convention, or romance convention. And, then talk to the writers, attending the writing workshops, striking up conversations with workshop participants and coordinators. At a convention, your mouth is your best friend. At science fiction conventions, chicks have an edge, too, if you don't mind flirting a little. :) you don't have to look like Carmen Electra for that to work!)
  • When meeting a writer, try to start a friendship. It's surprising how many writers have close friendships with several other writers!
  • Writers are genuinely friendly and interested in other people, but be selective about who you befriend. Don't mess with people who don't take writing seriously; it's a waste of time. (I don't mean drop long standing friendships, either! This category includes, but is not limited to
    • The guy who wants you to read his stuff, but can't take criticism.
    • The person who takes writing classes, but never gets around to writing.
    • The person who is afraid to submit -- these folks are redeemable, however, if you have patience and don't mind your own writing taking a hit for a while. Jamie Proctor

Chapter 9 - Querying and Related Issues:

Next: 4-6, The 'Rights' You Market:

1-12 How to double-space e-mail

Greg Gunther, Co-Administrator on Internet Writing Workshop,, shared this tip on how to create manuscripts so you can email them in double-spaced format, as required by some media. For instance, Christian Science Monitor specifies double-spaced for manuscripts submitted via email or snailmail. Greg is always willing to share tips on getting the most from your computer programs. Contact him at:
  1. Open the file in Word.
  2. Click File, Page Setup. Set the left margin to 1 inch, and the right margin to 2.5 inches. (This will set the text line to be 5 inches long.)
  3. Select the text, excluding the title.
  4. Click Format, Font. In the Font name pane, scroll down to the Courier New font, and select it. Make the Size as 12. Click Ok. (Courier New font at 12 point size creates all characters at 0.1 inches width. That way, in the 5 inch space, each line will be 50 characters, max.)
  5. Click anywhere on page to get rid of the selection and show the file's text normally. Manually put the cursor at the beginning of each line and press the Enter key twice to add a blank line. Do that for all lines except the title.
  6. Click File, Save As. In the resulting screen, down at the bottom, click the downward facing triangle at the right end of the Save As Type: line. Scroll down until you see MS-DOS Text with Line Breaks (*.txt). Click that line. Click the Save button. (I prefer to add MS-DOS to the filename of the new files it's creating.)
  7. Close Word.
  8. Open the .txt file you just saved. Review the file to make sure all your lines have formatted double-spaced. Correct as needed.
  9. Select, copy, and paste it into your email. Send it to yourself as a test. It ought to be exactly what you want.
So long as you have not saved it during any of these intermediate steps, your original .doc file will remain as before.
Chapter 3 - The e-World and e-Zine Publishing,

Next: Chapter 4 - Writers Guidelines and Magazine Calendars


8-3 Purposeful Pitching - How To Get The Most Out Of Writers Conferences

(c) 2009, Mona Leeson Vanek

Going to a writer's conference? Looking for the perfect person to advance your book (career)? Next to writing the manuscript, researching agents and editors is an author's most important task.
  • Gather brochures well in advance.
  • Check where and when editors and/or agents will be available.
  • Check how many interviews each offers.
  • Gauge your odds of snagging one.
Publisher's Weekly (in libraries and online) prides itself on being the 'bible' of the industry.

Tip, is one site every writer should bookmark and visit often, and explore thoroughly. You can keep up with industry news by subscribing to PW Daily for Booksellers from Publishers Weekly. Another source is: Editor and Publisher:

Also, search in the book jackets at bookstores. Ask store managers if they can tell you what agent represented which books. Network with other writers in writers groups, especially online where you can reach a wide variety of writers and tap their vast pool of information.

Create a folder for each publisher's representative and agent you'll see at the conference. Create a file about the agent's:
  • Career or professional goals.
  • How their career is progressing.
  • Where they fit into the publishing house's hierarchy.
Tip: Study photos. It's always easier meeting someone whose face is familiar.

Write to the agency and ask:
  • Which authors the agency has represented.
  • What genres the agency handles.
  • Which genres the agent specializes in.
  • Which authors the agent has represented.
  • The number of titles represented a year.
  • Ask for a sample of their standard contract.
Request a copy of their submission guidelines, and follow it to the letter.

Write to the publishing house and ask the same questions, substituting "publisher" in place of "agency" and "editor" in place of "agent." Also ask:
  • For the publisher's press releases or media packet.
  • For current and back booklists.
  • For catalogues.
  • Get a copy of the publishing house's guidelines (study every detail.)
Be courteous and thank them for their time. Enclose an SASE.

When you've zeroed in on a good possibility, and feel that your book is a perfect fit, a. with a publishing house ­and with their editor's interests; b. with an agency and with their agent, apply for a meeting.

Your professionalism sells you as much as your words. Your personality, appearance and your courtesy are important factors in this unique interview process. The confidence you demonstrate in your work, yourself and your abilities, shines through your enthusiasm for your manuscript.

Tip: Ask the conference chairman or publicist for the correct pronunciation of the editor or agent's name if you're in doubt.

Your interview will be a business meeting. Dress appropriately, but don't be afraid to be yourself. Publicity tours are always foremost in editors and agents' minds. They're looking for good writers who are public-oriented and memorable. Always be sure that you don't smell as though you've been marinated in your perfume or aftershave lotion.

Arrive ten minutes early. Wait quietly outside until the writer before you exits, then walk in, introduce yourself and shake hands. Wait for the editor\agent to ask you to be seated. In a friendly, professional voice, begin your sales pitch by giving information about yourself. Don't spend more than four minutes recounting your writing background and accomplishments. Remember to smile.

Be enthusiastic, positive, and informative as you quickly move on to the description of the book you're pitching. Show the editor:
  • That you know your story.
  • That you know what s/he wants.
  • That you have the story s/he is going to want.
  • That you can deliver a manuscript s/he'll be happy with.
It's crucial to project the impression that you'll be cooperative to work with, through all the changes that you'll be asked to complete.

Carrying an index card to refer to is useful and can boost your confidence (if you feel more comfortable reading from it, do so). Beforehand, jot these pertinent things you should mention:
  • Working title of your book.
  • One or two sentences that tell the plot summary
    • a.) conflict
    • b.) type of novel (i.e. romance, historical, mystery, etc.)
    • c.) the word count.
Two minutes should be plenty of time to cover this information.

Tip: When you're trying to figure out how to write that succinct "grabber" for an agent or editor visit a bookstores and study blurbs on best-seller book jackets. Make a habit of studying the one-line descriptions of this year's published titles.

Mastering this step of concisely stating your novel's focus may help you create the one-liner that excites the right agent for you.

Leave time to discuss what makes your book different from other books. Example:
  • Your theme.
  • The defining characteristics and occupations of your main characters.
  • Internal and external conflicts.
Editors and agents often ask for more information, and ask that you query by letter. They'll tell you if they're interested, or that your material is not suited for their house (or agency.)

Before leaving when time's up, say thanks and offer your business card. No matter what the outcome of your interview, you've had the opportunity to discuss something you love with a kindred soul.

That's the essence of purposeful pitching.

Next, 8-4, PR is PR:

Chapter 16 - Education and Reference: