The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published

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Getting a novel or other work published remains one of the most mysterious processes in business today. Using the comprehensive and easy-to-read format of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published, Second Edition, you'll learn practical steps to get your masterpiece published. Learn how to write book proposals and query letters, how to pitch ideas to agents and editors, how to write outlines and sample chapters, and how to deal with publishing companies.
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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published, 2E

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Overview

Getting a novel or other work published remains one of the most mysterious processes in business today. Using the comprehensive and easy-to-read format of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published, Second Edition, you'll learn practical steps to get your masterpiece published. Learn how to write book proposals and query letters, how to pitch ideas to agents and editors, how to write outlines and sample chapters, and how to deal with publishing companies.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028639192
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 8/9/2000
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Sheree Bykofsky, the founder and owner of the Sheree Bykofsky Literary Agency, has written and represented hundreds of successful titles over her long publishing career. She regularly teaches university courses on publishing and speaks at writers' conferences across the country.
Jennifer Basye Sander has been an author and book packager for nearly 20 years. Her career has spanned all aspects of the business, from retail sales and book acquisition to editorial and publicity. She and her husband founded the Big City Books Group, which develops book projects and has over 40 successful books in print.

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Table of Contents

I. GREAT EXPECTATIONS: IN WHICH YOU BEGIN TO WRITE.

1. So, Why Write.
What's Your Reason?
I'm Compelled to Write. I Want the Personal Satisfaction of Being Published. I'd Like to Advance My Cause. I Want to Share My Knowledge. I Hope to Advance My Career. I'd Like to Achieve Fame. I'd Like to Earn a Fortune. All of the Above.
Do People Still Buy Books? Mergers and Chains.
Online Book Sales. Leaner and Meaner.
Open for Business.
Product Is King. Research, Research, Research!
But I Don't Live in New York! Think of Yourself as a Contestant. 50,000 Chances to Win! Writers Wanted!

2. Write What.
Pick a Category, Any Category. What the World Doesn't Need. But Enough About You. And the Categories Are ...
Fiction. Nonfiction.
Fiction Categories.
Mainstream Fiction. Westerns. Romances. Mysteries. Science Fiction. Fantasies. Thrillers. Horror Books. Young Adult Books.
Nonfiction Categories.
Biographies. Travel Books. Self-Help Books. Cookbooks. Health Books. Business Books. Humor Books. Children's Books. New Age and Inspirational Books. True Crime. Poetry and Belles-Lettres.
Life in the Fast Lane.
Health Books. Inspirational Books.
From Category to Specific Topic.

3. If You Need an Idea, Stalk the Bestseller List.
The High-Concept Approach.
A Link in the Media Food Chain.
Find a Need and Fill It.
Finding the Success Factor. Wide Appeal = Good Sales.
Audience Appeal. Look Around You
What's Making the News? Try, Try Again.
What's That You Said? Let the Shows Show You. I'm Not Hanging Out, I'm Working!
How to Work the Bookstore Shelves. What Isn't Selling?
I'm Not Surfing the Net, I'm Working. Sniffing Out Gaps and Niches. Backlist Books: Sure and Steady. The More You Know.

4. Super-Stealth Market Research Techniques.
Is It a Book? Meet Your Customer. Sizing Up the Competition.
Title. Author. Publisher. Price. Publication Copyright Date. Staying in the Know.
Catalogs for the Asking.
How to Reach 'Em. Go Over Them with a Fine-Toothed Comb.
Free Stuff on the Counter, Too. What Are the Clubs Selling? Cracking the Code. Pick a Bookseller's Brains. Surfing for Info. The New York Times Extended Bestseller List.
Amazon.com. Barnes & Noble.
More Assigned Reading. But I Want to Write a Novel. Minimize Your Rejection Rate.

5. What's Hot, What's Not.
What's In, What's Out, by Category.
Fiction.
Love Is a Many-Published Thing.
Get the Guidelines.
Love Writing About Love? Thrill 'Em, Grill 'Em, and Kill 'Em. Nouveau Niche.
The Niche Is Riche.
What's Cookin' with Cookbooks? The Publishing House at Pooh Corner.
Picture This. No Kidding About Kids' Fiction. Just the Facts, Ma'am.
Market Savvy for Success.
Better Late Than Never. Homework. The Early Bird ...

II. GONE WITH THE WIND: SUBMITTING TO PUBLISHERS.

6. Submit What.
Simply Submit. A Day in the Life of Book Publishing.
Quantum Query. But Before We Begin ...
Top 10 Mistakes New Writers Make.
Letters That Contain a Misspelled Name. Package or Letter Arrives Postage Due. Author Uses Outdated Equipment. Letters That Don't Quickly Come to the Point. Proposals That Criticize Other Books. Letters That Are Too Flip or Amusing. Queries That Mention Your Fan Club. Proposals That Smell Like Cigarette Smoke. Letters That Mention a Minimum Advance. Proposals That Are Buried in Shredded Paper. “Forward” and Other Foibles.
Look Like a Pro on the Page. Now Where Should I Send It?

7. Query Letters That Sell Nonfiction.
Query? What's That You Say? But I Can't Say It All in One Page!
About the Author, Take One. About the Author, Take Two. About the Book, Take One. About the Book, Take Two.
Writer, Edit Thyself. What Not to Say. Hook 'Em Early. Another Approach. Write a Good One and Then Let It Be. Online Etiquette. SASEs and Other Ways to Hear Back. But They Asked for It! The Rules.

8. Bulletproof Nonfiction Book Proposals.
The Art of Proposal Writing.
You Mean I Don't Have to Write the Book First? But When Should I Start the Proposal?
Building a Book Proposal. Your Cover Page. The Pitch. What a Great Idea. Off to Market. Compete with the Best. La Publicité.
Publicity Opportunities. Is It Especially Timely? Bulk Sales? A Stamp of Approval.
Let's Hear About You. Detailed Table of Contents. Sample Contents.
Write What They'd Enjoy Reading. Send an Upbeat Message.
The Kitchen Sink.
Newspaper and Magazine Articles. Video Clips.
Proposing Your Self-Published Book. Time to Get Writing!

9. Fun with Fiction.
So, I Have to Write the Whole Book First?
Want Support? Mingle with Other Writers.
And Then I Have to Write the Whole Book, Again?
But Can You Do It Again.
The Never-Ending Story.
Forget Dickens. Read, Read, Read.
Ready, Set, Query. Introducing the Mighty You.
First Paragraph: What Kind of Book You've Written. Second Paragraph: What Your Book Is About. Third Paragraph: Why Only You Could Write This. Fourth Paragraph: Other Impressive Stuff. Fifth Paragraph: How to Reach You.
How Hard Can That Be? An Invitation for a Proposal. Summarize, Please.
Hook 'Em Again? Sample Synopses. Exclusivity.

III. ROMANCING THE STONE: HOW TO GET A BOOK CONTRACT.

10. What's an Agent For, Anyway.
Hey, I Did All the Work!
Friends in High Places. What Gets Done When Agents and Editors Do Lunch?
A Hope and a Prayer. “Is That the Best You Can Do?”
Profit or Loss? Any Other Takers?
Money, Money, Money.
Megamarkets. Advances for Fiction.
Double Indemnity.
Rely on Your Agent. Let's Do Another One, Just Like the Other One.
After the Deal Is Done.
Good Cop/Bad Cop.
Get Thee an Agent.

11. Finding and Working with an Agent.
Members of the Club. Just How Much Is This Gonna Cost?
Reading Fees? No. They're Agents, Not Readers. Where to Find Help (!). Screening Agents.
Where to Look for Agents?
Look in a Book. Face to Face. “I'd Like to Thank My Agent.”
Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo ...
Exclusive Territory.
The Good Agent. Are You Really Ready?
Fiction. Nonfiction.
Try, Try Again. Big Name, Superb Credentials. Blue Light Special. Return to Sender. Hold My Calls, Please. You Hooked One! Another Darn SASE?

12. What You Can Expect from an Agent.
99 Percent Ready. “I Really Like it, But ...” Be Open to Changes.
Your Best Interests Are at Stake.
Love at First Sight.
Call Other Authors. Great Expectations.
Who Does What? Read the Fine Print.
Office Fees.
“Hello, It's Your Author!” So, What Do You Think?
Time in a Bottle.
Ante Up. The Rejection Blues.
Kissing the Boo Boo. Those Wicked Letters.
Going Once, Going Twice ... Sold! “How Much Can I Expect?”
Nibbles. Reeling 'Em In.

13. Submitting Without an Agent.
The Ivy Leagues.
Curriculum Vitae. Readers and Referees. Read More About It.
Small Is Beautiful.
The Name Game. Query an Editor. Negotiating on Your Own. An Agent, at This Point?
The Hunt Is On. Tight Niches. Once Upon a Time. Poetry. To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish.
A Means to My End.
Do You Have What It Takes?
Speaking of Speaking ... Proof Positive.
Oh, Don't Be Vain! The Electronic Edge. You're on Your Own.

14. Behind Closed Doors.
Hurry Up and Wait. “Sorry, Not Right for Our Needs at This Time.” Consider This. Committee Decisions. How's It Gonna Sell?
Money, Money, Money, Money.
The Meeting Begins.
Batter Up! Next Up!
Let's Pretend. Second Chances?
Try, Try Again.
They Like Me! They Really Do!
The Numbers Game.

15. The Party of the First Part.
Whereas and Therefore. The Work.
Copyright. Tentatively Titled.
The Advance. Grant of Rights. Royalties. Delivery of Manuscript and Corrections. Other Deliverables. Options. Author's Representations, Warranties, and Indemnity. Obligations of the Publisher. Accounting. Overstock, Out of Print, or Reversion of Rights. Assignment. Bankruptcy. Agency Clause. Electronic Rights.
Is It Worth It.
So, Is Anything Negotiable?
Who Pays for the Index? Who Pays for Illustrations, Photographs, and Other Such Things?
The Sales Territory. Splits and Serials. Commercial and Dramatic Rights. Free Author's Copies. The Delivery Date. Expense Budgets. High-Discount/Reduced Royalty Clauses. Joint Accounting. Options Clauses. Electronic Rights. Reversion of Rights.

IV. WAR AND PEACE: WORKING WITH A PUBLISHER.

16. I Signed a Contract—Now What.
Deadlines Loom.
Ready, Set ... More Time, Please.
Where's My Advance? The Sizzle for Your Steak.
Bend Over Backward. Will You Say “I Love It.” You're Excited, They're Excited.
But I Haven't Heard from My Editor in Months! What's Going on with My Book?
What's in a Name. Catalog Copy. Judging a Book by Its Cover. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. A Busy Crew.
The Clock's Ticking.

17. Saying Goodbye to Your Baby.
Simon Says.
E-Mail, Anyone. Pencil Nubs.
The Best Software.
Translate, Please. Get Help If You Need It.
Proper Formatting.
Standard Formatting.
Garbage In, Garbage Out. What About the Pictures?
What to Send. May I.
Why So Many Copies? I'd Like to Thank My First Grade Teacher ... Bye, Bye Book!

18. Welcome to the Home Team.
Production in a Nutshell. Join the Team. The Acquisitions Editor.
But I Thought You Liked It. Especially for Fiction.
The Developmental Editor. The Production Editor. The Copy Editor. The Art Director.
Interior Design. Cover Design.
The Copywriter. The Proofreader. The Manufacturing Manager. Over to You, Now.
Responding to Your Editor's Comments. Especially for Fiction. What's Best for the Book.
Copy Editing Changes and Queries.
Man Overboard.
More Deadlines to Meet.
Page Proofs. Stop the Presses.

19. Proper Care and Feeding of Your Editor.
Make a Friend for Life. Your Book's Best Advocate—and Yours, Too! Editor for a Day. 8 A.M.
Reading and Responding to E-Mail. Going Through Snail Mail. Making Overseas and Transcontinental Phone Calls. Writing Rejection Letters.
9 A.M. 10 A.M. Noon. 1:30 P.M. 5:00 P.M. 6:00 P.M. 11:30 P.M. Why Doesn't My Editor Ever Call Me?
Getting Through When You Need To.
When to Confess You're in Trouble. So Play Nice.

20. So, How Does My Book Get into the Stores.
A Short Course in the Sales Process.
The Dynamic Duo: Catalogs and Sales Reps. Are You Free on Tuesday? Let Me Show You ...
The Numbers Game.
Just-in-Time Inventory. Comparative Sales Can Make or Break You.
Prepping the Rep. Death of a Sales Conference.
How They've Changed. Do Authors Go. Getting Reps Revved Up.
Dumps and Other Promotional Ideas.
Charging for Store Exposure. Can't Hurt to Ask.
Printing and Shipping Your Baby.
Warehousing the Rest.
Book Expo.
Do Authors Go.

21. Maximum Publicity for Maximum Sales.
Was It Always Like This? The Reality. Just What Is Publicity, Anyway?
Why No Ads. Better to Get Unpaid Praise.
What the Publicity Department Can Do. Novel Approaches. Hold Your Fire. The Publicity Department's Full Plate. Chicken Soup for Everyone!
Ask the Experts. The Secret Formula.
The Idiot's Publicity Starter Pack.
Press Kit Starters. Press Release Basics. Useful Contacts. Bookstores. Newspapers and Magazines. Promotional Postcards.
“And Our Next Guest Is ...”
Radio Sells. Selling Yourself to Radio. Which Stations, Which Shows. Smiling and Dialing.
Get Them to Come to You.
A Cross-Country Whirlwind Radio Tour. Should You be Media-Trained. Three Key Points.
Publicity Pays Off.

22. Television and Online Publicity.
Bright Lights, Big City. Gonna Make You a Star!
Please Ask Me. And May I Suggest ...
Show to Show.
Small Can Be Beautiful. Mail Call.
Satellite Television Tours. Oprah and Friends.
Am I the Main Attraction. Will It Sell Books. Hands Off (for Now).
About That Plaid Jacket You Have ...
Dress for (TV) Success. Different Looks for Different Books.
What Really Works Online?
Should I Create a Web Site. Link Up. Read All About Me. Future Shock.

23. Real-Life Publicity and Marketing Ideas.
Creating Media Events.
Just What Is a Media Event. The Timely Event. A Visually Interesting Event. A Controversial Event. A Humorous Event.
What Good Did That Do? Secrets of Great Book Promoters.
Persistence Pays Off. Do the Producer's Work for Him.
The Christmas Cash Box.
Radio-Free Utah.
Effective Bookstore Events.
An Event Is Better Than a Signing. Invite Everyone You Know. Don't Rely on the Bookstore for Publicity. Ask for a Display. Bring Food.
Can You Really Afford a Bestseller?

V. MY BRILLIANT CAREER: CONTINUING YOUR CAREER AS AN AUTHOR.

24. After the Party Is Over.
Sold Once, and Then Again.
Your Book's Inventory: It's Gotta Move. Extending Shelf Life.
Returns to Sender. Coming Out Again? A Rose by Any Other Name ...
Revised and Expanded. Renamed and Repackaged. Taking It to the Superhighway. Series and Sequels.
Evaluating Your Success.
Show Me the Money. Personal Best. But Really, Show Me the Money.
But This Book Was Perfect!
Work on My Writing. What Book Will Large Numbers of People Buy.
Moving On to the Next Phase.

25. Writing for Money.
If Not a Book, How About an Article?
It's a Boost to Your Writing Career. It's a Good First Step to Becoming an Expert. It Can Be Easier to Get Published in Magazines. It Helps You Polish Your Writing Skills.
The Big Idea. The Big Magazine Market.
What Type of Article. Get the Guidelines.
Steve's Way.
Be Scientific About It. Five Queries at a Time. A Thick Skin.
Magazine Queries.
Read 'Em First. What Should You Send. Your New Best Friend.
Don't Give Up Your Day Job. Writing for the Web. They Want Me! The Friendly Ghost. Publicity and Promotional Writing. Look Around.

26. Working with Book Packagers.
All Books Come in Packages. Just What Do Packagers Do? Who Produces the Book? The Stonesong Story.
Ideas Matter.
Outsourcing. The “Cosmo” Quiz. So Why Work with a Packager? Even Fiction Comes in Packages. Approaching a Book Packager. Business as Usual.

APPENDIXES.

A. Great Books for Writers.
B. More Good Resources.
C. Sample Proposal: Christmas Miracles and The Quotable Businesswoman.
D. Sample Author/Agent Agreement.
E. Sample Publishing Contract.
F. Sample Press Release.
G. Sample Collaboration Agreement.
H. Selected Writers' Conferences.
Glossary.
Index.
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Customer Reviews

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( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2002

    Well worth the time and money!

    As an aspiring novelist who is finishing up my first book, I ordered the Idiot's Guide to Getting Published and devoured it cover to cover. What a GREAT book! The information was both sobering (the behind-the-scenes realities of publishing) and reassuring (there *are* many things I can do to improve my odds of getting published and sell a lot of books). I consider this book a gift from the authors to all writers who want to be professionals at their craft. The insider information is presented clearly, and with great compassion and understanding for the writer. I loved it and I learned a LOT!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2003

    Polished

    This book is the way technical books should ALWAYS be written. After reading this book, I think I have a pretty polished idea of the book publishing process. In fact, I think any...well, idiot, could understand this book. These two authors explained the steps involved from query letters, to proposals, to agents, to behind-the-scene editorial meetings and with such dry topics, they made this seem so interesting. I have a whole new respect for editors and will take both of these ladies' advice. P.S. The Artist from Absentia has a point though--I wonder how the agent goes about her day.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2000

    I'm Proof this Book Works

    I am living proof that the information in this book is invaluable if you want to get published. As a first-time author, I used the proposal formula and query letter suggestions and had two offers within a week, without using an agent. The recommendations on how to develop a proposal and query letters are absolutely on target.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2010

    First Time Writers

    If you are seriously attempting to have a manuscript published, this book is very helpful. It is both organized and full of useful information that you will need, even before you contact any possible publishers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    What a GREAT Informative Book!

    The information was both a reality check - the realities of publishing, and reassuring - the steps to getting you there. The information is presented clearly, in layman terms, with updated information on changes in the publishing industry, as well as a CD-ROM with sample pitch letters, proposal templates and a comprehensive list of literary agents and the like - to fantastic author websites and more.

    Each chapter is set up with the needed information, little asides - Hot Off The Press - tales about the publishing world, Definition - publishing terms clearly explained, Slush Pile - warnings of what to avoid, and Experts Say - additional industry colleagues share their expertise, and end with The Least You Need to Know - at the end of each chapter.

    I consider this an excellent source for writers that are willing to DO THE WORK to become published authors or professional writers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2009

    A Great Guide to Getting Published!

    Well, this book might be entitled "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published," but I can assure you that by the time you finish reading it and viewing the CD Rom also enclosed, (a feature I was especially impressed by...never came across a "getting published" book before that had such a feature,) you will no longer be a "complete idiot." You will be clearly, and well, informed on the publishing process. I highly recommend this book, which I, as an author, found extremely useful. Buy it, and get a true insight into the world of publishing!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2009

    I like that you can skip around and find what is of interest as you need an answer.

    I think this book will help me to get published. I enjoy the humor.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2003

    My letter to Sheree and Jennifer

    To Sheree and Jennifer: I have enjoyed and appreciated your book immensely, it has been my friend. It was a Godsend. It was just what I was telling my husband, David, that I wanted; a NO B.S., straight-talk book about doing the deed. You all did an outstanding job putting it together for the rest of us Complete Idiots. I was so unnerved about getting my feet wet in the writing/publishing biz, but I am actually looking forward to the journey now. There is still an ocean to cross, but the waters are calmer, warmer and a lot more easy to navigate. Shoooo weeeee. Thank you, ...wishing you health, success and happiness, Julia F. Mechlin

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2000

    good book, but...

    The advice is sound as far is it goes, but the test will be how the author, an agent herself, responds to a query letter based on her advice.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2000

    Giving Yourself the Edge

    This guide is clear, up-to-date and encouraging. It's definitely the best book I've read on getting into print - and what to do afterwards to make sure your book is a winner. I highly recommend following it through step-by-step before you begin writing and certainly before you even think of sending anything out.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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