Thursday, July 28, 2011

Does your writing career have muscle?

First, here's a great article to frame this topic. It's written by a Sourcebooks editor about getting "the call", and I'm talking the BIG call. The one that means your book will soon be sitting pretty on a shelf.

When considering taking on a new author, one of the things an editor looks for is the broad scope. If they like this writer's book/work, the next thing they'd like to know (especially if it's a stand alone novel) is what else that author might be working on.

This is to ensure that said author is not just a one hit wonder. Every editor wants to know their writers have a career arc ... big literary biceps.

When I signed with Agent Goddess, one of the first things she asked me was: "What other book ideas do you have in mind?" And I stayed up one night writing five book blurbs for the stories that were spinning in my head. Now that I'm being subbed to publishers, I'm thrilled I took the time to do that, even more thrilled my agent had the foresight to instigate that brainstorming session.

Have you taken the time to write up a few short blurbs? It never hurts to be ahead of the game. Even if you're still in the phase of seeking an agent, have those ideas ready. Nothing can turn a prospective partner's head like showing a little muscle.

**Heads up to all my blogging pals ... if I haven't visited you this week, it's not becuase I've lost the love. My son just turned fifteen (EGADS) and we're celebrating this week, so it's crazytime at the Howard homestead. Just know I'll be by soon!**

Happy weekend, all!


  1. good post, Anita. I always try to keep as many story ideas in the hopper as i can (mostly in part because I'm terrified I'll never think of a new one!)

    happy birthday to your son! have a great weekend.

  2. You have fantastic blurbs/ideas, Anita. I am sure Agent Goddess' head was spinning :)

    I have a word document called "Idea File" and I put all my ideas (even bad never know where they will lead) in there.

    Miss you, lovely! I have been busy, too :(

  3. Awesome advice! I'm really bad about writing my ideas down... :o( Definitely something I need to work on. :o)

  4. Love this suggestion, Anita. I have lots of ideas that come and go, and some of them come back over and over.

    I'll do it...I'm making a file TODAY.


    Happy birthday to 15yo! :)

  5. Great advice, Anita. I hadn't even thought to write up book blurbs for my ideas.

    And happy birthday to the teenager :D

  6. Congrats on the 15th bday :) And great post. I have actually attempted a few blurbs.

  7. Happy Birthday to your son! yay!

    I've written a trilogy! So I think I'm good in that department. Actually, I have two

  8. David~ Thanks! And I'm the same way. Always jotting something down as a trigger to remind me of the story idea. And yeah, the boy starts high school next year. I'm SO nervous. LOL

    Mare~ I miss you, too! Busy lady. :) And thanks so much for the kindnesses. I have a file like that! It's called: story ideas. Mine is also filled w/pictures that prompt setting and character ideas, too.

    Angela~ Thanks! Haha. I once read that when you get an idea, you need to either repeat it to write it down within thirty seconds, or you risk forgetting it. I've also learned that if I can't write it down, I can repeat it several times in my head like a mantra and it helps it stick.

    Mary~ Good girl! You'll be glad you have that file one of these days. :)

    Lori~ Thanks. And I appreciate the birthday greetings for my boy. :)

    House~ Thanks! Blurbs can be VERY difficult to write. What helped me the most was reading blurbs on the backs of similar books and inserting my characters and plot points in place of theirs. Made it a little easier. ;)

    Ashley~ Yep, it sounds like you have it covered, smart girie! :) Wow, two trilogies!! I'm impressed!

  9. Happy birthday, Anita's Son!

    Yeah, I totally write blurbs all the time! Believe it or not, before I do that, part of my rewrite/edit process lately has been writing a synopsis. I know, I know, they suck, but it sure helps me get my head on straight. (I have worksheets. They help.)

    Now I've got a couple of regular editors (who, when it's small-medium press tend to work like agents in the "what's next for you as an author?" front, at least in the area their biz covers), they really love this tendency of mine. Saves them the pain :D

  10. Great advice, queenie! I stink at making blurbs, but maybe it's time to show the blurb who's boss, right? ;)

    Have a great weekend, lovely!

  11. Haha, Katey! Thanks for the birthday wishes. I'll make sure he gets them. ;) ROCK on with the synopses! It's great that you do those. Agents/editors LOVE to ask for those, so it's always a good idea to refine that ability, too. :)

    Cherie~ Hi sparkly! YES. Be a brave goatling and show those blurbs who wears the tiara in the family. Clive will be glad to offer a fang or two if you need extra fire power. LOL!

  12. very cool--happy b'day to your son! And yes, it's always good to have more in the pipeline. I've done the same thing. Best to you~ :o) <3

  13. Fifteen! My daughter turned 15 last month. I think she's (cross my fingers) growing out of the moody stage. Good luck to you and happy birthday to your son.

    I totally agree that a plan for longevity is the key in the writing business. I hope to have my series done by the end of 2013 because I already have another series I'm dying to work on. :)

  14. I've got a list of ideas in various stages of idea-ness (too tired to make words good). Some have possible plot points outlined, others are blurbs, and others are just themes or settings I'd like to play with. I just need to find a really good one and actually write it. You know, do the easy part.

  15. This is great advice--also, it sounds like fun. I believe I will try this, just as soon as my brain dries out and resumes functioning!!!

  16. Thanks for dropping by ladies! Good points all!

    And good luck when you put your own blurbs into play. They can actually be fun to write. :)

  17. Great post! Very important advice!