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There are many varieties of writing conferences, ranging from writing retreats, workshops where you write and get critiques, and master classes in which you meet with a single author to large annual meetings for writers' organizations, and practical conferences where you present your project to editors and agents. These are known as pitch conferences.

If you have a completed manuscript, a pitch conference will suit your needs perfectly. These conferences not only offer you a chance to pitch your work to an agent or editor, they include workshops that teach you how to pitch. There is no better way to meet an agent, so if you can go to one of these conferences, I highly recommend it.

You can find a comprehensive list of writing conferences HERE as well as links to help you find conferences in your area.

Helpful articles:

The Literary Agent Pitch: Dream Or Nightmare?
This is a wonderful article about how to approach a pitch session with an agent.

Rant: Pitch sessions are the spawn of Satan
Literary agent, Janet Reid, reminds us that literary agents are human.

4 Questions Agents Ask Writers at Pitch Sessions
Be prepared! Agents ask questions!

What's Your Book About? How to Make a Pitch
Step-by-step instructions for how to make a pitch.

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Upcoming pitch conference

(Even if you don't plan on going, read the website. It will give you a good idea of what a pitch conference is like.)

New York Pitch Conference 

When: Dec 8 - 11, 2016

Where: New York City 

The New York Pitch Conference and writers workshop is held four times a year and features publishing house editors from major houses such as Penguin, Random House, St. Martins, Harper Collins, Tor and Del Rey, Kensington Books and many more who are looking for new novels in a variety of genres, as well as narrative non-fiction. The event focuses on the art of the novel pitch as the best method not only for communicating your work, but for having you and your work taken seriously by industry professionals. 

See a full list of faculty members with bios HERE.

Fees: The registration fee until December 5 is $795.00, and $895.00 after that date. This fee covers all conference pitch sessions and workshops. Registration form is HERE.

 
 
PictureJacquelyn Bischak: Woman Reading By The Window
Chuck Sambuccino, the editor of the Guide to Literary Agents, is running another "Dear Lucky Agent" contest. These contests allow writers to submit one page of their manuscript to be judged by an agent. The genre for this contest is women's fiction. There is no entry fee.

Winners of the contest have a more than good chance of getting representation. It's good to enter contests, not just because you may win one, but because they force you to write short summaries and synopses, and to polish your first few pages until they shine. These are usually the only pages an agent will see before making a decision. (Sometimes they only read a paragraph.)

The contest deadline is Tuesday, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2016CLICK HERE for more details.

For hundreds of free contests organized by month see: FREE CONTESTS.
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From the GLA blog

Welcome to the 27th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a FREE recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. If you’re writing a women’s fiction novel, then this 27th contest is for you! The contest is live through end of day, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2016. The contest is judged by agent Irene Goodman of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

WHY YOU SHOULD GET EXCITED

After a previous “Dear Lucky Agent” contest, the agent judge, Tamar Rydzinski (The Laura Dail Literary Agency), signed one of the three contest winners. After Tamar signed the writer, she went on to sell two of that writer’s books! How cool! These contests can’t be missed if you have an eligible submission.

HOW TO SUBMIT

E-mail entries to dearluckyagent27@gmail.com. Please paste all text. The only time to include attachments are when you have to attach images to show your social-media sharing (more info that below).

MEET YOUR (AWESOME) AGENT JUDGE!

Irene Goodman has been a leading member of the publishing community for over 30 years. She has sold more than 1,500 books and counting. Her clients are regulars on the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Bookscan bestseller lists. She began her career as the assistant to the agent who represented Stephen King, and established her own agency shortly after that. Her fiction list includes upmarket women’s fiction, middle grade, young adult, thrillers, historical fiction, and mysteries. Her nonfiction list includes pop culture, Jewish interest, science, self-help, Francophilia, and lifestyle.

Irene has written columns and articles for a number of writers’ publications, and is also a frequent speaker at writers conferences, including keynoting at the Historical Novelists Society and Novelists Ink., and workshops at the San Francisco Writers Conference, the Surrey International Writers Conference, the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, SEAK, the South Carolina Writers Workshop, Malice Domestic, and many regional events. Originally from the Midwest and still trying to lose the accent, Irene has a B.A. and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. She and her husband divide their time between New York and the Berkshires, and have two grown children.

WHAT TO SUBMIT (AND OUR SOCIAL MEDIA REQUIREMENTS)

The first 150-300 words (i.e., your first double-spaced page) of your unpublished, completed women’s fiction novel. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also note your city of residence (i.e. — the city you live in, not your full address). Submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry. Self-published novels are not eligible.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any any social-media. Please provide a social-media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your official e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! In short, simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a TinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is http://tinyurl.com/jje3qaw

An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino at the end of your mention(s) if using Twitter. If we’re friends on FB, tag me in the mention. If you are going to just use Twitter as your 2 entries, please wait one day between mentions to spread out the notices, instead of simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks. (Please note that simply tweeting me does not count. You have to include the contest URL with your mention; that’s the point. And if you use Twitter, put my handle @chucksambuchino at the middle or the end, not at the very beginning of the tweet, or else the tweet will be invisible to others.)

Here is a sample TWEET you can use (feel free to tweak): New FREE contest for writers 
of Women’s Fiction http://tinyurl.com/jje3qaw Judged by agent @igagency, via @chucksambuchino

 
 
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Here are two new agents actively building their client lists.

Melissa Nasson (Rubin Pfeffer Content) is interested in middle-grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. She is also accepting picture book queries. She is open to all genres, but has a special love for fantasy and science fiction.

Janna Bonikowski (The Knight Agency) is seeking women's fiction, romance, historical fiction, literary/commercial fiction, young adult, and suspense.

Note: You can find dozens of new and established literary agents seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients

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Melissa Nasson of Rubin Pfeffer Content

Melissa Nasson has spent her life living in and around Boston, attending college at Boston University (Go Terriers!). While studying at Boston University School of Law, she realized that becoming a literary agent would combine her passion for books with her legal background, and she began interning at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, and later at East-West Literary Agency and Rubin Pfeffer Content. After taking the bar exam in 2012, Melissa worked as a foreign rights intern at Perseus Books Group before starting as contracts director at Beacon Press. Now, she continues her work at Beacon Press while actively building her list as an associate agent at Rubin Pfeffer Content. Melissa loves dogs, craft beer, making pickles, tending to her tiny vegetable garden, and her pet tortoise, Norton.

She is seeking: Melissa is seeking middle-grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. She is also accepting picture book queries. She is open to all genres, but has a special love for fantasy and science fiction. She enjoys unexpected settings and loves a good romantic angle. For nonfiction, she'd love to see manuscripts that bring to light untold stories from history, particularly featuring individuals from marginalized groups. Above all, she wants to see strong, polished writing, fully developed and multifaceted characters, and fresh concepts. Tip: Melissa is not a good fit for bathroom humor.

How to submit: Please e-mail a query letter and the first 50 pages of your manuscript as a Word doc or PDF to melissa [@] rpcontent.com.
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Janna Bonikowski of The Knight Agency

Janna Bonikowski joined the Knight Agency with several years of experience as both an independent editor and a freelance editor for Lyrical Press/Kensington. Though her Bachelor’s degree focused on business and economics, her passion for books made a career in publishing inevitable.

Raised on a steady supply of books including everything from Little House on the Prairie to Trixie Belden to Anne of Green Gables, Janna has since moved on, expanding her reading diet to multiple genres: romance, women’s fiction, literary/commercial fiction, suspense, young adult, and historical fiction. With such a wide range of literary loves, she manically adds to her to-be-read pile every new-release Tuesday, supporting the economy one book purchase at a time.

She is Seeking: Women’s fiction, romance, historical fiction, literary/commercial fiction, young adult, suspense.

How to Submit: Submissions should be sent to submissions@knightagency.net and addressed to Janna. A one-page query and the first five pages of the manuscript should be included in the body of the email.

 
 
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Since last week's election, dozens of articles have appeared speculating what a Trump presidency could mean for any number of sectors - the economy, social security, healthcare, technology and the Internet, reproductive rights, foreign relations, and so on.

With the exception of Wall Street, which is already showing its jubilation over the deregulation of financial institutions, most of these articles have ranged from a cautious "we don't really know" to glum. 

How this presidency will affect writers has not been discussed at any great length. However, there are signs that do not bode well.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Trump has essentially declared war on freedom of speech, opening up the possibility of  lawsuits directed at journalists who are critical of his administration (Washington Post). This is not just a violation of First Amendment rights, it is a green light to the potential abuse of power. In a recent article, The Authors Guild issued a strong warning:

 "there is a risk that Trump’s veto power as president could endanger a pending federal free speech bill--the SPEAK FREE Act—from becoming law. This pending legislation, based on similar laws in more than half of our states, would allow federal courts to dismiss unfounded lawsuits filed solely to punish people for speaking out. It just so happens these types of lawsuits (know as “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” or SLAPP suits)--and the threat of them—have been a favorite Trump tactic."

As president, Trump would attempt to overturn Supreme Court decisions protecting journalists from harassment lawsuits initiated by public figures. The first of these dates back to the Court’s unanimous 1964 decision in The New York Times v. Sullivan, which allowed free reporting of the Civil Rights movement. Not coincidentally, Trump named the New York Times as one of the newspapers he would sue.

COPYRIGHT

Trump's stance on copyright has not been formalized, but given the Trump campaign's unauthorized use of copyrighted images, and the lawsuits resulting from his breach of copyright law, it would not be a stretch to conclude that reforming copyright law will not be high on Trump's list of priorities. 

NET NEUTRALITY

Perhaps the most profound blow to writers would come with the elimination of net neutrality. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, net neutrality guarantees equal access to the Internet without favoring some sources over others. If Trump has his way, Internet content would be filtered, and businesses would be able to pay for being prioritized. In short, the net would be reduced to an advertising platform for the wealthiest corporations. That leaves writers hoping to build an online presence in the lurch.

WHAT TO DO?

1) WRITE. As writers we have an advantage over people who are not used to expressing themselves in print. The pen, in our hands, is mightier than the sword. We can write articles, communicate with our representatives and the media, and reach the public in ways that are effective and articulate. Above all, DO NOT SHUT UP! Self-censorship is the worst kind of censorship. Speak your mind, honestly and frankly, and without apology.

2) JOIN ORGANIZATIONS THAT DEFEND WRITERS. PEN America and the National Coalition Against Censorship are two long-standing organizations that defend writers and the First Amendment right to free speech. The Authors Guild, which is dedicated to defending the legal rights of authors, particularly regarding copyright, has also stated it will protect authors during the Trump presidency.

3) DONATE TO ORGANIZATIONS THAT DEFEND CIVIL RIGHTS. There are many organizations in the United States dedicated to defending the civil rights of U.S. citizens and residents. Here is a list of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations that need your support. You don't have to give a lot - every little bit helps.

4) PARTICIPATE IN THE ELECTORAL PROCESS. Half of registered voters did not participate in the last election. Democracy is a "use it or lose it" form of government. No matter how discouraged you may feel - don't opt out. Do your research, understand the issues, ignore the hype, and vote.

5) ADVOCATE. Defend those who cannot defend themselves - the disabled, the undocumented, the impoverished. Sign petitions, call your representative, wave signs if you want to. This is the land of liberty, not the land of bullies, hate mongers, and pussy grabbers. Trump has done a good job of normalizing reprehensible behavior; it's up to us to stamp it out.

 
 
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These three new agents are seeking clients. Rachel Crawford (Wolf Literary Services) is interested in literary and commercial fiction and YA. In nonfiction she’s interested in tech, futurism, psychology, environment, and science. Kira Watson (Emma Sweeney Agency, LLC) is particularly interested in Children’s Literature (YA & MG). Catherine Cho (Curtis Brown) is seeking debut novelists, particularly in literary and reading group fiction.

Note: For a comprehensive list of dozens of new and established agents seeking clients see: Agents Seeking Clients.
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Catherine Cho of Curtis Brown

Raised in Kentucky, Catherine studied literature at New York University. She lived in Hong Kong for several years and studied international law. After a stint in corporate law and lobbying, she worked for Folio Literary Management in New York, before moving to Curtis Brown in London.

What she is seeking: Catherine is looking to represent debut novelists, particularly in literary and reading group fiction. She’s searching for stories that transport their readers—with a strong, moving narrative and distinctive voice. She particularly enjoys stories with magical realism and speculative elements (such as Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell). Her other favorite authors include Kazuo Ishiguro, David Nicholls, Ann Patchett, Karen Russell, Elizabeth Strout, Donna Tartt, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In nonfiction, she’s searching for lifestyle titles and narrative memoirs.

She is based in the UK. Although she is open to subs from writers of any nation, she said this: “I am looking for both US / UK, but I do primarily submit to UK, so ideally something that crosses over.”

How to submit: If you would like to submit your work, please send a cover letter, synopsis, and the first three chapters by email to catherine.cho [at] curtisbrown.co.uk. You can also submit your material via Curtis Brown’s portal system. You can select the New Writing Team at www.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk/submissions.
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Rachel Crawford of Wolf Literary Services

Rachel Crawford is a literary agent and film rights manager at Wolf Literary Services. Hailing from sunny Brisbane, Australia, Rachel moved to New York in 2011. She worked previously at Sterling Lord Literistic and as an associate at Fletcher and Company, and has a background in rights and marketing.

What she is seeking: Rachel is looking for literary and commercial fiction and YA. She’s interested in stories that defy genre conventions and play with reader expectations, and particularly enjoys dystopian, eco-fiction, and apocalyptic narratives, as well as anything with a scientist protagonist. She’s also looking for international fiction, political fiction that explores big ideas through compelling narrative, and stories from traditionally underrepresented voices. She loves stories about women by women.

In nonfiction she’s interested in tech, futurism, psychology, environment, and science, and isn’t adverse to prescriptive nonfiction from authors with a strong professional background in their topic of choice.

How to contact: To submit a project to Rachel, please send a detailed synopsis and the first 50 pages to queries [at] wolflit.com, with “For Rachel” in the e-mail subject header.

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Kira Watson of Emma Sweeney Agency, LLC

Kira Watson graduated from Hunter College where she earned a BA in English (with a focus on Creative Writing) and a BA in Russian Language & Culture.

What she is seeking: Kira is particularly interested in Children’s Literature (YA & MG) with a strong narrative voice, well-crafted storylines, and memorable characters. Within YA & MG, Kira is actively seeking Realistic Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Magic Realism, Thriller/Mystery, Horror, Fantasy, and Historical Fiction. 

 Stories with folklore elements, complex villains, morally enigmatic (and very flawed) protagonists, medieval literature influences, and taboo subjects are bound to catch Kira’s attention.

How to Contact: “We accept only electronic queries, and ask that all queries be sent to queries@emmasweeneyagency.com. Please begin your query with a succinct (and hopefully catchy) description of your plot or proposal. Always include a brief cover letter telling us how you heard about ESA, your previous writing credits, and a few lines about yourself. We cannot open any attachments unless specifically requested, and ask that you paste the first ten (10) pages of your proposal or novel into the text of your e-mail.

 
 
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Every so often, Chuck Sambuccino, the editor of the Guide to Literary Agents, runs a free contest called "Dear Lucky Agent." Each contest is focused on a specific genre. These contests allow writers to submit one page of their manuscript to be judged by an agent.

Winners of the contest have a more than good chance of getting representation. It's good to enter contests, not just because you may win one, but because they force you to write short summaries and synopses, and to polish your first few pages until they shine. These are usually the only pages an agent will see before making a decision. (Sometimes they only read a paragraph.)

The contest deadline is Thursday, November 10, 2016CLICK HERE for more details.

For hundreds of free contests organized by month see: FREE CONTESTS.
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From the website

WHY YOU SHOULD GET EXCITED

After a previous “Dear Lucky Agent” contest, the agent judge, Tamar Rydzinski (The Laura Dail Literary Agency), signed one of the three contest winners. After Tamar signed the writer, she went on to sell two of that writer’s books! How cool! These contests can’t be missed if you have an eligible submission.

HOW TO SUBMIT

E-mail entries to dearluckyagent26@gmail.com. Please paste everything. No attachments.
(This contest went live a few hours before the e-mail was created, so several people who submitted early had their work bounce back. Apologies if this was you. As of early October 26, 2017, this e-mail address is up and running and fine. Submit! Thank you. All is now well.)

MEET YOUR (AWESOME) AGENT JUDGE!

Mike Hoogland joined Dystel & Goderich after completing a foreign rights internship at Sterling Lord Literistic. Before pursuing a career in publishing, Mike studied at Colgate University and graduated with a degree in political science and the intention to work in government. He interned with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but soon realized his interests and passions were better suited to a career in the publishing industry. After Colgate, Mike went on to gain a valuable education at the Columbia Publishing Course and discovered his passion for the agenting side of the business. He is seeking: sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, upmarket women’s fiction, and some children’s books (picture books, MG, and YA), as well as a wide variety of narrative nonfiction, including science, history, and politics. He is particularly interested in seeing thought-provoking, realistic speculative fiction.

WHAT TO SUBMIT (AND OUR SOCIAL MEDIA REQUIREMENTS)

The first 150-250 words (i.e., your first double-spaced page) of your unpublished, completed fantasy or science fiction novel. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also note your city of residence (i.e. — the city you live in, not your full address). Submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry. Self-published novels are not eligible.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any any social-media. Please provide a social-media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your official e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! In short, simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a TinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is http://tinyurl.com/jymslez

An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino at the end of your mention(s) if using Twitter. If we’re friends on FB, tag me in the mention. If you are going to just use Twitter as your 2 entries, please wait one day between mentions to spread out the notices, instead of simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks. (Please note that simply tweeting me does not count. You have to include the contest URL with your mention; that’s the point. And if you use Twitter, put my handle @chucksambuchino at the middle or the end, not at the very beginning of the tweet, or else the tweet will be invisible to others.)

Here is a sample TWEET you can use (feel free to tweak): New FREE contest for writers of Fantasy and Science Fictionhttp://tinyurl.com/jymslez Judged by agent @mike_hoogland, via @chucksambuchin

 
 
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This article originally appeared on Medium. Reprinted with permission.

By Bree Weber

If you google ‘how to launch a book’ or ‘how to boost your book sales’ you’ll find a plethora of resources suggesting everything from growing an email list to getting early reviews to creating a street team.

This is all wrong.

Before you can jump into pricing strategies or social media giveaways, you need to map out a complete business plan for your book. Let’s face it, as an indie author you are a business owner. A business plan is the tool you use to understand how your book fits into the market, how it stands out from other books like it, and how best to share your book with interested readers.

As you start to write on each subject, you may find connections you previously missed, or opportunities that you hadn’t even considered. Your answers here will help guide you during every book launch to keep you and your team accountable to your goals. So, let’s get started!

1. Summary

I recommend writing this section last as you’re effectively summarizing the entire business plan. This section should answer the question “why is your book going to succeed?”.

2. Brand Overview

Let’s first start with your brand’s history, sort of like a resume for you and your book(s). Write out (as objectively as possible) a history of your career as a writer.

  • What genre(s) do you write in?
  • Why are you qualified to write on these topics?
  • What past awards have you received?
  • How have past publications performed?
  • Have you hit any key milestones like a bestseller list?

If you’re a debut author, you can include any obstacles you’ve overcome to start writing, finish writing this book and/or start the publishing process.

3. Market Analysis

Market Overview

Here you can detail the size and characteristics of your market as well as the sector and current trends. A great indicator of this is your genre and sub-genre. Take a look online at these categories to get an idea of how many books are already out there.

Relevant Market Size

Now that you know the overview of your genre, you can drill down into it.

  • Are you in a niche genre? Think of specific keywords that might transcend your genre, but readers are actively seeking out such as ‘strong heroine’ or ‘coming of age’.
  • How open is your genre to new stories and new authors?
  • Do you already have a hold in this market? If so, how large is your market share?
  • How many readers would you have if every reader who reads in this genre read your book?
  • What annual revenue could you expect with 100% of the market?

How to calculate:

[the number of readers who might be interested in purchasing your book each year] x [the amount these readers might be willing to spend, annually, on your books]

4. Customer Analysis

Target Customer

Although you’re actually identifying an entire customer base, try to visualize just one person. Describe how your ideal reader fits into the world. Start with demographics:

  • Is your ideal customer male or female?
  • How old is she?
  • Where does she live?
  • What does she do for work?
  • Is she married?
  • What’s her educational background?

Take it another step further to map out an emotional side to your ideal customer:

  • Who is she buying for? Herself, a child, someone else?
  • How does she feel about her job?
  • How does she spend her weekends and holidays?
  • Is she on social media, blogs or other online communities?
  • What problems is she battling in life right now?

Give your ideal customer a name, a background and a personality. Get to know your ideal customer!

Customer Needs

Take what you’ve written down about your target customers to connect your book to their answers. How does your book meet their needs?

If you’re a non-fiction writer, most likely your book helps your ideal customer to solve a problem. Think back to your ideal customer, and be specific about the problem and the solution.

Does your memoir help young adults struggling with body image find the inspiration they need through your personal story to get help? Or perhaps you have a business strategy book that helps solopreneurs manage and scale their local business into an international franchises by incorporating techniques you’ve used with Fortune 500 companies around the world.

If you’re a fiction writer, you might be thinking “my book doesn’t solve problems” or even that “fiction is just entertainment”. Don’t discredit yourself. Fiction is an account of the human condition; in fiction we find insights, inspiration and often pieces of ourselves.

With this framework of fiction in mind, consider what anxieties or complexities your story reveals in your reader. What will your reader learn about herself or her world from your story? This answer is the door to your customer’s needs.

5. Competitive Analysis

Direct Competitors

Direct competitors are the books that fill the exact same customer needs as your book, which is why it is so important to clearly identify your target customers and their needs. Outline the strengths and weaknesses of your direct competitors.

Indirect Competitors

These are the products and services that fill the exact same customer need as your book, but may not be books at all. This could be TV, magazines, etc. Outline the strengths and weaknesses of your indirect competitors.

Competitive Advantages

Now that you have a strong understanding of your competitors — both indirect and indirect — you can list out why your book competes with both. What is special about your book? Why should your ideal customer buy it instead?

6. Marketing Plan

So many authors get hung up on their book’s marketing plan because they haven’t completed the market, customer and competitive analysis. How can you market effectively if you don’t know who you’re marketing to, what else they are considering and how your book competes?

Pricing

Since you’ve already researched your competitors, you should have a good idea of the how books and other services are currently priced. So now you can decide on your pricing model:

  • Freemium
  • High-low pricing
  • Pay what you want
  • Premium pricing

Consider how your selected pricing model(s) meets the needs of your customer.

Promotions Plan

Now that you’ve gotten to know your ideal customer, you already know where she hangs out offline and online. Keep this in mind when listing out your strategies to attract new customers.

  • Do you plan to get involved with a community on social media?
  • Are you steadily building an email list?
  • Are you using paid advertising? Where?
  • Will you do local events and bookshop signings?

Distribution Plan

As indie authors, it’s never been easier to publish and distribute a book. Although there are many options, not all will be right for your book, and it may differ from book to book. Think about your target customers:

  • Do they like to buy direct via author websites?
  • Do they love 2-day shipping from large online stores?
  • Are they bookstore browsers in need of a small local shop?

If you’re going to be using wholesalers, distributors or other partners to sell your book, list them out here. Find out the costs — whether financial, time, or otherwise — associated with working with them and write down the benefits that make that cost worthwhile.

7. Operations Plan

Strategic Calendaring
This is where you’ll want to map out the day to day logistics for every aspect of your book:

  • Writing
  • Editorial
  • Production
  • Distribution
  • Publication
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations

You’ll want to consider what kind of editing you need, how long will production take, when you need a final cover design file, when you’ll be receiving and proofing print copies, what promotional content you’ll post on social media, etc.

If you’ve built a support team to help you manage your book’s success, you’ll want to write out who is covering what, when you’ll need to give approvals, and deadlines that you need to meet for your team.

Milestones
List out your future goals, and be S.M.A.R.T about it. And by SMART, I mean specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

Include all the details of what you want to achieve, who is involved, where this will happen, when you’d like to achieve it, which obstacles you’ll need to overcome, and why this is beneficial to your author brand or book.

8. Management Team

Although the term ‘indie author’ refers to an independent author, the most successful writers are rarely doing it alone. Take some time to think about your own strengths, and recognize your weaknesses.

Identify where you need help and who to bring in. It might be an assistant, a consultant or a company. Then continually review where there might be gaps in experience or qualifications, especially as your author brand and book sales grow.

For those authors who really just want to focus on the writing, but appreciate the freedom indie publishing provides, you may want to consider creating a ‘board of advisors’ for your to manage and execute all of the goals in this plan.

9. Financial Plan

Revenue Model

List out how your book makes (or will make) money.

If your primary author revenue is book sales, this will likely be a super short section. Be sure to consider different formats i.e. print, digital, audio, etc as well as series, box sets, collections, etc.

If you’re using a book as a platform for other services, or a stepping stone towards other products, itemize your revenue streams as it relates back to your author brand.

Financial Highlights

No need to pull out income statements or balance sheets (yet), but you’ll want to outline a basic summary of your current and projected financial situation:
  • Annual revenue or how much you’re earning from book sales
  • Major book-related expenses such as advertising, distribution, etc.
  • Projected net income (revenue — expenses) for this year and next

With these answers in hand, you’ll be able to increase your sales, grow your audience, and create new ways to connect with your readers. This will also serve as your compass keeping you accountable to your goals, helping you avoid mistakes and reminding you to keep your ideal customer in mind at every decision.
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Bree Weber is a book designer and publishing consultant who loves Oxford commas.

In London, Bree studied for her MA in Publishing Culture, while working for several large publishing houses, including Penguin and MacMillan. This is also where her latte addiction first flourished.

Post-Europe, Bree contributed to NYC boutique presses and literary agencies as a digital marketeer and publishing consultant, until deciding the road was the place for her.

Now, as a digital nomad and founder of The Book Octopus, Bree uses her traditional publishing experience to help indie authors produce, publish and promote their books.

If you want to connect with Bree you can reach out to her on Twitter at 
@thebookoctopus and on www.thebookoctopus.com.

 
 
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There are over two dozen open calls for submissions in November. All genres and styles are welcome, including poetry. fiction, nonfiction, and personal essays. As might be expected, quite a few of these calls are for Holiday themes. All are paying markets.

As always, read the submissions guidelines carefully.

You can find more resources for submission calls, both paid and unpaid, here: Calls for Submissions

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 The First LineGenre: Fiction, poetry, CNF. Must begin with the line: "In the six years I spent tracking David Addley, it never occurred to me that he didn’t exist." Payment: up to $50 per piece. Deadline: November 1, 2016.

Ninth LetterGenre: Fiction, poetry, CNF. Southern writing onlyPayment: $25 per page. Deadline: November 1, 2016.

Virginia Quarterly ReviewGenre: Fiction, poetry, CNF. Southern writing onlyPayment: $200 per poem, $1000+ for fiction and CNF. Deadline: November 1, 2016.

Skirt! Genre: Personal essay; Essay Theme: Stories about the merriest of holiday times. Payment: $200. Deadline: November 1, 2016.

SockdolagerGenre: Short genre stories for special issue: Women of War. Payment: 2 cents per word; $15 for reprints. Deadline: November 1, 2016.

EllipsisGenres: Poetry, fiction, CNF. Payment: $50 for prose; $10 for poetry. Deadline: November 1, 2016.

THEMAGenres: Short stories, poems, essays on theme of Missing Letters. Accepts reprints. Payment: $25; short-short piece (up to 1000 words), $10; poem. Deadline: November 1, 2016.

Kenyon ReviewGenres: Fiction, poetry, plays, excerpts. Payment: Not specified. Deadline: November 1, 2016.

Pear Tree PressGenres: Dark poetry and fiction. Payment: $10, $5 for poetry. Deadline: November 1, 2016.

Maple Tree Literary SupplementGenres: Dialogue or interviews on any topic between and amongst Canadian writers. Payment: $30. Deadline: November 1, 2016.(Website is unclear)

Electric LiteratureGenres: Personal and critical essays. Payment: $50 per piece. Deadline: November 4, 2016.

How Well You Walk Through MadnessGenres: Fiction, poetry. We are looking for stories that capture ordinary madness-the down and dingy corners of life. Send us the last little hope before getting a boot to the face. Send us experimental fiction or poetry littered with philosophies on a mission to corrupt the norms. Essentially, we're looking for Beat fiction. Fiction that breaks the conventional norms of writing. Be an outsider. Think differently. Get weird and don't be afraid. This anthology is inspired by the Beat Generation writers, a literary movement that is getting a rebirth today. Payment: 1/4 cent per word. $5 per poem if submitting poetry. Deadline: November 4, 2016.

StarwheelGenres: Fiction, nonfiction. We are hoping for weird, speculative, or literary slice of life pieces that are uplifting and thought provoking. The story must contain some aspect of the fall and holiday season: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc. Payment: $2.00 per poem, $3.00 per fiction or nonfiction piece, $3.00 for art & photography, and $6.00 for a one-page illustrated story or comic. Deadline: November 10, 2016.

Lamplight MagazineGenre: Dark fiction. Payment: 3 cents per word; reprints 1 cent per word. Deadline: November 15, 2016.

Electric LiteratureGenre: Reprints. "Unlike our regular submissions period, the cover letter here is important. We want to know about your short story’s original publication, and why it deserves a second life in Recommended Reading. If accepted, we may use this information (with your permission) in our introduction, alongside the story’s publication. As always, we’re looking for stories between 2,000 and 10,000 words that are bold, affecting, and presented with a distinct style." Payment: $100. Deadline: November 15, 2016.

WitnessGenres: "Original fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photography that is innovative in its approach, broad-ranging in its concerns, and that dazzles us with its unique perspective. We often enjoy material that ventures into international terrain." Payment: $25 for every 1,500 words of prose and $25 per poem, for both print and online work.  Deadline: November 15, 2016.

Bright Wall/Dark RoomGenre: Essays on your favorite Christmas/Holiday/Winter movies. Please note: the movie or television show you write about does not have to be about the holidays - it can be about any film you watch during the holiday season - but the issue itself will be mostly geared toward actual holiday movies. Payment: $25. Deadline: November 15, 2016.

Tiny Tim Literary Review.  Genre: Chronically ill/disability narratives. Payment: $50 per piece. Deadline: November 19, 2016.

Fun Dead PublicationsGenre: Dark, spooky stories 1000-6000 words, set in New Orleans. Payment: $10. Deadline: November 25, 2016.

Chicken Soup for the SoulGenre: True stories and poems for Dreams and Synchronicities. Sometimes magic happens in your life. You have a dream that reveals a truth or a course of action to you. You have a premonition that changes your behavior and saves you or a loved one from disaster. You meet someone at just the right time and you can’t believe the coincidence. Payment: $200. Deadline: November 30, 2016.

Chicken Soup for the SoulGenre: True stories and poems for Military Families. "We are looking for true stories of no more than 1200 words from soldiers who defend and protect our country — both active and retired — and from their families: spouses, children, parents and other relatives. Tell us what it’s like to be part of a military family: the ups and downs, the funny stories, the heartwarming stories, and your best advice for other military families." Payment: $200. Deadline: November 30, 2016.

Notre Dame ReviewGenre: Prose. Payment: "small gratuity." Deadline: November 30, 2016.

Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale MagazineGenre: Fairy tale. Payment: Story pay: $30, Poem pay: $10. US dollars only. Deadline: November 30, 2016.

World Weaver Press: Equus: Rhonda Parrish's Magical MenageriesGenre: Speculative fiction stories about every kind of horse from the earthly to the mythological with a special emphasis on horses, unicorns and pegasi. Every kind of magical equine is welcome. Payment: $10 + contributor copy. Deadline: November 30, 2016.

The Pedestal MagazineGenre: Speculative poetry. Payment: $40. Deadline: November 30, 2016.

Literary e-clecticGenre: Fiction and nonfiction on theme of "lost and found." Payment: $50. Deadline: November 30, 2016.

Anthology: MONSTERS AMONG USGenre: Poetry and Stories up to 7,000 words about ‘psychological horror’, horror that comes from within. Payment: $15. Deadline: November 30, 2016.

 

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