Alligators Overhead Trailer

Monday, July 14, 2014

Part 2: The Pros Give Us Some Advice and What About Talking to Editors Anyway?


Last week I started a series that featured some writer friends who have some excellent books out this year. I asked them to send me their latest book, their tagline and a short piece of advice they wanted to pass on to writers, especially those still seeking publication. Last week CHERYL RAINFIELD visited. Today I have one of my critique partners, YVONNE VENTRESCA. Waving at YV! Take it away.


Now available at AMAZON and B and N

Tagline: In Pandemic, a teenage girl struggles to survive not only a deadly influenza outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.

Advice from YV: Author Richard Bach said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” Persistence is definitely key in this business. Good writing is certainly important, but there’s something to be said for not giving up.

Thanks Great Critique Partner. 


******

And now about talking to editors.

The first time I had a chance to talk to an editor in person was at a conference, and my tongue kept sticking to the roof of my mouth. No wonder she didn't have any encouragement for me. How could she ever work with an author who couldn't get her ideas across.

My next encounter with an editor was much smoother. I could talk. I could tell her what my idea was and why I was presenting it to her. Hurray! I was learning. Here are some tips that I used in that second face-to-face with someone I wanted to interest in my book.

  • I planned for this meeting far in advance. I knew about the editor, what she was looking for, and I knew about her press--what they'd recently published. I was confident my book was a match for her and her company.


  • Just before the conference, I interacted with her via Twitter. She was posting about her walk on the beach (the conference was on the CA coast), so I Tweeted her that I lived nearby and knew the place she was describing. That's all. No pitch. No hustle. 


  • I made sure to attend the social gatherings, met her and talked about her walk on the beach. Again, that was all. I kept it social, but I wanted her to know I was the one who had Tweeted her earlier. 


  • I arrived exactly on time for our fifteen minute meeting. It was easy to greet her since we'd already had two informal encounters.


  • Earlier, I'd paid careful attention to her presentation on the editors' panel, and I used this line to start our conversation about my proposal. " I liked what you said about realistic fiction for teens. It made me think you might be interested in my idea."  


  • I had my tagline memorized, and I told her I would follow up with a query if she was interested in my idea. 
I admit that she didn't buy my manuscript, but she did ask for it, and she gave me some excellent advice when she turned me down. I know it was her advice that led to my sale of that book later because it changed the book from one that wouldn't sell, to one that might. I don't think she would have bothered if I hadn't laid some ground work to meet her and present my idea clearly. 

While my sale didn't happen as I'd hoped, it did happen, and I believe it was because I'd made a connection with this editor, and she was willing to take the time to help me.

Did you like YV's quote? Be sure to check out her book. It's good. Any other ideas on meeting with editors/agents? Oh, and Happy Bastille Day.





69 comments:

  1. Awesome tips for meeting with an editor! Those non-aggressive social encounters are brilliant!
    Love Yv's cover and blurb - sounds like an awesome book!

    ReplyDelete
  2. She planned ahead and it made a big difference!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alex. Of course this morning Blogger did a fail and didn't post at my usual time. Hope this doesn't set a pattern for my week.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for including me on your blog, Lee!

    Yvonne

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's always better to do the homework, if possible. I would choke if I needed to pitch to an editor. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I needed to feel comfortable in order to think during our interview.

      Delete
  5. I like this" "Good writing is certainly important, but there’s something to be said for not giving up."

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congratulations on your book, YV. Best of luck to you.

    Great advice about talking to an editor, c lee. Will remember it. My mind goes blank and I forget who I am, much less what my story is about. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yv's quote is on point. This writing gig is something that requires some stick-to-it-tiveness :-)

    And you learned from your experiences, improved from them and that's what is so important in the steps taken toward you eventually selling your novel. Very cool, C. Lee :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I have to remind myself of the quote often, Angela.

      Yvonne

      Delete
  8. Whew! It all makes me tired. Or it could just be that it's dinner time and I need to have something to eat. =) I think any time you establish personal relationships you up your chances. They invest in the individual as much as the writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really do help a lot. Conferences are a great way to get personal contact and connections.

      Delete
  9. Sounds like an excellent strategy and I'm glad good came from it. There's no need to feel there are big barriers between us and editors, I think Twitter helps with that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't thought about using Twitter like this, but it did work.

      Delete
  10. Persistence is so very important in this business!
    Those are great tips for when you meet an editor or agent at a conference!
    Great book cover, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Success doesn't come easily, that's for sure.

      Delete
  11. Congrats to YV! I also totally agree that persistence is vital to success.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Although she didn't accept your manuscript, it was nice of that editor to steer your work in a better direction. Sometimes, the best advice comes after being rejected.
    I love the quote you shared. As authors, we live to write. I know for me, I can't breath without it. Whether or not my books become a huge success, if I have inspired someone in some way, my job is done. Because it's through our writing that we are able to move people and become better people ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Gina -- so much of the writing journey is self-discovery.

      Yvonne

      Delete
  13. I would hope an editor would understand that authors are nervous while talking to a real-life editor! We also can often be better at conveying our ideas in writing. Great tips! My journey was similar--I had close calls with editors over the years that didn't quite work out...but then one day I sold and I realized all of that was part of growing as a writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Growth comes in small steps sometimes. You only hear about the overnight wonders on the news.

      Delete
  14. I think she went about the whole thing in exactly the right way. People in any business are pleased when you acknowledge they're more than simply their occupation. Good move that resulted in good advice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Editors are people first. I kept telling me that and it helped.

      Delete
  15. Editors should be all understanding. At the end of the day we are all humans.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks so much for the excellent advice and insight! I'm inspired. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely. Glad you got a bit of that inspiration here.

      Delete
  17. Great tips, and I love the quote!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad it struck a chord with you. It is one of my favorites.

      Yvonne

      Delete
  18. All good tips. Talking to editors should be fun too. They are very interesting people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. And they know a lot. Listening is an important part of meeting with them.

      Delete
  19. I would be too nervous to talk to an editor. But these are excellent tips and advice, thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great quote, and definitely a good piece of advice!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great advice across the board here.

    ReplyDelete
  22. That is some excellent advice, from both of you!

    I get so nervous when I feel like I am "on". Love the idea of getting familiar with the pro- not just to get face time, but to know them better as a person- that makes them less scary.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great advice all around! And speaking to an editor is almost like preparing for a job interview or something similar...you have to know what they do and be prepared!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I feel bad for my first editor I dont know how he ever tolerated me... I was always a nervous wreck! Although looking back with some experience he new I was a novice and I think he promised a far more in depth editorial experience than he provided. oh well, live and learn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm smiling at this comment. Great one.

      Delete
  25. Hi Lee .. I've got a book by Richard Bach to read - and must get to it. Great idea from Yvonne - homework is essential isn't it .. and then as Richard just persevere and keep on writing ..

    Another good post for us to learn from Lee - thanks .. cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love that quote! Enjoyed reading about your editor encounter too, sounds like Twitter really helped with those first steps.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great advice on meeting with and talking to editors. They do give wonderful feedback, whether they buy the manuscript or not. It's wonderful meeting a CP of Lee's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Medeia! I love your Snip, Snip Revenge cover.

      Yvonne

      Delete
  28. Ahhh, love the Richard Bach quote. Also love your thorough "connect with the editor" plan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed the quote! And Lee's plan is inspiring.

      Yvonne

      Delete
  29. I love the quotes and I admire your plan to meet the editor. A very useful post, especially for unpublished writers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like to know about successful plans, even those that evolve without forethought. This was a lucky accident that I turned into something positive. Thanks for the visit.

      Delete
  30. Great advice! Love the quote Yvonne shared. Persistence is necessary for anything creative, I think. (Like, I definitely need it for my art, since I'm too tempted to quit most of the time, heh.)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hey Lee,

    Yes, the quote Yvonne shared is now on my bulletin board. Good advice to pass along.

    I also operate along the same lines when meeting people. Start on a social level, if possible. Heck...these people see hundreds—nay, thousands of people—each trying to push something on them. I'm sure it can sometimes go in one ear and out the other. But to have met first on a more social level adds a relaxed feel to it, however nominal. I think that opens the ears and the mind a little more.

    Been busy, busy, busy. Thanks for coming by and your support. It's been a bit tough, and without it, heck...I don't know what I'd do. Hopefully, I'll soon join you as a published author. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I appreciate the support of others who understand what I do and how much energy and stamina it takes. Here's to finding the right route to publication!

      Delete
  32. Good quote--very true. And good advice. I enjoyed reading your story, Lee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd almost forgotten that story, but it came back when I was thinking about this Monday post. Just had to search the old data banks.

      Delete
  33. Rejection with constructive feedback is what launched me. I'm glad some editors take the time now and then.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I totally agree. Every time I'm tempted to say "good luck" as a closing to email or face to face, I say, "I'd wish you good luck, but it's persistence that counts." Your editor encounters prove that.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Perseverance is huge in this business.

    ReplyDelete

Please say something to me, anything. Well, not anything, but a kind word will do.