Six mistakes to avoid BEFORE pitching your book | Helen Goltz | Skillshare

Six mistakes to avoid BEFORE pitching your book

Helen Goltz, Publisher, Journalist, Author

Six mistakes to avoid BEFORE pitching your book

Helen Goltz, Publisher, Journalist, Author

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7 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Your Bio and Assignment

    • 3. Mistake No1 After the first three chapters

    • 4. Mistake No2 & No3_Space and Location

    • 5. Mistake No4 Precious words

    • 6. Mistake No5 Publisher's guidelines

    • 7. Mistake No6 Multi pitching

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About This Class

If you are ready to pitch your book to publishers, then here are six mistakes to avoid to ensure you have the best chance of getting considered.

Meet Your Teacher

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Helen Goltz

Publisher, Journalist, Author


Helen Goltz is a publisher, journalist and the author of nine fiction and six non-fiction titles, published by Clan Destine Press and her own publishing house, Atlas Productions. Helen majored in Media and Literature at University and is postgraduate qualified in Communications. Her media career spans 30 years including roles as Brand Manager, News Ltd; Producer, Macquarie Media radio; Producer, the Seven and Nine television networks; and Editor and Journalist on community newspapers. Atlas Productions is a member of the Small Press Network and The Copyright Agency, and publishes approximately eight to 10 titles a year. Helen is a co-convenor of Sisters in Crime Queensland.

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1. Introduction : My name is Helen Gold's I'm an author and a publisher and a jealous and I've been around a long time and I've made mistakes and I want to share this with you now so that when you pitch to a publisher, you've got the best chance you can't because you put a lot of work into that manuscript to tell you a little bit about myself. I start off in newspapers As a journalist, I worked at a television station and produced lifestyle content, and I also produced a Children's television program and then went on to radio. And I produced an afternoon program for really dickheads, having writing books published in a straight by clandestine press and by my own print at this productions through my publishing house, which I established because I wanted to publish other authors as well, a publisher about eight titles here, and I see a lot of the same mistakes made, and I've made them myself. So when you pitch, you hold your breath and you have the publisher will come back to you and say, I love it, send me the whole manuscript so let's make sure that when you pitch now you've given it your best, and you understand that the manuscript you've got is ready to leave your hands and go to that publisher, and I'll share with you what the mistakes are that most authors and myself have made that's going. 2. Your Bio and Assignment: your assignment for this exercise is to write one part or three lines will do about yourself. That's unique. Now I'm telling you this because every publisher will ask you to put a bio in, and we all put the important stuff. You know what? We've done their careers, but it says little personal things that get it across the line. It's a little quirky things that make you unique animal catcher, publisher's attention and make them want to read on. So your assignment is to write three lines that tell the publisher something about yourself relevant to your book. Now I'll give you an example. I had a bit of a midlife crisis, and I joined the police is I became a police, get it, and I went to the place academy, so I didn't actually become a qualified police officer. But what I do now when I write crime and I pitch it, is that in my little bio, I sigh that I understand a little bit that crime. I went to the place academy, and it's not necessarily that I have any expert by any reads, but its quirky and a couple times open the door for me. They found that interesting and they want to have a look at the manuscript. So that's what we're looking for from you, something a little bit different. I had a great pitch from an author who's written a book about shocks. It's fiction, and he said that he really loves eating Flake, which, of course, is shocked. So it was just a funny line, and it just makes you notice that or the when you've got a pile bigger than your house. So your assignment is to come up with to this reliance about yourself that you can add to the buyer relevant to what you've written. So if you're writing a certain John or try and find something that's relevant to that genre and quoting an interesting go for 3. Mistake No1 After the first three chapters: Okay, Steak number one. And I see this all the time. In fact, it's the biggest mistake of all. Is those brilliant 1st 3 chapters? You know, when you join a riding club or writing workshop and everyone polishes up those 1st 3 chapters maybe one even at because they know that someone that you've got a sin to most publishes that always on our website send me the 1st 5000 words or 1st 3 chapters. So I've often got these manuscripts and I read the 1st 3 chapters. I think Wow, this is great. We're onto something here. I love this. I can't wait to read the whole lot. And then that's as good as against. So the trick ease to make sure that chapter 456789 10 loaded Citra live up to those 1st 3 chapters. So why you published that to within an inch of its life? Don't forget, then, that the other chapters must stand alone as well. They must be is good. So give some attention to detail to that. If you've given a lot of time to those 1st 3 chapters and not a lot to the rest of the book . It's time to have a bit of a local and how you can do that. It isn't a number of wives. Firstly, as much as we love them don't necessarily trust the recommendations of your friends and family because they're not gonna want to hurt your feelings. And I've done that, too. Are seven Level said really pleasant things that is really good of them. But at the end of the day, you want somebody will say, Well, you know, this is going This is good this week This is great. So fine just off a pragmatic relative or friend. And tell them, Spare your feelings and tell me honestly, it's better if they read the genre because they'll have an understanding of that Jonah that you're riding in, but not essential. Okay, The other thing to do here is to consider getting a manuscript reviewers. Now again, if you're gonna pay the money for many school of you, tell them that you want honest fever. I've had a reviewer once, who was lovely, gave me very positive feedback in some negative feedback. But later on, when I went to redo the book with a mental, I realized how much was wrong with it, and I didn't get that fever from her and I speak. She was hoping that I wouldn't stop writing or she didn't want to put me off riding, but it really was a waste of time and money. So make sure you're up front about the fact you want good feedback. Finally, think about getting a mental. So somebody in the genre, another riding cubs and riding centres can help mentor you with somebody who writes your genre. And that's what I did when I write my first crime drill. And it honestly, it was invaluable because I changed literally those whole first few chapters and start again. I had the wrong pace and now neither on nor spot right away. So consider getting a mentor, so just bear my once you pitched, that's it. You kind of had your shot. So it's a bit hard to get back through the door again. So stop now. Have a look at what everyone does in mistake one and see if that's you before you go into mistake, too. 4. Mistake No2 & No3_Space and Location: mistake to that I see quite often and I made it myself is to actually have some space between you and your manuscript. I've got into the habit now off. When I finish writing, I'll put it away for six months. I know that sounds like a long time when you finish. It's brilliant Book that's going to become an international best seller is bound to be a TV and movie series, but the separation will let you see what's wrong with it, and you really do see it. So I put it away for six months, and then I dig it out again, and it's so glaringly obvious to me what's good, what's not good, how the pace is, how the characters in direct, and if you pull it out again, be happy with that fantastic go for. But just breathe that's mistake number to take that time to put it away and come back to it and see if you could improve it. You'll be amazed what becomes evident when you do that. The state number three that you won't avoid is the location mistake. Make sure that your book is correct for the location in which you said it. First of all, make sure you have a clear location, geography and since the place is very important, for example, I'm based Australian. I said one of my books in Washington, D. C. Now I spent a lot of time online looking at Washington D. C. I watched it through cameras. I spoke to people in D. C check facts, but still some of my readers felt that it wasn't American enough. And that's fair enough because, you know, I've only been there once, so they picked up little nuances that want quite right for the area. So I like to write locally. I love to write the areas that I know him because I know them so well and that comes through. But there's not to say you always have to sit. You book this. I've just written a book on the Moors in the UK, and I love them all wars, and I know it quite well. And I wanted to write that, so you'll always have it critics, But just check that your dialogue is right for the area. Just check a little things like coffees. Honestly, sometimes what we call a skinny cappuccino when it's dryer is not a skinny cappuccino in the rest of the world. So those little tricky thinks so. You can get a riding pal on the other side of the world. People writing grip, don't let you share your manuscript and just check that kind of detail. 5. Mistake No4 Precious words: a big mistake that I'm gonna t nana before is what a lot of authors do and you've gotta give up those words. Give them up. Every word is not precious. So check what the best word left live is for your genre. If it's crime, it's real. It might be around the 70 to 90,000. If it's romance, it might be around the 80,000 if it's young, adult could be from 50 to 60,000. So just check what the general word count is the best word counties for your genre, and then try and keep to that. Now I've had a couple of pictures to me that 150,000 words. I'm too exhausted. Even think about reading through that. That's just enormous. So if you're in that situation, I'm not saying get rid of your words. Make it two books. Make it Volume one. Volume two. Can you get to stand alone books from those from your word count, which is a much better way. The picture. It shows that you're intending to write more and that you're a serious writer. The other Option two is to actually said those words aside, don't throw them out. Nobody wants to cover was of Britain, which has come with blood, sweat and tears. But set them aside in another document and you might use them again somewhere else. But don't be afraid to cut words. In fact, I'm insisting that you should really think about cutting your words down to the genre because as a publisher, I'm not even gonna look at anything that that's big. I'm not even looking at anything over 120,000. To be honest, that's too exhausting. Um, and I try and stick to those rules myself when I'm writing and pitching my own work to publish this. I did have an author, ones who sent me a fantastic book. I really liked it, but she had several scenes that would just dialogue in a cafe, so they weren't moving along the narrative. We could have actually a scrap those whole chapters, and it wouldn't affected the narrative. It'll and I said that to her that you're actually holding up the story with these scenes, and she thought they were character building. So I suggested that we lose several chapters that were just cafe driven dialogue and unfortunately, the author didn't want it, she said. You didn't want to cut any words, so I didn't take it on. And I think she end up self publishing, and that's a great solution. If you don't want it, it'll cut your words still publishing, and nobody will touch him. But if you want a mainstream publisher to publish your work, then you've gotta give up those words. Give them up. Have a look at them. See, Is this advancing the narrative? Does this chapter advance in charitable holding up Justice? Seen do anything from the narrative, or am I just embellishing? Do these woods show us something about the character or where this chapter is going, if not losers, and get down to that word count. 6. Mistake No5 Publisher's guidelines: a steak number five that authors make went pitching. And I've done this too. You ignore the publishes guidelines because you've either be multi pitching for so long or you think your book It's so good that the publisher will just jump at it without you having followed the guidelines. So don't do it. And I say that because what that says to me is that you're gonna be difficult to work with . You know, you're already not prepared to just follow the simple requests that I've put down which make my job easier to assist you and other orders. And you just think that this book is so good or you don't have time to follow my guidelines . So I'm not gonna be in a big rush to work with you Strong. I and I've done it to where I've pitched so many times. I was sort of at the end of the pitching process, and I thought, Oh, look, I'll give it one more shot and I've just sent it. And later on I thought, Well, I have blind that and that silly was that I disrespected that publishers wishes so even if they say you know, a bio, even if they're a little bit different from everybody else and want you to tell them how you market the Boco. Any other little quirky thing that might put in there that they request from you to respond to. If you want them to look at you work, just follow it. And it's a polite way of saying thanks for taking the time to look at my work. And I'm going to respect your guidelines. Says You're easy guy. It says that you understand instructions, says that you've taken the time to read their website, that you taken some interest in their website and their books, and you haven't just looked at how to submit, got their email or got their pro former and just applied in Bulk said. That's the reasons you should do that. 7. Mistake No6 Multi pitching: finally mistake. Number six Multi pitching now in the Holder is I'm talking. In a decade of 15 years ago, maybe long before E books came out and self publishing Hammer, some publishers would say, Please don't multi pitch and then you Dwight, I need wait months and I'm still waiting now, 10 years later for a couple of to get back to me. But seriously, that doesn't really happen anymore. Most publishers have on their Web site their guidelines I'll say will respond to you in two months or three months or within a fortnight you'll hear from us. So you've got an idea former Publishers list, and this is what I do. I do a wish list. So I picked up maybe the top two or three that I really want to consider my work. And I see not just the one or two or three to them, and I wait for that length of time. And you. She's two months at most, and that's nothing in the grand scheme of thing. So I wait. There's two or three months, and then if I get the rejection letters Oh, I haven't heard back then, I think I can't they're not interested and I'll get the next level wish list and it might be four or five publishes that, I think. OK, these are ones that I'd be really happy to go in and I pitched to them and I wait, That required time. After that, it's open season pitched, whoever you want, But it's just a good way to do it because you may have signed with the smaller publisher, Mr On a bigger opportunity. Uh, the other thing is to a small publisher might show interest in you and you say all Sorry, I've just got it out to everyone at my Could you wait three or four months to see if a bigger published takes May on? That's fair enough. Small publishers let me understand that. But it's also a bit of a slap in the face when we've taken the time to read your manuscript a way around. That is when a smaller, published request youthful manuscript, you could just say, Look, before I send it to you, I want you to know multi pitched honey just recently. So do you want to read that? Now? Would you prefer to wait a couple of months first. That way, the smaller publish can say yellow finish up with the Big East first if they choose to what they may choose not to touch you again and that service you take. But you know, this is gonna work for both parties and you don't want to miss out on something good. And you also don't want to be sitting around for five years waiting to publish. So it's a bit of a tricky game, but do multi pitch, but do it very cleverly. Have you wish lists? Do those top ones first and then do Daniel List so that you were in order of who you want to publish. If you are so fortunate to get published good luck at their I hope you're three lines of personality 11 A door for you