Tuesday, 1 December 2015

There be pirates, matey!

Book piracy is on the rise...as if we didn't have enough to contend with from Amazon and such, right?

As the author of your book and the copyright holder, you are obliged to send the offending site who's giving away your book a DMCA Takedown Notice. It does not matter if you're self publishing or with a publisher, you are the author and the ultimate copyright holder so this is your responsibility.

Where are pirated books coming from? Well, mostly from Amazon! If you look at the page source for books, you'll see book covers are coming out of Amazon's images files, and the books are filed by the book's ASIN, which is ONLY available from Amazon.

Perhaps there are come consolations to pirated books:

1) Most pirated books which are being given away almost always have data mining viruses embedded in the book files. No one gains anything from giving away your book. But by embedding a virus to infiltrate the user's system, they can sell that information to the next group upstream. What are they looking for? Credit card and banking details...it's all about the money!

2) Maybe sites which give away your book are actually only giving away the same info that Amazon does...the first 20% of the book. Readers don't realize this until after they've downloaded the book and read to the cut off point. Meanwhile, those viruses have embedded themselves into the user's computer and are sending your personal details to the end user.

3) Sites which are selling your book without permission is another problem.

In either of these cases, as the author, you need to make contact with the DMCA Takedown Notice and get the ball rolling. Unfortunately, this is not a case of them proving they have the right to publish. It's your responsibility for proving they don't.

Welcome to the 21st century!

And authors, if you're sending unprotected ARCs for review, be SURE to keep good records on who you've sent your work to, and get a turn around date. Ask where they post their reviews, and check their previous book reviews and hosts to verify the reviewer is who they say they are. And if you're giving away copies of your books, give them as gifts through the 'give as gift' option at the booksellers rather than sending ecopies.

Protect yourself!

And familiarize yourself with the DMCA Takedown Notice.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Let's Make A Change - Stop Devaluing Your Work!

Like so many others today, I've been reading Smashwords' Mark Coker's blog post about Amazon's recent reduction in the Kindle Unlimited pricing structure in India. Currently, KU is $9.99 per month for unlimited book downloads, but Amazon has lowered this to $3 in India, and has made insinuation that this pricing structure can and will filter to other Amazon sites in the future. While KU is systematically killing publishing, I have my own views on why books have been devalued and it's not all Amazon's fault.

There has come a very strong trend in the industry from self-publishing authors who only price books at 99c. Some small press do this as a regular thing, but the trend has come from self-publishing. What started off as introductory sales and short-term promotions has quickly become the pricing standard if we want to 'play the game.'

Worse, 99c box sets--often up to 10 books in one download--have become the norm, knocking out the above single titles at the same price! That's less than 10c per book which normally can cost anywhere from $2.99 to $5.99 on their own.

But authors aren't even making that much on those sales because Amazon keeps 65% of that 99c! At 35c per sale, that means those 10 book box sets are only earning the author 35c!...just 3.5c per book!

Certainly, that's a great deal for readers, but what is that pricing doing for the industry as a whole...beyond one author's desire to attract buyers, no matter the cost?

What it's doing is ruining the industry.

The 99c price structure is forcing every other author to also devalue their work in order just to 'be in the game.' And now what's happening, readers are even fussing over paying 99c for one book and just waiting for the 99c box set to stock up on loads of cheap books. This goes beyond Amazon Select and Kindle Unlimited where you can buy all the books you want for just $9.99. This trend is happening for normal retail sales. And Amazon is taking advantage of this buy saying, "Well, authors have devalued themselves already, so by offering unlimited downloads for $9.99, they won't care because they obviously don't care now!"

At a regular 99c price point, authors are barely making 35c per sale. Amazon keeps the rest. Buying books at $2.99, or more, means the author gets a much larger share of the retail...closer to $2.10 per sale! The difference in price can make or break an author...help them pay their rent and put food on the table for their kids. At 35c, that's not even enough for extra creamer for their coffee.

Let's do a breakdown:

An author writes six hours per day, five days per week, for eight weeks (240 hours) to create a 50K book. Making 35c for one sale off that 99c book, means the author has just worked for 0.0015c per hour!

With the same time schedule to write the same book but making $2.10 for one sale off that $2.99 book (because vendors take less fees on higher priced books), means the author has worked for 0.009c per hour.

OK, both are still slave wages, but we expect to make it up on sales volume, and it can only be done when books are priced higher.

Let's say the book sells 10K copies. At 35c per book, we make just $3500.

But at $2.10 per sale, we're making $21K and suddenly we can pay our rent, feed our kids, and not have to work so hard at the regular day job so we can write more. Maybe two books earning the same amount and that means $42K for those 10K books and suddenly we have a living wage!

Granted, this is based on the minimum price point ($2.99) to make the majority of the money (70%) from booksellers like Amazon. 50-70K word books should be priced higher than $2.99, and full length novels up to 100K should be making at least $5.99 retail.

Books selling at $5.99 earn the author $4 per sale. 10K books sold is $40K in the author's pocket which means the author can live off that without having to work outside the home! THAT is a living wage.

What can we do to help stop this crazy spiral into book-selling hell?

For authors and publishers --

1) We need to stop devaluing ourselves as authors.

2) Price your books appropriately. Stop selling 99c books unless on short-term sale (24-72 hours max).

3) Stop selling 99c box sets!!!!

For readers --

1) Stop devaluing our work. Limit your buying of 99c single titles.

2) Support the authors you enjoy reading by paying what their work is worth. Sure, we're all price-conscious and on spending budgets, readers and writers. But there has to be a support system in place that works for both sides

3) Write reviews!!

** As authors AND readers, we need to boycott Amazon Select and Kindle Unlimited. Stop adding our books to these lists, and stop buying from these lists.

We also need to find a way to fix the pricing structure on books...all authors and publishers agreeing on how to price books based on word count so that we can all compete on a level platform. This means respecting other authors and not stabbing each other in the back in order to get a sale.

And readers need to start buying through normal channels and stop supporting the 99c price points except on those short-term sales.

Do you have other ideas on how to create change in the industry and tell Amazon we do not accept their cheap programs? I'd love to hear them. Click the comments below and let your voice be heard.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Recommendations for EASY Self-Promotion

The ability to market one's work is the difference between
a hobby and a career

Writers, like it or not, cannot escape the fact they are small business owners. And to succeed in any small business, we need a business plan and a steady stream of activities to generate buyer awareness and desire for the product.

Here are some easy tips to help you with self-promotion.

1) PROMOTION AND MARKETING - Learn the difference here. Promotion is the 'what' in sales. Marketing is the 'why'. Don't just show potential readers your book. Tell them why they need to read it.

2) BRANDING - Do you write a series, or excel in a particular time period or genre? Recognize your brand and focus your efforts in that direction. This will also help you target your reading audience.

3) ENGAGE - Be more social on social networking sites. Go to the readers, don't expect they'll find you. Being social means talking to people, sharing their links, posting on your pages, etc.

Also, join reader and review groups on Facebook, Twitter, and/or YahooGroups to engage with potential readers and reviewers. Use those sites that allow advertising spots to post new releases, reviews, or contests to reach all of their readers. Use them often! 1-2 times a week is often their limit.

And if you're hosting a contest with each event you organize, be sure to mention that in your post. When you post:

  • Make the blurb short and catchy,
  • Always include buy links, 
  • And respond to anyone who comments on those blurbs.

4) SHARE - Blog or blog often (2-4 times a month, or more often):

  • Blog about aspects of your books (location, research, in-depth character bios, etc)
  • Blog about your own writing techniques,
  • Post interviews,
  • Post book reviews,
  • Talk about your writing life,
  • Share photographs from research trips,etc.
  • Stay on topic . . . books and you as the author!

5) CONNECT - Use NetworkedBlogs to link your blogs to your social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook so those posts automatically copy to your social pages. You can even link your Facebook and Twitter accounts together so that when you post to one, it copies to the other. This saves you time from having to double post.

6) VBTs/Virtual Book Tours - Organize blog stops or even week-long tours . . . you meet every blog's established readers just by being on those sites. There are many tours out there offering VBTs. Chose the ones whose author hosts offer reviews! Books sell on the backs of reviews and reader opinion. Preparing for VBTs can be time consuming so be sure to get something for your effort, other than exposure.

7) CONTESTS - Host a contest on your website or personal blog, and VBTs . . . have a few trinkets to give away or Amazon gift cards. People like to get something for visiting. It doesn't have to be anything big. People just like the chance at a little something for showing their support.

Gift cards are a great thing because you can email them, and you can personalize them with your cover art. They don't have to be a lot . . . even just $5 and give a couple away as spot prizes rather than one grand prize. Keep in mind that while we always hope winners will buy our book with the gift card we give them, but don't expect it. The key here is they came to your page, interacted with you, and hopefully you earned some fans along the way.

Awards also works on social media. For example: On Facebook or Twitter, let's say you currently have 128 followers on your page. Post a notice, and repeat it every day, that when you reach 200 followers, you'll give away a copy of your book by random draw (pull a name out of a hat), or even an Amazon GC of a token amount . . . $5-10. Anything emailable is best for you and your pocketbook! And when you reach 200 followers, host the same event and award a random prize when you reach the next milestone . . . 250 followers.

8) SEEK - Find readers! Do you have positive engagements with friends of friends? Why not 'friend' or follow them?

  • While it's not always appreciated, you can go onto your friends' pages and connect with their followers. Some call this Friend Poaching, and Facebook will block you for a short period of time if they think you're poaching, but be discrete. Add a few here and there who share similar interests with you. Social media is all about connecting socially. You can't connect if you don't look for followers. As per #2 . . . people won't always come looking for you; you have to make the first time and find them.
  • If you friend someone through FB or Twitter, or they friend you, ALWAYS go onto their page and post a thank you note . . . 'Thank you for your friend link. Please also find me at . . .' (give alternate addresses to find you online . . . if you're on FB, give your Twitter account address so they join there too and THEN when they do, post the thank you note there as well!) ** Always recognize a friend link whether you initiate it or they do.

9) DETACH - Keep separate accounts for you as an author vs you in your personal life. For example, if you're on Facebook, set up a separate page for you as an author and invite your current 'friends' to follow that page by 'likes'. These pages hang off your main account so you don't need to set up extra FB account. Use that page for anything pertaining to you as an author or your books.

  • Avoid 'friending' potential readers and people you don't know on your personal page. Direct readers to your author page. Readers who want to follow their favorite authors want to hear about their work and life as writers. Readers do not want to hear your political or religious rants, and probably don't want their newsfeeds full of cat memes. Be professional by setting up separate pages.
  • And avoiding setting up a page for the book itself, as readers follow authors, not books.

10) BE CREATIVE! We're all authors which means we're naturally creative and think out of the box. Use that to your promo and marketing advantage.

  • Look at how other authors promote -- Do their efforts draw you in? Use their techniques as a spring board for your efforts.
  • Contact your local bookstore or library for an event. Give a reading or two from your latest book and talk about your path to publication. Talk about your research, especially if your work his historical.
  • Also, consider contacting local schools to talk to budding writers about life as a writer . . . offer simple research techniques, the process of writing, the importance of treating writing like a job by setting time during the day to write . . . anything writer or writing life related.
  • For older writers, talk about publishing options . . . highlighting your own publisher of course! If you are a hybrid author (have a publisher for some work and self-publish other work), give writers the pros and cons of each option of publishing.

11) IT'S A BUSINESS - Look at how you view your writing. Are you a hobby writer or do you want to make a serious business out of this? If you're a hobby writer, write for yourself, in your own time, and if you consider publishing, think about self publishing.

But, if you want more, you need to treat your writing like a business:

  • Set up a 5 year business plan . . . and be serious about it.
  • Surround yourself with supporters.
  • Get a good critique partner.
  • Plan promotions and marketing and be consistent about them.
  • Don't be afraid to spend money on paid ad spots in daily newsletters. Most are very affordable.
  • Get business cards! Put your book cover on one side and your contact info on the other (website, email, name), along with a short blurb about your book, or a great quote.
  • Hand those out everywhere! See someone with an ereader in a cafe, slide your card onto their table, cover side up. See someone reading on a device on the bus, hand them your card. At the dentist, buying shoes, in the bookstore (I didn't just say that) . . . give out your business card. Leave your card with a tip in restaurants and cafes. Always with the cover side up!

12) HAVE FUN! - Hey, if it's not fun, why do it. Right?

Remember, you don't have to do all of these things all the time. Spread it out. Start with a Facebok or Twitter competition to boost your follower numbers. Get your friends to tell their friends about your books. Grab a couple paid ad spots. Get reviews!

And keep writing!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

When to Hit Submit

No, I’m not talking about 50 Shades of Gray. In fact, if you are thinking of writing something similar, or titling your book, novella, or story Fifty Shades of [insert any color or item here], please don’t.

I’m talking about submitting to a small press.

While I would love for you to submit to Tirgearr Publishing, where I act as Senior Editor, some things I have seen on the acquisitions side are now fueling a short rant, hopefully filled with some useful advice, no matter where you decide to submit.

Some of you are great at self-publishing. You hire great cover designers, editors, proof readers, and formatters. You understand the need and the value of investing in your work, treating your writing like a business, and making your book the best product it can be. This post is not for you, unless, like me, you want to be a hybrid author, and self-publish some things while you submit others.

For the rest of you let me simply say this: If you don’t have the money to invest in publishing your work properly, please do not self–publish. Even if you have money, but would rather invest it in marketing after your book is published, then please submit. Submit to a reputable small press, and let them take some of the burden for you: sourcing a cover designer, editor, proofreader, and formatter, and getting your work distributed as widely as possible. Whatever your reason for submission, please follow these few steps before you hit send:

Revise your work.
Sound obvious? Not so fast. You would be shocked how many manuscripts we get that look and feel like rough drafts, still containing some basic punctuation and grammar errors easily fixed by using the tools in Microsoft Word or any other word processor. Most would be obvious if the author just read over their own work at least one time.

Truthfully, the cleaner your work is when we see it, the more likely we are to accept it. So it is only in your best interest to make it the best it can be before submission. Editors at this stage are not here to help you re-write your first draft, but to polish your work and make it shine. You need to clean it up at least a little bit first.

Follow the Submission Guidelines.
We now have an online form. You have to fill in certain blanks before you can even press send. The system is designed to make the process as easy and mindless as possible. Still there are a few simple rules I have seen violated over and over.

·       Do send us what we ask for.
·       Don’t send us what we don’t ask for.
·       Send things in the formats we say we accept.
·       Don’t offer excuses why you can’t do the three things above.

Part of the process is us learning about you as an author. If you cannot follow directions at this stage, how do we know you will follow the directions your editor gives you? How do we know you will properly use the marketing tools we give you? Cooperation at this stage shows us you care about what we care about, and you are willing to do as we ask. This is really important in our future dealings with you. First impressions, and all of that.

Be Professional.
We are professionals who are looking for professional authors. Be thinking about an author platform, if you do not already have one. Answer questions we ask you in a professional way. Don’t use emoticons or nude selfies in your signature. In fact, if you do not have a signature, at least type your name at the bottom. Respond promptly. Don’t call me names. Take care to spell the names of those you correspond with correctly.

Does the above seem obvious? Things we should not even have to mention? If they do, please submit. I like you already. If you struggle with the list above, remember this: you are an artist, and you can treat your book as your art as much as you wish while you are writing it. But once it is finished, it is a product you (and hopefully we) are trying to sell. So treat this process like the business it is, just like you would at any other job.

Really, we appreciate it. And we want to hear from you. Please submit. Just make sure you’re ready first. Make the first step in your author career, or the next step, the best it can be.

Troy Lambert
Senior Editor
Tirgearr Publishing

Leading the Pack
Tirgearr Publishing is currently seeking novella and novel length adult genre fiction -- mystery, thrillers, romance and erotic romance, suspense, science fiction, general and women's fiction, horror, fantasy, etc, and all cross genres.

We're also seeking cross culture and same sex stories...M/M, F/F...as well as multiple partner romances and erotic romance.

We're actively looking for career-minded authors with a view to a future in publishing multiple stories. Sorry, no hobby writers.

Please see our standard submission guidelines and our guidelines for the City Nights series.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Marketing vs Promotion: Why You Need Both

Probably one of the most confusing parts of selling books, or any product, is marketing and promotion, but not many understand the difference in the terms.

Before we begin, we must go back to the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Marketing includes all of those things. Promotion is just part of it.

In the simplest terms, Promotion tells a customer WHAT you have for sale. Marketing tells the customer WHY they need it. You can't have one without the other. And if your book is on sale, you can include your WHERE and WHEN to that. WHO? That's your audience.

Let's break it down with a few examples --

Promotion -- what = the product: Just Desserts Cookbook

Marketing -- why = you need this book because . . .

  • It's full of dozens of seasonal recipes that can be used year-round.
  • All recipes were written and donated by many Tirgearr authors.
  • There are recipes for most occasions.
  • The recipes are easy to make, so even beginners can make them.
  • There are twists on old favorites for the more experienced baker and cook.
  • And it's always free!

What -- City Nights, erotic romance series

Why --

  • The collection includes a unique erotic romance story featured in a well-known city around the world.
  • They're highly charged emotional and sexy stories that take place over just 24 hours.
  • The series appeals to erotic romance readers as well as contemporary romance readers and erotica readers.
  • New strories are published every last Friday of each month.
  • Regular price low-low price of just $2.99. (unless on promotional price)
  • A great time to invest in a new series.

What -- Tirgearr Publishing, publisher of commercial genre fiction

Why --

  • Tirgearr has a solid and attractive backlist of published books.
  • Tirgearr offers a positive environment with good, open communication, for both debut and seasoned authors.
  • Tirgearr is run as a team.
  • Authors work with professional editors to polish their books.
  • Authors work with professional cover artists to create a cover which best shows off the book.
  • Tirgearr has one of the fairest contracts for authors.

See what I mean? The product can be anything -- books, cars, pet supplies, pottery, dish soap... You just have to find your target audience and have an effective plan in place that's used consistently and positively.

Why should an author market and promote their own work. Simple. No one knows the book as well as the author.

  • The author is the creator.
  • The author knows all the ins and outs of each character, even the stuff that didn't make it into the story.
  • The author has labored over the creation of the story for months, or even years.
There is an intimate connection between the story and the author that only they share, so it makes sense that the author is the one to talk to people about it . . . and tell readers why they should invest in their work. It does the author, or the book, no good to put the book on the shelf and stand back. If no one knows it's there, it will be overlooked, as readers are attracted to authors who are actively telling people about their books.

Did you know you can market and promote in the same message? Here are some examples of how to market and promote --


First - Keep it short. Twitter only allows 140 characters...not words but characters. What does 140 characters look like? This -- This is what 140 characters looks like. This is what 140 characters looks like. This is what 140 characters looks like.  This is what 140 ch

  • Your book's cover
  • A buy link with price
  • A recent review quote

Regarding the cover image -- Images do count toward your character total but only a small fraction

Regarding buy links -- Use a link shortener where possibly, like bitly.com

Regarding price -- Always tell readers the price, especially if it's on sale

Regarding quotes -- Be as brief as possible, so pull a short line to fit in with the space you have left

Your tweet will look something like this --

You'll see in the above example --

  • Who (Tirgearr)
  • What (Just Desserts)
  • When (Valentine's Day)
  • Where (URL...note the bitly shortcut)
  • and Why (It's Free)
  • And the cover is prominent on the page


Firstly, you have more room in a Facebook post, but you still want to keep it short and sweet
  • Your book's cover
  • Book blurb (or short chapter sample)
  • A buy link with price
  • A recent review quote
Regarding the book blurb -- Try keeping it as short as possible. If you're selling through Smashwords, they only allow 400 characters, which really gets to the bones of the story. Use that blurb, unless your original is a similar size.

Alternative to the blurb -- Choose a chapter sample. Keep it around 500 words. Pick something pivotal or exciting to get interest.

Regarding buy links -- Always make it easy for the reader to find your book by providing the buy link. Don't make readers search. Today, we live in a one-click society, especially the more and more people go onto tablets and handheld devices. If you make them search for your books, they'll go to another author who makes it easy to find the book.

Which buy links to choose -- You can use a link to your own website, providing you have links there to where your books are sold. It's usually best to use your publisher's dedicated page for your book, as it will include buy links to all the formats for all reading devices. In a pinch, just use the Kindle link, as a majority of book buyers are on Kindle.

Regarding reviews -- Don't post the full review, as they often rehash the book before telling you what they thought of the story. The blurb is already included your buy link. Readers just want to know what the reader thought of your book. Keeping review clips short means you can add two or three.

Regarding price -- Always tell people the price, especially if the book is on sale

Your post will look something like this --

You'll see in this example also includes --
  • Who (Tirgearr)
  • What #1 (Just Desserts)
  • What #2 (review snips)
  • When (Valentine's Day)
  • Where (URL...note the longer link here because the site supports it)
  • and Why (It's Free)
  • And the cover is prominent on the page
Yes, marketing and promotion can be tedious, but it's essential if you want to up your game and start making money on your book(s). You can bet those people who are in the top 5000 ranks on Amazon are promoting like hell to get there. It's not enough to just have a great story that your publisher loves. Readers will not know your book is out there unless, and until, you tell them.


Be sure you don't get into bad habits with your marketing and promotion --

  • Don't over simplify. Look at some of the messages crossing your newsfeeds to see which you are most attracted to and see how you can use a similar theme. Don't be afraid to try different themes. This is not a one-size-fits-all market.
  • Don't use the same chapter samples each time you promote or readers will get bored and find another author to follow. This is especially true when doing blog tours, which you should also be using as part of your marketing and promotion plan. When asked for chapter samples, always choose different ones to make it interesting for readers and give them an incentive to follow your tour. Keep them PG-15 (no sex acts if you write a genre where those are common, and no actual murders if you write those genres).
  • When using Twitter and Facebook, it's important to keep your posts unique and interesting too, as much as space allows. Don't include long passages. You just want teasers. As above, stick to around 400 words of something interesting or exciting.

These suggestions can also be used in other venues where you can promote, such as Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

Knowing how to use marketing and promotion is really pretty easy as you remember the what (promo) and why (marketing) factors. If all you do is promote your work (just showing the book cover, or just telling readers "I got another review" without supplying links), you're as good as just yelling at people and not saying anything. Just posting your book cover on your links doesn't do anything except "Look at my cover." Nice. Now what? You need to also add some of the above things to make it interesting for the reader to want to click through and buy the book.

Remember, as social media goes, everything you post will scroll off newsfeeds pretty quickly. You don't want to beat people over the head with marketing or promotion...you don't need to keep posting links every hour. But posting messages once or twice a day during pique traffic times can be highly beneficial. Don't forget timezones too, which differ from yours. If you're on the US east coast, much of Europe will be 5-6 hours ahead of you, and the US west coast will be 3 hours behind. And Australia is 12-14 hours ahead of you!

And equally important . . . engage with readers. It's not enough to just post information and links about your books and where to buy them. You must talk with people. It doesn't have to be just about the book you're trying to sell --

  • Talk about being a writer
  • Talk about the process you go through when researching
  • Post new reviews with links to the review (which are linked to the book if they want to buy it)
  • Do cover reveals for upcoming books, and include the link for preorders if available
  • Post teasers from within the story to gather interest
  • And talk to readers! If they post comments on your posts, thank them, or engage with them in otherways that sparks conversation. Conversation shows readers you're personable, friendly, and outgoing, which are all good ways to get people investing in your book too

Remember that readers who follow your author pages expect you to use those pages to market and promote your books, so be sure to give them that information. Don't be afraid you're spamming them. You're not. That's why they follow you. They do not want to hear political or religious rants. Use other pages for personal posts. Your author pages should primarily be dedicated to you the writer and your works.

Finally, whenever you post, be consistent, and be consistent with offering interesting and varied information in each post. Promotion is critical for discovery, and effective marketing is critical for building a fan base and readership. The bigger your fan base gets, the easier your efforts will become, because your fans will start talking about you and getting their friends and followers to invest in your books. It's hard work but gets easier over time with consistent and effective marketing and promotion.

We welcome any questions or comments!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Dos and Don'ts of Submitting

As we begin a new year, I know many of you are contemplating starting the submission process again after what has probably been a two month break -- November to participate in NaNoWriMo and then with most publishers being closed in December for submissions. And now that submissions are reopening at most houses, you want to get submitting.


Before you do, check out this handy list of dos and don'ts for submissions.

Don't -- Ignore submission guidelines

Do -- Follow submission guidelines because every publisher's guidelines are different.

Tip: By following guidelines, it tells publishers many things about a writer, including how well he/she pays attention, how well he/she follows instructions, how much care he/she puts into their work, how easily he/she will be to work with, etc. All of this also tells us how much he/she is dedicated to their work and their career.

If something in the guidelines is confusing, don't guess. Send a short query outlining your confusion, then submit accordingly. Never take a publishers response as permission to skirt the guidelines.

Don't . . . Uz txt spk n ur corsp.

Do . . . Use the English language as it was intended.

Tip: The above example is okay for your friends, but not for professional correspondence. Also, it doesn't matter if you use American or British spelling, just be sure you're consistent. Don't abbreviate and don't substitute numbers for words. Use proper grammar and punctuation. Be sure your submission is professional before you hit the send key.

Don't . . . Be disrespectful or insulting.

Do . . . Thoroughly read your email before sending to be sure you're conveying the right message, about you and your work.

Tip: Sometimes we say things that sound right in our head as we write them but aren't received how we intended. Look at your words from someone else's perspective to see if they may take those words the wrong way.

Don't . . . Harass the publisher.

Do . . . Follow submissions guidelines regarding follow-up queries.

Tip: If the submission guideline says the house will respond within a given time, allow that time to pass before you send a follow-up. Send a short query asking for the status of the book. Be sure to give the book title, author name (pen name if you also mentioned that), and date you sent the work. Asking, "Are you publishing my book or what?" will almost always result in rejection of the work.

Don't . . . Send multiple books.

Do . . . Send the first book in a series, or your best work.

Tip: Never send submissions for every book you've written. The publisher will only look at the first submission they receive and delete the rest. If they ask to see something else, only send what they ask for . . . second book in the series, or your next best book if you write single title.

Don't . . . Get on a publisher's black list.

Do . . . Behave professionally.

Tip: By being friendly, positive, gregarious, helpful, etc., this ensures the publisher will become more endeared to you and see you as a professional and forward thinking writer.

And if you're offered a contract, never tell the publisher you're going to wait to see if other offers come in. Simply ask the publisher if you may have a week to consider their generous offer. You will almost always receive a positive reply and agreement. You do not have to tell them why you need the time. Do with it as you will. But never insult the publisher by saying you're waiting for a better offer. If you have a contract offer in your hands now, either take it or don't, but never insult the publisher. Should you ever submit other work to that house, you will find that bridge will have already been burned.

Don't . . . Get insulted over rejections.

Do . . . Take rejections as an opportunity to learn.

Tip: If your work is rejected, the publisher my tell you why. Use those notes to improve on those areas pointed out to you. You'll find in most cases that it's not that your book isn't any good, but that it's just not ready for the submissions process. You may have missed something in your excitement to submit. Be patient and take some time re-reading through your work. Work with a critique partner who will give you honest and direct help with your work. Then take your newly polished book and start submitting again.

Once you've emailed in your submission, take a break. Play it cool for a while. Be patient. And if you've done everything right, you just may see that contract in your email box!

Take a look through some of our other articles about preparing the best submission --

Top Three Things to Get A Publisher’s or Agent's Attention

Punctuation Matters

Writing to Tell vs Writing to Sell

Good Editing is Your Ticket to Success

Getting it Right, Now Write

* Submissions open at Tirgearr Publishing from 13 January 2015! *

Good luck!