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Writer's Checklist

December 5, 2015

The following is a checklist I put together based on my experience that will help you determine what you need when approaching an agent or a publisher. The submission guidelines will determine which items in the marketing tool box you will need to have ready. 

 

Check List

1. Must have completed, fully edited MS in proper format:

   12pt Times New Roman, double-spaced, one inch margins, indent          paragraphs 5 spaces, one space after period, header at top left, page      number top right.

2. Determine by word count whether MS is: novella (15-42K), short novel (50k), or novel (70-100k).

3. Determine Genre.

4. Marketing Tool Box:

            Web site/blog

            On social media

             100 word bio

             Query or Cover letter

             Synopsis (2-3 page present tense retelling of your novel with                plot points and ending)

             Detailed marketing plan

             First 5 pages of MS

             First chapter

             First 50 pages

             For short story collections: 1st three stories, an overall

             summary of collection and a 1-2 sentence of each story.

 

Sources:

Duotrope (www.duotrope.com). Annual fee.

Poets & Writers database of small presses (www.pw.org)

Writers Digest annual Short Story and Novel Markets

NewPages (www.NewPages.com). Free. 

 

WORD LENGTHS BOOK LENGTHS (From the Writer’s Digest blog)

Adult Commercial and Literary

Range is: 80,000 to 100,000 but can be as few as 71,000 to 77,000 or to 109,000.  Below 80,000 too short.

            80,000 to 89,999 totally cool.

            90,000 to 99,999 Generally safe.

            70,000 – 79,000 Might be too short, probably all right.

            100,000 – 109,999 Might be too long, probably all right.

            Below 70,000 too short.

            110,000 or more too long.

SCI FI AND FANTASY

            100,000 – 115,000.

MIDDLE GRADE

            20,000 – 45,000.

UPPER MIDDLE GRADE

            32,000 – 42,000.

Middle grade resemble YA books in matter and storytelling, but still tend to stick to Middle Grade themes and avoid hot buttons.  YA acceptable themes such as sex, drugs and rock and roll.

YOUNG ADULT

            55,000 – 69,999 Top end for Sci Fi.

PICTURE BOOKS    

            32 Pages (500-600 Words).

WESTERNS 

            50,000 – 60,000.

MEMOIR

            80,000 – 89,999.

 

 

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