Poets & Writers Writing Prompts

55AF51EA3BPoets & Writers is a great magazine for getting inspiration, reading about fellow writers, learning about MFA programs, and finding journals to submit work to. One of my favorite parts of the magazine, however, is the section titled “The Time is Now.” This is where you will find writing prompts for nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Here are some recent prompts. Have a go, and let us know where it takes you! Continue reading “Poets & Writers Writing Prompts”

5 Common Mistakes of Book Proposals

rejectedGetting published is tough. Don’t make it even harder. Following are five common mistakes of book proposals that are sure to result in a rejection letter.

  1. Fail to follow the submission guidelines. Publishing companies often list their submission guidelines on their websites. They may call these “guidelines” but think of them as rules. If you break a rule, you could quickly be thrown out of the game. Follow the rules to a tee and don’t give them an easy reason to disqualify you before you get an opportunity to score.
  2. State that your book is unique, and therefore, there are no comparable titles on the market. Let me just call BS. What this tells the publisher is that you have a self-inflated view of your work and that you either are not aware of what is on the market in your genre or are too lazy to do your homework.
  3. Threaten the publisher. Publishers often take months to respond to a book proposal. This is just the nature of the business. Threatening to seek out another publisher if you do not get a reply in a certain amount of time just antagonizes the publishing staff and will likely result in a not-so-timely rejection letter, if you’re lucky enough to get a response at all. Just don’t do it.
  4. Send the proposal to the wrong publisher. Always, always research the publisher. Most publishers specialize in an area, and if your book doesn’t fit that area, you’re only wasting your time and that of the publisher. As a side note, it is best to prove that you’ve done your research and explain why you’ve sent your proposal to a particular publisher. Let them know that you are familiar with their list and that your book would make a nice addition to their lineup.
  5. Provide hype but no substance. Don’t tell the publisher that your book is the “best” or “only” or a “bestseller.” Don’t guarantee anything. Don’t say that your mother loved it and your mother doesn’t love anything. Do tell the publisher what your book is actually about and how it is different from comparable titles. Sell the hook; don’t try to tease the publisher into begging for more. Give the publisher everything it needs to know to make a well-informed decision.