Saturday, April 29, 2017

Writer's Conferences... Should authors even bother?

As everything is relative, the answer to this question would depend on how much the conference is charging for admission and participation, what they are offering, and how it is run. These are the key elements that make events good events.

Location, speakers, attendees, price, curriculum, services, food and other perks are all important to how good an author event is, how much you will enjoy it, and the value that you get out of it. Once you've determined that these elements of a specific event are suitable for you, then you're ready to shift your focus toward the reasons you should attend, if you haven't ascertained them already.

If you ask me if authors should be attending conferences and other author events, my vote is a hands down, and very emphatic, YES! There are many reasons why budding authors,
as well as seasoned authors will benefit from attending conferences, workshops, events and the such.

7 Excellent Reasons to Attend Author Events:

Learning Skills- most conferences hold lectures, talks, workshops, seminars, etc. where a speaker, usually a very qualified someone, talks to the authors about specific topics in writing and publishing. These topics vary from talks that enhance writing skills (from world building to plotting, and character building and everything in between), to tips on how to find agents and pitch work, to publishing contracts, to platform building, to mindset and more. These are things that all authors should hear and think about at least once. And I'm being conservative here. If I had it my way, I'd make you all experts in all of these topics myself (I do offer workshops, programs and coaching).

Get work reviewed by professionals and qualified peers- Most events have some sort of workshop or panel where qualified reviewers read and critique your work. Some even offer services where they have an agent or editor review your work in private and give you an evaluation, critique, or feedback. This is extremely helpful to authors, when done before they submit their work for actual consideration so that they only submit their work when it is absolutely ready to be considered for representation or acquisition.

Learn about the industry- The publishing industry is an industry unlike any other. It is a beast of it's own, with it's own process, unspoken rules, and must follow procedures. The more you know about the industry of your author business the better "Author-Preneur" you will become. Knowledge will allow you to make the right choices for you, and will help you prepare for when the right opportunity comes knocking.

Know what's happening- Knowing the industry and being an amazing author sometimes isn't enough. More often than not, knowledge about trends, who is who, who is doing what, and what is happening can be most essential in helping you open a certain door. The more you know the better equipped you are to find and make opportunities.

See how others do it- There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Learning from peers and colleagues that are doing well can save you a lot of time and money. Meeting other authors at conferences, even if you don't become BFFs (which happens a lot), will enable you to put them in your resource pocket. You can learn from them, study them, stalk them (from a safe distance) if you have to, but look at what they do and how they do it. There is always something to be learned by people watching. Authors are great at this, use this skill to your advantage and learn all you can from people who are doing what you want to do.

Connect with Authors, Agents, and Editors- Networking is priceless. You never know who knows whom, and how they can help you, and how you can help them. These are opportunities to make connections with the entire universe. Everyone attending these events is there for the same reason you are, to learn, connect, and sell books. So take advantage of the opportunity to connect and don't be shy. Just make sure you look and smell your best. (I'm mostly not kidding)

Have fun! Author events can be boring for Muggles (non magical folks~ Harry Potter) but for us passionate, creative, story building, magical book loving people, this is the best place ever! It is one of the few places where everyone is of like minds and we all want to talk about books. Let your nerd show and be proud of it!

The reasons not to go to a conference, whatever they might be, should be altogether set aside and stepped on. In other words, if you can participate you should. I know that travel, participation, and meals, etc. can be costly. If this is an issue, then choose wisely and attend something that is good, close to your home, and attend at least once as soon as you can. Know what you need to get there, focus on doing it, create a plan and register early. There are usually early registration price discounts. If you love attending and get value from it, then you can repeat the process and attend again, or even try another.

Other than that, I can't think of any reason to not participate in as many good events as you wish, that I can't talk you out of.

That isn't the lawyer in me talking... I'm not about persuading people to do things they don't want to do. My goal is to coach you around obstacles that you might be setting in front of yourself that are not meritorious, and might be sabotaging your success.

Think of author events such as conferences, workshops, webinars, tutorials, bootcamps, programs, etc. as investments in your career... in your book business. You might lack time, money, motivation, attitude, skills, or some other resource that you believe to be a prerequisite.  But resources are only obstacles to you if you aren't resourceful. If you are serious about helping yourself as an author-preneur, and getting your work published properly, you need to be resourceful and muddle your way around those pesky obstacles to get to solid ground, where you can stand tall and achieve more.

So set your eye on the prize you want to win. Your goal is to learn about publishing, hone your writing skills, and make connections. Inform yourself by doing research to find a good conference, create a plan to attend and take action. 

On our Agency Website we have a very extensive list of Amazing Events, a list of places of Events We Are Attending and a list of Author-Preneur Workshops that we've tailor made for authors that we host on a monthly basis at different locations. Check these out and take one step closer to successfully achieving your goals.

Happy Learning!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Oops, It's Happened Again

Once in a while literary agents get an e-mail, sometimes a promising one, submitting a query package for consideration that has several agents copied on the same e-mail. This is a mudsling in the Publishing Industry. It is a faux pas.

I don't know how to be more blunt about this, but it's a major blunder and every single agent on that list will probably decline your work.

Once a literary agent declines your work, you can not resubmit the work to them unless they tell you what to change and what to send in instead. I'll be honest with you, other than myself... and only because I'm a sucker, most agents might even just delete the e-mail. Or worse, the last time this happened several agents responded with unkind or snappy comments and copied everyone in their response, including the author. I really don't want this to happen to anyone else. Ever!

What did I do this time around? I of course replied the the lovely misinformed author because not only do I feel badly about letting people make such costly mistakes, but also because I saw it as an opportunity to make a difference. I kept it short and sweet. Hopefully he will listen.

My response to the author:

"...I was just about to ask you for a sample of your pages and a synopsis to complete your submission (because the package was also incomplete) for review, but noticed that you copied several agents in this e-mail. In the industry, this is a big No-No. If you don't want to get declined by all of them, I recommend sending an immediate e-mail withdrawing the submission and apologizing for error. Then send them each an independent e-mail following their submission guidelines. I'm only telling you this because your story sounds like it has potential and I don't want you to waste this opportunity to reach good people. Good luck!"

I think that the most helpful thing that I can say here without sounding condescending or preachy is simply to list some of the most elemental, but most important tips you will ever need for Querying Agents.

1- Do your research before reaching out to agents that represent your work, that are open to queries, and learn about them before you decide if they are a good match. Not all agents are created equal and not everyone is a good match for everyone. Choose your partner carefully.

2- Query each agent separately, very subtlety letting them know that you've done your research by perhaps telling them why you've chosen them. You do't actually need to tell them this. You can simply show them that you've done so by doing all of the things they like and giving them what they want. Use the KISS method- Keep It Simple Stupid

3- Always follow their Submission Guidelines! Most of us have them listed on our websites. If we don't, continue to research.

4- Don't be lazy, be professional, always put your best foot forward. You aren't ready, until you are sure that you've done it right and you're submitting only your best work.

Don't befoul your opportunity to make a good impression... you might not get a second chance!

Happy Querying!
~ Marisa

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Should You Use The Word 'Said' When Writing Dialogue?

“Teachers! Please Do Not Make Your Students Use Synonyms for Said,” I Blurted, is the name of this very true article by Gabriel Roth I just read. I say it's true because my twins are also in 4th grade and they have also been told to avoid using the word 'said' after quoting speech in dialogue. In fact, there seems to be a movement toward alienating the word 'said'. My feelings are mixed. I think that just like with anything else in life, a middle ground usually works best.

I struggle with this attempt to exile the word 'said' from being used in writing dialogue. I have even had arguments with my children about it because I’m contradicting their teachers. 

I understand that the reasoning is that repetitively using the word 'said' can be monotonous and lack creativity, and often can even be a lost opportunity to show the reader more. However, for all of the good reasons teachers are beseeching children to learn to use expletives and verbs, such as ‘snarled, professed, argued, remarked, cried, ect.,' sometimes it just becomes too much. I think that perhaps the teaching focus should be on when to offer more, and finding the right balance.

In my opinion, using the word less is a good technique to be encouraged. I however, disagree that the word said should be avoided at all costs. I believe that there should be a balance between its usage and using expressive terms to add to the dialogue when it makes sense, when they are necessary, and when they actually add value. 

Otherwise, we end up with a dialogue plagued with descriptive words after each statement that are distracting to the reader, jolting them out of the conversation and giving them too much work to keep up with all that is being presented to them. Sometimes there is such thing as too much, and it makes for just plain bad writing. 

I think that the balance is a skill to be acquired, and teachers should encourage the creativity of choosing appropriate words to replace the ‘said’, but not implore them to do so all the time. We don't need to exile the poor word to the lost land of the “Words to Not Use List.”

Sometimes, good dialogue doesn't even need anything after the quote, especially if there are only two people speaking. When your characters are well formed, and their speech patterns are clearly distinguishable from each other, and they have reasons for saying what they would say, you don't have to add anything after that quote. Your reader will know who said what. You can still add occasional descriptives like 'she said' here and there, or even something like, 'he said, as he searched her expressions for a sign that she was being disingenuous,' before continuing the dialogue. The later example not only tells you who said the statement, but also what he is doing as he speaks, and more importantly, lets the reader know that what the speaker is thinking without saying it... which goes a long way for those of us who repeatedly encourage authors to show instead of telling. 

I would therefore say that finding the balance between using the word 'said' versus other descriptives, or even nothing at all, is the key to good writing. So work on that! 

Happy Writing!

Click here and read the Article by Gabriel Roth

Gabriel Roth is a Slate senior editor and the editorial director of Slate Plus. Follow him on Twitter

Thursday, November 5, 2015

20th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest: Romance and Romantic New Adult Fiction

I am currently the Judge for Chuck Sambuchino's "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest. This is his 20th contest, and the second time that I'm judging for him. Chuck is an amazing teacher, speaker, editor at Writer's Digest, and a successful author with THREE new books released this September. Take a look at Chuck's post about the contest with all of the rules and details. 
I hope that you send in your submission and look forward to reading your work! 
Welcome to the 20th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a FREE recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing any kind of romance or romantic new adult fiction, this 20th contest is for you! (No erotica.) The contest is live through EOD, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015.
After a previous “Dear Lucky Agent” contest, the agent judge, Tamar Rydzinski (The Laura Dail Literary Agency), signed one of the three contest winners. After Tamar signed the writer, she went on to sell two of that writer’s books! How cool! That’s why these contests are not to missed if you have an eligible submission.
E-mail entries to Please paste everything. No attachments.
The first 150-250 words (i.e., your first double-spaced page) of your unpublished, completed book-length work of romantic new adult fiction or romance (no erotica). You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry.
Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any any social-media. Please provide a social-media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your official e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! Simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a TinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino at the end of your mention(s) if using Twitter. If we’re friends on FB, tag me in the mention. And if you are going to solely use Twitter as your 2 times, please wait 1 day between mentions to spread out the notices, rather than simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks. (Please note that simply tweeting me does not count. You have to include the contest URL with your mention; that’s the point. And if you use Twitter, put my handle @chucksambuchino at the middle or the end, not at the very beginning of the tweet, or else the tweet will be invisible to others.)
Here is a sample TWEET you can use (feel free to tweak): New FREE contest for writers of Romance and Romantic New Adult Judged by agent @mcorvisiero, via @chucksambuchino
Completed romance novels and completed romantic new adult (no erotica).
Please note that this is a contest for new adult fiction and romance only.
  1. This contest will be live through the end of Nov. 12, 2015, PST. Winners notified by e-mail within three weeks of end of contest. Winners announced at the top of this blog post thereafter.
  2. To enter, submit the first 150-250 words of your book (i.e., your first double-spaced page). Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.
  3. You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again. All that said, you are urged to only submit your best work.
  4. The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA’s publisher, F+W: A Content and E-Commerce Company, Inc.
  5. By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the “Comments” section of this blog post. If you have questions or concerns, write me personally at chuck.sambuchino (at) The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions.
Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to ($50 value)! 3) Their choice of any of Chuck’s 3 new books (mentioned at the top).
Marisa-Corvisiero-literary-agentMarisa A. Corvisiero is the founder of the Corvisiero Literary Agency and their Senior Literary Agent. During the few years prior to starting her own agency, Marisa worked with the L. Perkins Agency, where she learned invaluable lessons and made a name for herself in the industry. Marisa is seeking creative stories with well developed plots and rich characters with unique voices. She will consider  Contemporary Romance, Thrillers, Adventure, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, or any combination thereof, unique concepts in Fantasy, Adventure and Science Fiction for middle-grade and Picture Books with special stories to deliver a subtle non didactic message. In non-fiction, she enjoys out of the box and high concept spiritual, self-improvement, science, and business books for all ages. You can visit her on Twitter at @mcorvisiero.
MAKE IT COUNTBy Megan Erickson
A college sophomore is on danger of flunking out until she is assigned a sexy, nerdy math tutor, the one man on campus who turns her inside out and sees the real her — but he’s her boyfriend’s best friend.
TELL ME WHENBy Stina Lindenblatt
About a young woman trying to keep life simple while she pull herself together after being abducted and meets someone who is anything but simple.
A modern day Rocky story in London, where the fighter falls in love with a brilliant mathematician with a secret past that comes back to haunt them both.
HENDRIXBy MJ Fields and Chelsea Camaron
About the work-hard play-harder, super focused, determined, and steady voice of reason among the wild brothers, who falls for a woman in a mask during an erotic interlude at a charity event and again when fate makes their worlds collide.
TRUST THE FOCUSBy Megan Erickson
A college graduate embarks on a cross-country road trip with his best friend to spread his father’s ashes, but as the summer progresses he realizes he can no longer deny who he is, the future he wants, and his growing feelings for the man by his side.
Hendrix-book-cover Tell-me-when-book-cover make-it-count-book-cover The-Hurricane-book-cover Trust-the-focus-book-cover
For more information about Chuck Sambuchino, please visit his amazing blog, Guide To Literary Agents with Writer's Digest. 

Chuck's Fall Releases
three covers
  1. When Clowns Attack: A Survival Guide is an anti-clown humor book that teaches you how to defend yourself against these red-nosed bozos who plague us. It’s a perfect gift for that clown-hating friend in your life. Find it on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble or anywhere else books are sold.
  2. The 2016 Guide to Literary Agents is a big database of agents — who they are, what they want, how to submit and more. Find it in the Writer’s Digest Shop or anywhere else books are sold.
  3. The 2016 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market has oodles of markets (agents, publishers, etc.) for writers & illustrators of children’s books — from picture books to middle grade to young adult. Find it in the Writer’s Digest Shop or anywhere else books are sold.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Kindle Unlimited: Another Take-Over-The-World Scheme By Amazon?

I love I have been a loyal customer for about fifteen years. I buy everything on Amazon, from books to chocolate, and everything in between. When my twins were born, I signed up for a 'subscription' for Pampers (diapers) and just kept them coming. It was awesome. We saved money and never ever ran out. No last minute trips to the store at inopportune times for us. I even buy all of my Christmas presents on Amazon. Easy one-click shopping and usually hassle-free returns for those picky recipients that have to carefully choose everything themselves, mainly my husband, are a huge draw for me.

I find that it is the easiest place to shop. Everything is searchable, organized by categories, and every product is reviewed in a five star system with commentary. Nothing else facilitates educated decision making like Amazon does. My favorite thing to buy on Amazon is, you've guessed it... books.

Yet in spite of all of my love for this formidable web-store, in my dealings as a Literary Agent and Consultant to authors I have encountered many issues with Amazon's pesky, complicated and cryptic algorithms used to recommend, rank, and promote products such as books. Although I haven't entirely figured them out mathematically, I've certainly determined some patterns and learned some things that work and don't work. So I'm sort of OK with the algorithms for now. I can also overlook some of the other issues they are having with some top publishing houses (Hachette), returnability, and low prices. I can even deal with the massive number of books competing for sales (currently about 3 Million books- up from 600,000 just 4 years ago). The thing that I'm having a difficult time rationalizing is Amazon's introduction of Kindle Unlimited.

For anyone that isn't aware of the all-the-books-you-can-devour program offered by Amazon, here is the short scoop. Basically, for a $9.99 monthly fee you can download (borrow) all the Kindle books your heart desires. As a book lover and avid reader this is heaven for me. As a publishing professional however, I see the effect this program is having on the industry, and how it affects independent authors whose livelihood depend on their online book sales. 

The above mentioned rigorous competition coupled with all time low e-book pricing (as low as $.99 e-books or even offered for free) have led to revenues leveling off after nearly doubling just just two years ago in 2012. Even though e-books have been selling more than print books since February 2011, overall profits have reached a plateau. And offering unlimited e-books for less than ten dollars per month is making matters much worse.

Some successful self-published authors have recently reported that after short term participation in the program their income decreased by as much as 75%. When an author publishes their work on Amazon they earn a 70% royalty.  A rate that is highest in the industry, especially when compared to traditional publishers. Even some of the best e-book profit sharing models aren't as high. This means that the average book selling on Amazon at $3.99 will earn $2.79 per book.

On the other hand, books in the Kindle Unlimited program don't receive consistent payments, with the current average payment of about $1.39 per download regardless of the book's length. Most authors can't afford, and shouldn't accept such a loss for the benefit of a company that claims to be saving all of them from other publishing models.

Luckily the program isn't mandatory, so self-published authors are not required to sign up to participate. But at what cost? This brings us back to the mysterious algorithms and unilateral control. Many believe that their books will lose not only a lot of attention, but also may be excluded from certain promotions and recommendations Amazon offers to their shoppers.

The solution is simple. Amazon should find a way to make it clear to authors that they can safely opt-out of the program without fearing exclusion or intentional retaliation. Algorithms should be clearly and mathematically explained. Success should be strictly based on merit and quality of work, not some abstract methodology that holds us hostage and at their mercy. No one should be forced to accept decreased profits out of fear.

An alternative in the case of Amazon's lack of cooperation would be proper organization and alignment of author's interests. I'm by no means suggesting boycotting or protests, but perhaps something along the same lines as a legalized union.

Monopolies are the enemy of capitalism. Likewise, a go to place for publishing like Amazon should remain loyal to the people that made it successful, and strive to level the playing field in the so called partnership. 

This is of course just my opinion based on my experiences, what I know of the industry, and the belief that fair business practices and ethical standards are imperative for success. No company should be allowed to dominate any industry and call all the shots, and no one should bite the hand that feeds them. 

So even though I am a fan of Amazon, my reservations are quickly gaining strength. This fantastic company has done a lot for the publishing industry and made a lot of people money. But greed is the ugly cousin of self righteousness. If Amazon is not carefully listening to the proverbial pulse of the industry, and continues on their unchecked journey to world domination, they should prepare for a stand off.

Happy Journey!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#TEAMCORVISIERO Going Strong: New Jr. Literary Agent & More Great Things.

I'm going to start this blog by gushing a bit.

I love my job and what I do, but I have to say that I love my co-workers just as much. We are like a family and support system of brilliant and hard working people. I've had good people at the agency before, and some, like Saritza Hernandez that have been with me from almost the beginning and continue to be superstars.
However, I think that my current staff is the best I've ever had. We are closer and stronger than ever and I can't say enough good things about everyone.

I have been getting Thank You cards at the office from authors that have participated in workshops, listened to us speak on panels, or queried us and were so grateful for the thoughtful and helpful responses that our interns and apprentices have shared with them, even when declining their work. That in itself says a whole lot! Especially when there are
agencies that don't even respond to queries if they aren't interested in the work. Ok granted, we usually take a while to respond... but we do our best for everyone.

Among our recent accomplishments are the #1 Agency rating on Publisher's Market place on several digital categories and good rankings overall. I couldn't have accomplished this without Saritza and Sarah Negovetich. Thank you ladies!

Several of our clients have received new publishing deals and hit best seller lists. Our Jr. Agent Cate Heart has received her first offers for publication. And my Apprentice Ella Kennen and I accepted a wonderful deal for our client Stephen Bohls's middle grade adventure novel, details for which will soon be announced.

Due to Ella's superb ability to spot talent, her dedication and hard work, and her continuous awesome all-out attitude, I have decided to promote Ella to our newest Jr. Literary Agent at the Agency. Ella is currently building her list and accepting queries. You can submit your work to her following our Agency Submission Guidelines, if your work is a good match for what she is looking for.

Congratulations to Ella, our full staff and our authors... go #teamcorvisiero! Here's to many more happy successes.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

THE FOUR CONTEST: Get your Manuscript Critiqued by a Literary Agent

This morning I realized that my Twitter account has almost 4 thousand followers, and I started thinking about how many awesome people I have met on social media whom ended up being clients.

So I decided to run a small contest for authors to try to connect with some more terrific people, and to give a little something back. No I'm not offering anything relating to Four, the handsome hero from Divergent... and even if I had him, I'd be keeping him to myself.

I am offering to read someone's completed and unpublished manuscript, to which I will provide my assessment critique with a literary agent's eye toward publication. This will be a written analysis of what works and what doesn't work in your novel so far, and will provide some tips that in my opinion would make the story work better and be more marketable. 

I'm never short on comments and opinions, so it will be like a mini consultation...for free of course. 

To Enter the Contest, all you need to do is:
  1. Like My Facebook Page
  2. Like our Facebook Agency Page
  3. Follow me on Twitter at @mcorvisiero
  4. Follow us on Twitter at @Corvisierolit
Once you've done all 4, e-mail me a brief one paragraph description of your novel at before Friday 10/17 12:00pm EST. Subject line: CONTEST ENTRY!

I will then randomly choose 4 people, and from those 4 I will pick the 1 manuscript that sounds the most interesting to me... After all, I have to have fun too. ;) I hope to hear from you! 

Happy submitting, and good luck! 

Literary Agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency
Attorney at Corvisiero Law
Personal Page on Facebook
Join my legal network LinkedIn
For more Google me... ;) 

Monday, September 15, 2014

What Should You Be Writing Next?

Publishing trends aren't skittish, and they aren't whimsical. There is a logic to the trends, informative sources, and there are definite cycles to be observed. Hence, the next hot trend may be possible to be determined. So yes, you can most certainly keep your finger on the pulse of the market and see what is hot now, what has been selling, what hasn't been done in a while but has a following, and what people (authors, publishers and agents) are looking for, working on, and buying,  and get ahead of that wave.

Do note however, that when I say what has been selling, I'm referring to not only books being sold in stores, but also e-books, and books being contracted by authors and agents to the publishing houses. I differentiate these three because the timing on when they are written and published varies significantly, and if you are simply following the trends of what is selling on the best seller lists now, you'll be completely off base.

We often tell authors to write the story that they want to write. And write about what they know. These two are, more often than not, prerequisites to a good story. If you write about something you want to write about, it will likely be a story that you enjoy and are more likely to dedicate yourself, think the details through, and enjoy the process. It isn't just more fun, and more productive, but the end product is usually better when the author is loving the story as they are writing it.

Writing about what you know is also easier and results in a better product because you already know what you're talking about and will need to do less research, and will usually tend to be more accurate and authentic.

I often find that when someone writes about a topic or place that they are not familiar with, small errors happen, and the material can sound forced, bringing the reader to question the authenticity of the facts and perhaps even disconnect them from the story.

Additionally, when the author spends too much time doing research, there will be a stronger tendency to want to include as much of that research into the story to show the reader that they know what they are talking about. They end up dumping chunks of information into the story that lacks flow and disturbs the tempo or pace of the story.

Even though we should write about what we know and write that story that simply must be told, a talented author can avoid some of those mistakes if they are careful and mindful of pacing, tone, subject matter, tempo, and edit really well. I'm just saying that as a general rule, the best stories are the ones that must be told from someone with knowledge.

If that's you and your story, great, but you may still want to try to figure out if the story you are writing or want to write is going to be marketable and synchronized to the trend wave when you're ready to put it out there. If this is the case, then you should be looking at what's has already been published, and what the demands have been and are, to determine what will be in demand... or so out of the proverbial box, that everyone will want it.

I mentioned that we should differentiate between books based on timing. Let me expand a little bit more on this because too often I've seen and heard people try to work out their timelines for writing, pitching and releasing based on inaccurate presumptions.

So many times, I have been pitched a book by an author who tells me, "This is very timely, because there will be a TV show about this in the fall," or they say that the sequel to xyz is being released next month by such and such top publisher. When this happens I sit a little closer to the person, smile, and then I explain to them that if I get to read their manuscript within the next month in itself would probably be a miracle. Then I have to pitch it and sell it. Which takes more time, months on average. Then once the publisher signs the book they have their own editing and production timelines. So the story that they are pitching to me, if I (or another agent) end up signing it and sell it to a top house, will likely not be out for another 1-2 years, sometimes more.

Books on shelves, books on lists, books coming out, books being acquired by publishers were all written at different times. If you are trying to use this information you need to look at all books within a period of time in order to see the big picture from what has been selling to what will be out in the next few years, in order to try to guess what will be hot next.

To figure out what has been selling, you should be looking at the best seller lists, reviews of purchases on Amazon and the such, book shelves and e-categories. The best seller lists going back as far as you're willing to extend your research will show you the most popular books with the best sales on a weekly basis. To do the best research, you should actually look at when that book was published (and the copyright notice on the first few pages because it may be a rerelease), and if you really want to figure out the timing, take a look at when that book was acquired by the publishing house to see how long it took them to release it. That's when you will start to get a full picture.

When you look for books on electronic sources like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the like, you can see most of the above stated information in the book's description page. You can also see how many reviews the book received, what those reviewers are reading (click on their user names), look up the books by category or genre and see what the amazing algorithms tell you. Amazon had these implemented these algorithms that allow them to use your purchase and browsing history to give you suggestions on what you may like, and to tell you what others that bought the book you're looking at purchased, and they even suggest more authors like the one you're looking at. I'm not sure how these Algorithms work, so take the suggestions as just that, suggestions. They may not be scientific evidence, but can be helpful none the less to gather info on the books, authors and readers. Another thing to keep in mind is that self published books, and there are a lot of them out there, are written and released a lot faster than those put out by publishers. So when you're looking at a book, it is important to note if the book was published by a publishing house, or if it was recently written and published by an independent author.

When a publishing house publishes a book, especially a paper book, it usually takes a minimum of six months to prepare and publish that book. Most publishing contracts allow publishers to take up to 18 months to put out a paper book. The reason why I'm telling you this is because if you're writing a trendy book now, and you pitch it to a publisher, that book will not be in stores for some time, so you may miss that trend completely. Especially if they take longer than six months to publish their books,  and especially if you're targeting one of the top publishers and working with an agent. This info may help you decide to self publish, if you think that the work is time sensitive.

Like I said above, working with an agent may be necessary and always valuable, but it will add time to the equation. Most top publishers don't even look at un-agented work. Here are two ways to get around this issue. One is to find large publishing houses that do just e-books or e-first. Most of them now have imprints that do just that. These imprints may look at unagented work, and the releases are faster because e-books are easier to produce. The second is to pitch to a publisher directly at a writers conference and if they like it you can then more easily find an agent to help you with the contract.

So when you want to try to figure out a trend, it's smart to know what's out there and what's going to be out there. If you take into consideration what I just said about big publishing houses, you'll realize that you can actually figure out what books will be publishing in the next six months to a year or so, by looking at the listing of deals made by publishers. This is available on Publisher's Market Place.

By looking at all of these sources, now you can have a better grasp of what's happening in the industry. Granted, this does not entirely tell you what independent authors will be publishing, but if you follow some independent authors on social media, and see what they are publishing, they are fairly transparent. You eventually start to get an idea of what to expect from them as well. 

In way of example, there are three or four bicker series that have just been started by successful enough independent authors. This should be something to keep in mind, because this should tell you that within the next year, they will all be putting out biker books months from each other. You need to be able to see that having these many books on bikers at once, will have an affect on the market. If you have a biker book, your decision should be to either publish it at the same time independently to ride the wave, or just hold off until they have finished their series and see if you can pick up their fans when they are done. When doing the latter, of course, you risk being too late. People may be sick of biker books by then, and all of the books on this topic may have already been sold. And so if you don't have something with a unique hook, you may hold off on that story all together and cut your losses. I don't make this suggestion lightly, but business calls are often hard to make. And good business people need to know when to make them.

The same thing would apply to starting to pitch these types of books to agents or publishers, because by the time those books would release, the wave will likely have crested as well... if they even look at the books at all. Because agents and editors have a fairly good grasp about all of this and what they should be looking at. So if you get consistent declines on your work telling you that they already have similar projects in the work or published, then that should be your red flag.

Therefore, even though there really are no rules, and you really never know what will work in the market, because there are so many examples out there that have had unexplainable success. And there's no scientific way to know about new ideas, it is imperative to read and research the market to know what's been published, what has been doing well, what is coming out, and what will be out in the near future, because having this knowledge about the market will allow you to be able to determine with some logical certainty, whether and when it is the best time to pitch or publish your book.

Making an educated decision is always better than shooting in the dark, and then wondering why your didn't reach your target.

Publishing is a business industry, and that makes you a business person. You need to treat your work as your coveted product, and to sell it well you need to do your research and know as much as possible about the market and its players. Only then, you'll be able to make the best decisions for your brand and your product. 

Happy publishing!