Thursday, December 29, 2011

Literary Powerhouse Consulting Website

Announcing the New Literary Powerhouse Consulting website at

Literary Powerhouse is pleased to offer a broad array of services across the continuum of writing and publishing!

From writing to printing or e-booking, publicity, finding an agent, self-publishing and distribution, Literary Powerhouse services span them all. One-on-one coaching and consultation with experts in your niche, plus the most current resources and how-to guidance at your fingertips, help make any task more efficient and effective.

This site provides a platform rich with multiple opportunities for interacting with peers and experts, seeking advice, and finding answers to questions at all stages of your book-related projects. It's also a place to share your own offerings with colleagues and peers. We invite you to participate in enhancing both the range and quality of services through ongoing feedback, ideas and innovative approaches! Join the discussions and forum to help us make this site as powerful as it can be. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated!

Consulting Services include advice and coaching on the following:

And More!

Several new workshops are offered every month, so be sure to check out the schedule. Sign up information will be up soon!!

Also coming soon are our Interactive Forum and The LiTPOW PORTAL! I can't wait to share more on those and to see you there!! Email us for a consultation at

More information and updates will be posted periodically so stay tuned!!

Happy Surfing!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The YA Sisterhood

Hello Inhabitants of Marisa-land!

My name is Brittany, and I’m one of Marisa’s clients. I write YA fiction (we’re on submission now, so cross your fingers). I’m a teacher (Theatre) and I’m getting my MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

I love Young Adult literature. I do. When I was a teenager, I was focused on college and SAT’s. I read classic after classic because I read for accomplishment, rather than pleasure. When I surpassed my teenage years, I found myself clambering for that coming of age experience that I skipped over in my haste to grow up. I found it in YA lit. Since I don’t do anything by halves, my love for YA lit turned into an obsession (that I passed on to as many of my family and friends as possible). Last February, my older sister and I decided to start a book blog together called the YA Sisterhood. We already gave all our friends book recommendations, so why not open it up to the world wide web? We started out doing reviews and fun extras, and we started building our blog following slowly but surely.

In July, we were getting roughly 5,000 hits a month. We decided to shake things up and try something different. We had an idea for a March Madness-Style tournament pitting YA’s most crush-worthy boys against each other. The result was the YA Crush Tourney. Our hits jumped from 5,000 a month to at LEAST 5,000 a day. We logged on twitter and saw some of our favorite authors, editors, and agents talking about the tournament we created. Now, thanks to that Tournament, our blog has nearly 1500 followers, and 500,000 hits (and our blog is only 10 months old). We decided to turn the Crush Tourney into an annual summer tournament. We also decided to do a different tournament in the winter that would change yearly. We let our followers vote between a Villain Tourney and a Heroine Tourney, and our followers (like us)—agreed that YA lit needs to take some time to celebrate strong, inspiring female characters.

The YA Sisterhood Tournament of Heroines began December 1st. We let our followers nominate their favorite Heroines over the course of a week (and after 30,000 nominations) we narrowed it down to the top 32 Heroines. We’ve invited other bloggers to advocate each of these Heroines and created a bracket seeded according to which characters received the most nominations. The first round has already been completed, and we’re one to Round Two: The Superior Sixteen. Over the coming weeks, Heroines like Katniss from Hunger Games, Clary from Mortal Instruments, and Rose from Vampire Academy will continue to face off, and your votes will decide who continues on to become the Ultimate YA Heroine! The Blogger advocates wrote defenses for their character explaining what makes her the ultimate Heroine. For each match, we post both character defenses and a poll, so that you can vote for your favorite! Matches go up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on our blog: You can check here to see the schedule and tournament bracket:

We hope you’ll join the frenzy and vote for your favorite heroines, spread the word on Twitter and Facebook, and show support for these authors that have created such memorable characters!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stay on Target and Get Published

By Guest Blogger Oksana Marafioti

I’m a curious person. A ‘what if?’ kind of a person. Writers tend to be. Otherwise we’d be doing something less interesting and more predictable. Curiosity got me into this memoir-writing business in the first place.
I once met an agent at a conference, who believed that my family history was something someone out there, in the vast ocean that is the publishing industry, might like to buy. At this point book deals were a myth to me. I only went to the conference out of curiosity. But I gave it a try, and after a few sample chapters of American Gypsy, the agent signed me.
Writing about your life is tough, because you relive it in the process, and who’s ever prepared for that? But curiosity kept me going. Could I really sell a book? Within a couple of months I had an outline and about fifty pages of material. That’s when I received an odd email from my agent, in which she told me that she was going out with what we had. From what I’d read in numerous blogs and books, memoirs were treated like fiction and had to be complete before the submission process. I reminded her of this several times, but she ignored me and did it anyway.
The first wave of rejections was a tsunami. Most editors liked the writing but claimed the memoir market was difficult. Others said the immigrant stories had saturated the industry. I moped, then pinned the rejections to the wall above my computer and continued writing. All the while voices of doubt circled above my head. Who was I kidding? Editors accepted stuff only from people they already knew. Another wave. Breathe. And then a call.
We had an offer from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, one of the most prestigious publishers out there.
FSG took me on before I finished the manuscript. I didn’t think this was possible, not until my new editor and I talked on the phone. I was so shocked that I remember asking her what made her decide to buy my book. As inexperienced as I was, I still recognized the risk she was taking with a new writer and an unfinished product. You have potential, she said, and I think I danced in the clouds for a few days after.
It took three years and nine drafts to finish American Gypsy, as well as courage, heartache, openness to advise and a good dose of curiosity to stop myself from quitting whenever the writing became too difficult, too personal.
Some people ask if there’s a secret to getting published. I don’t have the answer to that. But curiosity, I think, as insignificant a quality as it may seem at first, is vital. It’s the ‘what if?’ that makes every writer’s heart skip a beat at the birth of a great story. Without it we don’t sit down to write that first word. We don’t come back to finish the first novel. We don’t continue after our first rejections. We stop after that first publication. We forget our potential.
Curiosity is what makes a writer write.

Oksana Marafioti moved from the Soviet Union when she was fifteen years old. Trained as a classical pianist, she has also worked as a cinematographer. She is the author of AMERICAN GYPSY, a memoir of a Romani (Gypsy) childhood, due out July 3, 2012.

Follow Oksana on Twitter @oksanamarafioti

Monday, December 12, 2011

Literary Agent Marisa Corvisiero, Esq. is interviewed

By Janet Fogg

Today, Chiseled in Rock is delighted to speak with Marisa Iozzi Corvisiero. Last week Marisa shared some exciting news with us about new changes in her career, and we’re pleased to share that information.

But let’s back up for just a moment to properly introduce Marisa. An experienced attorney, Marisa founded The Corvisiero Law Practice, a boutique law firm in midtown New York City. While continuing to practice law, Marisa also became fascinated by the publishing business, and works with the L. Perkins Agency as an agent.

Marisa represents science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, adventure, and romance, as well as young adult and children's literature. In non-fiction, she enjoys business, spiritual, parenting, self-help, and mainstream science.

In June of 2011 Marisa partnered with Jo Ann Kairys, a colleague, author, editor, publisher, and friend to form Literary Powerhouse Consulting, LLC. Their mission is to provide a comprehensive package of literary advisory services to anyone needing guidance within the publishing industry. Marisa is very excited about the myriad services and opportunities they’re providing.

CIR: Marisa, please tell us about your dual professions and your start as an agent.

MC: I started wearing my agent hat after some of my author friends and colleagues asked me to represent them in their book deals through my law firm. We all know how difficult it is to find the right agent and to have editors take authors seriously if they are not represented or already self-published. In fact, many of the traditional publishers don’t accept un-agented work. So I started out by lending a hand. I lost a couple of paying clients when I started representing them as their agent (because agents are not paid until they sell the work). But it all worked out in the end. One thing led to another and eventually I joined Lori Perkins’ Agency, where I’ve learned lots of lessons. Today, I continue to practice law at the Corvisiero Law Practice, and I represent several very talented authors.

CIR: Will you also describe the services you’re providing with your new endeavor – Literary Powerhouse Consulting - and tell us why you decided to form LPH?

MC: LPH is my baby - an entity that my partner Jo Ann Kayris and I formed in order to provide Literary Consulting services. Jo Ann is an award winning author and founder of Story Quest Publishing. Her expertise and temperament complement mine quite nicely – we met at a writers critique group years ago and hit it off right away. Through the years we have been in touch and have helped each other in various capacities, from editing to legal services.

Our decision to pair up and offer these services evolved from numerous requests we received independently for literary consulting, guidance and coaching within different facets of publishing. After some discussions we decided to make it official and actually offer these much needed services to help authors navigate the deep waters of the publishing industry. As we started putting out heads together, we decided that our expertise and contacts would really be invaluable for anyone from authors to book sellers, so we expanded our services into a comprehensive package that will provide "one stop shopping" for anyone in the industry. We knew right away that we were onto something pretty cool – creating a service that is much needed in the industry. We feel that there is so much information out there, and that there are so many rules and procedures to follow, that it is easy to be discouraged by the whole thing. Nor is information that is out there offered all in one place. So that is exactly what we decided to do.

This idea however, became even bigger when we decided to do something interactive and special on our site. As we developed our Webpages with the genius of Erin Gilman, we decided to create a social media platform that would be exclusive to industry folks. The goal was to have a closed universe in publishing where people could meet, socialize, promote, learn, and share with others with similar interests without the worries of outsiders, advertisers, and hackers. We loved this idea and ran with it, and as we did, each time we had a brainstorming session each of us brought a plethora of amazing ideas to the table. As a result, what started of as a wonderful consulting services website has now evolved into what we have dubbed a “Portal.” We call it a Portal because it is going to be so huge and so unique, that entering it will be like traversing a Portal into the literary publishing dimension where anything is possible.

The Literary Powerhouse Portal will include "PowerTools" to help authors get published and get lots of sales, help agents work their wonder, help publishers with contacts and promoting sales.

The Power Tools are services or capabilities made possible with special software designed with our goals in mind. These PowerTools are intertwined with the social media site and discussion forum, allowing users to join and set up groups, attend seminars and workshops online, create a new blog or link their existing blog, manage projects, video chat, IM, share files, report book publishing deals, find and submit to agents and publishers, track submissions, find and apply to contests, submit projects to book reviewers, find the right PR firm, and so much more. We have huge ideas for this site above and beyond anything that is out there now. It's going to be amazing! We are shooting to launch it early next year and are about to put a countdown clock on the site so folks know when they can start signing up.

CIR: How will LPH interface with the other professional services you provide? (And do you ever sleep?!)

MC: The good thing about what I do is that all of my endeavors complement each other - I'm able to offer a full package. Most authors, at some point or another, will likely need some or all of our services - from the time they finish their manuscript to when they figure out how to find and sign the right agent, to making deals with publishers and promoting their books. If anyone needs help with any of these things we coach them through it. If they need an agent, they can submit to me and I will consider their work. If they need help with a contract that I didn't negotiate as an agent, or other legal services, I help them through the law firm. We are very careful to keep things compartmentalized for the sake of avoiding conflicts or crossing those ethical boundaries. …And do I sleep? Not as much as I'd like to.

CIR: You believe authors should be published in both print and e-pub format. With e-pub sales strengthening, are your contract negotiations with publishers changing in regard to, for example, the amount of an advance? Or any other contract terms?

MC: E-books are the wave of the future, but I don’t think that print is going extinct anytime soon. So we strongly believe that every book should be out there in every media form. When negotiating with publishers, if they want to acquire the right to put a book out in all of these mediums, then my job is to make sure that the author is compensated accordingly, and that the publisher will in fact use these rights. If they can’t give the proper assurances, even though nothing is ever one hundred percent certain, then we try to retain the rights and offer them to someone else.

CIR: What do you enjoy most about representing authors to the publishing industry? Least?

MC: I love reading and pitching books to publishers. I only represent books and projects that I really believe in, and so my enthusiasm gives me an extra umph when telling others about it. I get very excited. What I like the least is that publishers have a certain quota of books that they will acquire, and so often they have a specific list of things that they are looking for and may pass up a great project just because they need to keep looking for the perfect fit. It can be discouraging, especially when you are the one breaking the news.

CIR: Do you hope to increase your client base?

MC: Yes, I’m looking for new talent. I periodically suspend submissions so that I can catch up, so anyone who would like to submit to me should first look at my submission guidelines listed on my blog. I update this all the time, so I suggest people look at the blog and not the website.

The good news is that in the past year or so I’ve been working with some wonderful people whom I now call my team. Brittany Booker and Jordy Albert have now become my Jr. Agents and they are helping me do submissions and review queries as they learn hands on. We also have a couple of good interns that have huge potential. So everything is growing and we are making good progress towards offering efficient and wonderful services.

CIR: Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to submissions?

MC: I think that sometimes I’m more tolerant than other agents when it comes to queries. Of course, I don’t like it when someone misspells my name or sends me a query that is part of a mass e-mail, but I don’t think that it justifies turning an author away because of it. Do I take it into consideration if the rest of the query is weak? You bet. My real pet peeves though, are sloppy and difficult to read formats. I don’t like queries that start by telling me what the character was thinking or doing. To me, that should be in the middle of the letter. A good query should start by telling me that they have a romance (or other genre) 80K word (proper word count for age group and genre) finished manuscript that they think I will like it because…. I think that research is paramount. The author should know the genre of his or her work, the target readers (at least gender and age), and by knowing this, they can learn how long the work should be. I will be writing a blog post on this soon to put the info out there all in one place. In the mean time authors should keep in mind that the younger the reader the shorter the work should be. And the more sophisticated the reader (sci-fi/fantasy) the more allowance they have to get creative with a longer manuscript. But don’t go crazy. If your novel is longer than 115K especially for a debut, you should consider some edits. I know that there are novels out there that were the author’s first, and are much longer than that… etc, etc. I know. I’ve read Twilight and Harry Potter too. But they are among the few, and just because they made it, it doesn’t mean that it was easy. I think that they are wonderful series, but in a way they were lucky. Having said that… I’m not telling everyone to conform. I’m just saying that there are certain ‘rules,’ if you will, in the industry. If you really believe in your work and it doesn’t follow the norm, trust your self (to a realistic level) and go for it with gusto. Just be prepared to know that it will harder than hard, but if you keep at it you just might get lucky too.

CIR: Any predictions about what might be the next big thing in publishing? What trend(s) do you see fading?

MC: Superpowers are still big, but we are not looking to them as part of the future. I’m looking for fresh material and ideas. I want to be wowed by the next big thing. I had predicted mermaids to jump into the waters, but the ideas were contrived and have not done so well.

If you’re wondering about vampires and think that the market is saturated, think again. We are just obsessed with vampires and can’t seem to get enough. The trend that I do see is a new age of vampires that are not so sweet and glamorous (I’m obviously not including True Blood). Traditional vampires are back.

CIR: What one piece of advice would you offer to authors seeking representation?

MC: Do your research and always put your best foot forward. Learn about the industry, but don’t forget that in the end your writing speaks for itself. So hone in on your craft, keep learning and perfecting your work. And most importantly, never give up. This is a tough industry to break into. Agents are incredibly busy and will unfortunately review your work looking for reasons not to represent you, because unfortunately, that’s how most editors review work. So don’t give them any. Always submit finished work, the best work that you can possibly produce, and then be professional and attentive. It’s okay to innocently stalk your agent’s Facebook page and blog to see what they are up to, but don’t bombard them with follow up emails. Know the agent’s policy on responses and when it is okay to follow up or assume that they are not interested if you have not heard back.

The Literary Powerhouse Portal will be a wonderful source to use when researching Agents and their guidelines, response time, and the deal that they make. When you do hear back always respond quickly and be ready to provide a synopsis and your manuscript. If you meet an agent or make a connection somewhere, follow up graciously and always strike while the iron is hot. Don’t let them forget you.

CIR: What are you most excited about, with the launch of LPH?

MC: There are so many things to be exited about. Calling LitPow mine and having the control over our services and our presence is wonderful. I’m good at seeing the whole picture and how it fits into a scene. And because of it, sometimes it is difficult for me to leave the vision to others.

I do have to say though, that I’m most exited about the Portal and everything that we will offer with that membership. The PowerTools are wonderful and powerful - and yes that pun is intended… that is actually how we came up with the name Literary Powerhouse. I personally can’t wait to use them and to also see how everyone else takes advantage of the benefits they will bring to them. These tools will provide information, resources, organization, networking and more. They offer some services and information that can be gathered from various resources, now packaged and enhanced in one organized place …at the user’s fingertips. And to make it even better we uniquely connected those resources to our services. Our presence and the participation of our expert connections, colleagues, clients, and friends will make it a valuable experience every time the member logs in.

Lastly, I’m exited and happy to say that this Portal will help authors and industry people at all levels. I think that it has the potential to change how many people do their research, their submissions and their publicity. All in all, this will be the only site they will ever need!

CIR: Now to digress, and in accordance with our CIR M.O., I would like to ask an off-track question. What did you dream of doing when you were twelve years old?

MC: LOL I like this one...I wanted to be an Astronaut or Singer… you know, because the two have so many elements in common. So naturally, I became a lawyer.

CIR: You can visit Marisa at for submission guidelines and updates, or (may still be under construction) for detailed information about their services. You can follow her on Twitter @mcorvisiero and the website for her law firm is

Thank you, Marisa! And best of luck in your new endeavors!

Janet Fogg

(CIR first interviewed Marisa in February 2011 and she has kindly answered additional questions for today's post.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

How to Manage Time without the Benefit of a Time Machine

By Marisa A. Corvisiero

It's Saturday morning and I'm torn by all of the things I need to do and read, and the things that I should do with my family. If I didn't want to do any of any of it my choice would be simple. The problem is that I want to do it all. However, it is difficult put up a tree, and edit a manuscript, and draft a contract at the same time. I can do it in my head, but that's not fair to anyone. I guess it comes down to time management. How do I manage my time without the benefit of relativistic time dilation. I suppose that it comes down to the same old thing...the essence of time management.

As an agent, consultant, lawyer, mom and wife (not necessarily in that order, though my husband may disagree) I'm constantly juggling a number of things in my office, at home, and in my head. As you can imagine in my professional life, I often get asked many of the same questions, but the one that comes up more often than others is how do you do it all? Now, although I may smile and reply with a dismissive humorous line, the truth is that it concerns me. I'm concerned that I may appear distracted, and overworked, or, God forbid, inefficient. Because lets face it, when you're juggling sooner or later a ball or two will be making contact with the ground or your head.

As those of you out there that are in similar positions, with day jobs, writing goals and a family, etc., you know that the answer is twofold. First, it take a lot of organizing and sticking to the schedule. In other words, discipline. Second, it is plain and simple hard work. I'm not a fan of the expression, "nothing in life comes easy"... because, well, some things do. But success more often than not requires dedication, determination, persistence, sometimes a little bit of luck, and always good organization and time management.

Funny...I started writing this post as a facebook post. It was going to be three lines as I contemplated what to do next. Aside from being invited to a fabulous Corvisiero family party this eve among other plans, my boys need hair cuts before we take their Christmas picture, which I need to use for our holiday card, which should have gone out last week (in a perfect world). And we've yet to get a tree, and the boys want to make gingerbread houses, and my uncle is visiting from overseas this week, and my dad's birthday is coming up, and there are the errands to be run, and the cleaning, and the laundry... well you get the picture. I didn't even mention Christmas presents. And don't let me get into the manuscripts to read, and the queries to review, and clients' work to review/edit, and clients' work to submit, and consulting and legal projects, and the management, and the new Literary Powerhouse Consulting website (going public this week) and all the data and ideas for the PORTAL (going public probably in February) etc. etc. So that's a hand full of over shared information right there, but there is a point in me mentioning it. Many of you are in the same boat. Most of us have families, homes, friends, jobs etc. So the only way to survive is to manage our time the right way. Are you thinking that I should probably be doing some of this instead of writing this post? Yes, me too, but in a way I think that I'm writing it to help me process. I'm a writer too, and this is how my brain works. Hopefully my words of crazy will help someone else too. :)

...So (deep breath) how do I apply the time management skills I speak of? First, I prioritize. And of course a list will started. (I'm famous for my lists.) I will list the things that are the most important. What needs to get done today and what can wait until tomorrow. Then I add in the things that I'd like to do today. Then in way of a schedule, I give them priority numbers so that they are then ordered in chronology and make a tentative and realistic schedule with plenty of wiggle room to avoid stress. Note that I said realistic. Over scheduling is a sure way to NOT having a successfully scheduled day, and it guarantees stressful situations. And stress does not a happy day make.

Once the schedule is made, I try to stick with it as much as possible. This will ensure that we have a productive day and get most of it done. Yes, I said most of it. Why? Because as the expression goes, "schedules are made to be broken". What I'm saying is that it is okay to change the schedule. You don't need to stress yourself to keep with the schedule. After all, this is your schedule. So if the need comes, or if you feel like it, throw it into the fireplace and enjoy that cocoa or glass of your fav drink while you watch it burn. And enjoy it!

Which is actually a good segue into the secret of juggling, which is to remember to have fun. Yes, you need to organize, and you need to have a schedule and stick with it. But you don't have to create stress for yourself. As long as you are disciplined most of the time. The occasional slip to take care of yourself and yours is the most important thing you can do to keep your sanity. Take time to enjoy yourself, to recharge so that you can keep going. Because keep going you must!

Happy juggling!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Literary Agent v Literary Consultant: What each will do for you

By: Marisa A. Corvisiero, Esq.

If you are an author who would like to get published and get the best possible placement and deal, you should consider getting a literary agent... if you haven't already. Much like the agents that we've heard about in movies like Jerry Maguire or shows like Entourage, an agent is a person who agrees to act as someone’s representative in getting them work, making deals, etc. A literary Agent is an agent that represents a writer for the purpose of selling their written work to publishers. More often than not an agent will start to work with a writer on a per project basis.

How do you know if you need one? Simple, if you want to sell your work to traditional publishers, you should know that they don't even consider work that isn't represented. So if that's your goal, that's your answer right there. But even those who are content selling to smaller publishing houses, need a good agent to help them in and along.

Note that 'smaller' does not mean that they are small. They are just not the top tier of New York houses. Having an agent will open doors for you and get your work looked at faster. An agent will not only have the contacts and know who to send your work to, but they are also likely to know who likes and is looking for the type of work that you have written. A good agent will have good insight about the industry's ins and outs, and a pulse on trends. An agent will be able to tell you that your manuscript is ready, well written, and interesting enough to be pitched. Although most agents don't have the time to edit work, many do have enough knowledge and insight to give you guidance on points that need to be polished before it can be sent to publishers. After all, they have read it, or should have, and they will undoubtedly have an opinion and will point out a couple of things in your no longer perfect work, even if they loved it. Or maybe that's just me, and my many opinions, but I doubt it :-) If the agent likes it, or you, enough to take it on, even if it isn't ready, then the agent can get you in touch with, or recommend, a consultant or editor to help you where help is needed.

When time comes to accept an offer, your agent will be best suited to explain the terms of your contract to you, to negotiate them for your, and to help you decide between publishers if you are talented and lucky enough, and your agent is good enough, to get you multiple offers. The more knowledge and experience the agent has at this, the smoother the process and the better the outcome. If your agent has some legal knowledge or contract experience, even better! I have to say that my years as a corporate lawyer in New York City have truly come in handy several times when drafting or reviewing contracts. The problem with lack of legal knowledge or experience with contracts is that the reviewer will tend to focus on the industry or money clauses, such as duration of the contract, royalties, advances, sub rights, submission of manuscript, editing, out of print reversion, authors use of work, etc., and may not even know that there is an issue with a guarantee, or non compete, copyright, venue, etc.

Contrary to popular belief however, most literary agents do not stay involved with the process past that. Only some agents continue to provide services after the book is sold. This is because when the book is sold it is now in the publisher's hands, and the author pretty much just does what the publisher and its editors tell the author to do, from edits to promotions; and agents only get involved if there is a problem with the terms of the deal that was struck, or if someone is behaving badly. Once in a while a client will come to me and say, when are we setting up the book tour? or they'll give me the info for the launch party and say, "how do we do a press release for this?" Unfortunately, publishers aren't helping authors with these things as much as they used to. So people are left with three choices, they have to take what they can get from the publisher and do the rest themselves, hire a publicist, or hire a book coach to teach them and help them to do it themselves. Ideally, I would suggest that you do all three.

There are gaps in the process. We can say - write a book, have it edited, find an agent, the agent will sell it, and then the publisher will sell to the public, and all you have to do is show up at signings. This couldn't be further from the truth. Sure, for some this simple plan works. But most people need help, direction, guidance, and advice. Even if you write a something and know that you need an editor, how do you find the right one? One that will actually help you and not take a Thousand dollars for reading your book and tell you that you need to work on showing and not telling. And once your ms is complete, how do you choose the right agent? How do you prepare the query? the proposal? or that dreaded synopsis?...

There is a lot of information out there to help with each of these, but it takes time to learn and to sift through the muddle until the necessary answers are found. This can be time consuming, frustrating and often expensive. This is where Literary Consultants come in. Many agents now a days, including myself, are thankfully starting to provide consulting services. Editors with publishing experience and agents are the best-suited folks to offer these services, because of their vast knowledge about everything that it takes to make a manuscript good, how to present it and pitch it, how to package it, and how to sell it. They have the contacts to get you the help and expertise you need for your particular project and are often able to match someone to complement your temperament.

A literary consultant can be an author's best and most useful guide through the entire process. Depending on the scope and level of expertise literary consultants can offer authors guidance, advice, and sometimes hold their hand to get help on anything from the creation and development of an idea, to writing, editing, pitching and promoting a book. Some of these consultants offer their own time and advice, and others have a team of specialized people to help you through each phase. So if you need help finishing your book and getting it ready for submitting it to an agent or publisher, you can reach out a literary consultant to get your work in the best shape it can be, then they can help you prepare your query letter, synopsis, outline, proposal etc. and they can help you chose the right agent for you and your work.

Once your work is agented, a consultant with the right experience and knowledge can help you start promoting your book by getting you ready and helping you develop a platform or following. A good consultant can facilitate the information and instruments for you to get your social media tools, book tour, blog tour, book launch, book reviews, contests, conferences, etc. set up before your book has even hit the shelves. Why do you need to do all of this work? If you want to have sales, you need to promote, and your agent and publisher will only help so much. Especially if you are not James Paterson (I think I saw him on TV and ads about 30 times during the few hours I actually watched TV during the Thanksgiving break). Most publishers, even the biggest ones, push their bestselling authors first. So it's up to you! And you want to generate as much buzz as possible so that the bulk of sales take place in a one to three week window. This is how you get on the bestseller lists!

I have a strong suspicion that if you're reading this, and you're an author that wants to get published, it would probably make you very happy to become a best seller. So go get the help you need, if you need it! But remember to be careful before hiring someone to provide these services. See if you can get recommendations from someone that has used them. Talk to them extensively and make sure that you know what you’re getting for your money. Remember that an agent should not be charging you reading fees. But if an agent is offering consulting services that are specifically tailored to your needs, then it is ok to retain them to help you, as long as their representation of your work as an agent is not contingent on you paying for consulting services. In other words, don't pay them to represent you as an agent. Pay only for the help that you want and need.

So keep in mind that help is becoming increasingly available out there. Be smart and take advantage of the expertise that are available to you. The publishing industry does not have to be a frightening beast. Don't let the unique guidelines intimidate you. Get out there and network, and find the right team to help you.

Happy hunting!