I went through the writing discussion and found several posts where questions were asked and answers were given and I thought it would be a good idea to have it all in one place as a sticky. I copied the posts and then paraphrased them. I propositioned Bmat, she says to post it, she'll talk to The Master about it being a sticky, with that said here it is.
1). After your finished manuscript has been through it’s final revision you should send it to Literary Agents, instead of directly to a Publisher. The Literary Agent(LA)’s job is to shop your story around to various Publishers dealing with that genre. To make your LA’s job easier, you’ll want an interesting, eye-catching cover letter. The cover letter can be compared to he blurbs of a published book. If the blurbs/cover letter are well done and make the story sound interesting the higher chance of sale.
2). Most, but by no means all, advertising is done by small publishers, relatively new publishers, and con artists. Large reputable agencies are already established and well known and therefore generally do not advertise.
3). Check possible agents with Preditors and Editors and the AAR before sending out queries or work.
4). Authors should not pay publishers or LA’s! These people get their money after you get yours, not before. Contests are the exception as there is usually an entry fee.
5). Know your potential agent before you contact him/her. Some agents will want to maintain a strictly professional relationship with there clients, where as others will want to have a more relaxed relationship.
6). In terms of publishers and agents, size doesn’t matter. It’s all about what you want. In a large agency, you are more likely to get advances and less of the marketing falls on your shoulders. Larger royalties are possible with larger agencies, but less personal attention is paid to each client. In smaller agencies, royalties are smaller, you do marketing yourself, and you get more one on one time.
7). Don’t sign the first contract you get out of excitement. Send it to Victoria Strauss of SFWA’s Writer Beware Service. She knows her way around contracts and may help prevent someone from being taken advantage of you.
. Being a minor gives you no less right to your story and ideas than an adult. Your LA will likely know of a Literary Law Agent who will help you protect your investment.
9). When selling a manuscript or acquiring an LA minors need not mention their age. Let your work be judged by the merit and skill of the writing, not your age. If the writing is good, the fact that you’re a minor will not hinder you.
10). If your work is under contract do not upload it to websites such as this one. This may be a breach in contract, you could be dropped as a client or even sued.
11). Many people have reported that Poetry.com might be a scam. You may be added to several mailing lists if you submit your work to them.
12). Many people have reported that Publish America might be a scam. It is suggested that you never submit work to them.
13). Mentioning characters from other books is acceptable and will not hinder your efforts provided:
A). It’s in context; your 16th century farmer isn’t likely to be buying the latest X-Men Comic
B). “Mention” means “mention”. The X-Men cannot be characters in your story.
C). You usually must mention the Author or Owner of the Novel/Franchise.
D). You stick to the original story you are mentioning, no adding or rewriting.
E). You do not “plug” for Example: “He tossed aside the comic with Superman, the coolest superhero in existence and his own personal hero, onto the bed.” Is a “plug” “He tossed the Superman comic aside” can be many things from foreshadowing to paying homage, to simply adding believable details to a teenagers room. Note that in most cases a generic reference such as "he tossed the superhero comic aside" is preferred and is usually more than sufficient.
14). Don’t write to get published, write for yourself and make it the best you can. If you don’t write good stories, you can’t publish. Focus on enjoying the experience and doing it well before you focus on publishing.
Thank you for informative questions and answers provided by Aldan, Sara, Cleasterwood, Neurolanis, Bmat, Holyoak, Manji, Magus, Eleika.
(stickied with minor edits by The Master. Thanks for the nice compilation Dead_Technology!)
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