Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Over the Transom Submissions - by Joyce Hart

Announcing Hartline Author Awards from Barbour Publishing
17th Annual Heartsong Awards!

Each year, members of the Heartsong Presents book club vote for their favorite authors, books, and covers. Ten authors are selected for each category. This year we are proud that Hartliners were among those chosen. In fact, our authors are represented in every category!

Favorite Author:
Debby Mayne
Favorite New Author:
Diana Lesire Brandmeyer
Favorite Historical Romance:
The Master's Match by Tamela Hancock Murray
Favorite Contemporary Romance:
Noah's Ark by Debby Mayne
Favorite Historical Cover:
The Master's Match by Tamela Hancock Murray
Favorite Contemporary Cover:
Noah's Ark by Debby Mayne


A few days ago Terry addressed submissions we receive in which authors ask us to go to their web sites to review their writing. We would like authors to visit our web site and send proposals according to our submission guidelines. I am well aware that it is hard work to prepare a proposal. Authors tell me it is harder than writing the book. What we ask for is exactly what the publishers want from us. The better your proposal is prepared, with the information the publishers want to see, the better chance you have of getting it looked at seriously.

Here is a sample of what we get every day:

Today I got an e-mail that says, ‘logline synopsis’ in the subject line. The author gives me no information about himself, publishing history or sales numbers – we need this information in order to make a decision about whether or not we want to consider the book. Unfortunately, I get several e-mails a day with only a summary of the book and author’s name. I am tempted to write back and say there are a zillion ideas out there, but I need more information about you. I simply don’t have time to reply to them all. Once in awhile I ask them to take a look at our web site and our proposal guidelines and often I simply delete the e-mail. I got a “Dear Sir or Madam” query today. We hardly ever seriously consider those.

A query needs to include your bio, publishing history and a summary of the book. We get many queries each day and some with only a summary of the book. Ideas are a dime a dozen, I need to see a real proposal.

On the other side of the coin, we get proposals that we love and for one reason or another can’t accept. We try to be conscientious about responding to the e-mails that we receive. We know that writing is not easy and that authors often write from their hearts. Again, do your homework and send agents well prepared proposals, or if you want to send a query make sure it contains your bio and publishing history in it as well as a summary of the book.

I hope you have a great week. We’ve had lots of rain in Pittsburgh and grey skies. The sun is trying to peek out today. It’s been in the 40’s & 50’s but going back to colder weather this week with a little sun. My husband, Jim, had a birthday yesterday and my son Jim’s birthday is Friday, so we’re celebrating their birthdays tonight. We had a busy weekend eating cake with friends!




Hartline Literary Agency said...

When I read my e-mail this morning there are four beautiful queries, all with the information we need! I want to say that I realize that people find us in many places on the internet and many simply do not know how to prepare a proposal or a query. Plus, they don't know about our web site. Hopefully they will find information on how to approach an agent somewhere on the "net."

Cindy said...

Congratulations to Hartline authors on the awards!

I think doing your homework is some of the best advice for those looking to query and send proposals. There's such a wealth of advice out there and a great deal of it is for the author's benefit. Also, following guidelines can be the difference between a yes or a no.

Kathy said...

I appreciate how clearly you explain the submission process on your website. The effort on your part really does make it easier on our part as writers. Thank you for taking the time.