Thursday, August 04, 2005


Sarah Jane Feyerman, 20 July 2005---Notes

Hi, Rolf,
Thanks for your patience with me getting Sarah’s notes to you. Glad to hear you are back at your farm and enjoying it. We have a few emails from the group so don’t feel completely cut off.


Sarah Jane Feyerman 20 July 2005

Rush in where fools fear to tread--then find out the details.

The publishing field is very tight right now because of the consolidation of publishing companys.
We are marketing “art” but still must compete with video games etc.

Agents don’t get paid until the book is sold, then 15% of book sales. Having a reputable, committed agent is paramount. Collaborative spirit very important.

Write with passion, heart, what you know, but more important write from what you discover.
Then pull it all apart so the agent can help position it for the market place. This is painful and terrible.

Writers are happy in their work. Writing is self-rewarding. If the author and agent have done their work, good chance of getting the work published.

1. Pitch letter. Stunning. One page. Who you are, why you are writing, how to market your book. Write a straightforward beautifully crafted letter. Intrigue me. Make my imagination work. Send to 25 or so agents. Call agent by name, not “Dear Sirs”
Novel- submit entire novel.
Short stories-submit 2/3 of stories
Non-fiction-sent 3 chapters and a proposal. (this can be done by a professional)

Overview should read like a brilliant NYT book review. 40-50 pages too much. Tell about author, how this can be marketed, who where you come from. Explain why your book is better than comparative book on the market.

The more well known, the shorter the bio, and the quality of writing is more important.

Don’t try to get agent over the internet. Send to several agents. See similar books in the library, check the acknowledgements and send to the same agent, editor etc.

Every book needs to transcend the experience. It’s always about the story. Use your wonderful trip to tell a bigger, beautiful story.

Poetry is the only genre that gets published first.

Read your contract very carefully. Most contracts have an “out.” Don’t ever pay a reading fee.

Dip into different worlds. In Seattle I went to a wolf sanctuary. Don’t write to a market-boring. Inspire your agent. Make the agent feel as if he/she is contributing to the world by publishing your work.

Editors want to deal with agents, not authors. Publishing is a New York thing.

Thirty percent of authors who have never had a book published get published. When not inspired, that is where the best work gets done.

Travel account is not a story. Don’t let the truth trap you. Stretch the truth to say something true. Titles are not casual.

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