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Pitch Your Book Publisher Talk (recap)

Updated: Jun 9

In case you missed my publisher talk last week, here's a summary of what I covered including the most common problem I see in my inbox. There are also some links that I think you'll find helpful.

I started with this:

There are no ’secrets’ to getting a publishing contract. There are ways you can prepare and increase your chance of success. Key word: PREPARATION.

Here is what to focus on:

Polishing your manuscript

Finding your genre

Drafting a synopsis

Nailing your query letter

Creating a targeted list of agents & publishers

About your manuscript

Make sure it has been read and evaluated, and that you have made changes according to the feedback you receive. Don't rush it.

The most common problem I see in my inbox is overwritten manuscripts. They may have been copyedited, but they still need a lot of work. How to correct this? Get someone to read your manuscript and provide constructive feedback. Hire a professional, if you can. If not, join a writing group and trade manuscripts with other writers.

If you would like to book a manuscript evaluation with me, please send an email - - to get a quote. My reports are detailed and my rates are reasonable. Here's a link with more details:

Finding your genre:

To get started, search for books on Amazon with similar plots. Scroll down to ‘Product Details’ to find the genre. It may not be an exact match, but you'll get an idea of what genre your book is in. Do this with 5 or so books. Keep a list. Ask your readers if they think it fits.

Also, Jane Friedman has an article on her website called ‘What’s Your Genre’ which you may find helpful -

Drafting your synopsis

Write this before you write your query letter. Why? It will inform what you write in your query letter. Start long, then trim back. Don’t aim for perfection in the first draft. Let it incubate for a week. Then edit. Get readers for this too!

Here's another Jane Friedman article that you may find helpful - ‘How to Write a Novel or Memoir Synopsis’:

Nailing your query letter

Start long and don't worry about the word count. Include the title, word count & genre. Include a short bio. Include a hook/short plot description. Let it incubate. Then trim back. Aim for around 300 words. Make sure it’s been copyedited before you send it out.

The most common problem I see in my inbox is query letters that are too long. My best advice: get feedback on your query letter too. Keep it short.

Here is a link to a blog post I wrote with 2 query letters that landed publishing contracts at Guts:

Tips for finding agents & publishers

Pitch smaller independent publishers and larger mainstream publishers (some will be open for unagented submissions), as well as agents. Do a search on Amazon for books with plots that are similar to yours. Scroll down to ‘Product Details’ to find the publisher. Go to their website and see if they are open for unagented submissions. Find the author’s website. See if they have an agent. If they do, add that agent to your list.

Create a list of 100 agents and publishers. Smaller indie publishers are a great place to start your search. Follow their submission guidelines to a T. Send follow up emails, at least 2, unless they say not to.

How long is this going to take?

About a month (to prepare).

Bear in mind, rejections come with the territory. The responses you get will be kind and some may even give you feedback on your work. So, keep your chin up and approach this as a learning experience.

I have worked with many writers over the years as a Pitch Your Book coach. We go through all of the steps I just described. I provide professional edits on your query letter and synopsis. I help you improve your digital platforms and nail your genre. Together we create a targeted list of agents and publishers for your genre. We have weekly Zoom meetings and you get unlimited email support. It's pretty full on, but you'll be amazed what we can accomplish together. For more details, visit:

I know it can seem like an overwhelming process. No matter how you decide to approach this, just take one step at a time. You'll get there. I believe in you.

xx Julianne

Director at Guts Publishing

P.S. I'll be offering a short Pitch Your Book course very soon! It is a consolidated version of my Pitch Your Book 1-to-1 coaching with a very nice price - £195 vs £995 - and includes everything you need to start pitching and increase your chance of landing a publishing contract. PLUS a 1-to-1 meeting with me at the end! Please sign up for our newsletter to be notified when the course is up and running.

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