Bethany House author Dani Pettrey spoke recently at the Carroll County Chapter, Maryland Writer’s Association on “I Finished my Manuscript. What Now?”
Pettrey is the author of the Alaskan Courage series, which so far includes: Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, Silenced, and Submerged. She described her novels as inspirational, romantic suspense. They are about strong, determined women willing to face danger to right what is wrong.
Her books have been awarded the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award nomination, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award.
She shared her experience along the road to publication, saying it was easier for her than for many writers. However, she wrote well, edited, studied her craft and was prepared when an opportunity was presented.
There is so much advice for writers out there, she said, recommending that you only take advice that resonates with you. There is so much variety and so many voices.
After fine-tuning their manuscript, most writers should start looking for an agent. You can research agents online, through writing organizations and by reading the front of books. Look for agents who are interested in your genre. Do not send a book of erotica or adult horror.to an agent who specializes in children’s books.
Also, writers should not send samples of their writing to editors and agents at the same time. Most agents have access to publishers they think may be interested in your book. However, if you already sent it to an editor and it was rejected, they cannot go back to that editor.
She agrees with the advice that attending writing conferences is helpful, not only for learning, but for meeting agents and editors. She always took to conferences a “one sheet” with a synopsis of her story and a short bio. Also, be prepared to give an elevator pitch if asked. This is a very condensed version of you book, like a movie description.
You submission package should Include a query letter, synopsis, two links and sample chapters. It helps to have your polished book (not rough copy) read by critique partners or by a freelance editor or paid critiquer.
Membership in writing organizations can be helpful. Most organizations have a newsletter or blog, provide content that can be helpful in your genre, include contact industry details and provide other benefits.
Writing can be a lonely business. Learn to enjoy the process. It helps to keep an encouragement file and reward yourself periodically.
While waiting for replies from agents or editors, begin to write your next book.
Check her out at www.danipettrey.com or on Facebook.com/danipettrey.