Stuff in the ‘getting published’ Category

8 June, 2016

Writing with a Positive Attitude–It May Get You an Agent or Publisher!

There are many reasons why writers write, but one is that that they wish to be read.  Most writers want to find their audience and connect with their audience.  Whether it is because they have something to say, information to sJoelle portraits0105_001hare, or are creating an experience, through memoir and fiction, most writers–at least those who seek to be published—are looking for someone on the other end to read their words.

Volumes have been written about how hard it is to get published, from the grueling search for an agent to finding a publisher.  And it is all true.  It’s damn hard.  It’s easy to get discouraged as the rejection pile grows higher. Even worse, many queries and efforts appear to go unheard, with writers not even receiving a rejection from which they can glean the reason why they are being passed over.

As a busy publishing professional, I am guilty of doling out rejection and ignoring queries.  This is not because I am an unkind person.  But there are literally not enough hours in the day to fully evaluate unsolicited queries and respond thoughtfully, with sensitivity to each.

Writers should know that we are truly searching for you.  The thrill of discovering new talent never dulls.  One thing that can help is exhibiting a positive attitude despite the discouraging aspects of the quest.  A writer’s personality usually resonates when they make an appeal, and at the end of the day, we’re drawn not only to talent but to a person with a positive spirit.  I don’t mean you should be relentlessly cheerful, but we do tend to work harder for people we actually like.  Not all talented authors are likable, but some are, and I just love working with authors who are professional, kind, respectful, hard-working, listen well, and hungry for true partnership.

So next time you send out a query, let your higher self shine through.  It just may help you get the attention you deserve.

–Joelle Delbourgo

2 October, 2013

So you are a debut novelist…

I was thrilled this week to make a 2-book deal with Kensington Publishing for first time author, Kerstin March. I think this happy ending can be instructive for debut novelists, especially those writing mainstream women’s fiction or genre fiction, so I thought I’d share a little bit abou102-02454_IMGt how this came to be.

Kerstin came to my attention through a writer’s conference (Madison Writers Institute) in Madison, Wisconsin, where I was presenting along with other agents, authors and publishers.  This is a particularly well-organized and informative conference where this agency has discovered authors in the past, so I was very pleased to attend for the second time.  So lesson #1 is that first time authors could do well to ask their writing friends about their experiences at writing conferences, as some are better than others. But the better ones bring in talent from the publishing world around the country, and sponsor interesting and educational programs and panels, as well as providing writers with an opportunity to meet one on one with publishing professionals.  This is fantastic, of course, in giving new writers an overview of the industry, but also in connecting them with other writers who are serious about getting published.

Kerstin was also introduced to me by a writer already represented by this agency, Anne Greenwood Brown, who we adore. Anne is the consummate professional:  brilliant, creative, funny and immensely talented.  Best of all, she’s nice, really nice.  So I took her referral seriously.  If, as a new writer, you can get to know some more established writers who are willing to mentor you and facilitate your entry into the publishing world, you will be one of the lucky ones.  Most of our clients come through referral, not over the transom.  But at the same time, don’t be pushy.  It needs to develop organically, and it can put another writer in a difficult position if he or she is not a true enthusiast of your work.

When Kerstin sent me her manuscript many months later, I was very impressed. But I also thought that there were ways she could strengthen it, and like the pro that she is, she listened and took the time to do a revision.  Soon we were ready to go.

During one lunch date with an editor, I mentioned Kerstin’s novel, and the editor suggested that she might want to develop ideas for a sequel or possibly more than one linked novel.   That was a great idea, and Kerstin immediately gave it a try.  The first effort didn’t entirely work, but once again, Kerstin rose to the challenge and came up with just what I needed.

So when Martin Biro, a smart young editor at Kensington called to tell me how much he liked FAMILY TREES, and wanted to to know what Kerstin might do next, we were ready.  Martin snapped up the first and second novel, and voila, a talented author’s work will see the light of day. Martin loved FAMILY TREES, but he also wanted to invest in a writer’s career.  Knowing that there will be a follow up to FAMILY TREES, and a shared vision, instilled trust in this new author, and he was able to get the backing of his publishing team.

I’m always looking authors who not only exhibit raw talent, but also listen, learn, and work with me to help me to get their work the attention it deserves.  Here’s wishing all you debut novelists out there luck.  But sometimes we make our luck.  It doesn’t just happen.

–Joelle Delbourgo




FAMILY TREES is a charming story set in a small lake town on Lake Superior.