Five Rules for Unpublished Writers

Hallie Ephron in How I Got Published

  1. Do not send your work out before it’s ready for prime time. Over and over, new writers query agents too early.
  2. Do not query 24 agents at once unless you want to mortgage your child’s college tuition to Kinko’s and UPS. If you send out 24 queries, what happens if even a third of those want the manuscript? Do the math: 300 page manuscript times eight cents a page plus shipping times eight. Ouch.
  3. Just because an editor says you should change the gender of your protagonist doesn’t mean you should do it. Finding an agent is painful; finding a publisher can be sheer torture because of the strange and conflicting advice you receive.
  4. Success may be around the corner; if you give up, you’ll never know.
  5. Don’t quit your day job. Your celebratory dinner, once you have a book deal, may equal half your advance.

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