Category Archives: Pitching your manuscript

6 Things I Learned in School That I Still Do Today, And You Should Too!

Taking as my inspiration All I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten here are 6 things I learned in school that still work today – especially for writers!

These are not in any particular order:

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Do Your Homework: Oh, boy! Remember the times we didn’t do our homework and the teacher called on us and we had to come up with some excuse? Yikes! Luckily those were few and far between for me. I was an A-student after all. Heh. But this basic tenet applies today. If you’re a writer working on your book – do your research first, it’s as simple as that. No excuses.

Use the library: I don’t know a single writer who doesn’t love libraries! Don’t you love that library smell? It’s different than a book store. The library smell is rich with old books. Books that have been read and re-read over time and loved by many. It’s a communal experience and yet every single person has their own special connection. I love librarians too. My local library employs several Scottish and English lady librarians. I adore them. They always ask me how my work is going.

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Hold your hand up if you have something to say: There are always going to be rude people out there. This especially applies to social media/networking etiquette, where some people love to hide behind anonymous online names. Most of us have by now learned the rules of “getting along” on social networking sites. Sometimes people can be rude to us and to others. The question is – what do you do when someone is being abusive? Well, you can ask them to stop. You can block them. You can also report them if they’re spewing racist or sexist garbage. To quote my favourite TV show of all time – Seinfeld – “You know we’re living in a society!” .

Sharing means caring: Share your knowledge. Share what you’ve learned. Share your humour and your good sense. Join a writing group. Attend conferences (even if they are just local ones). Set up a book club. Join online groups on facebook. Organize a group blog. You may not think that others will benefit or even care, but I guarantee you that there is at least one person who does. One aspiring writer or one reader who will appreciate what you have to offer. And where there is one, there are others.

Make time for recess: Ah, yes. This is something that as writers, we sometimes forget to do. Many writers have “day jobs” and/or small children at home or lots of other things that need getting done, so when we write, we usually get really engrossed in what we’re doing. But you have to remember to take a break. Go for a walk. Get a coffee or a cup of tea and relax and recharge. Yes, you need to get that draft done, but a 30-minute walk, or a short nap, or watching the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory doesn’t mean you’ll miss your deadline. Take a break and take a breath.

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Have a good breakfast: Some people are not morning people. Some people don’t like to eat first thing in the morning. But it’s important to eat something within two hours of getting up. Remember when you were a kid and you skipped breakfast? You didn’t function very well in class did you? It’s always good to start the day with lots of protein and some good carbs. Guess what? Your brain needs power food to write. So think of your brain and feed it something good every morning.


And don’t forget to pack a lunch! 🙂

What are some things you learned in school that you still practice today?

I’m positive that Lachesis authors were all great students! Their books sure are wonderful. Until next time – happy writing.

100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves being helpful, Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, and a  good story.

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Filed under Books, Lachesis Publishing, Pitching your manuscript, writing, writing craft, writing your book

From the Editor’s Desk: 7 Dos and Don’ts of Pitching Your Manuscript

Pitching a book or a book series doesn’t have to be nerve wracking and painful. It can be fun and energizing. Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the New England Conference of the Romance Writers of America  (May 2-3 2014). It was so much fun. I heard a lot of pitches. Some great, some not so great. Over the years, you kind of figure out what works and what doesn’t. There is a lot of good knowledge out there online as well. Take advantage of that. Do research, ask fellow writers, editors and agents about pitching. And practice your pitch in front of a mirror at home or with your spouse or a friend or fellow writer.

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Here are 7 dos and 7 don’ts when pitching in person:

  1. Don’t tell me what your story isn’t. That sets a negative tone. Do tell me what your story is.
  2. Don’t go off on tangents, describing little details of your book or series. It bogs you down and confuses me. It also takes up important time. You don’t have much time in a verbal pitch at a conference so do use your time wisely.
  3. Don’t undermine yourself or put yourself down. Everyone is nervous. Just smile and tell me about your book.
  4. Don’t tell me your life story or your book’s life story, unless it is crucial to the pitch. We don’t have that kind of time. If we end up working together, there is plenty of time to get to know each other.
  5. Don’t jump into the plot without telling me what genre you are pitching.
  6. Don’t forget to listen. Some people are so immersed in what they want to convey that they don’t pay attention to what I’m saying, especially if I ask them a question. Pay attention.
  7. Don’t forget to do your research ahead of time. Make sure you know what kinds of books we publish at Lachesis Publishing. Visit our web site and make sure to tell me you’ve been to our site.
  1. Do begin with handshake, a smile and a greeting. I’m a friendly and open person. I know you’re nervous. I’ve been in the same position loads of times. But I’m there standing or sitting across from you and I’m smiling back. So try to relax, take a deep breath and tell me about your book.

  2. Do have business cards with your e-mail and web site address. I like getting a business card because then I can write on the back of it and it helps me remember who you are and what you pitched to me. If you have a partial with you, then certainly add your contact info to your partial. But I dig business cards.
  3. Do begin by telling me what you are pitching me. Is it a contemporary horror set in New Brunswick, or a cozy mystery set in a fictional town in New Hampshire, or a Regency historical set in England? It’s a great launching off point and it will help anchor you in your pitch.
  4. Do tell me the basic story in a few lines. When I worked in film and TV, I always had a two-three line pitch that basically summed up the plot. Why? Because you have to be ready to pitch at any time and to anyone. They don’t call them “elevator pitches” for nothing.
  5. Do tell me about the tone of your book. Do you write with a light touch or are your books dark and brooding or deep and emotional? I want to know this, because it helps me understand the book and your style.
  6. Do ask me what I’m looking for. I usually tell people who are pitching me, but it’s a good idea to be ready to ask that.
  7. Do follow up with me afterwards with a thank you. Remember, that I will give you my business card. So it’s smart to send me an e-mail and remind me of who you are what what you pitched me. And it’s also smart to ask me if you can contact me again in the future.

I hope this list has been helpful. Does anyone else have any other great dos and don’ts? There’s a lot of wisdom out there. Don’t be afraid to tap into it.

100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, hearing pitches, and a good story.

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