1. Join a mailing list or two. Sites like Bookbub, The Fussy Librarian, Many Books, Book Raid, and our site, The eBook Bandit, get discount information directly from authors. Books ranging from top publisher new releases and best sellers to stories from great indie authors are marked down during the year. By joining a few of these lists, you know about these deals and get to take advantage of them before the price goes back up!
2. Use your local library. Those shelves are stocked full of books from the literary greats, why not read them for free? If your library charges a membership fee, it’ll be well worth having a physical copy of the book in your hands. Sure, you can read eBooks anywhere, but there’s something about flipping those pages that just feels good.
3. Trade books with friends who read. That’s a literal way to get two for the price of one!
4. Keep a lookout for freebies. eBooks are regularly discounted to free. Authors do this in hopes of getting their names out there. It’s tough competition! Many times the first book in a series is given in hopes you’ll get hooked and read more. Wouldn’t that be great though?
5. Follow your favorite authors on Twitter/ join their newsletters. Authors often give information on new releases and discounts. Some even give kindle freebies and have contests for things such as signed copies of their books!
6. Check coupon sites for savings. Sites like Retail Me Not often have coupons for physical and online goods from the top vendors such as Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.
7. Get or borrow the eBook. Are you a have it in your hands die-hard book lover? Why not give eBooks a try? They are almost always cheaper than the physical copies, and you don’t have to worry about taking the book with you. You can have your whole library on your phone or tablet. You can also use apps like Libby to borrow eBooks from the library for free!
They call it a slush pile for a reason, but don’t get discouraged. These tips will help your query letter shine and stand out from the rest.
* Follow the guidelines. Be sure to format your manuscript to the specific guidelines, including but not limited to: font, margins, spacing, and file type. If the agent takes the time to request it, they are probably doing so for a reason. Your file may not be easy to read or even open properly if it’s not done as requested. Most agents won’t take the time to troubleshoot this when they have tons of other manuscripts to read. Plus, it shows that you are able to follow instructions.
* Research the agent. Publishers Marketplace is a great place to start if you don’t know anything about the agent. Take a look at some of the past work they’ve represented, and make sure that your book fits. Some agents will even provide tips for how to format your query. You may have to rewrite it several times, but landing your dream agent will be worth it!
* Treat you query letter like a job application. Everything should be error free and professional.
* Look at examples of successful query letters. Query Shark is a wonderful resource! Make sure that the content in your letter is laid out properly.
* Include the word count and genre. This could be the deciding factor.
* Mention previous writing credits and publications. If you’re mutli-published, say so! If this is your debut story, don’t be ashamed to admit it. You can always include relevant certifications, degrees, and memberships.
* Let them know about any established fan base. Do you have thousands of followers on your website or social media? Be sure to mention that!
* Handle rejection. There’s no need to respond to a rejection letter. If the agent isn’t excited about your manuscript, then it won’t be a good match anyway. Move forward and don’t quit! Everyone is rejected at some point.
* Write impersonalized letters. Unless you are submitting to someone who specifically requests it, never address your letters to “Dear Agent” or “Dear Editor.”
* Send a mass-email. If you include more than one agent/agency in your email, it shows a lack of research.
* Point out your lack of experience. It’s okay to say this is your debut novel, but beyond that, let your work stand or fall on its own.
* Send attachments unless it’s requested. Agents can open thousands of emails per week. That’s a lot of files! The standard is to copy and paste your query letter, synopsis, and sample into the email. Only include attachments if they’re requested.
* Call you book a “fiction novel.” It makes you look like an amateur. All novels are fiction.
* Show up to the agent’s office. It’s scary and unprofessional.
* Call the agent. This is only acceptable if they have established a relationship with you.
* Send nasty replies to rejections. Literary agents speak to each other more than you may realize.