Monday, March 14, 2011

Step By Step by Kelly Moran

I began my writing career at age eight with poetry and short stories. By the time adolescence hit, I knew romance was my true calling. After having kids, wanting to write kids books became a new desire. Though I focus on romance and children's books now, I have had other genres published.

When I first started seeking publication, I had no idea what I was doing. Eventually my first couple books were self-published. As most would think, I do not regret this decision. Though most frown upon self-publishing, I see it as a triumph to just get that far, get yourself out there. Self-publishing also taught me a lot in ways of marketing, promotion, and research. Especially in today's market, even the large publishing houses are requiring their authors to be more active in promotion. I feel I have the advantage now. Beginning this way also helped me get my feet wet. I learned the do's and don'ts of submissions and queries.

While in the writing process, the best advice I can offer is this: #1-- Join a writers group and get a critique partner. There are several writing groups for several genres. This will enable you to put out the best manuscript you can. Others can see the faults and errors better than you. #2-- Attend workshops and learn your craft. This also means reading books in the genre you write. Most new authors don't even realize clich├ęs and mistakes when they see them. Most authors also don't realize that they are telling, not showing. In other words, narrating. Your character needs to tell the story. Tips: Avoid adverbs, "LY-ending" words. Avoid words like "saw," "felt," "realized," "noticed," "he/she thought." Body language is key to making characters three-dimensional. I recommend the book: "What Every Body is Saying" by Joe Navarro. And pace your book accordingly. Do not info dump or back story dump. Keep the readers wanting more! #3-- Do your research! This doesn't just include researching the career your characters chose, but setting, climate, economy, etc.

This is also the best time to get involved in other areas of writing. Start a blog. They are free and it gives you a break writing there and expressing yourself. If you joined a writers group like I told you to, then volunteer to judge a writing contest. Search book review sites and volunteer to become a reviewer for them. This not only gives you free books, but you are reading the current market and making connections. All these things look great on a resume to agents and editors!

Now, for the submission/query process. Make sure your MS is polished. Never query unless your MS is done. Make sure it is formatted to the guidelines specified by each agent/editor, (they are all different). Make sure you are targeting the correct agent/editor with your work, that they are accepting queries, and that they accept your genre. Follow their guidelines on how to submit: paper, snail mail, email, attachments, pasting in body, etc. And make sure your query letter and synopsis are correct. I recommend the book: "Your Novel Proposal" by Camenson & Cook, or "The Guide to Literary Agents," by Sambuchino. There are specific guidelines for query letters. It should read like a business letter with a hint of personality-- How you heard about said agent/editor, word count/genre/title. Then a blurb on the book. Then your bio. Then a thank you.

Best of luck to you!
Kelly Moran
You can learn more about this author and her work by visiting her website at


  1. Thanks for having me by, Cassidy. Hope the article helps others!

    And my new title, SUMMER'S ROAD is due out March 25th wherever books are sold. Here's the Amazon link...


  2. Thanks so much Kelly. This is sound advice. I look forward to having you on again in the future!! Write On!!

  3. Great advice, Kelly. Authors these days can't hide away. They must get involved in publicizing themselves and their books.

    Morgan Mandel

  4. I posted but I think it is out in cyberspace!

    Thank you for all the great advice.


  5. Hi! You put a lot of important tips in such a short article. I was pleased to see you self-published first and don't feel, like some I've read from, that you committed some crime. You do learn so much by going through the entire process, and especially the marketing. Some of the biggies are "trying" to market, have you noticed? I've had several offer things, only to never follow through on their promises, by even an email. PR is so important...does it affect sales...well, I'm seriously thinking about no longer reading the books of a major medical thriller sale? who knows...a number of disappointed no longer have a top writer...

  6. @ Morgan and Glenda---so true. Mass market publishers used to have a huge PR and Marketing team. No so now, and most of it is done online. Authors are expected to help! And we should. It connects us with our readers and teaches us the market. Good point too that we should always follow up on what we promise, no matter how big or small we are.

    @Carol--- got the post. Thanks! I appreciate you coming by!


  7. Terrific blog with lots of great information, Kelly. I haven't heard of the books you mentioned but will certainly look for them.

    I agree, self-publishing is a great way to start a writing career these days as it establishes you as an author.