Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

SlantedK & DMK 
has been hard @ work 
on the production Edits for "From the Ashes."

Author/Editor Patricia Bates makes it easy.

In addition I am moving my blog to it is ready for review, just some more touch ups but very proud of it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

SlantedK Good Friend Book Feature-Rama

Before I present the Awesome Feature-Rama.

Important Branding Related Information.
Don Porter & DMK met a couple years back at Rincon Valley Farmers Market in Arizona.
Don was there for book signing and marketing. DMK was next to his stall selling smoked brisket.
The day went on, we were each doing our own thing, then I got up the nerve to ask Don about publishing. (Why would he want to talk to me? I was a rookie with nothing published, just a dream.) Not only was he kind enough to share his experience he took a sincere interest in my project. So much so that he was the first editor on "From the Ashes." He coached and mentored me. As editors do, he beat me up and got me back on the right direction. I owe much to Don.

Why the long winded blah. blah, blah?

I cannot emphasis enough the importance of networking for new and seasoned authors. Not running a constant commercial, but networking. Talking, asking questions, showing interest and respect in others.

I had no idea what doors were to open by sharing a 12 hour smoked/roasted brisket sandwich, with friend and author Don Porter.   Thank You, Don.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, 
This weeks Book is Don Porter's 
Latest Action Packed Mystery.
For a complete review Click here, eh!

Bullet dodging, kidnapping, and a cat and mouse game that covers Hawaii ensues as Alex tries to find out who is trying to kill him and why.

Don G. Porter at 
invites you to check out his complete library. 
As always, he'll sign, ship, and pay the postage.

The deal doesn't stop there, oh no.
Mention that you heard about this @SlantedK 
and Don will take five dollars off any fifteen-dollar book 
and three dollars off any thirteen dollar book.

Presented By SlantedK
Follow Me on Pinterest 

Have a Great Day!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Twitter Hashtags #

Developing Your Brand - A Continued Discussion.
By DMK, A SlantedK Production

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Blogging, Tweeting, the Social Media Blitzkrieg.

Keeping up with writing, Blogging, Tweeting and all the other daily tasks require efficiency and targeted efforts. All are well aware of the “follow” button. Some buy followers others simply post & post and slowly gather followers. (The latter is the team SlantedK is on.)

However, I bring this back around to the topic of “hashtags (#).”
“What is a hashtag, Dave? I see them everywhere.”
“I am so glad you asked. There are no bad questions, so I shall start with the definition.”

Definition: The # symbol, called the hashtag, marks keywords or topics in a Tweet.
Categorizing messages, if you will.

* From Twitter - Using hashtags correctly:
  • If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet
  • Don't #spam #with #hashtags. Don't over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.)
  • Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.

What this all means is the hashtag is a search marker. You are posting and posting, yet only your followers are seeing them. Add a hashtag and your Tweets will show up on searches under said topics.

Now you’re good to go, ready to rock, and have another tool in the effort to develop and expand your brand. Look forward to seeing ya’ll out in the wide world wed.

Here is a great Blogger with some more great advice on the topic.
How To Optimize Twitter: Be Real, Profiles, RT, Hashtags & More
Lisa Buyer, March 8, 2012 

Thanks for stopping in.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

History Screams, are We Listening?

To say we cannot know the future,
 is to completely ignore the past.

By DMK, A SlantedK Production
Follow Me on Pinterest

Recently I took a mental vacation. Blacked out politics, left work behind, kept the lap top shut and went to Chicago. My youngest son Mike planned to return to Tucson, so I flew there to drive back with him. The detail of my beverage consumption is not where I am going today.

There is a discussion abroad. A government the people belong to, or a government for the people by the people. Somebody owes somebody else, blah, blah blah. Without government, blah, blah, blah. Without one, the other withers, blah, blah, blah. The chicken, the egg, an argument forever unanswered.

My answer is within many of my “now and then” topics. That is right, history.

We utilized Highway 80 to go west in our departure from Illinois. The wheels turned, my eyes looked across the land, and I could not help but flash back to the end of the Civil War.

There is a surprise, Dave.

Yeah, I know, Wild West is my thing.

Estimates of the Civil War dead are north of 750,000. (When two sides fight to such a point of polar opposites, blood spills.) Many no longer desired the blood soaked land. To the west, the eyes of the people looked. West of the Mississippi was a wild frontier. No roads, no quick marts, no truck stops, hell, no heat, air conditioning, bottled water and McDonalds. Rumors of gold turned to tales of riches and opportunity for all willing to make the journey. 

The point: Human nature and desire drove them forward. The seat on the wagon was a wooden bench. The suspension, leather straps connected to wooden wheels. The roads; no, trails, made of rock and dirt. Their belongings and their bodies covered from the elements of hot and cold, with only a wool tarp and the clothes on their backs.

Flour, wheat, beans, fish and game provided nourishment.

"To diminish the human spirit is to destroy the fiber of our being." DMK

If the spirit is weakened many problems lay before us. My tale is but a snapshot of many points of history. The world has developed by the hand of the doers, not the takers. We cannot begin to believe that the takers can take enough to care for the remaining. The well runs dry. In the frontier when the well dried, the motivation was to dig another or die from thirst. Those who sat on the side of the road waiting for another to make a well ended up buried on the side of the road.

What happens when the numbers of the people who believe others owe them, outnumber the people they want to have pay?

The graves on the side of the road will be many.

Thanks for Stopping in!

Promote Your Page Too

Sunday, September 9, 2012

SlantedK Wild West Book Feature-Rama

Western On Tap Today!
A SlantedK Production.
Exciting Day Here!

The last days of the Civil War. With Richmond under siege, Confederate soldier Luke Jensen is assigned the task of smuggling gold out of the city before the Yankees get their hands on it - when he is ambushed and robbed by four deserters, shot in the back, and left for dead. Taken in by a Georgia farmer and his beautiful daughter, Luke is nursed back to health. Though crippled, he hopes to reunite with his long-lost brother Smoke, but a growing romance keeps him on the farm. Then fate takes a tragic turn. Ruthless carpetbaggers arrive and - in a storm of bullets and bloodshed - Luke is forced to strike out on his own. Searching for a new life. Hunting down the baddest of the become the greatest bounty hunter who ever lived.

"The Greatest Western Writer of Our Time

With his epic novels of the Jensen family, William W. Johnstone has captured the pioneer spirit of America. Now he reveals the untold story of Smoke Jensen's long-lost brother Luke, thought to have been killed in the fiercest war in our nation's history."

Great Sources to go visit, eh.
Thanks for Stopping in.

New Deal From Mr. Johnstone Big Savings!

Join Mr. Johnstone @ Facebook
Check out the vast writings from 
the Johnstone Legacy @Wikipedia
To find some of the newest writers in this great genre
Here is another great place to seek and Support the Old West

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Developing Your eBook Sales Page

Continuing discussion on 
Developing Your Brand.
A SlantedK Production
Are you applying Blog Marketing Tips to your eBook Sales page?

“eBook sales page?”

Exactly, this week I have been researching and working on a Social Media & Brand Building eBook. I read in-between my day job, writing, blogging, texting, tweeting, pinterest and editing so please forgive, this is a paraphrase. In that research, I came across a thought provoking question.

How many authors are simply ripping the back cover from their books and dropping it into their “pitch” or blog?

I am guilty across the board on this. Not only have I done so, I have also done the same with my “about author.” In blogging algorithms with Google, it is critical we do not duplicate entries at different locations. It is a no-no.

Take note of my new "From the Ashes" Landing Page on the Side Bar. Click here

Reading that question I realized I was not applying the same to my book promotion. Keep in mind, my book is in edit with the publisher, I am working to get everything in line for release. However, that does not mean one cannot retool their current brand.

An eBook Sales Page is as Critical as a Book Cover; they support each other. A blog needs a grabber headline and a grabber first line to improve bounce rate. What?
Bounce Rate Metric - It measures the percentage of people who see only one page of your site. People, who arrive, look and leave. * ZMOT - Zero Moment of Truth Google, a free marketing eBook.

Laymen terms: 
You want people to stay, read and purchase. 
Then tell others. Yes?

Let me put it this way. When someone asks about your book do you have a 15-30 second blurb prepared?  Or, do you notice that while you are sharing your most inner thoughts on the book/blog the eyes of the recipient of your dissertation begin to glaze over?
Be honest.
I noticed this last weekend when someone inquired about my book. I finished the pitch of my awesome book, I felt stupid. There was no interest. Hell, I had no interest. I tripped and blundered through it.

Everything needs to be in line: The back cover, the sales page, trailer and the verbal pitch.
In today’s market, it is not enough to be just a “Published/Indi Author.” We have to study and be versed in Marketing, Blogging, Branding and Advertising.

The good news is, the very social media we participate in supports all the information we need to make leaps forward. Time is the investment.

Here is a place to start. Five Keys to Writing Great eBook Sales Pages 

Have a Great Day
Thanks for Stopping in.

Monday, August 20, 2012

5 Ways to Handle the Empty Nest Transformation

A SlantedK Production
To some, the possibility of an empty nest is but a distant dream, to others a fear, yet there are those who are entering in. I am of the latter.
In many discussions with others in my circles, I would hear. “30 is the new 18.”

Well, this last father’s day my eldest son moved on to his own apartment. Both boys have begun their new journey. Wow what a difference.

This did come with a drastic change. It was not just him, it included his girlfriend and a child, my G-Baby. All have seen endless photos, yet I will again share the latest portrait in this Blog. J

Yes, it is true; SlantedK has a 
dedicated Pinterest board to being a Grand-Paw. 
Follow Me on Pinterest

“Yeah, Dave, is it true, can one truly move to the next stage?”
“Yes, yes it is. I can help ya do it, SlantedK style.”

Now, just in case we have new visitors, I have no doctorate in psychology, nor am I a doctor. I have simply walked the walk for 23 years.

Let’s get to the point, eh.
1.      Pants are no longer necessary. How many of you take your shoes off when the door clicks shut? Well, now shoes are not the only thing at the door. You got it, my pants are right there too. Before you go to the fridge to grab your beverage, or hug the one you love, the pants are off and freedom wraps your soul.
2.      It is now ok to leave a spoon in the peanut butter jar. Yup, my jar my spoon. No pants and a quick fix of peanut butter any time one feels necessary. “How does that work?” Well before, it would cause strife. “Who the hell left the spoon in the peanut butter?” No response, then the night would be filled with a dissertation why this is a practice best if ceased. No one else in the house, Sue knows it is I and that is the end of it. A roll of the eyes sure, how can she stay mad? I have no pants on, eh? J
3.      The couch. Now, this one might take many back to high school dating. You got it, the door doesn’t need to be bolted, and silence, ‘just in case’ the kids can hear, no more. Nope, the couch is more than a place to watch NASCAR and nap. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more.
4.      Music. You can play it as loud and often as you want with zero need to explain to the kids that there is other music out there than…
5.      Movies. This one may blend point one, however the reality is, point one is part of the success of the remaining. Movies; with no pants, eating peanut butter, drinking your favorite beverage, on “the couch” watching whatever movie you want, with no vote, no, “that’s stupid.”

Simple, yes, why not, when the time comes for you, the truth is, it’s earned. 
You earned it!

  • Will there be mixed emotions? Yes.
  • Visitation means they will also go.
  • Does this work with daughters?
  • Can’t say. I don’t see why not.
I tell ya what. There will be times when the kids will be out, you know it will be late before they get home. Just try it. Take your pants off and give it a test run. Then it hits. You like not wearing pants, they need to find an apartment. Laugh? Try it, just sayin’

To my peeps:
This week I received an anonymous comment. 
You know who you are, Texas. 

I promised G-Baby Keleigh

Thanks for Stopping In!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Then and Now - Competing w/CGI

Be True to Yourself.
A SlantedK Production

"Be yourself, let you come through."
Jonathan Davis

This weekend I watched Smokey & the Bandit 1&2. Did you know there are zero CGI effects in either of those movies?  
When they did the jump with that Black Trans Am it actually flew. When Sheriff Buford T Justice chased the Bandit through the roller coaster, they destroyed the actual ride.

Yup, no special effects.
It is an art form long gone, why I ask.

This answer came to me when I went to the theater to see the latest Muppet Adventure. I grew up with that great show. The movie, produced just as all the proceeding efforts, held true to their roots. That meant you needed to listen to the jokes, the action was in the art.
You see where this is going?
The kids in the theater were not entertained, nope, a hand full of ignorant parents even let their “loved ones” run around the theater.

“Where ya going, Dave, blogging is writing, writing is writing?”
“Ok. How does this compare to writers of eBooks, formerly the printed page?”
“Neither is in theaters.”
“Funny, no, well and yes, kinda.”

This generation of writing is in direct competition with the very same thing. The classics will never die. However, I’m not Stephen King, yet. Writing and social media has the bar raised much higher.
When I see a particular scene in my mind for David Murphy aka Longhair, (the main character in my project), I see it clear, CGI if you will. There is a scene when he tangles with a demon warrior. The trick is to balance writing the image so to not lose the reader in detail, keep the action up without being cartoonish and survive the editor. 

The action is in the art.

We see this application in the marketing of our projects.
  • You have 15 seconds to get a prospect to continue beyond the opening to the query or the next paragraph.
  • That paragraph has to entice them to read the synopsis.
  • The synopsis needs to be good enough to get the same prospect to the manuscript or call to action.
  • Once we make it through that.
  • We then start over with the market that wants The Dark Night & Transformers.
  • The front cover gets them to the back cover. The back cover gets them to open the book. For your eBooks, the tease gets them to the intro, the intro to the synopsis, the synopsis to the purchase.

This leads me back to previous topics on Growing your Brand. 

Stephen King has written for decades, now a book comes out and it is golden. Let’s use Social Media the same way. In the World Wide Web, you do what ya love and others will find you. You will find others, people will come back to see what you are doing. If something tried doesn’t work, then retool. People know when they see someone being true to him or herself.

Be true to yourself.

"If you can just be yourself, then you have to be original because there's no one like you."
Marc Newson

When you put the pieces together, you will write a great tease, a heartfelt synopsis, and many happy customers will knock on your door (add to cart.)

You're Great, Be Great.
Have a Great Day.

SlantedK Paranormal Book Feature-Rama

SlantedK Presents

Alex is twenty and confused. He always is. The world presses on him with its horrors and pain, with scintillating auras that pierce his eyes and drive the migraines deeper. He hears the cries of children, the screaming women. He sees the brutal images of the tortured victims. He feels out of control and his mind slips...
Severely abused as a child, he is left with horrible scars on his body and even worse scars within his mind. Even though it puts him in danger, he’s compelled to help those who call to him. He’s driven, motivated by his visions to rescue them and uncover the killer. When he can, he helps the police; yet some detectives suspect he’s the cause of the problem, not the solution. Often, Alex finds himself alone and afraid in a world he doesn’t always comprehend.

"There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. 
Those who do not see." 


Diane Hartsock submitted her book Alex for a Dual Review, and it did not come with a warning label. So I must forewarn you, this is a labor of love to read, and when you have finished this story, your sense of accomplishment will rise to a 9 ½ and you will never be the same again.

Alex is now a twenty something year old young man, living with his adopted sister Jane. His past is filled with horror. His father left, and he was raised by a sick, sadistic mother that makes most abusers look like PTA Moms. She was the Queen of torture, filth, and any kind of abuse that was spine chilling, and her wonderful feats are throughout the entire book as open memories for us to see, feel and cry over through the memories of a young boy. Thankfully, she dies and leaves Alex able to be adopted by a family and gain some of his life back. This is his story.

Alex works at a local bookstore just making ends meet. Jane, his adopted sister, and he live alone now, as her parents are both gone. They still live in their childhood home. Jane works as an artist for a local gallery and makes a living selling her paintings. Alex draws as well in charcoals, but in real life he sees color more than most, as he sees auras of all the people he comes into contact with. Auras come in all colors depending on moods and types of personalities. The colors flood his mind and he suffers unmercifully from the migraines they bring.

One Saturday, a young boy comes into the bookstore and his aura frightens Alex, as evil permeates it. From this meeting we are brought into a mystery thriller where we are to follow twists and turns, along with Alex being able to save souls who are being preyed upon by an evil killer. He is able to `see' these victims and hear their cries for help in his mind, bringing himself to the forefront as #1 person of interest. He is just trying to aide them and the police, but is caught up in the evil.

It is a very painful read, as I myself, a mother and grandmother cannot bear the pain this poor boy has gone through in his past, as you are repeatedly in his mind reliving some sort of horror, and then it is even worse because of the treatment of the people looking at him now. They do not know what he is... Psychic or Psychopath?

Jane is a wonderful character, and so are his friends Justin and Angie. The people around in this small town make you feel just that, how small town - small mindedness still exists. Alex is treated like a leper while trying to be the best he can be. It is almost too much to bear.

The twists and turns make a good story, sometimes spine chilling. I want to keep away from giving you any spoilers. As I said, Ms. Hartsock, this book was a labor of love to read, and Alex was so worth it. So, I might say to the person who wishes to read a good mystery thriller, a book that tugs at your heart strings. This is The ONE!

Review by Gloria Lakritz

Sr Reviewer and Review chair of the Paranormal Romance Guild

Thanks for Stopping in.

Follow Me on Pinterest
My Grand-Daughter went to get a new portrait. 
Here is a behind the scenes preview.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

SlantedK Mysterious Book Feature-Rama

A good friend of mine, Guest Author @SlantedK
Don Porter 
Has a New Release!
"Sincerest Flattery"
Can anyone guess the feature this week?
SlantedK Mysterious Book Feature-Rama

Don G. Porter at invites you to check out his complete library. As 
always, he'll sign, ship, and pay the postage.

The deal doesn't stop there, oh no.
Mention that you heard about this @SlantedK 
and Don will take five dollars off any fifteen-dollar book 
and three dollars off any thirteen dollar book.

"Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing." ~E. L. Doctorow

Alex Price, bush pilot from Bethel, Alaska, arrives in Hawaii expecting an escape from February cold and dark to a tropical paradise and a visit with his cousin Ace. He finds Ace sitting in the living room with a bullet hole in his forehead. Most inexplicably, Ace has dyed his hair and changed his appearance so that Alex seems to be looking into a mirror.

Alex, wearing the face that Ace has stolen, realizes that the killer will assume Ace is still alive and will come back to finish the job. The ranch style house set right on the beach and the cars in the garage, all apparently paid for, tell Alex that Ace had quite a lot of money and Alex scrambles to learn where it came from. Neighbors wander in and out, including the drop dead gorgeous Melanie who swims daily, Hilda the nubile but innocent housekeeper, Babs the pineapple heiress, and Ginny, Ace’s intended.

The killer comes back; a deadly cat and mouse game covers the Island. Some Alaska style helicopter flying is needed.
"The objective of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story …
to make him/her forget, whenever possible, that he/she is reading a story at all." Stephen King

 And Now For Something Blue
The Blues, that is.
Thanks for the Visit @SlantedK.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Social Network Debate

Commercials vs. Branding
A SlantedK Production

A task of a blogger is to surf, read and read. Yes, that was simplified.
One of the writer groups I follow had an interesting conversation this week.
The bulk of the issue was the use of social networking vs. radio & promotional companies. The opinions were showing me that many individuals are not grasping some simple details of Social Media.

Two ways of classifying Social Media:
1. A platform for 24/7 commercials.
We have seen these users, have we not?

2. A platform for developing and growing your brand.
We follow these users.

The negative tone of Social Media in the discussion forum I will categorize under point #1.
They were missing the whole point of web 2.0, building your brand.

What is the difference, just fancy words for the same thing, no?


Look at point 1 as a car salesman, his focus is for you to buy the car.
His whole conversation is a pitch designed and formulated to maximize a positive sales outcome.

Lets apply point 2 as your favorite restaurant.
There are many components in play that influence your decision to spend your money with them. Good food, fair price, quality service, and personable management build something that supports returning patrons. In addition, it's a busy place because others feel the same.

Why is that?

That restaurant has worked very hard on their brand, reputation.

Since this began with a writers forum I am gonna bring the ship back around.

Comparing point 1 & 2, a writer has a new release. Which method will hold more potential to move units on a consistent basis?

1. By my book, it's a great book. Get a radio spot and score an endorsement or two.
All a positive, however, is it a lasting approach? So what if he said it was good, what do we know about him?

2. Build a foundation, grow a following and extend your reach.

Ok, nice general statement.

Fair enough.
Growing your base, tweet, blog, Facebook, Pintrest, LinkedIn and on and on…

Point 1- Slam all the aforementioned with ad after ad.

Point 2 - Blog on a regular basis, 250 words minimum. Tweet, Facebook, interact with comments, likes, cross promote, shares and Retweets. Find circles that interest you and socialize.
Write about life, your experiences, writer POV, cooking receipts and so on. Let people know what you’re all about.

Now a step by step was not the intent of this blog, to influence how one views this great tool is.

Some numbers to back up the topic.

This week I have been working on upgrading my blog to a format that will apply all the tools out there using big block Chevy horsepower. Anyway, while working on the project, tweeting, and Facebook monitoring, my mentor had a Facebook entry delivered simultaneously as a tweet. It was not a commercial, just a statement about working on Sunday.

Yeah, yeah, what are you getting at?
Ok, good question.

He is my mentor in applying point 2.
In thirteen minutes, that entry had 26 likes.
Yes, exactly.

I have been implementing the brand building project for 7 months. When I blog 5 of 7 days per week I was maintaining a 1200 visit per 30- day cycle. Since then due to other projects, I have reduced to 2-3 blogs per 7 days. The numbers reacted in same, with 650 - 725 hit average per 30-day cycle.
Is this the big time, no.

My book is in edit so I do not have sales numbers to compare to traffic, however, I can put it this way.

An author has a new book available. Every weekend he sits at a farmers market with a fine booth.

If that booth averaged 700-1200 visits per month, the potential for sales is good. It’s about having that restaurant, with a brand and reputation. It is about sustained exposure.

When you’re building a brand you are building an interest in you.  Just like that restaurant, people will spread the word.

My follower count is not big; there are however, a couple followers that every now and then like what I have to say and Retweet. That action shockwaves to over 11,000 people, don’t get me started on Tribber.

It takes time, if you put in the time it does work.

Thanks for stopping in.
A SlantedK Production


Friday, August 3, 2012

Is Your Web Site Keeping Up?

Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, LinkedIn... 
Is your site helping you manage all your tasks?
A SlantedK Production

Can your visitors see all that you have going on in one place?

I have been tossing notes out on Twitter about this topic. 
I am a New Author, 
I am a New Blogger, 
I read all the tips and instructions. 
We all strive to employ all the tips out there to market our brand. 
Now I find myself limited by my site. I am looking into a site that will do these things. 

Here is a good article. When is the right time to invest in your blog.

Facebook, Twitter and Blogs all displayed at the same place? 
(Over simplified because I am over simplified).
My site is in the infant stage, however there are samples of what I seek. 
If I am seeking such then I figure there are others out there.
As I progress, the blog will share, eh.

Take note of the bottom of this page.

The Latest Presentation 

Hey, Dave we see ya tossing this 3rd Party Media Alliance around on a regular basis. 
Yeah, it is so. If one finds something worthy of promotion, do we not promote?
Good point.
I believe in sharing the love.
And yes, the all new SlantedK will soon be on this platform. 

 We are in a World Market, does your site translate?

As always,
 SlantedK Visitors are the Best
I tip my hat to Ya'll.
I Appreciate it Guyz.

And now for something different, eh.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Part 2
Reasons Why and How to Find & Hire the Right Agent for YOU.
A SlantedK Presentation
By Rita Emmett


The real question is, “How do you find a good, reputable, ethical, hard working agent?”
  • Ask around. If you know anyone who has been published, ask who they might know. Maybe their agent isn’t accepting new talent, but they might be able to give you a lead. A referral from someone who is happy with an agent is a terrific way to find one.
  • At the library or in a bookstore, look through other books in the same category as yours and read acknowledgments for agent names. 
This will tell you several important facts.
1. because the book got published - the agent is hardworking.
2. the agent is kind of nice. The author acknowledges her or him.
3. the agent handles the same category as your book. Go get 'em!!
  • Join or attend a writer’s group and ask for leads. Call your library, local bookstore, or English department of a nearby college; they often know of local writers’ groups. Search the web. There are varieties who meet online. 
  • Search the Association of Author’s Representatives. (
  • Agents who choose NOT to belong to this organization might be unethical and might charge you to read your manuscript. Do not pay an agent to read your manuscript. Another unethical practice you might come across is an agent who says he or she charges only 10% of what your book makes (instead of the usual 15%), but they will charge $300 (or more) per year for marketing and mailing costs. If you pay $300 in exchange for that 5%, do the math. Three hundred dollars is 5% of $6,000. Your book would have to earn an additional 6 grand in order for that 5% your agent is “giving up” to total $300. With this deal, your agent could sit around doing absolutely nothing or work at a full time job doing something else, while collecting $300 per year from a whole bunch of hopeful authors. Be careful.
  • Search online at and
  • Writer’s Market ( This books comes out every year. It lists book publishers, magazines and literary agents and tells you what subjects they deal with, their requirements and information about their pay rates, royalties and advances. The book costs $29.99 (US). 
Most libraries have a copy but it’s a reference book so you have to work with it there, you can’t check it out.  You can also find all this information on line, but I’m a “low-tech woman in this high-tech world” and haven’t figured out how to do that or how much it costs.
One more great thing about this book is that in the front are all kinds of articles about how to approach agents or publishers. I spent a few Sunday afternoons at the library reading these articles from several previous years’ Writer’s Markets, and it was a terrific mini-education.

  • Look through Insider’s Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents by Jeff Herman or Literary Agents: A Writer’s Guide by Adam Begley

Before you ever search for an agent, please understand that this is NOT a situation where you "run your idea past her" and ask "So waddya think? Will that be a good book?"
You need to believe in your book with all your heart and soul, and you have to persuade that agent to believe in it also. That way, the agent can start trying to persuade publishers to believe in your book. But the belief, the conviction, the passion must all begin with you.

First, do your homework.
  • If you’ve never taken a writing class and you think you need to brush up on grammar, punctuation or something, do it.  You don't have to pay for College credits. You can take a continuing education course OR ask your local library to offer a writing class.
  • Know formatting. What is single spaced (your letter) or double spaced (your proposal or manuscript), how your margins are set, and so forth. This is something else you’d learn in a writing class or it is spelled out in any writer’s guidebook. I used The Author’s Handbook by Peterson & Kesselman-Turkel, but it’s old and might be out of print. If you don’t own a good writer’s guidelines book, ask your reference librarian or someone in a writers’ group to recommend one. Buy it. Keep it nearby. Use it.
  • Everything you send must be professional & tightly written on clean, good quality paper, 12 point type (Don't try to "trick them" by using a smaller font; !2 pt  is easier on the eyes)
  • Track down names (don’t send to “Dear Agent”) and make sure everything is spelled correctly, especially the names.
  • Before anything, go to their web site. They will tell you how they want you to approach them -- by phone, text, email or snail mail. Read what they want and give them what they want. 
  • Always include an SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) if they want it snail mailed.. Some consider it to be a nice gesture to paper-clip the stamps to the envelope, so if they decide to NOT return it (that’s a good thing!) they can use your stamps for something else.
  • You have the right to ask for names of happy customers. Call them and see what their experiences with this agent have been.
  • Learn about query letters. Study them on line, in class, in a writer's group. Read articles about how to write one. Some of us feel that we spent as much time on our query letter as we did writing the book. That may be an exaggeration, but those of us who say that are the ones who persuaded an agent to represent us. And it is the query that does that job.

That's it. I hope this helps you have a better idea of what agents do and don't do, how to select one, and how to approach them. Wishing you every success in writing.
Rita Emmett
Don't consider your wastebasket to be an enemy 
who gobbles up your important data; 
consider it to be a friend who must be 
nurtured and fed.
A SlantedK Presentation
By Rita Emmett

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