Happy Sunday and I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend! Did everyone remember to set their clocks ahead one hour? As the wife of a firefighter, I feel the need for a quick PSA: please make sure you change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. They really do save lives. End of PSA.
For those who are new to my blog, let's catch you up to speed quickly. I have written a cozy mystery called Murder By The Books (just the first in a series), and I'm trying to get it published. It's always been my dream to see a book of mine on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. I think my name would look great right there between Ellery Adams and Laura Childs.
I kept the fact that I was writing a book a secret for quite awhile. The only ones I let in on the secret were my husband and my two closest friends. After the novel was finished, I decided to tell my family about it. At first, I think they were stunned into silence, and in my family that's not easy to do. Then, we played Twenty Questions like what kind of book is it, how long have you been working on this, are we in it, and can we read it. After satisfying their curiousity, I think it was my dad who asked the most inportant question, "How does all this work?"
Ironically, that was the same question I'd asked myself in July of 2018 when I wrote the final chapter of the book. I had absolutely NO idea how to get a book published. So I did what everyone does when they have a burning question-I Googled it. That proved to be an epic mistake. I got more information and opinions than I knew what to do with. I decided I needed some expert advice.
Thankfully, I had a high school classmate who herself was a published author, and she was more than willing to help a newbie to the literary world muddle her way through.
Thank you, Kelly. She spent over an hour with me on the phone one afternoon answering all my questions and imparting her sage advice. There were many follow-up emails and FB messages, and then I was on my way!
In a nutshell (so you are not mind-numbingly bored), here's what she told me to do.First, I needed to research and query agents from reputable literary agencies. There are tons of websites to help you find the right agent for the genre you've written. Once I had a list of agents that might be interested in my novel, I had to write a query letter.
I had no idea what a query letter was, so Kelly to the rescue again. She held my hand through this process as well. A query letter is simply a pitch to the agent about you and your book. It should include your bio, a brief outline of the storyline, and why you believe your book will be attractive to publishers and readers alike. After writing about a hundred different versions, I settled on five that I kept on my computer in a file labeled Literary Notes. This file also contains a synopsis of my book, an indepth bio, and my long list of agents queried, Different agents ask for different things when you query them, so it's best to delete nothing, save everything. Needless to say, this file takes up a lot of space on my
Ok, enough about this querying process for today. I'll save the rest for future blogs.
Now, I'm hoping you've been looking forward to another teaser from my book, and I'm happy to oblige.
Excerpt from Murder By The Books:
The next few hours flew by in a haze of hard work, good food, and lots of laughter. Jillian’s mother and Aunt Grace had returned with a new printer and enough food to feed a small army. This was fortunate since the rest of Jillian’s family and friends stopped in at some point during the afternoon. They enjoyed the delicious food from The Corner Deli, and then they stayed to help her finish up some last minute details on the bookstore. Everyone pitched in to get it ready for tonight’s grand opening.
“This place looks incredible, Jilly. You’ve done an amazing job! Your bookstore is going to be a huge success.” Becca praised her best friend and gave her a big hug.
“Thanks, Becca,” Jillian smiled giving her friend a quick squeeze. “I couldn’t agree with you more.”
The finished product really did look amazing, and it exceeded all of Jillian’s expectations. The entire store was bathed in a soft glow from the twinkle of all the fairy lights draped around the Main Room and the smaller adjoining rooms of the store. Fresh flowers were
spectacularly arranged and had been artfully placed around the store. They provided both a colorful punch and an aromatic scent for the evening. Jillian’s sister’s bakery had been busy preparing large silver platters full of sweet treats to tempt the taste buds of tonight’s guests. There would be raspberry punch for the children and champagne cocktails for the adults.
Jillian took one more look around the room to ensure that everything was perfect for the big night. The newly installed bookshelves were packed full of books. All of the pint-size comfy chairs were arranged around small reading tables and placed in cozy nooks. Bright fabrics and soft pillows filled the space and made it look both inviting and happy. She wanted the children to feel welcome to wander around the store choosing books that interested them, and then have a warm, cozy place to sit and read. Everything looked just right.
Now, it was time for Jillian to go and make herself presentable for her grand opening. She thanked her family and friends for their help, and began moving then all toward the door. Amidst the laughter and friendly chitchat, they all promised to see her soon. Smiling to herself, it was time to round up her pups and head for home.
“C’mon girls. We need to go. Mama needs to get home and make herself presentable for the evening. I can’t show up to my own grand opening covered in yellow paint. What would people think?”
Thanks for joining me today. I really appreciate the company. I'd love to hear from you all, so please take a few moments to leave a comment or ask a question that I can answer in a future blog. I'll be sure to give credit to anyone I hear from.
Until next time,