Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get my book picked up by a traditional publishing house?
The short answer: You better work, work.
The long answer: First, you write a book! I know this seems like a rather obvious answer, but you cannot get published without a humongous stack of words you can call your own. Once you write said book, you should probably hand it over to some critique partners who can tell you all of the things to fix about it. Then you should fix those things. (Revising is the heart of writing after all.)
After you rewrite the entire book and run it through your critique partners again, you’re probably ready to start searching for a literary agent. Most major publishing houses won’t even look at manuscripts that aren’t represented by a literary agent, plus agents are really handy when it comes to negotiating contracts, so the 15% commission you hand over to them is worth it. You usual snag an agent by crafting a query, which is basically a cover letter for your book. (I write more about my initial query process with my first agent HERE).
Before you start sending off this letter willy-nilly, you need to research and make lists of agents you think would be a good fit for your novel and desired career path. For example, if you write YA fantasy, you probably shouldn’t be querying agents for represent non-fiction and adult thrillers. There’s an entire database of agents on QueryTracker.net as well as a fantastic tool to keep track of your querying process. Once you send out the letters you cross your fingers and start writing another book in the meantime. If an agent is piqued by your query, they’ll request the manuscript. If they read your book, love it and believe whole-heartedly that they can sell it, they’ll offer representation. If you accept, you’ll probably do more revisions for them before they send it off to a select list of editors. You cross your fingers and wait again.
Now get to work!
Can you read my book/recommend me to your agent?
I don’t read unpublished manuscripts (I’m too busy chipping away at my bedside table stack/reading my critique partners’ work/writing my own stuff). And I don’t recommend things to my agent unless I’ve read them.
Is IRON TO IRON available in non-e-book format?
Yes! It is! Though IRON TO IRON, the novella that details the Axis Tour of 1955 from the WOLF BY WOLF series was originally publish solely as an e-book, it has been printed in full as bonus content in the US versions of the BLOOD FOR BLOOD paperback.
Is there a BLOOD FOR BLOOD cover that matches the updated WOLF BY WOLF paperback?
Unfortunately, no. Not at the moment. If there is ever a reprint of the BLOOD FOR BLOOD paperback, I believe that the new blue cover will be the design of choice, but for now they don't match. A pain for one's bookshelves, I know.
Where do you get your ideas for your novels?
Anywhere. Everywhere. Most of my works have been inspired by traveling. Which is why I love to globe-hop whenever I can! The ALL THAT GLOWS series was inspired by my time in and around London. THE WALLED CITY was based heavily on my travels through Asia. WOLF BY WOLF has a scene that originated on a visit to Yangshuo, China. But inspiration can happen closer to home as well! THE WORLD BETWEEN BLINKS was inspired by the Morris Island Light--a lighthouse jutting out of the middle of the sea only a few minutes from my house!
History is another big source of inspiration for me. The past is often much wilder and weirder than most of us give it credit for. For example, did you know that blue hair was all the rage in Paris in 1914? Or that the VW Bug was personally designed by Adolf Hitler himself? I love unearthing the stranger chapters and reshaping them into pages of my own.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I travel. Read. Teach my children basic life survival skills. Go to church. Bake bread. Scour thrift stores. Try to plant a garden. Think about writing.