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Traditional Publishing or Self Publishing?

Traditional Publishing or Self Publishing? LisaNolan.com

Traditional Publishing or Self Publishing? That is the question that is on the minds of many bloggers including bloggers like Lisa Newlin of lisanewlin.com. She posed the question in my Facebook group, Publishing Bloggers, and she got an amazing and intricate response from many of the author bloggers there including Crystal Ponti of The Motherhood of All Meltdowns, Jen Mann of I Just Want to Pee Alone and I Just Want to be Alone , Norine Dworkin McDaniel of the Science of Parenthood, and myself. So here is our discussion in all its glory (with permission from the participants)! Hopefully it will help you as you consider how to get published as a blogger.

Lisa Newlin: Has anyone gone the traditional publishing route by looking for an agent? I'm exploring my options and thought I'd ask. I don't know the first thing about publishing or getting an agent!

Lisa Nolan to Lisa Newlin: I think the best way to connect with agents is at/through a writer's conference. I did this two years in a row (three and four years ago). I went to a local children's writers and illustrators conference (in the San Francisco Bay Area) where you can pay extra to have a one on one with an agent, an editor from a publishing house, etc. A writer's conference in general is a great way to network! I'm tagging Jen Mann so maybe she can share her agent story with you! She has an agent. So does Norine Dworkin-Mcdaniel.
Norine Dworkin-Mcdaniel: American Society of Journalists and Authors also lists agents by specialty. You might also check the acknowledgements sections of books you like -- the author's agent is always thanked in there!

Lisa Newlin: Thanks ladies! So how do I go about finding the agent? Did you guys do query letters and have a chapter or two done?

Norine Dworkin-Mcdaniel: Every agent wants submissions differently. Some have a form to fill out on their site. Some want regular hard copy mail. Some want a pitch first and if they respond, then you send chapters. Some want the first 10 pages … or first 30 pages. The thing to do is to go to the agents' websites -- often an agency has a whole slew of agents who specialize in different genres. Go to their sites and see how their agents prefer submissions. You should also check out the site QueryShark for invaluable info on how to craft your query letter. QS is mainly for fiction. But the advice transfers to nonfiction, humor, memoir, etc. The Shark is blunt, but people who follow get results. Shark is a real agent so she's in the trenches and the slush pile every day.  I'm happy to share my query letter with you privately. When I sent out my queries, two agents nibbled.

Jen Mann: My way was a bit off kilter. I sent you an email Lisa Newlin. I targeted agents who rep authors that I either like or resemble or would like to resemble. I already had a Big 5 publisher on the hook, so my queries were a bit