Tips 'N Treats: Week 11

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My Tip

This week, I want to talk a bit about places to find people for your manuscript. I see a lot of posts asking for publishers or agents, and my first answer is always “do your homework.” If you’re writing a thriller, search for agents who represent thrillers. Same goes for any other genre/readership. If you’re writing a thriller, don’t submit to an agent or publisher who only wants speculative fiction (unless it’s a fantasy or sci-fi thriller).

Disclaimer: No matter where you might find an agent or editor/publisher, always check back at the agency/company website for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Now, where to find these people. You can search on Publisher’s Marketplace. Many agents and publishers have listings there. Other possibilities include Poets and Writers Literary Agent Database and QueryTracker. QueryTracker requires an account, but it’s free, and you can search by genre, by who’s open to submissions, and even see who else an agent represents.

Agents and publishers will list at least their genres on their site (we’re seeking [insert genre here]). Some will go into more detail: “I want fairy tales with [X, Y, and z] elements.” Some do this on their agency/company site. Others maintain a blog or personal website with their wish list. And then there’s the Manuscript Wish List, a place for gatekeepers to list what they want. Some are very specific. Some say they want the next [insert movie/book title here]. Some say they want a combination of this and that story. You can browse by genre and then click on an individual’s page to find out what they want. You can also follow the #MSWL hashtag on Twitter.

Bottom line: There are all kinds of ways to find the perfect agent/publisher for your project. It takes some research and time, but what doesn’t? Happy hunting!

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This week’s posts:

Monday: STORMBREAKER by Matt Sconce
Thursday: UNREST by Victor Arteaga

Guest Tip

This week, I’m pleased to welcome Sara Potter to Tips ‘N Treats. Sara is an editor, proofreader, and copywriter specializing in helping bloggers with all their copy needs. She’s spent her life writing and has been the go-to person for writing and editing needs for most of her career, which has been outside of publishing in fields like finance, medical education, and most recently in higher education administration. She recently opened Spotter Editing Services to help other writers polish their work and tell their stories. She lives in rural Michigan with her family and enjoys spending time outdoors, especially in the Michigan summers! Connect with her on Facebook at Spotter Editing Services or by email at She’s here today to discuss writer’s block and how to cope with it. Onward to the post…

I’d like to talk about the dreaded writer’s block. I know some have some very strong opinions on how “real” this particular phenomenon is, but as someone who is no stranger to the terror of staring down a blank page, I do believe that some of us do experience this. I’ve come to rely on a few strategies to help me through though. Even when working on a deadline, these can help you to refresh and return to the page with a clearer head.

Take a break. Sometimes physically walking away from your desk, screen, or notebook and doing something else for 10 or 15 minutes is enough to allow you to come back with a clear head. I also like to take a break from the topic I’m writing on as well. To help with this, I use social media as a force of good and follow several accounts on Instagram that post daily writing prompts. They range from plot suggestions to open ended questions. Writing for a few minutes on something outside of your chosen topic can help cleanse the palate and allow you to return to your original thoughts.

Write a different section. Sometimes we get stuck on one particular scene or thought. I find when that happens, simply moving to a different section of whatever I’m writing allows me to return to the original section with more clarity than I had before. I find this works with a whole host of writing projects. In college, I often wrote my term papers from end to beginning.

Getting stuck happens to every writer, but the key is not letting it derail you and figuring out a way to power through.

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