It’s been almost a year since we launched this project, and in that time our amazing contributors have covered revision prep, character, setting, voice, world building, story structure, and pacing. We’ve gathered querying tips from next year’s group of debut authors and had a crash-course on building a writing community. We’re so thankful to those of you who have followed along over the past eleven months, and we hope this blog has helped you revise with confidence (or at least more confidence than you had before) and given you the tools to make your manuscript shine.
Now that we’ve covered everything we set out to cover (check out our table of contents for a list of every BYOM post!), it’s time to bring Be Your Own Mentor to a close. The site will remain up indefinitely for you to use and learn from, and we hope you’ll continue to come back to it when you need a little extra help. But before we go, we wanted to leave you with some of our favorite resources, places that have been invaluable to us as we’ve been on our own journeys.
So, in no particular order, here are some of our favorite resources for:
You’ll notice we didn’t spend a ton of time on querying here. That’s because there are a ton of amazing resources already out there. Here are some we love:
- Query Shark. If you’re new to writing a query, scour this website before you start! Query Shark is run by literary agent Janet Reid, and it gives general help on how to write and revise a query. This site is a wealth of knowledge, so take your time, read the archives, and pay attention to the feedback that comes up time and time again. If you do that, you’ll have a great understanding on how to write your own.
- Absolute Write. The Absolute Write forums are a great place to spend time when you’re researching agents. If an agent is a “schmagent” or engages in bad business practice, it’ll typically be here.
- Publishers Marketplace. PM is expensive ($25/month), but if you can swing it, it’s another great resource when researching agents. Most agents will have a dealmakers page where you can see all the deals they’ve made, what kind of books they’re selling, and what kind of pub houses they’re selling to. You can also cancel your membership at any time, so you become a member for one month, research your agents, and cancel once you’ve gotten the information you needed.
- #MSWL. Manuscript Wishlist was started by literary agent Jessica Sinsheimer as a way for agents and editors to easily answer the question “What do you wish you had in your inbox?”. Many agents tweet using the #MSWL hashtag as well as having profiles on the actual website. It’s a great resource and can help you narrow your querying list to agents who not only accept the category/genre you write, but also who sound like a good fit based on their personal tastes.
- Query Tracker. QT is a free website that where you can find agents to query, but I found it most useful for doing what it was named for: tracking queries. It allows you to make a “to query” list, then you can update each agent when you send a query, when you hear back, what kind of response they gave you, etc. It’s a GREAT place to keep track of everything, especially if you aren’t someone who is going to be making spreadsheets on their own.
- You’ve read Query Shark, done your research, sent your queries, and an agent read and loved your book and has requested a phone call! Hooray! But now what? Literary agent Jim McCarthy has a great post on questions to ask a prospective agent. No agent is better than a bad one, so make sure you’re comfortable with their answers and they seem like a good fit for you and your career.
- The Daily Dahlia. This is author Dahlia Adler’s blog, and it’s an amazing resource for so many different things in publishing. If you haven’t checked it out, we highly suggest you do! Specif to querying, she has some great posts, such as Querying and Best Practices, as well as an awesome two-parter on Nudging and Multiple Offers.
How to Write a Synopsis:
Ah, the dreaded synopsis. Fear not! There are some great resources that’ll walk you through how to write a good one.
- This amazing post on the Pub(lishing) Crawl blog written by Susan Dennard.
- This post on 6 steps for writing a book synopsis by Marissa Meyer.
- And finally, this post from Jane Friedman on why the synopsis is important, what it needs to accomplish, and some common pitfalls.
The Publishing Industry:
- Pub(lishing) Crawl. This blog covers all things writing and publishing, by a group of authors and industry professionals.
- Susan Dennard’s blog. Seriously. Along with The Daily Dahlia, Susan’s blog is an absolute WEALTH of knowledge, on everything from the publishing industry to writing to revising to craft and everything in between. It’s a must-read.
If you decide that, along with being your own mentor, you want to enter a mentoring contest, here are the two we love:
Podcasts we love:
- 88 Cups of Tea. Hosted by Yin Chang, this podcast is all about storytelling. It’s inspiring, informative, and so encouraging.
- Write or Die. Hosted by authors Claribel Ortega and Kat Cho, this podcast shares real stories from authors on what it takes to get published.
Thank you again to our amazing contributors and readers! This was a total passion project for us, and we’re absolutely thrilled that so many of you decided to follow along. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Rachel Griffin is the co-creator of BYOMentor and writes YA novels about magic, hard choices, and (oftentimes) kissing. She is represented by Elana Roth Parker of Laura Dail Literary. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram, or on her website, www.rachelgriffinbooks.com
Rosiee Thor is the co-creator of BYOMentor and the author of the YA novel TARNISHED ARE THE STARS, forthcoming from Scholastic in 2019. You can follow her on twitter at @rosieethor or on her website, www.rosieethor.com