This post, by Bobbi Dumas, originally appeared on The How To Write Shop.
Last month, I mentioned buying a Writer’s Market as a first step to making money as a writer, and this month I’m going to expand on that tip a little.
But first, a cautionary tale.
A few years ago, I met an artist (we’ll call her Kelly) who was working on illustrating a children’s book written by a friend of hers. Being fairly new in town, I decided to invite a few women to lunch to get to know them better. One of these was Kelly; another was a writer we’ll call Maureen, a published non-fiction author.
A few weeks after the lunch, Maureen called me up and hesitantly asked me if I knew that Kelly had sent her an email asking to be introduced to her agent.
Mortified, I assured her that I did not know she’d done this, and that I would let Kelly know that this wasn’t appreciated. (I realized that she must have used the email address from the group email I’d sent with details for the lunch.)
I called Kelly and gently told her that this was out of line on a number of levels. First of all, I know a bunch of writers, personally, and I would think long and hard before I ever asked any of them to introduce me to an agent. Generally that’s the type of thing that’s offered, not asked for. It’s professional etiquette.
Secondly, Kelly and her friend were novices in the publishing field. They had no idea where to start or what to do. During the conversation, I gave her a slew of advice. She was interested in children’s book publishers, so I directed her to SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Editors). I told her about the Writer’s Market, a great resource for beginners, since it offered a lot of “how-to” information (writing query letters, time management, negotiation, pitches, etc.) as well as resources on actual markets.