Last month we had our first meetup this season after a long period of summer break from the Rome Blogger meetups. The topic of the month was publishing and we were able to have Tiffany Parks, author, writer, and podcaster, come speak to our group about everything to do with the world of publishing!
It was a packed house that evening as we all gathered at The Beehive Hostel to discuss publishing. Tiffany Parks, our November speaker, originally from Seattle, WA moved to Rome in 2004 as a lifelong dream to live in the eternal city. She currently works as a travel writer at Where Rome Magazine, is publishing her first book, Midnight in the Piazza in March of 2018, and also co-hosts the podcast, The Bittersweet Life. It was our pleasure to have Tiffany join us that evening.
During this meetup, we discussed the following: releasing a book, revising/editing a manuscript, tips on how to land a literary agent, and what to expect from the publishing process.
“Writing is a craft that is better the more you practice“.
Tiffany explains that although we may not always be bursting with inspiration everyday, it is very important to get words on paper(or on a computer) on a daily basis. Not all the material you will write will be good, but the important thing is to practice and you will get better and better with time. Writing daily helps with writing good material, eventually “bad words” will lead to good words. Find out what environment for you is good for writing- is it your home, a coffee shop, etc. Do you need an accountability partner?
“Twitter is great as a virtual community for writers“.
Tiffany recently participated in the popular NaNoWriMo, a writing event where the challenge is to draft an entire novel in just 30 days. During this month, Tiffany was writing away trying to reach her goal of 50,000 words. She explains that the most recent book she is going to publish, actually took just as much time revising as it took her to write it. She definitely recommends getting an agent, as they are worth it, although it may take time to get a well-known agent.
When writing for a specific age group, make sure to research the word count for that group and try to stick with the lower range of that word count as agents typically don’t like seeing high word counts from new authors. When submitting the manuscript, the books should always be in the right format. First five pages of a manuscript are the most important because this is what will catch the agent’s attention.
“A query letter is very important. Consider hiring a freelance agent to check every query letter“.
It’s important to send out query letters in small batchs and personalize them to the agent to whom you are sending it to. Query tracker and Writers Digest are both 2 great websites to use to help in the process of finding an agent. You could also try to find similar books as the one you are writing and pitch to those agents as well. Also, make sure agents are open to unsolicited manuscripts since they receive more than 200 queries per day. A query letter should never be any longer than 4 paragraphs- think of it as your business letter and better written than your actual book!
Tiffany was really able to capture the audience’s attention with her passion for writing and finding inspiration daily in Rome. Be sure to check our her personal website to pre-order her book that will be out March 6, 2018.
Our next Rome Bloggers meetup is happening tomorrow evening at Peaky Blinders cocktail bar, you can find all the details on it here. Be sure to check out all of our past meetups here if you’d like to see what topics have been discussed before. Also, make sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and join our Facebook group to be in the know of any future events and meetups!
We hope to see you at the next one!