Mystery, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, horror & YA by "Cheryl Kaye Tardif" & romance by "Cherish D'Angelo". Cheryl is represented by Trident Media Group in NY.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Advice to Aspiring Authors

Today I received an email from an aspiring writer and I thought I would share it with you, and share my reply.

Ms. Tardif,
I have just completed my first manuscript and I am looking for some advice. I write in the same genres as your novels and I was wondering what I should do. As a Canadian writer, should I seek representation for my
work, or go directly to publishing houses? Should I go with a smaller publisher, just to get my foot in the door? Any advice you can give me would be helpful. Thanks.

My reply:
Hi L:
Congratulations on completing your first ms!! You should be proud of yourself. Many people start a ms, but never finish.

There are a number of things you should do or consider.
  • Pick up a copy of Writer's Market and Canadian Writer's Market. You can get these at Amazon or Indigo or your local book store. These are valuable resources for a writer, with listings for publishers, agents, magazines and more.
  • Join a local writer's group...something that meets monthly.
  • Join your local chapter of the Writers Guild. If you live in Alberta go to If you're in another province, check online.
  • Join CWC-Crime Writers of Canada at
  • Get a membership at to promote you as an author and your books as they come out. The Gold Adz package gives you unlimited book ads. You should start now in building an internet identity. Don't wait for your first published book. It shows you're a serious, dedicated writer when someone can type your name in a search engine and find direct listings to your site, blog and other links. See this Article!
  • Learn how to write an awesome query letter. Take a course or learn from online sources.
  • Email publishers only if they say they will accept e-queries.
  • Try to get your work critiqued by a professional writer, avid reader with writing skills, editor, etc. Try to have someone read at least the first 3-5 chapters and give you their professional opinion...friends and family don't count. It is often worth paying for this service! Don't send your manuscript out until you've had someone else look at it.
  • Pick up a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. This is my "bible" of sorts, although I don't agree with everything the authors say, it's a must-have.
  • Contact agents with query letters.
  • Consider your publishing options. More authors are deciding to use POD (Print on demand) publishers such as Trafford or iUniverse or Infinity. I chose this route and have been extremely successful, with the highest most consistent book sales during signings in Edmonton from all local authors. My 2003 debut novel has already received movie interest and has recently been picked up by a traditional publisher. And they are considering two other novels. Check out this article: If you go this route of self-publishing, make sure you have your work edited by at least 2 professionals. You have one chance with a debut to catch your readers and start building a fan base.
  • You should be contacting agents AND publishers...only those that accept multiple submissions. Try to send out at least one query a week. And while you wait...edit, EDIT, EDIT!
I hope this helps. If you're from Alberta, check out and get listed.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Canadian Mystery Author
Whale Song, The River, and Divine Intervention

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