Charles Martin has written some well-crafted novels depicting both beauty and pain. My favorite of his first several books is When Crickets Cry: A Novel of the Heart, which I placed in our church library. Another one I enjoyed was Where the River Ends, which I reviewed here. I look forward to reading his newer novels: The Mountain Between Us, Thunder and Rain, and Unwritten, scheduled for release in April. Martin shares an excerpt from it here.
Yesterday Martin posted on his blog some advice on getting published that can benefit any writer seeking publication. I’d recommend his second point, attending writers conference, as an initial step instead of first cold calling agents. It seems more logical to begin by networking at a writers conference, but apparently his research and phoning method worked well for him.
Martin’s suggestions for preparation apply to writers conferences as well as to calling agents. You need to concisely introduce yourself and describe your work whether talking to an agent or editor. Remember that they are busy people. They don’t want to carry around a lot of paper at a conference, so don’t try to hand them your first chapter. If they’re interested, they’ll ask you to email them. Follow through by sending what they request as soon as possible. Bear in mind that they receive a constant stream of proposals. In your cover email, remind them of when and where you met. Take time to craft your proposal as carefully as your novel. If your proposal is poorly written, why would they even bother to read your first chapter?
If you haven’t read any of Charles Martin’s book, I recommend staring with When Crickets Cry. You will too.