Thursday, February 05, 2009

Can Openers - What Kind Do You Use?

Why do you use a can opener?
To open a can.

What kind do you use, electric or manual?
Either will work. It depends on circumstances. If the electricity is on, it's easier to go electric. Otherwise, the manual will do just as well to get the job done.

There are many ways to get a book published. Which method works best for you depends on your circumstances.

If you can get to a conference and pitch or if you can win a contest with the prize being an editor, agent or publisher reading your manuscript, the process will go smoother.

If those options are not available, you can still rely on the tried and true methods of following guidelines and submitting a query, proposal or partial, depending on requirements. If you're talented and fortunate, you'll advance to the next round, which is submitting a full manuscript.

I'm going the electric route this weekend at the Love is Murder conference, where I'll pitch to editors, agents and publishers.

What about you? Which do you do? Go to conferences and pitch? Enter Contests? Make snail mail submissions? Or all of these?


  1. The answer to your question is: Yes. (All are worth trying and I've tried them all.) Good luck at the conference - I will be thinking of you. I've been on both ends -- attending and running the conference.

    And the answer to the other question - I use a manual can opener.


  2. Hmm, my can opener is very, very old. LOL

    I would love to go to conferences but figure that'll have to be later, when my kiddos are older. We'll see.
    I did final in one contest a year ago and got a request. That was exciting stuff. :-)
    For querying agents, I'm going tried and true. :-)

  3. Hey Morgan,
    just stopping in to say, my can opener is an electric one, but I hate it. The noise it makes just GRATES on my nerves. Have a great day!

  4. Manual can opener - I'm noise adverse, too (or at least that's the excuse I use for why I don't vacuum more often). I was published after winning a contest, but have to say I made the finals in a dozen contests and didn't get even a single manuscript read out of those. I've done the pitches and snail (and email) submissions also, but I know more people who have been bought or represented via agents/editors pitches than anything else. So good luck on your appointment!!

  5. Manual can opener. I don't see the point of having yet another small appliance to clutter my counter tops.

    As for trying to get published...I'm not there yet. :) I plan to stick to the querying route though.

  6. Manual can opener for me, too. Although when I make something can-intensive like chili (tomatoes, beans, jalapenos) I wish for an electric one.

    I used email submissions. Saved a lot of trees (and postage).

    Congratulations on your P&E finish and good luck at the conference!

  7. Anonymous10:55 AM

    Mine is a manual. Except for one or two online magazines I haven't submitted any work in years. I think NFG magazine in Canada was my last printed piece.

  8. Manual all the way! LOL! And as for publishing... I'm going the easy agent route. She has the contacts, she knows how to fix it, she takes care of it all.. wahoo! My whole job is to write and be patient! LOL!

    But getting the agent was 50 e-queries sent over a 2 month time.

  9. Anonymous11:18 AM

    I've always been the manual guy so far. But I have a goal of getting to at least one conference this year. Have fun and good luck with the one you're going to!

  10. I use a manual can opener.

    I've done both conference pitches and mail (snail and e) queries. For me the mail queries work best. After all, the agent is still representing my work, not me and will only make a decision after reading my material. Every time I pitched to an agent, I ended up sending a query and a partial, the only difference being that the envelope said "requested material" and the query reminded the agent of where we met. In looking over the stats for the ultimately successful campaign to get an agent for my latest book, I find that five personal pitches ended up with one request for a full (20% success rate) compared to 72 mail queries that produced 7 requests for full (10% success rate.) However, the cost to attend one of those conferences where I pitched was more than the total cost of postage of all queries and submissions.

    The agent I ended up with? My initial query and all subsequent contacts were by e-mail. So unlike a can opener, you can't get by with just one.

  11. Love the can opener analogy! I also love the title of the conference - Love is Murder! I can't wait to hear all about it!

  12. Gee, Morgan, at first I was going to jump on you for stealing from my post the other day when I was pitching a bitching fit about the can openers in this house. (No, not really, I wouldn't do that to you.) But then I see you used this as an analogy to breaking into publishing. Neat segue, my friend.

  13. God the options available out there can make a girls head spin. I actually had a ms I'd put to the side out of frustration when Samhain announced a submission call.

    So I went with the query and submission (electronic route as they are an e-pub) though I look forward to trying some of the other methods you spoke of. We shall see in time. Good luck Morgan!

  14. Come to the UK and do a signing. This is not a request, it's an order. ;)

  15. also, I can't get your books on amazon UK. :(

  16. Electric is good, it's so modern and sleek, and everyone's doing it. I also like classic/traditional as well. There's nothing like the power of a manual can-opener when a storm knocks the power out for 5 days in a row!

  17. I tried them all but ended up meeting my publisher through a writer's association we both belonged to. Good luck at the conference.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  18. Have a super time at Love is Murder, which I was going!



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