Why Amazon & BN reviews matter

I had a reader ask me why the Amazon & BN reviews matter… 

dreamstime free

I’ve noticed you’ve been pushing for more reviews…the book club thing and periodic requests for reviews, etc on twitter, FB.  I don’t ever pay attention to them.  I ask friends or go to blogs.  Store reviews just don’t matter to me.  What’s the big deal?

Well, bottom line… they are a very big deal.

I can’t claim a lot of hard knowledge on this but these are some of the things I’ve discovered with selfpublishing.  The number of reviews I received on Blade Song helped get me some of the ‘promo’ deals, like the daily deals, which actually benefits readers, too.

But again, this is just stuff that’s either been my experience or things I’ve learned in workshops, etc.  None of this has come straight from the horse’s (Amazon/BN’s) mouth.

Reviews at Amazon and BN add up to two key things:

  • ‘discoverability’
  • ‘promo’ offerings from online retailers offer (sales, etc)


So what’s with the ‘promo’ thing and what does that matter?

The promo thing translates to sales…and who doesn’t like sales, right?

X number of reviews can lead to things like

  • ‘daily deals’
  • ‘gold box’
  • other stuff

 Reviews alone aren’t going to get the daily deals, gold box deals, etc.  The majority of the reviews need to be positive.  Your pub has to push for the deal, there’s wrangling and hassling, etc.  I didn’t do any of it to get the daily deal… Inscribe did it all for.

But it’s not just the promo thing.  Increased reviews leads to increased discoverability.  You show up in search results more…people who looked at this also looked at…etc, I think.

If people aren’t seeing your book, they can’t buy your book.

Once you hit X amount of reviews on Amazon (and I think BN), you move into a different ‘algorithm’ which means your books show up more on book searches.  When your books pop up, more people see them.  If your books aren’t popping up a lot, then people can’t see them to buy them.  Decreased book sales will eventually lead to your publisher deciding not to renew your contracts…and that leads to canceled series.  Which has happened to me twice.

Yes, the readers looking for you will find you, but the casual buyer?  Not so much.  The browsing days in a bookstore are fading so the discoverability factor for online shoppers is becoming crucial.

The market is getting tough and yes, reviews are important, more now than ever.  You don’t have to be a professional reviewer… just say…hey, I liked this book and here is why.  Or even…this book didn’t appeal as much…and this is why.  I don’t want to be that author who is constantly begging for reviews, but if you enjoy a book of mine, if you feel inclined to leave a review, posting it to Amazon or BN is a huge help and I very much appreciate it.  :)



Do you have Qs?

I think I need to update my FAQ page…


I’m getting a bunch of the same ones…


Are you writing a series about Zach’s brothers?

What happened to Puck?  

Are you seriously making us waiting until 2014 for Broken Blade?

Is/Why can’t the Kit books be audio?  

Why don’t you have more books in audio? Is Stolen part of a series?

These are the normal ones.

Do you have more? Leave them in comments.  If there’s a theme, I’ll send about updating or adding a second FAQ page.



Randoms Qs… answered

Just a post of random Qs I’ve been getting alot…


Highly unlikely.  I just finished it.  It now has to go to the editor 1. Come back to me. Go back to her.  Come back to me. Go to copyeditor.  I’d like to find another copyeditor. I might ask for a couple of select beta readers who are very good at finding typos.  It needs cover art.  It needs a blurb.  It needs to get uploaded to the distribution platforms and reviews.  All of this takes time.  All of this is important, on my end, because in order for me to be able to continue these books, they have to do well, and this is the process that has worked so far, so I can’t skip these steps.  I’m sorry.

Will the Kit books come to audio/be in print?

They will be released in print.  Book 1 is already in print.  The second book is in progress, will hopefully be ready in mid-March, April at the latest.

Audio?  Not very likely. From what I’ve been told, most audio pubs don’t tend to take on indie titles and I’ve self pubbed these books. I’d love to see it happen, but I’m not going to bet on it.  I’m sorry.  I can’t do it myself…I’ve looked into it and it’s financially just not feasible (I’d have to mortgage a kidney if I wanted to do it right).

Will WRECKED be in audio?

I’d love for that to happen!  So far…it hasn’t.

Will there be more FBI psychics?

Yes…two this year, actually…there’s a novella coming from Samhain, called THE UNWANTED (more on that later) and THE PROTECTED.

Will you be at …. (Romantic Times, RWA, Lori Foster’s, Authors After Dark, RomCon etc, etc, etc)?

I will be at RT…you can find me in the bar, at this panel, at the indie expo and at the book fair.  Tweet me! I’m @shilohwalker.

I will be at Lori Foster’s… always!

I don’t know about Nationals…I’m still trying to decide.

I won’t be at Authors After Dark… I’ve tried to get on the author list, but they limit author registration and I haven’t ever been invited.

RomCon doesn’t ever work out timing wise.

will be at this cool new event in Sandusky…Speed Reader Weekend… coasters and racing, fun, huh?

I’ll be at a local event in Madison, Indiana on March 16, signing from 11-2.  It’s at THAT BOOK PLACE, and you can read about it here.

Two other things that will involve booksignings…I’m attending the Washington Area Romance Writers Retreat and there’s a pre-retreat booksigning at Turn the Page. That’s in April.  There’s one other thing coming up but I don’t have much info on it yet.


I am not telling you.  You will have to read the book.  But I’m told it’s worth it.  You might want chocolate, kleenex and wine, though. I’m told it helps.




About the Hunters


The series was canceled by the publisher early this year, as previously mentioned on the blog. I’m still getting a lot of emails asking about continuing the series, why I’m not pursuing self-publishing, why I’m not trying to continue with it…etc…

Sooooo…there are a number of reasons.  Time, money, the drop in sales, etc.

  1. The drop in sales…While writing is definitely what you can call a labor of love, just laboring on something isn’t going to help me meet my obligations as a person…as a mom with kids, as a wife, a partner in a marriage, etc.  We’ve got bills.  Loving to write and putting out words doesn’t meet those obligations.  Spending time on a series that isn’t paying out very well is taking away time from the books that are helping me to meet my obligations.  I realize boiling it down to the numbers isn’t anything readers want to hear, but it is something I have to consider. Something that really sucks is how many thousands of pirated copies of the Hunters books I’ve had to fight to get off the net…maybe if even 10% more of those who had pirated had just bought the damn books instead, I might consider investing the time in trying to pursue it, but I’ve seen the numbers on my end and I just don’t know it’s the wisest biz decision.
  2. Money… Yes, that word again, but not for the same reasons.  Self-publishing is expensive. Contrary to what some people make it out to be, you don’t just slap a book together and throw it up on Kindle/Nook.  I invested close to $1000 upfront for formatting, editing, covers, distribution and promo on Blade Song and the sequel cost more, because the editorial work on Blade Song (typos, etc) wasn’t as good as it could have been, so I invested in a better line editor for book 2.  This series is going very well, though, and it’s worth it, on my end, because I’ve seen that investment pay off.  I will be honest…if I hadn’t seen a return on that investment, and a profit, I wouldn’t have gone forward with book two.  I can’t spend money and time on something that isn’t going to work out, business wise.  And it all comes back to that, in the end. I love writing.  I want to do this for the rest of my life.  Which means, I have to make wise business decisions…if I’m spending time and money on things that aren’t working out for me, (that means…making a profit)…then I can’t keep writing, I have to go back to nursing and there are no more books. Considering the drop in sales with the Hunter series, I question whether it would be a wise decision to pursue self-publishing it, especially with the upfront cost.  Plus…I can’t afford it at this point.
  3. Time… This is a doozy.  There are 24 hours in a day and nothing we do or say will change that fact.  I can only write for so many hours in a day and a certain amount of that time has to be focused on contracted projects.  Those projects come with deadlines and I have to keep my deadlines.  I love my editors and I want them to be happy with me and I also have readers who kind of want those other projects done, too.  Basically, I do have other commitments and I can only do so much.  At some point, something has to give. I can’t chase after every option that might be out there to try and keep that series alive, especially when it’s been in a slump.  It just never caught the interest it needed to stay alive for the long haul.

At some point, everything has to end.  Hunter’s Rise was a solid book and Toronto was one character I definitely wanted to get to.  I had that chance.

Does this mean I’ll absolutely never write another Hunter book? I don’t believe in saying never.  But it would take a pretty impressive thing to get me to consider it, and I’d have to have more time on the table first. Who knows…maybe paranormal will swing back around again and the sales will spike.  If there’s enough reader interest in it, I can look at it later down the road, but at this point?  I just can’t.


Just a few more days…

A mini snippet from STOLEN…

Tears burned her eyes but she blinked them away. Filing the email, she put the phone down and covered her face with her hands.

Can you tell us what happened…?


She sat there and shuddered. Do you remember…

No. She didn’t. But a part of her was trying to, and she really dreaded the day those memories finally crept into the open.


Have you checked out the blog tour?  Lots of prizes!


Some Qs:

Will this be in audio?

I have no idea.  I just now had my first audio deal and I suspect future audio deals depend on a book’s popularity.  I’m very far from the point that audio is a given.  I won’t know until/if an offer is made.

Will this be available digitally in the UK?

Yes! This time, I knew, in advance, there were going to be odd things with the UK digital distribution so I prepared.  You can preorder it now via

Amazon Kindle UK

think it’s available for preorder on the iBookstore, but I can’t check that.

Is this connected to another series?

No.  I know it kind of looks like it might be, but it’s not at all related to the Ash books.

So those are the Qs I’ve gotten asked a lot.

Just a word of warning…this book is pretty dark.  The heroine went through hell and she’s probably even more screwed up than Devon from FRAGILE.  If you want a nice, safe read…this isn’t it.


More on the Hunters series….


First… pardon the website insanity.  I’m fiddling.

Okay…more on the Hunter books.


Again, Hunter’s Rise is the last one.

I had several people ask me if there wasn’t any other way to keep it going.  And more than a few…ah, outright tell me that I just had to do more.

So…here’s the deal.

The sales are dropping.  That’s why the publisher ended it.  I’m going to go ahead and address the questions I’ve been asked on twitter, in email, and several times at RT.

Could I self publish it?

In theory… yes.  But people need to understand that writing is my job.

It’s my paying job… it’s how my bills are paid.  It’s how we buy food.  How I pay for medical bills. How we pay the utilities, etc.  In short…it’s my job… I quit my nursing job to write and if money isn’t coming in steadily from writing, I go back to nursing.

It’s how I provide for my kids.  Generally, my longer length books go to New York and they pay me an advance.  That advance is money that covers bills, food, etc while I’m writing a book.  If I self-publish…that money isn’t there.

Self-publishing the right way is expensive and don’t let anybody tell you different.  I’ve spent hundreds of dollars getting just one story edited.  That’s just one phase of editing.  Books go through several phases.  That was also a shorter story.  Longer stories will cost more and I will never ever publish a book without getting it edited.

Costs included would be:

  • editing for the plot/content, etc
  • copyedting for typos/misspellings/consistency
  • cover art
  • formatting (I’m done doing it myself.  It’s too much)
  • all promo…usually the publisher does some to get in front of the eyes of booksellers and that doesn’t happen with self publishing.  It’s all me.

This can add up to hundreds of dollars and if you want to do it well?  It’s probably going to be a lot more, into the thousands.  If I’m serious about selfpublishing, I had to do it the right way.

All of this with no promise of a return.  One of my selfpublished (and I’m not talking a backlist book or a short story…I’m talking an original book) earned under $500 in one year.

I can’t make that kind of gamble.

All of this expense must be paid before the writer will ever see a red cent. And…all of this is done when I should be working on the stories that I can sell, guaranteed to publishers who have proven to me that they will help me bring in the money that I need to meet my responsibilities.

I’m not trying to sound mercenary.  But just like you, I’m a person…I’m a mom, I’m a wife.  My husband and I each carry out fair share in this house and it’s too big a gamble to take months of time on several books that haven’t been selling all that well anyway.

Writing is a craft and it’s an art…but it’s also a business.


Could I take it back to my epubs?

Again, in theory… yes.  But I’m already writing a series for them that’s fairly profitable.  I can only logically work in so much.  I’m thinking about a light RS series that would be novella length with them.  I can’t do three different series for them.  It’s too much.

I also have issues with the fact these are longer books.  I can’t 4 months out of my writing schedule to spend writing on books that just aren’t doing well.

People often think that writing is all about the book, all about the art of creating a story.  That is very much a part of it.

But we also have to look at the business aspect.  The writer who doesn’t do that is often the writer who doesn’t keep writing.  I don’t plan on being on those writers.

All series have to end at some point.  Hunter’s Rise was probably one of the best Hunter books I’ve written in a while, if not the best one.  It had two unique characters.

I also had two stories I really wanted to tell… Nessa’s, and Toronto’s.  If it had to end, maybe this was a good time to let it end.

I wish it didn’t have to come to this point, but with sales slumping off, people and business have to make hard decisions.  The publisher had to make theirs… I’m making mine.

I hope you understand.


News about the Veil series

2012 Update:  The publisher has no plans to continue with the series at this time.  Sorry, folks.

Okay…so this isn’t the funnest post to write.  But it’s got to be written.

For the foreseeable future, the Veil series has been placed on hold.  While Through The Veil had great sales and great feedback…Veil of Shadows did not.  Oh, the feedback I got it from it was good, but the sales…well, they sucked and I spent a few months debating, thinking…

In the end, I had to make a hard decision.  Writing can be full of them.  A writer’s daily life is all about the words…but in our business lives, if we don’t focus on something else…numbers and sales, we can end up being one of the writers who don’t keep writing for a living.

Since I kind of like what I do, and since my family kind of needs me to keep working…well, in the end, I knew what the right decision was, even though it wasn’t an easy one.

I spoke with my editor about the series and we’ve decided to put it to the side.

This doesn’t mean the series won’t be completed, but at this time, I just don’t know. Unless something amazing happens with Veil of Shadows, it’s not a big likelihood.

Now, before the ideas pop up…this book is already contracted to Berkley.  I signed it with them.  I can’t just take it elsewhere…contracts are legal obligations.

But should they be willing to let me take it elsewhere…I’m not inclined to even try, so before anybody asks, let me explain why.

Self publishing is out of the question…this is a hard series.  I’d need an editor who was familiar with it.  An editor/author relationship has to work and it’s not like picking up a carton of milk at the grocery store.

Self-publishing…the right way…isn’t cheap and I’ll either do it right, or I won’t do it. It’s a full-length book and would run me a couple of thousand dollars by the time all was said and done.

Self-publishing it would likely take me twice as long and could very well put me behind on other projects.  As I just spent almost four months hauling tail to catch up after being sick in the spring, I’d rather not get behind again.  One bad thing is all it takes and I’m screwed.

Signing it with a digital first publisher, a better possibility, but the editor who took it would have to be very familiar with the world, read both books and other issues.

The most likely possibility would be that maybe it could be released as a digital release from Berkley.  Then I could have my original editor.  Unfortunately, it wouldn’t get to as many people as it would in print.

There just aren’t any good scenarios, but the sad fact…the worst one is to continue the series at this point in time. Writing a book is a serious investment in time and if it’s a book that just isn’t selling, well…as much as it sucks, I have to wear my business hat when I’m making these decisions.

A series that isn’t selling well is bad news for a writer.  Because I’d kind of like to keep getting those contracts…but series that don’t sell well, they don’t really look good to those nice people who offer the contracts.

I’m very sorry to those readers who’ve been waiting for the third book, I’m very sorry to the readers who’ve followed this series.  I appreciate all your support and if, God willing, things do change, I’d love to continue with Morne’s book.

Thanks for understanding…


My selfpublished titles and time

Just a note… my selfpublished/indie titles take a lot of time. I don’t always have a lot of time. I get the basic formats because those are the quickest to get, PDF, HTML, LIT, EPUB… they work or can easily be made to work for most, if not all, readers.  I don’t tend to send out to many (if any) review sites, other than doing the occasional call for reviews on twitter.

There is a lot more work that’s involved in doing a title solo-I got to figure out the cover art and since it’s just me and the graphic artist, that usually involves me spending hours searching over stock art sites.

Edits involve me figuring out which editor, since I’m still trying to figure out the freelance edit thing-I think I’m looking for a ‘perfect’ fit, and finding freelance editors isn’t as easy as dropping by the store for eggs.  So it’s not just sending the book to get edited.

Then it’s formatting the book-not even getting it in the right file, but formatting the original and for me, that takes hours.  Then getting the various files and that’s another time consuming task.

All of this adds up to a lot of work.  I have to fit it in around a workload that is sheer chaos.  I have a novella due in July, two full-length books due by fall and that’s not touching on any books I may try to do for my epubs, if I do any.  So, unfortunately, I can only spare so much time for the indie stuff-things like going with the basic files, not spending hours worrying about reviews or file conversion services, etc-I can’t do that if I’m going to keep up with my workload.

If I have to choose between being pressed to do all of that or just shelving any indie work?  Well, the indie work gets shelved for the time being.  I’m contracted to finish certain books by certain dates and those do have to come first.

I do what I can, but the time involved in doing it yourself is mind-boggling…and I can only do so much.  I hope you understand…if there are certain things I can get around to when time allows, I will, but it has to wait it’s turn in line.  And it’s a scary long line.  :O/


Why the Indie projects… filed under… Qs I get asked a lot…

I’ve had some people emailing me and asking why I’m doing the stuff with my indie projects a lot.

Especially since last summer I was warning people not to look for fame and riches if they go the do-it-yourself route with self-digital publishing.  I still don’t think you’re going to find it, especialy if you’re a NEW writer, especially if you haven’t found a reader base, and especially if you aren’t willing to invest in in things like editorial services, cover art, etc.  Shoot, I  still haven’t found fame and riches.  And how long have I been writing?

Anyway.  Those who are curious…here’s the deal.

With some stories… like the one I’m doing with Larissa and Stephanie, and then again, the one with Hunter’s Choice, stories that were previously published yet I still had rights to…it makes sense.  Another publisher isn’t going to take these.  But those who prefer ebook over print, this gives them the option, right?

Other stories, like Beg Me or Tempt Me, could they go to one of my epublishers?  Yeah.  Possibly.  But one of the things I’ve always loved about my epublishers is that I could turn in a rough idea several months in advance, then the story a few months before release, have my cover, my blurb, etc… and still have my release date.  This worked…for me…because I’m not always an organized thinker and these shorter stories were kind of a brain break for me.

I’ve never been a writer who uses a synopsis, who turns in a completed idea before the story is done.  My NY publishers/editors don’t require this of me… the shorthand term, from what I can understand, is ‘buying on spec’… they take the rough idea, some sample chapters, and a rough outline and they offer me a contract based on this.

Previously with my epubs I’d had a similar freedom, although without the upfront money offered-and I was fine with that–I’d turn in a rough idea, without a synopsis and then the story came later, and the synopsis came with the story, because I just don’t know where a story is going until I’ve written it.

I’ve never missed a deadline in my career, knock on wood, and please God, let that continue. Not once.  If somebody tells me that a book is needed by a set date?  I get it to them.

But that freedom I’d previously experienced is kind of going away.  Books are wanted earlier-not just partials, but completed books.  This isn’t a bad thing for those who don’t work as I do, and it’s not a bad thing for the presses who are growing.  Except when you’re working it in around busy schedules that include contracted works for other publishers, it makes it tricky.

Another problem is… it doesn’t work as well for me.  As I’m not offered a contract from my epublishers until the book is completed and turned in…well…not even my NY pubs require that.  And they offer a better deal-they’ll offer me a contract based on an idea with a few roughed out chapters and an idea.  They don’t require me to ‘work on spec’.  In short, they aren’t requiring me to invest time on a project with no guarantee it will be accepted.  They’ve already accepted it, and offered me a contract.  Before I’ve done much more than a few chapters.  I don’t have that with my epubs and I also don’t have the freedom I used to have.

This long, drawn-out rambling explanation leads to this… the indie projects are just giving me the freedom I need.

Now try to understand…I’m not knocking anybody.  For an organized writer, this set-up isn’t going to be an issue.  But that’s not me.  I am not an organized writer, I never have been and I know I probably frustrate people.  But what works for me…well, it kinda of works for me, and I can’t change how I write, and how I work to suit somebody else.  Chances are, with my paranoias, I’d screw things up anyway.

I’m just not always able to work within certain confines.  They work for some.  They don’t work as well as for me.  They stress me out.  When I’m stressed, I don’t work well.

Plus… those indie projects are playing out pretty fricking well right now.  I’ve made more on Beg Me that I did on Crazed Hearts and Tarnished Knight combined-frankly, my sales on Tarnished Knight sucked and that was my favorite Grimm book.  I realize the fact that Beg Me is almost a niche book, and that plays into the sales, and I know the fact that I’ve got a reader base to draw on plays into it.  But if it’s working… well… it’s working, right?

I don’t plan on not writing for my epubs any more.  Some things will just go better there–I’ve got readers who are really into my Grimm series and many of them love print.  I’m still not sure about how to do the print deal on my own, although I’ll figure it out sooner or later.

Right now, I’m just having more freedom with the indie things-the freedom I used to have with my epubs.  I need that freedom-it’s a stress reliever.  I’m at a point where I need stress relievers…not stress-inducers.   And I’m still muddling through things, playing with covers on my own, the right amount of promo, finding ‘the’ freelance editor, etc…although man, I wonder if Sara Reinke would hire herself out to be my freelance editor.  Forever.  She’s one of those few authors who did the editing thing and the author thing and from what I saw when she did an edit for me?  Whoa…I can’t edit worth crap.  She can. Rambling, rambling…

Back to the issue at hand.

The indie things are a way to let me breathe.  A less stressful way of letting me tell a story on my timetable, a way of letting me get a story out on my timetable…a way of having a little more control over things.  Contrary to popular opinion, writers don’t tend to have that much control once the book leaves their hands.

I confess, I’m a control freak, and sometimes, I just need more control.  This way…I have it.  And it’s paying me pretty decent.  Why mess with a good thing?


I finished a book… what now…

Filed under Qs writer get asked… a lot…

On my facebook page the other day somebody asked me…(paraphrased…)

I’ve finished a book-what’s the next step in possibly getting it published?

And since I (and many, many other writers) get asked this sort of question, I’m going to past my response here:

That’s a hard question to answer, because there’s no easy answer.

There’s no straight out path to publication-it changes for everybody. If you’re looking for print publication, you can always try querying agents-check out agents who represe…nt writers in the genre you’re interested in. Look for their submission guidelines and make sure you FOLLOW them. Now I suck at offering query advice-I found both of my agents years after I’d been published and they both took me based mostly on my history and potential sales I already (or did) have in front of me-and in case of my current agent, she fell in love with the project I had-there wasn’t much of a query needed, thank God, because I’m lousy. But you need to understand that a good query for a new writer is vital, and you need to make sure you follow submision guidelines. Hang out at some industry blogs, good ones are http://blog.nathanbransford.com/ (former agent-go through his archives) or Lynn Viehl (http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/ ) woman is my guru… troll their archives, see what you can learn from there.

You can hang at places like the water cooler on the absolute write forums (do a google).

But you need to be prepared to a lot of research, and start soaking up a lot of information before you do anything.

If you’re more into the idea of an epub, start checking out the epubs you’re interested in. I’ve got some info on my sites for what to watch out for with epubs, because some come and go FAST, and even those that have been around for a while aren’t always in the best interest of a writer. Just visit my blog @ http://shilohwalker.com/website and look in the archives for Thursday Tips, or do a search.

You can also think about joining RWA** or maybe just visiting the local area chapter blogs or that sort of thing. The more immersed you get into writing communities to soak up the knowledge about the industry, the easier it is to figure out what might be the next step. I don’t get much ‘writing’ knowledge from writing communities, nor do I want to-I write in my style and don’t want to alter that other than to improve it, but the industry knowledge I get from other writers is invaluable.

~end of that answer~

Adding to it…

There are other writing groups out there, but with RWA, you don’t have to be published.  A lot of the others require publication, so RWA can help grow an unpublished writer into a published writer.

The writing biz, before publication, and after, is a waiting game and a learning one.  My best advise, if you’re writing a book now, don’t wait until you’ve finished to start that learning game.  Hang out where writers talk online.  Those two blogs I posted up in earlier in this post, Lynn Viehl & Nathan Bransford, they can give invaluable advice.  There is already a lot of advice on their blogs if you go through their archives.  Absolute Write can be an interesting resource and you can ask questions there, but any time I read things there, I take it with a grain of salt because there are a LOT of people giving opinions and sometimes that will result in conflicting advice.

But don’t look for an easy answer, a straight answer or an easy solution.  There just isn’t one.  I’ve been writing since I was twelve.  I started submitting books when I was 19.  Stopped for a few years, started again a few years later.  I don’t have files full of rejections letters, but I’ve got my share.  You’re going to get rejections, from agents and from publishers.  It’s just part of the process.  You have to go through the process-and it makes your better.

If the agent or editor offers you insight on how to improve your book…listen. Don’t assume they don’t know what they are talking about-they are in that job because they do know what they are talking about.

If they offer you a form letter…don’t get pissed off.  If they offered everybody personalized responses, they wouldn’t have the time to stay open for submissions which means the next time you had a book, possibly even the book that might sell, maybe they won’t be able to take a look.

If that sounds like a cold, impersonal way to look at it…well, it is.  But this is business for them.  And if you want to be a writer?  You have to treat it as a business as well.  Once it leaves your hands, it’s a business.  You can wring your hands and worry and sweat over it in private all you want.