December 10, 2014

How to Sell and Resell Your Novel

By Loree Lough

Every novel requires research and interviews that lend authenticity to storyline, character development/motivation, conflict, setting, time period, etc. And every author knows that too much detail bogs down the plot and bores the reader. Seems a shame to waste all that great information, doesn’t it.

What if I told you that with a tad more research, you could turn the hours spent into money. (I earned nearly $8,000.00 by selling and reselling research from one novel to 23 different publications. See sample query, paragraph 3, for list of publication types.) How? Like this:
Determine Which Publications Print Stories Like Yours. Find out which editor/department  accepts stories like yours.

Put together a solid query letter. One page, single spaced (double space between paragraphs). Paragraph one: outlines your article’s bare bones; paragraph two defines sources you’ll quote; paragraph three details why you’re qualified to write the piece. And it must be 100% error-free.

Know Your Rights. First North American Serial Rights? First Rights? First Use? One-time rights? (I don’t have the space here to explain these, but you can learn more by Googling ‘rights’.)

Do Your Best Work. If your piece piqued an editor’s interest, s/he will call to discuss the details. Get that story in asap, following requirements outlined during that call (length, tone, deadline, etc.). Your piece must be at least as good—and error-free—as others in the publication.
So in review:

Be informed…
  1. learn as much about the publications you'll contact before you query them;
  2. read mastheads to ensure you’ll direct your query to the appropriate editor. (NOTE: Don't count on Writer’s Market!);
  3. make sure you know who reads the publications;
  4. make sure your targeted magazines’ audiences are different.
Be specific…
1.     queries are one page, period;
2.     queries provide a clear, concise overview of your article, and prove that you know the publications' rules (tone, word length, department that best fits your piece).
Be persuasive…
1.     attach writing samples and/or credentials that highlight your skills/reason(s) you're qualified to write the proposed article;
2.     provide a short list of other publications where your work has appeared (if any);
3.     list potential sources you'll interview.
Be prompt…
  1. when an editor shows interest in your article, reply as quickly as possible;
  2. nail down the deadline, amount you'll be paid, rights, and approximate print/payment date;
  3. submit the article on time with a cover letter (see below).
I wish you all the best in selling and reselling your research data!

Sample Query…
Date, Your Name, Home address, Phone/cell, email

Publication Name, Editor's name, Publication Address

Re: Proposed article "Vet Turns Dreams into Reality"

Dear Editor's Name (Do not precede with Mr./Ms.):

Young Blaize McCrandall's life changed forever when he found a barely-alive rabbit alongside of the road. Gently swaddling it in his t-shirt, he carried it home, where his dad explained why Blaize should have left it to die. Even at age 8, Blaize wasn’t a quitter: He convinced the local vet to show him how to save the rabbit and, after a month of tedious care, Blaize carried it into the woods. “Would you believe,” he recalls with a grin, “the ungrateful thing bit me before he hopped away!”

I'd like to propose a 1,000 word story for your "Right Here in Town" about how Blaize McCrandall—son of a disabled Vietnam vet and an alcoholic Avon lady—turned his dream of becoming a veterinarian into reality….

By dint of drive and determination, Blaize worked construction, waited tables, dog-sat, and performed janitorial duties (and more) to earn his degree, then put hard-earned skill to use, building the clinic where he still practices veterinary medicine.

Thank you for considering “Vet Turns Dreams into Reality” for publication in (name of periodical). I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely, Your Name

Now you wait…and hope the editor replies within the time frame spelled out in the publication’s Submission requirements (aka Guidelines). Let’s presume the editor calls to 1.) find out more and/or 2.) offer you a slot in a future issue. Get that article to your editor on time. Nothing more, nothing less than s/he asked for. And you’ll send it with a cover letter:

Sample Cover Letter

Date, Your Name, Mailing address, Phone/cell, email

Publication Name, Editor's name, Publication Address

Re: Article for “Right Here in Town”, Vet Turns Dreams into Reality

Dear Editor's Name (Do not precede with Mr./Ms.)

Per our conversation on (date), please find the above-referenced article, (#of words) in length.

Feel free to call with questions or comments.

Sincerely, Your Name
With nearly 5,000,000 4- and 5-star books in circulation, reviewers and readers alike have called best-selling author Loree Lough "a gifted storyteller whose novels touch hearts and change lives." Her 103rd and 104th novels (Currency of the Heart, #1 in the “Secrets on Sterling Street” historical series, Whitaker; Once a Marine, #1 “Those Marshall Boys” contemporary series for Harlequin Heartwarming) will reach bookstore shelves in January. Loree lives near Baltimore and loves spending time at her little cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, where she delights in showing off her “identify the critter tracks” skills. She loves interacting with readers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and via email (she answers every letter, personally!) c/o

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