Thursday, March 26, 2009

Can Openers - What Kind Do You Use?

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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.

Whenever I can, I go the electric route and pitch at conferences, such as this past February's Love Is Murder conference, where I pitched to editors, agents and publishers. I don't enter too many contests.

What about you? Which do you do? Go to conferences and pitch? Enter Contests? Make snail mail submissions? Or all of these?
Morgan Mandel, Author of the mystery, Two Wrongs,
and the Romantic Comedy, Girl of My Dreams


  1. I'm not good with either electric or manual can openers! That's why I have the official can husband!

    I enter contests, submit short stories and have attended two conferences. I plan to continue to all these throughout the rest of the year.

  2. Manual can opener for me - never could manage an electric!

    Pitching in person is always best - and I learned that from one Karen Syed, too!

    Never do the contests though. Just not my thing...

    L. Diane Wolfe

  3. Hi. My name is Lauri and I am a contest addict.

    (I'm planning to start a support group)

    But I do all of the above except for pitching at conferences- we don't really have them in Botswana. I am attending the Cape Town Book Fair and will accoust anyone I can meet.

    Can openers- always manual- scared of that electic thing!

  4. LOL, Lauri, I should join your support group, although I don't enter as many contests as I used to. I have won a few awards that seem to impress people, but I can't see that it has advanced my career significantly.

  5. great metaphor especially since mine is not working at the time. ha ha
    Jo Ann Hernandez

  6. I agree that pitching in person is a pretty dynamic step. It's also incredibly fun, and no way do you get the information and feedback as quickly any other way. I tell every writer to go to at least one conference and pitch to as many agents and editors as you can. You'll come out of the experience with a changed perspective. My fave face-to-face was with John Helfers at Five Star. Didn't have a book he'd want, but we were both free so I practiced on him and he gave me some of the best warp-speed tips I've gotten from anyone. Wow, that guy talks fast. LOL.

    I use a manual can opener, too. All around better efficiency.

  7. As an editor I can say while work speaks for itself, what shines through a pitch is the author's confidence and personality. We're all different, and have varying strengths and comfort levels. Whatever pitch method lets you shine brightest, don't be afraid to exploit it.


  8. I am fairly new to all of this and still editing. Learning all that I can because there is so much still to learn. I know who I will be coming to when I am ready. Thanks Morgan!

    Cindy Hernandez

  9. You had me very confused for a moment. Hehe!

    I've never tried an electric one...

    I submit things here and there. Not so much contests as open calls for submissions. I also go to conferences, but I've never pitched anything before.

  10. I use a manual can opener, one of those that cuts under the lid so there are no sharp edges.

    Pitch if you get the opportunity. Nothing like the face to face and immediate response. If you do a scheduled pitch, you usually get ten minutes, but that doesn't stop you from pitching at other times, informally, during the conference.

    Agents are nice people. From my years on the board and then as ED of the Writers League of TX, I've met quite a few. They're just people. They're not going to bite off your head. They like pinkies.

  11. Goes to show. It doesn't matter how we do it, as long as we get our books published. That's the main thing.

    Morgan Mandel


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