Did you have your manuscript professionally edited and/or would you recommend all writers do this before submitting it to potential agents and editors?
I had a small portion of my manuscript edited along with the query and synopsis. Getting an entire MS professionally edited by a developmental editor is quite pricey. It’s not something I would recommend a new author doing. Also, my publisher edited the book as well. She gave me recommendations for changes and we worked back and forth. I do recommend that writers educate themselves on grammar and story structure as much as possible. This will help them edit their novels to be as polished as they can be. I am still learning too! Some of my favorite resource books are: Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, On Writing Well by William Zinsser, and Conflict & Suspense by James Scott Bell. I also have my trusty thesaurus and dictionary from my teen years to carry me through!
How do you get agents to request your full manuscript when pitching your book to them? Is personality and confidence as important as your character and plot when it comes to pitching?
Enthusiasm and confidence is key! If YOU are excited about your book, someone else will be. However, you do need that hook. Shorter is better. This opens up conversation between you and the agent. Plus it’s less to have to memorize!
Does being a published author now give you more credibility when pitching new books?
I believe so, yes, if not self-published. There is some validation you have written something worthy enough to be accepted into the publishing arena. This is not to say there are not many fine self-published novels out there, just that there is still a stigma of self-published vs. traditional or small press publishing when it comes to selling your book. Pitching with a self-published novel can work in your favor if you have the units sold to back it up. In pitching my new novel, I do mention my newly released book in person and in my query letter.
What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have a day job as well?
I work about 25 hours a week as a freelance copy writer for an advertising agency. My hours are somewhat flexible and I do work at home, too. For fun I love biking, hiking, kayaking, and taking day trips with my family.
How long did it take you to get your first book published? Did you have a lot of rejections at first and, if so, what did you learn from it?
I spent six months querying agents and publishers. I did have a lot of rejections, but fully expected that. I would gleefully rip them open in the mail and say “another one!” and go off to send another one out. Rejection never bothered me. It was my first book and I knew a hard sell as it crosses genres; sci-fi, paranormal, suspense, and a smidge of horror. I loved it so much, I just couldn’t give up.
Is there something you wish you had known when you started down this uncertain path that you would like to share with other aspiring authors?
I wish I had joined writer communities and organizations sooner. I wrote my book and then “came out” of my writing cave. I didn’t feel like I belonged or was part of the club. I now know that anyone who wants to write and improve their writing is part of the club. I could have learned a lot more about the craft and business of writing if I had done that sooner. I would have also met many wonderful people sooner, like you! J
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
There are so many ways to market. Some will work right away and some you need to test out. I reach out to many book bloggers and giveaway books for review. I have been lucky to receive numerous good, honest reviews and this helps my rankings online. I maintain a website and blog and am active on Facebook and Twitter. Making a few key relationships online, and helping promote them inspires them to help promote you as well.
Also, GoodReads is the social media place for authors to be. It’s where the readers are. I recommend all authors become active in it and start conversations with their reader pool. I also say “yes” to every interview and guest post requested. Being accepted into a professional organization related to your genre can help boost your visibility too. I was honored to be accepted into the International Thriller Writers Organization. This has a far promotion reach and mentors debut authors.
Public events are another avenue. Participating on author panels at conferences, bookstores, and libraries gets you “out there.” Some books I reference are The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, How to Get Your Book Reviewed by Dana Lynn Smith, and webinars by Stone House University run by author, Aaron Patterson.
Can you tell us your favorite aspect of being a writer?
Creating something to the end. The fact an idea can come to me in a flash and then it can be molded, given life, and shared with the world. This is still amazing to me! I imagine musicians must feel the same way. I always wish I had musical ability.
What has been the best compliment given to you as an author?
Besides five star reviews? J It would have to be that I like to champion other authors and help them achieve success. And I really do. I don’t see other authors as competition. If someone reads one suspense author they might like to read my book too. And there can never be enough authors in the world. There isn’t a monopoly on it. That’s the wonderful thing! There can be as many great books as there as possible – it’s up to us to write them and then find our audience.
Thanks so much for having me on, Mary Ann!
About A HUMAN ELEMENT by Donna Galanti:
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.
Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test.
With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.
Readers who devour paranormal books with a smidge of sci-fi and steam will enjoy A HUMAN ELEMENT, the new novel about loss, redemption, and love.
Reviewers are saying…
“A HUMAN ELEMENT is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of ASSASSIN’S CODE and DEAD OF NIGHT
“A thrilling ride full of believable characters, a terrifying villain, an epic battle for survival, and a love worth killing for. The last third of the novel is a race to the finish, and I was glued to the pages, hoping the characters I’d grown to love would finally find the peace they deserved. A page-turner filled with fascinating twists and turns!” – Marie Lamba, author of WHAT I MEANT and DRAWN.
Donna Galanti is the author of the dark novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). Donna has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs. Visit her at: http://blog.donnagalanti.com/wp/
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