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Writing Books/published/unpublished


Concerning the terms "unpublished" and "published" authors, by "unpublished" or "new" does this mean authors who have written articles in magazines and things, but who haven't had a book published? (If I showed you some 'submission guidelines" you'd see why I ask this)


ANSWER: By and large, the term "author" refers to books and, occasionally, short stories. Magazine article creators are referred to as "writers." I do both, so my business cards say, "Writer and Author." They're deemed different things in the industry.

An "unpublished" author---for the purpose of agents or publishers---is one who either has not sold a book or who has self-published. Self-publishing, unless the person/entity ALSO produces books by other people, is considered the same status as if the creator ran the book off on a copy machine. Same thing with a "new" author. It just means you haven't officially published anything.

It's not a detriment, by any means, for the purpose of getting an agent or publisher to take you on. It's just for information so they can see whether or not to check your backlist for sales numbers.


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QUESTION: Hi, with sample chapters, comes this request "Please also send a brief synopsis and author credentials." For nonfiction I understand, what author credentials for fiction? (If I am writing "Superman" I must be from Krypton and can fly?)

I think we discussed this before as part of a "platform." The author credentials have to do with any superior knowledge you might have of a subject that could be useful when marketing your book for the public. If you're a doctor and are writing a medical thriller, or if you are a lifelong resident of an area and you're setting the book there. That sort of thing. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it. It's only necessary to include something if you have something.

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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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