Writing Books/First novel

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Question
Hi Bobbie

Intro. I'm an Allexpert from the South African department (and with the crazy questions I get, unlikely to reach Guru status!).

I'm a teacher with 25 years experience, an English major and am a recent graduate from a writing school here in South Africa. (www.itsallwrite.net). My first work was a 750 page, information-rich, free website aimed at novice motorcycle owners. This website is seven years old and has been extensively used by motorcycle instructors and authors all over the world (www.flamesOnMyTank.co.za) I have entertained my son, his friends, and their girlfriends with my stories for the last 10 years (he is now 25 and they still keep coming back!)

I have now written my first novel for hardcopy publishing aimed at the young adult, female market (I have a daughter too!)

A pedestrian is knocked down and all evidence points to 16-year-old Jenna. She has to prove her innocence and get her boyfriend to accept responsibility.

Stats
50 000 words; Flesch Reading Ease 83,6 and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 4.0

The book is a fast-moving, easy-read, with lots of dialogue. The characters are strong and sassy. The banter between the sexes is flirtatious but topics like sex, abuse and addictions are avoided.

This is book one of a series of five. The six friends appear in all books, each with its own stand-alone story line. Book two and three are plotted, but not typed. The books propagate a balanced family lifestyle that includes a growing Christian element for Jennas family from book to book.

Sorry for all this . . . now the questions

1) Im looking for an agent who can secure overseas publication for me.
2) Perhaps also a consultant who can improve my chances of publication by critically evaluating my work.
3) Any other information that may assist me

Im not looking for a freebie and despite the rand-dollar exchange rate can pay for the services of a professional in dollars (within reason )

Note on self-publication. I can afford to bear the costs of self-publication but the fiction reading market in SA is small and therefore I need access to an international readership to get the numbers.

Can you help? Many thanks

Regards

Steve Eilertsen


Answer
1) First let me say that many Christian publishers do not require that you approach them through an agent. Consider approaching some directly to see what happens, because it sounds to me like they would be your best market. Next, if you want to find an agent--and agents can open doors you cannot--you'll have to follow the same path everyone else does, which is to research agents and find out which ones are accepting manuscripts in your genre and have had success with them. My favorite source is WritersMarket.com.
2) I'm in the business of editing and critically evaluating manuscripts, and feel free to check out my Web site, www.zebraeditor.com.
3) The only other information I can give you is to remind you to thoroughly edit your work first, before paying anyone else to review it. If you have a critique group or a critique partner, get feedback from them, as well, to be sure the book is the best you can possibly make it before you invest money in a professional editor.
I wish you much success.

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Bobbie Christmas

Expertise

Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.

Experience

Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Organizations
Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Publications
Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Education/Credentials
Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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