Monday, September 10, 2012

One Sheet to the Wind! By Linda Kozar

*The slideshow above is a great way to market your books or WIPS. Enjoy it now because after Monday I will be taking it off this page--Linda

If you're planning on attending a writer's conference in the near future, like I am, you should start to put together a "One Sheet" to bring with you.

What's a One Sheet?

Basically, it's a sheet of paper with your vital information on it and blurbs (short descriptions like you find on the back cover of books) about your WIPS (works-in-progress) or WC (works completed) you plan to pitch to agents and editors.

I've done a lot of these over the years and I'm happy to say that four of those books were published.

This year, I decided to design a One Sheet that looked a bit different from those of past years. Mine will be two-sided on glossy paper. One side (see above) will contain my bio, contact information and picture. The other side will contain the title of selected projects, the blurb that goes with it, word count, and finally, whether or not the work is completed.

These One Sheets are real time savers and conversation starters to bring with you to the 15-minute meetings with agents, or in my case, editors (since I already have an agent). You hand them the paper and start talking. That's right--the One Sheet is no substitute for conversation. Writers must go in prepped and ready to talk about what they've written, what they're writing and what they might write. I know a writer who pulled an idea out of thin air--a desperate, yet creative idea that the editor liked. That writer got a contract because she knew how to think fast on her feet. 

Do you? Can you?

If you're planning on going to a writer's conference in the near future, and I certainly hope you do, start considering what you plan on bringing with you both physically, and mentally. 

  • Start to memorize and practice reciting your blurb (your pitch) in an engaging way. 
  • Have business cards made. 
  • Write your bio. 
  • Get a nice headshot done of yourself. 
  • Design your One Sheet. 
  • Go through your closet and put together a business casual wardrobe for the conference.
  • And take a deep breath!
Actually, I'm not joking about that. It's an old Toastmaster trick. As you are walking to the table or desk where an agent or editor waits to hear your pitch, take a deep breath before you sit down. Seriously, it works. Otherwise, you might be breathless or sound nervous or even feel faint from lack of oxygen!

One last bit of advice--have fun. Conferences are all about hobnobbing with other authors and talking about your common love, books. Remember, these are people who share the same obsession as you do. These are folks who "get" you like few people do. Enjoy your time with other writers. 

Because all too soon, you'll have to go home, get back to the grindstone and go about the solitary past time you love and loathe--writing!

I will be attending the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference in Dallas, TX this month. There might still be some openings should you care to attend as well! If you will love this conference as much as I do, your brain will be on overload by the end of it. I learn soooo much at conferences and usually come home with a ton of books, both free and purchased. Again, if you're interested, please check the website:


  1. Invaluable post for those experiencing their first face to face with a possible agent! Thanks, Linda. So wonderful that you share your expertise with us. I believe readers also gain a better understanding of what traditionally published authors must go through to get a contract.

    Have fun at the conference, and please bring back loads to share!

    ~Nancy Jill
    Author of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries
    "Queen of Afternoon Tea"

  2. Dear Nancy, I will! Wish you and our other authors who post at Cozy were all going. Wouldn't that be a hoot! Course I haven't asked if Sandra is going. She might be.

    Anyway, when I get back from a conference, my head is swimming with knowledge and ideas. I will most definitely share.

    1. I read the group only allows traditionally published authors, so I didn't pursue joining any further.

      ~Nancy Jill

  3. @Jill--ACFW is for writers of all phases. Yes, they have a list of approved publishers whose books they help promote, but the organization is about far more than promotion. : )They befriend, encourage, teach, and learn along with anyone at any phase of their journey. I tell everyone who asks that joining the ACFW was the smartest thing I've done as a writer--at least on par with chosing to publish through Kindle Direct Publishing. If I were you, I wouldn't hesitate, I'd got to the website this minute and join!

  4. Oh Nancy! No, you would love it. Traci is right!

  5. I actually making one sheets!

    Deborah Malone
    "Death in Dahlonega"

  6. Am I the lone sister, here? Maybe the Lord is trying to show me something! :)

    Thanks, my friends.

    ~Nancy Jill

    1. Here's what I read:

      Our Mission Statement

      To promote Christian Fiction through developing the skills of its authors, educating them in the market, and serving as an advocate in the traditional publishing industry.

      The site goes on to say: We aren’t tailored to guide writers to well-respected self-publishers or to help promote self-published books. Self-publishing has a different dynamic, especially in the world of fiction.

      I wonder what they're talking about? Do they mean lack of control in what we write? Why would I want to join as a second class citizen and not benefit from being promoted the same as traditionally published authors?

      Don't mean to sound negative, and I know the group is a wonderful resource for Christian Writers, but for the cost, I would want better support. I know it's the same for Mystery Writers of America because I've checked them, too.

      ~Nancy Jill

  7. Dear Nancy,

    The American Christian Fiction Writers organization was formed to train and prepare writers to be published in the traditional publishing industry--it's true.

    But since then, things have changed. A lot of authors who get their reversion of rights are self-publishing their work. And other writers are deciding to go directly to the indie route. Things are changing. The whole industry is.

    Whether you are trad or indie pub'bd, the focus of ACFW is to teach and train writers to be the best at their craft. They have raised the bar for writers and caused a paradigm shift in quality and content compared to what Christian fiction was years ago.

    That said, I do agree that the focus is definitely on traditional publishing, but if you're already indie published, you might be interested in that route as well. Some indie publishers cross over as readily as trad published authors do to indie.

    Members can join online critique groups and take online classes in a variety of subjects and lots more.

    And the training is impeccable. Also, conference attendees get three 15-minute appointments with agents and editors.

    Mystery Writers of America, RWA (Romance Writers of America) are pretty much the same in that regard.

  8. That's encouraging to hear. And the landscape is changing. With so much cross pollination of Indie authors sharing promotional ideas and marketing, the publishing business has never looked better or had a better playing field for authors, both Indie and Traditional. What with all the new reader devices and more on the horizon, it's no wonder more and more writers are able to attain their goals of getting published either way.

    ~Nancy Jill


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