Erin is Carin’: My Editor’s Advice on How to Get Published

Kevy my life-crush has this one joke he loves to tell…

KEVY: What’s Lisi’s favorite thing to make for dinner?

ANYONE WITH EARS: I dunno, what?

KEVY: Reservations.

(Fake laughter.)

I roll my eyes when he tells it even though it’s true. I can’t cook. And those who can’t do should turn to those who can.

So when S.R. Rhodes sent me a message on Facebook on the difficulties of getting published, I turned to my brilliant editor, Erin, for the answer.

Need a visual? Here we are last week in my office. She was in San Diego for Comic-Con and stopped by Laguna for an afternoon of chit-chat and shopping. The owner of an ah-dorable local boutique called Isla gave us free matching key chains because we bought up the store. As you can see, we were very excited. erin

My excitement continues because Erin put some serious thought into her advice and if you follow it, I will be reading your books someday.

Here is S.R. Rhodes’ question:

Hi Lisi,

For me, queries can be a bit intimidating. I feel like literary agents focus so intensely on the query letter that the manuscript itself, good or bad, has little importance. I know that rejection is a part of life but in the “author” world it has become overwhelming, especially when no criticism is given. I have read books, web blogs and digest magazines with tips on queries, and just when I think I’ve figured it out… another rejection. No publishers will accept manuscripts without representation except for the ones who ask for hundreds of dollars up front. My passion for writing is a well-lit flame that will never burn out. I write day and night- typing, pen and paper or talking into recording devices. I’m not a quitter…I will fight for my dreams hopefully gaining more knowledge and skills along the way. I need some insight from another author, which is why I’m messaging you. Any words of wisdom? Thank you.

S.R. Rhodes

Now Erin, over to you…

Hi readers,

Lisi asked me to answer a few questions for you. I know a lot of you are aspiring authors and that is fantastic! Keep writing! As with any artistic calling, it can be hard to break out and get your work noticed. For large publishing houses, the standard policy is to only accept manuscripts that are submitted through an agent. This is largely just a matter of volume—editors couldn’t possibly answer every single query if it was an open-door policy and most publishers do respond to every submission they get. So here are some ideas on making your way in the publishing world…
1) It is easiest to get your manuscript seen by a publisher if you have an agent. An agent truly is a great advocate for an author. So do consider trying to get representation for yourself.

2) Editors keep their eyes peeled for talent out in the world. Try other forms of writing—try your hand at journalism by writing for websites, magazines or newspapers and build up a clip file of published work. Write a blog on a topic that interests you and try to drum up a following. Or self publish through a variety of different platforms and try to garner an initial readership for your book that way. (These kinds of projects are all great experience that you can use to pitch yourself to an agent as well.)
3) Consider paying a small fee to a freelance editor to review your manuscript and help you revise. There are a lot of great people out there who can help you take your writing to the next level.
4) Attend writing workshops or attend a full writing program. It will help you polish your work and meet other authors.
As with any career, the best thing you can do is network! Take classes, talk to local professors or authors, attend seminars, join a writers association—there are trade organizations for all aspects of the publishing industry. Apply for an internship at a publisher, or an agency, or to assist an author. The more people you meet, the more people you are connected to through their connections. The more people you know, the more you can talk about your projects and get advice. If you network your way to an editor, sometimes you can get someone to look at your work without an agent.
Basically, you need to do everything you can to put yourself out there and make connections. You also need to make sure you are putting your best work out there. Really take your time to develop your writing, and if you can’t get anyone to notice the first book you write, write another! A writer’s work is never done (as Lisi can tell you!). Keep creating…and good luck!


I have to go make my dinner reservations for tonight. I’m expecting company.




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  • Rachel Gabriella says:

    Lisi Your Clique Books have inspired me to write Battle Of The Betas. My own book that takes place between These Boots Are Made For Stalking and My Little Phony. Here’s the teaser. I have officially published the story on Wattpad (my username is FleurDeForce)


    Faculty Parking Lot
    Monday, November 4th
    7:58 A.M.

    “FORM-A-SHUNNNNN!” Ahnna James bellowed, sending leaves fluttering down from the trees and pigeons panic-flapping to safety.

    The girls; Bethany, Meredith, Asia and Jennifer lined up in front of their alpha.

    “Asia…” Ahnna called out the first girls’ name.

    Asia made herself noted.

    “Your super faded Hudson bootcuts and jet black hair go perfectly with your nude suede blazer. Love the leather booties.” Ahnna smiled.

    The group member sighed in relief.


    Jennifer stepped forward.

    “Your wavy chestnut hair falls in a perfect side part and your leggings go great with your Chloé shimmer tunic.”

    As Ahnna cleaned up the rest of the girls, her stomach tied itself in knots. Sure her friends had prepared themselves with fabulous outfits, but were they truly ready to meet and defeat the original Pretty Committee at OCD? Maybe not.

    “Come awn! We’re gonna be late for our first day of school!” Bethany speed zipped her Puma jacket, the metal tracks making a loud noise.

    “One sec.” Ahnna paused to admire her shiny blowout and full sugar-cookie glossed lips in the reflection of the family’s Mercedes Benz. “Kay. I’m ready.”

    And with that, the girls piled into the car.

    • Rachel Gabriella says:

      Lisi I will be updating the rest of the chapter soon(: so please check it out on Wattpad(:

      • Emily says:

        @RachelGabriella Wow! This is great! I love the attention to detail! Please keep working on it!

  • Emily says:

    I am starting high school soon and am a little nervous. I don’t know why though!! I am going to school with mostly all of my friends so I should be pumped! I am going to an all girls school too. Do you have any advice for me?

  • Brittney says:

    Today was the first day of my Junior year!! 😉 this year is going to be awesome because I have mainly electives this year unlike my freshman and softmore year. Is anyone else back in school?

  • Julia says:

    I love to cook/bake desserts, but when it comes to actual meals? I stink.

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  • Stefanie says:

    Thanks for your advice Erin and Lisi. I’m currently querying to agents, but I’ve decided to rewrite my entire manuscript because of the following reasons:
    1. I can write better. The description, words, sentences, maybe the voice isn’t quite there.
    2. The rewritten verison may not immediantly have an agent accpet me. But I really want to put the effort in and have my writing to say “pick me up, read me, buy me, represent me.” After all once I do get representation, the agent may want to editorally look over my manuscript and suggest changes to make the manuscript “pop” and polished.

    However, with the query/synopsis process, i read tons and tons of blogs, articles online, got a book from Borders (when it was still around) about query letters, and sometimes I get confused/overwelmed by what different agents want or how to write the query. I know you have to have it say “pick me up, buy me, request me” but somtimes it’s just a tad confusing.
    Also (not the agents fault or anything) but when you read the description of what they’re looking for, the description can somtimes be a bit vague or you may interpret it the wrong way. Like for example an agent my say twisted, crazy,funny mystery YA with an edgy twist, what is there definition of “edgy”. Your defination to mine will probably be different.

    But as the old saying goes: try, try, try again until you get somewhere. And that’s what I plan to do.

  • Lillie says:

    Hey Lisi and Erin,

    Great advice, Erin, as expected, it`s always about the connections these days. Lisi, you should`ve shared how you got published and how you and Erin met! I would`ve liked to read something from a published author in this blog post.

  • Brittney says:

    Thanks for the amazing advice! Even though I don’t write books my older sister does and she would love this.i love the rings too! 🙂

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