It’s National Pet Day!!!

It’s National Pet Day!!!

It’s National Pet Day, or so I’ve been told. You probably don’t know this about me, but I love animals. If I could own a zoo, a farm, and an arc, I’d do it. I’ve had plenty of pets over the years: a gazillion hamsters (most named Cookie), a variety of fish, a Guinea pig, gerbils, a bunny, and a few Bichon Frises. Not all at once, of course. THAT would be crazy. Right now, I have a Samoyed puppy, two cats, a teddy bear hamster, and a betta fish. S’Mores (the hamster) and Dragone (the fish) don’t like their pictures taken. However, I managed to take a few pics of the others.


These are photos of Parker aka Parks. May he rest in peace.








These are photos of Tiger and White-Walker.













These are photos of Jax, our Samoyed puppy.








Do you have pets? Cat? Dog? Other?


Lynnette Labelle
2017 Golden Heart ® Finalist
2016 Daphne du Maurier 2nd Place Winner

Hurry Up and Wait

Hurry Up and Wait

If there’s one thing you have to learn in this industry, it’s to be patient. Ack. The dreaded “P” word, right? It’s true, though. Patience isn’t just a virtue. It’s a necessity in our biz. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Hurry up and wait.” That definitely applies here.

As an unagented, unpublished writer, you must be patient because a lot of things take time like:

-learning the craft of writing
-meeting critique partners, groups, and/or beta readers
-getting your query letter and/or pitch right
-grinding out words to form a proper synopsis
-rewriting, revising, tweaking, and polishing until you’re sick of your manuscript
-researching and querying agents
-waiting for agent responses
-biting your nails as you wait for the scheduled agent call to happen
-waiting for agents to get back to you after you’ve nudged with an offer
-trying to keep yourself busy as you’re secretly dying to make your agent announcement but can’t until everything is official
-getting through the agent revision rounds to make the manuscript shinier than shiny
-silently dying as editors read your submission
-avoiding friends and family because you’ve agreed to a contract with a publisher but still haven’t received the contract and can’t announce

Think the waiting ends there? No, my peeps. It’s only just beginning. So, the best advice I can give you is to get used to it. Waiting and patience are two words that must be a part of your vocabulary. But, it’ll totally be worth it, right?

What part of your journey to traditional publication did you find was the hardest on your patience? If you’re self-published, what are some of your biggest wait times and for what?

Lynnette Labelle
2017 Golden Heart Finalist
2016 Daphne du Maurier 2nd Place Winner

2017 Golden Heart ® Finalist Week 1

2017 Golden Heart ® Finalist Week 1

What a busy week with my Golden Heart ® sisters. I have to get used to using that term. The whole experience still feels like a dream. It’s not, though. I’ve checked several times. My name is still on the 2017 Golden Heart ® Finalist list.

From the day of the announcement until now, we’ve been busy getting to know each other on Twitter, Facebook, and the RWA loop. We’ve had to get a headshot and submit it to RWA. I’m using my current photo since it’s already on my business cards and website. Plus, it was taken last year, and I look the same. Except maybe a little bit taller. Just kidding. I’m never getting past my 5’0” height, unless some caring nurse is generous when measuring me. I think that’s happened twice, and I measured 5’3/4”. Oh, well. Being vertically challenged has its advantages. I can climb on counters to get things from high cupboards. I never have to worry about bumping my head when I enter a room. And, typically, people let me go to the front of a crowd when watching a parade.

We’re just getting started. We have to decide what to wear, pick a name for our group, and I don’t even know what else yet. It’s all a mystery to me, but I’m excited to see what else this experience will bring. Don’t worry. I’ll keep you updated.

Speaking of updates… I have on editing slot available in April. Book now. For more information on my editorial services and rates, check out my website: and read my clients’ testimonials:

Lynnette Labelle
2017 Golden Heart Finalist
2016 Daphne du Maurier 2nd Place Winner

  • / Comments Off on I’m a 2017 Golden Heart ® Finalist!!!
I’m a 2017 Golden Heart ® Finalist!!!

I’m a 2017 Golden Heart ® Finalist!!!

I’m a 2017 Golden Heart ® Finalist!!! Wow. Congrats to all the finalists. I’ll see you at the Romance Writers of America conference in July.

2017 Golden Heart Finalists

Contemporary Romance
Always Sunny by Kimberly MacCarron
Far-Fetched Love by Priscilla Cook
Framed by Susan J. Bickford
Mounting the Marquis by Kelli Newby
No Man Left Behind by Penelope Leas
Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot by Melonie Johnson
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria
Tempting Fate by Jeri Black
Things I’ll Never Say by Christina Hovland
This Child Is Mine by Jo Anne Banker

Contemporary Romance: Short
Job Opening: Billionaire’s Wife by Susannah Erwin
A Love Wide Open by JoAnn Sky
Princess of Meridian by Catherine Stuart
What Would Ginger Do? by Kimberly MacCarron

Historical Romance
Confess, Your Grace by Scarlett Peckham
The Governess’s Glance by Jennifer Henderson
How to Train Your Baron by Diana Lloyd
Lord Lion and the Lady Publisher by Laurel Kerr
The Lost Chord by Suzanne M. Turner
The Price of Desire by Emily Sullivan
Unmasked by Elizabeth Rue
With Love in Sight by Christina Britton

Paranormal Romance
Beryl Blue, Time Cop by Janet Halpin
Bless Your Heart and Other Southern Curses by Heather Leonard
Constant Craving by Kari W. Cole
Fire’s Rising by Grace Adams
The Mer Chronicles: Love’s Diplomatic Act by Kate Ramirez
Soul Affinity by A. Y. Chao

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements
Dangerous Exposure by Dianna Shuford
Fair Haven by Laura Conner Kestner
Wings of Love by Pamela Ferguson

Romantic Suspense
The Fire Beckons by Lynnette Labelle
The Guide by Sarah Morgenthaler
Seductive Strokes by Patty Hoffman
Semper Fi by Meta Carroll
Shot Down by Tracy Brody
Vengeance by Diana Belchase

Young Adult Romance
All the Feels by Kimberly MacCarron
Listen by Jennifer Camiccia
Mouthful by C R Grissom
Swimming through Fog by Nicole Hohmann


Lynnette Labelle
2017 Golden Heart ® Finalist
2016 Daphne du Maurier 2nd Place Winner

  • / Comments Off on Can Querying Writers Resubmit a Revised Manuscript to an Agent?
Can Querying Writers Resubmit a Revised Manuscript to an Agent?

Can Querying Writers Resubmit a Revised Manuscript to an Agent?

Writers often wonder if, after they’ve revised their manuscript, it’s okay to approach an agent who has their full to let them know there’s a newer, better, version available. Here’s what the BookEnds gang had to say about that during their Twitter chat.

Jessica Faust@BookEndsJessica‬
Personally, I don’t mind, but those changes better be extensive. It better be a different book.

Kim Lionetti@BookEndsKim‬
As long as doesn’t happen multiple times, it’s fine. But don’t bother unless they’re substantive changes.

Beth Campbell ‪@Campbele_E‬
I don’t think it ever hurts. Worst I’ll say is no.

Jessica Alvarez ‏‪@AgentJessicaA‬
What Beth said, though I typically would prefer to see a new book first.‬

Moe Ferrara ‏‪@inthesestones‬
I’d only do it once. Coming back multiple times tells me your book wasn’t ready!

These answers are similar to what I’ve heard before. Basically, don’t query until you’re sure (or as sure as you can be) your manuscript is ready. If you suddenly realize you have a major flaw in the work and revise SUBSTANTIALLY, it’s okay to approach an agent to let her know. Some agents will accept the new version, but some will reject because they felt you weren’t ready and wasted their time. It’s a risk either way, right? If you don’t sub the new version, they might reject because of the flaws you have now fixed in the new copy. So, my suggestion is to only contact the agent with a revised version if it’s a major revision or if, like Jessica Faust said, it’s like a new book. Many agents are editorial, and if they like the voice and the story—in other words, if they believe in this project—they’ll help you fix whatever isn’t working. BUT, don’t take that to mean it’s okay to send them something that isn’t ready because they’ll help you fix it. Nope. It doesn’t work that way. The manuscript still has to be pretty close to ready for publication.

What are you waiting for? Get to work!

Have you ever contacted an agent with a revised version? What was the outcome?

SALE: 10% off March slots for developmental editing. Booked

SALE: 25% off March and April slots for manuscript evaluation reports.

Book now.
Lynnette Labelle
2016 Daphne du Maurier 2nd Place Winner

How Many Clients Do Agents Sign a Year?

How Many Clients Do Agents Sign a Year?

Sometimes, toward the end of the year, agents post stats on how many queries they received, how many partials and fulls they requested, and how many clients they signed. Unless they’re a new agent who’s growing their list, many agents don’t sign more than a handful a year. In fact, many sign between two and four. Kinda makes your heart sink, doesn’t it? Well, don’t let the stats get to you. Here’s what the BookEnds Team had to say in their Twitter chat yesterday.

Tracy Marchini ‏‪@TracyMarchini‬
I have a goal, but I’m not going to take something on to meet a number. I’m always thinking about holes in my list though!

Moe Ferrara ‏‪@inthesestones‬
I have a goal — but my current clients will always take priority.

Jessica Faust ‏‪@BookEndsJessica‬
I think most agents start a year with an idea of what they’d like their client list to look like,
but it doesn’t necessarily include # of clients. It could include types of books, genres, etc.
And, of course, the vision for that list will likely change throughout the year as trends change.

Jessica Alvarez ‏‪@AgentJessicaA‬
I have a goal of taking on 3-5 new clients this year. I think I had the same goal last year and took on 7.

Beth Campbell ‏‪@Campbele_E‬
I start with a goal of how many I’ll take on! Results can vary pretty widely though.

In other words, even if agents had a goal for how many clients to sign in a year, and they met it, they’ll still sign others if they love the story/writing. Keep querying, peeps. It’ll happen.

Lynnette Labelle
2016 Daphne du Maurier 2nd Place Winner

Today’s the Day

Today’s the Day

If you’re a member of Romance Writers of America, you know today is the day registration opens for their annual conference. This is a big deal because it’s also the first day to book a room at the conference hotel. This year, everything will take place in Orlando at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. I haven’t been to this location yet, but typically, the main conference hotels book up within hours. For some, that’s not a big deal, but I learned the hard way that I prefer to be in the main hotel.

When I went to my first RWA conference years ago, I signed up about a month after registration opened. Of course, the main hotels were booked, so I had to stay in a hotel that was supposedly not far from the conference hotel. I suppose, on paper, it’s not far. However, when you’re in heels and need to go back and forth to your room to drop off books you’ve collected from signings and workshops, it can feel like it’s miles away. Owies on the feet.

This is the second year in a row I’ll be rooming with M.C. Vaughan, my 2015 #PitchWars mentee and new BBF. When we met for the first time, it was as if we’d known each other forever. *cue angelic singing* We had a blast, and I can’t wait to hang out with her again.

If you’re going to #RWA17, let me know. I organize a few get-togethers with my writing groups and would love to meet you too.

Lynnette Labelle
2016 Daphne du Maurier 2nd Place Winner

  • / Comments Off on Things You Should Know When Querying Agents – Part 3
Things You Should Know When Querying Agents – Part 3

Things You Should Know When Querying Agents – Part 3

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about things you should know when querying agents. If you missed the first two installments, go here for part 1 and here for part 2. What we haven’t touched are the expectations and some of the guidelines you might run into when querying agents. We’ll do that now.

-You should have a synopsis ready. Yes, I know, you hate writing the damn thing, but you’ll need it at some point, so you might as well have it ready before you start querying. Some agents will request it along with a partial or full manuscript. You don’t want to rush to write it before you send in the requested material. Be prepared.

-When querying, don’t send an attachment unless the agent requests a partial or full, or if the agent’s website states that’s how they’d like you to send the sample pages with the query. Most of the time, agents prefer to have the sample pages pasted below the query.

-When an agent requests a partial or full, don’t send them a link to click if they want to read more. Instant rejection. And, unless they specifically tell you do to so, don’t paste the partial or full into the body of the e-mail. Attach it.

-Most agents want you to reply to the e-mail they sent so they have the e-mail chain available. Don’t start a new e-mail chain unless they ask you to do it.

-What happens if the agent requests the first fifty pages and that would mean stopping in the middle of a scene, or worse, in the middle of a sentence? NEVER send an agent something that ends with the middle of a sentence. You’ll have to trust your gut or do homework on this agent to see how he/she wants you to deal with this situation. Basically, you have two options. You can finish the scene, assuming you’re not going over by more than a couple pages. Don’t push it. Or, you can cut back until you end with a good hook, even if that means handing in 44 pages instead of 50. You want to hook the agent so he/she will request the full.

-If you’re fortunate enough to have an agent request a partial or full, remember to name your document with your last name and title. You’d be surprised at how many attachments they receive named “Manuscript,” “My Book,” etc. Also be sure to remove version numbers or dates from your title. For example, you don’t want to send a document called Jane’s First Day – Version 23, January 17, 2017. It should look like this: Name – TITLE.

-Make sure to include your phone number when you send a full manuscript to an agent. Most agents will e-mail you to set up a good time to call, but some will call unexpectedly. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have questions ready, because you should ask him/her questions when he/she calls. You need to make sure this will be a good fit for you.

-While you have full manuscripts out with agents, you might want to ensure you answer all calls from numbers you don’t recognize in a friendly way. Imagine if an agent were calling and you answered, “If this is another f—– telemarketer, I’m going to track you down and rip out your tongue.” Maybe wait until after the querying stage before you let your crazy come out. Just sayin’.

-A part of being professional is for you to not respond negatively to a rejection. Some writers will thank the agent for their time, and others will simply move on. Either is fine. DON’T e-mail the agent a nasty note. EVER.

-If you’re lucky enough to receive an offer of representation from an agent, resist the urge to accept immediately. I know, it’ll be tough, but you can do it. Even if this is your dream agent, you owe it to the other agents, who are possibly reading your material or considering offering as well, the chance to woo you. And, you might be surprised. I’ve heard plenty of stories of authors thinking they’d accept an offer from Dream Agent only to accept one from a different agent instead. It’s all about finding the right fit for you and your career.

Editing Update: My next available slot is February 13. Book now.

Lynnette Labelle
2016 Daphne du Maurier 2nd Place Winner

  • / Comments Off on Things You Should Know When Querying Agents – Part 2
Things You Should Know When Querying Agents – Part 2

Things You Should Know When Querying Agents – Part 2

Last week, we talked about things you should know when querying agents. Let’s face it. Querying can suck the life out of you. The “Will someone love my work enough to represent it?” question is always at the back of your mind. You jump every time the phone rings, hoping it’s THE CALL. You stalk… I mean READ… agents’ tweets. And you refresh your e-mail box every minute for months. Whoa. That’s tiring me out just writing about it.

What you need to help you through the rollercoaster ride we call “querying agents” is support. Join a writing group or find other writers who are querying too. As you’re querying, you might come across a group of other authors querying at the same time. This might happen through contests like Pitch Wars, through sites like Query Tracker, or through social media like Facebook or Twitter. Chatting with people who are going through similar experiences as you can help you feel less alone. If you see Jane Doe’s rejection letter from Agent A is the same as the one you received, you’ll know it’s a form rejection, which might not sting as much.

Groups like this can also help you find agents to query or can tell you about their experience with a particular agent. However, as good as these groups can be, you have to remember you’re not in competition with these folks. Everyone has his or her own journey to publication. So, if Jane gets an agent before you, it doesn’t mean you won’t or that she’s better than you. Maybe your journey is to hook an editor through a contest, or you might self-publish, or maybe it’ll just take a little longer for you to find the right agent. Be happy for Jane, not jealous. Okay, realistically, you can be envious for A MINUTE, but you need to put those feelings aside or they’ll eat you up.

About Rejections:

-When an agent rejects your work, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with it. This business is very subjective. What one agent rejects, another might love. However, if several agents tell you they don’t like your protagonist, for example, you might want to consider taking a look at how you can make him more likeable.

-Sometimes, it’s really all about the market. If a market is slow and agents are struggling to sell in that particular genre, they’ll be reluctant to take on another project in that genre. They might love your story, but they’re in the business to make money. If they’re afraid they won’t be able to sell your project, they’ll pass.

-Some agents will give you a R&R (revise and resubmit) without signing you and without any guarantee they ever will. This is tricky. You have to really believe in the agent’s suggestions if you’re going to revise your work, because you could end up wasting your time revising only to have them pass on the new version. This is time you could’ve spent working on a new story. However, some agents use R&Rs as a test. They want to see how well you take their criticism and if you can implement the changes they suggested in the way they want. If you do, they’ll sign you, and your manuscript will be ready to go out on submission.

Whatever you do, don’t take rejections personally. This is a business. Agents aren’t rejecting YOU. They’re saying this particular project isn’t right for them.

Come back next week to read the last part in this series.

Editing Update: My next available slot is February 13. Book now.

Lynnette Labelle
2016 Daphne du Maurier 2nd Place Winner

  • / Comments Off on Things You Should Know When Querying Agents – Part 1
Things You Should Know When Querying Agents – Part 1

Things You Should Know When Querying Agents – Part 1

Are you querying literary agents? If so, you might want to ensure you’re up to speed on things you should know during this stage. Take a look.

-Agents from different agencies (and sometimes the same agency) don’t have the same submission guidelines. You need to read them all and follow each one. If you don’t, an agent will think you’re not professional at best, or lazy at worst. Either way, they won’t want to work with you.

-Some agents (or their assistants) read queries in the order they’re received. Some pick through the pile randomly, or they search for a specific genre they’re dying to have at the moment. This makes it hard to figure out when you’ll get a response. Be patient.

-When rejecting a query letter, most agents send a form rejection. Don’t take this personally. Some will give feedback, but that’s pretty rare at the querying stage. Don’t expect it. But, thank the agent if she takes the time to give it to you, even if you don’t agree with her feedback. Be polite.

-Some agents don’t reject query letters. If you don’t hear back from them, it’s a pass. Most of these agents state a time frame so you’ll know if you haven’t heard from them by then, they’ve passed. However, some don’t, so it’s a guessing game.

-For some agencies, a no from one agent is a no from all. This means you shouldn’t query another agent at that agency with the same project. If the agent you queried had thought someone else in the agency would be a better fit, she’d have passed your query to that agent.

-Many agencies will allow you to query more than one agent at their agency but not at the same time. You must wait until you’ve received a rejection or the time frame has passed before you query one of their colleagues.

-Often, an agent will give some sort of personal feedback when she rejects a full manuscript she requested. This isn’t always the case and shouldn’t be expected. In fact, a few agents won’t even reject your full manuscript. You’ll just never hear from them again, even if you nudge and ask the status of your manuscript. This can be frustrating, and you’ll probably wonder if she even received your full in the first place. She probably did. She’s just not that into it. You have no choice but to move on.

-Agent response times are all over the place. Some will read queries quickly and request material, only to sit on the partials or fulls for months. These are busy people. The fact that they haven’t read your requested material as quickly as they read your query doesn’t mean they aren’t excited about your story. It’s simply their process.

-Other agents will take between one and three months to read the queries and request. Some will then jump on the requested material, while others will take a while to get to their requested pile. In other words, it doesn’t matter how long it takes for an agent to read your work, it’s not an indication of their interest. If they hadn’t been interested in your manuscript, they wouldn’t have requested it. Period.

-Query Tracker is a great way to see roughly where you are in the querying line. Of course, this only works for agents who read queries in order. But, it’s neat to see that So-And-So queried the same agent a few days before you did and just got a request or a rejection. It tells you the agent will probably get to your query soon. There’s more to Query Tracker than this. Check it out. It’s a great tool for querying authors.

Come back next week to read the next part in this series.

Editing Update: My next available slot is February 13. Book now.

Lynnette Labelle
2016 Daphne du Maurier 2nd Place Winner