Wisdom from the Publishing World with Tina Schwartz
The December installment of the 2021 Author Series wraps up our first year of asking published authors to share the advice they would give to their pre-published self along with what they wished they'd known before they published their first book. But this is not the end! I will continue featuring published author wisdom in this space in 2022!!
Author and literary agent Tina Schwartz joins us this month. I first met Tina as a fellow author, long before she began her agenting career, but back when she was negotiating her own book contracts. I'm guessing a number of my blog readers pitched their work to Tina at the UW-Madison Writers' Institute through the years. (Indeed, that's how I ended up joining Tina's literary agency as a client myself!)
The Purcell Agency started in July of 2012 after author Tina P. Schwartz spent twelve years writing and marketing her work, along with helping several others get published. After a career in Advertising, Radio Sales and Marketing, she turned to her true passion, selling manuscripts. She sold her first book contract in 2004 and sold ten non-fiction titles for one author in the Teen and Youth markets, to traditional publishers. Since opening the agency, she's sold many manuscripts, including YA Non-fiction along with novels aimed at children (chapter books), middle grade readers, young adult, and several adult titles, as well. "My favorite part of the business is meeting new people and building relationships!" says Schwartz. "I look forward to continuing to build fruitful relationships with editors, publishers and authors around the globe."
If I could go back and talk to my pre-published self, what advice would I give?
I’d tell myself to go to all the conferences I could go to, near or far, and market and network myself as much as possible! Meeting editors and agents face-to-face is the most valuable thing I’ve ever done. It’s how I received my first two book contracts… pitching editors IN PERSON. Building relationships is essential. Trying to get published on a one-page query is nearly impossible these days!
What do I wish I had known before publishing my first book?
I wish I knew to start marketing a good 3-4 months before the book came out. I wish I knew to ask for blurbs, to get a one-sheet out to all the bookstores and schools within a 10-mile radius, to send press releases out, to find a REALLY great publicist, if possible.
ABOUT TINA'S BOOKS:
The book I'm most proud of is the book on Depression for ages 13 and up. With all that the world has gone through in the past two years, it’s an important book that gives healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with depression, along with stories for those who have gone through it. It gives a wealth of information about Depression and how to navigate your way through mental health struggles in a positive way.
The fishing book series was a fun project for kids on all types of fishing. I learned how to ice fish while writing that particular book! (See the entire series by scrolling down.)
The book on Writing & Publishing is also one I’m very proud of as it includes so much valuable information, showing nearly all of the possible careers you can go into if you like writing. It’s not just being a journalist or a novelist… there are things you’ve never thought of like being an editor, being a stand-up comedian, being a librarian, being a political satirist, so many careers rely on writing abilities. This book shows what schooling is needed, potential earnings, things you need to do to pursue a certain career. Plus, it describes different styles of writing and how to do them, as well.
Lastly, is the book nearest to my heart, the one on Organ Transplants. It was written after my father received a liver transplant. It was a book aimed at family members and caretakers of those receiving a transplant. My father’s transplant gave him 17 extra years of life, before getting cancer, and passing away. A new transplant book is being written for actual recipients and donors, right now, which I hope to finish in 2022. This one was inspired by my sister giving her son, my nephew, a kidney in 2020. Both are doing well thanks to her Gift of Life!
News to Note & How To Follow Tina's Publishing Adventures
The Purcell Agency, LLC, is in the suburbs of Chicago, and we are working on hosting a Writer’s Conference in Spring 2024. Watch my Social Media for details to come in the following months!