Things I Wish I Knew: New Blog Series

Hi, all. I’m starting a new series on the blog called “Things I Wish I Knew.”

I’ll be featuring some of my clients talking about their book deals, their writing careers and their platforms. I’ll also be talking to some industry professionals too. “Things I Wish I Knew” is going to be about everything from things people actually wish they knew when they began their career (as a writer or publishing professional) or a way to reflect back on how far they’ve come. Let me know what you think of the new series in the comments.

What topics would you like to see? Who would you like me to interview?

— Carly

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

51 thoughts on “Things I Wish I Knew: New Blog Series

  1. I’d love to learn more about writer networking, something I’m not currently great at. At first I thought all I’d have to do to get published was write a great book, but I’ve quickly learned there are other things to do as well. How important is going to conferences and all of that? Did it make or a break any writers’ careers? Thanks so much for this!


    1. I wouldn’t say conferences make or break anyone’s career. A great book is #1. I rarely sign clients from conferences. I have been to MANY conferences and I still sign more writers from the slush pile than conferences by a long shot.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah this answer makes me happy too! Especially since I’n now interning at a literary agency helping read through said slush pile. The job has been enlightening in so many ways, especially with regards to how important that pile can be!


  2. I’d love to know different ways writers stay organized in thought. I’ll have an idea pop into my head so I jot down a couple notes in google keep. Then I try to write in google drive (then I can write anywhere on any device), but then I get sidetracked with another thought and I can’t seem to keep anything together, so nothing gets done. Ideas on this would be much appreciated!


      1. Hey guys, just had to jump in here. I tried Scrivener this summer and was overwhelmed by all its features. But I am determined to give it a try again soon, since an author I know uses it and raves about it. I think it just takes some getting used to!


  3. I’d love to know how writers find time to engage on social media, write their stories, and live their lives without going insane. I especially need advice managing my social media time on a budget. Thank you for this wonderful idea!


      1. Good ideas. Yes, I’m in a (very small) local group, and it is indeed a good place to start. I’m just looking for ideas for where to go from here. I’ll check out the organizations you mention, and will follow your blog for other ideas as they come up. Thanks!


  4. I wish I knew more tips/tricks/ideas for how to approach big picture-larger scale edits (such as when you get a R&R from an agent or editor, for example). Maybe there’s an R&R success story or one of your current authors who needed to do something like this with another manuscript based upon some other kind of editorial feedback.


  5. Hi Carly,
    This is a great idea, so thanks for doing it!
    Here’s what I’d like to know:

    Just how much time and how important do fairly well established authors think that having a social media presence helped them in the beginning to first get published and have some success (i.e., actually get paid for their work in some fashion, and not self publishing)…

    And how much time did they spend on developing an author platform vs. actually writing that novel in the beginning stages??
    And what would they suggest for newly emerging authors like myself, who have only a very small blog, and one short story credited to our name so far…

    Thanks again. Looking forward to this column.


  6. Great topic to explore. Love for you to interview Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City, American Rose & Liar, and Temptress,Soldier, Spy. Two of her non-fiction books were about personalities and times of the early Twentieth Century (which i’m writing about), would like to know from her how she got her first book deal, what diversity she experienced as an author of three non-fiction best selling books. What kinds of promotions proved to be effective in book selling, publishers role in promotion etc. Any agent issues, editor issues, publisher issues, disagreements etc. Has her writing process changed from her first book to her latest.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I would like to know how to get my finished book published, how much publicity do I need between now and the time my book is printed to get readers interested? How much information do I need to put in my query letter to get a literary agent interested in my book, or do I need to put any at all? How much money should I ask for when I talk about working with a literary agent or an editor?


    1. Hi Joy, if you go back through my old blog posts you will find answers to 95% of your questions. The money part, I’m not sure exactly what your question is. Agents have a standard flat commission fee of 15% domestically. As for hiring an external editor before you submit, their prices vary. Separately, when an editor from a publishing house makes an offer you’ll (hopefully) have an agent to walk you through that process.


  8. What is the standard wait time, when a publisher has requested your full manuscript? Is no news good news while one waits? Oh, wait! I just now saw ” 5 things to do while Your Book is on Submission”, which is posted below. You’re a step ahead of me! On the merits of this, I’ll be following this blog! So glad to have found you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Maybe a series of interviews with publishers and marketing experts. It would be good to read up-to-date industry advice from publishing professionals, and to learn their strategies for thriving in a changing market.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on Mysticalwriter and commented:
    Carly is starting a new series “Thing I Wish I Knew” is going to be about everything from things people actually wish they knew when they began their career (as a writer or publishing professional) or a way to reflect back on how far they’ve come. Let me know what you think of the new series in the comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I would love to get some thoughts on “Things I wish I knew before I got the deal” or “things I wish I knew about working with an editor”. Essentially, the process after you’ve gotten an agent but before you get a book deal…I’d love to know more about that!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ditto Asuiitorclarke! I’d like to know how to pick and chose an editor wisely.
      From what I’ve seen and heard, there are many good ones but also many unscrupoulous ones who will take your money and maybe or maybe not do such a great job for you.
      Any input Carly can give on how to pick the right one and get great results will be helpful.


  12. Here’s a question: I recently read an article (which I now can’t find, of course) written by an editor at a literary journal about what goes on behind-the-scenes as these volunteer editors work through reading submitted pieces. She commented that if 20 publications have rejected your piece, the 21st isn’t likely to take it either. What do you think of that advice? And if you agree with her, what number does a person stop at? I know that great writing rises to the top (which you mentioned at Edmonton’s Words in 3D Conference last year) but I also know many publications only publish 2% of what they get in a year, and I have read editor comments on websites that just because they didn’t accept your work, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy – its just that there are other constraints. So, from your side of things Carly, what is a good guideline for a person to know when to stop submitting a particular piece?


What do you think? I love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: