Book Review: The Sell Your Novel Toolkit, by Elizabeth Lyon

Picture this: you set out to climb a mountain, toiling and sweating your way to the top, only to find you've reached a false summit, and the actual peak is far beyond what you feel you're capable of. As fiction writers, our "summit" is finishing a novel. Toiling and sweating through the acquisition of fiction techniques that seem impossible to master. Yet finally, we reach the top.

But we're not there yet.

Stretching far above lies the true summit. Publication. And to reach those heights requires a different skill-set than the ones we've labored to master in recent years. Things like query letters and synopses actually make use of non-fiction techniques, and marketing oneself is completely opposite of sitting alone, typing out a novel.

Is there hope for any of us?

Fortunately, Elizabeth Lyon has taken up the task to educate writers for the final climb. Wearing the hats of author, book editor, writing instructor, and marketing consultant, Lyons is the perfect person for the job. The Sell Your Novel Toolkit is exactly what the title says. The tools you need to get your novel sold.

Lyons shares eight ways to sell your novel. And then she gives the secret to the ninth way. She explains the three belief systems most writers have about marketing and sales.

The book includes an education of the different jobs in the publishing world, and a detailed section helping you get your manuscript ready for marketing--including diagnostic checklists, and help in categorizing and describing your novel.

Two chapters are devoted to the synopsis. The first dissects the synopsis, while the second gives examples of synopses in several different genres.

Queries get two chapters as well. First, the how-to of the query, then a long list of actual (and successful) queries in many genres. Lyons even includes a chapter on getting your sample chapters ready for submission to agents and editors.

But she's not done yet. Further sections give instruction on researching publishers and agents, systematic marketing, what to do when rejections come, and tips on what to do when you make your first sale. The appendices are full of sample contracts, and resources to extend your knowledge on all the topics covered.

I knew since I enjoyed Lyon's Manuscript Makeover book, that this one would become dog-eared as well.

Which summit are you climbing toward right now? Finishing your manuscript, or heading for publication?


  1. I'm adding this one to my list. Thanks for reviewing it.

  2. You've done it again, pointed me to a book I need. Now, if you can just add hours to my day!!! Thanks :-)

  3. I wish I could add an extra hour into my day just for books like these!




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