How To Get a Manuscript Request in Twenty Minutes

How To Get a Manuscript Request in Twenty Minutes

How To Get A Manuscript Request in Twenty Minutes


Do these statements ring true for you?

  • You struggle to finish or publish your book.
  • You feel like you’ve tried everything: you’ve read the books, taken the classes, attended the workshops, read every article that exists on the internet about how to write and get published. 
  • You feel frustrated or incompetent because you haven’t been published yet.

You’re not alone, writers. I work with many writers to get past these very same issues, and today I want to share with you how I helped one of these writers finally get published.

When Barbara came to me, she had done the work–oh boy had she done the work. She even had an MFA (a Master of Fine Arts), which many writers consider to be the pinnacle of a writer’s career.

But the problem with an MFA is though the classes teach you how to write, they fail to teach you how to publish.

In fact, one of the biggest complaints the agents I work with have about MFA writers is their manuscripts are cookie cutter. Most agents can sniff out an MFA manuscript from a mile away. They’re all the same, which doesn’t give them that edge to be publishable. 

This was Barbara’s issue: she had a great concept, but needed to break out of the MFA mold and transform her manuscript into something agents would scramble to represent. 

Barbara and I worked on revisions over the course of several months. During that time, I was in conversation with several agents about Barbara, her manuscript, and how to position her book for optimal success. 

What was incredible about working with Barbara is for the first time in her writing career, the revision process was not a stress-ridden nightmare for her, but enjoyable. Barbara and I laughed together during our meetings and enjoyed each other’s company, because she finally felt she was on the right track to publication. 

When Barbara finished revising, I sent her synopsis to an agent I work with frequently. Within 20 minutes of reading the synopsis, she asked me for a full manuscript. 

Let that sink in. 

20 minutes. 

Have you waited days, weeks, even MONTHS to hear back from an agent–only to get a “no thanks, not for me”? 

Imagine getting a yes in 20 minutes. 

 Many would-be authors spin their wheels for years trying the same things over and over again, hoping for new results. Worse: they piddle their money away one workshop, one class, one MFA at a time. 

Real results ARE possible, but you’ve got to be willing to take the right steps.

I work with authors who are coachable–so eager to publish that they’re willing to put in hard work.

The authors I work with authors every day are tired of spinning their wheels, ready for real results, and ready to invest in themselves in order to get there.

I work with authors who take writing and publishing seriously without taking themselves too seriously. 

If that sounds like you, and you’re really ready, I’ve opened some spots in my calendar to talk with you about where you are, where you’d like to go, and how you can get there. Click here to choose a time to book yourself directly into my calendar, and we can hop on a call and chat.

Until next time. Happy Writing.

Annalisa’s Top Book Picks

Annalisa’s Top Book Picks

Annalisa’s Top Book Picks 


If you’re writing, then you absolutely should be reading, and not just reading in your genre. You want to be reading widely.

And I practice what I preach.

For the writers over in the Writing Gym, we set goals and we put strategies in place to reach them.

Part of that should be your reading strategy. Because, of course, in order to be a good writer, you need to be reading.

Did I say that already? I think I did. I must mean it.

First, I wanted to share my top three nonfiction books. 


  • The Go-Giver Influencer by Bob Burg and John David Mann
    • My top pick. This book changed my life. It was exceptional. This is a book that I had to stop reading and think. So I read two pages and went, “Woah. That’s a big idea. I need to think through that.” There was a lot of journaling that happened. This book is about so much more than business, though it is also about business. This book is about how to live a quality life, how to problem solve, so that people can get along. And I think that this book is particularly important right now, right? We’re in a very contentious political situation. I’m not going to get into the details of that, but there are a lot of people who are having difficulty getting along with each other. If everybody read this book, maybe things would be a little bit better. I highly, highly, highly recommend this book.
  • How to Be Rich by J. Paul Getty. 
    • An oldie but a goodie. And let me tell you what I love about this book. First of all, great title. Don’t you want to know how to be rich? And it’s a misnomer. It’s a really good pitch. Although this book is about getting rich, it’s also really more sociological and philosophical. It’s  about the creation of wealth, the obligation that wealth creates, how we create jobs and share that wealth, and how we contribute to our culture patrimony through wealth to share that. Think Rockefeller. It’s a really really interesting book.
  • Mastering Fear: A Navy SEAL’s Guide, written by Brandon Webb and John David Mann.
    • Many of you have heard John David Mann on the Writing Gym podcast. He had some great thoughts to share on the writing of this book that he and John went through. Brandon and John put a really great book together. I particularly loved their philosophy on mastering fear. A lot of times, we talk about really mastering fear. And he really nips that myth in the bud through this book. We’ve all been afraid of something in our lives. Sometimes it’s big things. Sometimes fear really gets in the way of our dreams. I don’t want fear to get in the way of your dreams, your publishing dreams. 

Now, my favorite fiction picks.


  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. 
    • One of the things we talk about over in the Writing Gym a whole lot is how you integrate your literary devices to augment your theme and plot points. It’s really, really hard to do. And this book did it really well. Not only is it a good, interesting, character-driven story, but the pacing is amazing. She gives you just enough information for you to always be on the edge of your seat, wondering what’s going to happen next.
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. 
    • You’ve probably seen this book about. It was a New York Times bestseller. Very popular book. Again, the pacing was really beautiful. Just spot-on, how the author was able to give out the information and it did have a surprise ending. No spoilers here, but the way that the book was able to come full circle in it’s theme but also to have a surprise at the end was very masterful. Really, really loved this book.
  • Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington. 


I want to send some shout-outs to some amazing members of the Writing Gym who published as well. I’m really excited for their victories, for their success, for the way that they were able to complete their writing dreams.

My first shout-out goes to Dr. Priya Saklani, who finished her book, The Wounded Healer: The True Story of a Child Sexual Abuse Survivor. She finished this book in 2017, published in 2018. 

This is a really great memoir where she is really honest about some really tough stuff. She and I had some good, tearful moments together as we worked through the contents of this book. This isn’t easy stuff to talk about. It’s not easy stuff to read. But the victory message is here. 

We talked about mastering fear earlier. Here, she’s talking about mastering an experience, moving through something and coming out the other side with positivity. This is a really powerful book from the Writing Gym. 

Next I want to send a big shout-out to our very own Stephanie Scott-Snyder, who wrote this book, not in the Writing Gym, but it was published in 2018. Stephanie works in the field of crime–I won’t tell you more than that. I’ll let her tell her own story. And her novel, When Women Offend: Crime and the Female Perpetrator, is a very compelling nonfiction. Stephanie is certainly an expert in this field who has a lot to share. 

And the last Writing Gym shout-out that I want to give is to Terry Harkin, who wrote The Big Buddha Bicycle Race. We met in New York a few years back and we worked on some of his pages and got his pitch ready. Then Terry got a three-book deal.

He’s doing really great for himself. His publishing company just sent him on a speaking tour, so I was able to meet up with him in Colorado. We had lunch, and we talked about his journey as a writer. I’m super proud of him, super happy for him, really could not be more thrilled for his success and what he’s been able to do with his story and his books.

Please support your fellow writers. Leave a review on any of these books if you’ve read them. 

This is one of the most important things you can do for the authors that you love. Take five minutes on Amazon, or Goodreads, and leave them a glowing review!

Lastly, I want to thank you all for your support of Storytelling for Pantsers. This book has sold so well. Many of you have reached out to me and asked for a signed copy that I’ve sent to you with so much joy in my heart. 

I appreciate you and I look forward to hearing from you all about the books that you love and your plans for the future.

Until next time. Happy reading and writing. 

What Books Can I Read to Break Out of Loneliness

What Books Can I Read to Break Out of Loneliness

What Books Can I Read to Break Out of Loneliness

I have been taking this time during lockdown, our mandatory at-homeness during COVID-19, to do what I can by sharing with you some of my favorite books. These are books that have impacted me over the years.

So, here I am again to share with you my love of books.

I was listening recently to a podcast called “On Being.” If you haven’t heard it, it’s worth listening to.

They were interviewing someone who frequently mentioned the French philosopher, Montaigne. The podcast referenced that in English, we have a distinction between loneliness and solitude built into our language. 

Not all languages have this. It’s the same word for the act of being alone and the act of being lonely, and I think that that’s a really important distinction for a lot of us.

Just because you’re alone, just because you’re isolated, just because you’re away from others doesn’t mean that you are lonely, or that you are alone without support.

We’re all here for each other, and videos like the one below hopefully can help you feel that.

So, as he mentioned Montaigne—and he’s a huge fan of that philosopher—I thought, I’ve read a book by Montaigne, so I went and I dug it out.

However, I read it in French. You don’t have to be a geek like me and read it in French, but he’s got some really important and poignant things to say, and one of the quotes that was mentioned on the podcast was talking about our minds and how in our society our minds can also almost gallop away from us.

Our minds can be out of control and bogged down in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.

Maybe your brain feels like that. Mine certainly does from time to time, and one of the things that I do recall about Montaigne, who was French nobility and was really on a search for what we would call today, in a postmodern world, “self-realization.”

He shares his thoughts. And this particular book in English is just called Essays, so you can look it up. It’s in the public domain, because it’s hundreds of years old at this point.

So, if you’re feeling like maybe you’d like to get some connection around solitude, this might be a way for you to read somebody else’s thoughts on what it is to be alone, how to deal with solitude, how we can really find ourselves in the quiet, and the kind of questions that we can ask ourselves.

So, that’s my book recommendation for today. French philosopher Montaigne and his book called Essays–in English.

What are you reading these days? I’d love to know.

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Free Publishing Advice

Free Publishing Advice

Free Publishing Advice…And How They Are Costly 

There are many people offering free advice–quick YouTube videos, Facebook lives–talking about free advice on:

  • How to write a book
  • How to publish a book
  • What is the best way to publish a book

The worst part is that people get into this “free advice” trap.

Let’s suppose you wanted a boat. You come to me and say, “I want a boat.” In response, I walk you through how to make a canoe without asking you what kind of boat you really want.

You go home with all these instructions on how to make a canoe, but you realize you have no idea what these instructions mean to you and how it’s going to help you. You become a resentful towards me, because I gave you this free advice on how to build a canoe, but all you really wanted to do was sail to Europe with a different kind of boat.

In the end, I gave you the wrong kind of boat and the wrong kind of instructions–I gave you free advice, but not helpful advice, not the kind of advice you needed to get to where you wanted to go.

In the publishing world, many writers get these free but low cost advice. These writers go to free library groups, library lectures, low cost writing workshops and conferences. Yet, they don’t get the advice they personally need.

All they get is advice that has nothing to do with them and want they want to do.  

The problem with the boat example is this person came to me and said they wanted to build a boat, and I said “Here, let’s build a canoe” without asking what kind of boat they want, what they want to do with the boat, and where they want to go with it.

In publishing, your goals are really important for how you’re going to get where you want to be. Free advice will not help you get from Point A to Point B.

You may have seen in Write to Publish that at Date with the Muse and at the Writing Gym we don’t believe in “one size fits all.”

Everything that we do form the moment you have an idea for a book to the moment that you are quite literally in national TV has been costumed the whole length of the way to what you want. Advice needs to be customized to what your goals are.

In the Writing Gym we want to know who you are and what’s important to you so we can help you to get there.

Somebody once told me that free advice is worth what you pay for, but I think that it is actually more costly than free. It is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole–trying to use a solution that does not work for the problem itself.

In the Writing Gym, we give you a plan that can save you frustration and time. We offer you adaptable resources–multiple podcast interviews with experts, published writers, New York Times best sellers, publicists, and many people in “the know” talking about their experience.

They won’t tell you “here’s how to build a canoe.” Instead, they’ll say, “Here’s how we have built some canoes in the past and how they’ve been successful.”

These are also the kind of things you can see in Write to Publish.

When you see that I post a free class, a masterclass, or an interview on to Write to Publish, please do not overlook them–these are resources that can help you. Even if you just scroll down the page, you’re going to see postings about what people have been able to do through the Writing Gym programs–whether it is finishing a novel, discovering new strengths as a writer, talking about successful marketing plans, or query letters that actually work.

We are getting real results from people every single day. These are no accidents–it is because we take the time to get to know these authors like our friends and help them to get from Point A to Point B.

If you are ready to be seen for who you are, what you bring to the world, what you have to offer, and want a unique plan to do all these things, let’s chat. We want to help you get from Point A to Point B as fast as possible and as successful as possible with the right kind of support behind you. We want to give you the right boat the first time. If you are ready for that, let’s talk.

What’s it like to co-author a book?

What’s it like to co-author a book?

What is it like to co-author a book?


Nate Herzog and I recently released part one of our series novel No 2. Inc.


Annalisa Parent Vermont Author Writer Writing Instructor

The next installment is due in June… but, have you ever wondered: what’s it like to write with someone else?  Check out this article Nate wrote for the skinny.


No2 Inc. Origin Story

No special abilities.

No special costumes.

Being a sidekick is just a job.

This story is about how we at No.2 Inc are creating a story, actually a series of stories, about an agency that outsources sidekick services to superheroes. With a premise involving superheroes, you might think this story was born from a love of comic books, but strangely it wasn’t. I mean, we didn’t start off by saying, “Let’s write it about the adventures of a super human.” But more on that later. For now, think of this project as one we didn’t expect to love, but eventually stole our hearts.

 I’m using the collective we a lot. There are two of us involved. Me, Nate, and my writing partner Annalisa. And No.2 Inc isn’t the name of an actual company. It’s a fictional company, an employment agency. The premise is this: all super heroes have secret identifies. In fact, they prefer to remain as incognito as possible. But, when you’re out doing super hero things in super hero ways, it can take a lot of work to keep all that under wraps. That’s where No.2 Inc comes in. They offer specialized services at keeping titanic people hidden. Think of them as sidekicks for hire.

As I mentioned, telling another super hero story didn’t initially interest us much. It had been done a lot already for decades. But, what we kept wondering about were the practicalities of being a super hero. Who patches and launders the outfits? Who upgrades the computer systems? The hero doesn’t have time for everything. What we were really interested in was the behind the scenes of hero-dom. In some cases, it was the real story of what happened when titans clashed, and who cleaned it all up. And that… that was interesting. But how did this story really begin?

Keep reading here—>>>Annalisa Parent Vermont Author Writer Writing Teacher Instructor Burlington VT

Let us know in the below comments what you think of of our story or the concept of coauthoring. 

We writers are not alone

We writers are not alone

We writers are not alone

Writers’ conferences are wonderful opportunities to remember that, as writers, though we write alone, we are not alone.

writing conference, writing coach Last evening, I was treated, without hyperbole, to the most beautiful author talk I have ever had the honor to experience. Terry Tempest Williams is one of the most genuine and present people I have ever been in a room with. More to the point: it’s nearly impossible to leave the room without falling in love with her and to be left wanting more. (If there were even an iota of insincerity in her, I would laud her brilliant marketing plan.)

But Williams’ essence, her stage presence, her offering a jacket to a student who remarked on the overpowered air conditioning in the auditorium, were all 100% real, an attribute which lends all the more weight and credibility to her statements on the life of a writer.

Generally, in lecture halls, I like to attempt to play the role of attentive listener. (This frequently means I am day dreaming or mentally listing all the things I could be getting done if I didn’t have to sit still.) Attentiveness was not an issue here, though. It was as if Williams’ ability to be in the moment brought her audience into the same Zen-like state.

Half-way through her musings and stories, I needed a pen and notebook to jot down the treasures she was passing along to us. I knew I would need to come back to these nuggets for further reflection, and I knew that I would need these words of wisdom on a rainy day of writing.

“Work hard,” Williams said. “In the end that’s all it is. Nobody’s going to write for you.”

“Learn to live with paradox,” she said. “Protect your solitude.”

More sage advice from Terry Tempest Williams here ==>> 

 How do you combat feeling alone as a writer? What do you think of Terry Tempest William’s words? 


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