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Author Archives: Chuck Sambuchino

How I Got My Agent: Julie Kibler

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Julie Kibler, author of the literary fiction debut novel, CALLING ME HOME (2013). These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings.

GIVEAWAY: Julie is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: alshultz won.) Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Kaylee Davis of Dee Mura Literary

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Kaylee is seeking: Kaylee is actively seeking to build her client list in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, and young adult; bonus points if there are elements of steampunk, coming-of-age, urban fantasy, espionage, social commentary, or counter culture. Kaylee is drawn to exciting, thought-provoking stories with a fresh perspective that explores what it means to be human. She accepts queries from new and emerging writers. Read more

Are You Ready To Be Published? Here Are 5 Things You Need

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Create a pitch. When I spent my years writing novels before I published my first medieval mystery, I also spent a lot of time planning what would happen when one finally was published. And part of that planning was, of course, the nuts and bolts of completing a manuscript. Not only do you need to have it finished, but once it is, you need to sit down and complete the business aspect of the writing and write a synopsis. You’ll need the 25-word pitch, the paragraph, the one page, and then the full. All of these are handy to have. The pitch is for queries and for networking when you answer that inevitable question, “What’s your book about?” Know it. Memorize it. Use it. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Jenifer Madison, Author of of the Self-Help Book, LIVING THE PROMISES

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Today’s debut author interview is with a nonfiction writer: Jenifer Madson, author of LIVING THE PROMISES: Coming to Life on the Road to Recovery (March 2013, Conari Press). I find it fascinating to study the paths of debut writers, so that other scribes trying to make it can see what they did right and wished they’d done different on their journey to publication.

LIVING THE PROMISES is an inspirational self-help book that discusses finding purpose and joy after breaking from addiction. Karen Casey, PhD., author of Each Day A New Beginning, said, “Jenifer’s book is a must for your morning meditation or night stand, or both. She writes with such clarity about the journey we share in light of the ‘promises’ made to us in the Big Book. You will enjoy every morsel of this book. I did.” Read more

Story Physics: How to Craft Your Best Fiction — New March 21 Webinar With “Storyfixer” Larry Brooks (With Synopsis Critique!)

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We all know that writers want to take their novel (or screenplay) to the next level. That’s why we have “The StoryFixer” Larry Brooks teaching the all-new webinar “From Good to Great: How to Apply the Principles of Story Physics to Craft the Best Fiction of Your Life” at 1 p.m., Thursday, March 21, 2013. It lasts 90 minutes. (All registrants will get a one-page synopsis critiqued by instructor Larry Brooks!) Read more

Why You Should Reach Out to Successful Authors For Advice

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Need the advice of a master? Have you tried asking? You wouldn’t listen to a record by Bob Dylan and then drop him a note, tell him what a fine record it is, and that you, too, write songs and are wondering if he has any advice for a struggling musician.

It’s preposterous, of course. But you can write to writers. There’s even a fair chance—and what more can you ask than a fair chance?—they’ll read your notes and write back. They’ll look over your scars and show you theirs, and in that way spur you on like no one else could. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Frank Bill, Author of DONNYBROOK

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I love interviewing debut authors on my blog. It’s because the path of debut authors is a great roadmap for others who are trying to get their books published and/or find a literary agent. That said, today we meet novelist Frank Bill.

Frank Bill’s March 2012 debut novel, DONNYBROOK, is about “The Donnybrook, a three-day bare-knuckle tournament held on a thousand-acre plot out in the sticks of southern Indiana. Twenty fighters. One wire-fence ring. Fight until only one man is left standing while a rowdy festival of onlookers—drunk and high on whatever’s on offer—bet on the fighters.” Frank’s previous story collection, Crimes in Southern Indiana, was one of GQ’s favorite books of 2011 and a Daily Beast best debut of 2011. Frank lives and writes in southern Indiana. Donnybrook is his first novel. Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by A.J. Colucci

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1. High Concept is easier to sell. Within three years of writing fiction, I had a couple of books, a few partials and had a lot of story ideas in my head, but agents kept telling me that The Colony was my best shot at getting published. They said the premise was high concept: When a supercolony of one trillion ants attack Manhattan, two divorced entomologists are brought together to stop the invasion before the president nukes the city. A high concept novel can be summed up in one sentence that instantly gets the listener excited and paints a visual image of what the book is about. It should have broad appeal and a killer title, like Jurassic Park, The Godfather, or Jaws. It’s easier to sell because it’s pitch-driven, not sold on execution. Considering how hard it is to publish a first novel, that’s definitely something to keep in mind.

GIVEAWAY: AJ is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: missnelso04 won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Tessa Harris

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Tessa Harris, author of THE DEAD SHALL NOT REST, whose literary agent is Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Jen Karsbaek of Foreword Literary

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She is seeking: “Jen is aggressively looking to build her list with women’s fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, historical fiction, and literary fiction. She looks for books with particularly well-developed characters and strong authorial voice. In historical in particular she is interested in books that bring the setting to life and maintain balance between historical accuracy and strong plot choices. She is also interested in mystery, fantasy, and occasionally romance approaches to any of the genres listed above.” Read more

9 Things That Will Help Get Your Novel Published

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1: The Elevator Pitch. As I write this post, my first novel, The Promise of Stardust, is about to find its way into the world. It’s about a woman who suffers a devastating brain injury, and just as they are about to take her off life-support, they realize she’s pregnant. Oh yes, there’s more. The story spans twenty years. It’s a love story. It’s a family saga. It’s many things. But for an elevator pitch, it important to know what your story is about and to refine it down to a sentence or two. Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Laura Dail of Laura Dail Literary Agency

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This interview features Laura Dail of Laura Dail Literary Agency. The Duke University graduate received her Master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College. She has served on the board of the Association of Authors Representatives (AAR) and currently chairs the AAR Royalties Committee. She also Tweets.

She is seeking: Laura’s now especially interested in historical and high-concept fiction, funny YA, humor, and serious nonfiction. Read more

Author Interview: Tamera Will Wissinger, Author of the Debut Middle Grade GONE FISHING

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I am a huge fan of debut authors and new writers, which is why I interview so many on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog. Today’s getting-to-know-you interview is with Tamera Will Wissenger, author of the debut middle grade contemporary adventure, GONE FISHING (Houghton Mifflin, March 2013), illustrated by Matthew Cordell, which uses poetry in its writing. Reading how debut authors got published is a great roadmap for those looking to follow in their footsteps. Read more

Get Your First 500 Words Critiqued by Agent Roseanne Wells: March 14 Webinar on “The Essentials of Characters, Plot & Setting”

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A lot of WD’s webinars are focused on a particular element or genre. Sometimes they’re on writing something specific like a picture book, while other times they’re intensives on query letters or synopses. But this week it’s time to get back to basics. It’s time to talk about the crucial and essential story elements of character, plot and setting. To accomplish this, we have literary agent and instructor extraordinaire Roseanne Wells (Jennifer De Chiara Literary) teaching the all-new webinar, “The Three Essential Building Blocks of Your Novel: Who, What, and Where,” on Thursday, March 14, 2013. The webinar starts at 1 p.m., EST and lasts 90 minutes. And there’s more: Each registrant gets the first 500 pages of their novel critiqued by Roseanne! Read more

How I Got My Agent: James Markert

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring James Markert, author of the novel A WHITE WIND BLEW (Feb. 2013, Sourcebooks Landmark). These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. James’s story involves getting his book published with a publishing house and then approaching agents, including agent Dan Lazar of Writers House, who eventually signed him. Read more

5 Tips on Writing First Drafts

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Set a deadline. A Violet Season was written over four summers—each summer, another draft. This was a crazy schedule, I know, but in some ways it was perfect. There was a clear end to the summers (sadly), and to my drafts. If you don’t have a deadline, you run the risk of one draft spilling into the next, and you may never feel a sense of closure or accomplishment. This is really important in a business in which we often work alone and without recognition. When you finish your draft, celebrate! Then start the next one.

GIVEAWAY:Kathy is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Edwina won.) Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Elisa Lorello

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This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers (this installment written by Elisa Lorello, author of ADULATION) at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their book agent — by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning.

GIVEAWAY: Elisa is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: TakakoW won.) Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Kezia Toth at Union Literary

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Reminder: New literary agents (this spotlight featuring agent Kezia Toth of Union Literary) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

Kezia is seeking: She is especially interested in narrative nonfiction, “big idea” books, American cultural history, and pop culture. Kezia is also passionate about all sorts of fiction, including young adult and middle grade novels. Read more

Judy L. Mandel: Meet the Author of REPLACEMENT CHILD (A Memoir)

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I have always loved interviewing debut authors, both for the GLA Blog, and for Writer’s Digest magazine. Today, I’m happy to interview author Judy L. Mandel. These interviews are a great way to learn more about how new writers got published and found their literary agents.

Judy L. Mandel is the author of REPLACEMENT CHILD: A MEMOIR (Seal Press, March 5, 2013). She began her career as a journalist, branched out to public relations, and settled in corporate marketing, where she worked for more than 20 years as a marketing director for several Fortune 100 companies. Mandel is now a student in the MFA program of Stony Brook Southampton and lives in Connecticut with her husband. Read more

Write Like a Lawyer: 5 Tips for Fiction Writers

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I often tell people that being a lawyer isn’t so different from being a fiction writer. The comment always elicits some laughs, maybe a suspicious squint or two, but I couldn’t be more serious. As a junior and mid-level corporate litigator, much of my day was spent writing briefs, witness statements and other court documents. Over the years, I developed writing skills and strategies that helped me finish my debut novel, THE HOUSE GIRL (Feb. 2012) while also holding down a day job. Here are the top five. Read more

5 Simple Things Agents Can Do To Make Writers’ Lives Easier (and 3 Things Writers Should Do Regardless)

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1. Set up an auto-responder email letting writers know that their query letter was received. By doing this, agents will cut down on the number of repeat queries they receive from writers unsure if their e-mail went through correctly. For those agents whose policy it is to only respond if interested, writers won’t wonder if their queries were received in the first place or send a follow-up e-mail just in case. Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Douglas Brunt

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1. Don’t write more than 3 hours at a time. I write three hours in the morning, 9am – 12pm. Other people are best late at night. I try to go to the same place when I write, but that doesn’t matter much. I’ve done lots of writing on planes and in cars, hotels. The important thing is to write when your brain is at its best. Work edits or do outside reading with the rest of the day. Don’t worry about a daily word quota. Stephen King has said he likes to get 2000 words each day. That’s a mistake for most people. Good for discipline but bad for a well written novel. Three hours of creating is taxing on any brain and you should stop there. Some days you may stop without any words at all. It’s much easier to write new stuff the next day than to go through painful deletions of a day’s worth of crap you already wrote. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Emily Jeanne Miller

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Emily Jeanne Miller, author of BRAND NEW HUMAN BEING (June 2012). These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings.

GIVEAWAY: Emily is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: seichenblatt won.) Read more

Debut Author Interview: N. Griffin, Author of the Young Adult Novel THE WHOLE STUPID WAY WE ARE

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I love sharing interviews with first-time authors here on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog. I think they’re a great resource for others trying to get published, as each interview serves as a mini-roadmap of what a writer did correct on their journey as well as what they wish they did different. Today I’d like you to meet N. Griffin, author of the young adult debut THE WHOLE STUPID WAY WE ARE (Feb. 2013, Atheneum Books). In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said of the novel, “Griffin’s portrayal of [the main characters' friendship and their] sense of injustice, frustration, and rage is wrenching and difficult to forget.” Kirkus Reviews said, “Readers who invest in this quirky set of characters and circumstances will be rewarded.”

GIVEAWAY: N. Griffin is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: DanielJayBerg won.) Read more

Literary Agent Jody Klein of Brandt and Hochman Literary Seeks New Clients

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I’m not considering this a true New Agent Alert because agent Jody Klein (of Brandt and Hochman Literary Agents, Inc.) is not brand new. That said, this post resembles an Alert in that Jody did tell me recently how she is actively looking to build her client list right now — and that is something writers should be happy to know. All details below for those interested in querying her!

She is seeking: Jody is actively acquiring literary and commercial fiction, crime/suspense, historical fiction, graphic novels/memoirs, and magical realism, as well as narrative nonfiction (especially related to sports, science, or history), and prescriptive nonfiction. Read more

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