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Author Archives: Chuck Sambuchino
By the end of June, I had written the first 50,000 words, and I had July and August to finish the second half. Problem was, I didn’t know what word 50,001 was going to be. I knew I needed another scene with the victim’s mother and uncle, and also knew I needed a scene with the victim’s alcoholic father. What I didn’t know was what came next, so I allowed myself to do something I’d never attempted before … I wrote out of sequence. Read more
Recently, I started a new challenge on the GLA Blog called “Tunesday.” I play musical riffs on the guitar or piano and ask people to identify the riffs. Volume 2 is live right now (through Dec. 19, 2012). But the winner of the first edition of Tunesday was guitar riff wizard Michael Seese. As part of winning the contest, he gets an interview on the GLA Blog. Learn more about Michael, his current helpful e-books, and his path to get published! Read more
Enjoy a little rock & roll music from time to time? Who doesn’t? Well I’m trying something fun and different (again!) today as a Tuesday pick-me-up to try and get your week going. It’s my own crazy variation of NAME THAT TUNE and I’m calling it WD’S TUNESDAY. This is Volume 2. It runs until Dec. 19, 2012. The rules and the gist are simple. Watch the video. I play 12 riffs on my guitar. You try to name as many of them as you can, and e-mail me your answers to literaryagent at fwmedia dot com. The person who names the most correct answers gets lots of cool prizes (see below). Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Coreene Callahan, author of several books, including the newly released KNIGHT AWAKENED. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent.
TAKING MY TIME WITH THE PITCH: I met my literary agent in a karaoke bar over a tequila shot. She was celebrating the signing of a book contract with one of her authors, and I got swept into the group. An unusual way to begin a professional relationship, I know, but…hey. I’ve always been the kind of person who opens the door when opportunity comes knocking. But here’s the thing… Read more
… As I sat there, marinating in a self-concocted brine of shame, a faculty member chose a seat near mine. I glanced at his nametag: Arthur Levine, the legendary editor from Scholastic. As I wished for an invisibility cloak, the speaker at the lectern reminded us to turn off our cell phones. At that very moment, Arthur’s phone rang. He blushed, clapped his hand to his heart, switched off the phone in his jacket pocket, and excused himself. When he returned a moment later, he whispered that he had a small child at home and could never be out of touch. Because I had a child the same age, I understood completely. But he impressed me on another level. It didn’t matter to Arthur that he was our keynote speaker, the most important man in the room. When his phone rang, he was as embarrassed as I would be. Read more
Agent Holly Root Teaches “Writing the Breakout Teen Novel” — Dec. 6, 2012 Webinar With Query Critique
For those of you who don’t follow literary agent Holly Root on Twitter, you should know that there is a reason she has 13,000 followers. She’s very smart and sells a lot of books. A big passion of hers is young adult and middle grade books. Her first webinar went so well that we’ve invited her back for more. Holly is teaching “Writing the Breakout Teen Novel” at 1 p.m., EST, on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. The webinar lasts 90 minutes. In addition to getting top-notch instruction, all attendees can also submit their query to Holly for a guaranteed critique. (And if she likes what she sees, she may just ask you for more. Literary agents Barbara Poelle, Lori Perkins and Kathleen Ortiz have all signed clients after critiquing writing as part of a WD webinar!) Read more
She is seeking: In the adult fiction realm, she is particularly interested in literary fiction, magical realism, cultural themes, and debut authors. She is drawn to strong voices, complex narrative arcs, dynamic and well-developed characters, psychological twists, and dystopian/apocalyptic literary fiction. In the young readers realm, she is seeking young adult novels, middle grade novels, and picture books. Read more
3. Use public transportation and talk to strangers. There’s a wealth of material out there on the bus. It’s where I learned about dog exorcism and the training regimen of a boxer. You can even try out your own characters with random people. You can be anybody on a bus—it’s quite liberating. Use it as a classroom and approach people who you might never meet in your daily routine. And listen, listen. I guarantee you if you just ride a bus around for an hour, a short story or two will emerge.
GIVEAWAY: Trebor is excited to give away a free copy of his novel, FAUN, 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: LynnFlickinger1 won.) Read more
1. After all the time, send-outs, get-backs, and hard work, the ecstasy of acceptance is fabulous and tear-filled. Let yourself scream, cry, feel the nervous soaring rise in your chest. If you can share it with someone, all the better.
GIVEAWAY: Noelle is excited to give away a free copy of her book 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: leeannniazi won.) Read more
He is seeking: any literary fiction that has a transatlantic setting or deals with themes of immigration. He has a deep interest in fiction that is set in the contemporary American West, and is also on the lookout for historical and hardboiled/noir fiction. On the nonfiction side, he is enthusiastic about projects that examine cultural politics, nationalism, pop culture and mass media. Read more
“Agent Advice” (this installment featuring agent Elena Mechlin) is a series of quick interviews with literary agents and script agents who talk with Guide to Literary Agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else. This series has more than 170 interviews so far with reps from great literary agencies. This collection of interviews is a great place to start if you are just starting your research on literary agencies.
This installment features Elena Mechlin of Pippin Properties, Inc. She joined Pippin of 2009, after having begun her publishing career in subsidiary rights and moving on to children’s book marketing. She is seeking: young adult, middle-grade, and children’s fiction. Read more
When I first started to write fiction and send my manuscripts out for feedback, the first and most frequent thing my readers said was “Show, don’t tell.”
In theory, I understood what this meant. But it was almost impossible for me to put it into practice after comments such as, “Why don’t you show your character sitting in a café getting frustrated with her friend? I’d really like to see that happening, rather than just being told it’s happening. It would give us a lot more insight into their characters.”
GIVEAWAY: Jessica is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners can live anywhere in the world. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: MarkR won.) Read more
I used to be an actor. Then I became a fiction writer. This transition had very little to do with a spine-injuring production of The Tempest. Neither swords nor backstage ghosts were involved, whatever rumors you might have heard. In any case, several theatrical skills and lessons turned out to be useful in my new profession. I hereby present three of my favorites:
1) You can’t be the actor and the director at the same time. Let me clarify: You can direct and perform in the same show. But you cannot do so at the same time. You must switch hats. Sometimes it helps to use actual hats. Do not attempt to wear both hats at once. Read more
Literary Agent Kate McKean Teaches “Awesome First Pages: How to Start Your Story Right” — Webinar With Critique on Nov. 15, 2012
No longer can writers compose books that “really start to cook on page 40.” Books must start strong from the very first page. Your first paragraph, your first sentence, your first few pages — they all must have momentum and conflict and purpose. They cannot be fluff. Weak starts to stories is one of the most frequent reasons agents & editors reject submissions. Lucky for us, we have an expert on the subject. One of our most popular webinar instructors, literary agent Kate McKean, has returned to teach “Awesome First Pages: How to Start Your Story Right” on November 15, 2012. Read more
About Gemma: She is a new agent at The Bent Agency, run by Jenny Bent. In her own words: “Although I’m in London now, I lived in NYC for three years and regularly visit, so I’m going to be representing authors from the UK and the US. I look forward to reading your work and really appreciate you sharing it with me.”
She is seeking: All kinds of books for children. See more on the page. Read more
You may have noticed a major slowdown in blog content lately. It is not without good reason. The incredible news is that my first child — baby Geneva Rose — was born on Oct. 31, 2012. She is adorable and healthy and will grow up to play a mean bass guitar. (The last part was speculation.) Below find some images of her. Thank you for bearing with me as I get back to work and get great content up on here for you. Oh my goodness, I am a father … holy cow. Read more
This interview features literary agent Helen Zimmermann of Helen Zimmermann Literary Agency. She seeks writers of fiction and nonfiction. After more than 20 years in publishing—from the marketing department of Random House to Director of Advertising and Promotion for one of their imprints (The Crown Publishing Group) to Author Events Director at an independent bookstore, she founded her boutique agency in 2003 and enjoyed early success with the New York Times bestseller Chosen by A Horse. Read more