July/August 2013 Issue
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Author Archives: Chuck Sambuchino
Learn the Keys to Finding an Agent: May 9 Webinar on Queries, Synopses, Pitching, Copyright and More
Getting a literary agent is a massive step to seeing your writing dreams come to life. An agent can get you a book deal from a major publisher. An agent can help sell your book overseas and to Hollywood. An agent can help guide your career. All that said, finding and signing with an agent is a tricky thing. You’ve got to write a manuscript, compose a query, put together a synopsis, research agents, craft a pitch, consider your platform, and more. It’s all a lot to take in. Where do you start? What’s the best path to take?
These types of questions are why we’ve put together the upcoming May 9 live webinar, “Everything You Need to Know About Getting an Agent: Queries, Synopses, Pitching, Copyright, and More.” It’s actually taught by me (Chuck Sambuchino) and lasts 90 minutes. The session is at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, May 9, 2013 — but you do not need to attend the actual live broadcast to get the recording & extras. And regarding said extras, all attendees will get 1) a downloadable PDF of the book FORMATTING & SUBMITTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT as well as 2) exclusive one-sheet that details the 7 parts of a query letter pitch. Read more
Literary agent J.L. Stermer of N.S. Bienstock asked me to put out a call for some new queries for her. While J.L. represents a wide variety of subjects, she is specifically putting out this active call for queries in the genres of young adult novels as well as adult women’s fiction. (Read: This agent seeks new clients!) If you are have a completed, polished novel in either of those categories, J.L. wants to hear from you. Read more
Submitting your work to literary agents seems like a straightforward thing, doesn’t it? But the truth is that they are many ins and outs to researching agents, writing a query letter that works, submission etiquette & protocol, and more. How do you get past contradictory advice online regarding submissions? Where do you find hungry agents that are looking for new clients in your genre? What are the best questions to ask an agent if they offer representation? All these areas can be quite tricky to navigate…
And that’s why we have awesome literary agent Kate McKean (Howard Morhaim Literary) to teach the new webinar, “How to Submit Your Book to Agents: Take the Right First Steps on Your Road to Publication” on Thursday, May 2, 2013. The webinar starts at 1 p.m., EST and lasts 90 minutes. Not only will attendees get instruction, they will also get a critique of their query letter by Kate. (Remember that at least three agents — Barbara Poelle, Kathleen Ortiz and Louise Fury — have signed writers after critiquing their work as part of a WD webinar.) Read more
Can’t afford a publicist?—Be your own: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and literally hundreds of book blogs have made it possible to get the word out to millions of potential readers. Would your book appeal to a special interest group (Civil War buffs, oenophiles, knitters)? Use the Internet to find those groups and let them know about your book.
GIVEAWAY: Steven is excited to give away a free copy of his 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: jackiegillam won.) Read more
3. Your opening is probably not your opening. My least favorite part of creative writing is drafting that opening scene. It always feels so forced, so awkward. I have to get pretty far into the story before I know how it really should begin, and to realize (for the millionth time) that ‘dumping backstory’ is not an opening that will hook readers. As I wrote what I thought was the beginning of chapter 18 for MY ONE SQUARE INCH OF ALASKA, I realized I’d just written the opening paragraphs. Fortunately, I didn’t have to toss out everything I’d written for chapters 1-17. But I did have to write that much before I discovered the real hook of my novel.
GIVEAWAY: Sharon 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: greenurlifenow won.) Read more
Jamie is seeking: In Adult, New Adult and Young Adult fiction, Jamie is seeking fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, historical, contemporary, horror, light sci-fi and thrillers. In MG, she loves stories that make her laugh and are imaginative with a clear voice. She loves strong characters with distinct voices and unique story lines that stay with her long after she is finished reading. Read more
This interview features Shira Hoffman of McIntosh & Otis, Inc. Shira began her career in publishing as an intern at Tor Books and has been with M&O since 2007. In 2013, she took over as Director of Subsidiary Rights. She also Tweets @ShiraSHoffman.
She is seeking: mainstream commercial fiction, mystery, literary fiction, women’s fiction, romance, urban fantasy, fantasy, science fiction, horror and dystopian. Read more
I’m not considering this a true New Agent Alert because literary agent Kimiko Nakamura (of Dee Mura Literary) is not new. That said, this post resembles an Alert in that Kimiko 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: Contemporary Fiction, Thriller/Mystery, Women’s Lit, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Cookbooks, and Memoir. Read more
Writers constantly have rules thrown at them left, right, and center. Show, don’t tell! Stop using so many dialogue tags! More sensory detail! More tension! Speed up the pace! Yada yada yada … it can become overwhelming, yes? I used to feel overwhelmed by it all too. In fact, I still do sometimes. It’s hard enough to get the words on the page, let alone consider how to put them there.
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: RebeccaReynolds won.) Read more
I wrote “unparagraphs”, I aimed for imbalance, I stayed in the moment indefinitely, I realized my maximal self on the page. Most importantly, I wrote myself on to the page. And I learned, as all writers must, how to write in the face of rejection. I received a rejection from an editor I admired, and the next day I wrote.
Guest column by Jay Ponteri, author of the 2013 memoir WEDLOCKED. Read more
7. Write everything down. I came up with the initial idea for the Sidney & Sydney series as I was falling asleep one night. I knew myself well enough to know that I had to get up immediately and write down my thoughts. I had been burned several times before when I thought I’d remember my ideas later. I never do. Now I have scraps of paper all over my house with thoughts on the book I’m currently working on or for future projects. Now if only I could work on my handwriting so I could read all of those great ideas later.
GIVEAWAY: Michele 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: sfullmer won.) Read more
Agent Nephele Tempest Teaches You How to Write an Excellent Synopsis: April 25 Webinar With Critique
Writing a synopsis is usually one of the most difficult things about pitching a novel. It’s incredibly difficult to summarize your entire book in just one page. How do you condense all that info? What gets cut? How much detail should you give? Is it worth mention elements like subplots and character arc?
These types of questions are why we have literary agent Nephele Tempest (The Knight Agency) to teach “Conquer the Dreaded Synopsis: Construct Your Ultimate Sales Tool” — a brand new live webinar at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, April 25, 2013. It lasts 90 minutes, and all attendees will get their synopses personally critiqued by Nephele following the event. Get agent eyes on your work! Don’t forget that at least 3 agents from major agencies have signed writers after seeing their work as part of a WD webinar. Read more
Kathleen is seeking: Kathleen loves all things YA and is also actively looking for adult science fiction, fantasy in all its varieties, historical fiction, and horror novels. She enjoys quirky middle grade tales with captivating adventures and original voices, and will also accept picture books. Kathleen has a special place in her heart for sweeping love stories, magical realism, inventive world-building, repurposed folklore, dark comedy, and genre-bending novels. Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Christian Schoon, author of ZENN SCARLETT. 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. (Christian’s agent is Adam Schear of DeFiore & Co.) Read more
This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letter examples that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting these query letter samples, we will also get to hear thoughts from the writer’s literary agent as to why the letter worked.
The 60th installment in this series is with agent Barbara Poelle (Irene Goodman Literary) for Robert Lewis’s 2013 debut mystery, UNTOLD DAMAGE (Midnight Ink, April 2013). The author, Bay Area resident Robert K. Lewis, is a contributor to Macmillan’s crime fiction fansite, Criminal Element. Lewis is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the International Thriller Writers, and the Crime Writers Association. Read more
An upcoming conference you should check out is the 2013 Pennwriters Conference (May 17-19) in Pittsburgh, PA. Pennwriters is an awesome statewide organization for writers that has regional chapters and statewide events. Having grown up in Erie, PA, I have spoken to the Erie group several times, and I was even fortunate enough to present at the PennWriters Conference in 2011. If you live anywhere near Pittsburgh, check out this fast-approaching 2013 event. Read more
Different writers have difficulty with different parts of the writing process. Some hate fiddling with background information. Others despise revising. Others can’t stand outlining. Me? I have the most trouble with drafting.
By “drafting,” what I mean is this whole “get the story down on paper” part of writing. It’s not that I have trouble coming up with new material, or that I don’t know where the story is going, it’s just that I have trouble getting what’s in my head down onto paper.
GIVEAWAY: Kat 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: justsaymoo won.) Read more
5. If you let life get in the way, it will. I finished my MFA knowing that I would be moving to Oslo with my Norwegian husband right after graduation. I had allowed myself to stop writing while I was preparing for the move, rationalizing that I was busy selling or shipping all my worldly possessions. I said this to my advisor one afternoon when he called and I was knee-deep in boxes and packing tape. “I’m packing,” I said. “Why aren’t you writing?” he asked me, and I laughed and yelled, “I’m moving to Norway!” There was silence from his end for a moment, and then he simply said, “Write, Kate.” Read more