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Author Archives: Chuck Sambuchino

Who Is Your Target Reader?


When you’re trying to sell your first novel, one of the questions that agents and editors will almost inevitably ask is “Who do you see as your target reader?”

Writers frequently punt with a vague answer, something along the lines of “Anyone who enjoys a good story” or “This theme is universal.” They’re probably trying to imply that their book has equal appeal for men and women, young and old, cuts that it across all racial and national lines and thus has the potential to be a best seller. Hmmm…yeah.

GIVEAWAY: Kim 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: Writer 5512 won the book.) Read more

Announcing My Next Humor Book: RED DOG / BLUE DOG (and Giveaways To Celebrate!)

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It’s been more than a year and a half since my first humor book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK, came out. Writing that book was a fun, crazy journey that has now led me here. I am so freaking excited to finally announce the release of second humor book, RED DOG / BLUE DOG, a collection of dog photos with humorous politically-oriented captions. Because of this news, I am celebrating with some fat giveaways. (Update: bdaniels119, Kelly Mogk and skoneal90 won the contest.) Read more

Author Interview: William Richter (Author of DARK EYES)


Below find a Q&A with author William Richter, who is celebrating the release of his YA crime novel, DARK EYES (Razorbill, March 2012). Richter describes the book as a “gateway thriller — meaning it’s an adult-style crime story but told from the point of view of young central characters.” (Sounds very cool!) It’s his debut YA book, and I always enjoy spotlight up-and-coming authors on my GLA Blog. Read on to learn more Read more

New Agent Alert: Natasha Alexis of The Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency

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Natasha is seeking: works of literary and commercial fiction and nonfiction. As a fan of popular culture and cosmopolitan trends, Natasha is keen to represent YA and adult fiction with an edge and fresh point of view, especially works featuring women and people of color. She also has an interest in narrative nonfiction as well as pop science projects. Read more

How to Write a Book When You’re Really, Really Busy

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I am, as my mother would say, “a busy little beaver.” While writing my most recent novel, I was working full-time, going to school at UCLA and training for a 50 kilometer footrace. I also slept, ate, saw friends, posted on Twitter and Facebook, blogged, belonged to a book club and watched a number of “Mythbusters” episodes.

With that kind of schedule, one question comes up a lot, especially from other writers: “When do you write?” Read more

Conference Spotlight: Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Conference (May 3-5, 2012)

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Coming up fast is the 2012 Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference in Oklahoma City (May 3-5, 2012), and it looks to be a grand event indeed. The OWFI is a huge writing organization with more than 600 members, and many of them turn out for the annual event. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Delilah Dawson

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

GIVEAWAY: Delilah is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; 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: Melissa Brady King won.) Read more

Why Literary Fiction Isn’t Boring


Have you ever wanted to savor a meal because you’ve never tasted anything so good? Well, if you’re new to literary fiction, or can never seem to “get into it,” this is how you should try approaching it.

Think of the book as a meal with intricate scents, flavors and textures that you can’t quite recognize unless you spend a little more time with it, and give it some undivided attention. Because, trust me, sitting down a little longer than usual, to enjoy your meal, can be liberating, especially if accompanied by a great glass of red. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary

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About Paula: Paula Munier comes to Talcott Notch Literary with broad experience creating and marketing exceptional content in all formats across all markets for such media giants as Disney, Gannett, Greenspun Media Group, and Quayside. She most recently served as the Director of Innovation and Acquisitions for Adams Media, a division of F+W Media, where she headed up the acquisitions team responsible for creating, curating, and producing both fiction and nonfiction for print, ebook, eshort, and direct-to-ebook formats.

She is seeking: Her specialties include mystery/thriller, SF/fantasy, romance, YA, memoir, humor, pop culture, health & wellness, cooking, self-help, pop psych, New Age, inspirational, technology, science, and writing. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Paul Lucas of Janklow & Nesbit Associates

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He is seeking: He is interested in a wide variety of commercial and literary fiction, as well as specific nonfiction. In fiction, he enjoys both character and plot driven novels but it’s important to him for the storytelling to be clear and accessible. In genre fiction, he is looking for thrillers, spy, science fiction and fantasy genre writing, as well as literary novels. He appreciates a literary bent, subverting genre and darker, conflicted characters. Finally, he loves historical fiction and war novels. For nonfiction, he is interested in representing popular science books, new ways of exploring the major sports and narrative histories. (He does not represent romance, westerns, women’s fiction, memoir, self-help, children’s or picture books.) Read more

Author Interview: Adam Brownlee, Author of “Building a Small Business That Warren Buffet Would Love”

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Along with plenty of agent interviews on this blog, I’m hoping to do more interviews of up-and-coming writers (especially debuts as well as up-and-coming authors) that I like or I think you should know. Today please enjoy an interview with author Adam Brownlee, who I met at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest in 2011. Adam is the author of Building a Small Business That Warren Buffet Would Love (March 12, 2012, Wiley).

GIVEAWAY: Adam is excited to give away a free copy of his book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; 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: ManiacMom won.) Read more

The Opportunities of Self-Publishing E-Books — Tips From the San Francisco Writers Conference

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With each passing year, the prevalence of self publishing topics at writing conferences continues to grow. The 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference held true to that trend. By my count, one-sixth of the seminars centered around the topic of self-publishing.

The anticipated industry evolution is no longer coming; it’s here. Data provided by leading experts speaking at the conference like Mike Coker, founder of Smashwords, is clear: 2011 saw explosive growth in ebook sales and 2012 is forecasted as another record breaking year. So when I saw a seminar about the transition from traditional publishing to self publishing on the conference agenda, I arranged my schedule accordingly. Evidently, so did many others; the venue was standing room only. A sign of the times. Read more

Learn How to Sell Articles to Magazines and Newspapers (And Get a Critique!)

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I know this blog is mostly about agents and book stuff, but one area of writing I’ve always been active in is article writing. If you’ve never tried to sell articles or columns, you should. It’s a great way to make money, get publication credits, and build your platform. That’s why WD Managing Editor Zachary Petit and I are teaching the awesome webinar, “Sell Freelance Articles,” on Thursday, March 1, 2012. Read more

New Agent Alert: Kat Salazar of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents

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About Kat: Kat Salazar joined Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents in February 2011 as an intern for the agency working directly for agency co-founder Elizabeth Pomada. Previously she worked for University of Washington Press as a Marketing Assistant and held internships at University of California Press, HarperOne of Harper Collins, and Wales Literary Agency.

She is seeking: Kat is actively looking for young adult, middle grade, and children’s picture books. For adult audiences, she is interested in literary fiction and urban fantasy. Read more

My Adventures in … San Francisco 2012

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I just got back from the 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference over Presidents’ Day Weekend, and the event was fantastic. The SFWC, which is co-sponsored by WD, is famous for its number of agents, editors and authors who attend. The San Fran area is rich with writing talent, and the SFWC brings in a lot of area speakers. If you live anywhere in the area, I seriously recommend checking out the event for 2013. Read more

Literary Agent Interview: J.L. Stermer of N.S. Bienstock

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“Agent Advice” is a series of quick interviews with literary and script agents who talk with Guide to Literary Agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else.

This installment features J.L. Stermer of N.S. Bienstock, a full-service talent agency with a division dedicated to developing literary projects, where she handles both nonfiction and fiction authors. She previously served as literary agent and contracts director with the Donald Maass Literary Agency. Born and raised in New York City, and a graduate of Columbia University, she currently resides in Manhattan solidifying that she is forever a city girl through and through. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Chris Pavone, Author of THE EXPATS, a 2012 Thriller

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Along with plenty of agent interviews on this blog, I’m hoping to do more interviews of up-and-coming writers (especially debuts) that I like or I think you should know. Today please enjoy an interview with author Chris Pavone, author of the buzzed about novel, The Expats (March 6, 2012, Crown).

GIVEAWAY: Chris is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within one week; 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: Mattkrol won. Read more

New Agent Alert: Dawn Michelle Hardy of Serendipity Literary

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About Dawn: Dawn Michelle Hardy of Serendipity Literary received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing: International Trade and her Associate of Applied Science degree in Fashion Buying and Merchandising from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. For several years Dawn oversaw the day-to-day production and sales operations for independent publisher turned New York Times bestselling author Teri Woods (True to the Game, Dutch trilogy, Alibi).

She is seeking: nonfiction self-help, motivational and empowerment, women’s fiction, relationship, pop culture, leadership and non-denominational spiritual titles. Feel free to contact her in reference to any nonfiction subject. Read more

6 Tips On Writing Plays For Kids

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1) Be realistic.Your script probably won’t be performed on Broadway or turned into a blockbuster movie. Avoid special effects, amazing stunts, or anything else that can’t be accomplished by ordinary kids. Keep costumes, sets, and props to a minimum. Writing in the readers theatre format is one of the best ways to create a play that’s simple to stage but exciting in content. For information about readers theatre along with a sample play click here.

GIVEAWAY: Diana has written several books of kids’ plays, and is happy to give a book to a random commenter. Just comment on this post within 2 weeks and a winner will be chosen at random. Winners must live within the US/Canada to win. The winner can choose whichever of Diana’s books they like. UPDATE: Read2BeFree won.) Read more

6 Tips To Resuscitate a Dying Author Blog

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Maintaining an author blog is no cakewalk. So if your author blog is slumping, pat yourself on the back. At least you have a spine to slump! If you started your blog because you wanted to impress literary agents and editors with your ability to mobilize audiences, then you want your posts to show lively discussions. You never know who is lurking. But even the freshest blogs can go stale. As a novelist who—for better or worse—started blogging when my first novel came out back in 2009, my blog has seen ups and downs of roller coast proportions. Here are 6 quick tips for boosting buzz when your audience seems like its fizzling.

GIVEAWAY: Lisa is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Sandra Beckwith won.) Read more

Amazing Giveaway: A Free Pass to the 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference (Feb. 16-19, 2012) Worth $745

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This is amazing news. Writer’s Digest has 1 free pass to giveaway to a random commenter for a full registration pass at the 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference (Feb. 16-19, 2012). (Wow!!) Make sure you read this entire post to see all the details of the giveaway, as there are some things you need to do to formally enter. To enter, you will need to comment on this post, and spread the news a bit via social media. (Update: Joan Swan won the pass. Congrats to Joan! Joan will be guest blogging about her travels here on my GLA Blog following the event.) Read more

Literary Agent Spotlight: Carlie Webber of CK Webber Associates


About Carlie: Carlie Webber refused to major in English in college because no one would let her read Stephen King or R.L. Stine for class. She took her love of young adult and genre fiction to the University of Pittsburgh, where she obtained a Master of Library and Information Science, and worked as a YA librarian and reviewer for publications including Kirkus Reviews.

She is seeking: young adult (any and all genres), horror, mystery, thriller, suspense, contemporary romance, humor, literary fiction, women’s fiction. “More specific examples from my submissions wishlist: anything set in the grunge era; GLBTQ for YA; high-concept YA; genre mashups, like paranormal romantic suspense. Read more

Point of View Shifts in Writing: Proceed with Caution

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“Which character tells the story?” That’s a crucial character-question writers must ask themselves in the planning stages of any novel. It’s usually followed by: “Should the story come from one character’s point of view, or more than one?” A tricky question, because incorporating multiple points-of-view can be a bit like juggling plates. Each character is tossed into the air for a brief time, highlighted, then another one takes its place. When handled well, this technique can be extremely effective, fluid. When handled poorly, it can end in disaster (plates crashing to the ground). Read more

Agent Kathleen Ortiz Teaches How to Write a Great Query on Aug. 2, 2012 (Includes Query Critique!)


The query letter is that all-important first contact with literary agents. Before they opt to read your work, they have to be interested in you and your story — and that’s what the query letter does. We all know that composing a query is a completely different monster than writing a story. If you’re getting rejected at the query stage, don’t fret — we have an expert for you. Literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary is teaching an intensive webinar on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012 called “How to Hook an Agent or Editor With Your Query.” The intensive webinar features a query critique by Kathleen for every registrant. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Erin Harris of Folio Literary

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About Erin: Erin Harris is an agent at the Irene Skolnick Literary Agency. A graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at The New School, Erin received her B.A. in English from Trinity College (Hartford, CT), where she was Presidential Fellow of the English Department and inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

She is seeking: literary novels with compelling plots and international settings; literary thrillers and mysteries (She’d love to find the next Tana French!); noirs (especially starring headstrong female protagonists); and YA and middle grade novels that transport her to magical places. Read more

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