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Author Archives: Chuck Sambuchino

Your Job Is To Write, Not Worry

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Two summers ago, I landed a literary agent for my novel, The Great Lenore. A short time later, she submitted the manuscript to editors at HarperCollins and St. Martin’s Press – each of whom she had a close working relationship with. She was excited when she sent the manuscript their way. She was excited as we awaited their responses. Each editor came back to her within a week: “We love the premise of the story. We love the writing. But … we’re just not sure it has enough commercial appeal”…

GIVEAWAY: JM 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 print book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Linda Epstein of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency

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She is seeking: “For adult: I like accessible literary fiction, quality upscale commercial fiction, vibrant narrative nonfiction, and compelling memoirs. When I read a manuscript I want to be so immersed in its world that I can’t put it down. A distinctive voice is imperative. I love to learn something about another time, place, or culture while engrossed in a gripping story. Books with Jewish or other spiritual/religious themes or undercurrents are of particular interest. I am partial to underdogs and outsiders. Occasionally I like to read something funny, and sometimes a little magical realism is entertaining. I don’t like bodice-rippers and won’t read anything with dead, maimed, or kidnapped children. I don’t read horror. I’m not really interested in traditional SciFi… Read more

My Adventures in Myrtle Beach … and Dallas

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I have been traveling a lot in the past few weeks, and have recently presented at writers conferences in both South Carolina and Texas. Both were a lot of fun. I am a huge advocate of writers conferences, and I still believe they are a great opportunity to meet publishing pros, make writer friends for life, and get educated about the craft and business of writing. Read more

Agent Kathleen Ortiz Teaches How to Write a Great Query on Dec. 8, 2011 (Includes Query Critique!)

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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 Nancy Coffey Literary is teaching an intensive webinar on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011 called “How to Hook an Agent or Editor With Your Query.” The new webinar features a query critique by Kathleen for every registrant. Read more

Special Giveaway: Win Tickets to See the New Alan Rickman Writing Comedy “Seminar” on Broadway

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We have a very special contest going down right now on the GLA Blog. Here’s the deal. There’s a new comedy on Broadway called “Seminar” that stars none other than Alan Rickman (bad guy in Die Hard, cheating husband in Love Actually, and, oh yeah, Snape in Harry Potter) as a writing instructor. Time Out New York gave it 5 stars and said Alan Rickman is hilarious in it and basically the man, which, naturally, we already knew. We’re giving away tickets on this blog. Keep reading if you want to win a pair! (Update: Winners picked on 1-10: lhinkey, Marta, gigig99 and shannon.kahle.) Read more

What’s Working in the Young Adult Market?

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1. Write What You Love: You should always write your first draft for yourself, telling the story you want to read and only you can write. I sat down for lunch at a conference with one of my authors, Jackie Morse Kessler, and she told me about a book she wanted to write someday, when she was a big enough name, about an anorexic girl who became the embodiment of Famine, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Miriam Kriss is an agent with the Irene Goodman Literary Agency representing commercial fiction and she represents everything from hardcover historical mysteries to all subgenres of romance, from young adult fiction to kick ass urban fantasies, and everything in between. Read more

Create an Author Website in 24 Hours or Less — New Webinar on Dec. 15

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You absolutely need an author website. There’s just no other way to put it. An author website, even a very simple one, is a landing page for anyone who is searching for you or your writing specialties. People hesitate putting together an author website because 1) they don’t recognize the immediate value of it, and 2) they have no idea how to create one. Well, worry no more. We have enlisted social media guru Jane Friedman to teach a new two-hour intensive webinar on Dec. 12, 2011 called “Create an Author Website in 24 Hours or Less.” Click through to learn more. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Brooks Sherman of FinePrint Literary Management

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Brooks is seeking: On the adult side, literary and upmarket fiction running the gamut from contemporary (with an eye toward multicultural or satirical) to speculative (particularly urban/contemporary fantasy, horror/dark fantasy, and slipstream). Brooks also has a weakness for historical fiction and a burgeoning interest in crime fiction. For nonfiction, he is particularly interested in works that focus on current events, history, and pop science/sociology. On the children’s side, he is looking to build a list of boy-focused Middle Grade novels (all subgenres, but particularly fantasy adventure and contemporary), and is open to YA fiction of all types except paranormal romance. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Kevin Sheehan

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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: Kevin 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. The winner will receive either a copy of the ebook immediately or a copy of the print version upon its January 2012 release. (Update: JC won.) Read more

Live near Dallas/Fort Worth? Check Out the TWW One-Day Writing Seminar on Nov. 5, 2011

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I am teaching a comprehensive one-day writing seminar in Hurst, TX on Nov. 5, 2011 — come out and learn how to find an agent and get published. Have you completed a novel, kids book, memoir, or nonfiction book idea? Are you eager to get your work published but you just don’t know how to go about it? Then, this seminar, put on by the Trinity Writers Workshop, is for you. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Becky Vinter of FinePrint Literary Management

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Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities for new writers because they’re likely building their client list; however, always make sure your work is as perfect as it can be before submitting, and only query agencies that are a great fit for your work. Otherwise, you’re just wasting time and postage.

Becky is seeking: Becky likes the whole spectrum of women’s fiction, from literary to “bookclub” to romance and mysteries. She is also in the market for YA fiction with strong female protagonists. In nonfiction, she likes well-crafted narrative nonfiction, including memoir, current events, travel, pop science, wellness, yoga and food. Read more

What to Expect From Your First Book Tour

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I’ve been so busy running around the country I’ve hardly realized it’s been several months have elapsed since Crown published my book, Radio Shangri-La. Here’s a bit of what this first-time author has learned.

First of all, let me say that I sent myself on the road. Most publishers these days are more likely to invest in what mine did, a “web tour,” where a third party is hired by and myriad blogs are approached with advance copies in exchange for the promise of a review. That was great; those free book giveaways that happened just as the book hit, to generate buzz. Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency

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This installment features Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. A freelance copyeditor, Dawn reviewed mysteries for years before starting Blue Ridge Literary Agency in January 2009. She lives in Lynchburg, Va., where she also facilitates a local writers’ group and is very active in her church. Although she read mysteries for fun, she handles most types of fiction and children’s fiction. She also blogs and Tweets.

She is seeking: mysteries, cozy mysteries, thrillers, urban fantasy, romance (no erotica), sci-fi, women’s, general, historical, Christian, young adult, middle-grade, and young readers. She does not seek: poetry, scripts, short stories, children’s picture books, memoirs, nonfiction, or screenplays. Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Samantha Vamos

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1. If your manuscript doesn’t sell and you’ve done all the editing you believe you are capable of doing, set the manuscript aside and begin another. My first two books, Before You Were Here, Mi Amor (Viking, 2009, illustrated by Santiago Cohen) and The Cazuela That The Farm Maiden Stirred (Charlesbridge, 2011, illustrated by Rafael López) were each written years before they sold to their respective publishing houses.

GIVEAWAY: Samantha is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; you MUST leave your e-mail with the comment or else we will not be able to contact you; 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: Colleen won.) Read more

Gnome Attack Roundup: We Sell Japanese Language Rights; Screenplay Being Written; “Attack of the Garden Gnomes” Marching Band Music Actually Freaking Exists

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1. We sold Japanese rights to GNOMES! This is very exciting. We sold Italian language rights in mid-2010 but had lacked any good overseas news until this month. It was a nice bit of good news, because you make little sums of money for every territory you sell to overseas. Hopefully, it will sell to other countries, as well. (Come on, Germany!) Read more

The Advice I Needed Most as a New Writer (But Never Got)

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Maybe I’m just dumb. But through years of creative writing classes and workshops, it took me forever to understand what lay at the heart of a good plot: conflict, conflict, conflict. Sure, we bandied the word about as we critiqued one another’s writing. But no one ever defined it in terms of how a writer uses it as a foundation for plot. In all those classes, we talked about dialogue. We talked about description. We talked about characterization. We split hairs over just the right word.

GIVEAWAY: Thomas is excited to give away a free copy of his book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; you MUST leave your e-mail with the comment or else we will not be able to contact you; 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: Garretwriter won.) Read more

Synopsis Example: “Robocop” (Science Fiction / Cyberpunk)

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Here’s another example of a fiction synopsis. This time it’s Robocop (1987). I took a crack at this one because my synopsis examples were light on cyberpunk and science fiction stories. Notice how a lot of the action is stripped from this, and the character of Bob Morton is not even mentioned. You have to keep a synopsis moving. But as quickly as it moves, we must see the main character’s arc, and you can see Murphy’s within this text below. Read more

The 2012 Guide to Literary Agents Is Out! That Means Giveaways and 22 Reasons to Buy It.

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The new 2012 edition of Guide to Literary Agents has more than 20 brand new literary agencies never before listed in the book. I realize there are other places you can turn to for information on agents, but the Guide to Literary Agents has always prided itself as being the biggest (we list almost every agent) and the most thorough (guidelines, sales, agent by agent breakdowns, etc.). That’s why it’s been around for 21 years and that’s why it’s sold more than 275,000 copies. It works—and if you keep reading, I’ll prove it to you.

THE GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post, and in one week’s time, I will pick three winners randomly to win a copy of the book! It’s that easy. (Update: Karen, Tammy and Anna won.) Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Jenny Bent and “Oh. My. Gods.”

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 56th installment in this series is with agent Jenny Bent (Bent Literary) for Tera Lynn Child’s book, Oh. My. Gods., (Speak; 2009) which Publishers Weekly called “an effervescent, fast-paced read.” Learn more at Teralynnchilds.com. Read more

Agent Jon Sternfeld On: Breaking Through the Slush

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Quite honestly, on days where I have the time (and the energy and the optimism) to go through the slush, I just want something that stands out among the hundreds of email queries. (And I mean ‘stands out’ for the right reasons – fresh, professional, original – the annoying overly-casual queries get deleted pretty fast).

One downside of the digital revolution in publishing is that even more amateur writers are giving it a shot because it literally takes minutes to submit to an agent. As I have said ad nauseam to my colleagues, because everyone knows the alphabet, just about everyone thinks they can write. You don’t see so many people trying to be welders without the skill for it. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Carson Morton

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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.

Carson Morton is the author of Stealing Mona Lisa, a debut that the New York Journal of Books called a “well-crafted, beautifully written, and engaging mystery.” Read more

My Adventures in … Hampton Roads

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This past weekend, I was on the faculty of the Hampton Roads Writers Conference in Virginia Beach, VA. Sadly, it rained the whole time and I did not get to see the beach. Happily, the conference was fun and I met some really nice people. The hotel also had unlimited delicious cookies and I indulged in quite a few to say the least. (I may or may not weight 10 pounds more than when I arrived.) Read more

How to Find Your Story and Craft a Pitch in 10 Easy Steps (and You Can Even Do It Drunk!)

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How many of us have labored away earnestly in our younger and more profound days a a story, only to realize … there’s just no story there. If you want to save yourself years of heartache and get a jump start on your synopsis and query at the same time, I offer you my time-tested (okay, I’ve done it three times) personal trick: The Party Anecdote. Here’s how you play.

GIVEAWAY: Rebecca is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; you MUST leave your e-mail in the comment somewhere or else we will not be able to contact you; 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: JoeBear won. Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Heather McCorkle

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This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from YA writer Heather McCorkle.

GIVEAWAY: Heather is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; you MUST leave your e-mail in the comment somewhere or else we will not be able to contact you; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail; international winners will receive an e-book. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Dawn won.) Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Barbara Scott of Wordserve Literary

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Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities for new writers because they’re likely building their client list; however, always make sure your work is as perfect as it can be before submitting, and only query agencies that are a great fit for your work. Otherwise, you’re just wasting time and postage.

She is seeking: Adult Fiction: Full-length fiction, 65,000 to 100,000 words. General market or Christian market. Genres: Women’s, Romance, Suspense/Thriller, Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Historical, Family Saga, Amish, Political Thrillers, Mainstream, Supernatural/Speculative, including End Times. Short contemporary and historical fiction, 40,000 to 65,000 words. Christian market. Genres: Romance, Historical, Romantic Suspense. Will accept queries for Barbour, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Summerside Love Finds You, and Avon Inspire. Kids: Middle grade and YA books, and more. Read more

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