Editor’s note: I am declaring November 2010 to be “Agent Guest Column Month,” and therefore, every weekday, I will be posting a guest column by a literary agent. Day 21 (final day!): Today’s guest agent is Irene Goodman of Irene Goodman Literary.
Irene Goodman is the founder of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency. She offers manuscript critiques
on eBay every month, starting on the first day of each month, with all proceeds going to charity. Click on the link for more details on these critiques and charity auctions.
1. Take part in one of my charity auctions, in which the winners receive a critique of a partial manuscript from yours truly. Each auction starts on the first of the month, but December is special because I am doing 15 auctions at once! That means you can be bidding RIGHT NOW by clicking here. This is a unique and very special gift from an agent who has built many bestselling careers.
I’ve been doing this with great success for the past year, and I have gotten rave reviews from winners, such as “A rare peek into the mind of an accomplished agent,” and “Honest, tactful, and insightful.” All proceeds go to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Deafness Research Foundation, and Hope for Vision.
2. Send your writer friend or relative to a writers conference. Research this carefully before you do, because there are hundreds of conferences of varying quality and size. I recommend a regional one, such as the South Carolina Writers Workshop, or the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference (but there are many other good ones). These are established, they draw good speakers and presenters, and they are not so mobbed that each person feels overwhelmed. Study their programs and speakers and figure out which one would be the best fit for the recipient. This is a very original gift, sure to surprise.
3. Dragonspeak 11. This is a software program that allows spoken words to appear promptly on a screen. If your writer friend has trouble with computers or simply likes to dictate a book instead of typing it, here’s the solution. Spoken software programs in the past have been iffy. You had to train them to learn your voice, it took time, and they weren’t always accurate anyway. If you said “Put the casserole in the oven,” the screen would say, “Pouf, the cats roll in heaven” and you would have to manually change it. Or sometimes it would simply type up nonsense, such as “dlik on a gnup.” I hear that Dragonspeak 11 has finally mastered these glitches. It’s the sleekest and most accurate spoken program to date.