Agent Jim McCarthy Teaches “The 10 Elements of a Saleable Novel Today” — New Webinar With Critique on May 31, 2012

I’m very excited to announce a brand new webinar with an awesome literary agent at the helm. On Thursday, May 31, 2012, agent Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich will teach the 90-minute webinar, “10 Elements of a Saleable Novel Today” — and every attendee gets a great critique (query letter AND first pages!) from Jim. It’s an excellent opportunity to receive great instruction and get your work in front of the eyes of an awesome agent at the same time.






This webinar happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, May 31, 2012, and lasts 90 minutes. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for one year. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation. In all WD webinars, no question goes unanswered. Attendees have the ability to chat with the instructor during the live event and ask questions. You will receive a copy of the webinar presentation in an e-mail that goes out one week after the live event. The answers to questions not covered in the live presentation will be included in this e-mail as well. Sign up here.


All registrants are invited to submit a query letter and the first two double-spaced pages of their novel. All submissions are guaranteed a written critique by Jim McCarthy within 60 days of receipt. Jim reserves the right to request more writing from attendees by e-mail following the event.


Many writers are in the dark when it comes to the question of what makes one novel saleable and another a non-starter in today’s complex publishing arena. What makes agents and editors say “no” to so many submissions and “yes” to just a few? Is there a specific formula? Are the criteria different today from 10, 20, or 50 years ago? What affect does the rise of e-publishing have on how novels are published, selected, and promoted? In the end, does it just come down to quality, or are there other forces at work?

In this webinar, Jim McCarthy will answer these questions and more—shedding light on the inner workings of the often baffling publishing process, insight into the kinds of stories agents and publishers are seeking, and commentary on the principles every writer must be aware of to succeed in a dynamic and exciting time of change in the publishing world. Sign up here.


  • What elements a novel needs to be considered saleable by agents and publishers today – such as memorable characters, a three-act structure, and more
  • Why great novels will always have a place in the literary landscape
  • How to give your novel a fair self-assessment through self-editing
  • Why people read novels, where they get them, and what makes them decide which ones to buy
  • How the criteria for a novel today compares with that of the past, and what can be expected as the industry continues to change


Jim McCarthy is a literary agent and vice president at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management where he has worked his entire professional life since he started as an intern back in 1999. Jim focuses on adult and young adult fiction across categories from cozy mysteries and paranormal romance to literary fiction and some deeply quirky comedies. He is a frequent guest at writers’ conferences nationwide. His clients include New York Times bestsellers Richelle Mead, Juliet Blackwell, Alyssa Day, and Victoria Laurie, who was the second client he ever signed on back in 2003. Sign up here.


  1. Writers currently composing a novel
  2. Writers in the brainstorming phrase of a novel
  3. Writers who have been rejected by agents and editors, and want to evaluate why their novel didn’t make the cut
  4. Writers who want a professional critique by a literary agent
  5. Writers who have only self-published, but are now considering traditional publishing
  6. Anyone with non-novel publishing credits considering making the jump to novels



Sign up here.



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