Stein and Steinberg both said they hated synopses and didn’t read them. Strangely enough, someone at the Boston writers’ conference the other day mentioned to me that synopses are often not read by agents. This was news to me. I think that, for genre fiction especially, they are valuable. For literary fiction, where the quality of the prose is paramount, they are somewhat worthless – and Rutman actually mentioned that exact point in the article.
How Agents Find Writers
The agents talked about how they don’t find fiction writers online. (Though unspoken, they may find nonfiction writers that way.) They find fiction writers in literary magazines, but even there – agents are likely too late. The consensus was that the majority of good writers getting good stuff published in literary journals were either already repped by an agent, or an agent saw the story first and just called the writer five minutes ago.
Writers Editing Their Work
All four agents had a lot to say on how writers submit work too soon. Their advice was to find brutally honest writing peers and request no positive feedback – only negative feedback. Rutman mentioned how college professors (and possibly friends and family, too) will encourage you to send it out there and get the process moving, but that is dangerous because the work is likely not ready yet.
Advice to New Middle America Novelists
Massie said: If you’re in middle America and you just wrote a novel but have no idea what to do now, you should try to get great short work published in quality literary journals. Do that, and agents will flock to you.
On Switching Agents
One of the agents (unknown as to which one) remarked that this is almost always a bad idea, and that writers need to have more patience and more trust.
Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:
- Feb. 11, 2017: Writers Conference of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)
- Feb. 16–19, 2017: San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, CA)
- Feb. 24, 2017: The Alabama Writers Conference (Birmingham, AL)
- Feb. 25, 2017: Atlanta Writing Workshop (Atlanta, GA)
- March 25, 2017: Michigan Writers Conference (Detroit, MI)
- March 25, 2017: Kansas City Writing Workshop (Kansas City, MO)
- April 8, 2017: Philadelphia Writing Workshop (Philadelphia, PA)
- April 22, 2017: Get Published in Kentucky Conference (Louisville, KY)
- April 22, 2017: New Orleans Writers Conference (New Orleans, LA)
- May 6, 2017: Seattle Writers Conference (Seattle, WA)
- May 19–21, 2017: PennWriters Conference (Pittsburgh, PA)
- June 24, 2017: The Writing Workshop of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Aug. 18–20, 2017: Writer’s Digest Conference (New York, NY)
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Other writing/publishing articles and links for you:
- 10 Writing Myths.
- Agent Interview: Mel Flashman of Trident Media.
- Is Literary Fiction Boring? Here’s Why One Author Says NO.
- Do You Need Multiple Agents If You Write in Multiple Genres?
- Sell More Books by Building Your Writer Platform.
- Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and how to write a query letter.