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July/August 2013 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Guide to Literary Agents Blogroll
- 2nd Draft Critique Service
Before you send out your work, have it edited by an established pro!
- Agency Gatekeeper
A literary agent shares secrets.
- Agent in the Middle
Agent Lori Perkins blogs and tells all
- Ashley Grayson Agent Blog
From the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency
- Ask the Agent
Literary agent Andy Ross in Oakland runs an agency blog.
- Association of Authors' Representatives
- Barbara Doyen's Articles Page
Agent Barbara Doyen shares her knowledge.
- Barry Goldblatt Literary
A blog from the whole agency.
- BookEnds Agent Blog
Agents from Bookends Literary blog
- Brenda BowenAgent Brenda Bowen's "Bunny Eat Bunny" kids writing blog.
- Cameron McClureCameron, with the Donald Maass Lit Agency, runs her "Book Cannibal" blog.
- Caren Johnson Literary Agency
The official CJLA blog
- Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market Blog
This blog, run by Alice Pope, is a must-read for anyone writing in the juvenile market
- Chip MacGregor's Agent Blog
A Christian agent speaks
- Chuck's conference speaking schedule
See where Chuck will be presenting and when!
- Colleen Lindsay's Agent Blog
A new agent at FinePrint Literary blogs
- DHS Literary Blog
David Hale Smith's "Literary Show and Tell" blog.
- Diana Fox's Agent Blog
A literary agent talks publishing
- Dystel & Goderich Agent Blog
- Eddie Schneider
An agent from JABberwocky Literary blogs.
- Elaine English Literary Agency Blog
A blog from the whole agency.
- F+W Bookstore
Buy Guide to Literary Agents and a bunch of other great WD Books.
- FinePrint Literary Management Blog
A blog from the whole agency.
- Folio Literary Management's Blog
All the agents chime in on this new blog
- Fresh Books Blog
An agency blog.
- Full Circle Literary's Blog
Agents from Full Circle Literary in California blog
- Girl Meets Book
Agent Jamie Brenner of Artists & Artisans blogs.
- Greenhouse Literary Blog
Agent Sarah Davies shares her thoughts and wisdom
- Hartline Literary Blog
A blog from the whole agency.
- Janet Reid
Agent Janet Reid of FinePrint Literary gives her two cents on anything and everything
- Jennifer Jackson's Agent Blog
An agent with the Donald Maass Literary Agency blogs
- Jenny Bent's Blog
From the founder of The Bent Agency.
- Jill Corcoran
A kids agent at the Herman Agency blogs.
- Joshua Bilmes Agent Blog
JABberwocky Literary Agency
- Kathleen Ortiz Agent Blog
Kathleen with Lowenstein Associates
- Kelly Mortimer
Agent Kelly Mortimer's "Perils of Publishing" blog.
- Ken Atchity
The president of AEI, a script and literary management co., blogs.
- Kid Lit
A blog by kids agent Mary Kole of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency
- Kimberly Cameron & Associates
A blog from the whole agency.
- Knight Agency Blog
Exactly what it sounds like
- Laurie McLean's Agent Blog
The "Agent Savant" blog
- Lit Soup (Jenny Rappaport's Agent Blog)
An agent at the L. Perkins Agency blogs
- Lucienne Diver's Agent Blog
A blog on "Authorial, Agently and Personal Ramblings."
- Lyons Literary Agent Blog
Agent Jonathan Lyons blogs
- MFA Confidential Blog
This new WD blog features Kate Monahan and all things about getting an MFA
- Michael Larsen's Blog
Agent Michael Larsen of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents blogs about publishing and nonfiction writing.
- Miss Snark
No longer active, but this blog by anonymous agent Miss Snark still has oodles of priceless info in its archives
- Nathan Bransford
A popular blog from an agent at Curtis Brown in San Francisco
- Nephele Tempest's Agent Blog
An agent with the Knight Agency blogs
- Poetic Asides
A poetry blog from the editor of Writer's Market
- Promptly (Prompts Blog)
WD's own blog of writing prompts, run by magazine staffer Zac Petit
- Pub Rants
Kristin Nelson's Agent Blog
- Publishers Marketplace
- Query Shark
Janet Reid's blog where she dissects query letters
- Questions and Quandaries Blog
WD staffer Brian A. Klems answers questions of all kinds
- Rachelle Gardner
A blog by an agent who specializes in Christian Writing
- Romantic Reads
Dorchester editor Leah Hultenschmidt blogs romance.
- Sara Crowe's Blog
An agent from Harvey Klinger blogs.
- Scott Eagan's Agent Blog
The great Greyhaus agent blogs away.
- Script Notes
A WD scriptwriting blog from Chad Gervich, TV producer
- Steve Laube's Agent Blog
A Christian agent and former editor talks the biz.
- Suzie Townsend
A new assistant agent at FinePrint Literary blogs.
- Terry Burns's Blog
An agent with Hartline Literary blogs.
- Terry Whalin's Blog
"The Writing Life," as told by a former editor and agent.
- The Buried Editor
A blog dedicated to juvenile writing (YA, middle grade, picture books) run by an editor at CBAY Books and Blooming Tree Press
- The Gail Ross Literary Agency
The agency blog.
- The Inside Pitch Screenwriting Blog
A Hollywood Executive Talks About Screenwriting
- The New Literary Agents
A few new literary agents share advice.
- The Rejecter (Anonymous Agent)
- The Shatzkin Files
- The Sound and the Furry
WD contributor Nancy Parish talks writing.
- There Are No Rules
Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest Books, talks about publishing trends and has interviews online
- Tracy Marchini
An agent from Curtis Brown, Ltd. blogs
- United States Copyright Office
- Upstart Crow Blog
A blog from the whole agency at Upstart Crow Literary.
- Waxman Literary Agency
A blog from the whole agency.
- Wendy Sherman Associates Blog
Multiple agents blog.
- Writer Beware
A site dedicated to protecting writers from scams of all kinds - including unscrupulous agents
- Writer Unboxed
Primarily devoted to genre fiction, this site features plenty of interviews with industry pros
- Writer's Digest magazine
This big hub has tons of online articles from past issues of WD. Check out the revamped new site!
- Writer's Digest University (Writers Online Workshops)
Online writing courses are taught by WD staffers and contributors
- Writer's Market
This pay site is our online database of listings (magazines, book publishers, agents, and everything else). It has more than 6,000 listings.
A huge writing website and resource writers should check out.
- Wylie Merrick Agency's Blog
- Zack Company Blog
Agent Andrew Zack blogs.
- 2nd Draft Critique Service
Website of the Week
Most writers write in the hopes that they will sell their book, connect with a readership, and make money from the sales. Their priorities may not be in that order, but it’s usually the goal when writing a novel or nonfiction manuscript. And that’s expected and reasonable.
Yet, often, upon completing her first novel, an author’s engulfing joy of writing becomes infiltrated with a subtle, growing anxiety. Soon to join that is a cocktail mix of emotions: trepidation, fear, self-doubt, worry, despair, frustration. Whether these come flooding into the writer’s mind and heart full force or just niggle at the back of her mind—they come. Read more
As writers, we live with our stories and characters for years, even decades — so it is no surprise that when we take those stories out of our heads and put them on the page, our defenses rally to protect them. Hearing critiques becomes an intense and emotional experience. But those protective instincts and heightened emotions could be preventing your story from reaching its full potential.
As a first-time author, I had to learn to listen to feedback and filter it through my own vision for the book. I use a pattern of thinking that served me well during the process of writing and revising my first novel, The Fire Horse Girl. Read more
The first hurdle to scholarly publication is catching the eye of an editor who then sends one’s proposal/manuscript out for blind peer reviews. A university press evaluates a submission in light of the potential book’s impact in a discipline. Typically, scholarly reviewers expect a certain kind of measured, unbiased tone, much substantiation of any claims, i.e. lots of citations of others’ work, and little personal presence in the material. Read more
Webster’s defines arrogance as “an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.” Basically, you think and act like you’re better than you actually are — and possibly even better than other people. With that kind of definition, who in their right mind would admit to being arrogant?
I would — solely because I want to publish a novel one day. And the truth is, if you’re also a writer with a goal of publication: 1) You are, in fact, (slightly) arrogant.* (And that’s OK. I only encourage arrogance in very, very small doses.) And 2) This is a GOOD thing. Read more
I always find it interesting to learn where writers actually do their writing. There are the usual suspects—coffee shops, group writing spaces, home offices, local parks—most of which I’ve used at one point or another. (There’s one coffee shop in particular where I should probably be paying rent by now.) But there are also the not-so-traditional spots. For me, these are the gold mine. I find that writing in unorthodox venues helps stir up more inspiration than if I were sitting at my desk. So I’ve devised this handy, four-question quiz to help you secure a bizarre writing spot of your very own! But beware: strange looks may result. (This guest column from young adult & middle grade writer Jacqueline Resnick.) Read more
(Spoilers spoilers spoilers below. You have been warned. Do not read on if you want to watch the new movie without knowing some elements that happen.)
Just saw THE HOBBIT. Was kinda disappointed. It's not good when a 9-minute preview (Star Trek Into Darkness) outshines a 2.5-hour movie. But alas, I felt that to be the case. You know how sometimes when you walk out of a theater, you either liked or disliked the movie, but you can't quite put your finger on why you feel how you feel? That happens to me, too, naturally. But with THE HOBBIT, I was immediately able to point out some major flaws that made the plot & story, which should have been epic, merely OK. Here are 6 things that come to mind without much thought: Read more
No one agrees on anything. As a journalist, I became adept at self-editing and even more convinced of the uselessness of outside criticism. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some great editors and they have done a stellar job in helping to craft my stories. But I have also witnessed what happens when a story is edited by several different editors, each of them determined to leave their mark. I have had one editor remove a section only to have another put it back in. I have read stories so thick with markings that I once again lost track of what I was originally trying to say. I developed strategies to avoid multiple editors, turning work in close to the deadline so there was less time for it to be passed around. Read more
By the end of June, I had written the first 50,000 words, and I had July and August to finish the second half. Problem was, I didn’t know what word 50,001 was going to be. I knew I needed another scene with the victim’s mother and uncle, and also knew I needed a scene with the victim’s alcoholic father. What I didn’t know was what came next, so I allowed myself to do something I’d never attempted before … I wrote out of sequence. Read more
… As I sat there, marinating in a self-concocted brine of shame, a faculty member chose a seat near mine. I glanced at his nametag: Arthur Levine, the legendary editor from Scholastic. As I wished for an invisibility cloak, the speaker at the lectern reminded us to turn off our cell phones. At that very moment, Arthur’s phone rang. He blushed, clapped his hand to his heart, switched off the phone in his jacket pocket, and excused himself. When he returned a moment later, he whispered that he had a small child at home and could never be out of touch. Because I had a child the same age, I understood completely. But he impressed me on another level. It didn’t matter to Arthur that he was our keynote speaker, the most important man in the room. When his phone rang, he was as embarrassed as I would be. Read more
1. After all the time, send-outs, get-backs, and hard work, the ecstasy of acceptance is fabulous and tear-filled. Let yourself scream, cry, feel the nervous soaring rise in your chest. If you can share it with someone, all the better.
GIVEAWAY: Noelle is excited to give away a free copy of her book 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: leeannniazi won.) Read more
When I first started to write fiction and send my manuscripts out for feedback, the first and most frequent thing my readers said was “Show, don’t tell.”
In theory, I understood what this meant. But it was almost impossible for me to put it into practice after comments such as, “Why don’t you show your character sitting in a café getting frustrated with her friend? I’d really like to see that happening, rather than just being told it’s happening. It would give us a lot more insight into their characters.”
GIVEAWAY: Jessica is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners can live anywhere in the world. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: MarkR won.) Read more
I used to be an actor. Then I became a fiction writer. This transition had very little to do with a spine-injuring production of The Tempest. Neither swords nor backstage ghosts were involved, whatever rumors you might have heard. In any case, several theatrical skills and lessons turned out to be useful in my new profession. I hereby present three of my favorites:
1) You can’t be the actor and the director at the same time. Let me clarify: You can direct and perform in the same show. But you cannot do so at the same time. You must switch hats. Sometimes it helps to use actual hats. Do not attempt to wear both hats at once. Read more
1. Physical tours can still sell a lot of books. I know, I know, lots of people say the book tour is dead. And yes, most authors, even famous authors, don’t draw crowds the way they used to. But at least for the young adult and children’s market, it is still possible to put together an author tour that sells well. How do I know? Here’s a list of the top ten markets for my debut novel, ASHFALL, at the end of November last year as my physical book tour was winding down. The data are from Nielsen Bookscan:
GIVEAWAY: Mike is excited to give away a free copy of his 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: vrundell won.) Read more
Previously, I attended the Writer Idol Event at Boston Book Fest. It was not for the faint of heart, but for those willing to brave public ridicule, it was a great way to get helpful feedback. This is how it worked: An actress picked manuscripts at random and read the first 250 words out loud for the panel and the audience. If at any point a panelist felt he would stop reading, he raised his hand. The actress read until two or more panelists raised their hands, at which point the panel discussed the reasons they stopped, or in cases where the actress read to the end, they discussed what worked. (This guest column by Livia Blackburne.) Read more
1. Rejection letters take you out of submission limbo. Familiar with that hell whose name is Waiting? Is the agent reading your submission? Chortling with her cronies over it? Using it as a doorstop or drink coaster? With that rejection letter in hand, you now know where you stand. No more wondering. No more worry. Of course no more hope either. Time to move on. Next.
2. All it takes is one rejection letter to make you an instant life member of a club whose luminaries include Walt Whitman, J.K. Rowling and Dr. Seuss. What published writer has never received a rejection letter? These are our badges of determination. Read more
I hate to disillusion you, but promotion and salesmanship have always been part of a writer’s job description—now more than ever. Everyone is trying to build their author platform to sell more books. The good news is that a well-conceived publicity campaign exercises the same creative muscles that make writing so satisfying. And despite how much we writers like to bellyache about our book tours and writer platform building, few experiences are more energizing, gratifying, or fun.
GIVEAWAY: Steven is excited to give away a free copy of his 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: Tomic communications won.) Read more
Word count is something I don’t think about too often until I travel to a writers’ conference, and then someone asks a simple, innocent question and a firestorm follows. With that in mind, I’ve tried to put together the definitive post on word count for fiction (novels, young adult, middle grade and even memoir). Read more
The curse of a vivid imagination is that you can almost always imagine something that would make the situation worse. This is why if there is a sudden lurch on a flight, you can count on me to grip my armrest, mentally picturing the wing suddenly falling off of the plane. Strange noise in the middle of the night? Zombie apocalypse. Hacking cough and sniffle? No doubt the beginning of Ebola. It makes my life anxious, but it’s great for writing fiction. Most fiction suffers from not enough conflict, not too much. With every book and every scene, ask yourself “what would make this worse?” One way to do this is to take common conflict resolution techniques and turn them upside down.
GIVEAWAY: Eileen 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: sefmac20 won.) Read more
There’s a monster hiding under my desk. He lurks there, waiting for the right moment to attack. He’s an ugly little bastard, too. I have a lot of names for him, but for the sake of not overusing profanity in this blog, I’ll call him by his real name, Self-Doubt. Most of you might think that after two decades in the business, after hitting list that I only dreamed about hitting, I’d have managed to kill the gremlin. But you’d be wrong. That sneaky little devil won’t die. He keeps popping back up.
GIVEAWAY: C.C. is excited to give away a free copy of BORN AT MIDNIGHT 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: lizcolebourn won.) Read more