Three agents were here with me at the 2008 Northern Colorado Writers’ Conference:
Here’s some of what they had to say:
- Gardner: In-your-face spiritualism doesn’t have to be a part of Christian writing anymore. Today’s Christian and inspirational books have subtle faith-based themes such as redemption and soul searching. The stories are still “clean,” though, as they lean away from profanity, detailed sex scenes, or gruesome horror stuff.
- Regel: The “hook” is crucial for a YA book. Echoing what Michelle Andelman said in March, Jessica confirmed that a book with decent writing (say a B-) can still get published if the hook is awesome enough.
- Nelson: When trying to compose the pitch paragraph of a query letter, go to the bookstore beforehand and read the back paragraph on books in your genre. That is essentially what you are aiming to write.
- Regel: Bio credits can push you over the hump. Let’s say that your pitch is not good or bad but rather just OK. What can push you over the hump and get an agent to request more writing? Bio credits! That is the advantage to starting small and getting short stories and magazine articles published.
- Nelson: Don’t call your novel Second Chances. Everyone else has the same name. In fact, Google your title to see what comes up.
- Regel: She said she is actively looking for both narrative nonfiction and middle grade works. However, concerning middle grade, she brought up some concerns about titles, as well. Her advice is to avoid the standard “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” template for a title. For example, stay away from titles like “Timmy Tom and the Friendly Squirrel.”
- Gardner: Don’t explain your whole story in a pitch. Pique the agent’s interest and let them request more.
- Nelson: She said she is actively looking for fiction that blends literary and commercial elements, such as The 13th Tale and Snow Falling on Cedars.
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)
The biggest literary agent database anywhere
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Other writing/publishing articles and links for you:
- How $1 Could Make You a Best-Selling Author.
- Literary Agent Interview: Gordon Warnock of Andrea Hurst & Associates.
- 8 Badass Books That Were Rejected by Publishers.
- NEW Literary Agent Seeking Clients: Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary.
- Sell More Books by Building Your Writer Platform.
- Read Some Tips on How to Publicize and Promote Your Book(s).
- 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.
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