Live Query-a-Thon With Agents Kate McKean & Jim McCarthy: Sept. 17 Webinar With Query Critique

In this live webinar, literary agents Kate McKean (Howard Morhaim Literary) and Jim McCarthy (Dystel & Goderich) invite you to peek behind the curtain and watch exactly what happens when an agent considers your query. Working from the submissions they receive (all names on queries will be removed), participants will have the chance to read along with them as they decide whether to stop reading or carry on. You’ll see the exact moment in query letters that each perks up or passes. Think of it like AMERICAN IDOL: QUERY EDITION. Along the way, you’ll garner helpful tips on what to avoid as you write your own query, how to stand out from the pack (in a good way), and what goes on in an agent’s mind as they consider your material.

We’re calling this webinar “What an Agent Really Thinks While Reading Queries: A Live Query-A-Thon.” It happens at 1 p.m. EST, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, and lasts 90 minutes. All attendees will get a query critique from the literary agent instructors. Don’t forget that multiple literary agents have signed writers after reading their work as part of a WD webinar!

 

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ABOUT THE CRITIQUE

All registrants are invited to submit their query letter and the first 500 words of their novel. All submissions are guaranteed a written critique by either literary agent Kate McKean or Jim McCarthy. Kate and Jim reserve the right to request more writing from attendees by e-mail following the event, if either deems the writing excellent.

ABOUT THE WEBINAR

Admit it: when you imagine what happens to your query after you send it to an agent, a small part of you expects that they’ll forward it to an intern. Or laugh maniacally as they put it in a folder marked “Do Not Reply.” Or toss a two-headed coin to make their decision to pass or play.

The reality is less nefarious, but likely no less interesting. In this live webinar, Kate McKean and Jim McCarthy invite you to peek behind the curtain and watch exactly what happens when an agent considers your query. Working from the submissions they receive (all queries will be anonymized), participants will have the chance to read along with them as they decide whether to stop reading or carry on. You’ll see the exact moment in query letters that each perks up or passes. Think of it like AMERICAN IDOL: QUERY EDITION. Along the way, you’ll garner helpful tips on what to avoid as you write your own query, how to stand out from the pack (in a good way), and what goes on in an agent’s mind as they consider your material. (Sign up for the webinar here.)

Both Kate and Jim read all of their own submissions—which equates to hundreds of queries every month. Each signs on only about 1% of what they see. So how do you clear the gauntlet? Why aren’t agents requesting your material? And what can you do about it? In this kind (but honest) webinar, you’ll finally have a chance to see exactly what you’re up against.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • What exactly goes through an agent’s mind as they read your query
  • How to avoid common pitfalls in query writing
  • Clichés and phrases to avoid when writing about your work
  • The exact point at which agents stop reading queries, and why
  • How to win an agent over as simply and cleanly as possible. Sign up for the webinar here.

INSTRUCTORS

Kate McKean is a literary agent at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency in Brooklyn, NY, where she has agented for 6 years. She earned her Master’s in Fiction Writing at the University of Southern Mississippi before starting her publishing career, and enjoys both the creative and business aspects of her job. Her clients include the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling humor book I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?, YA and Adult fantasy writer Delilah S. Dawson, and blogger, designer, and creativity expert Noah Scalin. She is most interested in contemporary women’s fiction, middle grade and young adult fiction of all stripes, craft, sports, and pop culture.

Jim McCarthy is Vice President and literary agent at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management in New York, NY. He has been with the agency for 14 years, initially starting as an intern way back in the ‘90s. He represents a wide range of fiction, adult and young adult, commercial and literary. He is also seeking narrative nonfiction, particularly memoir, history, and pop culture. His clients include NEW YORK TIMES bestsellers Richelle Mead, Victoria Laurie, Alyssa Day, and Morgan Rhodes.

HOW DOES THE CRITIQUE WORK?

All registrants are invited to submit their query and the first 500 words of their novel. All submissions are guaranteed a written critique by literary agent Kate McKean or Jim McCarthy within 60 days of receipt. Kate and Jim reserve the right to request more writing from attendees by e-mail following the event, if either deems the writing excellent. Instructions on how to submit your work are sent after you officially register.

HOW CAN I GET MY QUERY CRITIQUED DURING THE WEBINAR?

All registrants are invited to submit their work to be discussed during the webinar. If you would like to be included, please send your critique materials according to the critique submission instructions below to both kmckean@morhaimliterary.com and jmccarthy@dystel.com BY MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16. Jim and Kate will remove your name and contact information, but your work will be visible to all webinar participants. The agents promise to be nice, so don’t be nervous! Share! Those who are chosen to be critiqued during the webinar will still receive written critique.

Sign up for the webinar here!

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