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  • Guide to Literary Agents

Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents Blog

Chuck Sambuchino is an editor and published author who runs the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, one of the biggest blogs in publishing. His site has instruction and information on literary agents, literary agencies, query letters, submissions, publishing, author platform, book marketing, and more.


7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Olivia Newport

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This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from writer Olivia Newport.

GIVEAWAY: Olivia 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: Kaylyn won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Regina Jennings

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

GIVEAWAY: Guest columnist Regina Jennings is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within one week; 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: Barbara won.) Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Rachel Ekstrom of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency

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About Rachel: She was most recently publicity manager at St. Martin’s Press. Rachel Ekstrom’s decade of experience working in the publicity departments at St. Martin’s, Minotaur Books, and Penguin’s Dutton and Gotham imprints has given her an insider’s view of the publishing industry. With a knack for book promotion, she’s honed her skills building the careers of debut authors and #1 New York Times bestsellers.

She is seeking: women’s fiction, YA (contemporary and paranormal), thrillers, mysteries, romance, historical fiction and the occasional quirky work of nonfiction. She’s looking for books that will make her heart beat faster than it does when she’s biking through Manhattan traffic. Read more

10th “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest — Winners Announced

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Concerning the most recent “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest (upmarket fiction), guest judge literary agent Lauren Ruth has chosen her three winners! Here they are:

1. Mandi Harris for LITTLE GOSPEL
2. Sarah Salmon for THE CHILI IS NOT THE WHOLE CURRY
3. Annamaria Elsden for ALMOST WINTER Read more

“How I Got Published” — Jim Kraus, Author of THE DOG THAT TALKED TO GOD

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My latest interview with a writer of a dog-related book is Jim Kraus, author of THE DOG THAT TALKED TO GOD (Abingdon Press, 2012).

Jim is a longtime writer and editor who has authored or co-authored more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction. His best-selling humor book, Bloopers, Blunders, Jokes, Quips, and Quotes, was published by Tyndale House Publishers, sold more than 40,000 copies and inspired several spin-off books. Jim, and his wife, novelist Terri Kraus, and one son, live in the Chicago area. Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Melanie Gideon

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1. Don’t Google yourself. It can only lead to heartbreak. If you simply must know what’s being said about you and your work in the blogosphere, get a friend or spouse or sibling to do periodic Google searches for you. But, and this is very important, insist they curate. Suggest they say things like “Gosh, I don’t see anything but five star reviews. Okay, maybe a few four stars sprinkled in.” Suggest they don’t say things like “Why does @gogirlcrunchy hate you so much?” Tip: don’t be in the same room when said loved one is doing Google searches. And if you are in the same room, do not, I repeat do not look at the expression on their face as they scan the results.

GIVEAWAY: Melanie 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: Heather won.) Read more

6 Reasons Editors Will Reject You

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Before I wrote my first novel, The Expats, I spent nearly two decades at various arms of publishing houses such as Random House, Workman, and HarperCollins, mostly as an acquisitions editor. But a more accurate title for that job might be rejection editor: while I acquired maybe a dozen projects per year, I’d reject hundreds upon hundreds. And while it may not be possible to pinpoint what exactly makes for a great manuscript or submission, it’s pretty easy to identify some of the avoidable mistakes that can virtually guarantee your project will get relegated to the circular file.

GIVEAWAY: Chris 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: Lynn33 won.) Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Melissa Flashman of Trident Media Group, LLC

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“Agent Advice” (more than 150 interviews so far!) is a series of quick interviews with literary and script agents who talk with Guide to Literary Agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else.

This installment features Melissa Flashman of Trident Media Group, LLC. Melissa grew up in Kentucky, graduated from Wesleyan University, and studied in the Ph.D. program in English at Johns Hopkins. She worked as an assistant at International Creative Management (ICM) before joining Trident Media Group. You can find Melissa on Twitter here. Read more

10 Writing Myths

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I read every “how to write” book I found, every writing magazine, every article on authors I could find. I loved hearing about how they did what they did. And still, I didn’t have a clue about how things worked in this business. Here are 10 myths about being a writer that I discovered once I became published:

GIVEAWAY: Lori 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: jdmstudios won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Cassie Alexander

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

GIVEAWAY: Cassie 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: ukjb053 won.) Read more

Rules for Writing and Revising Your Novel

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When you revise, you must go back and fine-tune your work—add, delete—what needs to go in, be taken out. Repair the characters. Do it when your mind is still fresh with the scenes and the characters of that chapter. However, you must be unbiased (which is hard toward what you’ve just written), detached (which is harder from what you’ve just built), so you can see your own creative flaws.

GIVEAWAY: Khanh 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: Bop won.) Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Jennifer Azantian of the Jennifer Azantian Literary Agency

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About Jennifer: Jennifer Azantian assists Sandra Dijkstra and Elise Capron, and manages incoming submissions for SDLA. At the University of California, San Diego, she studied clinical and developmental child psychology, and graduated cum laude in 2010. After graduation, she spent a wonderful summer interning at the Dijkstra Agency before joining full-time in fall of 2011.

She is seeking: Jennifer is only interested in: young adult science fiction and fantasy (including all of their subgenres). Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Nina Benneton

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This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from novelist Nina Benneton.

GIVEAWAY: Nina 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: Jami G. won.) Read more

My Cursed Adventure to See Van Halen in Concert…

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One of my favorite bands of all time is Van Halen. I love all their music, and probably know more about the history of the band than anybody would care to discuss with me.

That’s why it absolutely BLOWS that my quest to see them in concert has been such a tragedy. This sad story has three acts… Read more

The Short Happy Lives of Short Story Collections

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Short story collections are the weird sister of the publishing world. Though you can see anthologies of shorts in bookstores (i.e., 2012’s Greatest Stories About the Kardashian Sisters), you rarely see collections by individual authors. Sometimes the poor things are teetering on the tippy-top shelf of a general fiction section, because it’s a rare store that sets aside shelf space for collections, unless your name is Alice Munro or Annie Proulx.

GIVEAWAY: Tom is excited to give away a free copy of his collection 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: DocAnnieD won.) Read more

“How I Got Published” — Mary Nethery and Kirby Larson, Authors of NUBS: THE TRUE STORY OF A MUTT, A MARINE, AND A MIRACLE

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This installment is with Mary Nethery and Kirby Larson, authors of the New York Times best-selling book NUBS: THE TRUE STORY OF A MUTT, A MARINE, AND A MIRACLE (Little Brown, 2009), a story about marine Brian Dennis and a feral dog in Iraq that found a home in America.

GIVEAWAY: Mary and Kirby are excited to give away 2 free copies of their 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: Lina and T.Rob won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Gretchen Berg

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. This installment is from humorous memoir writer Gretchen Berg.

GIVEAWAY: Gretchen 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: schwip23@gmail.com won.) Read more

Writers Conference Spotlight: 2012 Crested Butte Writers Conference (Colorado, June 22-24, 2012)

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I am very excited to instruct at the 2012 Crested Butte Writers Conference. It’s held in the beautiful town of Crested Butte, CO, from June 22-24, 2012. The event is described as “a small conference designed to be friendly and cozy with the caliber of a large conference.” Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Elizabeth Evans of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

Literary agent Elizabeth Evans.

“Agent Advice” (more than 150 interviews so far!) is a series of quick interviews with literary and script agents who talk with Guide to Literary Agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else.

This installment features Elizabeth Evans of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. Elizabeth Evans joined JVNLA in January 2010. Previously, she worked for six years in the San Francisco Bay Area with Kimberley Cameron & Associates. Elizabeth has a degree in English literature and received an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco. She is the founder of Room to Write, a volunteer group of over forty New York City publishing professionals. Read more

Another Take On “Show, Don’t Tell” For Writers

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It’s a writing rule most of us have heard before. And it’s a good one. Because no reader wants to be spoon-fed a story. Readers want to see the story for themselves, to make up their own minds. It’s more interesting and entertaining that way, and even more importantly, it lets the reader become more invested in the characters.

A student once asked me to explain the concept of “show, don’t tell,” and here’s what I told her: Pretend you’re sitting in a movie theater, eager to see the latest Shia LeBeouf action movie. You’ve got the popcorn, the Milk Duds, the Coke. The lights dim, and on the screen, LeBeouf appears, with a white background behind him. Nothing else. He tells the audience with a shrug, “This film had a low budget. I mean, really low. Because of that, I’m going to tell you the movie.” Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Katharine Quinn

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This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from historical fiction writer Kate Quinn, author of historical romance novels.

GIVEAWAY: Kate 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: Tammy Nischan won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Beatriz Williams

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

Beatriz Williams‘s first novel, OVERSEAS, is out May 10, 2012 from Putnam. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said of the novel, “This is a delicious story about the ultimate romantic fantasy.” She lives in Connecticut with her husband and four children. Read more

Event Spotlight: The Homeric Writers’ Retreat and Workshop on the Isle of Ithaca (Aug. 2-8, 2012 in Greece)

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If you’re considering a writing event this year, but are looking for just as much of an opportunity to sit down and write as you are to learn from presenters, then join me at the Homeric Writers’ Retreat and Workshop from Aug. 2-8, 2012. It’s held on the beautiful Greek isle of Ithaca — a perfect place to soak in the sunshine and let the creative juices flow. And in addition to the amazing scenery to help you write, there are a few daily sessions as well as several personalized critiques (manuscript pages, query, synopsis, proposal) for all attendees, taught and given by publishing pros. Read more

The Key to a Good Series is Excellent Characters

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I’m a series junkie. In addition to those noted above, faves include Lew Archer, Spenser, Elvis Cole, Parker, Fletch, Jack Reacher, Harry Bosch … I could go on. And one of the things that draws me to series is that feeling of slipping into a familiar world – a place with its own logic and rules and history.

And characters.

GIVEAWAY: Steve is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within two 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: Burrowswrite won.) Read more

My Adventures in … Oklahoma City

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I just got back from instructing in Oklahoma City at the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Conference. And wow, what a great, nice group of people. Everyone there was just wonderful. As a bonus, it was held at the Embassy Suites, which, ahem, may or may not have free alcoholic drinks between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. (That was an unexpected bonus.) I got to see some literary agents who were there, including Louise Fury and Emmanuelle Morgen. Click through to see some photos and notes from the event. Read more

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