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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.

Write to Express, Not to Impress

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The answer to everything: “Write to express, not to impress.” That’s it. A six word powerhouse. It’s the universal answer to just about everything a writer asks. Go ahead, give it a try. 1) How do I get past writer’s block? Write to express, not to impress. I don’t believe in writer’s block. The inability to move forward on a work is my subconscious telling me something important.

GIVEAWAY: Bernadette is excited to give away a free copy of either of her novels 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: Jean Voelker won.) Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Sarah Joy Freese of Wordserve Literary

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She is seeking: “Christian romance, Christian historical romance, Christian suspense, and paranormal romance. In non-fiction I am representing Christian apologetics. I am looking for full-length fiction, 65,000-100,000 words in either the general or Christian market. I prefer women’s fiction, romance, suspense/thriller, romantic suspense, historical, Amish, Biblical, Americana, Regencies, and mainstream. Occasionally, I consider literary manuscripts if they can sell in a traditional CBA or ABA market.” Read more

10th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest (Upmarket / Women’s / Mainstream Fiction)


Welcome to the 10th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing a upmarket novel(see exactly what this category means below), this 10th contest is for you! (The contest is live through May 14, 2012.) Read more

“How I Got Published” — Wade Rouse, Best-Selling Author and Editor of I’M NOT THE BIGGEST B**** IN THIS RELATIONSHIP

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Wade Rouse, humorist and memoirist, is the creator and editor of the recently published humorous dog anthology, I’m Not the Biggest B**** in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales about Man’s Best Friend from America’s Favorite Humorists (NAL, 2011), which was a Today Show “Holiday Pick” and features essays from nine New York Times bestsellers and one Tony winner, and a foreword by Chelsea Handler’s dog, Chunk. 50 percent of the royalties from the book benefit the Humane Society of the United States. Click through to read an interview where he explains how he got published and became a New York Times best-selling author. Read more

Synopsis Example: The IDES OF MARCH (Political / Thriller)

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Here’s another example of a fiction synopsis. This time it’s The Ides of March (2011). It’s a thriller, sure, but a character-driven one.The biggest challenge with this one was cutting down on which characters to mention. You’ll notice how Jeffrey Wright’s and Paul Giamatti’s characters are glanced over. This is on purpose. I just barely got this under the necessary word count. Remember: Keep your synopses moving — cut, cut, cut. Read more

Writing a Novel People Want to Read

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Over the years—before the release of my debut novel, A WALK ACROSS THE SUN, and in the months since—I have heard aspiring writers say, “I don’t write stories for an audience. I write for myself.” When I was an aspiring novelist penning stories that no one wanted to publish, I used to say the same thing. The rejections piled up, but I dismissed them as unenlightened or obtuse. In truth, without knowing it, I was the one who was unenlightened.

GIVEAWAY: Corban is excited to give away a free copy of his 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: jvdbednarz@aol.com won.) Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Kirk Russell

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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 crime writer Kirk Russell.

One of Kirk Russell’s earlier crime novels, SHELL GAMES: A JOHN MARQUEZ CRIME NOVEL, has been selected by Amazon for promotion in its Kindle Daily Deal on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. For one day only, this ebook will be priced at just $1.99. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Sara Sciuto of Full Circle Literary

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She is seeking: Sara is actively building her list with a focus on middle grade and young adult, in particular, dystopian, science fiction, fantasy, and unique paranormal. She also enjoys contemporary stories with a strong, authentic voice (but no chick-lit, please). She has a particular soft spot for anything in the Deep South (sweet contemporary to dark paranormal), gritty contemporary, utilitarian dystopias or dystopian thrillers, anything with international locales or period settings (think flappers or “Mad Men”), and anything with artistic themes. Sara is also looking for standout picture books, especially those with a quirky or humorous narrative. She’s also considering select nonfiction in the areas of craft, design, how-to, lifestyle, and pop culture. Currently, she is NOT considering any adult fiction (all genres). Read more

Writer’s Digest Has a YouTube Channel

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Just a cool heads up — Writer’s Digest now has a YouTube channel! You’ll find tutorial video clips sure to give you tidbits of helpful information. Here’s the best part . . . anyone that has subscribed to the WD YouTube channel by April 30, 2012, will be entered into a special drawing. The lucky WD YouTube channel subscriber will win: a copy of the new 2012 Guide to Literary Agents book (retail value: $29.99) and you can pick to attend one live WD webinar during of your choice during the months of June 2012 or July 2012 (retail value: $79-$89). Read more

Author Interview: Daniel H. Wilson, Author of ROBOPOCALYPSE

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A few weeks ago, I enjoyed a much-needed vacation. On this vacation, I read three books. Although all were fun reads, the one I enjoyed the most was ROBOPOCALYPSE by Daniel H. Wilson. I asked Daniel if I could interview him, and he was happy to oblige, as the book just came out in paperback (April 2012) and he’s doing promotion for it. (Also, Steven Spielberg is turning it into a movie for a 2013 release!) Enjoy the Q&A when you click through. Read more

Writers Conference Spotlight: Clarksville Writers Conference (Tennessee, June 7-8, 2012)

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I have instructed at the Clarksville Writers Conference several times and will be back again this year. The conference is a medium-sized event filled with great people and organizers, all of whom seem to exude Southern hospitality. The event is two days of workshops and presentations, and there are free appointments with the two literary agents in attendance. This year’s event is from June 7-8, 2012 in Tennessee. Read more

Author Interview: Alec Nevala-Lee, Author of THE ICON THIEF

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This is a Q&A with author Alec Nevala-Lee, who is celebrating the release of his thriller, THE ICON THIEF, (Signet, March 2012). In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls THE ICON THIEF an “cerebral, exciting debut.” It’s his first book, and I always enjoy spotlight up-and-coming authors on my GLA Blog. Read on to learn more…

GIVEAWAY: Alec 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: BlueZebra won.) Read more

“How I Got Published” — Josh Dean, Author of SHOW DOG

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Josh Dean is the author of SHOW DOG: THE CHARMED LIFE AND TRYING TIMES OF A NEAR-PERFECT PUREBRED (February 2012, It Books), a book praised by USA Today, The Guardian, and many more. Josh is a writer whose work has appeared in GQ, Outside, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, Inc., ESPN the Magazine, and many others. He is almost certainly the first person in history to play in both the WEPA Elephant Polo World Championships and the Quidditch World Cup. (Sadly, his teams won neither.) Josh lives in Brooklyn and the Catskill Mountains of New York with his wife and son. He will hopefully not be dog-less for much longer.

GIVEAWAY: Josh is excited to give away a free copy of his 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: AnnieMac won.) Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Andrew Wetzel of Martin Literary Management


He is seeking: “Speaking of my tastes, the areas I’d most like to carve out for myself with Martin Literary Management would be ‘Literary with a capital L’ fiction (think Eugenides, Houellebecq, Murakami, Cormac McCarthy, Martin Amis) as well as the dark corner of the literary list that is slightly less pretentious and slightly more commercial (think Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, Dennis Johnson). That’s a very ‘male’ list and it is definitely where my personal tastes lie. I love a great story but style is just as important to me sometimes. I’m also very interested in reading Young Adult novels, specifically those with a macabre sensibility or a fascinating dystopian or fantasy setting…” Read more

Who Is Your Target Reader?


When you’re trying to sell your first novel, one of the questions that agents and editors will almost inevitably ask is “Who do you see as your target reader?”

Writers frequently punt with a vague answer, something along the lines of “Anyone who enjoys a good story” or “This theme is universal.” They’re probably trying to imply that their book has equal appeal for men and women, young and old, cuts that it across all racial and national lines and thus has the potential to be a best seller. Hmmm…yeah.

GIVEAWAY: Kim 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: Writer 5512 won the book.) Read more

Announcing My Next Humor Book: RED DOG / BLUE DOG (and Giveaways To Celebrate!)

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It’s been more than a year and a half since my first humor book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK, came out. Writing that book was a fun, crazy journey that has now led me here. I am so freaking excited to finally announce the release of second humor book, RED DOG / BLUE DOG, a collection of dog photos with humorous politically-oriented captions. Because of this news, I am celebrating with some fat giveaways. (Update: bdaniels119, Kelly Mogk and skoneal90 won the contest.) Read more

Author Interview: William Richter (Author of DARK EYES)


Below find a Q&A with author William Richter, who is celebrating the release of his YA crime novel, DARK EYES (Razorbill, March 2012). Richter describes the book as a “gateway thriller — meaning it’s an adult-style crime story but told from the point of view of young central characters.” (Sounds very cool!) It’s his debut YA book, and I always enjoy spotlight up-and-coming authors on my GLA Blog. Read on to learn more Read more

New Agent Alert: Natasha Alexis of The Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency

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Natasha is seeking: works of literary and commercial fiction and nonfiction. As a fan of popular culture and cosmopolitan trends, Natasha is keen to represent YA and adult fiction with an edge and fresh point of view, especially works featuring women and people of color. She also has an interest in narrative nonfiction as well as pop science projects. Read more

How to Write a Book When You’re Really, Really Busy

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I am, as my mother would say, “a busy little beaver.” While writing my most recent novel, I was working full-time, going to school at UCLA and training for a 50 kilometer footrace. I also slept, ate, saw friends, posted on Twitter and Facebook, blogged, belonged to a book club and watched a number of “Mythbusters” episodes.

With that kind of schedule, one question comes up a lot, especially from other writers: “When do you write?” Read more

Conference Spotlight: Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Conference (May 3-5, 2012)

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Coming up fast is the 2012 Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference in Oklahoma City (May 3-5, 2012), and it looks to be a grand event indeed. The OWFI is a huge writing organization with more than 600 members, and many of them turn out for the annual event. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Delilah Dawson

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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: Delilah is excited to give away a free copy of her book 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: Melissa Brady King won.) Read more

Why Literary Fiction Isn’t Boring


Have you ever wanted to savor a meal because you’ve never tasted anything so good? Well, if you’re new to literary fiction, or can never seem to “get into it,” this is how you should try approaching it.

Think of the book as a meal with intricate scents, flavors and textures that you can’t quite recognize unless you spend a little more time with it, and give it some undivided attention. Because, trust me, sitting down a little longer than usual, to enjoy your meal, can be liberating, especially if accompanied by a great glass of red. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary

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About Paula: Paula Munier comes to Talcott Notch Literary with broad experience creating and marketing exceptional content in all formats across all markets for such media giants as Disney, Gannett, Greenspun Media Group, and Quayside. She most recently served as the Director of Innovation and Acquisitions for Adams Media, a division of F+W Media, where she headed up the acquisitions team responsible for creating, curating, and producing both fiction and nonfiction for print, ebook, eshort, and direct-to-ebook formats.

She is seeking: Her specialties include mystery/thriller, SF/fantasy, romance, YA, memoir, humor, pop culture, health & wellness, cooking, self-help, pop psych, New Age, inspirational, technology, science, and writing. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Paul Lucas of Janklow & Nesbit Associates

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He is seeking: He is interested in a wide variety of commercial and literary fiction, as well as specific nonfiction. In fiction, he enjoys both character and plot driven novels but it’s important to him for the storytelling to be clear and accessible. In genre fiction, he is looking for thrillers, spy, science fiction and fantasy genre writing, as well as literary novels. He appreciates a literary bent, subverting genre and darker, conflicted characters. Finally, he loves historical fiction and war novels. For nonfiction, he is interested in representing popular science books, new ways of exploring the major sports and narrative histories. (He does not represent romance, westerns, women’s fiction, memoir, self-help, children’s or picture books.) Read more

Author Interview: Adam Brownlee, Author of “Building a Small Business That Warren Buffet Would Love”

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Along with plenty of agent interviews on this blog, I’m hoping to do more interviews of up-and-coming writers (especially debuts as well as up-and-coming authors) that I like or I think you should know. Today please enjoy an interview with author Adam Brownlee, who I met at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest in 2011. Adam is the author of Building a Small Business That Warren Buffet Would Love (March 12, 2012, Wiley).

GIVEAWAY: Adam is excited to give away a free copy of his book 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: ManiacMom won.) Read more

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