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- 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
Queries and Synopses and Proposals
This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letter examples that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting these query letter samples, we will also get to hear thoughts from the writer’s literary agent as to why the letter worked.
The installment in this series is with agent Alyssa Reuben (Paradigm Literary) for Moses Gates’s travel memoir, HIDDEN CITIES: Travels to the Secret Corners of the World’s Great Metropolises; A Memoir of Urban Exploration (Tarcher, March 2013). Publishers Weekly said, “Urban exploration with Gates makes for wildly entertaining reading. A solidly entertaining ride for those seeking a gritty travel experience.” Read more
Check Out Agent Michelle Wolfson’s “Query Letter Intensive” Webinar on Sept. 27, 2012 (All Attendees Get a Query Critique)
“How to Write a Query Letter” is probably one of the most important and common topics that we discuss here at Writer’s Digest. After all, a query is your all-important tool to get an agent to request more of your work, and eventually sign you as a client and sell your book. Your query letter must be short, but it must also explain what your book is about and hook the reader in. With all that in mind, we’re very excited to announce an all-new webinar called “Query Letter Intensive” taught by literary agent Michelle Wolfson (Wolfson Literary) on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. All attendees get their query critiqued. Keep reading to learn more.
The query letter is that all-important first contact with literary agents. Before they opt to read your work, they have to be interested in you and your story — and that’s what the query letter does. We all know that composing a query is a completely different monster than writing a story. If you’re getting rejected at the query stage, don’t fret — we have an expert for you. Literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary is teaching an intensive webinar on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012 called “How to Hook an Agent or Editor With Your Query.” The intensive webinar features a query critique by Kathleen for every registrant. Read more
The query letter is that all-important first contact with literary agents. Before they opt to read your work, they have to be interested in you and your story — and that’s what the query letter does. We all know that composing a query is a completely different monster than writing a story. If you’re getting rejected at the query stage, don’t fret — we have an expert for you. Literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of Nancy Coffey Literary is teaching an intensive webinar on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011 called “How to Hook an Agent or Editor With Your Query.” The new webinar features a query critique by Kathleen for every registrant. Read more
Sometimes you only have seconds for your query to catch interest, and a great opening line can do that. We, as authors, try so hard to summarize our entire book, instead of just picking out the one or two elements that make our book unique, that I think we get lost when trying to do something like this. But practice will make it easier for you, and I hope the following ideas will help.
CRAFT A TAGLINE: Taglines are the one or two lines that are often on the front of a book cover. They are another way for publishers to draw the interest of a reader to your book. For example, the tagline on the cover of my December 2010 release, Beneath the Thirteen Moons. is “She never believed in fairy tales … until she found a prince…” Read more
But something felt off in those early letters. I realized that rather than showing an agent my sense of humor, I was standing there saying the equivalent of “I’m funny.”
That’s not funny.
My solution? Approach my query letter as a piece of creative writing itself, one that reflected my style while still giving the reader all the pertinent details about my project. This wasn’t an easy proposition, as I could end up coming across as a jackass who didn’t take his work seriously if I went too far the other way. Read more
Conferences can be great places to learn, but let’s face it, when you’re unagented and have a completed manuscript, your main agenda may not be the workshops. I’ve attended several conferences, both as a pre-published writer and a published one. The truth is, my main goal has remained the same: Networking. Read more
First, let me tell you about query letters that immediately turn me off:
1. When they are typed on an old typewriter or, worse, handwritten and often illegible. The look of a query letter is important in making a good first impression. Use a computer!
Bob’s guest column is an excerpt from Author 101: Bestselling Secrets from Top Agents. Read more
1. THE FORM REJECTION The most common (and least valuable) type, a form rejection tells you only that someone—not necessarily even the agent herself—glanced over your manuscript and didn’t think it could be sold at a high enough price to justify signing you as a client. By itself, one form rejection tells you nothing. Twenty in a row, however, may serve as a pretty convincing sign that your book, or at least the beginning of it, isn’t ready to hit the shelves quite yet.
2. THE PERSONALIZED REJECTION This can be either a form letter with a personal note added or a letter obviously written directly to you. If you receive one of these, it means your manuscript is head and shoulders above the majority of submissions an agent has read. Read more
No matter what type of nonfiction book you’ve written, if you’re proposing your book for publication you must show you’re prepared. Imagine an editor is considering two book proposals by first-time writers. Both books are equally clever in concept, suited for his house, and he’d be proud publishing either. But he only has budget for one. Reviewing one he sees a tight synopsis, a descriptive table of contents, and a short author bio. Promising.
Cricket Freeman is a literary agent with The August Agency. Read more
7 THINGS AGENTS WANT TO SEE IN A QUERY
1. An entertaining but polite and professional tone
2. Multiple forms of contact information
3. Proof that you have researched and hand-picked an agent. (If you’ve got a connection, were referred by a client or met the agent Read more
1. Be specific, but don’t vomit information. Saying “my novel is about a mom going through some life challenges” is vague, and remember: Vague = boring. However, be careful not to stuff your letter with so many details of your plot that it’s confusing to decipher what’s going on. Reading your pitch letter out loud can often help you identify these flaws.
2. Avoid the “duh” trap.Don’t bog down your writing by overstating the obvious. For example, “I’m writing this letter to tell you about my fictional novel, which I’d like to send you, and it is called TITLE.” That’s an awkward sentence. Read more
If you have a completed manuscript, you may be tempted to think that’s enough. It’s not. You still need a proposal. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Publishers usually don’t look at nonfiction manuscripts. The proposal itself provides information publishers need in order to make a purchasing decision. Before they even want to read sample chapters, they will review elements such as the author’s platform, how the book fits into the marketplace, and what titles already exist on your topic.
Guest column by literary agent Rachelle Gardner of Wordserve Literary. Read more
Those query letters are pesky critters. You have to encapsulate your story through a pitch while explaining your writing credits. It’s no surprise that most writers would rather compose a novel than … Read more
#1) Conceit – This is the beginning of the query experience in which you are convinced that any agent would be a fool to turn you down. You know deep in your heart this is the most fantastic book ever written and every agent who reads your query will request a full, (or at least a partial) immediately. And your mother, husband/wife and BFF beta’s said so.
#2) Fear – This second emotion is harder to contain as it encompasses a variety of anxieties at the same time: Is the query strong enough to get a request? Is the manuscript good enough? Have I revised enough? Did I find all my typos? Did I say everything I was supposed to say? Read more
Writers tend to be creative in many areas of life, so it’s no surprise that we can get creative with the truth. Or, as my mother said, “You lie a lot.” This is especially tempting when we are debating why we aren’t published. Before I was a published author, I embraced a few cherished lies because they blunted the pain of rejection. But the road to publication required discarding these lies and facing reality.
Guest column by Matt Mikalatos, freelancer, and author of the novel Imaginary Jesus (BarnaBooks, April 2010). Read more
There are lots of dos and don’ts list out there (and I’ve added to that pile), but overall, it’s an approach that agents and agents’ assistants look for:
1. A professional style and format that says, “I am a writer, I take this seriously, I understand that how I write, structure, and format a query letter (shocker!) affects how people view my writing as a whole.”
2. Stay formal, specific and direct. Definitely mention why you’re querying this agent/agency (e.g., an interview you read with them, titles they represent) so it shows you’ve done your research and aren’t just sending this into the stratosphere hoping for a reply. Read more
If you dread writing a query letter or composing a pitch for your book, perhaps all you need is a little feedback and instruction. That’s why I’m running a webinar called “Novel … Read more
So you feel it in your bones that there’s a perfect individual out there ready to fall all over the slush pile to publish your manuscript. Maybe you’re scouring the planet for an agent to stand behind you when the winds of rejection threaten to blow the knuckle hairs off your writing hand. What’s your plan for targeting and catching that person’s attention?
Laura Manivong‘s first kids novel is Escaping The Tiger, a story based off her husband’s experiences as a Lao refugee hoping for a new home. Read more
It’s been a while since I addressed simple query writing tips, so here are a few of my pointers on writing good queries. 1. Give us something with voice. Agent Dan Lazar … Read more
Agent Janet Reid of FinePrint Literary Management, aka the Query Shark, gave this information at a query workshop for the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group.
This guest post is by Donna Gambale and Frankie Diane Mallis, critique partners who blog at www.FirstNovelsClub.com Read more
I recently did a guest post on the blog of Hartline Literary (called “From the Heart” – talking about “10 Smart Questions About the Query Process.” You can see the entire post on the Hartline blog and see a quick excerpt here. Read more
Footnotes is a recurring series on the GLA blog where I pick a subject and provide several interesting articles on said topic. You’ve revised your manuscript to the point where you can’t … Read more
There’s an interesting little article over at Writer Unboxed discussing whether or not you should query agents during the holidays. Some different agents, including Nathan Bransford, Jennie Dunham, and Janet Reid, weigh in … Read more
Q. I have completed several chapters of a nonfiction work dealing with a subject that has not been previously written about in other publications. I am confident that I can speak in … Read more