November/December 2013 Issue
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Writing Editor Blogs
Guide to Literary Agents Blog
by Chuck Sambuchino
GLA Editor Chuck Sambuchino keeps track of all news related to literary agents and writing conferences on his blog. Common features include agent interviews, new agency listings, agency profiles, upcoming conferences of interest, contests and other publishing opportunities, valuable writing resources, submission tips and information, and a blogroll of other agent blogs. Read Chuck’s Blog
There Are No Rules
by the editors of Writer’s Digest
Get on the cutting edge of today’s publishing trends and how authors can succeed in a world of fast-paced technological change, guided by the editors of Writer’s Digest. You’ll get an inside look at the work, play, and passion of the publishing business and find practical tools for success. Read There Are No Rules
Questions & Quandaries
by Brian Klems
Don’t know the difference between “who” and “whom”? Facing an ethical dilemma about accepting gifts from subjects? Let the informative (and humorous) columnist Brian A. Klems answer some of your most pressing grammatical, ethical, business and writing-related questions. Check out his advice and don’t hesitate to ask a question—your writing career will thank you. Read Brian’s Blog
by Robert Brewer
Published poet Robert Lee Brewer blogs on issues affecting poets from the poet’s perspective. As the editor of Writer’s Market, Brewer also shares insights on the publishing industry, especially as it relates to poetry and the poetry markets. He also explains poetic forms, interviews other published poets, and provides the occasional poetry prompt. Read Robert’s Blog
1: The Elevator Pitch. As I write this post, my first novel, The Promise of Stardust, is about to find its way into the world. It’s about a woman who suffers a devastating brain injury, and just as they are about to take her off life-support, they realize she’s pregnant. Oh yes, there’s more. The story spans twenty years. It’s a love story. It’s a family saga. It’s many things. But for an elevator pitch, it important to know what your story is about and to refine it down to a sentence or two. Read more
This interview features Laura Dail of Laura Dail Literary Agency. The Duke University graduate received her Master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College. She has served on the board of the Association of Authors Representatives (AAR) and currently chairs the AAR Royalties Committee. She also Tweets.
She is seeking: Laura’s now especially interested in historical and high-concept fiction, funny YA, humor, and serious nonfiction. Read more
From the March/April 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest, here’s Rejection Letter Bingo. Print it out and play along. But hurry—I’m getting close! —Zachary Petit is an award-winning journalist, and the senior … Read more
Get Your First 500 Words Critiqued by Agent Roseanne Wells: March 14 Webinar on “The Essentials of Characters, Plot & Setting”
A lot of WD’s webinars are focused on a particular element or genre. Sometimes they’re on writing something specific like a picture book, while other times they’re intensives on query letters or synopses. But this week it’s time to get back to basics. It’s time to talk about the crucial and essential story elements of character, plot and setting. To accomplish this, we have literary agent and instructor extraordinaire Roseanne Wells (Jennifer De Chiara Literary) teaching the all-new webinar, “The Three Essential Building Blocks of Your Novel: Who, What, and Where,” on Thursday, March 14, 2013. The webinar starts at 1 p.m., EST and lasts 90 minutes. And there’s more: Each registrant gets the first 500 pages of their novel critiqued by Roseanne! Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring James Markert, author of the novel A WHITE WIND BLEW (Feb. 2013, Sourcebooks Landmark). These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. James’s story involves getting his book published with a publishing house and then approaching agents, including agent Dan Lazar of Writers House, who eventually signed him. Read more
We figured out the Great Missing Comment Box Mystery of 2013 around the end of last week. So we should have a completely healthy commenting experience today (knocking on wood). In fact, … Read more
Set a deadline. A Violet Season was written over four summers—each summer, another draft. This was a crazy schedule, I know, but in some ways it was perfect. There was a clear end to the summers (sadly), and to my drafts. If you don’t have a deadline, you run the risk of one draft spilling into the next, and you may never feel a sense of closure or accomplishment. This is really important in a business in which we often work alone and without recognition. When you finish your draft, celebrate! Then start the next one.
GIVEAWAY:Kathy 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: Edwina won.) Read more
Here we are–the sixth annual April PAD Challenge. In a little less than 4 weeks, we’ll start meeting here every day to poem like it’s (Inter)National Poetry Month. Poets from the United … Read more
This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers (this installment written by Elisa Lorello, author of ADULATION) at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their book agent — by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning.
GIVEAWAY: Elisa 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: TakakoW won.) Read more
It’s time for another Writer’s Digest poetic form challenge! This time around, we’re writing the pantoum, a poetic form filled with repeating lines and rhymes. The form originates in Malay. Here are … Read more
As a writer, I always thought I had the submission cover letter down pat. But managing a literary magazine truly opened my eyes to the staggering breadth of what many writers consider … Read more
Reminder: New literary agents (this spotlight featuring agent Kezia Toth of Union Literary) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.
Kezia is seeking: She is especially interested in narrative nonfiction, “big idea” books, American cultural history, and pop culture. Kezia is also passionate about all sorts of fiction, including young adult and middle grade novels. Read more
I often tell people that being a lawyer isn’t so different from being a fiction writer. The comment always elicits some laughs, maybe a suspicious squint or two, but I couldn’t be more serious. As a junior and mid-level corporate litigator, much of my day was spent writing briefs, witness statements and other court documents. Over the years, I developed writing skills and strategies that helped me finish my debut novel, THE HOUSE GIRL (Feb. 2012) while also holding down a day job. Here are the top five. Read more
5 Simple Things Agents Can Do To Make Writers’ Lives Easier (and 3 Things Writers Should Do Regardless)
1. Set up an auto-responder email letting writers know that their query letter was received. By doing this, agents will cut down on the number of repeat queries they receive from writers unsure if their e-mail went through correctly. For those agents whose policy it is to only respond if interested, writers won’t wonder if their queries were received in the first place or send a follow-up e-mail just in case. Read more
1. Don’t write more than 3 hours at a time. I write three hours in the morning, 9am – 12pm. Other people are best late at night. I try to go to the same place when I write, but that doesn’t matter much. I’ve done lots of writing on planes and in cars, hotels. The important thing is to write when your brain is at its best. Work edits or do outside reading with the rest of the day. Don’t worry about a daily word quota. Stephen King has said he likes to get 2000 words each day. That’s a mistake for most people. Good for discipline but bad for a well written novel. Three hours of creating is taxing on any brain and you should stop there. Some days you may stop without any words at all. It’s much easier to write new stuff the next day than to go through painful deletions of a day’s worth of crap you already wrote. Read more
For this week’s prompt, write a descending poem. You know the old saying, “Everything that ascends must descend.” Okay, maybe it goes a little different than that. Anyway, there’s a lot of … Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Emily Jeanne Miller, author of BRAND NEW HUMAN BEING (June 2012). These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings.
GIVEAWAY: Emily 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: seichenblatt won.) Read more
With the newsstand release of every new edition of Writer’s Digest magazine, I typically share a few of the best tips relating to the issue’s cover theme here. But in compiling our … Read more
Even before Quentin Tarantino proclaimed in his Academy Award acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay (Django Unchained) that this would “be the writers’ year,” it was impossible not to notice all the … Read more
I’m not considering this a true New Agent Alert because agent Jody Klein (of Brandt and Hochman Literary Agents, Inc.) is not brand new. That said, this post resembles an Alert in that Jody did tell me recently how she is actively looking to build her client list right now — and that is something writers should be happy to know. All details below for those interested in querying her!
She is seeking: Jody is actively acquiring literary and commercial fiction, crime/suspense, historical fiction, graphic novels/memoirs, and magical realism, as well as narrative nonfiction (especially related to sports, science, or history), and prescriptive nonfiction. Read more
I recently returned from the 2013 San Francisco Writers Conference. The event was, as always, very awesome. It’s a conference co-sponsored by WD and the folks out west who organize it (Larsen Pomada Literary Agents and their comrades) do an excellent job with it. The event happens every President’s Day weekend at the Mark Hopkins International in Nob Hill, SF. It’s definitely worth a look for your years to come. At one point, there were a whole bunch of agents on a panel and 4 agents in a row that said they signed clients who came to them at past years of the event. (Confession: I met MY agent at this event! Crazy!) Read more
This installment features Sara D’Emic of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC. The Emerson College grad has been an editorial/PR intern for Last Light Studio and an editorial intern for Hanging Loose Press, and she’s excited to be extending her client base. She also Tweets.
She is seeking: In fiction, she accepts adult and YA fantasy, sci-fi, horror, mystery, and mainstream fiction. She is also interested in nonfiction science and technology. Read more