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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

Poetic Asides
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

2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 2


The April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge is designed to help poets do one thing and one thing only: Write more poems! The process of revision may go on for weeks, months, and years … Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by You Byun


3. Please yourself as a reader. I have the highest standard and expectation as a reader, like you do. When I walk into a bookstore, I want to be surprised to find a new picture book that will astonish me. I want to fall in love. I want to feel jealous because I didn’t come up with it first. I want to be surprised by a book because of its artwork or its touching story or the playfulness of the book. When I loved a book I have to own it. There is something magical in those special books which make me buy them…

GIVEAWAY: Y.B. 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: Sylliu won.) Read more

2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 1


The April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge is designed to help poets do one thing and one thing only: Write more poems! The process of revision may go on for weeks, months, and years … Read more

New Agent Alert: David Haviland of the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency.


About David: David Haviland is the fiction agent for the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency in London. As well as being a literary agent, he is an experienced writer, ghost writer, and editor who has written bestselling books for major publishers including Harper Collins, Penguin, Piatkus and Little, Brown. His recent books include ‘How to Remove a Brain’, an amusing history of medical science, and a collection of myth-busting stories from history called ‘The Not-So-Nude Ride of Lady Godiva’. David lives in London, and his favourite writers include Robert B.Parker, David Mamet, Magnus Mills, Denise Mina and Michael Lewis. He seeks writers in the US and the UK.

He is seeking: all genres of fiction, but I’m particularly interested in crime, thrillers, and historical fiction. Read more

Agent Regina Brooks Teaches “Writing Great Books for Young Adults” — April 4 Webinar With Critique


Young adult fiction is a vibrant and growing section of the book writing world. YA is the genre that has the most breakout writers every month, allowing new voices to reach the marketplace all the time. But with more opportunity comes more competition — and agents & editors see tons of submissions each month that get rejected because they don’t stand out. That’s why we have literary agent Regina Brooks teaching the webinar, “Writing Great Books for Young Adults” at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, April 4, 2013. It lasts 90 minutes. Read more

Agent Advice: Kristina Holmes of The Holmes Agency


This installment features Kristina Holmes of The Holmes Agency. She began her literary career at Ebeling & Associates, and after six years left to start her own venture. Fueled by a passion to bring meaningful books to the world, on January 2012, her agency was born. From her home base in Boulder, Colorado, she`s been positively impacting authors ever since.

She is seeking: practical and literary nonfiction: health & wellness, business, spirituality, relationships, sex, nature, environmental issues, science, cookbooks, gift books, creative nonfiction and memoir. Read more

The 9 Ingredients of Character Development


1. Communication style: How does your character talk? Does she favor certain words or phrases that make her distinct and interesting? What about the sound of her voice? Much of our personality comes through our speech, so think about the way your character is going to talk. Her style of communication should be distinctive and unique.

GIVEAWAY: Tom 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: KarenLange won.) Read more

Debut Author Interview: Wendy Welch, Author of the Memoir THE LITTLE BOOKSTORE OF BIG STONE GAP


I love featuring interviews with first-time book writers on my blog. It’s a rare treat that I get to sit down and talk with a debut memoir writer, but that’s just what’s happening today. Meet author Wendy Welch, who wrote the inspiring and fun book, THE LITTLE BOOKSTORE OF BIG STONE GAP (Oct. 2012, St. Martins). The book has been featured by People. Redbook, NPR, and many other media outlets.

Wendy’s story is billed as “the little Virginia bookstore that could: how two people, two cats, two dogs, and thirty-eight thousand books helped a small town find its heart. It is a story about people and books, and how together they create community.” Publishers Weekly said “The whole narrative exudes enormous charm and the value of dreams and lives truly lived,” while Kirkus called it “An entertaining book with a full cast of eccentric characters.” Read more

Why You Need a Literary Agent: Novelist Bernadette Pajer Interviews Her Agent, Jill Grosjean


Emerging writers often ask me if literary agents are necessary in today’s publishing world. I say, emphatically, yes! Why? Because after the current turbulent evolution of publishing stabilizes, traditional publishers will continue to exist and play a vital role in the production of books. And why do I believe that? Because most writers want to write. Just write. We know we must help market our books, and that is time-consuming enough, but most of us don’t truly want to do the job of a dozen industry professionals. Read more

On a Positive Note: 5 Ways To Get Good Revision Notes From Others


2. Careful Who You Ask. Just because you want to seek other readers of all shapes and sizes, that does not mean that you should ask just anyone to give you feedback. It’s really important to rely on people whose opinions you trust (seems obvious, but it’s easy to make the error) and who don’t have baggage about you or writing in general. Complicated relationships can be just fine in life, but they’re not a good basis for exchanging notes. Make sure you rely on friends or fellow writers from whom you can comfortably take criticism and not “frenemies” or critical family members. Read more

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 216

So this is the last Wednesday Poetry Prompt until May. That’s right, we’ve got a poem-a-day challenge starting up on Monday (April 1). Get plenty of sleep this weekend, because it’s non-stop … Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Jeanne Ryan


1. Learning to write synopses well is a golden skill. You’re probably aware that if you can master these little guys, you’ll have a leg up on selling manuscripts on proposal, competing in writing contests and applying for grants. But did you know they can also play a big role in selling subsidiary rights? Foreign publishers often send manuscripts to translators for a reading report before they’ll decide on a purchase. Translations cost money, which means it’s more economical for interested publishers to work off of a synopsis first. Need more motivation? Movie agents don’t have time to read every book that crosses their desk. So a well-written synopsis can be the bait they need to lure them into placing your book at the top of their TBR pile. Next time someone claims that synopsis-writing is Satan’s pet torture device, keep in mind they’re really golden keys to some divine opportunities. Read more

Agents Barbara Poelle and Holly Root Cover It All With Their “How to Write a Successful Novel: The Craft, Techniques, and Strategies” Webinar on March 28


If you don’t know who Barbara Poelle and Holly Root are, I’ll tell you. They are both awesome literary agents who both sell a lot of books and also are extremely good at teaching writers how to improve their work. Basically, they’re super-cool and super-smart. And now, somehow, the planets have aligned and they are teaching an intensive new webinar together while offering critiques for all registrants.

The cover-all 90-minute webinar is called “How to Write a Successful Novel: The Craft, Techniques, and Strategies,” and it happens at 1 p.m., Thursday, March 28, 2013. Every registrant will get feedback from the agents on their query letter and first page. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Alyssa Reuben and “Hidden Cities” (Memoir / Travel)


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

Creating Emotional Frustration in Your Characters

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint

Using emotion to create strong, emotional characters and move a plot is critical for any writer in any type of genre. Knowing what kind of emotion to use and how to use it … Read more

Agent William Callahan of Waxman Leavell Literary Seeks New Clients


This is not technically a New Agent Alert because William is actually an established rep in the business. That said, this post will resemble such an agent spotlight because William wants writers alerted that he is actively building his client list right now. Such a call-out from an established agent happens rarely, so learn more about William Callihan of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency and see if he is a good fit for your book.

He is seeking: “I am currently most interested in narrative nonfiction and memoir, comedy and pop culture, American history, crime and commercial thrillers, and literary fiction.” Read more

Picture Books Are Not Just for Children: 10 Reasons Why


2. Picture book language is often more sophisticated than the first chapter books that children read, and therefore an excellent way for children to learn language. It is here that children, and others, can learn vocabulary, imagery, rhythm, shape, structure, conciseness, emotional power.

3. The picture book is the most flexible of all literary formats. You can do almost anything in a picture book. This flexibility encourages creativity, in both writer and reader. It broadens the mind, and the imagination. And given today’s challenges, we desperately need more creativity, broadened minds and imagination. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Sandi Tan, Author of the Literary Horror Novel, THE BLACK ISLE


This edition of our Debut Author Interviews is with the very successful 2012 first-time novelist, Sandi Tan, who penned the acclaimed ghost story, THE BLACK ISLE (August 2012, Grand Central). The Library Journal and the Philadelphia Inquirer both called the book “beautifully written,” while Publishers Weekly chose it as a “pick of the week.”

Author Sandi Tan was born in Singapore and has an MFA in screenwriting from Columbia University. Her short films have been shown around the world at venues such as the New York Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand, MoMA, and on European television. She lives in Pasadena, California, with her husband, the critic John Powers, and their bossy Siamese, Nico. THE BLACK ISLE is her debut novel. Read more

Kim Kavin: Read an Interview With the Author of the Acclaimed MY BOY BLUE


This interview is with Kim Kavin, award-winning writer, editor, and photographer whose work is widely published in magazines, in books, and online. In April 2013, she will celebrate 10 years of earning a living as a full-time, freelance journalist. LITTLE BOY BLUE (Barrons, Sept. 2012), a true story about a dog named Blue who was rescued from a gas-chamber shelter in North Carolina and transported hundreds of miles to be adopted. This is Kim’s ninth book and her first hardcover. It’s also her first book about dogs, a topic she hopes to write about for many years to come. Read more

Story Problems? Maybe You Need a Good Piece of Device


Find your device early in your planning or drafting process. Laura Whitcomb included devices in a book about first drafts for a reason. In The Anatomy of Story, John Truby puts the device fourth in a twenty-two step process. He uses the term “designing principle,” and while we can debate whether he means a precise synonym for “device,” it’s clear from the word “designing” and from its early appearance in the process that this element should be groundwork for your story.

Remember Aaron Sorkin: Once he had his “recent past” device, he undoubtedly knew his next step was to choose the time period. That decided, he had a wealth of material where he previously had a gaping hole. A strong device guides you, first draft to last. Read more

Agent Advice: Brooks Sherman of FinePrint Literary Management


This installment features Brooks Sherman of FinePrint Literary Management. After a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in bucolic West Africa and a one-year stint in the savage jungles of Hollywood, he is thrilled to be living once more in Brooklyn. As befitting his chosen career in publishing, he subsists on a diet of breadcrumbs and bourbon.

He is seeking: Adult fiction that runs the gamut from literary and upmarket to speculative (particularly urban/contemporary fantasy rooted in realistic settings, horror/dark fantasy, and magical realism), as well as historical fiction and crime fiction. On the children’s side, he is seeking middle grade novels of all genres (but particularly fantasy adventure and contemporary), and is open to YA fiction of all types except paranormal romance. He would especially love to get his hands on a dark and/or funny contemporary YA project Read more

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 215


Please check out the latest WD Poetic Form Challenge. The current form is the rispetto. For this week’s prompt, write a walking poem. The poem can incorporate any type of walk or … Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Chandler Klang Smith


This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers (this installment written by Chandler Klang Smith, author of GOLDENLAND PAST DARK) 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: Chandler 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: CheffoJeffo won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Julie Kibler


“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Julie Kibler, author of the literary fiction debut novel, CALLING ME HOME (2013). 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: Julie 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: alshultz won.) Read more

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Rispetto


Before we get into the full onslaught of the April PAD Challenge, let’s complete one more WD Poetic Form Challenge. This time, we’ll be writing the rispetto. There are two versions of … Read more

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