A WD Editor's Agent Notes from NYC

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Writer's Digest magazine editor Maria Schneider was recently up in New York City accompanying the grand-prize winners of the WD Annual Writing Competition. The big winners get a trip to Manhattan to meet with several agents, who they can schmooze with and pitch. How cool is that?

Maria came back with some notes (in no particular order). They are worthwhile to check out, so here are the best ones:

• The term “book club novel” is hot; consider using in lieu of “literary” fiction; “crossover appeal” is another good catchphrase. 
• Know what the core conflict/turning point of your story is. 
• It takes a long time and a lot of effort to find the right agent because you want to find an agent who shares your vision for your writing career. This is one of the most important relationships of your life. 
 • Many newer/younger agents are coming into the field with strong editing background and expect to do a lot of editing. (Chuck's note: This is, naturally, good news, but you cannot expect this. Assuming an agent will help you edit is a big no-no. If they do step in, simply be grateful.)
• Get some publishing credits however you can before you pitch a novel; this sends a signal to everyone that you are a publishable writer.

Ah. New York. I took this
photo at BookExpo America in 2007.

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