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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.
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Erin Knightley, author of A TASTE FOR SCANDAL. 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: Erin 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: Rachel29m won.) Read more
The 2013 Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC was this past weekend, April 5-7, 2013, and everything was a blast. The sessions were well received, the attendees were nice, the big pitch slam was smooth, and everyone seemed to have a good time.
Here are some pictures from the event to check out. I assume we will be having our event in April again in 2014. Join us! Or if you can’t wait that long, we will be having a west coast conference, Sept. 27-29, 2013 in Hollywood. Read more
1. Write down every book idea you have as soon as you have it. Otherwise, you’ll forget what might have resulted in your (first) Caldecott, Newbery, or National Book Award. Keep a pencil and paper nearby – in your purse, your briefcase, your car. Transfer your ideas to a “book idea” folder in your computer or journal. Then when you’re searching for your next book topic, you’ll have many choices at hand.
GIVEAWAY: Susan 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: missnelso04 won.) Read more
MacKenzie is seeking: In her own words, “I am actively seeking to build her client list and is particularly interested in women’s fiction. I accept queries from new and emerging writers. What I look for in every genre is a good story, well told.” It sounds like she generally accepts literary fiction, women’s fiction and commercial/genre fiction. Looking through her client list, I can see that she reps multiple romance writers, a mystery writer, and an adventure writer.” Read more
… I did this one other thing on the third floor. I’d always make a detour to the spot where Close Is Fine would go if it ever found publication, which in this case was right between John Treherne’s The Walk to Acorn Bridge and Hans-Ulrich Treichel’s Leaving Sardinia. When I got there, I’d reach up and wedge my hand in and make an opening. I’d step back and let my eyes go a little crossed, and I’d force myself to see it: the title running down the spine, with the Cutter, the label on which the call letters were printed, at the bottom.
GIVEAWAY: Eliot is excited to give away a free copy of his collection 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: Jarika won.) Read more
Every story needs a great plot. A lot’s been said about the subject — from advice on composing a great ending to having a three-act structure framework. But there’s more to plot and structure — a lot more. So the good news is that we have writer & editor A. Victoria Mixon teaching a brand new live webinar called “3 Secrets of the Greats: Structure Your Story for Ultimate Reader Addiction.” It happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, April 11, and lasts 90 minutes.
In this brand new live webinar, independent editor A. Victoria Mixon teaches the missing three pieces to the puzzle of storytelling structure. You can learn to take your reader on that fabulous rollercoaster ride they crave, creating Ultimate Reader Addiction to your stories, every single time. Read more
1. Do the math. Before you undertake the final throes of a deadline, you should map out how much time you have and how much writing you have to do. It’s a terrible SAT math question: if a novelist only has so much time to write x-amount of words, how long before it feels as though those two trains are coming straight at him/her? (show your work). Read more
I wrote Anne Rice an email. She wrote me back fifteen minutes later. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was, a stranger, and she immediately wrote me a kind, friendly note. Having a positive relationship with your readers pays off. Readers are more likely to buy your book if they feel a personal connection to you. They’re more likely to mention your book to their friends, because they want to brag about how they interacted with the author. I’ve had readers introduce me to reporters, set up book signings and get me speaking engagements. Here are 4 simple points to help build healthy relationships with your readers… Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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