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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.

6 Tips On Writing Plays For Kids

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1) Be realistic.Your script probably won’t be performed on Broadway or turned into a blockbuster movie. Avoid special effects, amazing stunts, or anything else that can’t be accomplished by ordinary kids. Keep costumes, sets, and props to a minimum. Writing in the readers theatre format is one of the best ways to create a play that’s simple to stage but exciting in content. For information about readers theatre along with a sample play click here.

GIVEAWAY: Diana has written several books of kids’ plays, and is happy to give a book to a random commenter. Just comment on this post within 2 weeks and a winner will be chosen at random. Winners must live within the US/Canada to win. The winner can choose whichever of Diana’s books they like. UPDATE: Read2BeFree won.) Read more

6 Tips To Resuscitate a Dying Author Blog

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Maintaining an author blog is no cakewalk. So if your author blog is slumping, pat yourself on the back. At least you have a spine to slump! If you started your blog because you wanted to impress literary agents and editors with your ability to mobilize audiences, then you want your posts to show lively discussions. You never know who is lurking. But even the freshest blogs can go stale. As a novelist who—for better or worse—started blogging when my first novel came out back in 2009, my blog has seen ups and downs of roller coast proportions. Here are 6 quick tips for boosting buzz when your audience seems like its fizzling.

GIVEAWAY: Lisa is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Sandra Beckwith won.) Read more

Amazing Giveaway: A Free Pass to the 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference (Feb. 16-19, 2012) Worth $745

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This is amazing news. Writer’s Digest has 1 free pass to giveaway to a random commenter for a full registration pass at the 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference (Feb. 16-19, 2012). (Wow!!) Make sure you read this entire post to see all the details of the giveaway, as there are some things you need to do to formally enter. To enter, you will need to comment on this post, and spread the news a bit via social media. (Update: Joan Swan won the pass. Congrats to Joan! Joan will be guest blogging about her travels here on my GLA Blog following the event.) Read more

Literary Agent Spotlight: Carlie Webber of CK Webber Associates


About Carlie: Carlie Webber refused to major in English in college because no one would let her read Stephen King or R.L. Stine for class. She took her love of young adult and genre fiction to the University of Pittsburgh, where she obtained a Master of Library and Information Science, and worked as a YA librarian and reviewer for publications including Kirkus Reviews.

She is seeking: young adult (any and all genres), horror, mystery, thriller, suspense, contemporary romance, humor, literary fiction, women’s fiction. “More specific examples from my submissions wishlist: anything set in the grunge era; GLBTQ for YA; high-concept YA; genre mashups, like paranormal romantic suspense. Read more

Point of View Shifts in Writing: Proceed with Caution

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“Which character tells the story?” That’s a crucial character-question writers must ask themselves in the planning stages of any novel. It’s usually followed by: “Should the story come from one character’s point of view, or more than one?” A tricky question, because incorporating multiple points-of-view can be a bit like juggling plates. Each character is tossed into the air for a brief time, highlighted, then another one takes its place. When handled well, this technique can be extremely effective, fluid. When handled poorly, it can end in disaster (plates crashing to the ground). Read more

Agent Kathleen Ortiz Teaches How to Write a Great Query on Aug. 2, 2012 (Includes Query Critique!)


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

New Literary Agent Alert: Erin Harris of Folio Literary

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About Erin: Erin Harris is an agent at the Irene Skolnick Literary Agency. A graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at The New School, Erin received her B.A. in English from Trinity College (Hartford, CT), where she was Presidential Fellow of the English Department and inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

She is seeking: literary novels with compelling plots and international settings; literary thrillers and mysteries (She’d love to find the next Tana French!); noirs (especially starring headstrong female protagonists); and YA and middle grade novels that transport her to magical places. Read more

Conference Spotlight: 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference (Feb. 18, 2012)


One of the largest writing conferences on the west coast is approaching quickly: the 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference, happening Feb. 16-19, 2012 (President’s Day weekend). This event typically sells out every year and attracts more than 20 agents, to say nothing of the large amount of authors and editors who are also part of the program. Keep reading to learn more. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Robin Mellom


“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the GLA Blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

Robin Mellom is the author of DITCHED: A LOVE STORY, a young adult novel released in Jan. 2012 by Disney/Hyperion.

GIVEAWAY: Robin is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; 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: Grammarian won.) Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency

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“Agent Advice” is a series of quick interviews with literary and script agents who talk with Guide to Literary Agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else. This installment features Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency. Nicole is a member of AAR, ACFW, RWA, and Mensa. She holds degrees in biology, psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. She also Tweets.

She is seeking: romance, mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, young adult, inspirational, science fiction/fantasy, and action/adventure. Read more

The 2012 Writer’s Digest Conference — a Recap


I just got back from our writers conference in New York, and, as expected, it was extremely busy yet extremely great. It was our second year hosting it in Manhattan, and, besides a snowstorm that hit on Saturday, everything went very smoothly — including the gigantic Agent Pitch Slam, which is my big focus in terms of planning. (If you couldn’t make the conference this year, stayed tuned to the conference website. I expect we will be back in mid to late January 2013 for more awesomeness.) Read more

Conference Spotlight: The Business of Pet Writing Conference (Feb. 11, 2012 in New York)

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Pet writing enthusiasts will gather at The Business of Pet Writing Conference in the Hotel Pennsylvania’s Penn Top Ballroom, and rub elbows with the premiere people in the publishing, social media, pet and related industries. This year, the pet writing conference offers seminars and workshops that help pet writers learn: to report breaking pet news; to create compelling video; to work as a pet travel writer; to pitch pet websites; to create eBooks; as well as to use Facebook and Twitter and Linked strategically as a writer. Read more

New Agent Alert: Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency

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Carrie is seeking: In the fiction arena, she is looking for literary fiction, historical fiction, and mature YA. She would love to see a thriller/mystery about Elizabeth Bathory, otherwise known as “Lady Dracula,” or a novel about a young teacher at a private high school who finds herself attracted to one of her students. She is not currently interested in romance, science fiction/fantasy, or picture books. For more information, or to learn about her nonfiction interests, please keep reading. Read more

10 Tips on Guest Blogging and Blog Tours


Hosting guests and author tours on your own blog is a way to attract more readers to your site as well as introduce your guests to a new audience. As a blogger and author, you also have an opportunity to make special appearances from time to time, or to schedule a virtual tour for a new book release. When I was promoting my second mystery, I did a few guest appearances for more experienced bloggers. In mid-2010, after I’d mastered the basics of Blogger, I began inviting authors to write for my blog . These are a few of the things I’ve learned.

GIVEAWAY: Patricia is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within one week; 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: Petrea won.) Read more

Q&A Spotlight: Greg Koch, Author of “The Craft of Stone Brewing Company”


Keep reading to find a Q&A with Greg Koch, co-author of the book THE CRAFT OF STONE BREWING CO.: LIQUID LORE, EPIC RECIPES AND UNABASHED ARROGANCE (Fall 2011, Ten Speed Press). “Since its inception in 1996, Stone Brewing Co. has been the fastest growing brewery in the country—Beer lovers gravitate to its unique line-up which includes favorites such as Stone IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale. This insider’s guide focuses on the history of Stone Brewing Co., and shares homebrew recipes for many of its celebrated beers.”

GIVEAWAY: Greg is excited to give away a free copy of his book 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: JRocHoll won.) Read more

Agent John Cusick Teaches “Writing and Selling Sci-Fi & Fantasy for Kids and Teens” — New Webinar on Aug. 9, 2012


Fantasy, dystopian and science fiction are very hot genres right now in the teen lit market. With the success of series like Harry Potter (fantasy), Twilight (urban fantasy) and The Hunger Games (dystopian), it’s easy to see why. Because so many writers are trying their hands at these hot categories, we’ve enlisted writing pro John Cusick — who is both a literary agent and published kidlit novelist himself — to teach “Writing and Selling Sci-Fi & Fantasy for Kids and Teens,” a brand-new webinar on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. All attendees will get a personalized critique of their work. Read more

Agent Mary Kole is Teaching a Picture Book Intensive on Sept. 6, 2012 (Includes Full Critique For Attendees!)


Literary agent Mary Kole has run webinars for us for years, and she is our most in-demand presenter and critique expert. Her webinar on Thursday, September 6, 2012 is called “Picture Book Craft Intensive” (and includes a critique of your book!). Since Mary has sold many picture books (lots of debuts) in the past three years, she knows her stuff. Keep reading to learn more. Read more

7 Best Practices for Building an Online Presence

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- Blog every day or once a week or not at all. Establish the schedule for you and then stick to it.
- Decide what you want it to be about – Writing, querying, kids, family?

Guest column by Daisy Whitney, author of THE MOCKINGBIRDS, an NPR Best Book of 2010 that also got a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Read more

These Writers Found Agents at the Writer’s Digest Conference. You Can, Too!

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I’ll cut right to the chase. The Writer’s Digest Conference is this coming weekend — Jan. 20-22, 2012, in Manhattan. We’ve got more than 60 agents lined up to take pitches at our huge Agent Pitch Slam. If you’re on the fence about attending our event (either for the full 3 days or the one-day option), let me give you four great reasons to attend: testimonials from writers who got agents and book deals through our event. You can get a sense of our recent successes by looking at the images below of the writers and their books. Read more

Literary Agent Mary Kole Teaches a Webinar On How to Get Your Kids Book Published — May 10, 2012 (All Attendees Get a Free Critique)

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Literary agent Mary Kole (Andrea Brown Literary), who runs the KidLit.com blog, is a wise woman when it comes to writing books for kids. Because of her great instruction and the fact that she gives critiques to all attendees, she is our popular WD webinar presenter. That’s why we’ve got her returning to teaching the 90-minute webinar, “Publish Your Children’s, Tween, or Teen Fiction in Today’s Market” at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, May 10, 2012. Read more

Literary Agent Kathleen Ortiz Teaches “Create an Author Website to Sell More Books and Attract Agents & Editors.” New Webinar — June 28, 2012


If you want to be a writer in today’s world, you must have a simple and effective writer website. You need something to come up in searches when people Google you. You need a place where agents and editors can learn more about you and what you’re writing. You need a place to post news and information about yourself so you can connect with other writers and build your platform. A website is this all-important “central hub” for your outreach efforts online. Because having one is so important, WD has enlisted literary agent Kathleen Ortiz to teach a brand new webinar called “Create an Author Website to Sell More Books and Attract Agents & Editors” on Thursday, June 28, 2012. All attendees will also get their website critiqued by Kathleen. Read more

Agent Jim McCarthy Teaches “The 10 Elements of a Saleable Novel Today” — New Webinar With Critique on May 31, 2012

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I’m very excited to announce a brand new webinar with an awesome literary agent at the helm. On Thursday, May 31, 2012, agent Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich will teach the 90-minute webinar, “10 Elements of a Saleable Novel Today” – and every attendee gets a great critique (query letter AND first pages!) from Jim. It’s an excellent opportunity to receive great instruction and get your work in front of the eyes of an awesome agent at the same time. Read more

“How to Market and Promote Your Books Using Facebook and Twitter” — New Webinar by Jane Friedman on Aug. 16, 2012


Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are some of the best options writers have to market themselves and their books. No matter if you’re trying to find a publisher, or your work is self-published/e-published, you need to gain attention for your work to sell books and make yourself a more valuable author. It’s with this in mind that we enlisted eMedia guru Jane Friedman to teach an intensive, all-new webinar on Aug. 16, 2012 called “How to Market and Promote Your Books Using Facebook and Twitter.” Read more

Literary Agent Holly Root Teaches “Writing the Breakout Teen Novel” — New Webinar, June 21, 2012 (With Critique!)


If you’ve never heard literary agent Holly Root speak, you are in for a treat. Holly is a literary agent with The Waxman Agency and frequently presents at writers conferences nationwide. One of her favorite topics to speak on is getting your children’s novel published. That’s why we’re pumped to have her teach the new webinar, “Writing the Breakout Teen Novel,” on June 21, 2012.

The webinar comes with a critique, and that’s an excellent chance to get your work in front of Holly. As an agent, she sells a lot of books. In the last six months, for example, she’s sold Myra McEntire’s third book in the Hourglass series (young adult), the young adult debut RED buy Alison Cherry, a middle grade book called HOW TO BREAK A HEART by Kiera Stewart, a middle grade debut called RATCHET by Nancy Cavanaugh, and even more. Read more

From Good to Great: Agent Michelle Brower Teaches How to Revise & Self-Edit Your Work — New Webinar on Aug. 23, 2012 (With Critique)


“Good writing is rewriting.” This advice, as simple as it seems, is extremely important for writers trying to get published. The fact is: Our early drafts are often not where they need to be, and it takes a careful eye to turn a manuscript from good to great. After all, agents aren’t looking for work that’s “OK” or “pretty good” or “mostly there.” They’re looking for polished, excellent works. And that’s why self-editing and revision is so crucial. To address this important topic, we’ve listed literary agent Michelle Brower, who is with Folio Literary, one of the largest literary agencies out there. Her all-new webinar, “Self-Editing: How to Get Your Manuscript Out of the Drawer and Onto the Shelves,” happens on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012. (And she’s offering attendees individualized critiques.) Read more

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