Friday Favorite: Literary Agent Databases

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So how the heck do you find an agent anyway? It can be daunting to figure out, among all the hundreds (thousands?) of agents out there, who would be a good fit for your book. One way to do this is to look at books you’ve enjoyed, and see if the agent is listed in the acknowledgments in the back of the book. But for many, that might not be the best way to get to know who’s acquiring what types of manuscripts now. Similarly, print books go out of date so quickly, they are useful only in the broadest …

Joining the Pitch Party

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Today we’ll continue on with the idea of pitching your project on Twitter. In an era when it can take weeks or months to hear back from agents or editors you’ve queried, Twitter pitch parties are an excellent way to reach publishing professionals who have an interest in the type of work you write, and get instant feedback on whether they’d like a full query from you. Important: make sure your project is done! It must be as polished as you can make it, so if an agent or editor favorites your pitch, you can send them what they are …

Try This: Never Give Up

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I got an email recently from a fellow MFA grad who was ecstatic that she finally got an agent after sending out over 300 queries over the past three years. No, that’s not an extra zero. It’s easy to be tempted to give up after ten, twenty, thirty… or 100 rejections. It’s discouraging. Depressing. Why am I doing this? Am I really good enough? Am I just fooling myself? Maybe I should just self-publish… (and maybe you should, but there are pros and cons to that). I’ve been there myself, trust me. I’ve been fortunate never to get any really …

Friday Favorites: Noah Lukeman

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Since we’ve been talking about pitching and beginnings this week, I want to point out a few books by the inestimable Noah Lukeman. He’s a literary agent, and his books are the next best thing to sitting in a room with an agent giving you the scoop. First, How to Write a Great Query Letter. Just what it says. And it’s free! Another freebie: How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent. For those struggling with the opening of their novel: The First Five Pages will help you figure out exactly what to do to start your story off right. …

Finding Your Perfect Pitch

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“Wow, I think that’s the best, most concise pitch I’ve ever heard,” one of the faculty said to me at the recent Big Sur on Cape Cod Writer’s Workshop. I was pleased because I’d worked hard on it. A little less pleased when I realized it probably would no longer work for the story given the revisions I have in mind after the workshop! But that’s okay. Your “elevator pitch” or “logline” – basically, a one-sentence summary of your project – is not just important when you’re talking with editors and agents. It’s also an incredibly useful tool to help …

Big Sur on Cape Cod Workshop Review

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No post yesterday since I’m still trying to absorb the experience of the Big Sur on Cape Cod Children’s Writer’s Workshop I attended this weekend. For those who don’t know it, it’s sponsored by the Andrea Brown literary agency, and takes place a couple times per year, usually in Big Sur, CA (hence the name). This was the first time on the East Coast, so I couldn’t resist. The workshop is unique in that the faculty is a mixture of published authors, editors, and agents from the Andrea Brown agency. Each participant has two faculty over the course of the …

Don’t Panic

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These words, famously, were written on the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, from the novel by Douglas Adams, but they are equally applicable to someone about to attend a writer’s conference. This week, I’m frantically trying to prepare for the Big Sur on Cape Cod Writer’s Conference, sponsored by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. This is very different from the Grub Street Muse & the Marketplace conference I attended a couple weeks ago. BSCC includes intensive workshops with faculty (authors, agents, editors), pitch time, revision time, panels… so it’s more of a “writing” conference than an “inspirational” …

Try This: Voice Workshop

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I’ve been following Brenda Drake’s blog, which recently has featured Voice Workshops with Pitch Wars mentors. If you’re unfamiliar with her, she runs the #pitchmad Twitter pitch contests and Pitch Wars, where agents and editors mentor promising writers. If you haven’t checked out her site, I highly recommend it: The Voice workshops (currently the most recent entries on her blog) are professional critiques of writers’ first pages, and are very instructive of what an agent or editor looks for. Read the series, and then look at the first page of your own manuscript. What do you see that could …

Friday Favorite: Writer’s Conferences Roundup

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I’d like to conclude our theme of Writer’s Conferences by providing some places to hunt for the conference of your dreams. Of course, if you write for a specific genre, you will want to attend one specific to that genre, such as: Yes, it’s a bewildering array or possibilities. That’s why it pays to do your research, to plan ahead, and to get organized so you get the most out of any conference you choose. What conferences are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

Getting the Most Out of a Writer’s Conference

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Now that you’ve found the right conference for you, how do you maximize your time there? Part of it is your preparation. Read all available information on the schedule, and the presenters, especially, of course, ones you might be pitching to. Plan ahead so you know the sessions you especially want to attend. Know your priorities, and mark them so you don’t miss them. There may be some blocks with multiple sessions you’d like to go to, and others that don’t have anything that seems to jump out at you. At many conferences, it’s okay to go to more than …