There is a lot of good content in this newsletter, from new agents seeking writers, to a list of agents' query letter pet peeves, to tips on selling your books via social media. So for that reason, I'll keep this editor's letter short, and tell you the most important thing: I am giving away 3 copies of the 2014 CHILDREN'S WRITER'S & ILLUSTRATOR'S MARKET over on the GLA Blog. All you have to do is pop over and comment for your chance to win. If you're writing or illustrating any kind of book for kids/teens, the book can help you on your journey. (Or maybe you can win it for a friend!) Simply put, the book works, which is why it's been endorsed and praised by people such as Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries), Jay Asher (13 Reasons Why), James Dashner (The Maze Runner ), and more. I hope it can help you, too. Happy 2014, everyone! Until next time, good luck writing, agent hunting, and building your writer platform!
If you want to get a literary agent, one of your greatest tools is a compelling query letter. But as much as composing a great query letter means knowing what to write, it also involves knowing what NOT to write. And that's why I asked 11 literary agents about their personal query letter pet peeves and compiled them into a column for the Writers In the Storm Blog.
Check out the list to learn all about what details to avoid in a query that could sink your submission-such as vague wording, too much personal information, grammatical mistakes, and much more.
2 New Agents Seeking Writers NOW
Click on any name below to see the full mini-profile on the GLA Blog (with submission instructions). Good luck querying!
She is seeking : women's fiction, southern fiction, multicultural literary fiction, upmarket African-American fiction, steam funk, romance (all kinds except category), military and espionage thrillers, historical fiction, nonfiction with a strong platform and academic assessments of popular culture. Additionally, Nikki seeks graphic novels, Manga, YA, MG and children's picture books.
Nikki is especially interested in time travel, reincarnation, mythology, ancient civilizations, magical and animist realism, Japan, American history (especially hidden African-American history, interesting women in history, as well as the antebellum period, and the Civil and Revolutionary wars), the military (all branches, but especially the U.S. Marine Corp, Army and all Special Forces), espionage, martial arts, narrative nonfiction about food and beverage (especially organic food, wine and coffee), travel or expat life, international relations and foreign policy,and prescriptive nonfiction on spirituality, parenting, health and well-being.
She is seeking: Lara is a fan of smart and raw young adult fiction, character-driven middle grade fiction with a totally original, hilarious voice, and so-adorable-she-can't-stand-it picture books, preferably with some age-appropriate emotional heft. She's a sucker for a great mystery and is passionate about stories that teach her new things or open up new worlds. More than anything, she has a soft spot for the wonderfully weird, the idiosyncratic, and the entirely unexpected.
The Art of Revision: Perfecting Your Book For Submission - Jan. 16 Webinar (w/critique) by Agent Michell Brower
All published authors can tell you that their first draft looks nothing like the finished book they sign at bookstores. How do they edit their material to take their work to a professional level? What are agents/editors looking for today in terms of a polished manuscript? Is grammar all that important, or should the story speak for itself? How many revisions should a manuscript go through before it's considered "ready"? What are some principles on cutting down your word count and streamlining your story?
In this popular, intensive webinar, "The Art of Revision: Perfecting Your Book For Submission," literary agent Michelle Brower will answer these questions and more. The event happens at 1 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, and lasts 90 minutes. All attendees will get a personal critique from Michelle. You can submit either a one-page synopsis or the first two double-spaced pages of your novel. (Remember that several agents - including Barbara Poelle, Louise Fury and Kathleen Ortiz - have signed writers after critiquing their work through a WD webinar.)
ABOUT THE CRITIQUE
You are invited to submit the first two double-spaced pages of your novel OR a one page plot summary/synopsis. All submissions are guaranteed a written critique by Michelle Brower within 60 days of receipt. If she deems your submission excellent, Michelle reserves the right to request more writing from you. Instructions on how to submit your work are sent after you officially register. Sign up for the webinar here.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
How to developmentally edit for concept, structure, characters, and more
How to line edit for elegant, powerful sentences
Tips and tricks from authors who have successfully navigated the submission process
How to edit so that your book is most likely to appeal to today's agents and editors
How to find and incorporate feedback from the right readers
Michelle Brower began her career in publishing in 2004 while studying for her Master's degree in English Literature at New York University, and has been hooked ever since. During that time, she assisted the agents Wendy Sherman and Joelle Delbourgo, and found herself in love with the process of discovering new writers and helping existing writers further their careers. After graduating, she became an agent with Wendy Sherman Associates, and there began representing books in many different areas of fiction and nonfiction. In 2009, she joined Folio Literary Management (foliolit.com). She enjoys digging into a manuscript and working with authors to make their project as saleable as it can be, and her list includes the authors S.G. Browne, Rebecca Rasmussen, Jason Mott, and Michele Young-Stone, among many others. Sign up for the webinar here!
6 Authors Explain How to Sell More Books Using Social Media
Increasing your author visibility through different online channels allows you to meet readers, cultivate an audience, and increase your discoverability to sell more books. But finding your ideal social media channels is not the easiest thing to figure out and implement. That's why I've reached out to some experts for advice. I asked six different platform-heavy writers - both nonfiction and fiction - for their best general advice in terms of using social media. Read the entire column online, or see an excerpt below:
Do you have any general advice for writers looking to market themselves and their work via social media, promotion and platform?
"I think you really have to enjoy interacting on social networks or you won't do it well or stay with it. You can't force yourself to do it; you have to find the things you like and do those even if they aren't the most popular. For one person it might be Twitter, for another LinkedIn, for another YouTube, for another podcasting, and another blogging. Also, I think some authors are too afraid to ask people to buy their book. I spend hours (and hours and hours) of my time answering people's questions without compensation, so when I have a new book out, I don't hesitate to post about it. I believe I've earned the right to market my products. On the other extreme, I see a lot of authors jump into Twitter and immediately start doing nothing but push their book. They haven't earned the right to market their products, and all they do is turn people off."
Mignon Fogarty: Creator of Grammar Girl, @GrammarGirl
"I have gotten flack for saying this before, but I am sticking to my guns: do it well or don't do it at all. There are billions of blogs and websites out there. On the Internet, if you build it, they will not automatically come. You have to give people a good reason to spend their precious time on your real estate. Don't blog or tweet or Facebook because you think you have to. Your reluctance will ooze from the screen. Don't engage if you can't keep it consistent, both in terms of timing and in terms of quality.
Mary Kole: Former literary agent and author of Writing Irresistible Kidlit, @kid_lit
Evergreen Guest Content: 16 Helpful Columns for Writers
Between all the columns and guest columns and interviews and such I post each year, a lot can fall through the cracks. That said, let me point you to some helpful evergreen guest posts on the craft and business of writing that I've penned over the past year. These posts will teach you how to write a query, how to write a synopsis, how to start your novel strong, which writers' conferences to attend, and much more. Check them out:
There are plenty of opportunities for writers to meet agents face to face at writers' conferences and pitch their work in 2013. Remember: Meeting agents in person is a great way to get past the slush pile. If an agent is interested in your work and requests a sample or book proposal, you can write "Requested Material" on your submission, making sure it gets a fair read and consideration.
Know that there are two types of conferences. There are general writers' conferences, that address a variety of subjects, and then there are specialized conferences, which usually tend to focus on a single genre-such as western, romance, or mystery. You will find both kinds in this list below.
PennWriters Pittsburgh Area One-Day Event, Feb. 1, 2014, Pittsburgh, PA This is a one-day intensive I will be teaching at. More details and an active webpage available soon. If interested to learn more, the current PennWriters Pittsburgh contact is Candace Banks [firstname.lastname@example.org]���.
San Francisco Writers Conference, Feb. 13-16, 2014, San Francisco, CA Attending agents: Andrea Brown (Andrea Brown Literary); Kimberley Cameron and Elizabeth Kracht (Kimberley Cameron and Associates); Lara Perkins (Andrea Brown Literary); Rita Rosenkranz (Rita Rosenkranz Literary); Katharine Sands (Sarah Jane Freymann Literary); Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman and Associates), and many more. Check the conference page for the full, large list.
SCBWI Winter National Conference, Feb. 21-23, New York City, NY Attending agents: Tons and tons of kid lit agents will be in attendance. This is one of two huge writing events for writers & illustrators of children's books nationwide.
Northern Colorado Writers Conference, March 28-29, 2014, Fort Collins, CO Attending agents: Gordon Warnock (Foreword Literary); Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman & Associates); and Taylor Martindale (Full Circle Literary).
Houston Writers Guild Conference, April 12, Houston, TX Attending agents: Eddie Schneider (Jabberwocky Literary); Pooja Menon (Kimberley Cameron & Associates); and Jennifer Udden (Donald Maass Literary).
Missouri Writers Guild Conference, April 25-27, 2014, St. Louis, MO Attending agents: Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman & Associates); Laura Biagi (Jean V. Naggar Literary); Sorche Fairbank (Fairbank Literary); and Gina Pantettieri (Talcott Notch Literary).
University of Central Arkansas MFA Literary Event, May 3, 2014, Conway / Little Rock, AR This is a one-day teaching intensive I've been asked to do at UCA in Conway, just outside Little Rock. More details and a webpage to come. If interested in learning more, the current contact is Stephanie Vanderslice [email@example.com].
Wyoming Writers Conference, June 6-8, 2014, Sheridan, WY Attending agents: Laura Rennert (Andrea Brown Literary); and Jessica Sinsheimer (Sarah Jane Freymann Literary). I will also be in attendance teaching.
Southeastern Writers Conference, St. Simon's Island, GA, June 13-18, 2014 Attending agents: Carlie Webber (CK Webber Associates). I will also be in attendance teaching sessions. The webpage looks good, but there will not be a formal "register" button until January 2014, I'm told, so interested parties should feel free to email coordinator Lee Clevenger [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Texas Writers Retreat, August 2014, outside Houston, TX Attending agents: Elizabeth Kracht (Kimberley Cameron & Associates). This is an exclusive 5-night writing retreat outside Houston that I've been asked to speak at. Exact dates and website to be finalized soon, but I'm told it will be a highly intimate event with an established agent and I teaching, doing critiques for writers, one-on-one consultations, excursions, many writing sessions, and more. It's an all-inclusive event (food, drinks, room & board) with a very limited number of attendees -- anywhere from 7 to 15, depending on space and instructor availability. Interested persons can contact co-organizer Paul Cuclis [email@example.com]. More details to come soon; keep checking this section of the newsletter.
Writer's Digest Conference East, Aug 1-3, 2014, New York City, NY The annual Writer's Digest east coast event is on for New York City in 2014!. The website is being built now, and we will have 50+ agents taking pitches at our gigantic and famous Pitch Slam Event. More news to come!