Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Few Interesting Tidbits...

Over at Bookends, in a recent post entitled Perfecting Your Pitch, one of the agents, Jessica, has decided in a moment of total insanity to be gracious enough to review your query letters. Miss Snark used to do this once or twice a year, and I think it drove her to drink and almost kill Grandma Snark. I wonder if poor Jessica is aware of the Pandora's Box she just opened! Here is a quote from the above post.
To participate, here's what you need to do. Submit through the comments section your pitch—that one sentence or one paragraph in your query letter that you're using to grab an agent's attention. I'm going to randomly pick and choose and critique as many as I can. As I critique the pitches I’ll post them on the site for all to read and make comments on.

So, brave readers, here’s your chance. A free critique from me. Post them in the comments section and I’ll start my critique as soon as the first one is up (note that the critiques will be posted in future blog posts).
So if your query letters suck as bad mine do, and if you have no clue how to pitch your entire book in five words to three sentences, then by all means go for it. I simply do not have that much courage!

Depressed with writing? Had it? Enough is enough? You have been shopping and editing a manuscript for years and years and all you have to show is a pile or rejection letters? I strongly suggest you read this post, over at Dystel & Goderich, entitled "Stacey Glick on why, "Sometimes it Pays to Not Give Up". This agent submitted the manuscript over a period of "several years" to publishers Fifty-Four times (yes you read that number right - 54!) until she got a yes! But wait! When the book was released in its soft cover edition after the original hard cover printing it was picked up by Target Book Club and has sold over 100,000 copies! Go take a look at the full post, it will give you hope and put wind back into your sails and give those dreams something good and positive to feed on.

Some normative rules if you are going to contact an agent:
  1. If an agent says contact by snail mail, do not contact by email, and if they say only email queries do not send a snail mail query.
  2. Do not send in your query more than once. It will sometimes take days to weeks to get an answer. Be patient. (Yeah, Right!)
  3. If an agent says "No" the answer is "No". Pleading, begging, crying or getting nasty because you know you have the next great Novel on your hands is not going to help. Move on.
  4. Get their names right and spelled right. (Yes, I have made that mistake a few times, and of course I noticed it after the email was sent out.)
  5. Short and Sweet. Less Is Better.

Most dedicated authors who have done their homework know about the following three Internet web sites, however, I have found in conversations that many do not.
  1. Agent Query is free, to the point, and certainly deserves the title as one of the best web sites for writers. Looking for an agent? Plug in relevant search times about your manuscript, genre, type, etc. and you will find a listing of agents and information on how to contact them. Agent Query is a favorite of many of those searching for an agent and actually works for a great deal of people. It is one of those sites that should be on your "must bookmark list" if you are seeking an agent.

  2. Literary Market Place has been around for a while, and certainly years ago was the "Bible" of the publishing industry. LMP as it is known for short, on the web, has both free and paid streams. I still have a dog-eared copy of LMP from years and years ago. What LMP does is list the Who Is Who of the publishing industry, including agents. Names, Job Titles, descriptions etc. Including Agents. And most in the publishing industry are listed in LMP simply because it is one of those time-honored traditional places where your name must appear if you work in publishing or as an agent. (In the 1980's I found my first agent through LMP). If you are considering going the paying route, you can either buy LMP in book form or join the web site as a paying member though the price is steep - $399.00 US annually or $19.95 US weekly. Or you can purchase the Literary Market Place as a book, (2008 edition should be out soon).

  3. Another site which you should know about is Publishers MarketPlace. This can help you find an agent if you are so inclined to do research. Many agents use this site to list their newest sales and some post "rights offerings" for books they represent. If an agent has said "yes" to you, or you are doing research, it is a fairly good place at times, to get a handle on the sales this agent has made recently. To do basic searches it is free. You can join for $20 a month and then list yourself (if you think that will help...but don't bet on it!)

Posted On: Cobwebs Of The Mind

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