QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Suggestions Contest!

The QT blog is off to a rollicking start, thanks to our wonderful readers and some awesome publicity from bloggers and even agents!

And now… we’d like to hear from you in our SUGGESTIONS CONTEST.

Which posts have you found most helpful? What do you want to see in the future? How can we improve? Give us your best advice and we’ll choose our favorite tip for a GRAND PRIZE of a first chapter critique, given by one of the QT Blog authors. So put your best ideas in the comments of this post. Feel free to make more than one suggestion.

The contest will end one week from today, so spread the word!

We’ve had several subscribers contact us to ask if they can link to a specific article or quote it. We are flattered and encourage links. Many of our articles are available for reprint. They can be found at the addresses below:

Five Writing Resolutions You Can Keep

7 Personality Characteristics You Need to Get Published

From Grief to Gold – Turning Bad Memories into Good Writing

Writing the Query Letter – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Succeeding as a Writer: Confidence and Determination

Also, the website Archetype Writing is a great resource for writers.

Thanks for all of your support and kind words. We love to hear from you, so keep the comments, messages and suggestions coming!

Suzette Saxton's idea of a perfect day includes a picnic lunch, laughing children, and her laptop. When she's not writing books for kids, Suzette can be found gardening, doing finish carpentry in her home, or walking in the canyon in which she lives.


selestial-owg said...

More articles about things like synopsis, pitch, and query writing please!

selestial-owg said...

Perhaps some articles about things like pen-names and genre-hopping, which some agents frown upon.


selestial-owg said...

Writing groups - the good, the bad, and the ugly. What makes a writing group effective in your opinion?

Lisa and Laura said...

Hi Suzette!

My favorite posts are when you summarize what's happening in the industry, contests, new agents and etc. I'd also love to see you guys start doing interviews with agents and editors to find out what they're looking for. And I love reading all of the success stories on QT, so any interviews with agented and/or published authors are always fascinating as well.

You guys have been doing a great job so far - keep up the good work!

selestial-owg said...

Okay, last one (unless I think of something else - oh, and the pitch/synopsis articles I found very helpful)...

For me at least, when we are asked to leave samples in the comments, it would be handy to have a sentence of how to improve it (not anything that will take days, but even if posters were told to critique each other honestly, some input is better than no input. A friendly pat on the head, while friendly, doesn't help anyone improve.)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've been impressed with all the articles to date, especially those on writing the query and synposis. Writing the 30 sec and one liner pitch was also perfect. Can't wait to read Elana's article on the high-concept pitch.

Selestial-owg's suggestion on writer's groups is a good one. I'm in a terrific one now, but my last one wasn't so great. Too many writer's miss out on this golden opportunity for a number of reasons. I think an article will help them see the benefits...and help them make the right choice.

ElanaJ said...

These are great suggestions, guys! I have a crit group article coming up... :) Great minds must think alike.

Angela said...

I would love to see regular posting on indusrty rumors--who's looking for what, what agent/editor is known for checking out bloggers who comment on their blog, what trends are in the wind, what genres are hot at the moment, publishers running contests...things like that.

Very valuable to writers to have one place to go that has a pulse on the industry in this manner. :-)

Lin said...

I am very impressed with the recent articles about pitches and queries. These are topics that have been written about many times, but the QT blog team still managed to make it very informative. I hope that in the future there will be articles on topics that are less common but equally important, such as conferences and writing groups and different methods of marketing. I also hope to see some interviews on industry professionals. Keep up the good work!

Feywriter said...

How-to's on e-queries. For example: How do we embed sample pages in the body of an email without ruining the formatting? How much contact info should we include, and where (top or bottom of email)? Inquiring minds want to know.

Lady Glamis said...

Maybe a weekly or bi-weekly post where we ask questions and you're available to answer them the same day? You could assign a topic, like "queries" "agents" or "manuscript format" - whatever you choose. Or leave it open-ended.

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Perhaps have agents guest post or authors who can field questions about writing the best synopsis, query lettes and overall helpful points?

Mary Lindsey said...

I love these suggestions! I've got some conference stuff coming up and Heather's second part to the Synopsis article is scheduled for next week. So, yay! We're on the same page.

Maybe we could open a Rallystorm thread for crits like the ones selestial-owg mentioned. Public crits in the comments might be difficult to manage.

Oh, wait! I'm ineligible for this contest! No more suggestions from me. Just leaving. *wink*

Patrick said...

Uhg. Did you have to use that picture again? I still need to get Heather for that.

Paul West said...

I love the "how to" articles. So, where's the "Novel Synopsis Basics" part 2 we were promised today?

Mary Lindsey said...

Ooo. Ooo. I've got another suggestion:

A "Let's Photoshop Pat's Head" contest! Yeah!

Mary Lindsey said...

Hi Paul. Heather, the author of that series, contracted a bad case of the flu, poor thing, so we're going to post it next week. She'd kill us if we posted the rough draft of part II.


Get well, Heather!

Paul West said...

Ohhh. So sorry to hear Heather is sick. I hope she recovers quickly. I'm looking forward to her next article.

Julie Butcher-Fedynich said...

I would love to see how to write your biography. Two agents I receintly queried asked for a bio.

1st person or third?
humorous or serious?
single spaced or double?



Stina Lindenblatt said...

I like Julie's suggestion about the bio.

Windsong said...

I would love to read more tips on writing a query letter/synopsis.

I'[d also like to learn more about the kinds of questions one should ask when one receives The Call. ;) Also, how to deal gracefully when getting the call in asking for some time to think it over and letting other agents know about the offer.

Thanks for all you do. :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

A double yes on Wingsong's suggestions about THE CALL.

And what do you do about agents who request the first 3 chapters with your query. Do you tell them or not? What would you put in the Subject line so it doesn't get lost in the slush pile.

Suzette Saxton said...

What fantastic suggestions!

Alicia said...

I'd love to see an article that covers self promotion and marketing. For example, which blogs and social networking sites to use -- Blogger, Live Journal, Vox, My Space, Facebook, Twitter? What are the most desirable features of each and which ones would help a writer the most? How important are personal websites during the writing and query stages, if at all?

Being a reclusive sort of writer (and I'm sure there must be more of us out there), I need all the help I can get. Thanks! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'd like more info on the whole multiple submission thing.

I've never mentioned to agents that mine is a multiple submission. And even when they've requested a partial or a full, I haven't disclosed that other agents have also requested paritals or fulls. For all I know, they'll all pass on it so it won't be an issue.

I have a full out that I'm waiting to hear back from soon, and recently sent a partial to my dream agent at Writers House (who I never in a million years expected to request anything...yes, I'm still in shock). It wasn't an exclusive request, so I didn't bother to mention about the full. Should I have? Or do I just wait and see what happens with the agent with the full ms, who might end up rejecting it in the end, anyway.

I'm sure I'm not the only one with this dilemma right now. Please help us with your wisdom and save others the unnecessary stress!

Annie said...

I know this website is called QueryTracker so many here are in the process of writing queries and such, but how about articles about the self-doubt side of writing life? One can't get to the query stage while stuck on the writing.
I would like to know if anyone else out there has been thinking about and trying this writing thing so long that by now they're terrified to really immerse fully in it. I have written quite a few novel drafts but also get stuck on the revision process.
Also, I would be interested to hear how a writer gets confidence for their stories and characters' actions. For example, I just finished A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, in which the characters faced deep problems in their lives and within themselves. Many times the characters had great insights about themselves, or others, or life. So, my question is, how do you as a writer have the confidence to write your story? How do you feel like you’ve lived enough life to write full lives for so many characters?
I hope that makes sense. Sorry, that's a long suggestion!