QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Friday, July 30, 2010

Contest Results and Publishing Pulse 7/30/10

Winners Announced

I'd like to shout out a big thanks to Suzie Townsend of Fineprint Literary for judging Twitter-style pitches in our latest contest. Suzie is amazing to work with and her blog, Confessions of a Wandering Heart, is one you won't want to miss.

Winner: Corinne Duyvis
Prize: Query critique plus ten pages
Winning Entry: As the normal daughter to magical parents, Lillian hates magic. Having to save her dad from a tricky fae contract? Really not helping.

Second Place: Jo Vandewall
Prize: Query critique plus five pages
Winning Entry: A deal with the devil: Rachel agrees to teach newly divorced Mac to date but he decides he wants her and must sabotage all her efforts.

Third Place: Nicola Cleasby
Prize: Query Critique
Winning Entry: All Tara longs for is a normal life, but with a sexy vampire, an undead aunt, and a mad demon in the picture—so far—it’s just not happening.

Honorable Mentions:

Portia Stewart
Entry: A young teacher facing false charges of sexual misconduct seeks safe haven at her aunt's isolated Missouri farm–and finds a stalker waiting.

Erin Manack
Entry: Stephanie has a cheating boyfriend, a slacker brother & a crush on Spencer. Plus a gstring up her ass. Karma’s a bitch.

Erin Kane Spock
Entry: Frances escapes her depression and goes to the court of Queen Elizabeth to find herself and ends up falling in love with her own husband.

Winners, contact me via email (suzettesaxton@querytracker.net) for instructions.

On the Web

Your writing excuses are vitally important! Check out Jane Friedman's post to find out why.

A brand new blog to love! Nancy Coffey Literary has launched Coffey. Tea. And Literary.

Suzie Townsend has a poignant post On Waiting.

Success Stories

Congratulations to all the many writers who use QueryTracker.net to land their agents. You can read two recent success stories by clicking on the links below:

Have a great weekend!

Suzette Saxton writes books for tots, teens, and in-betweens. She is represented by Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Don't Be Spam

As some of you may know, QT is starting up our email newsletter again. (You can subscribe on QT's home page, here.)

Of course, we don't want the newsletter to end up in people's spam and junk folders, so certain steps were taken to prevent that. While doing so, it occurred to me that this anti-spam information could also be helpful to writers sending out e-queries.

As a writer, there are two different situations you'll need to prepare for: When sending queries, you don't want them to end up in the agent's spam folders. And, when receiving replies from agents, you don't want those to disappear into your spam folder. We'll look at both of these situations separately.

When sending queries, you are at the mercy of the agent's spam filter on the receiving end. Even though you don't know how strict their spam settings are, you can still take some precautions to help your chances of staying out of their spam folders.

  • Don't use any commonly spammed words. Hopefully, your query letter does not depend on words like "Viagra," "replica watches," or any of the other typical spam words. Unless you're writing a really weird book, you'll probably avoid this one without even trying. For a complete list of other words to avoid, just browse through your own spam. Unfortunately, you'll find plenty of examples there.

  • Don't use over-sized or color fonts. It's not only a spam giveaway, but it's also very unprofessional in a query letter.

  • Put the word "query" in the email's subject line. Many agents have a special filter set up to accept these emails. Check the agent's query guidelines, often they will specify exactly what should be in the subject line. If they don't specify anything specific, putting "Query for" and then the title of your book is a good bet.

  • Limit the number of links you place in the email. This should also be an easy one to avoid since you shouldn't be sending a lot of links in queries anyway. A single link in your signature line pointing to your website, if applicable, should be the only link you need.

  • Do not attach files unless the agent has specifically requested it.

  • Don't send to an email address alone. In other words, include the agent's name and email address in the "To" field. This can be done by entering something like "Agent Name" (The agent's name in quotes, followed by the email address in angle brackets.) An easier way to do this is to add the agent's name and email address to your address book, then your email program will include the name automatically when you send the query.

By some strange coincidence, these spam-safe rules are very similar to the rules for sending good e-queries, so you should already be following them. If you absolutely have to break one of these rules, don't worry too much. It is unlikely that any of them singly will put your email in jeopardy of becoming spam, but you should avoid combining multiple offenses in the same email. There's no point taking chances with your query letters.

On the other side of the spam are the replies you receive from agents. You certainly don't want them going to your spam folder.

If your email system offers "white listing," then add the agent's email address to your white list. A white list is a list of all email addresses that you trust and are willing to accept messages from. And, just so you know, there is also a thing called a black list. This is where you put the email addresses of people you never want to receive messages from. The terms go back to the old western movies, where the good guys always wore white hats, and the bad guys wore black.

Not all email programs offer white/black lists. If yours does not, then the next best thing is to add the agent's name and email to your address book. Many email programs will use your address book as a sort of white list, with the reasoning being, if they are in your address book, then you must know them and want to receive messages from them.

When it comes to fighting spam, nothing is for certain, but these guidelines should help. Good luck, and happy querying.

-Patrick McDonald

Friday, July 23, 2010

Publishing Pulse 7/23/10

The New QueryTracker News Letter

QT is starting a new monthly email newsletter and the first issue will come out August 1st. It will contain agent information, articles of interest to authors seeking representation, and highlight ways to use QT in your agent search. You can subscribe for free at http://QueryTracker.net/index.php.

Recent QueryTracker Success Stories

Congratulations to our members who signed with agents this week. All the QT success stories can be checked out here.

New Agents Added to the QueryTracker Database

Several new agents and publishers have been added to or updated on the QT Database recently. Check out the box labeled "New and Updated Listings" on the front page of the main QueryTracker.Net site and view their profiles for website links and genres they represent.

Tips, News & Other Interesting Info from Around the 'Net

Literary agent Nathan Bransford blogged about the Top 10 Myths About our E-book Future.

Agent Mary Kole confirmed what I've long suspected about pre-pubbed fiction authors' blogs. She also addressed the sticky topic of leaving your agent.

On Rachelle Gardner's blog, Guest blogger Erin Healy wrote a two part article, "Who is Your Reader?" Links are here: Part 1, Part 2.

Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jim Warner-Rejection Blues: Part 2

Part II: Major Variations

In Part I, we talked about the pains of the Rejection Blues. Maybe you’re contemplating giving up. Maybe you’re angry and thinking about doing something really stupid, like flaming agents and the publishing world on your website. But these are negative responses, the wrong notes on the blues scale. You need to get back on key. Here are some constructive ideas.

• How Did You Get Here? I can tell you, I know it wasn’t easy. But you’re a writer. You wouldn’t do this if you thought it was easy. You put in a lot of
work just to get to the query phase on a project. If you’ve written a novel, you’ve learned the discipline it requires to write regularly, to finish what you’ve started. You’ve had to face up to your weaknesses and turn your strengths into sparkling prose. You’ve done a lot to get this far. Don’t forget that.

• Keep Learning. I completed two novels before I even tried to sell the third. It was a spectacular failure with the agents. I didn’t even try to sell the fourth. The fifth, which I’ve only been shopping around for three months, has netted two requests for a partial and one for a full. All ultimately became rejections. But this fifth novel is already doing better than that the third effort, and I’ve only just started the process. I must have learned something during those past projects. I know I’m improving.

• Keep Writing. If you want to be a commercially viable author, you must admit to yourself that writing is a craft, not an Art. You must practice. I’m a hobby musician, but I don’t play the piano enough. My performance suffers as a result. Writing is just like music. You must practice to learn how to do it well, and you must keep practicing.

• Don’t Think Like an Artist. If you think your work is Art, you’ll have a tendency to think your writing works at too high a level to be the merciless editor you need to be. Don’t do this to yourself. Your work can always be better.

Don’t believe me? Just pick up any book by your favorite writer. They write much better than you do, right? Put on your editing cap and take a close look at their prose. Read backwards if you have to. Are there things you would have changed about their language? Did they use too many of the same words in a passage? Did they use too many commas? Not enough? You’ll find something. And you always will. That author may be better than you, they may always be better than you, but they aren’t perfect either. They work on their craft, just like you must. Don’t become one of those writers that thinks that they have written the perfect book. There’s no such thing, and you’ll destroy your career before it even gets past the fourth measure.

• Use the Blues. I know whenever I get my hopes up on a partial or full, only to get a rejection, the next time I sit down to work I’m hypercritical. Use this heightened editorial eye. Hone your prose with that sense of inadequacy. Not only will it improve whatever you are working on, you’ll regain that sense of lost control. Use a setback as a tool to make your craft better.

• Look at Your Submission Paperwork. You’ve probably had at least a few days since you sent out that particular query. Look at it closely. Was it the best you could do? Are there things you don’t like about it? Did you jump the gun and send something that wasn’t polished?

• Querying Is A Lot Of Work. I seem to have figured something out, because agents are reading my stuff. So let me tell you a little secret: I worked on that awful query letter for more than two weeks. I wrote it, I wrote synopses in three different lengths, and I even wrote a one page summary. While the outlines, synopsis and summary essentially stay the same from agent to agent, that query letter is only a template for what I actually send. Every agent wants different things. When I do my homework on an agent, they usually tell me what they want. And every agent has different clients, different tastes. So I target my query letters. Each time I send one, I spend some time on the query letter again. It changes, grows, evolves. I use any feedback I receive as a lens to magnify any strengths and locate any weaknesses. In one instance, I discovered I used the word ‘case’ three times in a paragraph. I couldn’t believe I missed something that simple, but I had. Even my beloved beta readers (who are pretty good), missed it. But I shouldn’t have. It was a rookie mistake. The latest query letters do not contain it. Interestingly enough, I got a request for a partial with three ‘cases’ in that one paragraph. The agent missed it too, and she’s a good one. But don’t count on luck. That letter should have been better.

A rejection is a chance to go back to that query letter and do it again. And you work on it until you do it right. You are going to make mistakes. Every writer does, even the pros. Each rejection gives you another chance to rectify them.

• Don’t Take It Personally. My last semester of college, I took a writing class. It was taught by Paul Cook at Arizona State, and I soaked it up. The class was part workshop, so we read each others’ work and critiqued it. I’ll admit I’m a pretty hard critic, and I made a couple of people upset. But I wasn’t criticizing them. I was criticizing their writing. I didn’t mean it personally, and in fact I really liked those I was most critical of. I read their work more closely than those I didn’t know as well. This nugget applies to rejection as well as criticism. There’s a reason why someone says or does something. You may not agree with it, but they have a reason. And you know what? I learned more from the criticism than I did from the comments like, “I loved it! Send it to Analog!” Don’t take rejection personal. It may boil down to personal preference. Learn to love criticism. Use it like the blues.

• Is Something Working? Have you had a query turn into a request for a partial or full? Congratulations. That’s success. You got someone that doesn’t know you to read your manuscript. It’s like they picked up your book, read the back, and opened it up. That’s more than a lot of published books manage.

I know some of you are skeptical about this. So go out and try it yourself. Go to your local bookstore, preferably one with a coffee shop, and drink a latte. Watch people browse. How many people pick up a book, look at the cover or the jacket blurb, and put it back? That’s the reader’s equivalent of rejecting a query. If they pick up the book and actually open it up, they’ve done something similar to an agent requesting a submission. If you sit in the right place, you may actually see the title and author of the books they’ve passed on. This is pretty illuminating about people and their reading tastes. Everyone gets put back by someone. And I mean everyone. Even J. K. Rowling and Stephen King get put back on the shelves. Hell, I haven’t read King in years. I don’t even pick up his books up anymore. But he does okay without me.

So if you’ve got a nibble or a bite from an agent, but didn’t land him or her, just realize that you get picked up in the metaphorical bookstore and your book got opened. They just didn’t take you to the counter and buy you. But you’re moving in the right direction.

The Coda

There a lot more ways to deal with the rejection blues than I listed here. If you’ve got the blues, and we all do at some point, just remember to be constructive and positive. Yes, it hurts. It’s disappointing, especially when you get a partial or full rejected by that agency you really wanted. But giving up isn’t going to get your name on a book. Eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s might make you feel better for a little while, but it doesn’t expand your writing career, only your waistline.

You’re already sitting in front of your computer. Bring up the word processor and get to work. One of these days, you’ll find the right combination of craft, project and agent to land you a contract with a publisher. In the meantime, you’ve got to learn to play all the scales.

Even the blues.

* * *

Jim Warner turned to writing fiction after he discovered that there were no jobs available for an intergalactic spice smuggler. He's sold everything from liquor to luggage, worked in academic and public libraries, and has composed over a hundred pieces of music. In college, he majored in American history and anthropology. He has completed six novels, including four urban fantasies, a horror piece set in Dark Age Paris, and a science fiction/mystery thriller.

Part 1 of Jim's Rejection Blues was posted yesterday. If you didn't get a chance to read it, scroll down.

Thanks again, Jim, for sharing your time and talent with us.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jim Warner-Rejection Blues: Part 1

We are delighted to feature a guest blogger this morning. Jim Warner submitted a two-part article on a topic near and dear to all aspiring authors: Rejection.

Part 1: The Blues

Rejections. They’re the bane of every aspiring author.

They come in the form of polite form letters or emails, sometimes personalized, sometimes with the dreaded “Dear Author” at the top. Your query was unsuccessful. You’ve been bounced, declined, rejected, or fireballed. Maybe it’s your first, or maybe you’ve got so many of the damn things your file cabinet is a fire hazard. No one likes being told they weren’t right for an agent or publisher. It always stings. But sometimes, it hurts.

When it does, you’ve got the rejection blues.

Maybe you’ve got past the query phase. Maybe you got a request for a partial or full. You got your foot in the door. Someone thought enough of your project to read more. Maybe your hopes were sky high, you thought you were going somewhere, you’re on your way to seeing your name in bold type on a book cover.

Then the letter comes.

“In the end,” the letter says, “I thought it wasn’t up to our standards.” Or they didn’t have enough enthusiasm. Or they liked it and they just didn’t think they could sell it. If you’re like most writers, you can probably add a dozen other taglines to this litany.
A rejection at that phase really smarts. You wonder, “What did I do wrong? Was the writing that bad? What could I have done differently?”
You’ve got the rejection blues.
The other day, I was reading the comments page on a particular agent on this very website, and a woman mentioned that she just didn’t feel like it was worth writing anymore. I don’t know why she felt that way. Perhaps she’d taken one hit too many, read one too many lines like, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Or, “This is not for me.” I won’t put words in her mouth, but I know one thing for certain.
She’s got the rejection blues.
I bet you get them too. But don’t be alarmed. I know a cure for the blues.
In music, there are various techniques for getting out of a blues scale. You can transition from a minor key to a major one, or resolve a diminished chord into a perfect fifth, or change modes. As a writer dealing with the rejection blues, you have to do much the same thing. You have to keep your chin up.
Changing keys while playing a song is not always easy. It can be a tricky compositional problem, and it’s hard to do well. As a writer, dealing with rejection is also difficult. But you have to keep the faith. You have to learn how to handle it.
Because, if you’re going to break into the publishing business, you’re going to take a lot of hits. You have to find a way to deal with rejection. It’s a personal thing, much like the act of writing itself. What works for you may not work for me, and what works for me may not work for you. Worse, what works for you may not work for you next week.
But you still have to learn to change keys. In my next post, I’ll give you some ideas on how to do just that.

* * *

Jim Warner turned to writing fiction after he discovered that there were no jobs available for an intergalactic spice smuggler. He's sold everything from liquor to luggage, worked in academic and public libraries, and has composed over a hundred pieces of music. In college, he majored in American history and anthropology. He has completed six novels, including four urban fantasies, a horror piece set in Dark Age Paris, and a science fiction/mystery thriller.

Part 2 of Jim's Rejection Blues will be posted tomorrow. Thanks again, Jim, for sharing your time and talent with us.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Free Online Writing Conference

WriteOnCon is a conference you won't want to miss! It's free. It's online. And it's loaded with fab agents, editors, and authors. Take a look:

Agents and Editors
  • Michelle Andelman, agent with Regal Literary
  • Regina Brooks, author and agent with Serendipity LLC
  • Catherine Drayton, agent with Inkwell Management
  • Daniel Ehrenhaft, author and editor for HarperCollins
  • Mandy Hubbard, author and agent with D4EO Literary
  • Stasia Ward Kehoe, author and Author Appearance Coordinator for Simon & Schuster
  • Mary Kole, agent with Andrea Brown Literary
  • Jennifer Laughran, agent with Andrea Brown Literary
  • Steven Malk, agent with Writer's House
  • Mark McVeigh, agent with the McVeigh Agency
  • Martha Mihalick, associate editor Greenwillow Books
  • Molly O'Neill, assistant editor at Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint at HarperCollins Children's Books
  • Kathleen Ortiz, agent with Lowenstein Associates
  • Laura Rennert, senior agent with Andrea Brown Literary
  • Anica Rissi, executive editor at Simon Pulse
  • Holly Root, agent with Waxman Agency
  • Elana Roth, agent with the Johnson Literary Agency
  • Joanna Stampfel Volpe, agent with Nancy Coffee Literary
  • Suzie Townsend, agent with Fineprint Literary Management
  • Rosemary Clement-Moore, award-winning author of a supernatural mystery series for young adults
  • Kimberly Derting, author of THE BODY FINDER
  • Lindsay Eland, author of SCONES AND SENSIBILITY
  • P.J. Hoover, author of THE EMERALD TABLET and others
  • Shelli Johannes-Wells, agented author and publicity specialist
  • Lindsey Leavitt, author of PRINCESS FOR HIRE
  • Tera Lynn Childs, author of OH. MY. GODS. and others
  • Jodi Meadows, author represented by Lauren McLeod of the Strothman Agency
  • Janette Rallison, author of 16 novels
  • Lisa Schroeder, author of three Young Adult and one Middle Grade novel
  • Tiffany Streitz Haber, author of two debut picture books
  • Daisy Whitney, author of THE MOCKINGBIRDS
  • Suzanne Young, author of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL

The conference will take place August 10-12, 2010. Go to the WriteOnCon website to sign up.


Suzette Saxton writes books for tots, teens, and in-betweens. She is represented by Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Interview with Author/Platform Expert Stephanie Chandler

Someone recently recommended Stephanie Chandler's platform-building book, The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform, to me.  I devoured it in a day and picked up quite a few tips that hadn't occurred to me before. The next day, I contacted her, and she graciously agreed to an interview to introduce you all to the book and her ideas.

Stephanie is an author of several business and marketing books including The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform: Leveraging the Internet to Sell More Books and From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur: Make Money with Books, E-Books and Information Products. A frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, she has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, BusinessWeek, Inc.com and many other media outlets.

On to the interview!

Stephanie, what is your definition of platform?

In a nutshell, having a platform means that you have an audience.

Years ago when I was just starting out and pitching my first book (a business start-up guide) all over the place, I received a call from Michael Larsen, a well-known literary agent in San Francisco. He told me that he liked my work, but nobody knew who I was. He said I needed to be out speaking to thousands of people because that is what the big publishers want—an author who comes to them with a built-in audience.

That was the best publishing advice I ever received and it was truly life-changing for me. I didn’t want to get on the road and travel so I decided to figure out how to build an audience online.

How did you decide to write a book to help people build their platforms? Why did you decide to emphasize building an online platform?

The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform was born from my own experience. After that fateful call with Mike Larsen, I decided to launch a website to attract my target audience of entrepreneurs (http://BusinessInfoGuide.com). I really had no idea what I was doing and just figured it out as I went along! I loaded up the site with resources and articles. I started sending out an e-newsletter. I learned about search engine optimization and began forming strategic alliances online. I ultimately self-published that first book and decided to list it on the site for pre-sale. It began selling a full two months before it was even in print! That’s when the light bulb went off—I had built an audience—a platform! People wanted to buy my books.

After that I wrote my second book: From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur: Make Money with Books, E-Books and Information Products. I sent the proposal to exactly two publishers and signed a contract with John Wiley & Sons weeks later. I was able to demonstrate that I had a platform. For me that meant that I had a high-traffic website and a large mailing list. That was a big selling point for a publisher to take on a new author.

Incidentally, my philosophy is to write books that I would want to read. So I eventually decided to write a book about how I had built my platform online. It actually began as a workbook and ebook that I sold from my website. Well, I began working with a literary agent and gave her a copy thinking that her authors might be interested. She asked if she could try to sell it, and soon we had a deal with Quill Driver Books. That one was a happy accident! However, it also continues to demonstrate the value of platform. It didn’t hurt that I was also building a following of authors and writers thanks to my previous Infopreneur book, and that my website traffic and exposure was growing in step with everything else.

What makes your book unique from other books on building platform for writers?

It was one of the first books to address the concept of using the internet for author promotion. When I originally wrote and sold the book through my website, the title was Online Marketing for Authors. The publisher changed the title and I had to revise some of the material to address platform. So it also covers internet promotion strategies, whether you are just getting started or you have been around for awhile.

What do you think is the most under-utilized approach to building an online platform?

Forums and online groups. You can get a lot of recognition by participating in forums or groups through sites like Yahoo! Groups, Facebook and LinkedIn. The key here is to figure out where your audience is located and then get involved. Ask questions, provide answers to other people’s questions, and establish yourself as a trusted resource.

I am a big proponent of using the social media networks—provided you do it correctly! It doesn’t matter how many “friends” you have if you aren’t connecting with people. The key is to be a resource and engage with your audience. If you get on these sites and do nothing but promote and spew sales messages, it can actually repel your audience!

Yes, the whole point of Web 2.0 really is about engagement. And the more accessible authors are with the readers, the better. Replying to people who comment on your blog is a start. As already mentioned, forums are great, as well as social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I love hearing from my readers and these outlets make that easy to do, as well as easier for me to respond.

I recently posted on building your book/author website, and a number of readers remarked that it’s no longer enough to have a website and/or blog. One reader said “Branding is a full-time job, lots of work, but does it pay out?” What do you think? IS branding/building one’s platform a full time job? Does all that social networking pay out?

I view publishing and promotion as a marathon, not a race. It does take time and a lot of work and there are no quick and easy solutions.

I also view the other opportunities (and revenue streams) that my books bring. Because of my promotion efforts, I get paid for speaking, I sell ebooks and workbooks through my website, and I host paid online events. All of the efforts not only help sell books, but bring other opportunities and dollars for my bottom line.

It’s funny because just this morning a friend sent me a link to author Parnell Hall’s video on YouTube entitled Signing in the Waldenbooks. It’s a hilarious take on the loneliness of book signings and because it’s so funny, it’s gone viral and has been passed around to tens of thousands of people. This is a great example of the kind of creative marketing that authors can do online!

In The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform, you dedicate a couple of chapters to expert status and media exposure -- could you talk a bit about how people can get started, as well as how important that is and why?

Media exposure is fantastic for authors, and today you have to remember the online media opportunities. For example, bloggers have a tremendous amount of influence online. Find a way to build buzz for your book in the blogging community. Also, internet radio and podcast interviews are easier to get and in my opinion, often better than traditional radio. With traditional radio, you might get five minutes of airtime with listeners in their cars on the way to work. When you conduct an online radio interview, you often get listeners at their desks—ready to place an order! Shows are typically archived forever and you will continue receiving exposure from the host’s website. Check out resources like http://blogtalkradio.com or http://alltalkradio.net and find shows that reach your target audience.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Open Call For Guest Posts

Well, it's the dog days of summer. Hopefully you've got your writing caps on, because we'd love to put up some guest posts from you, our loyal readers!

Here's the deal. The QueryTracker blog audience is unagented, unpublished authors. We'd like some guest posts geared toward that audience that we can use this summer. If you think you've got something to say, please consider submitting it to the team. Who knows? You might see your name and picture up here on the blog!

You can click here to go to the submission form (You'll have to have a free QT membership and be logged in to access the form). There, you'll be able to enter your name, your blog address, you email address, and your guest post. You may submit more than one article (and we encourage you to!) but you'll have to fill out the form each time. One of us will contact you for further information, should we decide to use any of your posts.

We hope to see many of you submit and can't wait to read what you have to say!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Publishing Pulse 7/9/10

PhotobucketBreaking news! QueryTracker has some new banners you can put on your website or blog! Click here to get the code and spread the word.

Literary Agents:
We hope you all took advantage of our latest agent-judged contest by Suzie Townsend! Winners coming soon.

Krista at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) has Taylor Martindale of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency answering questions today. Be sure to pop over and check it out!

Literary agent Jessica Faust tells you to stop freaking out over your summer querying.

Author Kristin Miller and literary agent Suzie Townsend give a great query breakdown.

So does Jodi Meadows, former slush reader and new debut novelist (congrats Jodi)!

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner says: Queries, not that complicated.

Miriam at Dystel & Goderich says: Sometimes the answer is no.

Literary agent Kristin Nelson breaks down current query trends.

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner spills some secrets for becoming a better writer.

The Editorial Ass lays out why the first page of your MS is so dang important.

James at Men with Pens tells how to find your writing voice.

Author Jody Hedlund gives some tips for finding plot ideas.

Shelli Johannes-Wells does a great "Marvelous Marketer" series. This week: Dan Ehrenhaft from HarperCollins.

Kay Dacus tells why it's important to break down what you read, so you can learn to write better.

Got a publisher? Janet Grant at Books & Such Literary has some great advice for the kind of relationship you should expect to have with your publisher.

Interview with executive editor at Simon Pulse, Anica Rissi, at The Crowe's Nest.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gail Carson Levine Interview

Thanks to all those who entered our contest.

Last week the Literati, the group of aspiring teen authors I help mentor, had the honor of meeting and interviewing Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted and others books for young readers. Emily of the wonderful book review blog, Emily's Reading Room, was kind enough to arrange and record an interview, which among other things, talks about the worst rejection Gail Carson Levine received. Ms. Levine's new book, Fairies and the Quest for Neverland, is available in stores now.

Suzette Saxton writes books for tots, teens, and in-betweens. She is represented by Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Contest is Now Open


Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary Management has graciously agreed to judge an adult fiction contest. (For completed manuscripts only!)

What to enter: A Twitter-style pitch (140 characters or less, including spaces.)

Entries WILL NOT be capped. (Yay!)

Entry period will be 24 hours: From noon Tuesday, July 6 - noon Wednesday, July 7.

These are the genres Ms. Townsend will be judging:

  • Adult Science Fiction
  • Adult Fantasy
  • Adult Urban Fantasy
  • All subgenres of Adult Romance
  • Adult Thriller

To enter this contest:

1. You must have a free QueryTracker membership
2. You must be a follower of the QueryTracker blog (Followers Widget at right)
3. Your submission will be accepted onthe submission form (won't be available until the contest opens)
4. DO NOT EMAIL YOUR SUBMISSION DIRECTLY TO THE AGENT. You will be disqualified if you do.

Helpful links on pitching:

At Elana Johnson's blog
From literary agent Laura Rennert, on building your pitch.
Literary agent Rachelle Gardner reveals secrets of a great pitch.
Literary agent Chris Richman has a word about pitches and what makes them work.