Category Archives: Useful Resources

That second handy blog…

The second handy blog is… ta-da-daaaa.

This one

The reason I find this one useful is just to read comments from a savvy person who is an agent and is prepared to share information and time with the world.  Here in the UK, you do tend to get the impression, when you approach an agent, that it’s about how busy they are and what a nuisance (to the point of stalkerdom) you are.

And there go my chances with any of them.

But what I mean is, they aren’t all like that, even the ones who give that impression, they’re just laden with British guilt because they have about 3,000 authors after each slot on their books… possibly more.  Underneath it are people who want to help and when I read the work of Mr Bransford, even though he’s in the States I feel that yes, it is worth continuing the search for an agent, even as I self e-publish my book, because many of them are human.

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A small hoorah and some handy info

Oh yes.  Finally, I have made the Smashwords Premium Catalogue… my freebie, pique-their-interest-story should now appear on Amazon and Barnes and Noble… eventually.

It went live on Smashwords on 8th December and so far, 19 people have downloaded it.  No reviews, though, which is a pity as I’m sure there’s nothing like a good review to drive it up the charts.  Then again, I fear this story may receive nothing like a good review.  There’s a reason I don’t usually write shorts and that reason is, I’m not very good at it.

On the search for unicorn poop er-hem, sorry, finding an agent front, I have been introduced to a couple of useful blogs.

The first, Queryshark answers the question, what do you write in your query letter when you approach an agent.  The answer is an elevator pitch.  A short sharp synopsis which (and I quote)

MUST contain:
1. Who is the protagonist?
2. What choice does s/he face?
3. What are the consequences of the choice?

It seems that’s pretty much all you need to do, you can add a bit about how you’ve done writing classes if it’s relevant but nothing I’ve done is relevant… well actually I suppose 12 years of corporate communications probably counts for something but not anything of potential use when writing a novel.

I’ve been reading queryshark for a while now and have submitted my own pitch for perusal.  I hope they tear it to bits because lord knows, I need to get it right.

And there I leave you.  More on useful blogs tomorrow.  Go check out the queryshark.  She’s great.

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Small Publishers…

I’ve read somewhere that it’s easier to get published by a small publisher and then try to find an agent than to do so “cold”.  On top of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook and similar publications, here’s another handy resource, the Independent Publishers’ Guild.  There’s advice andinformation – for writers as well as publishers – along with a searchable list of members.

Definitely useful.

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Approach Number Two…

So, the next agency on my list is from the other end, not because they don’t look good but more the opposite, they are clearly high powered and I… well, I’m not.  I can’t imagine them wanting to look at my stuff but it would be pretty wet not to have a go.

Very different to the last one, which had no mention of who it represented merely its ethos and submission guidelines.  This one lists all its authors in meticulous detail, no submission guidelines, just a simple query letter.  I’ve written what I want to say – now to let it rest until Monday before printing and sending it.

The website is huge, they have six agents with two associate agents – all have huge long lists of authors although the site gives excellent information.  Being a Mum and all, progress on these things, while steady, is usually slow.  There are glaciers which move faster I suspect.  I was a bit daunted so I rang them and asked who I should approach for Children’s Fantasy fiction.

The reply I got was basically.  “We’re not telling you!  Look on our website and find out for yourself.”  I was a little taken aback and as I resigned myself to another couple of weeks slow progress Mr McGuire stepped in and saved the day – thank you thank you – by whisking junior off for japes in the garden for an hour.  I was able to do my research and naturally the one who seems to have the most writers of children’s fantasy fiction on his list – including a couple of very famous ones – was the last one I looked at.

That’s a little bit cocky – I’ve had a career in marketing and I’ve never encountered this kind of attitude towards the “bread and butter” before.  Even so, it turns out to be a bit of a hidden blessing.  There are probably about 20 or 30 book blurbs for the kind of stuff I write on there for pukka best selling authors.   So I will gain a great deal by reading and absorbing how they sell their work.  Not a synopsis but a great starting point for writing a treatment… for a query letter for example.   Handy stuff turns up in all sorts of places.

So… if you want to read up on some book blurbs for pretty much any genre you care to mention go here and click on the authors section and read away.

As for my submission, they contact you if they like your letter, if they don’t you don’t hear – definitely the please-don’t-write-in-unless-you-absolutely-have-to school this one – so I’ve told them I’ll give them three weeks to reply and then carry on with my search for an agent elsewhere.

It’s like trying to get an interview for the only job in the country… I read somewhere that JK Rowling ended up with 20 rejections before anyone took up Harry Potter.  I can imagine how.

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