Apr 25

I just sub­scribed to Writer’s Digest’s YouTube chan­nel and hap­pened to dis­cover this very use­ful video. From a lit­er­ary agent’s expe­ri­enced point of view, it gives sev­eral great nuggets of infor­ma­tion about story-telling, plot, struc­ture, what works, and what doesn’t — all in just under 5 min­utes. Check it out:

Dec 3

What 185,000 words looks like, copyedited manuscript for MAKERS, the office, Clerkenwell, London, UK.JPGphoto © 2009 Cory Doc­torow | more info (via: Wylio)
Found this post through Writer’s Digest at a Guide to Lit­er­ary Agents blog. Go there for the full arti­cle by Guest Writer, Lit­er­ary Agent Mol­lie Glick:


1. An enter­tain­ing but polite and pro­fes­sional tone
2. Mul­ti­ple forms of con­tact infor­ma­tion
3. Proof that you have researched and hand-picked an agent. (If you’ve got a con­nec­tion, were referred by a client or met the agent at a con­fer­ence, make sure to point that out early in your let­ter.)
4. Espe­cially for non­fic­tion: An author bio that demon­strates your plat­form and why you’re the right author for this project
5. A quick, catchy hook or “ele­va­tor pitch”
6. Mak­ing a case for the book’s built-in audi­ence
7. Espe­cially for non­fic­tion: Show­ing why your exper­tise and media con­tacts make you the best author for your project


1. Ask­ing what the agent can do for you, rather than demon­strat­ing what you can do for him/her
2. Ask­ing for a phone call or in per­son meet­ing before the agent has requested one
3. Query­ing for mul­ti­ple projects at the same time
4. List­ing per­sonal infor­ma­tion unre­lated to your book
5. Giv­ing ref­er­ences from peo­ple out­side the pub­lish­ing indus­try (such as say­ing your writ­ers group, your con­gre­gants, or your mother’s next door neighbor’s cock­erspaniel loved your book)
6. Com­par­ing your book to a commonly-quoted best­seller
7. Mak­ing broad claims that you can’t back up
8. A pitch for an incom­plete nov­els. (It’s OK to query with an unfin­ished non­fic­tion project, as long as you’ve writ­ten a pro­posal, but nov­els should be fin­ished before you start con­tact­ing agents.)
9. Overly famil­iar, aggres­sive, or incor­rect salutations

May 28

…I know some of you are because you’ve talked with me about it. Per­haps oth­ers are, too. The online arti­cle “How to Get an Agent’s Atten­tion,” by Chuck Sam­buchino of the Writer’s Digest com­mu­nity, caught my atten­tion for just that rea­son. I hope you will find it a help­ful resource.

A cou­ple of points that I really appre­ci­ate from Chuck’s post and from the agents interviewed:

  • A query let­ter is essen­tially a cover let­ter to apply for a job; the resume is your man­u­script. Be as pro­fes­sional as you would in writ­ing up a job appli­ca­tion.
  • A use­ful for­mula for a query let­ter is “The Hook, the Book, and the Cook.” To find out pre­cisely what this means, read the arti­cle!
  • If an agent rejects your man­u­script, it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean it’s “bad”; it just means it’s “not his/her type” — just like when you’re dat­ing. Don’t take it per­son­ally if some­one isn’t totally, absolutely in love with your book; just move on and “date” some­one else until you find that per­fect “long-term rela­tion­ship.” After all, you don’t actu­ally want some­one rep­re­sent­ing your work who isn’t com­pletely head-over-heels in love with it, do you? Didn’t think so.

Many more insights where these came from! Check it out!

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