Thursday, April 25, 2019

Village Writing School

Today our Agent Summit is available to view.

Talking with all these agents and editors has totally changed the way I view publishing, especially the whole process of finding an agent and a publisher.

I used to think of querying as comparable to cold call selling. Now, I see it more as speed dating.

This explains so much. It explains the conflicting advice that agents sometimes give. It explains those frustrating rejections such as "just not right for my list" or "just didn't love it." Haven't we gotten those and thought WHY!!

But agents use terms like connection, magic, alchemy. In other words, they can't explain it either. They cannot articulate why, among so many books that really have nothing wrong with them, they choose one among many.

Is this depressing? Actually, I think it is good news. It means that some agent's rejection is not the final word. So many rejection letters say just that. "It's a subjective business." "It's not for me, but another agent may feel differently." More than one of the agents I interviewed said they specifically tried not to discourage writers for that reason.

Go back to the speed dating or even lunch. You have lunch with someone. There is nothing wrong with him/her. Intelligent, reasonably attractive, does not pick his nose at the table. But, still, no spark. (I remember my grandpa used the term "sparking" for dating. Now I understand.)

What do you do? Do you say, "Well, I went out with one or two guys but it didn't work, so I'll never go out again"?

Of course you don't. You remain open and you keep putting yourself out there because one guy is not the universe of men.

And one agent is not the universe of agents.

I know this first hand because I've gotten plenty of rejections in the last five months, but there was one magic one. She wants me to rewrite some parts of my story and send it again because she loves the way I write history. And any agent that uses words like "brilliant choice" and "absolutely stellar" is sparking. There's a real possible connection. Yet, many others I queried couldn't keep up with the time shifts or didn't like the same character that this agent found "stellar."

So really, it is a numbers game.

Of course, there are plenty of things that you can do, and our agents in the summit discuss those. You wouldn't go to your first lunch date in smelly running clothes with your hair all sweaty. You'd try to curate your image.

Learning to curate your image in submitting to agents is critical as well. So there is a lot of discussion about query letters and first pages and pitches in our Summit.

You can watch it free through Monday just by registering. Why wouldn't you? Register HERE.

Publishing is not a science, but there are things you can do to make the sparks fly.

Finding our stories . . . and ourselves.


Thursday, April 04, 2019

Missouri Writers Guild Conference.

Arkansas SCBWI Conference

The Arkansas SCBWI Conference is June 21-22, 2019 in Central Arkansas.
Conference faculty includes Christa Heschke, literary agent at McIntosh and Otis, Inc.; Courtney Stevenson, assistant editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books; and one publishing professional to be announced.
The conference will offer dinner, genre meetings and pitch sessions on June 21 (North Little Rock Community Center, North Little Rock). Conference sessions, lunch and critiques are on June 22 (Vines Center, Little Rock).
Opportunities are available for writers and artists to receive feedback on their manuscripts and portfolios. Remember that spaces for consultations are limited, so sign up early if you want to secure a spot.
Registration opens today: