All Star Week

That is right folks. I have declared this week to be all star week. I will be sending out my next wave of queries to the all stars of literary agents. The famous blogging agents. You know ’em, you love ’em you read their blogs religiously (if you are an aspiring writer anyway). This week I am sending queries to the following big name agents:

Janet Reid the infamous query shark herself

Nathan Bransford

Jonathan Lyons

Kristen Nelson

And I would send one to Rachelle Gardner but she isn’t interested in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

These wonderful people write fantastic blogs. Every writer should subscribe to them. They have helped me understand the publishing industry and I am excited about sending them queries. I don’t really expect to get much back. These people are the rock stars of the aspiring writer world (Janet Reid’s line at BEA Pitch Slam was at least twenty miles long) and get bombarded with queries and attention. I don’t know if my query is good enough to stand out. I do know that I owe these people a shot at my book, after all the help they have given me.




BEA Writer’s Convention Part Two

The crux of the whole thing is obviously the Pitch Slam. You can go anywhere and hear fantastic speakers talk about the things that were discussed in the various breakout sessions and speeches. You cannot find a room full of agents willing to listen to a horde of writers pitch their books anywhere but the BEA Writer’s Conference.

All in all I would say that the Pitch Slam went pretty much as I expected. I wish that it was a bit longer, I only got to speak to five agents in the two hours. Somehow the agents I wanted to talk to all had the longest lines and at 3 minutes a pop you burn through two hours fairly quickly.

My biggest disappointment of the trip was not being able to pitch to Janet Reid. I watched her during several panels and the Pitch Slam prep and I have to say she is as funny and clever in person as she is in her blog. That being said she was also the most sought after agent in the room. Her line when I first saw it held way over thirty people. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a line that size equals at least ninety minutes. I took a gamble and decided to pitch a few other agents whose lines were shorter then get into Janet’s line. Sadly at four thirty when I went to get into her line it was closed (and so was t lines for half the other agents I wanted to talk to.) I am still wondering if I made the right decision, but I need to get over that and concentrate on the agents I did speak with.

I am happy to say that two agents of my five were interested enough in my pitch to request more material. The other three will obviously hate it when I’m on the NY Times bestsellers list.

My two incredibly insightful agents were Sandy Lu of the L. Perkins Agency and Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown.  Both requested a synopsis and my first fifty pages. I am happy that I went to the Writer’s Digest Editors Intensive and already have had an editor look at my first fifty pages. I feel confident that they are strongly written and hopefully will get the agents interested in more. The synopsis is another story.

I haven’t written a synopsis. Anyone thinking of going to the BEA Writer’s Convention or any other place that allows you to pitch agents listen up. They tell you to finish your manuscript before you start to query or pitch your work well I’m going to add one more to that. Finish your synopsis. I have spent all weekend working on my synopsis and it turns out, synopsis writing is a bitch.

Imagine writing a book report on your book. Doesn’t sound fun does it. Trust me it isn’t. The worst part is I feel like I am scrambling to get it done. I want to strike while the iron is hot. I want to get this synopsis and my first fifty into these agents email inbox as quickly as possible, before they forget who the hell I am (not that I am that sure they’ll remember anyway they had to have met a lot of writers that day).

So if you are querying or pitching bite the bullet and write that synopsis today, you’ll be glad you did.

Okay wasted enough time blogging, now back to the bloody book report.



I have seen the elephant

In Victorian England the British Empire spanned the entire globe. It was so expansive that the Brits bragged that the sun never set on the British Empire, and it was true, there were colonies and commonwealths on every continent. No matter what the hour, it was daylight somewhere in the vast empire. During that time, the empire’s most unruly and combative subjects were found in Africa, India, and Asia. Veteran British soldiers were said to have “Seen the elephant.” because if they had gone into battle it was more likely than not that they had done so in a place which, quite simply, had elephants. Today the term is more loosely used to describe any veteran of any endeavor.

After Writers Digest’s BEA Writers Convention, I can say without a moment’s hesitation that I have seen the elephant and what an ugly beast it is.

I have to say on the whole the convention was great. Karin Slaughter was an awesome keynote speaker, the breakout sessions and seminars were informative and fun, the lunch speaker was great, and the pitch slam was exactly what I thought it was going to be.

At a safe distance any elephant can seem charming. Everybody loves elephants, in a zoo, behind a sturdy fence, maybe even a moat. Do you dare climb over that fence, swim that moat and cavort with the great beasts up close and personal? I did, and I’ll tell you what I saw.

In my next couple of posts.

And Here Comes the Pitch

So obviously the moment we’ve all been waiting for is fast approaching. I am going to sit down with as many agents as I can and pitch my novel Midnight In Vegas. The poor agents are being forced at gunpoint to listen to the pitches of possibly hundreds of desperate writers such as myself. This is the infamous BEA pitch slam. Writers and agents crowded together into a hot room for an uncomfortable hour of pure selling. The neophyte writers sacrificing themselves en masse on the bourbon stained altars of the seasoned veterans of the publishing world.

At least that is how it goes down in my imagination. I have no idea what it is really going to be like. It looks like it could be an unadulterated orgy of ideas and I am, how you say, a wirgin? (Gotcha) I’ve never pitched my book to anybody. Now I am signed up for the biggest manage-a-minds in the industry.

How do you prepare for that???

  • Go over my story in my head. Over and Over and Over again. –check
  • Write down key points I need to cover in my Pitch. -check
  • Read every blog ever written about pitching, both by agents and authors. –check
  • Brush teeth. – check (never hurts to start early)
  • Work on roguish yet authorial look in bathroom mirror every morning. – check
  • Make super cool personal business cards with all contact info. -check

Things that I might do, or that I am not sure I should do, or really don’t want to do.

  • Write down and memorize a pitch. While that appeals to paranoid little voice in the back of my head, I don’t think I want to do that. I have some notes and highlights jotted down but I don’t want to sound robotic or rehearsed and I am a very extemporaneous type of speaker anyway.
  • Go Naked. If there is one way to be sure they’ll remember me, that’d be it. Obvious drawbacks. (To any agents or publishers who might read this, I am joking, It’s going to be ok, really. Put the phone down, don’t cancel the trip, please, I’ll be good. I really want to talk to you.)
  • Get a haircut- For real this time. I think I need something more roguish, or authorial. I alternate on which I need every morning.
  • Pack a couple of copies of my manuscript. As everyone with a complete manuscript knows, the bastards are heavy, but I don’t want to be caught flat footed if somebody asks for a full? From what I have seen and read I don’t think that they will. Best case; they’ll wait for me to email or mail it to them.
  • Burn full ms on to a couple of thumb drives. Could solve the fantasy problem of having someone wanting to read me right away. But those cost money and I am already spending too much of that.


Anybody else have any suggestion or comments? Am I missing anything?



Heading to New York.

I made up mind. I am going to attend the BEA Writers Conference. Signed in, booked the tickets and reserved my hotel.

I feel really optimistic about this.

I have my agent list ready. I know who I want to talk to and why I want to talk to them.  

Now to work on my pitch. I’ve lost a little bit on my fastball over the years but I still have a nice changeup and slider, so I can use those in a pinch.

Doing a turn around trip. Fly in, do the conference and fly out. Three whirlwind days, should be fun.

Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,