So, I arrived on scene. I discovered that 'cash bar' is a quite literal term. As in, no card machines. Since I never carry cash, that meant no libations for me. Totally sucky, since I was counting on a little liquid courage. I saw one of my mom's friends and went to say hello. Then another writer came up and introduced herself. Then I was on my own again. That's when I saw Chuck Sambuchino out on the patio talking with a group of people. You know, the editor of Guide to Literary Agents? Probably the most popular writing blog ever? I wandered over in a starstruck daze to introduce myself.
You know when you approach a group of people already in a conversation, and they all have their backs to you in a little circle and you kind of walk up and wait there awkwardly for someone to notice you? Well, that totally didn't happen. Chuck immediately gestured for me to join them, and did this to everyone else who approached. He asked for everyone's business cards and got us all used to the drill. I think he could tell that a lot of people like me didn't know what the heck they were doing and were a hot second away from passing out from nervousness.
Man, can I blab or what? Okay, so here's what Chuck talked about in his workshop on agents. Well, not everything, but I think most of you probably know the basics. I took notes on the things I'd always wondered about. Email me if you have a question about something I don't cover here.
- Send 5-7 queries at one time. If you get nothing but rejections and no-responses, you probably need to edit either your query letter or the beginning of your book. Work on this, then send another batch, so you don't burn through all your contacts at once.
- Only include publishing credits for things you've been paid for. So, if you've written an article in a small local paper, you can list it if you were paid for it.
- If an agent doesn't state what their response policy is, follow up in 2-3 months via email and politely inquire.
- If an agent asks for an exclusive read, 4 weeks or less is reasonable.
- The preferred format for a synopsis these days is 2 pages double spaced. Of course, a particular agency may state their preferred length, but if they don't specify use the above guidelines.
So, consider yourself wisdomized. Questions? Tips to share?
On Friday I will feature what I learned from agent Katharine Sands at her workshop on pitching!