Let’s Kick This Writing Shiz Up a Notch

Cheery Chipmunks, I’m sure you’ve noticed (har har) that I haven’t been quite as active in the blogosphere over the last few weeks. True, my guilty pleasures keep me well occupied and we were without power for 7 days, but I’ve also been working on other writing projects. No, I’m not talking about my series of woodland creature haikus or the “Why Polygamy is the Right Choice for You” presentation for Second Husband.

Hang on. Just thought of a really good bullet point for the presentation… You will possess the ultimate conversation bomb.

Okay. So. Other writing. I wouldn’t call it cheating on you so much as experimenting. I have one complete piece that I don’t think I can agonize over any more (and by that I mean for another 3 years). It’s time to get serious.

Do you have any tips on finding a literary agent* and/or the submission process? If not, can you tell me in 15 words or less why the chicken crossed the road and if it’s safe to eat him?

*If you are a literary agent, may I just say: No one understands quality prose like you do.

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20 responses to “Let’s Kick This Writing Shiz Up a Notch

  1. Have you signed up at Writer’s Market online? That’s a good starting point. From there it’s all about researching the agent/publisher to make sure your style matches what they want, and showing them that you’re not just carpet-bomb submitting to everyone.

    An agent also once told me to show the publisher 2 things: Why your work is like something else successful, and why your work is new and unique. Just do those two things simultaneously, and you have a chance!

    • Ooh, I haven’t been on that site since I was looking for publishing jobs about 5 years ago. I need to get back on there!

      I’m really curious to know if you have any more advice about individualizing query letters, since they want so much info in one page, double-spaced. (Synopsis, bio, etc.) In the past I’ve put 1-2 lines like, “Given your interest in…I hope you’ll consider representing me.” But that’s pretty informal and probably a turn-off.

      This is great advice – thank you!

      • “I’m really curious to know if you have any more advice about individualizing query letters, since they want so much info in one page, double-spaced. (Synopsis, bio, etc.) In the past I’ve put 1-2 lines like, “Given your interest in…I hope you’ll consider representing me.” But that’s pretty informal and probably a turn-off.”

        OOH… Great topic for a blog! I’ll have to get on that soon; I have LOTS of experience in these! I’m following your blog now, too. ;-) I want to keep up with your progress!

  2. *If you are a literary agent, may I just say: No one understands quality prose like you do.
    I’ve never understood the purpose of the “*gigglesnort*” until now. Now? I understand, for I have just done this very thing.

    I wish I had more feedback on the other parts. Wait, maybe I do! If the chicken is in Arizona, he might have been crossing the street to get away from my AZ relatives!

  3. Predators and Editors, Writer’s Market, and this: http://morganmarshallworlds.wordpress.com/tag/publishing/ :-) Just my two cents.

  4. That’s kind of the ultimate, scary, thrilling object for many of us, isn’t it? If you find the chicken’s agent, share the secret, ok?

    • You got that right! Only rejections so far. As for the chicken’s agent, I thought I’d start with the Colonel himself, but he’s not returning any of my calls…

  5. Books like Writers Market tend to make literary agents sound like they are sitting in their offices, waiting for your query letter to appear. The truth is as far from that as possible. Most agents are swamped beyond all reason and will, at the most, send back a canned reply. You have more of a chance getting the chicken to read your query letter. So, you can do two things: Get a book about query letters and write the greatest query letter ever in the history of the world. And beat the bushes for someone who knows someone who knows an agent so you can write a letter that starts with “So-and-So suggested I contact you…” Of course you can use Writers Market, but there is no substitute for knowing someone in the business. I’ve been through all this on a couple occasions. I’m happy to bend your ear with what I’ve learned.

  6. My daughter told me yesterday…
    “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
    “To get to your house.”
    “Uh, okay.”
    “Knock knock.”
    “Who’s there?”
    “The chicken.”

    Kids.

  7. I’m in the same place. I got a little interest this summer (3 agents asked for the entire manuscript) but in the end, it was a ‘no’. All three gave me some input though, and so I’m hoping to go back and try another revision now that I’ve let it “rest” – and I’m going to try again. I just surf and surf through all the agent websites and look for some kind of connection. It’s daunting.

    • It is so daunting! I already got a form letter email rejection from a hard copy submission I sent earlier this week. I thought I was used to it, but it literally felt like a punch in the gut reading, “Unfortunately…”

  8. He had seen ChickenR-US, but wanted to ensure if eaten, it was somewhere quality like KFC.
    Boom!!! OK it was 16 words, but i originally got it down from 30. And I NOTICED ALREADY.

  9. I’m currently writing a book combining content from both of my blogs and it will be self-published by CreateSpace (An Amazon.com company).
    I’ve taken this road because it can be VERY difficult to land and agent – there are only 30 in Canada – and the submission process is very long and hard.
    Good luck to you, though.

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