“How To Get An Agent”

…as you all know…it’s not that simple.

So, that’s why I’m teaching my webinar again! HOW TO GET AN AGENT will run August 11 at 1pm EST, but don’t despair–if you can’t attend live and you’re still interested sign up anyway to get the live webinar emailed to you right after.

It’s full of great information and a QUERY CRITIQUE by yours truly.

Sign up here. See you in a few short weeks.

Many writers think getting a literary agent is the hardest thing they’ll have to do as a writer. They think agents are looking to turn away writers, when actually many agents are actively looking to sign new talent. How do you find these agents that have open doors?

Literary Agent Carly Watters works with many debut writers she’s signed from the slush pile who have become successful multi-published authors. She’ll share the industry expectations of debut writers, how to find agents that are actively looking for new writers, and what questions to ask to make sure you find the right agent for you.

Learn what agents are being told by the industry and how that shapes the debut projects they sign, why you need an agent, and where to find agents that represent what you write. Do you want know how to hook an agent? Carly will make sure you’re fishing in the right pond.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • What an author/agent relationship looks like
  • How to find an agent that’s right for you
  • How to show agents you’re a ‘career author’
  • How to stand out among other querying writers
  • What the state of the industry looks like for new authors
  • How agents approach the slush pile and writers conferences
  • The important steps to writing a successful query letter
  • Why you must query an agent with what they ask for

Sign up today to secure your spot!

 

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5 Year Blog-versary Round Up!

9e4073d6863e21b9a5b923c3e62390afWow, 5 years since this blog began!

Thank you to the loyal readers and commenters for your engagement with my posts.

I decided to do a round up of some of my top posts over the years.

Craft:

30 Questions to Ask Your Main Character

When You Start Comparing Yourself To Other Writers

7 Things Writers Should Stop Wasting Their Time On

6 Tips To Hook A Reader on Page One

4 Ways To Edit Your Book Back on Track

Business:

Do You Know The Difference Between Literary, Upmarket and Commercial Fiction?

5 Secrets To Publishing Your Debut Novel

7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With

Queries:

How To Write A Synopsis

8 Query Tips No One Tells Writers

How I Read Slush: 3 Lessons for Writers

Agent perspective: What’s wrong with your manuscript

Social Media:

7 Ways To Build a Platform Through Your Online Community

6 Ways Social Media Doesn’t Help You Get Published

Q: Do you have a favorite post? One that changed your opinion of the industry or changed your manuscript for the better?

3 Reasons It’s Good to be in the Slush Pile

notepageI think writers interpret the Slush Pile as a bad thing, when really, agents love our slush pile. It’s where we find our amazing debut authors! Yes, it can be an overwhelming thing for us to sort through–which is why you hear the groans–but sometimes we’re amazed at what we see.

Here’s why you should be glad to be in the Slush Pile:

1. The great projects rise to the top. We see so much in the slush pile via unsolicited queries that it becomes clear what is great and what is okay, what makes us look twice and what is for someone else. If you follow the query guidelines closely and pitch with careful research you’re already ahead of the hundreds of queries we get a month. Many writers get down when they know the number of queries that agents process. But what they don’t know is that most of them aren’t well researched. If you care enough to carefully select the agents you query you’re rising to the top.

2. You’re taking a professional leap! It’s easy to say you’re not ready, but it takes a confident writer to be able to put themselves out there. Querying is Step One in becoming a professional writer. It means you take yourself seriously and agents should too. This is a writer investing in themselves and their career. And we want to work with writers who are in it for the long haul.

3. We read our slush. Agents that are actively looking to sign authors will be looking in the slush pile. Sure, we go to conferences too, but the primary way we sign new talent is through the slush pile. Non fiction often comes via referral or agents going out and pursuing journalists or experts, however fiction is found via slush 99% of the time. So we have to read our slush in order to find good projects! Any agent building a list or actively looking for new talent will spend time in the slush pile.

Good links on the Slush Pile:

Dos and Don’ts of the Slush Pile

Tips from a Slush Pile Find

24 Tales from the Slush Pile

Agent perspective: What’s wrong with your manuscript

googleimages2Pitching your book to no avail?

Are agents not being forthcoming with advice?

Getting ready to submit in the new year?

The definitive guide to what’s wrong with most manuscripts:

1. All internal conflict, no external conflict. Does more happen in the character’s head than in the plot? This is going to be a problem whether it’s literary or commercial fiction. Make sure enough things happen.

2. Pace. The most important thing to get an agent’s attention is to keep us turning the pages and stop us from doing other things. The moment things lag, you’ve lost us.

3. Voice. This one’s more subjective, but the way to check if your book has voice is whether we can tell the difference between whose head we’re in or who is speaking at any given time. Everything about your writing style needs personality. What makes your book special? Your voice. It’s how we separate all the books out there.

4. Dialogue. This goes with my point above. I should be able to tell who is speaking–a character, not you the author. For me, this separates the beginners from the advanced writers.

5. Length. Does your book follow word count guidelines? If not, it’s an easy pass.

6. Structure. Getting experimental? Are chapters vastly different lengths? Jumping drastically from POV? If we can’t follow your structure, you’ve lost us.

7. Characters. Some people feel differently about the ‘likeability’ aspect of characters. Personally, I enjoy ‘liking’ characters, but more importantly: Do they grow? Do they evolve? Do we care about their stakes and what happens to them? If not, I’m not on board.

This comes from reading many, many slush pile manuscripts that I often like but don’t love.

Use this as a checklist.

Good luck!