Okay, so waaaaaaay back in February I attended the Southern California Writers’ Conference (SCWC) over Presidents Day weekend. I made a couple friends and needless to say, I took a shitload of notes. I’d like to share them, because they’re extremely helpful. I want to share my contest submissions as well, so bear with me - I’m going to be spitting out a bunch of posts momentarily. I’ll start now with the info I gathered at the Agent/Editor panel:
(by the way, I just sort of vomited this out onto the keyboard during the sessions, so message me if you need a ‘translation.’)
-Some agents work mostly through recommendations. Agents like to be approached with background, how you came to write the novel, sample writing.
-Marisa Corvisiero: query letter – genre, word count, description of work, about the author (relevant info, awards, experience, skill level, etc).
-Don’t CC other agents, make sure query is personalized to the agent.
-Common mistakes for first time writers—sending in full manuscript, “vague threats” (cocky/smug), make sure book fits into marketplace, not too obscure, forget the “message,” make the story good; make sure you proofread, don’t plagiarize. Do your research before sending to agency. Make sure they’re actually taking queries. Don’t send stuff out that isn’t finished.
-Join critique groups to get the work edited.
-Self-marketing is growing more and more important.
-Smaller publishing houses sometimes don’t have the budget/resources to market/advertise the books. Need to jump through hoops to meet criteria to get book shelved in “big” bookstores.
-Agents know how the system works, helpful in negotiating contracts with publishers.
-Pay attention to developing the material, don’t worry about the other crap yet.
-Author must be willing to do re-writes and accept constructive criticism.