Thanksgiving is a designated time to remember what we are thankful for in life. For many, it’s having our health to spend time with family and friends while gorging on amazing meals until our stomach feels like it will explode. But there are others who might be joyful they survived a fatal illness to be here celebrating with people they love. Or maybe, there are those thrilled to still have a job, maybe paid off a mortgage, or even happy because they got that iPhone they’ve always wanted.
As for me, I’d like to thank:
My family and friends who’ve supported me with my writing. I LOVE you guys!
My daughter and grandson for bringing me joy in my life with their adventurous spirit.
My readers. (Because without y’all, I’d have no reason to have a blog!)
All my past and current critique partners (especially Diana DeBolt Johnson!). This includes anyone who has ever glanced at a few pitches/pages/chapters and offered feedback.
All the authors that allowed me to participate in their book releases or cover reveals!
For all the ARCs I received, because FREE BOOKS before they’re published is AWESOME!
I have a job and I adore working with all my coworkers!
And finally (but not last), to God for giving me the strength to get through each day.
I’m sure there are many things and other people I may have forgotten, and ask forgiveness if I have. Everyone in my physical and virtual life are very important to me. Y’all give me strength to become the best me. Thank you for being a part of my life!
Whatever your reason for being thankful today, I wish you the Happiest of Thanksgivings!
With folks wanting to hone their pitches, queries, and first chapters before PitchWars submission, I thought I’d help everyone searching for a critique partner. Contests such of these are great for finding people who write in the same category and genre as you. Here are some places and things to do:
Put a tweet out requesting to swap material using the contest hashtag. Be specific about the age group & genre you write to be clear to prospective partners.
Watch for posts about entrants forming groups on their blogs to give each other feedback.
Absolute Write Forums: These forums are for all age groups and genres. Not to mention the research on agents and publishers you can find.
CPSeek Forums: There are topics on specific age categories and one just for queries and synopsis’.
Romance Critters: Whoa! A place for romance writers to swoon over each others critique. Awesome!
Query Tracker Forum: Not only can you keep track of your queries with this site, you can go to the forums and get feedback!
If you’re a member of a writers guild, you can usually find a place to get feedback on those sites too. I’m sure there are many more places to find help honing your craft, but these are a few places to get you started.
In the past, I’ve posted links for writers to research agents regarding their legitimacy (which you can find saved under the Literary Advise tab:Finding A Literary Agent). Today, I want to discuss finding what they want in their inbox. It is important to submit only to agents that represent the type of material you write so that you don’t waste their time or yours. Keep in mind, if you have written fantasy in the past, but decided to write your first non-fiction manuscript, do not submit that non-fiction manuscript to an agent who only represents fantasy. Sounds crazy, but it really happens folks. Don’t. Do. It.
Another thing to keep in mind is what you want to spend most of your time writing. For example, let’s say you write young adult and middle grade, but the most recent manuscript you finished is YA. You spot an agent who would be a perfect fit, but s/he represents adult and young adult (no MG). What if you have more middle grade story ideas than young adult? Sometimes agents don’t represent a certain age group (or genre) because they don’t have the publishing connections available like they do the ones they currently represent. And there are others who just don’t have the “feels” for a certain age group or genre. Now, there may be other agents within the agency that represent the other age category or genre and will be willing to co-agent one of these other ideas you have, but not always and sometimes not until you’ve proven you can get the sales with the original book you signed. So ask yourself, do you want to risk a contract with an agent that will limit your writing in the age category or genre you’re most passionate? Remember, finding an agent for your manuscript also means finding an agent who’s a perfect fit for YOU. When you become the next Neil Gaiman or Stephen King, then you can write whatever you want and it won’t matter.
Here are some great places to find what agents are looking for:
Agency Website: Most agents list the types of stories they represent in their BIO’s. A few also provide links to personal blogs they have, posting more writing advise and shining a light on their personality.
Publishers Marketplace: Not all agents subscribe to this website, but those who do list the types of books they represent and some list their most recent sales.
Query Tracker: This is a cool site because agents not only list what they represent, you can search who represents writers in similar genres/age groups. Be careful though, if you just wrote a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, soliciting to an agent who represents a retelling of the same doesn’t usually work because the agent must be loyal to the client they already represent, which makes perfect sense.
Manuscript Wishlist:This is another hot place where agents (even publishers) list what they are currently looking to represent. This list can sometimes even be more specific. For example, rather than saying they want a historical fantasy, they’ll say give me a story set during World War I from a nurse’s POV who finds a magical stone to help heal her patients but gets put on trial when found healing an enemy soldier. Also, don’t forget you can see live tweets on twitter under the Manuscript Wishlist hashtag #MSWL as agents post ideas that suddenly spark.
While there are other places to learn this information, these are the most popular among my writing pals. The most important thing to remember while researching is having NO agent is better than having a bad agent, or one that isn’t a good fit.