How many times have you asked that question? If you're like me, A LOT. Over on the Upstart Crow Literary Agency blog, agent, Chris Richman recently posted a detailed wishlist. If you write middle grade or young adult it's definitely worth a look. You can get there from here.
Hoping to some day get some valuable feedback on your manuscript from an agent?
I have a contest for you! My friend Chuck is running a "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest over at The Guide To Literary Agents blog. The contest is open to Narrative Non-Fiction and Memoirs. You can find out the rules and other pertinent contest information here. Contests can be an easy and fun way to get an agent's attention.
Musician, David Crosby co-wrote a book called Stand and Be Counted about artists and activism. He talks a great deal about concerts and marches for various causes. He, of course, discusses the 1963 March on Washington. Most people think of Kings' "I have a Dream" speech when they think of the March on Washington. In Crosby's book, he talks about how King never intended to include those words in his speech. Apparently, King was to follow a performance of Mahalia Jackson and was so moved by her performance and by the day itself, he had begun to improvise.
The speakers were each limited to seven minutes, including King, but as he began to improvise "his speech took on the cadence he used from the pulpit." He was over the seven minute limit by now and he needed a way to pull the speech to a close. Apparently, he heard Mahalia behind him saying "Tell them about the Dream, Martin!" and so he did.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood... I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today! When we allow freedom to ring , when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children- black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics- will be able to join in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last.
The speech lasted seventeen minutes and was followed with the song, "We Shall Overcome." It was a very hopeful time, but alas, three months later President Kennedy made that fateful trip to Dallas and that hopeful time became less hopeful...
It's a new year which means the publishing industry is back at work, so agents and editors should be accepting queries again. That means it's time to work on the Dreaded Query Letter. I have a column over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog listing some great articles on query letters. You can get there from here.
I recently (okay it was about 2 minutes ago) discovered a site where you can post your query for other writers to critique. Like Query Shark, the site is public so keep that in mind, having a thick skin is key here. The feedback should be useful but it should also be taken with a grain of salt. The site is http://www.openquery.blogspot.com/ Check out the blogroll on the site for more great information on queries.
It looks like Kate Epstein of Epstein Literary is looking to expand her list. She is now accepting YA and non-fiction. You can read more about her agency here.
Also, Mary Kole of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency is running a cool new contest for YA and MG manuscripts on her website. To enter you need to send up to the first 500 words of your MG or YA manuscript and mention the blog two other places among other things. You can read more about it here.
So the parties are over, along with the holidays and my vacation. I didn't meet any of my writing goals. But I did catch up on my sleep and bond with my two feline companions, so it wasn't a total waste.
I had planned to rewrite my synopsis which currently reads like a fourth grade book report. My apologies to any fourth graders reading this. Alas, I spent a lot my time revising my WIP. I found some great articles on writing that dreaded synopsis. You can read these gems in my guest column called Footnotes over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog. Or click here.
I'm hoping to work on my synopsis this week. Wish me luck!