Traditional publishing

Example of a query that worked

June 9, 2010

I love practical advice. What do I love even more? Practical advice with examples. So today I’m sharing the query I sent to literary agents with the hopes that it will help you create your own pitch letter. I’m no expert on this, and my query isn’t perfect. But it’s the result of a lot […]

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Some things are better left unblogged

June 7, 2010

When I was querying literary agents, I grappled with whether to blog about it. The whole purpose of this blog is to help you learn from my experiences (and to help me grow), and I kinda felt like I was leaving you out in the cold by not sharing exactly what was going on. Several […]

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Zoe Zolbrod on publishing with a small press

May 24, 2010

Most of the authors I interview on this blog write nonfiction, either memoir or travel writing or a combination of both, travel memoir. But today we’ve got a guest who has used her travel experience to inform a different type of writing: fiction. Zoe Zolbrod‘s first novel, Currency, which is set in Thailand, was released […]

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On taking chances (and some good news)

May 9, 2010

The best things in life happen when we take chances. We all know it, and yet it’s still scary to leap into the unknown. During the last two years, I’ve taken a lot of chances. I left a reporting job I loved. I traveled alone in Africa. And I put off full-time employment to write […]

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Querying your memoir: manuscript or proposal?

May 3, 2010

So you’re writing a memoir. Should you complete your manuscript before approaching agents? Or query with only a proposal? I’ve touched on this topic here and here and here, but it comes up so often in the memoir-writing community — and there’s so little advice available online — that it’s time I addressed it outright. […]

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No e-mails, please

December 16, 2009

As I research literary agents, deciding which to query when the time comes, I’ve noticed that some don’t accept e-mail queries. Any idea why they do this? My first reaction is that an agent who doesn’t accept e-mail queries isn’t Web-savvy, hasn’t reached the level of comfort with the Internet that I’d want in an […]

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Lessons from Julie & Julia

December 10, 2009

Just saw the movie, Julie & Julia. Several friends had recommended it to me, in part because Julie’s blog became a book — exactly the feat I’m trying to pull off. What’d I learn from it? Julie’s blog was successful largely because she put her soul into it. She wasn’t just writing about recipes, she […]

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A term you should NEVER use. Never ever.

December 9, 2009

While we’re playing grammar police, here’s a mistake I’ve seen many literary agents complain about (and many aspiring authors make): Using the term fiction novel. It’s a novel. Why not a fiction novel? Because a novel is always fiction, so saying so is redundant. It implies that you don’t know what novel means. And of […]

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Writers' Roundup: December 4

December 4, 2009

Full speed ahead on revision! Links from this week: A series from editor Chuck Sambuchino called Successful Queries gives examples of real queries that worked, letters that convinced literary agents to request more from the author. Best of all, the literary agent tells why they worked. Helpful for someone like me who’s preparing to query. […]

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How to turn your blog into a book

October 26, 2009

The movie Julie & Julia started out a blog, then became a book (and finally, a film). It’s the most well-known example of a story that went from blog to book. But that tale — which, ironically, is partly about a frustrated writer — isn’t the only one. An increasing number of blogs are being […]

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