Tag Archives: query agent

Friday Links for Writers 03.08.13

maximo

Maximo, saltwater croc at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Yes, he’s real. c. Elissa Field

Chomp. Something must have eaten the first week of my March calendar, as this post is overdue.

In fact, two writing distractions have kept me away: one was preoccupation with following posts from AWP 2013 (check hashtag #awp2013 to find lingering conversations from the conference weekend). The other was application deadlines for May and summer conferences.

To that end, I ran a special post last week featuring major writers’ conferences: 2013 Writing Conferences & Workshops.

CastilloSanMarcosAt the same time, I headed north to St. Augustine to tour historic sites in America’s oldest European-settled city on the eve of Florida’s 500th anniversary. Yes, there’s more to Florida than bikinis and snowbirds. From early colonial settlements to the fort to the gilded age to listening to alligators roar… my brain is on overload.

But, lucky for you, this week’s reading yielded some fabulous links. A theme could be “debates” as links below take on topics from writing for free to PR scams to bullying, in addition to writing advice.

As always, let me know what you found inspiring in these or what topics you’d like to see more of.

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Lucrative Work-for-Free Opportunity

Atlantic Senior Editor Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on the debate of professional writers being expected to write “for exposure” in lieu of pay. In particular, Coates considers the ruckus raised when writer Nate Thayer very publicly rejected a request that he write a piece for the Atlantic for free (his spicy email is included), by reflecting on Coates’ and other writers’ common history of having published for free at various times in their careers. It’s a debate worth considering at a time when it is more easy to publish ideas than in the past, yet often more difficult to earn a living.

The Bad PR Hangover (and How to Avoid It)

In this post at Writer Unboxed, Sharon Bially addresses the services a writer should expect when contracting with a reputable PR agent. She begins with a frank rant about ineffective and even unethical PR approaches that make her “blood boil,” which leads to her “laundry list of must-haves in determining whether the firm you hire to publicize your book is up to par, and in understanding whether it’s doing (or will do) what it should for you.” A great resource, especially for those with a first book coming out.

Down the Rabbit Hole of Research 

When is research part of the hard work of writing, and when is it a time-sucking distraction? Bethanne Patrick offers thought-provoking insight on preventing research from leading a writer “down the rabbit hole” of fascinating tangents that eat away at writing time. Patrick’s own interesting insights are supported by reflections from published writers on whether they research before writing, while drafting, or not until completing a first draft, and more.

How to Stop the Bullies 

This article in The Atlantic caught my eye as it addresses the ubiquitous (and never-ending) conversation of bullying, cyber-bullying and bully-prevention. It is a fascinating read if you are a parent, educator or YA writer — but also for anyone involved in social media, as the writer traces the path of a complaint through Facebook and discusses the developments being attempted in writing algorithms to predict an abusive post.

The Rejection Generator Project 

Friday Links on February 1st shared the endearing Written Kitten. This isn’t that. No, in fact, it’s a bit more like hair of the dog that bit ya. Why wait for that painful rejection on the litmag submission that’s been pending for more than twice their stated response time? Generate your own brass knuckle reply with Stoneslide Corrective’s Rejection Generator Project. Like walking on briars to toughen your feet, you give it your email address and it shoots you a fireball of a rejection. All in fun, of course.

Tweet Spotlight: 2 Agents on Querying

Agent Pam van Hylckama tweeted to a YA writer: “If you just write a good query letter and follow sub guidelines, you are ALREADY in the top 10% of queries” (@BookaliciousPam, Mar. 9). Along the same line, Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary Agency tweeted: “Why it’s important to follow submission guidelines: honoring such a basic request shows a willingness to work as a team w/ agent. #pubtips” (@RedSofaLiterary, Mar. 6).

What did you find in these links that is useful to you? Let me know if you want more on a particular subject, or share your own best finds.

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Shared by the Library of Congress, this poster is from a Chicago promotion 1936-1941. No known copyright restrictions.Did you see my Winter 2013 Reading List? As the list shows, there is clearly no shortage of great new fiction to keep our reading hours full.

But what of books that linger from one list to the next — or even from one decade to the next — and never get read?

It’s nearly time for me to post the March Reading Challenge: inspired by this vintage public service announcement from 1939-41, it’s time to “read the books you’ve always meant to read.”

If you have a minute, please click here if you’d like to share the kinds of books on your 2013 Reading List — including any you’ve always meant to read yet never gotten around to.

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Filed under Friday Links, Seeking Publication

Friday Links for Writers 02.08.13

friday linksToday was a week where “other plans” intervened — a complete position change in my teaching post wiped me so “blank screen” that I even forgot I had jury duty to call for on Tuesday. I spent my week getting to know new students and sentimental over some great writing students in the class I gave up.

Sigh.

It made little time for fiction writing. But there’s always time for reading. Pinterest has become my stress reliever, and it’s just your luck that this leaves me stumbling on some great pieces.

Here are some of my favorites, which take us from revision to queries, and then to the joy of reading.  Enjoy!

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Home Improvement

As writing conference season approaches, I was reminded of the great things I’ve heard of author Benjamin Percy as a workshop leader. In this article, published in the May-June 2010 issue of Poets & Writers, Percy offers some brave advice about the daily work of revision.

Query Pitfalls

In response to readers who appreciated the link to agent Sara Megibow’s query twitter chats, here is link to a blog by literary agent Janet Reid. Janet is bluntly entertaining in evaluating just what steers a query wrong. This link goes to a most recent post, but the full series is available by clicking the categoy “query pitfalls.”

Query Shark

Want more query pitfalls? This site evaluates actual query letters blow-by-blow.

Everyday Miracles

Tin House runs a series on its blog called The Art of the Sentence in which authors take turns reflecting on the perfection of one single sentence that inspires them. In “Everyday Miracles,” Pamela Erens mulls how John Updike was trained first as a visual artist, wondering if this is what leaves his writing so intimately revealing. Wondering to myself: did I ever actually read Updike?

Shared by the Library of Congress, this poster is from a Chicago promotion 1936-1941. No known copyright restrictions.

Shared by the Library of Congress, this poster is from a Chicago promotion 1936-1941. No known copyright restrictions.

Perfect segue to say I am in the process of getting ready for a March Reading Challenge, which has me thinking about books we “always meant to read.”

Reading list survey for the March Challenge: Click here if you’d like to share the kinds of books currently lingering on your “to read” list.

Finalists for the Story Prize

The Story Prize is given annually to honor an outstanding collection of short stories. The link above takes you to announcement of the 3 finalists for collections published in 2012: Junot Diaz, Dan Chaon and Claire Vaye Watkins. Want more great collections? This link here takes you to The Story Prize blog, with an annotated long list of other great collections they considered.

100 Notable Books of 2012 & 100 Recommended Books of 2012

I’ve posted before, calling 2012 the Year of the Book. It really was a year of some fabulous reads. But where “top 10” lists and award lists tend to hit the same few books over and over, these two lists by the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle offer a more comprehensive range of the fabulous books published in 2012, in all genres.

Bookshelf Porn

If your eyes lit up at links for The Story Prize or {100 + 100} great books from 2012, they you’re probably in a category who would find photography of gorgeously shelved books satisfying. Kick back and enjoy yourself.

What did you find in these links that is useful to you? Let me know if you want more on a particular subject, or share your own best finds. Be sure to click through to the survey for the March Challenge, to share the kinds of books on your 2013 Reading List. I’d love to hear your current must-read titles!

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If you like this blog, be sure to subscribe using WordPress’s +follow option, or via email or RSS feed. I love to connect with like-minded readers and writers!

Summer hours spent revising Wake. c. Elissa Field

Summer hours spent revising Wake. c. Elissa Field

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Filed under Friday Links, Reading