Sites To Help With Query Writing And Agent Submission

By Natasha R.

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At a publishing panel I did in January, I mentioned a few web sites that will help for traditional publishing. A lot of work goes into this, and doing your research is a must in order to make sure you submit not only to the right agent, but that your query letter, manuscript, and synopsis are ready to go.

  • Agentqueryconnect.com
    • This is a site dedicated to helping writers with their own query. You can post in on the forums and get feedback from other people on the site. Remember to give your own feedback. Even if you’re not an expert, reading through others queries will help you notice mistakes more readily. You’ll be able to help others and improve your own work.
  • Queryshark.blogspot.com
    • This site has tons of queries from the last few years readily available for you to read. My suggestion is to read them all, or at least as many as you can. As you go through the Shark’s archives you’ll see how she deconstructs them and how the author builds them back up into something sharper, cleaner, and something that will make an agent want to request pages.
  • Querytracker.net
    • This site is very resourceful for researching agents. It will show you what their genres include, who their current clients are, if they’re open to submissions, as well as a link to their website so you’re able to see their submission guidelines.
    • This site also lets you track your submissions, whether you were rejected, pages were requested, etc.
    • For one book you can use the free service, however if you have more one than one project it’s worth the $25 per year to be able to do multiple projects.
  • Publishersmarketplace.com
    • On the front you can get a bit of information about the agent, their clients, and sales. However, this site is a little bit more expensive at $25 per month. That’s out of my league at the moment.
    • My suggestion here is to do your research on query tracker, pay for a one month membership on Publishers Marketplace, research those agents as much as you can and then let the membership run out. Also take note of any other agents that may work for your story.
  • Absolutewritewatercooler.com
    • This site is absolutely a must to find out information from clients regarding agents, indie pubs, and other small publishers. You don’t even have to sign up. Just go to Google, type in the name of the agent/publisher and put absolutewritewatercooler next to it. 99% of the time, it’s the first link in the search engine.

I can’t stress enough how important research is.  This is going to help make your manuscript and all its components the best it can be, while helping you fine tune the list of agents you want to submit to. Taking these steps will make the process of submission a much easier one. The feeling of rejection is never a good one, but having a personalized reply instead of a form letter will ease the pain a bit. Doing your research and ensuring you follow guidelines give you a much better chance all around.

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Death To The Adverb!

By Natasha R.

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You may or may not have heard about the dreaded adverb and why it’s bad in writing. In case you haven’t though, let me start from the beginning.

Adverb – a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. (e.g., gently, quite, then, there )

So, what makes the adverb bad? Adverbs in and of themselves are not bad. They’re very prominent in academic writing and essays, but that sort of writing is meant to inform people. It’s telling. That, my friends, is why adverbs are considered lazy writing. A large amount of adverbs will make your manuscript telling and not showing.

Does that mean you can’t ever use an adverb? Of course not! Sometimes they’re appropriate, but most times, in the editing stage, you’re going to be able to pluck out those adverbs and find a stronger way to write your sentence.

Example:

Joan passionately, intimately, and abrasively kissed Michael. 

Whoah! That’s a lot of adverbs, and all telling. There’s no picture in my head of Joan and Michael’s kiss.

So, how do we turn it into showing?

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Week 4 Pep Talk

By Natasha R.

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Greetings Wrimos. We’re officially in week four! We’ve made it to the wire! The struggle hasn’t been easy. By week four you may be staring at the screen, blinking in slow repetition, willing you fingers to move, and finding nothing pours onto the keyboard.

The frustration has grown, and several diabolical things come to mind.

In fact, there have probably been days when you wanted to print your manuscript just to burn it.  (For the record, don’t burn anyone else’s manuscript. It’s rude.)

 

 

 

 

Think about this though. You’ve made it to WEEK FOUR! WEEK BLOODY FREAKIN’ FOUR!

You’re in the home stretch! That in and of itself should be enough to motivate you to keep writing, but it doesn’t always work out like that. That’s what these PEP TALKS are for!

So, here are some things to do to bring the zest back into your manuscript!

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Getting Involved

By Natasha R.

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NaNoWriMo is a hectic time of year for those who participate. Everyone is frantic trying to make their word count for the day, let alone the month as a whole. Sometimes people have a massive muse, and sometimes it’s harder to get those words out. That’s why in each region there are events, both physical ones and online. Fort Writerdale events can be found on the NaNo forum here.

Granted we all have responsibilities in life, whether it be school, work, family, or whatever. Debby (our ML, make sure you learn who she is, cause she’s AWESOME) has put together several events all over Broward. Meeting other participants and joining the write-ins creates a positive atmosphere where everyone motivates each other.

NaNoWriMo is more than just sitting in front of a computer and writing. It’s community, and I recently got the chance to hang out with our fearless leader, Debby, one on and one, and see just how much she puts into it. She dedicates her time to making sure everyone has a fun, positive environment. Her dedication is amazing! She not only tries to write her own story in thirty days, but puts so much into making sure everyone else is motivated to do the same. Continue reading »

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Keeping The Excitement

By Natasha R.

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The days leading up to NaNoWriMo are often filled with anticipation, excitement, and the undeniable desire to start typing. You brainstorm, you talk to your NaNo buddies, and may even secretly squee a little bit.

You know you do this.

Then November 1st arrives and you’re a writing machine. 

The muse is strong within you. The words pour from your fingers like syrup onto pancakes. It’s so smooth, sweet, and delectable. At three in the morning you’re loathe to stop, but know in four hours you have to get up for the dreaded day job.

The eloquent words that fall from your lips may be something like: “Stupid day job is stupid.” At three in the morning, who can blame you?

This is the pattern for the first few days. You keep up, or even surpass your word count goal. Everything is going according to the plan–or the pantser is enjoying winging it. Whichever.

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