Pitch to an agent… Wait, we’ve added editors too! by Candi Wall

October 21, 2012

I’m seriously late!

I had every intention of having this post up this morning. I planned to be up before everyone else and get this sucker up and running for my Sunday morning slot. That was before I overslept, found out I needed to help my son move into his new place, realized I’d neglected my laundry, needed to do some grocery shopping (what? nobody wants peanut butter, ham and pickles for lunch?), and ended up building models with both my boys until 9:30 at night.

That’s my life. Hope you still love me.

Anyway, I have news! First, I’m happy to announce that I signed with Samhain for another novel. This one is titled STAY and the plan is to write a series about the brothers we meet in this first novel. Stay tuned….

Second, we’ve undergone some construction…

And IT’S OFFICIAL.

We have now introduced editors to our ‘Agent Shop’ pitch days. That’s why that handy-dandy tab at the top now reads Agent/Editor Shop.

SQUEEEE!

That’s right. That means you’ll have opportunities to pitch to agents and editors. WOOT!

While I still have several invitations out with both editors and agents, the response thus far has been very positive – as you can see from the bar at the right.

I’ll keep updating the sidebar as I receive confirmations, but we have a stellar lineup thus far.

I’ve updated the rules/directions as well, (THE BIGGEST BEING PITCH DAY IS NOW ON SATURDAYS) so make sure you check out the Agent/Editor Shop tab above, spread the word and get ready.

Happy writing!

Candi


An Update from Candi

July 3, 2012

Dear friends!

I can’t tell you all how much I’ve missed you all and this blog.

A blog still thankfully ‘on the air’ thanks to Jenn, Stacey, and Marie-Claude.

So much has happened that I won’t bore you with details, neither will I promise to be regular on the scene for a few more months, but I wanted to let you all know that life CAN and WILL get in the way of writing, blogs, social networks, and unfortunately, our muses.

All I can say is hang in there. All trials eventually end or even out enough for us to find the time to do what we must as writers. And that right. YOU, and you, and you, know what I’m talking about.

Writing! It’s a need. An addiction. A catharsis. A MUST!

I’ve had some hardships hit in the past two years that took my feet out from underneath me, along with the ‘pen’ out of my hand. I barely had time to breathe, let alone write. But we have to keep pushing for that time. I can do it. YOU can do it!

Make a plan and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t meet every goal. Think small and revel in the smallest achievements.

Here’s mine:

1. Write at least 30 mins every day.

2. Research – New story, agents, editors, contests – when I have a minute or two.

3. READ

4. Don’t beat myself up

Sounds simple, but we all know it isn’t.

I plan to start Agent Shop again this fall. I think August will be my ‘back in the saddle’ date.

Again, I miss you all and hope everyone has HUGE news to share when I return for real.

Until then, happy writing and best in your real world lives!

Candi!


It’s Pitch Day! Ready, set, GO!

November 20, 2011

UPDATE – STOP! WE HAVE ENOUGH PITCHES.

CHECK BACK TOMORROW TO SEE IF YOU MADE IT IN.

GOOD LUCK.

 

Hopefully everyone has read – and followed – the rules.

Because it’s time to

GO!


Hunting Agents

June 30, 2010

Song of the day: The Promise by When in Rome

Shh…I’m hunting wascally agents.

Christie Craig and Faye Hughes give key tips on the right and wrong way to meet an agent at conferences in this cheeky video.

I am fortunate to call Christie a good friend. She is a constant inspiration to me and I will shamelessly plug her books.  Please check out her latest sexy, fun suspense,  Shut up and Kiss Me, just released this month.

Also released this month is Christie and Faye’s Wild, Wicked & Wanton –  101 Ways to Love Like You’re In A Romance Novel. With a title like that, need I say more?


AGENT SHOP PITCH DAY

December 6, 2009

Hello everyone!

Hope you’re ready to pitch.

For this ‘Agent Shop’ session we welcome:

Kevan Lyon with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

And today’s author spotlight is on: 

LAURA GRIFFIN 

UNTRACEABLE

BEWARE OF WHAT YOU LOOK FOR… YOU MIGHT FIND IT.

Private investigator Alexandra Lovell uses computer skills and cunning to help clients drop off the radar and begin new lives in safety. Melanie Bess, desperate to escape her abusive husband, was one of those clients. But when Melanie vanishes for real, Alex fears the worst and sets out to discover what happened. Using every resource she can get her hands on—including an elite team of forensic scientists known as the Tracers, and a jaded, sexy detective who’s helped her before–Alex embarks on a mission to uncover the truth, one clue at a time.

Look for UNTRACEABLE in stores on Nov. 24, 2009.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of UNTRACEABLE, and a $20 Broders Giftcard!

Thanks for visiting MuseTracks, Laura! We love getting to know our guests, so I hope you’re up for a little Q&A!

So tell us, have you always wanted to write?

Yes, since I was a kid. I began my career as a newspaper reporter, so I spent all my time writing non-fiction. My favorite assignments were always the crime stories and that’s when I started getting pulled into reading and writing suspense.

What was your inspiration for UNTRACEABLE?

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to just drop of the radar, and if that’s really possible. Turns out, it’s very difficult to do, especially because our lives are so intertwined with computers these days, but it can be done. In UNTRACEABLE, my heroine is a PI who helps women in dangerous situations to disappear and start new lives. It was such fun to research this book and learn the tricks of her trade!

Do you write hot, medium or mild?

I’d say medium, but based on feedback I get from readers, it seems everyone has their own spectrum.

 

What’s one piece of advice you’d share with any aspiring author?

Persistence is key. Expect some rejections, don’t get discouraged, and keep writing stories from your heart.

How many times were you rejected before you made your first sale / landed an agent?

I definitely stopped counting. At some point, I decided it’s better to keep looking forward.

Can you tell us what some of your other novels are?

THREAD OF FEAR and WHISPER OF WARNING both include characters you will see in UNTRACEABLE. My other novels include ONE LAST BREATH, ONE WRONG STEP, and the upcoming UNSPEAKABLE (summer 2010).

Okay, one embarrassing moment – especially if it has to do with writing.

Hmm… how about the time I went out for this formal business dinner with a group of authors and executives from my publishing house and accidentally walked into the men’s room. Yes, while people were in there.

What can we expect from you in the future? Any new WIP you can give us the skinny on?

UNTRACEABLE is the first in the Tracers Series, so I’m working on the subsequent books, UNSPEAKABLE and UNFORGIVABLE. The series is romantic suspense with an emphasis on forensic science as the characters chase down the bad guys in each story.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Yes, what are you guys reading these days? I’m always looking for my next favorite series (I love series books where I can really get to know the cast of characters). Any recommendations?

I’d like to thank Laura again for visiting. Please comment for a chance to win a signed copy of UNTRACEABLE, and a $20 Giftcard from Borders!

You can find Laura Griffin here:

www.lauragriffin.com

Here’s a Publishers Weekly interview with Laura Griffin: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6702113.html

Find UNTRACEABLE here at these direct links:

Amazon

B & N

Borders

And now, what I’m sure most of you have been waiting for: 

It’s  “GO!” time.


ECWC: Agent Panel: What They Want. (Or Not!)

October 19, 2009

without_literary_agent_criminal_366865

By Marie-Claude Bourque

Last week-end, I was very lucky to attend the wonderful Emerald City Writers Conference in Bellevue, WA. It’s great that I live so close.

The conference was a success as described here at Barbara Vey’s Blog (Publisher’s Weekly) .

I sat in front of a panel of impressive agents and editors and though I’d share what I heard from them here at Musetracks. So present at the panel, where agent Alexandra Machinist of the Linday Chester Literary Agency agent Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency, agent Steven Axelrod, editor Megan McKeever from Pocket Books, Wanda Ottewell from Harlequin (she edits the Superromance line) and editor Peter Senftleben of Kensington.

So here we go (disclaimer, this is what I heard, and maybe not what they actually said!)

On being asked about submission and pitching and what they hate, Senftleben said that if a book is not finished at the time of pitching, just don’t mention that. Pitch the book as is it is finished then send the whole thing if requested. And please don’t CC to all your agents on your list while doing an email submission (yes, he said, it did happened to him.) Axelrod said he will forget any mistake in pitching and submissions if he thinks he can sell your book, Ottewell doesn’t like receiving manuscript that are not targeted to Superromance. Machinist cautions against saying that you are a cross of a all famous authors at once. Perhaps a name or two to get the flavor of your writing but not go overboard. McKeever loves authors who are excited about their book while pitching and that have creative ideas. She also remind writers to always include the ending of the story in the synopsis.

On author promotions, Senftleben pointed that more and more publishing houses rely on authors promoting themselves and that attending writers conferences such as RWA are a great way to network, which may help in finding authors willing to provide cover quotes. On the other hand, Axelrod said that online promotion doesn’t really work that much and authors should really focus on writing a good book. Spencer also said that promotion is on the author’s plate more than ever. Authors still need to realize that their priority is to write their best book but they also do have to do something towards promoting themselves. Machinist warned authors not to get too obsessed with Amazon ranking.

On romantic comedy, whether it is a dead genre or not, Senftleben said that nothing is ever out but some things are more in favor at times and romantic comedy is still equated with chic lit which is down at this time. Axelrod commented that romantic comedy come and go and that is very hard to write universal romantic comedy, a humor that will please a lot at once. Spencer said that it doesn’t help to say it is funny in a query. She recommends calling it contemporary. Your humor will be obvious at first read and she suggests focusing on your voice while writing.

On epub, Senftleben said that sales for electronic books at Kensington are not that big 5-7% of total sales. Axelrod said the market was about to explode and that it was a fabulous way to distribute books, especially for commercial books. He pointed that it would be harder for literally fiction who depend on independent bookstores for their distribution and promotion. Ottewell mentioned that the good thing about ebooks was that books would not go out of print and Spencer mentioned that we do need to pay attention to that trend and that 5-7% of Dan Brown latest sale was still a large number of readers out there willing to buy electronics.

With fellow GSRWA member and Dorchester author Gayle Ann Williams

With fellow GSRWA member and Dorchester author Gayle Ann Williams at ECWC

On what it meant when an agent said that a submission was almost right but not quite, most on the panel agreed that this was a polite way of saying they passed on it. Senftleben also mentioned that to take in a submission, not only does he have to love it, but it also have to be good enough for all the other editors.

On what they are looking for, Senftleben takes all kinds of romance including erotica and please no terrorists, Axelrod is looking for wonderful storytellers, Ottewell wants depth, complexity and emotion for her HQ Superromance line. McKeever tell writers to write what you want to write and what you are good at. In romance, she takes paranormal, suspense and historical. She also said she likes sexy book. Nothing sweet.

So there you are. Get writing, and pitch and submit.

I was lucky enough to do a group pitch to Megan McKeever and she basically started our meeting by telling everyone to send their first chapter and synopsis. It seems to be the norm these days as far as I can see.  So next time you pitch, I suggest you relax and just show why you are so passionate about your story!


Agent Shop

July 27, 2009

This months ‘Agent Shop’ will host:

Scott Eagan from the Greyhaus Literary Agency.
http://www.greyhausagency.com/

 

Please visit his site and take the time to read his likes and dislikes. He is one of the few agents who really spell out what they are looking for or not looking for – VERY clearly.

 

August 2nd is “GO” day. Hope to see you all then!

 

Stop by and register at www.textnovel.com to vote.

FirefighterMy story, ‘STAY’ is currently in third place in the Next Best Celler Contest and listed first under the Contemporary Romance catagory. If you like what you read, give it a thumbs up, and click on the cellphone icon or the follow button to receive an e-mail when I post a new chapter. Every vote helps me get closer to the finals! Comments are welcome as well!

 

 

 

See you all on the 2nd.

Good Luck!


Pitching: Scoring a Home Run

June 24, 2009

Song of the Day: Bullet With Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins

With the RWA National Conference right around the corner, there has been quite a lot of buzz recently about pitching. What is pitching? Pitching is winding up your best fast ball (your novel) to deliver to a batter (an agent or editor) in the major league game of publishing. This is a little different than baseball. The goal is not to strike out the batter. Nope. The goal is having your ball, polished perfect and aerodynamic, make solid contact with the batter — at the very least hitting a base run.backe

Pitching can come in different forms. The most common is the sit down, face-to-face, in the flesh pitch, usually by appointment. Another type of pitch has been dubbed the “elevator” pitch. This usually occurs in passing or in casual conversation. An agent/editor may ask you what you are writing in the elevator, on a taxi ride, standing in a line, while waving dollar bills around at the male stripper club. There is also on-line pitching, such what we here at MuseTracks have provided. An agent or editor occasionally may use an internet blog or contest to harvest pitches.

So what exactly is a pitch? Well, a pitch is your story condensed down into a 30 second marketable spiel. It’s much like a blurb on the back of a book cover or a show’s listing in the TV Guide. A pitch can be one sentence or a short paragraph.

I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to perform my own pitches for a panel of agents. I know first-hand how daunting the experience can be. Although my knees knocked and I swear I acted like a babbling fool who just endured a root canal, I did received requests for a full from all the agents. Honestly, they may have just taken pity on me as I floundered on the table in front of them like a pathetic fish out of water. Or maybe, just maybe, I generated enough interest and they wanted to see more.

How do you put together a pitch? Geez! It’s just as hard as writing that dreaded synopsis. Fortunately, there are many with great advice on crafting a pitch and workshops are often available online. But I have found the teachings of Sharon Mignerey, author and writing instructor, to be the most concise and easy to grasp. She touts Dwight Swain’s craft book Techniques of the Selling Writer. According to him, there are five elements that can be found in every story.

baseball_hunk*a character

* a situation the character is in

*the objective or goal

*an obstacle such as a villain, complication, antagonist

*the disastrous outcome if the objective or goal is not achieved

Apply these elements together in just a few sentences and you will have created a well-rounded pitch.

Easier said than done? Use the elements above like a questionnaire. Fill in the blanks. Try to answer these questions for someone who hasn’t read your project. Get help from your critique partners or writing buddies. I promise you can whittle it down until you feel ready to hurl that baby at the agent/editor with confidence. You want to pique their interest. If you do that, they are likely to ask questions about your story. At that point, it will be as easy as a cake walk.

When you do step into the playing field, be sure to give the agent/editor the pertinent information they want before you start your pitch. What genre, where it takes place, who the target audience is and the approximate word count. Think of it as a launch pad. “My finished manuscript is a 71,000 word historical set in 18th century Caribbean targeted for St. Martin Press.” Now you’re ready for the wind up.

But wait! There’s more! Here are a few more tips you should consider before stepping on the mound.

Do your research on the agent/editor. Know what they are looking for, what they like and who they represent. Read their bios and blogs. Just don’t stalk them. That’s a no-no and could get you a restraining order.

Never pitch a manuscript that is not complete. If an agent/editor requests your story, they generally want it now, not several months later when you write THE END. By then, they may have different interests and quite possibly see you as unorganized and ill-prepared. Pitching an unfinished manuscript wastes their time and yours.

Get in the bull-pen and practice. Recite your pitch for your buddies and critique partners.

Dress nice. Choose business casual over the cute tank, Daisy Duke cut-offs and flip-flops.

Don’t bring manuscript pages or disks to your appointment. It’s presumptuous and most agents would prefer you follow their submission guidelines.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get to know the agent/editor.

In the same breath, once your pitch is done, and they’ve asked to see more, don’t linger. Get their business card, thank them and excuse yourself. That is the polite and professional way to end the pitch session.

Be confident, but not cocky. Be excited about your project, but not tooleageofthereown freaky. There are no cheerleaders in baseball. And don’t become too emotional. There’s no crying in baseball either! Silly analogies, I know.

Above all, relax. They are probably a little nervous. After all, they’re looking to score, too. If you are calm, cool and collected, you’ll both feel relaxed and you just may hear the crraaackk of your fast ball. It’s going, going, GONE!


BLURB THIS

June 16, 2009

The next Agent Shop date is July 5th 2009.

 

Just for the fun of it, and to give everyone a chance to get a pitch in, we’re going to have a contest and the winner gets first spot in the pitch line-up for this session.

Pretty simple – just like the agent shop rules.

I’ve posted a story idea…

Your job from there is to decide where you think the story should go. Any direction as long as it’s Romance. Scary, funny, sexy, inspy, para, and give it any interesting twist you want. Totally up to you.

You write the blurb – you know, like on the back of a book…

The blurb must be 50 words or less and you can post it on the regular blog anytime after I post. We’ll take posts/blurbs until June 20th.

We (the MuseTrackers) will vote for our collective favorite and post the winner on June 28th – a week before the ‘Agent Shop’ day.

 

That’s it.

Here’s the prompt:

She walked into the church with an impending sense of doom hung over her conscience. The stares turned her way by the others assembled did little to bolster her nerves, nor did the soft rhythm of the harp’s lilting melody.

Why had she agreed to do this? Why had she even come? There were hundreds of reasons she should have stayed in her room at the cozy little Inn. Hundreds of reasons to run from the imposing figure of the strange man that had yet to notice her arrival. He waited less than twenty feet – no, eighteen feet away. Her footsteps faltered, but she pushed on.

She couldn’t turn back now. There was too much at stake…

GOOD LUCK!


Stats & Congrats

June 9, 2009

Bitch Track: Sorry this is so late – but after losing two teeth at a baseball game, it took us a visit to the E.R., and a dentist before I was able to get my 8yr. old home and spoil him with T.L.C. Most of us are parents, so I know you’ll understand.

Bliss Track: Agent Shop was more successful than I could have hoped…

 

Well, the agents week to shop is up. Pitches are down, and the doors are closed. For now.

So, here’s the skinny:

Out of fourteen different agent blogs/websites, I compiled a mean average of 98% rejection rates. OUCH!

So the good news is, the pitches that came in must have been pretty darn good.

Out of thirty pitches, there were:

1 – Full request
11 – Partials

That’s much higher than 98%.

OUTSTANDING!

You’ve all been so kind with your thanks and appreciation, and we at MuseTracks couldn’t be happier.

As a matter of fact, just for the fun of it, we’re going to hold a contest for next months pitch session.

I’ll post the contest on June 19th. It’s pretty simple. The post will contain a prompt – or short idea of a story. You can imagine the story goes any direction/sub genre of raomance you’d like, funny, scary, or anything in between. For the contest, I’d like you to write a 50 word blurb for that story.

The best one – voted on by MuseTracks members – wins…. AN AUTOMATIC IN FOR THE NUMBER ONE SPOT in the next pitch session.

So that’s it. Glad you all could make it. As always, the Agents attending will be posted the week before the session and the rules are the same. Hope to see you all back on July 5th.

In the meantime – keep writing.

Candi 😉