Link of the Week – MuseTracks Agent/Editor Shop

March 22, 2016

It’s been a long hiatus but MuseTracks is bringing sexy back. Er, I mean Agent/Editor Shop.

Here are the quickie deets. Got a great polished, ready-to-go story? Want to fast track it in front of an agent or editor? Send it to MuseTracks during a predetermined limited time. We post it on MuseTracks for an agent or editor to “shop”. Just like in a supermarket or atrociously lit dressing room,  after squeezing for freshness or trying on the latest fashion, if the agent or editor finds something they like, they will let us know. We, in turn, will contact you with the details—where and what (full or partial) to send. It’s no fuss, no muss, no cost, and a nothing to lose approach.

It’s been a long time since we hosted an Agent/Editor Shop. We are pleased to announce Borough Publishings will be our editor guest March 27th. Get those pitches ready!bpg-badge

For more info, click HERE or just click the above Agent/ Editor Shop tab in the menu bar.


Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Opportunity.

August 18, 2010

Song of the day:  Should’ve Known Better by Cinder Road

When opportunity knocks, answer the door. What lay on the other side may surprise you. Sure, if it makes you feel better, look through the peep hole. But answer the door.

WWJD - What Would Jones Do?

As writers, every opportunity is a golden one. Fortunately for us, there are loads of gold nuggets. We need them, too. This business of writing and publication is riddled with obstacles, pitfalls and hair-pin curves. Time and again, we are bowled over by a giant dream-crushing boulder, our resolve is rattled and we cower in self-pity to lick our wounds.

I encounter my first brush with opportunity while in college four years ago. My professor from a wildly interesting creative writing course encouraged me to take a short story written for the class and expand it into a novel. I took the task as a challenge and quit school. Though I didn’t write the romantic comedy he liked so much, I wrote my first pirate historical in under seven months.

Oh, it's you, Orlando. I've been waiting for your call.

Shortly after writing said novel, I quickly learned New York wasn’t interested. What? Hard to believe, I know. Apparently, I had some silly issues with POV, verb tense, and “showing not telling”. Pshaw! This led me to pick up Janet Evanovich’s How I Write book. In it she mentions Romance Writers of America. I had a favorite author thanking this very organization. Hmm…maybe RWA is something to check out. Brrriiing. Brrriiing. Hello, opportunity?

Soon, I signed up with RWA and began enjoying the networking, education and genuine support of my local chapter. I strengthened my craft, hit the contest circuit running, co-founded this blog, became a Golden Heart® finalist, attended RWA’s annual conferences and accepted a position on my chapter’s board; all this in a little more than two years. These chains of events were like a rapid succession of gunfire.

An opportunity is never lost. It's just found by someone else.

Each opportunity grabbed is another step toward my dream of a successful writing career. I don’t trip over good fortune. It doesn’t land in my lap. If it did, I’d be basking in the glow of my latest five book deal, sipping a fruity rum concoction on a pristine beach in the Caribbean. No, I shed a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to lay down each cobblestone in my yellow brick road before I walk upon it. If opportunity crosses my path, I’m going to grab it, wrestle it to the ground, and make it my bi-atch.

Opportunity comes in many guises.

It may be subtle, a casual conversation at the coffee shop, a comment on a blog, or a website visited. Sometimes it is abrupt, slapping you and making you scream uncle in a contest score, critique group, and even in a rejection letter.

Aside from contests, blogs, and critique groups, there are many other places opportunity can be found. Judging, attending meetings, participating in online discussion and classes, writing challenges — yep, fortuity can be found in every facet of this industry.  The key is to recognize opportunity, no matter how insignificant it may seem at first, and act upon it in such a way that will benefit you.

Opportunity runs rampant at conferences, too. You may find it in the elevator, at dinner, volunteering, attending a workshop, and, hopefully during an agent/editor appointment.

OMG! Please, please, please don't let him read it!

Take for example the RWA conference in Orlando a few weeks ago. I happened upon an editor in the hotel lobby who has had my manuscript since February. I have since added more layers of depth to my characters and two new scenes. Like a love letter accidentally sent, I didn’t want the editor reading my manuscript. The horror! It is so much better now. Really. I would simply die if the old version was read. Call me a nut job, but I struck up a conversation with the editor and asked if I could resubmit it. Here, I have done three things. I have now made face-to-face contact with this editor. I am no longer just a name in the manuscript header. I have saved myself the embarrassment of my first love letter being read. Plus, I have given myself a chance to present my new and improved masterpiece. Whoop! There it is. Opportunity.

But wait! There’s more. I had just signed in for my agent appointment when a volunteer asked the waiting group if anyone wanted to pitch to editor so-and-so. I hadn’t even sat down to look over my notes, practiced what I would say in my head, or prayed to the gods for a successful pitch. But I recognized the opportunity. I knew of this editor and what she accepted. You bet I raised my hand. This happened not once, but TWICE. On top of my scheduled two appointments, I ended up with four. I walked away with two requests for a partial, one request for a full and given the freedom of name-dropping to four more agents. Cha-ching! Opportunity!

Moral of the story? Never ignore opportunity knocking. Open the door. Chances are something good will come of it.

I’d love to hear about an opportunity you may have answered.


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!


Today’s The Day

May 30, 2009

Okay – Today’s the day.

 

I want to wish everyone luck!

 

Remember to stop sending when I post “STOP”. It won’t take long to reach thirty pitches so please check back.

 

Ready?

Set?

“GO”!