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    Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents Blog

    Chuck Sambuchino is an editor and published author who runs the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, one of the biggest blogs in publishing. His site has instruction and information on literary agents, literary agencies, query letters, submissions, publishing, author platform, book marketing, and more.

    Interview With W. Bruce Cameron, Author of A DOG’S PURPOSE and 8 SIMPLE RULES FOR DATING MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER


    This interview is with W. Bruce Cameron, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of A DOG’S PURPOSE, which was bought by DreamWorks for a live-action film, with Cameron adapting the screenplay.

    Cameron is also the author of Emory’s Gift: A Novel, the NYT bestseller, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, which was turned into the hit ABC series that continues to run in syndication, and How to Remodel a Man (which was excerpted in O magazine and Cameron was a guest on Oprah). His latest novel, A Dog’s Journey, is the eagerly anticipated sequel to A Dog’s Purpose. Read more

    Author Tim O’Mara on How to Avoid Writer’s Block


    By the end of June, I had written the first 50,000 words, and I had July and August to finish the second half. Problem was, I didn’t know what word 50,001 was going to be. I knew I needed another scene with the victim’s mother and uncle, and also knew I needed a scene with the victim’s alcoholic father. What I didn’t know was what came next, so I allowed myself to do something I’d never attempted before … I wrote out of sequence. Read more

    An Interview With Writer Michael Seese, Winner of Tunesday Volume 1


    Recently, I started a new challenge on the GLA Blog called “Tunesday.” I play musical riffs on the guitar or piano and ask people to identify the riffs. Volume 2 is live right now (through Dec. 19, 2012). But the winner of the first edition of Tunesday was guitar riff wizard Michael Seese. As part of winning the contest, he gets an interview on the GLA Blog. Learn more about Michael, his current helpful e-books, and his path to get published! Read more

    WD’s Tunesday: Volume 2 — Name That Tune and Win Awesome Writing Stuff


    Enjoy a little rock & roll music from time to time? Who doesn’t? Well I’m trying something fun and different (again!) today as a Tuesday pick-me-up to try and get your week going. It’s my own crazy variation of NAME THAT TUNE and I’m calling it WD’S TUNESDAY. This is Volume 2. It runs until Dec. 19, 2012. The rules and the gist are simple. Watch the video. I play 12 riffs on my guitar. You try to name as many of them as you can, and e-mail me your answers to literaryagent at fwmedia dot com. The person who names the most correct answers gets lots of cool prizes (see below). Read more

    How I Got My Agent: Coreene Callahan


    “How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Coreene Callahan, author of several books, including the newly released KNIGHT AWAKENED. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent.

    TAKING MY TIME WITH THE PITCH: I met my literary agent in a karaoke bar over a tequila shot. She was celebrating the signing of a book contract with one of her authors, and I got swept into the group. An unusual way to begin a professional relationship, I know, but…hey. I’ve always been the kind of person who opens the door when opportunity comes knocking. But here’s the thing… Read more

    How I Met My Editor and Agent, by Martha Brockenbrough


    … As I sat there, marinating in a self-concocted brine of shame, a faculty member chose a seat near mine. I glanced at his nametag: Arthur Levine, the legendary editor from Scholastic. As I wished for an invisibility cloak, the speaker at the lectern reminded us to turn off our cell phones. At that very moment, Arthur’s phone rang. He blushed, clapped his hand to his heart, switched off the phone in his jacket pocket, and excused himself. When he returned a moment later, he whispered that he had a small child at home and could never be out of touch. Because I had a child the same age, I understood completely. But he impressed me on another level. It didn’t matter to Arthur that he was our keynote speaker, the most important man in the room. When his phone rang, he was as embarrassed as I would be. Read more

    Agent Holly Root Teaches “Writing the Breakout Teen Novel” — Dec. 6, 2012 Webinar With Query Critique


    For those of you who don’t follow literary agent Holly Root on Twitter, you should know that there is a reason she has 13,000 followers. She’s very smart and sells a lot of books. A big passion of hers is young adult and middle grade books. Her first webinar went so well that we’ve invited her back for more. Holly is teaching “Writing the Breakout Teen Novel” at 1 p.m., EST, on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. The webinar lasts 90 minutes. In addition to getting top-notch instruction, all attendees can also submit their query to Holly for a guaranteed critique. (And if she likes what she sees, she may just ask you for more. Literary agents Barbara Poelle, Lori Perkins and Kathleen Ortiz have all signed clients after critiquing writing as part of a WD webinar!) Read more

    New Literary Agent: Laura Biagi of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency


    She is seeking: In the adult fiction realm, she is particularly interested in literary fiction, magical realism, cultural themes, and debut authors. She is drawn to strong voices, complex narrative arcs, dynamic and well-developed characters, psychological twists, and dystopian/apocalyptic literary fiction. In the young readers realm, she is seeking young adult novels, middle grade novels, and picture books. Read more

    Ben Rawlence: Read an Interview With the Author of RADIO CONGO


    Ben Rawlence is the author of RADIO CONGO: SIGNALS OF HOPE FROM AFRICA’S DEADLIEST WAR (2012, One World). In this debut, Rawlence sets out to gather the news from this ghost town in one of the most dangerous places in the world. Ignoring the advice of locals, reporters, and mercenaries, he travels by foot, motorbike, and canoe, taking his time and meeting the people who are rebuilding their homes with hope, faith, and nervous instinct. We meet characters such Benjamin, the kindly father of the most terrifying Mai Mai warlord; Leya, who happily gives up a good job in Zambia to return to her razed town; Colonel Ibrahim, a guerrilla turned army officer. Rawlence shares the real story of Congo during and after the war, and finds not just a lost city but the seeds of a peaceful future. Read more

    6 Reasons to Check Out My New Book, CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM (Plus a Giveaway Contest)

    Platform Cover

    It’s a very exciting day for me. That’s because my most recent book on writing, CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM (Writer’s Digest Books), is now available everywhere. So very cool! This book is near to my heart because I’ve long taught on the importance of platform and feel like the topic will only be more prevalent as time goes on. So read below to learn 6 very good reasons to check out the book and then see about the giveaway happening right now (ends Dec. 3, 2012)! Read more

    7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Trebor Healey


    3. Use public transportation and talk to strangers. There’s a wealth of material out there on the bus. It’s where I learned about dog exorcism and the training regimen of a boxer. You can even try out your own characters with random people. You can be anybody on a bus—it’s quite liberating. Use it as a classroom and approach people who you might never meet in your daily routine. And listen, listen. I guarantee you if you just ride a bus around for an hour, a short story or two will emerge.

    GIVEAWAY: Trebor is excited to give away a free copy of his novel, FAUN, to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: LynnFlickinger1 won.) Read more

    How to Make Your WordPress Website Stand Out in a Crowd: New 11-29-12 Webinar With Jane Friedman


    WordPress is quickly becoming the go-to technology for any writer who wants to start a simple yet very effective website for themselves. (And remember, a website is the #1 tool a writer has to meet readers, market themselves, sell books, and become a more valuable author to agents & editors.) With that in mind, we’ve brought back popular webinar instructor Jane Friedman to teach “Wordpress Websites 101: Best Practices, Tools & Growth Strategies” — a 90-minute webinar on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. She will address things like how to have your site make money, how to show up higher in Google search results, and more! Read more

    Bruce Coston Interview: Meet the Author of THE GIFT OF PETS


    This author interview is with Bruce R. Coston, DVM, a companion animal veterinarian in Woodstock, Virginia. He graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and completed an internship in Rochester, New York. He founded Seven Bends Veterinary Hospital , where he still practices, in 1992. He enjoys writing, golfing, spending time on the lake, scuba diving, and spending time with his family (which includes a dog and three cats). He has two books in print. ASK THE ANIMALS was released in 2009. THE GIFT OF PETS released on August 7, 2012 (both St. Martins Press). Bruce is married and has two sons, Jace and Tucker. Read more

    7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Noelle Sterne


    1. After all the time, send-outs, get-backs, and hard work, the ecstasy of acceptance is fabulous and tear-filled. Let yourself scream, cry, feel the nervous soaring rise in your chest. If you can share it with someone, all the better.

    GIVEAWAY: Noelle is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: leeannniazi won.) Read more

    New Literary Agent: Yassine Belkacemi of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management


    He is seeking: any literary fiction that has a transatlantic setting or deals with themes of immigration. He has a deep interest in fiction that is set in the contemporary American West, and is also on the lookout for historical and hardboiled/noir fiction. On the nonfiction side, he is enthusiastic about projects that examine cultural politics, nationalism, pop culture and mass media. Read more

    Literary Agent Interview: Elena Mechlin of Pippin Properties, Inc.


    “Agent Advice” (this installment featuring agent Elena Mechlin) is a series of quick interviews with literary agents and script agents who talk with Guide to Literary Agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else. This series has more than 170 interviews so far with reps from great literary agencies. This collection of interviews is a great place to start if you are just starting your research on literary agencies.

    This installment features Elena Mechlin of Pippin Properties, Inc. She joined Pippin of 2009, after having begun her publishing career in subsidiary rights and moving on to children’s book marketing. She is seeking: young adult, middle-grade, and children’s fiction. Read more

    The Value of “Show, Don’t Tell” In Your Writing


    When I first started to write fiction and send my manuscripts out for feedback, the first and most frequent thing my readers said was “Show, don’t tell.”

    In theory, I understood what this meant. But it was almost impossible for me to put it into practice after comments such as, “Why don’t you show your character sitting in a café getting frustrated with her friend? I’d really like to see that happening, rather than just being told it’s happening. It would give us a lot more insight into their characters.”

    GIVEAWAY: Jessica is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners can live anywhere in the world. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: MarkR won.) Read more

    3 Reasons Why Thinking Like an Actor Will Help Your Writing

    Screen shot 2012-04-15 at 7.51.40 PM

    I used to be an actor. Then I became a fiction writer. This transition had very little to do with a spine-injuring production of The Tempest. Neither swords nor backstage ghosts were involved, whatever rumors you might have heard. In any case, several theatrical skills and lessons turned out to be useful in my new profession. I hereby present three of my favorites:

    1) You can’t be the actor and the director at the same time. Let me clarify: You can direct and perform in the same show. But you cannot do so at the same time. You must switch hats. Sometimes it helps to use actual hats. Do not attempt to wear both hats at once. Read more

    Books Tours: 7 Things I Learned About Marketing Books


    1. Physical tours can still sell a lot of books. I know, I know, lots of people say the book tour is dead. And yes, most authors, even famous authors, don’t draw crowds the way they used to. But at least for the young adult and children’s market, it is still possible to put together an author tour that sells well. How do I know? Here’s a list of the top ten markets for my debut novel, ASHFALL, at the end of November last year as my physical book tour was winding down. The data are from Nielsen Bookscan:

    GIVEAWAY: Mike is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: vrundell won.) Read more

    Author Interview: Craig Heimbuch, Author of AND NOW WE SHALL DO MANLY THINGS


    Below find a Q&A with humorous memorist Craig Heimbuch, author of AND NOW WE SHALL DO MANLY THINGS: DISCOVERING MY MANHOOD THROUGH THE GREAT (AND NOT-SO-GREAT) AMERICAN HUNT (Oct 2012, HarperCollins), which follows his adventures in learning a cherished family pastime – hunting. It is the witty, moving, and insightful story of one man’s quest to free himself from the shackles of his domesticated suburban lifestyle by immersing himself for one year in the hunting culture his family has always cherished. Read more

    Literary Agent Kate McKean Teaches “Awesome First Pages: How to Start Your Story Right” — Webinar With Critique on Nov. 15, 2012


    No longer can writers compose books that “really start to cook on page 40.” Books must start strong from the very first page. Your first paragraph, your first sentence, your first few pages — they all must have momentum and conflict and purpose. They cannot be fluff. Weak starts to stories is one of the most frequent reasons agents & editors reject submissions. Lucky for us, we have an expert on the subject. One of our most popular webinar instructors, literary agent Kate McKean, has returned to teach “Awesome First Pages: How to Start Your Story Right” on November 15, 2012. Read more

    New Literary Agent: Gemma Cooper of The Bent Agency


    About Gemma: She is a new agent at The Bent Agency, run by Jenny Bent. In her own words: “Although I’m in London now, I lived in NYC for three years and regularly visit, so I’m going to be representing authors from the UK and the US. I look forward to reading your work and really appreciate you sharing it with me.”

    She is seeking: All kinds of books for children. See more on the page. Read more

    My Daughter, Geneva Rose, Is Here! Meet My Baby Who Arrived on Halloween

    SO ADORABLE. She loves that monkey.

    You may have noticed a major slowdown in blog content lately. It is not without good reason. The incredible news is that my first child — baby Geneva Rose — was born on Oct. 31, 2012. She is adorable and healthy and will grow up to play a mean bass guitar. (The last part was speculation.) Below find some images of her. Thank you for bearing with me as I get back to work and get great content up on here for you. Oh my goodness, I am a father … holy cow. Read more

    Promote Yourself and Your Books to Get Known & Build Your Platform


    The Writer’s Digest Premium Collection for November 2012 is called “Make a Name For Yourself.” The idea behind the WD premium collections is simple. We bundle tons of stuff and discount it a lot. In fact, this collection is discounted 81%! So if you want to learn how to network yourself, make connections, meet readers, and sell books, this premium collection for you. Learn more about the 3 books and many webinars included with this deal… Read more

    Literary Agent Interview: Helen Zimmermann of Helen Zimmermann Literary Agency

    Literary agent Helen Zimmerman

    This interview features literary agent Helen Zimmermann of Helen Zimmermann Literary Agency. She seeks writers of fiction and nonfiction. After more than 20 years in publishing—from the marketing department of Random House to Director of Advertising and Promotion for one of their imprints (The Crown Publishing Group) to Author Events Director at an independent bookstore, she founded her boutique agency in 2003 and enjoyed early success with the New York Times bestseller Chosen by A Horse. Read more

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