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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.

Pat, Chris and Other Gender-Neutral Names

Don’t forget: When addressing a literary agent in a query letter, it should always be in the form of “Dear Mr./Ms. Robinson:” However, feel free to break this rule when you are addressing … Read more

Old School Rap Medley Decision … and the Hunt for Catholic Parish Festivals

Well, I put out an APB for a good old-school rap song to include in an old-school rap medley.  We got a bunch of good suggestions, and we ended up going with … Read more

Concerning Agents and E-Mail Attachments

Q. I have been using Guide to Literary Agents since 2006 as a resource to find an agent for my husband’s fiction novel.  The one thing that confuses me is the submission … Read more

Conflicting Advice About Query Formatting

Q. I’m hoping that you can provide us readers with some advice about dealing with conflicting advice and expectations from different agents.  For example, while reading about query letters in the 2-12-09 … Read more

My State of the Industry Post

I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of the publishing industry lately, and how that relates to agents and writers … and I gotta tell ya … It’s kind of depressing.  … Read more

New Agent Alert: Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary

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Kristin Nelson, of Nelson Literary in Denver, has announced that her long-time assistant, Sara Megibow, is now a full acquiring agent. Sara has worked with Kristin for some time (and therefore has probably learned everything she ever needed to know about agenting), and has helped sell several books. Read more

Around the WD Properties: 2-9-2009

Here’s what’s going on around all the great Writer’s Digest peeps and properties. Alice Pope, editor of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market, is hosting a webinar titled You Can Write Children’s Books. … Read more

Bright Spot: Agents Still Actively Seeking Children's Stuff

Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market editor Alice Pope was at the winter SCBWI conference in Manhattan this past weekend and blogged all about it. Maybe my favorite part of everything I read on … Read more

Where Can Writers Examine GOOD Query Letters?

Q. I noticed that your current GLA e-newsletter published another “terrible” query letter to remind authors what they should not do. I remember that you provided plenty of those letters at the … Read more

Looking for an Old-School Rap Song Suggestion for a Cover Band Medley

So my cover band is putting together an “Old School Rap Medley” to feature older rap from the late 80s and early 90s – mostly songs that were fairly bad yet incredibly … Read more

Announcing Signature Literary: Ellen Pepus & Gary Heidt

I just got an e-mail from Gary Heidt, who said he is leaving FinePrint Literary Agency to found a new agency called Signature Literary.  He is joined at the agency by co-founder … Read more

A Pitch vs. A Synopsis: The Difference and Definitions (and ‘What is a Good Synopsis Length?’)


Q. In a query, should the synopsis tell the whole story in a short form or should it leave mystery to the story like on the back of the book?

A. Queries and synopses are different things. You would never find a synopsis in a query.
A query is a one-page letter that explains what you’ve written, who you are, and why the agent should represent you. In a query letter will be a pitch, which is a explanation of your story in 3-8 sentences. It’s like the text you see on the back of a DVD box. It’s designed to pique your interest. A pitch, like the back of a book or DVD, will not spill the beans regarding the ending.
A synopsis is a front-to-back telling of what happens in your story. It’s like sitting down with a 12-year-old and explaining your entire story in about five minutes. Read more

Should Canadians Seek a Canadian Literary Agent?

Q. If I am a Canadian writer, am I better to seek a Canadian agent or publisher versus a U.S.-based agent? A. Good question.  Look into both.          Some Canadian publishers … Read more

Can You Send More Than 5 Pages?

Q. I’ve noticed that many agents ask for the first five pages of your manuscript in their query submission guidelines. I was wondering what to do if the first five pages cuts … Read more

CWIM Blog: Interview With Agent Elana Roth


My awesome co-worker, Alice Pope, recently interviewed Elana Roth over on the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market blog. Read more

Agent Advice: Courtney Miller-Callihan


This installment features Courtney Miller-Callihan, of Sanford J. Greenberger Associates. Courtney began her career in publishing at Random House, where she spent a number of years in subsidiary rights sales and in contracts before joining Sanford J. Greenburger Associates in 2005. Courtney holds a B.A. in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a M.A. in English from The Johns Hopkins University.

She is seeking: She looks for nonfiction projects on unusual topics, science, personal finance, business, pop culture, lifestyle books, and craft books. In addition, Courtney is seeking new voices in literary fiction, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Solid credentials are a must. She also represents a limited number of children’s book authors and illustrators. Read more

Writing Conferences: 4 Things to Know

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A writer friend of mine who does a lot more than write, Kerrie Flanagan, has a nice blog post up about what it’s like to go to a writers’ conference for the first time, and her “Four Rules” for getting the most out one. It’s up on her blog, which is called “The Writing Bug.” Read more

Classifying Your Work

Q. When classifying your book should you be more general and just consider it ‘suspense’ vs. ‘murder mystery suspense’? A: More specific is always good!  It shows that you have done research … Read more

Agent Katharine Sands On Book Proposals


So I finished a book proposal in December and passed it on to my agent.  Just a few days later, when talking to Katharine Sands (superagent extraordinaire), she mentioned that she would … Read more

Agent Advice: Sammie Justesen of Northern Lights Literary Services


This installment features Sammie Justesen, of Northern Lights Literary Services, LLC. She represents genre fiction and all areas of nonfiction. Read more

Cover Band Soap Opera: Which John Mellancamp Song Should We Play?

At my last cover band gig (here in Cincinnati), band members decided it was time to learn a few more new songs, such each of the four of us get to pick … Read more

Speaking of Agents and Self-Published Books

A few days ago, I got word from agent extraordinare Sharlene Martin about a self-published book she picked up and sold for big money in an auction.  (Congrats, Sharlene.) Media Bistro has … Read more

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