I’m heading for Santa Cruz at the end of the month to take a three-day writing workshop, put on by the Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop. It was recommended by a long-time writer friend, Sheryl Scarborough, who’s attended and been on staff. Attendees get a chance to have their work reviewed by an agent and an editor, as well as hearing peer critiques.
I’ve sent in most of The Story Store, and am reading others’ sample chapters. Looking forward to it. I’ll FB or blog or something while I’m there, time permitting. It looks like a full schedule.
I went to a writers conference in LA and met a freelance editor, Laura Garwood. She agreed to give The Story Store a read. What follows (here and in subsequent posts) are her observations, abbreviated for length.
Thank you so much for entrusting me with The Story Store. I sincerely enjoyed reading it, and felt invested in Alex and his family. I also felt carried along in the suspense and action. I do have some suggestions for you, however, as you revise. A lot of my comments and suggestions have less to do with throwing away what’s already on the page and more to do with building some more structure and details into it.
You have done a good job of maintaining just one point of view in each section, which is important. However, I think we need to beef up Sara’s point of view, mostly in the beginning. We get a lot of Alex’s chapters, and very few of Sara’s there. We thus end up not knowing her nearly as well as Alex, her backstory could use some strengthening. She is supposed to do a lot of drugs, but we don’t particularly see her doing that or see her under the influence.
She was very good, and inspired me to begin draft #6. More to follow.
After numerous requests — I think it was Andy who asked — I’ve decided to post the first pages of my book, The Story Store. I’ve been sending out queries and getting rejected — 41 and counting — but at the Chicago BookExpo, I met an editor for a big publishing house who requested the entire MS.
So I’m hopeful. But then I’d be in some other line of work if I weren’t an optimist.
OK, so you’ve written and rewritten and rewritten your query letter, and you’ve done your research into other query letters, especially ones that have resulted in request for the entire book (at this stage, that’s gold).
Now it’s time to send out that gem-like prose, your query letter. But to whom? No publisher will read queries, manuscripts or even Post-It notes that come in “over the transom,” as the saying goes. To get your book directly to a publisher, you will have to have a friend or client at the publishing house.
That’s why you need an agent. They are the middle-men and (mostly)-women who have relationships with publishers, and who can get your book in front of an editor, with luck, an editor the agent knows is right for your book.
Now it’s time to find that agent.
You want to find an agent who represent your kind of book. If (like me) you’ve written a YA, or Young Adult, novel, you’ll want an agent familiar with that market. Likewise for thriller, romance, picture books or self-help. Google something like “the top [your category] agents.” Google will oblige you with any number of lists. Here are a few sites I’ve found useful: Continue reading →
The best part of yesterday was the chance to meet with the agents, publishers, coaches and packagers one-on-one. It was a kind of speed-dating setup, with the presenters at tables and us attendees in line to talk with them.
My current aim (besides finishing my 3rd draft of The Story Store), is to get an agent, so I just met with them. Turns out, one agent also represents a writer friend. Always a good sign. Continue reading →