This post is for Monday, July 5, 2010. I'm just posting it early.
Hi Everybody & An Early Happy Monday To You,
One of the things I love best about being an RWA & NWHRWA member is that I get some really awesome information on writing and submitting. I also get some great tips and suggestions from fellow writers.
The NWHRWA chapter had Agent Scott Eagan (check his blog out here) come speak to us Saturday (July 3rd) on pitching your story and selling yourself as an author.
One of the interesting things he said was that writing synopsises and such were not hard, it's just that we make them hard. He said that all we had to do was say what the story was about..."How you get from Point A to Point B." He says that getting it down to 1 page is great because then it's straight to the point and concise (although, side note here...some agents request a 3-10 page synopsis, so make very sure you read submission guidelines and pay attention to what each agent and editor wants. You have to tailor your query letter/pitch/synopsis/proposal according to what each individual requests and Scott emphasized that point more than once).
Scott said when submitting to him, you don't have to tell him every single scene and everything that happens. If it's a really cool thing, sure, tell him (that could be a selling point when he pitches your story to editors).
We had a chance to pitch to Scott after his talk. I didn't pitch for 2 important reasons:
1. My story isn't completely ready (still editing and polishing)
2. I came to realize that my story wasn't really what he's looking to represent (I have a form of shape shifters in my story, and that's not what he's looking for in terms of Paranormal).
Scott also said not to force yourself to submit and pitch if you weren't ready. He said you have to be ready and be prepared. That gave several of the NWHRWA members a sigh of relief. They'd been feeling like they had to as soon as possible. But Scott said no, he said do it when you're ready and prepared.
He also said to make sure you do your research--know which line your story would fit into.
He gave an interesting take on what lines a story would most fit based on the publishers you have on your shelf. He said whatever publisher you have the most of is probably the line (or "voice") you fit best with.
I haven't looked at all the books on my shelf, yet, but in the bookstore I sat down and thought "Well, probably have most of this one publisher, but in other cases, I'm all over the place!" But I was able to think of at least 3-4 that I probably had the most of on my bookshelf. So I thought "Well, that would be a good idea for me to research them and see if my stories would fit with them." That way I'd have a "target audience" (as the Lone Star Contest puts it) in mind, which, should an agent ask me, I'd have the answer to. (Important to think of what an agent would ask and be prepared with answers).
Like Scott said, it's about being ready and being prepared.
I highly recommend checking out his blog, even if he's not the agent for you. He gives good advice, he's specific, direct, and helpful--he's also encouraging.
Have A Melodious Monday!