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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ONE-STOP SHOP FOR PUBLICATION...minus a manuscript...and a query letter...and some other things like motivation, time, and more time...

This blog is a resource for children's writers who are pursuing publication. In my experience, things like keeping tabs on agent blogs has been helpful, particularly when they include topics such as "Why I Reject" and "Why I Stop Reading." Those of you already firmly entrenched deep in the query jungle may realize that knowing what NOT to do is a much easier checklist to nail than what TO do...that list, unfortunately, varies from agent to agent.

I'm not writing anything new here--think of this as my personal office of information (hopefully it will stay more organized than my actual office) that you can visit briefly before choosing a blog post of someone wiser and more experienced. Look to the right for the lovely categories currently in my buffet line (drumroll please):

AGENT BLOGS TO FOLLOW- Do you read agent blogs? You should! Okay, sorry. I hate being bossy, but they really give you insight into an agent's job and reaction to your queries. They're also a great way to get a handle on their personality, because agents are, in fact, humans with feelings. Not every post is going to be full of golden nuggets of wisdom specifically designed for YOU, but it's a great way to appreciate the amazing multi-tasking abilities of these guys. This list is just a selection that I happen to keep track of--send me any ones I should add to the list.

QUERYLISCIOUS- There are so many places that tell you how to write a query letter, and it can make a would-be author bleary eyed just looking at the options. These are NOT general step-by-step technical advice posts. These are posts I find interesting that have to do with query letters and what agents are/aren't looking for.

HONE YOUR CRAFT, DAMMIT!- While getting several thousand words grouped in one place is arguably an incredible accomplishment, there seems to be more to it when one is attempting to nab an agent. These are blog posts/articles related to things like style, characterization, tone, voice, etc.

PLACES FOR PRACTICE/FEEDBACK-The only link I have here right now is for Absolute Write, which is an AMAZING resource. Sign up, it's free. Sign up, it's free. Sign up. It's free. They have a "Writing for Kids" forum that you can visit that is brimming with published/aspiring authors who have tons of advice to share. It's a great place to ask questions, and when you've finished a query letter, you can post it in "Query Letter Hell" and get wonderful/painful critiques. You can also post excerpts of your work-in-progress or finished masterpiece in the Children's Show Your Work forum. Get your butt over there and just take a look. It's a little intimidating at first, but nothing is more freeing than remaining anonymous and having a world full of people willing to give you a critique. It's a friendly and productive place for writers and would-be-writers alike, and if you type in an agent's name under the SEARCH option, they have an ongoing conversation about pretty much every agent/agency out there. So, sign up. It's free.

**UPDATE** I added Miss Snark's First Victim. This website is a wonderful place to enter contests that are peer and agent reviewed. Reading the comments people make on the excerpts of others is a valuable way to spot mistakes/room for improvement in your own manuscript.

RESEARCHING AGENTS- These are a few standard places to check when researching agents. Select your genre and wait for the magical list of agents who are dying to see your work...PS, always double-check and cross-reference with other websites to make sure the agent is still seeking your genre!

MIDDLE GRADE AGENT LIST- Have you checked out these agents? Coming soon!

The links and lists provided are those that I have found helpful in learning about the journey behind the untapped creative talent that is currently seething with possibility beneath the electronic paperwork of agents everywhere.

At some point, this will contain an updated list of the week's agent/author blog posts that I think are fabulous, or somewhat interesting, or include cool pictures. That way, you all can pop in once a week to catch up on what's hot, according to Jess.

I'm trying to keep it simple, and will update items when I can. Suggestions on other topics that should be compiled (list of agents susceptible to flattery, list of agents only looking for burping, farting, twelve-year-old protagonists, etc.) are welcome.