Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Conference on Thursday!

I will be attending the ASJA Writers Conference “Personal Pitch” event on Thursday, April 26, at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown.  You can go to their website,  http://www.asja.org/wc/, to learn more about the conference.  Looking forward to meeting everyone and finding some great new authors!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How Do They Do It?

I went to lunch with an editor the other day who kept bringing up recent NYT bestsellers she had just read and asking me if I had read them, and if so, had I liked them?  All I could think of was:


It’s not that I never get to read for fun… I recently blogged about reading LITTLE WOMEN, but it took me almost a month to finish!  I once was doing an interview where the interviewer asked me what I was currently reading and, I have to admit something…I fudged the truth.  Sort of.  I told her I was reading Bill Bryson’s AT HOME and Adrian Tinniswoods’ PIRATES OF THE BARBARY COAST.  I had been reading them; three weeks before that I had read the first chapter of each before I got really busy.  And since I put bookmarks in both and fully intended on starting them up again when I could, it counted as what I was “currently reading,” right?

She is probably reading GOSSIP GIRLS.

You see, my job is something that I am always doing.  I read manuscripts on the subway; I read manuscripts on the train; sometimes if it’s a slow day at the restaurant, I’ll read manuscripts there, too. During my “down time” before I go to sleep, I read some more manuscripts and go through my submissions so that I can request to read more.  If I didn’t love it so much, it would definitely have driven me crazy by this point.  If, for instance, I were an accountant (and trust me, this would be on an alternate universe) and I were continually crunching numbers 24/7, by now I would have chucked my calculator at someone big and important while also attempting to run away from asylum workers.  

This all boils down to the fact that I’d really just love to know this editor's secret. How does she get all of her manuscript reading done to have time to browse through Barnes & Noble and pick up something that strikes her fancy?  I bet it’s interns….

The intern of a leisure-reading editor.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Creepy Crawlies

I have just finished reading a new manuscript from one of my authors, titled THE CLEARING.  It is dark outside and I have tingles running up and down my spine, and even though I am a twenty-five-year-old (supposed) adult, I am definitely going to make one of my roommates go with me to the kitchen so I can get a glass of water.

The book is about a man who goes back to St. Lucia to unravel the events of his past.  As the son of a Canadian diplomat, Nate Mason’s family was part of an elite social circle, which included the island’s “royal family,” the De Villiers, who lived in a mansion deep in the jungle.  The book circles around the events that happened one night when Nate slept over the De Villiers, which resulted in the death of a boy and a secret pact that leads to the downfall of Nate’s own family.  It is full of intrigue, island magic, and a Caribbean legendary demon called a bolom—a dangerous creature charged with guarding the owners of plantations.

 A very non-scary picture of St. Lucia.

Dan’s first novel, THE JOURNALIST, is out on submission right now.  It is an incredible psychological thriller/mystery about what a desperate graduate student does to get into the world of journalism and become a rising star.  I showed it to an editor at Berkley Prime Crime, who said that she absolutely loved the story and the writing, but because it didn’t fit definitively into the “mystery” genre, that she wasn’t going to be able to buy it.

The funny thing is that I find myself drawn to books that can’t be clearly categorized.  I think that is part of what makes them good.  I feel optimistic that I will be able to find an editor for THE JOURNALIST and THE CLEARING who thinks so, too!  That is, I feel optimistic that I will be able to find an editor for THE JOURNALIST and THE CLEARING who thinks so, too in the morning, when the sun is out, and I am not thoroughly creeped out by thoughts of boloms and scary jungles filled with glowing eyes. 

Until then I am going to find Andrey, because I am getting really thirsty.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Building Your Platform

One of the things that it says in my Prospect Agency bio is that I am looking for authors with strong platforms.  Your platform is all about your visibility, which is used to publicize and promote your manuscript.  It very important for authors, especially non-fiction writers, to have a platform.  Because of the current state of publishing, having an existing or potential readership/ audience is a big plus in the minds of editors (and therefore, a big plus for you!) as they are considering your work.  Alan Rinzer has a great post about the New Author Platform and specific “case study” platforms that he analyzes on his blog. 

Your platform = Your online soapbox

There are several different ways to build your platform.  Nowadays, social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, and blogging are paramount.  Before I became an agent, I worked as a ghostwriter on projects for two prominent online marketing gurus, who introduced me to Google Analytics. To increase your blog traffic, you can use Google AdWords to determine the most searched keywords for your topic.  You can watch Google’s webinars to learn tips and tricks for utilizing AdWords.  

You can also post on other popular, related websites/blogs to link your website to theirs.  I have a client who is currently writing a memoir about her experiences being married to a Chinese national and living in Hong Kong and mainland China in the late ‘90s.  She recently wrote a post with Jocelyn Eikenburg on Jocelyn’s blog, Speaking of China.

Publishing articles in magazines, newspapers, or online is another great way to increase your visibility.  One of my clients has written several articles for different Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Organic Spa Magazine, Psychology Today, Forbes India and The Wall Street Journal India, among others.  You can visit her blog, http://www.psfrompag.com to learn more about her writing.

Don’t discount the more traditional methods of promoting yourself and your book.  Speaking engagements and appearing on radio or TV shows (if you can wrangle it!) will help you increase your audience, as well.

All of these things will help you share your knowledge, experiences, and specialties, which will, in turn, help you gain recognition and hopefully a publishing deal!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's Alarming How Charming I Feel

I have to share a letter I received today from someone who queried me back in December.  She had a great idea for a story and a strong writing style, but I didn't offer her representation at the time and instead sent her detailed revision suggestions to improve the manuscript.  I emailed her recently to check in and see if she had chosen to revise her manuscript.  This is what she wrote back:

Hi Carrie,

Wow! I have to be honest and say that when I read your email my heart did a little jump of shock and joy. I was so surprised that you not only remembered my book but that you took the time to let me know that you were still interested in reading it again! I probably shouldn't have been surprised, as you were so kind and gave me so much personal and detailed feedback on my ms. In fact, I think that I was a little bit spoiled by you. You were the first agent to read and respond to my book, and since then I have had five other agents request and read it, and each one rejected it with a "Dear Author" form that offered no feedback or reasoning whatsoever. I didn't realize how rare it was so to get such a personalized and helpful rejection, so thank you again for that.

It was so wonderful to hear that she appreciated the time and effort I put in to considering her manuscript!  She is currently editing her novel and I am looking forward to doing a second read.  Also, my ego is going to be puffed up for the rest of the week, and I am going to walk around New York convinced that I am the nicest, most awesome agent in the city. J