Friday, February 3, 2012

Workshop in Waterloo

Last evening, I drove out to the Waterloo Community Arts Centre on Regina Street for a workshop entitled, How to Get Published. Author Erin Bow talked about her writing journey and provided us with handouts and many good tips...
  • Read in the genre you wish to get published. Check out the latest publications at  your bookstore or library.
  • Read Quill & Quire and other writers magazines. Subscribe to free newsletters.
  • Participate in Internet-based writing communities such as RWA.
  • Social media can be very valuable, but Erin reminds us to participate only if we enjoy it.
  • Connect with your favourite authors by sending fan mail. You can make many interesting connections.
  • If you are interested in writing fiction, try to get your short stories published in literary magazines. Many of these journals will also accept essays, poems and book reviews. But read the magazine before you submit to it.
  • Do not query an incomplete novel.
  • In the first paragraph of your query letter, indicate why you think the agent would be a good fit.
Erin's match-making exercise for finding an agent...
  1. Locate the shelf of the bookstore where you want your book to live.
  2. Pick out ten to twelve books that appeal to you and resemble the storyline or theme of your book. 
  3. Read the books.
  4. Look in all the Acknowledgment sections and find the names of the agents and publishing houses. Alternatively, you could write and ask the author for the name of his/her agent.
  5. Rank these agents.
  6. Send out query letters to the agents.

Additional  comments...
  • You do not need an agent if you are looking to publish in a small or medium-sized publishing house.
  • An agent wants you to do well; a publisher wants your book to do well.
  • Do not self-publish if you want your book to end up with a large publisher. Note: Amanda Hocking is the exception to this rule.

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