What lies beyond querying, should we be fortunate enough to have a literary agent offer us representation? In this interview, Halla Williams describes how she came to write the #Pitmad pitch which in March 2020 led to signing with her literary agent, and what signing and the early stages of working with her agent have been like, over the course of a year like few others.
If you’re querying, you’re most likely hoping to snag a literary agent. But what about the other option -Small Presses? If you consider signing with one, how will you know you’ve found the right one for this particular project, or for you as an author? And what is signing and working with a Small Press like? In these interviews, I talk to Nikky Lee, C.G. Volgars and Alexandra Beaumont about their experience of querying, identifying the right Indie Publisher, and the early stages of working with their publisher.
Great, you’ve found a critical reader or a story to read! How can you ensure that working with the reader or the writer is a positive, productive experience? I’d like to say the hard part is finding each other and from now on it will all be sunshine and rainbows, but I’ve heard stories of critical reader feedback like, “This is wrong. That was poorly done. You’re such a bad writer.” Or maybe you agreed to read a novel, you get it and… it’s not your cup of tea, or so raw that just re-reading to figure out what’s happening will take more time than you want to give it. To help you avoid (or recognise and exit) these situations, and to create effective partnerships, here’s 6 tips for positive partnerships, and 6 tips for productive partnerships.
Act 1 is crucial in guiding readers into your character’s world and maintaining reader engagement. Critical readers can help you evaluate how your writing impacts on unfamiliar readers, but in my experience, if you don’t ask critical readers to comment on anything in particular, they may only comment on what annoys them, what they love and if they’re writers -their personal strengths of writing craft. This may exclude aspects of your craft -or any particular novel- you are still developing. This post is a list of reflective questions to help guide holistic critical reader feedback.
Social media is an ideal space to think about how you present and to begin interacting publicly as a writer. Twitter and Instagram have thriving Writing Communities, where you can find your tribe. A Facebook page (or Instagram) are great spaces to share your writing life and books with personal contacts, while any of these plus Pinterest, Youtube and others are potential spaces to reach readers and promote your published works. So which social media is most appropriate to you as a writer, which account is best to start with and how do you get started?
With many literary agents wanting only the first 5-10 pages with a query, those opening pages are crucial to readers and traditional publishing alike. Yet as a critical reader, the main advice I’ve given is to delete or re-write whole paragraphs. To help you reflect upon and edit, or plan and write your opening pages in a clear and engaging way, I’ll unpack 9 reflective questions.
If you’re new to querying, there’s a general structure for query letters, but there are also specifics about which literary agents may have differing personal preferences. In this post, I draw on what I’ve learnt from giving feedback on an estimated thirty queries, and reading a similar number of successful ones, to provide structure and advice on specifics (with tips on how to identify literary agent preferences 😉.)
As a member of a querying writers group, I’ve watched writers wait 6 months to receive full manuscript rejections, or go months without receiving so much as a form rejection for queries. I’ve learned a lot about having realistic expectations and how to tackle the querying process. In this post, I interview some of those writers, with the aim of giving newly querying writers insights into what to expect on your journey, and advice. And to give those of you already on your querying journey a chance to reflect and possibly tweak your approach to querying.
I know of ten parties on twitter to pitch your novel to literary agents and three author mentoring programs, throughout the year. In this post you’ll find links to every pitch party website, a twitter mentoring event, and parties listed by calendar month.
Critique partner and beta reader feedback can be gold, but as editing is a complex task, it can be difficult to decide what exactly you’d like critical readers to comment on, especially in the crucial first chapter. The reflective questions in this post will help guide critical reader feedback (and in some cases self-editing), giving you insight into how engaging, well paced and easy or difficult to follow unfamiliar readers found your opening chapter.