What conference is complete without an agent? We were fortunate enough to have Ty King, from Writer's House. The first thing she did was take off her shoes.
So tip #1:
Public speaking is best done when barefoot.
Then she began with her great tips:
She talked about becoming a working writer. A working writer is what all writer's strive for (someone who is getting paid for writing!) She recommends you be professional, responsive, and communicative (communication is very important).
She also said you need to understand your role (what is expected from you by your agent) and your rights (so you don't get taken advantage of).
She recommended that if you have a Blog, you need to be professional. Actually, this was mentioned a few times: Don't write anything negative about someone else, it will come back to haunt you and never ends well.
Let's talk RIGHTS:
*Print and publication (what countries will you give them?) If they publish in another country, it may be beneficial. But don't sign away rights just to sign.
*Electronic, such as ebooks and aps. (You don't have to grant these).
*Dramatic (plays, movies)
QUERY LETTER tips:
Keep your letter brief, and let them know your project. They get a lot of submissions straight off the first draft. That is a no-no.
When looking for an agent, you want someone who will be able to represent everything you write, or who has other agents in house who can represent your other writing.
Biggest Mistakes New Writer's Make:
They do not edit their work enough. They send it in way too early. Most agents or editors do not have the time to take on a project that will take a lot of time and energy. So be submitting too early, even if you have potential, you will be rejected.
They do not research where they are submitting. Editors and agents get a lot of paper to go through. If the project does not fit their house, you are wasting their time no matter how great it is.
Example: They only publish picture books 0 - 5 (Applesauce). You send a picture book geared for 6 - 9 year olds, or even worse, a chapter book. Even if they love it, they can not publish it.
How do you avoid that? Before submitting, research the books they sell. Then go to the library and read them. If their whole line is about animals, don't submit a book about diggers.
Hope you learned something today! Stop back later this week to learn about writing a chapter book, tips from Jan Blazanin.