I’m querying! That means I glom onto absolutely everything I find online that is related to the process of querying. In fact, I am currently I’m sitting on a treasure trove of agent-related links, none of which I have actually bothered to post here. So it’s time. I am actually going to start posting these things.

So here’s one: A post from New Leaf Literary and Media on what it means to them when they have to give the heartbreaking response of “Your story is good, but it’s just not for me.”

When agents reply, "It's good, just not for me," isn't that admitting to being gatekeepers to traditional publishing? – New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc..


It’s a busy week! So instead of a proper post, here’s a link I found fascinating. This is from agent Sarah LaPolla, and it discusses what to keep in mind (and to not get too hung up on) when writing for the teens of the 21st century. And if that doesn’t make you feel old, the tweet that started it might:

Yep. And here’s the blog post:

Glass Cases: Writing for the 21st Century

First off, WriteOnCon! I didn’t talk about it much ahead of time, but I participated. (And now it’s over, so this won’t be useful to anyone who didn’t already know about it.) WriteOnCon is a once-a-year, online-only “writing convention” for people who write anything in the range of picture books to New Adult. (So while they say “kidlit,” they mean anyone who isn’t writing adult.)

There were Twitter pitches and some Q&As, but the real gem was the forums. You could post your query, your first 250 words, and your first 5 pages. You got feedback. You gave feedback.

And it was fun! The community was helpful and enthusiastic. I got a metric ton of advice on my query. And now, armed with a better query and a boatload of encouragement, I am confident that I’m ready. I’m going to go query some agents.

But you know what? I’m not going to talk about it.

Here is a wonderful post talking about why. Once upon a time, on an earlier project, I kept a running count of how many rejections I got. And I posted about it! And oh my goodness gracious, why did I do that? Can you imagine? What agent would want to look someone up and say, “Hey, look! They’ve queried 20 people! I guess I was choice #21 and everyone else said no!” Yeaaaaah. Uh. That’s terrible.

So, yeah. I am querying. It is happening. Send me your good vibes and best wishes. I’m just not going to talk about it.

First off: Pitch Wars! If you’re participating, you have until the end of the day to send your stuff in. Do it!

…And, uh. Now I’m not really sure what to say. I was going to write a rousing post about Pitch Wars and how everyone had a meager 24 hours to get their stuff in. But then they opened submissions nearly a week early, so most people are already done, the mentors have already been asking for partials and fulls, and today isn’t that special anymore. Well, outside of the fact that it’s the last day to submit.

So I need something else to write about. So here’s Rebecca Dickson on stuff people should have told writers by now.

Guys. I am so excited for Pitch Wars. So. Excited. I can barely stand it!

Photo that reads 'Pitch Wars 2014! Submissions August 18, Agent Round November 4-5. www.brenda-drake.com, @brendadrake/#PitchWars.

Hotlinked from the Pitch Wars blog.

Pitch Wars is one of those legendary events. I’ve never participated before, but I’ve watched people get super-duper excited about it. And now it’s here again, and at the very best of times!

Pitch Wars is an event for authors with 100% completed, ready-to-pitch manuscripts. On August 18 (just a week from now!), you send your query and first chapter to your top 4 mentors. If you get chosen, they’ll spend the next two months editing your query and manuscript in preparation for the November agent round. The agents then review the newly-edited queries and manuscripts. You can read more about it on the Pitch Wars blog.

So now–right now!–people who want to participate have to make sure their query letter and first chapter are ready to go. They also have to review the list of mentors and find the four best suited to their work.

There are resources galore. All the mentors seem to be on Twitter, where they’re answering everyone’s questions. There are video interviews with the mentors, too! (Check out the MG and the first and second YA/NA ones!)

And the timing is so perfect.

My YA fantasy, Justice Unending has had a complicated life. It was written, polished, and pitched. That didn’t pan out. After a great deal of reflection, I did some major restructuring, changed 1/4 of the story and one character, and went on a beta crusade. After being encouraged by a lot of praise and some relatively minor recommendations, I used AW’s mighty Share Your Work board to craft a much better query letter. And now, after all that work, I finished my last copyedits… last week.

My original plan was to pitch it next month. Obviously, Pitch Wars is moving the timeline up a little.

And I am totally ready for this. Here’s hoping for the best!

Writer’s Digest is doing a contest for YA authors! You can find more here:

15th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest: Young Adult Fiction | WritersDigest.com.

Basically: You submit the first 150-200 words of your unpublished, finished YA novel with a one-sentence log line. Then you have to mention this contest twice on social media (which is, I swear, not entirely why I’m posting this. But since you can be disqualified for not doing it, it’s important.)

The 3 winners will get a free agent review of the first 10 pages of their novel and a year’s subscription to WritersMarket.com. As an added incentive, agents have apparently signed authors that they’ve found through this contest. (Though, since that’s not guaranteed, it’s not worth getting your hopes up over.)

Any contest from Writer’s Digest is going to have zillions of entrants, so I’m sure I don’t have a snowball’s chance in heck of winning. But hey, why not? No harm in trying!

I was curious if there were any good query letter review sites out there, so I asked about on Reddit. And here’s a fun one:

Query Shark

And I’d have to agree with the one who recommended it–you don’t even have to get your letter reviewed. You can learn tons just by looking at the examples.

(Argh, I need a post with images. I’m tempted to start posting random character sketch doodles, except I don’t want everyone to go blind.)