Literary Agent News

I started on it last night: sent out queries for my novel to six agents with whom I’ve had contact sometime in the past 20 years of work in publishing. Today, two of them responded! The first referred me to his co-agent/VP of his agency; the second asked to see the full manuscript.

I will keep you apprised of the over-all progress, probably in my YTDs rather than as each one happens. (That would be a crashing bore, I fear.) But I wanted to let you know about the great start, since y’all are so supportive all the time. Hearts to everybody!

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Five agents want my manuscript

Ha! Not mine! (But I sure know how to catch an eyeball, don’t I?)

Here’s a great question from Facebook page for writers. See if you can guess my answer.

Question:. Four agents have my book proposal. A fifth agent responded immediately with interest in offering representation. I’m going to the city next week to meet with her. However, I don’t know if she’s the “one.” I’d love to have options, of course. But I don’t know the best way to determine if those options exist..


Answer 1: 
At the meeting in the city, be totally honest with the agent offering representation and ask her advice. Follow it to the letter, even before she signs your book.

Answer 2: Right now, right this minute, call the four agents who haven’t gotten back to you and tell them to fuck off, you have representation.

Answer 3: For six years, I ran a monthly reading series that featured literary agents. All of them admitted that their deepest fear was that they would miss a great opportunity.

I would call the other four agents, Politely tell them that you will be in the city to meet with an agent who is offering representation. Also, in addition to the agent with the offer and themselves (the agent on the phone), three other agents have the manuscript.

Under no circumstances should you reveal names; not of the agent you will be meeting, not of the other agents interested. If the agent you are calling asks who is your first choice, say, “Well, this one agent offered me representation, but aside from that, I like you.”

Now any of the agents, might say, “I think you should go with that agent offering representation.” Which probably means she already decided, “No” and hadn’t gotten back to you. Or she might ask for a day or two to finish reading your ms. and get back to you – which is reasonable. At which point, you might hear a “No.” Or, you might hear a yes! At which point, you really are in the driver’s seat, ain’t ya?

For the trip to Hawaii: did Alle write A, B, or C?

Conference Call: PNWA Summer Conference’s early registration now open

I had an excellent experience at the 2001 whoop-de-doo. The conference annoys writers more interested in generating work, but is suited me fine, slutting around as I was for an agent.

(I didn’t find one at the conference, but garnered the interest of editors at four different houses, which made finding an agent so much easier. I signed with her, 9/11 happened, and interest in travel books dropped faster than she did me. I believe the quote was, “I am bleeding from my eyeballs.” You have got to love this industry. in retrospect.)

All this to say, go if you are looking to sell a book. It’s fine for information-gathering, but spendy:

Current Registration Fee (between May 1 and July 9) $495.00 $595.00
Last-minute Registration Fee (postmarked after July 9)* $595.00 $695.00

2010 CONFERENCE: July 22 – 25 at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport Hilton Conference Center.

People who can get you published

I know some through personal relationship and others through arranging their Seattle appearances. I am happy to answer questions about any of them. Free. No strings.

Post the question in the comments section and I will respond thusly. This offer good while supplies last.

Literary Agencies

Erin Hosier: passionate about widening the spectrum of what gets published

  • Donald Maass Literary Agency
  • Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner
  • Frederick Hill Bonnie Nadell Literary Agency
  • Folio Literary Management
  • John Hawkins & Associates, Inc.
  • Wales Literary Agency

Publishing Houses

  • Copper Canyon Press (poetry)
  • Graywolf Press (literary fiction and nonfiction; poetry;)
  • MacAdam/Cage Publishing (literary fiction and nonfiction; website currently not functioning)
  • Seal Press (known for groundbreaking feminist nonfiction but growing their mainstream frontlist; fiction rarely)
  • Seven Stories Press (literary and political; fiction, nonfiction and poetry)
  • Simon & Schuster (big houses; they do it all)
  • St. Martin’s Press (another big house; they do it all, too)

Literary Magazines and Journals

  • Bellingham Review (likes work that plays with form)
  • Brevity (strictly CNF, 750 words or less; likes funny)
  • Creative Nonfiction (CNF only; the first and best in the field of CNF)
  • Georgia Review (literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry; sets the bar for excellence)
  • Mid-American Review (another top mag; excels in their creative outreach to new writers)
  • Open City Magazine (bold, edgy voices; alerts agents when an author needs representation)
  • Prairie Schooner (literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry; does not allow simultaneous submissions)
  • Tin House Magazine (boldfaced names in contemporary fiction; building their reputation for CNF/essay; funny!)

Writers

  • Don’t talk to writers about how to get published. Most of them hate those conversations (unless they are your friend or know your parents). They don’t want to have to tell you, “I have talent and work hard.” Which is true. Of course, a few were born lucky.
  • Instead, buy their book or take a workshop or go to their reading.
  • Refrain from asking a fiction writer, “Did that really happen?” If it had, they would have written nonfiction.