Aug 4, 2011

Crit giveaway, agent contest, WriteOnCon AND what I wish I'd known

*drum roll* Becky Wallace is joining me tomorrow for a two-parter interview on how she snagged her agent. This lady is soo talented she received SIX - count'em 6!! - offers of representation for her YA novel, Saw It Coming. She's giving away a 10-page crit so stop by over the next few days and sign up.

Upcoming debut author Rachel McClellan is hosting a summer contest with agent Lauren Ruth from BookEnds, the agency that hosts one of my all-time fav writer blogs. You have until Aug. 11 to submit.

Also coming up is WriteOnCon's annual conference with extremely cool opportunities to network and capture agents' notice. If you haven't already bookmarked/joined their site, go on over and check it out! Be sure to sign up for their forums so when it comes time to get agent feedback on your query on Aug. 17, you're ready to go.

Thinking about submitting to contests makes me think of querying, which now has the same connotations has going for my annual exam. *shivers of dread* Because even if I write a jaw-dropping query letter, that's not going to hook me an agent. It's all about the pages...and the concept. I knew the former, of course. But nobody told me there's such a thing as market saturation. Agent extraordinaire Holly Root tweeted today that: Telepathy has become so common in my query pile that if it's stated the MC is unusual, I think, "Why? Is that weird?" And my last MS, the one I've laid to rest, had a MC with telepathy. Sigh. So as you, my handful of followers, look over your MS, don't do what I did. Don't even start writing until you're sure your idea is unique. Write what you know but be aware that if everyone else is writing about the same thing, your chances of publication (unless you are the vaunted exception to the rule, which I am not) are slimmer than they already are for aspiring authors.


Lisa L. Regan said...

Great post! I remember when Twilight was at the height of its craze I would always read agent blogs saying they were inundated with vampire stories. Market saturation is a real concern for us aspiring writers. Can't wait to read Becky Wallace's interview!

Carrie Butler said...

I love how you compared querying with your annual exam. Too funny!

Stephsco said...

Advice I've seen on blogs is to not follow what's currently getting published since it takes 2-3 yrs for a book to come out. However, if you have a unexpected twist on an old favorite (like Vampires, which existed long before Twilight but weren't sparkly euro-car owning turtleneck wearers) and you are passionate about it, do it. I think what gets boring is formula: girl moves to new school + awakens own mysterious powers +/- mysterious boy with powers + I'M JUST SO DARNED CLUMSY AND NERDY, HOW CAN A BOY POSSIBLY LIKE ME + gorgeous boy no one can touch likes girl... etc.

I think agents (and readers) can see through old-hashed out formula. No idea is every totally new, but what you do with it can be.

If your book was about a telepath who time traveled to a non-oft written about era, like say 1970s Dublin, and you were PASSIONATE, I would go there with you. Especially if it was funny. A good story and good writing still stand out.

Melodie said...

@Stephsco - totally agree. The point of my post was that, if you start with a unique idea, versus a version of a much-copied idea already out there, you're starting ahead. There are many phenomenal writers out there - exceptions to the rule - that can get away with it. I'm the my goal is to start fresh and avoid any knee-jerk comparisons/rejections bc so many others are writing using similar creatures/plot twists/world as I am.

Carrie & Lisa: I'm honored you've stopped by...and will return the favor. :)