Taking a mental health break

This note is to let you know that I'm taking a leave of absence to focus on my mental health, and will be offline and closed to queries during this time. I'll see you on the other side. Until then, do good things and take care of yourself! đź’ś

U.S. Virgin Islands Publishing Fundraiser: Critique for Auction

I'm donating a query + first 25 pg critique to help raise money for the U.S. Virgin Islands Publishing Fundraiser (#USVIPubFund), here.  To bid, place your bid along with your name and email in the comments section at the link above (NOT this blog post) between today, October 17 at 9AM ET and Thursday, October 19 at … Continue reading U.S. Virgin Islands Publishing Fundraiser: Critique for Auction

First Five Frenzy with Whitley Abell of Inklings Literary Agency

Hey guys. I joined Amy Trueblood for First Five Frenzy, where I talked about what I’m looking for your first 5 pages, and what common mistakes you should avoid. Check it out!


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If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript. You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight.  You examine the next few paragraphs, hoping your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.

The First Five Frenzy is all about getting an agent’s perspective on what works, and what fails, in those first pages of a manuscript. It’s tricky to get just the right balance, but I hope by reading each agent’s comments you’ll learn how to make your manuscript a shining gem that will be requested time and time again.

Today, I’m proud to share Literary Agent, Whitley Abell’s perspective on what’s important in those critical first pages.

Amy: There is a belief among many writers that having a great first line is imperative to drawing in the reader. How important is a first…

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8 Query Tips No One Tells Writers

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

typing fadeoutThere is a bounty of query letter writing advice on the web. I’ve written about it before too: The Biggest Query Letter Mistake, and How To Format Your Query.

However, here are some tips you might not have heard yet that will set your querying strategy apart from the rest.

Querying in 2015? Read 8 Query Tips No One Tells Writers:

1. There are no second chances. Send a query letter with an agent’s name misspelled and resend 5 minutes later? You might already be written off. We get so many queries that we’re always looking for reasons to say no (even though we’re looking for gems!). Sometimes there are easy no’s.

2. If you say you’ve been published we assume that means traditional. And if you don’t share the publisher, year, and maybe some sales information we’ll assume you’re pulling our leg.

3. Telling agents you’ve self published…

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The Biggest Query Letter Mistake

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

pencilsAre you making this critical query mistake? The biggest query mistake: writers submitting a synopsis instead of a pitch.

A synopsis is the play-by-play of your novel. A pitch is a to-the-point email or letter that focuses on the hook, the conflict, and why it matters for the protagonist–and why an agent should read your book!


Some of you reading might think, “So what? If an agent wants to represent me, won’t they want the synopsis?” The answer is no, not in the query letter.

A query letter is not a synopsis. A query letter’s job is to get an agent to want to read more. A synopsis is to share when the agent is already interested, perhaps already requested your chapters, and needs to know the plot outline.

If you pitch us a synopsis and not a query:

1. It ends up being too long. A query should only be…

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