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

Closed: Internship Openings

Inklings Literary Agency is looking for a few remote interns to join our ranks in the following roles:  Agency (administrative) intern Public relations intern Literary intern ("reader") *** Agency Internship Agency interns work one-on-one with an agent, assisting in the day-to-day administration that is “agenting”. For example, an agency intern may serve as a research assistant, … Continue reading Closed: Internship Openings

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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SATURDAY SIT-DOWN with Literary Agent Whitley Abell

Psst. Want to query me now instead of waiting for my slush inbox to open up? Find out how:

Coffee Cups and Post-it Notes

Today I’m sitting down with the lovely Whitley Abell of Inklings Literary Agency, who’s here to tell us some common query mistakes, what makes her stop reading a manuscript, and what she’d love to see in her inbox. Welcome, Whitley!

What are some of the most common mistakes you see in queries?

 Not enough focus on the manuscript being pitched. Much too often, queries wax on about the author, their inspirations or the aspirations, and I go to the sample not knowing at all what kind of book I’m potentially looking at.

Not following directions. Like many agents I know, I ask that queries include the first 10 pages pasted in the e-mail body. We don’t ask this to be annoying; there’s just so much to read that we need the uniformity to keep the workflow going. I read a lot of queries on my phone, and attachments are…

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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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