It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A big shout out to our fearless leader, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this amazing online collaboration. If you're an insecure writer or just looking to give some support to others, check us out!
Today is a very special day for the IWSG -- it's the one year anniversary of the launch of our amazing website (just click here for the link). If you haven't visited before, it's a wonderful tool for writers with all manner of tips for finding agents, publication, etc. And of course, a way for us to connect with one another and offer up advice or reach out for a little support.
In honor of our one year webiversary, IWSG is putting together an ebook benefitting writers, inviting all it's members and followers to contribute. So if you have any advice to offer on writing, publishing or marketing, get blogging! (See more details on how to participate here.)
On that note, here's my own contribution . . .
How to Find a Literary Agent
Writing is hard work, but getting published is infinitely harder. They say the first step to getting published is finding a literary agent, but how is a first time author supposed to get their attention? Smoke signals? Fireworks? Kidnapping and extortion?
While I've certainly given all three some serious thought, there are a few more "official" options to consider:
The first is the loathsome and dreaded query letter. Write them well, send them in droves, and pray to whatever deity you believe in that they get the job done. If you choose this option, may the good fortune of J. K. Rowling be with you. And if you need any advice, check out former literary agent and bestselling author Nathan Bransford's How to Write a Query Letter.
The second option is writing conferences.
Writing conferences are critical tools for first time authors looking to network and build contacts in the writing world. From keynote speeches on how to get published to workshops on writing query letters or understanding the changing nature of the publishing industry, these conferences are a wealth of untapped knowledge. Furthermore, they supply unpublished authors with a golden opportunity -- a chance to pitch their work to agents in one-on-one sessions.
I've found personal success through these pitch sessions, as it allowed me to discuss my work in greater and more personal depth than any query letter I might send. In fact, it was through a writing conference pitch session that I landed my own literary agent to represent my work. So write a query, sign yourself up for writing conferences, and most importantly, keep at it!
S. L. Hennessy, Middle Grade author and blogger at Pensuasion
I hereby give my permission to use this piece in the IWSG ebook.