Submissions

Taking Pitches At SFWC This Friday!

I and my esteemed colleague, Amy Cloughley, will be taking pitches during the Agent Speed Dating sessions at the 2015 San Francisco Writers Conference.
I have gotten a few questions whether I am taking pitches even though it states that I am closed to submissions on the KC&A website.
Although my current schedule does not allow the time for unsolicited queries via email, otherwise known as the slushpile, I am always looking for new clients, albeit at a slower pace. Thus conferences are one of the few places I do take pitches. (I also make requests via #PitMad, a wonderful resource for writers, and I consider Writers Digest Bootcamp participants.) I hope to someday soon to be open to a slushpile, but for now those are the places I take submissions.
If you are attending SFWC, I am most actively seeking adult science fiction and fantasy. I also will consider literary/upmarket fiction with magical realism or a surrealistic bent, romance, historical, and speculative YA. I am not interested in non-fiction (memoir included), mystery, or women’s lit.
Amy, on the other hand, enjoys literary and upmarket fiction of all types in addition to commercial—including well-researched historical and well-told women’s fiction. She also loves a page-turning mystery or suspense with sharp wit and unexpected twists and turns. She has a soft spot for distinctive, strong, contemporary characters set in small towns. She is also interested in narrative nonfiction when the plot and characters are immersed in a culture, lifestyle, discipline, or industry and will  consider a travel or adventure memoir.
She is not currently focusing on military/government thrillers, fantasy, or YA projects.
So if you have a project that fits one or both of us, stop by and give us your pitch!
Looking forward to seeing you there.

Rejection and Publishing

Rejection, it’s a word all writers loathe and fear. I myself have been rejected as an author by zines, agents, editors, workshops, and readings. It’s a difficult road, and I feel for the thousands of writers that pass through our slushpile everyday. It’s hard not to take each rejection like an arrow to the heart and I’ve seen writers who have become bitter, angry, sad, and then broadcast it online. They vent their frustration, believing they have been wronged, calling publishers, editors, agents alike nasty names and blaming them personally for the rejections.

One of the most important things I have learned since entering the other side of publishing is that rejection is not personal. Publishing is first and foremost, a business. The people within publishing love books (they have to, for it is rarely a lucrative career), but they are not artists per say, so they are looking at each submission with a practical eye. For example, as beautiful as your prose may be, if the book is hundreds of thousands of words long, an agent knows that a publisher will not probably not pick it up because to publish a book that large costs more money. No one is saying the writer is a bad writer for having a long book, it just means the writer probably doesn’t understand the business side of publishing and is likely inexperienced.

So if you are like the average writer and wish to have a financially successful career, do your research, know the business and understand that it’s similar to any other job. Your first project is your entry-level resume. You’re going to have to submit it to as many places as you can, be rejected or ignored, and even if you do get hired, you won’t be the CEO within the year. But if you keep honing your craft by going to school or workshops or conferences, doing online research, critical reading and practicing writing, just as you would invest in another career, your odds of success become much higher.

And you will see that rejection is just business as usual.

On Faculty at the Whidbey Writer’s Conference

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Hello all you wonderful peeps. I will be on faculty at the Whidbey Writer’s Conference this year! Packing my bags as we speak and preparing for a lovely weekend here:

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…where on Friday I will be speaking at one of their infamous “Chat House Sessions” with the talented agent Margaret Bail of Inkling Literary. We will attempt to cover what an agent can offer an indie author and what an indie author can anticipate when trying to get an agent. On Saturday I will be listening to author pitches and hopefully finding some gems. As I am not open to unsolicited queries, conferences are a great way for authors to get my attention.

If you are there, say hello!