Thursday, May 24, 2007

Agent Hunting

I am in the midst of trying to find an agent, and am wondering if you went thru any agent site to find the agents to submit your work to, or did you do the research on your own?

I've heard of people having limited success finding an agent via a search/matching site, for lack of a better term, but I've always found this a little weird. I mean, to me, you're the one who is completely responsible and in control of your career, and why would you pass this off to someone else and rely on him or her to be the one to suggest good matches? Again, this is just my opinion, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with it.

Not to mention, that there's enough information on the web that you can (and should) do this on your own. and offer such a wealth of knowledge that you should be able to find and target agents who are right for you, as well as learn more about them and get their contact info. Does it take some time? Sure. But as I've said before, part of being a good writer is being a good researcher, and I can't think of many things that are more important than finding the right agent, so time shouldn't be much of a concern.

But I'm open to changing my mind. So what say you readers? Have you guys used these search firms and have they worked? Or would you be open to using them or do you believe in the old-fashioned way of landing representation?

Btw, I'm headed to California through mid-next week. Have a great holiday weekend. Until then!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Well, Crap!

A few people have written me to say that they couldn't comment in the past few days, and yup, I just realized that there was a glitch last week. I have no idea why or what happened, but if you wanted to comment on a post or write in with a question, rest assured that as of today, I will get them and try to respond! Whoops, sorry! (And thanks to those who wrote me about the problem!) And there I thought that my posts and info on the signings were boring you... (Seriously!) Phew.

Pushing Press

Hey, wanna read an excerpt from the book? Until Amazon gets mine up, check out HarperCollins' "browse inside" feature here.

Question of the day: I love reading author essays, profiles, etc. in magazines - it makes me feel like I know them a little bit when I go to read their book. But I've never known how they land there. Did you send out freelance articles on breast cancer to coincide with the book launch?

Yup, that's exactly what I did, and that's exactly how these articles land there. Well, sort of. In my case, I could pitch various ideas to the editors with whom I had relationships, in the same way that I'd pitch any other piece. But this time, I could also send them a galley, and say, "hey, I have a book coming out in May, how about a piece on such and such?" The biggest assignment that I landed this way was an essay on my friendship with Lizzie that will be in the July issue of Fitness.

My publicist and other folks at Harper have also been doing something similar, and have been doing so since about six months prior to the book's release. They're the ones who crafted a fab press release, as well as the Q/A that's up on my site, and sent these out, along with a galley, to mags/papers/radio stations/tv etc. It takes a lot of people and a lot of work to generate press and buzz for a book, so we've all been in the trenches trying to do so for mine.

Pubbed authors: how have you gotten press on your own release? Readers: what sorts of articles do you like to read about books/authors? What grabs your eye so that you actually go to the store and buy a book?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Where are Those Damn Editors?

I'm having trouble finding the email addresses of the editors I want to reach. The mags' website offers only a generic email address and there's nothing in the masthead either. Writer's Market also doesn't have any specific editor info. Do you have any suggestions on how to go about this?

Indeed, I have a few:

The first: if you're willing to shell out a few bucks, check out The site contains up-to-date info on who is who and who is where at a ton of magazines.

The next: surf the mag's website. Almost always - usually within the advertising/PR or sales sections - you can turn up the email format of that specific publisher. Just insert the name of the editor you want to reach, and voila. Example: will work for any editor at Conde.

The next: Call!!! Too many writers are scared to pick up the phone and get answers to easy question. Call up the mag and ask which ed is right for your query and his/her email.

Finally: ask me. Somewhere on the archives, I've posted general formulas for most of the bigger publishing houses. I'll do it again here:






I think that should cover it. Anyone have other great ideas to track down email addys?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Approaching Essays

***Listen to me on the radio today from 10AM - 10:40 EST on KTLR 890AM. You can listen to it on the web here.***

I had a weekend that sort of reminded me of aspects of TDLF. With two small kids, a career, an in-the-works new apartment, a marriage, a dog, etc (you get the point), I've realized that the first thing to go is often my social life. I know that any parent of young kids out there can relate. But this weekend, I had lunch with a fabulous friend on Friday, we had brunch with our awesome next-door neighbors (Broadway actors! Love them!) on Saturday, we went out with another couple on Sat night, and then I spent some time with Lizzie's parents, who were in town and wanted to meet my kids, on Sunday. All the while keeping our apt in tip-top shape for the open houses. Anyway, even though I was totally beat, I also felt so rejuvenated, not unlike how Natalie comes to feel. It's important to take time out and just have some fun, even if it's at the expense of the massive deadline that I have today (don't worry, I'm getting it done!) or playing catch-up with the blog. It was a good weekend, and not one I'll forget for a while.

Question of the day: I would like to know the best strategy for approaching editors when you have an essay to sell.

I've touched on this in the past on the blog (so search the archives), but the general rule of thumb is to have the entire essay piece written before you query the editor. From there, I like to write a very juicy paragraph or so, perhaps using my opening sentence from the actual essay, then providing a fabu summary of the piece. Don't send the piece as an attachment prior to getting the okay from the editor: that nearly guarantees deletion. Just write a very concise, catchy opener, list your credits and ask if you can send them the full essay.

At least that's what I'd do. But there are others out there who are wiser in the ways of essays than I am.

So, essay-sages, what say you?