Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Where Do I Go From Here? Notes on Querying Your Manuscript.

I recently went to a workshop for writers ready to take their work to market. It was for those who wanted to get their manuscripts in front of agents and editors. I heard the question, "Where do I find them?" (Meaning agents and editors.)

I decided to share what I learned in the workshop, along with my favorite places for finding agents and editors who are taking unsolicited manuscripts. It goes without saying that joining organizations like SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) provides an abundance of resources on this topic, and attending conferences puts you in direct contact with the movers and shakers in the industry. Many of the success stories I hear among my fellow writers, their "big" breaks, happened as the result of a conference.

But you know you can't rest on your laurels and just submit to that one agent you made a contact with and hope all your dreams will come true. These days, it takes many, many queries, with no hope for a response unless they are interested.

So, where do you go? Of course, SCBWI has resources for market on the website, as do may other writing organizations.

I like querytracker.com. I do the free version, which gives me plenty of information. With a few clicks, you can check out an agent or editor, if they take unsolicited manuscripts, the genres they represent, links to other information about them, and add them to your list (interested, queried, even if they replied).

There is also agentquery.com. I have used this in the past, but abandoned it for querytracker. It might be useful for others who don't think like me, which is most of the population.

Literary rambles (http://www.literaryrambles.com/) was suggested by the moderator of this group. I know of this blog well. I refer to it frequently. She does interviews with agents and editors and often finds out what kind of manuscript this agent/editor is looking for.

Manuscript Wish List (http://mswishlist.com/) is another terrific source for finding agents and editors looking for the kind of story you have written. You can also find posts on this on Twitter at #mswl

Lastly, if you are serious about writing and getting published, you need to be on Twitter. There are reoccurring pitch parties during which agents and editors watch for 140 character story pitches tagged with the hashtag and the genre. It they favorite your pitch, it indicates that they are interested in seeing more. There are others, but the pitch contest I know best is #pitmad by Brenda Drake (http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/). The #pitmad parties happen four times a year, and only last a day, so have our pitch ready and don't forget to tag it (#pitmad #YA) so agents and editors can find it.

So those are some places to search for the perfect agent or editor who is looking for a manuscript like yours. Make sure you do your homework and the manuscript is polished and ready for submission. You never get a second chance at a first impression.

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