Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Twitter Pitch Sessions- a post by Victoria

I’m sure most of you are familiar with just how amazing a resource Twitter can be for writers, agents and editors alike. Aside from the opportunity to learn more about agents and editors, there is #MSWL (Manuscript Wish List), where you can learn the specifics of what’s on top of everyone’s query wishlist. If you missed it, Susan Hawk, one my fellow TBA agents, wrote a great blog post that you can check out here.

My favorite way to utilize the Twitterverse is participating in organized pitch sessions, or Pitch Parties. These are such a good way to connect with agents who you may have not thought to query.

Basically, using the specified hashtag, writers have the length of one tweet—140 characters—to pitch their novel. For a designated time, agents and editors then browse through those tweets and favorite the ones that catch their eye and invite you to query them. Some of these hashtags include #PitMad, #PitchMadness, #PitchMAS, #Adpit, just to name a few.

So without further ado, here are a few tips for your next Twitter pitch session:

- Include your genre. This only takes up like three characters if you abbreviate efficiently and is such a good way to grab an agent’s attention.

- Keep pitching! These sessions last up to twelve hours and it’s impossible for any one agent/editor to read all of the pitches, so you should tweet your pitch a few times throughout the session to maximize your exposure.

- Vary it up. If your tweets aren’t getting as many favorites as you’d like, perhaps it’s time to switch up your pitch.

- Use those comparative titles. This super-short pitch space is a great time to utilize those “x meets y” comparisons.

- Be supportive.  If you see pitches that you like, help ‘em maximize their exposure and retweet their pitches. But leave the favoriting to agents and editors; otherwise things can get confusing.

See you all at the next Twitter pitch session!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Deal Announcement: HOOK'S REVENGE: THE PIRATE CODE by Heidi Schulz

I'm very excited to be officially bringing my client Heidi Schulz onto Team Bent with this deal for a sequel to her upcoming middle-grade debut Hook's Revenge (out this September!). Once you read the initial adventures of Jocelyn Hook -- daughter of the infamous Captain Hook -- I'm sure you will agree with me that this is a character who cannot have just one book alone:

And I'm not the only once excited, either: one of Heidi's enterprising fans has already added Hook's Revenge: The Pirate Code to Goodreads!

Please join me in congratulating Heidi! You can learn more about her and her reading at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Monday, May 19, 2014

First 10 Pages - a blog post by Beth

The Bent Agency’s submission guidelines ask that you submit the first 10 pages of your manuscript along with your query letter – for good reason! We talk a lot about how important the query is, and offer tips on making that first sentence, first paragraph, and first page really count (see below for some links). Yet we ask for 10 pages. Today, I wanted to share my thoughts on those first 10 and why I think that chunk of your book is just as important as the opening page.

I don’t work off a checklist or run tests. Mostly, I read those first pages and try to imagine that I’ve just picked up your novel in a bookstore. I want to know if I connect with the voice and if it’s the kind of voice that I wouldn’t mind hanging out with for a few more hours. I want to get a sense of the sentence structure and word choices and basically how you tell your story. I want to know whose story it is and what’s important to them.

Receiving 10 pages is perfect for me because it gives me way more insight to the tone and stakes in your manuscript. It also tells me more about what the rest of the novel is like, beyond that first page. After the few first pages, the story starts to flow and I get to see how dialogue and action will be described and who the supporting characters are. I also get a much better sense of the pacing and the world itself takes on a bit more color. I have a better idea of what the rest of the novel will be like, beyond the super-polished opener.

Because the thing is: beginnings are SO HARD. With so much information out there on how to open strong and what to include and what to leave for later, that first page or five get a lot of attention. And it’s important to polish because that first paragraph will lead me to the next page and then even further. But what about when I’m done reading your sample?

Page 10 can be just as important as page 1 because it should make me wonder what happens next. It’s not as easy as deciding to keep reading or deciding to skip ahead – or deciding to stop. I love when I fall for a submission so hard that I read until the sample pages are done; that I didn’t stop even when I knew by page 4 that I really liked it and wanted the whole thing. I reach the end of the sample, and I’m forced to ask for more – maybe even beg for it (as I’ll shamelessly admit to doing on more than one occasion)!

For me, 10 pages is just enough to fully grab my attention, push me to request more and then spend the rest of the day refreshing my inbox.

Want to learn more about querying and writing first pages? Check out these other posts on our blog:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Best Kind of Advice: a post by Louise

Aspiring authors frequently approach me asking for tips and hints on how to break into the publishing world. I've answered these questions many different times in many different ways, and at many different conferences. Now, I can give advice about the industry, but I felt some of my clients, people who'd been there and are now at varying stages in their writing journeys, could offer valuable advice from a writer's perspective.

"Don't take the FIRST offer you get, wait for the RIGHT offer. Keep honing your skills, keep writing, and the right offer WILL come! Have faith in that!” –NYT Bestselling Author Jen McLaughlin

Here's a piece of advice given to me by a published author when I was starting out:Don't send out your first manuscript until you've written a second one. You'll see how much your writing has improved in hindsight!” –Marina Myles

The whole world won't be handed to you overnight. It's good to be ambitious, but you have to take it one step at a time, and that's okay. Take a deep breath and focus on your work.” –Francesca Zappia

My advice to a newbie? Well, tell 'me this: "Set the goal. Steer the course. And since we're going to dream anyway...DREAM BIG!!" –Cindy Nord

“Get and stay informed regarding the (book) market; your genre(s) specifically. Check blogs, reviews, magazines and stay on top of what trends are hot. Get into a critique group asap. Like now. Immediately. Why are you still sitting there???!!!” –Katana Collins

“Don't quit. One day can make all the difference in the world. Your acceptance letter, your contract, your edits can just be a day away. Always have another project in the wings so you can work on that to distract yourself and so that you always have a new project to pitch.” –Jamie K. Schmidt

“Don't be afraid to write a crappy first draft. Let your creativity flow and don't judge your words or ideas the first time around - you can always edit them later.” –Joy Daniels

“Be patient. Things will probably take longer than you think, and use that time to become a better writer.” –Elizabeth Harmon

“Don't give up. Or as someone more eloquent once said: ‘If you are rejected, don’t get angry—instead, become more awesome. Write something better, and better, until we have to accept you, because we have been laid low by your tale.’ -Catherynne M. Valente, author and former editor.” –Naomi Hughes

“Surround yourself with people who will encourage and support you in your writing, because when things get difficult having those people is what will help and get you through to the awesome parts of your writing journey!” –Christina Ferko

“Write something that makes you want to force every person you pass to read the scene you just crafted. Write something that reminds you why you started down this whole crazy path in the first place. Then tomorrow morning get up and do it again.” –Heather Clark

“Novels are like frogs. No matter how much you want them to grow up, the first few you write will remain stubborn tadpoles. And they’ll break your heart, because they won’t leave the pond. So you’ll have to try again. So my advice: keep shooting for frogs, but love the tadpoles on the way.” –John Lucas Hargis

“Believe in yourself. Believe that you are a great writer. Believe that your book will sell, and that thousands of readers will gobble it up. Don't just dream it. Truly believe it. If you don't believe in yourself, why should an agent or publisher believe in you? But if you can visualize success, success will come." –Diana Urban

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Deal Announcement: THE FLOOD GIRLS by Richard Fifield

I'm so pleased to announce a new deal for debut author Richard Fifield and his amazing novel THE FLOOD GIRLS.   From the moment I started reading this phenomenal book, set in a tiny town in Montana, I was hooked.  The writing is poignant and hilarious and on every page you can feel the deep love and affection that Richard has for these characters.   The book sold at auction to the wonderful Alison Callahan at Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster and I'm so happy to have made such a terrific agent-editor match: these two are made for each other!

You can "like" the new Flood Girls page on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/richardfifieldthefloodgirls

And please join me congratulating Richard on twitter at @richard_fifield.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Jenny Bent closing to queries May 6, reopening July 1

Our fearless leader Jenny Bent is closing to queries until July 1, 2014. Thanks to her guidance, the Bent Agency has been kicking butt, and now she needs a bit of a break to get caught up with her submissions.

If you queried before this announcement (made at 3:08PM EST on May 6, 2014), you can expect a response in due course.

If Jenny has requested a manuscript from you (from a previous submission or during a conference) or if you were referred to her from a client or someone she knows, she's happy to hear from you.

Unfortunately, all other queries will receive an auto-response notifying the sender that she is closed to queries and the message will be deleted.

Jenny looks forward to receiving your submissions when she reopens on July 1, 2014.

Until then!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Deal Announcement: Bloomsbury acquires Paul Tobin's 5-book middle-grade series

I'm very excited to announce that Cindy Loh at Bloomsbury Children's Books has acquired Eisner Award-winner Paul's Tobin's middle-grade series after an exciting auction! The first book, How to Capture an Invisible Cat, will introduce readers to our heroes Nate and Delphine, and is sure to delight. Picture the zaniness of the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with the quirky friendship of Sherlock and Watson, and you'll be close to understanding the hilarious world Paul has built.

Please join me in congratulating Paul! You can learn more about him and his writing at his website, or tweet directly to @PaulTobin.

Friday, May 2, 2014

BLACKFIN SKY by Kat Ellis - Official Book Trailer

Loving the trailer for TBA client Kat Ellis' YA debut, BLACKFIN SKY -- it's as eerie and atmospheric as the book*!

*Which is available on May 14 from Firefly Press in the U.K. You'll also find it in the U.S. and Canada this autumn, when Running Press publish it.