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Monday, April 4, 2011

Listening to Chuck

I had registered for a workshop on getting an agent, which would be presented by Writer’s Digest Editor Chuck Sambuchino.  Due to an illness however, he had to cancel.  In the meantime, I registered for a picture book workshop for March 26th at Joseph Beth Booksellers.  Unbeknownst to me, Chuck’s workshop had been rescheduled for the same day.  Decisions, decisions.  Which one would I go to?  How I would have loved to have cloned myself to be able to attend both.  In the end, I decided to attend Chuck’s, which ran from 9:45 – 11:45, and then catch the tail end of the picture book workshop, which ran to 1:30.

I made the right choice.  Chuck’s presentation was amazing.  He was confident, personable, direct, and lively.  Throughout the lecture, he paused to answer questions and afterward, kept the presentation moving smoothly.  The audience was respectful, keeping their questions directly related to the topic.

Chuck suggests, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”  In other words, have other works in progress should an agent expresses interest.   He also had some pointers for query letters:  
Keep a query to one page. 
Personalize the query (no Dear Agent)                                
Paint a picture of your book
Refer to an agent’s books

After his workshop a light bulb went off in my head.  I have to try harder to get an agent.  My picture book has won three awards—three!—so why haven’t I any takers?   I blame it on my query.  So, together with my notes from the workshop and Chuck’s book, 2011 Guide to Literary Agents, I will edit my query to make it stronger, more enticing.  I am stoked.  I feel more confident and have the tools to” bring it” to an agent. 

If you’re thinking about getting an agent, I highly recommend following Chuck’s blog: and taking a look at the his literary agent guide book.  Better yet, think about registering for one of his workshops.

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