Thursday, April 16, 2009

Help and Hurting Your Career

I've noticed lately that there has been a lot of incredible information online for helping your writing career, so I thought I'd pass some of it along, in case you haven't seen it.

First off, a site I only heard about a few days ago - courtesy of Janet Reid's blog (if I remember correctly) - called edittorrent. So far, it looks like the blogger has been helping fellow writers with their loglines, and whoever it is has some helpful tips on boiling your premise down to a simple sentence.

The inestimable Nathan Bransford has given writers a glimpse into agenting with his first annual, I hope, Agent for a Day. He sent out a call for writers to send in their query letters, and he posted the letters for commenters to play agent for a day. I must say one thing the exercise did for me (even though I didn't comment) was underscore how difficult an agent's job is. I didn't manage to read more than a few before my eyes glazed over.

Now, if you're into reading other people's query letters, there's also a blog called The Public Query Slushpile. The idea here is for anyone to submit a query letter for critique. I read them from time to time, and while some seem interesting, others remind me how much better my own query letter can be. Whether you're reading queries on Mr. Bransford's blog or from the Slushpile, they can help you see what to do with your own letter (or what not to do as the case may be).

In the end, there are so many sources of helpful information I'd be here all week noting them all. I even try to help out in my own way by keeping a list of literary agents (maintained sporadically, but that post is the easiest way for me to research the list). With all the information out there, I would think missing out on the important stuff would be hard. And yet, there are still people out there shooting themselves in the foot. For instance, I read about a writer's blog where she basically said agents wouldn't know good writing if it bit them in the collective tiny white hiney. (I didn't follow the link to the blog, and I'm not posting it here. From the scuttlebutt I read, she's self-destructive, and I don't need that kind of karma.)

Basically, do your homework. Read everything about the business you can get your little cursor on. Check out everyone associated with this - the most important - part of your writing career. Please please PLEASE consider what you're posting before you post it. And if you do decide to submit your query for critique, maintain low tones*. The people who are offering advice are only trying to help you. Thumbing your nose at their advice will only hurt your career in the long run.

Oh, and one last thing. Don't forget to say 'Thanks' to those who do offer to help.

Which reminds me... To each and every person on my daily blogroll, and all the gals at Romance Divas, and all my friends - both online and off:


*Pop-culture reference time. Who remembers Saturday Night Live's Coneheads? "Maintain low tones!" ;o)

1 comment:

  1. You're welcome!

    Thinking before posting is invaluable advice.