John Krissilas / Writer, Thinker, Storyteller
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

10 Tips of the Trade from Carly Watters

I'll be reciting these every morning. Will you?


So! I attended a webinar. Big news. It cost money. Even bigger news. I learned some neat tips! I know, it just keeps getting better.


Agent Carly Watters (@carlywatters), of PS Literary Agency fame, hosted the webinar, called "Successfully Publishing Your First Novel in the 21st Century". And while the full contents of said webinar will remain 'For my eyes only', I am able to share 10 tips of the trade that may inspire (or depress) you while you're writing.


TIP #1: Did you know... only 10% of all queries address the agency correctly AND target the right agent. 80% are a mess. So if you simply use attention to detail and personalize those queries, you're already in the 10%! Woohoo!

TIP #2: Debut with your best book possible. Remember, this will be your first impression on both readers and critics. Go with your winner, save your other projects for later.

TIP #3: ...or, of course, make them all great :)

TIP #4: First lines DO count (and impress). Go for the hook.

TIP #5: Great titles count too. A title alone can sell a book!

TIP #6: Become the ultimate self-editor: look for holes to patch and weaknesses to improve, don't just copy edit.

TIP #7: Aim for: memorable characters, high stakes and drama, universal themes, settings that feel more like characters...

TIP #8: ...and most importantly, make your book impossible to put down.

TIP #9: When querying, tighten your aim: focus on new, list-building agents.

TIP #10: Better yet, query agents who are actively looking for "your" manuscript! (here and here).


So! Inspired? Depressed? Just write, damn it!