The Query’s Bio Paragraph Explained and 2013 Guide to Literary Agents

The Query’s Bio Paragraph Explained and 2013 Guide to Literary Agents


2013 Guide to Literary Agents
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2013 Guide to Literary Agents
The Most Trusted Guide for Finding an Agent
From the Editor: The Query Bio Paragraph Explained
3 Agents Seeking New Writers Now
4 Notes Concerning Your Research of Agents
Let Agent Victoria Marini Help You Craft a Great Chapter 1 With Her June 6 Webinar
The Best of 2012: Evergreen Helpful Articles For Writers
The Agents of Talcott Notch Host a “First 10 Pages” Boot Camp
Agent-Conference Opportunities

From the Editor: The Query Bio Paragraph ExplainedAt almost every writers’ conference I teach at, I dedicate some portion of instruction or Q&A to all the ins and outs of the query letter. Surprisingly, one area of query writing that generates the most questions and uncertainty is the “Bio” section of the query letter. Writers seem very unsure of what information to include and not include in their first contact. It’s with that in mind that I penned my latest guest column for Writer Unboxed on“What to Write in the “Bio” Section Of Your Query Letter.” Check out the column and get your questions answered.I know there was a giveaway contest with the column that just closed — but don’t fret. There are actually 2 awesome guest column giveaways on the GLA Blog currently that could use some comments from writers who like free books. Romance writer Pamela Sherwood shares her 7 best pieces of writing advice and gives away a free copy of her novel, WALTZ WITH A STRANGER. And then Ariel Djanikian, author of the dystopian novel THE OFFICE OF MERCY, shares several different writing routine ideas that will help you be more productive (and she, naturally, is giving away a free book). Comment on either or both columns for a chance to win awesome books from awesome writers.Until next time, good luck writing, agent hunting, and building your writer platform!Chuck Sambuchino
Editor, 2013 Guide to Literary Agents
Editor, 2013 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market
Author, Red Dog / Blue Dog: When Pooches Get Political
Author, How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack
Author, Create Your Writer Platform
Twitter: @chucksambuchino
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3 Agents Seeking New Writers NowThese three literary agents below have all been interviewed or profiled on the GLA Blog recently. Check out their mini-profiles by clicking on their links below, and see if they are a good fit for a query.1. Berta Treitl of Grosvenor Literary Agency She is seeking: “Berta is selectively building her nonfiction list in these areas: science and technology; current events, law and politics, biography, business and marketing; and art, design, cooking, health, and lifestyle. In fiction, she’s interested in historical and high-quality mysteries. Berta focuses on projects that present a counterintuitive or fresh viewpoint and that feature unusual communities, travel and foreign locales, and female main characters.”2. Amy Tannenbaum of Jane Rotrosen AgencyShe is seeking: new adult, romance, high quality commercial women’s fiction.3. Linda Epstein of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

She is seeking : Accessible literary fiction, upscale commercial fiction, vibrant narrative nonfiction, some fantasy, and compelling memoirs. She also accepts middle-grade and YA fiction. Her nonfiction areas include alternative health and parenting books, cookbooks, select memoirs, and the right spiritual/self-actualization book. She does not accept: Bodice-rippers or anything with dead, maimed, or kidnapped children; thrillers; horror; romance or traditional science fiction.

4 Notes Concerning Your Research of AgentsThe following is a column from WD online editor Brian A. Klems, who is also the author of the new humorous parenting guide OH BOY YOU’RE HAVING A GIRL. His column detailed all the things he reviewed before he sought (and signed with) his literary agent [Tina Wexler of ICM Partners]. You should ask these questions in your agent search, too.Read the entire column here.1. Is the agent accepting new clients?Some agents are always accepting new clients. Others rarely take them on. Sometimes agents have windows-say, the month of September-where they are accepting submissions. It’s important to consider this when angling for a particular agent. If the agent you want rarely takes on new clients, you must keep a close eye on when his or her window opens. When pitching OH BOY, I needed a fairly quick response (and being able to include “I have a contract offer” in the letter certainly helped the query get looked at more quickly than usual), so I could only pitch to agents who were currently looking for new clients. Didn’t want to waste my time and efforts on agents who wouldn’t be accepting queries until later in the year.2. Does the agent rep your genre?If you ask an agent what’s the number one reason they reject a query letter, most will say the same thing: The author pitched a genre that I don’t represent … (Read Brian’s entire column here).

Let Agent Victoria Marini Help You Craft a Great Chapter 1 With Her June 6 Webinar

In order for someone to keep reading your manuscript, it has to start strong. Gone are the days when a book could “get good on page 44.” Now it’s imperative for writers to hook agents & editors with their chapter 1, page 1 – and even paragraph 1. But this is a tricky endeavor. Which beginnings are overused? Should you start with action? How much description is too much? These types of questions are why we’ve corralled awesome agent Victoria Marini (Gelfman Schneider Literary) to teach the all-new webinar, “First Impressions: Write Opening Lines, Paragraphs, and Chapters That Keep an Agent’s Interest.” It all goes down at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, June 6, 2013, and lasts 75 minutes.ABOUT THE WEBINARDuring this live webinar, literary agent Victoria Marini will show you how to make a great first impression. Victoria will examine opening lines, paragraphs, and first chapters. You’ll learn how to avoid too much backstory, the common mistakes agents get so tired of seeing over and over again, and the difference between an “active” opening and an “action” opening. Sign up for the webinar here.WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • Common first sentence and first page mistakes
  • Overused beginnings
  • The difference between an “active” opening and an “action” opening
  • How to hone the compelling details of your initial story set up
  • How to keep your story interesting after your first page
  • How to avoid excess exposition in your initial set up


Victoria Marini is a literary agent at the Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency in New York, NY. She has been an agent for 3 years. Victoria began her career at Sterling Lord Literistic before starting at Gelfman Schneider in 2008.

Sign up for the webinar here!

The Best of 2012: Evergreen Helpful Articles For Writers2012 has come to a close, but here are some of the year’s most popular articles that I wrote or were written for my blog. Check them out!1. Tips on How to Write a Query Letter
2. How to Write a Synopsis For a Novel or Memoir
3. Word Count For All Books Explained
4. How to Work With a Freelance Editor
5. 10 Hidden Gifts of Rejection Letters
6. How to Start Your Novel: What Movie Beginnings Can Teach Us 
7. 7 Reasons Agents Stop Reading Your First Chapter
8. Exactly What Your Story Pitch Should NOT Be Like 
9. Self-doubt sucks. Author CC Hunter explains how to conquer it and just WRITE 
10. 10 Writing Myths Get ready for lots more content in 2013! We have weekly new agent alerts, weekly agent interviews, as well as tons of guest content from novelists on the craft of writing, the business of writing, and how to promote and publicize your book. Thank you for making the Guide to Literary Agents Blog one of the biggest blogs in publishing for several years running.

The Agents of Talcott Notch Host a “First 10 Pages” Boot CampAs many writers know, agents and editors won’t give your work more than ten pages or so to make an impact. If you haven’t got them hooked by then, it’s a safe bet you won’t be asked for more material.That’s why the smart agents at Talcott Notch Literary are hosting a “First 10 Pages” Boot Camp from June 14-16, 2013. See all details (there are many) on the official event page.Here’s how it works:
On Friday morning, June 14, you will gain access to a special 60-minute online tutorial presented by agent and editor Paula Munier. After listening to the presentation, you’ll spend Friday evening revising your first ten pages as necessary, given the guidelines provided in the presentation, and you’ll email those pages directly to one of five additional agents from Talcott Notch Literary. They will spend all day Saturday reviewing their assigned pages and providing feedback as to what works and what doesn’t.All pages with notes will be returned to participants by 11 a.m. Sunday morning. Throughout the day on Sunday, you’ll work to revise your pages based on the agent’s specific feedback. From 1-4 p.m., Paula, Gina, Rachael, Jessica, and Sara will be available to answer questions and provide additional feedback via the Writer’s Digest University message boards. Only registered students can access these boards. You’ll also be able to ask question of your fellow students. Feel free to share your work and gain support from your peers.By 10 p.m. Sunday night, you’ll return your final revised pages to your assigned agent for review. They will spend the next week reading the revised submissions assigned to them, and will provide a final brief one-or-two sentence critique of your progress no later than6/21/2013. Please note that any one of them may ask for additional pages if the initial submission shows serious promise. See all event details (there are many) on the official event page.

Agent-Conference OpportunitiesThere are plenty of opportunities for writers to meet agents face to face at writers’ conferences and pitch their work in 2013. Remember: Meeting agents in person is a great way to get past the slush pile. If an agent is interested in your work and requests a sample or book proposal, you can write “Requested Material” on your submission, making sure it gets a fair read and consideration.Know that there are two types of conferences. There are general writers’ conferences, that address a variety of subjects, and then there are specialized conferences, which usually tend to focus on a single genre-such as western, romance, or mystery. You will find both kinds in this list below.Clarksville Writers Conference, June 6-7, 2013, Clarksville, TN
Attending agents: Gina Panterietti (Talcott Notch) and Debbie Carter (Muse Literary Management).“Books in Progress” Writers Conference at the Carnegie Literacy Center, June 7-8, 2013, Lexington, KY
Attending agents: Rita Rosenkranz (Rita Rosenkranz Literary) and Jessica Sinsheimer (Sarah Jane Freymann Literary).Agents and Editors Conference (Writers League of Texas), June 21-23, 2013, Austin, TX
Attending agents: Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Literary); Stacey Glick (Dystel & Goderich); Meredith Kaffel (DeFiore & Company); Kirby Kim (WME Entertainment); Taylor Martindale (Full Circle Literary); Emmanuelle Morgen (Stonesong); Penny Nelson (Manus & Associates); Marcy Posner (Folio Literary); Rita Rosenkranz (Rita Rosenkranz Literary); Susan Schulman (Susan Schulman Literary); Brooks Sherman (FinePrint Literary); Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman Associates); Becca Stumpf (Prospect Agency); and Rachel Vogel (Mary Evans, Inc.).Jackson Hole Writers Conference , June 27-29, 2013, Jackson Hole, WY
Attending agents: Sheree Bykofsky (Sheree Bykofsky Associates); Chris Parris-Lamb (The Gernert Company); Stephanie Rostan (Levine Greenberg); and Sarah LaPolla (Curtis Brown).

Hunt Country Writers Retreat, July 5-6, 2013, Middleburg, VA
Attending agents: Shannon O’Neill (ICM/Sagalyn), Jeff Kleinman (Folio Literary); and Anna Sproul-Latimer (Ross Yoon Literary).

Midwest Writers Workshop, July 25-27, 2013, Muncie, IN
Attending agents: Sarah LaPolla (Curtis Brown); Victoria Marini (Gelfman Schneider); Amanda Luedeke (MacGregor Literary); and John Cusick (Greenhouse Literary).

Northern Ohio SCBWI Conference
, Sept. 20-21, 2013, Cleveland, OH
Attending agents: Linda Epstein (Jennifer De Chiara Literary); and Karen Grencik (Red Fox Literary).

Writer’s Digest Conference West, Sept. 27-29, 2013, Los Angeles, CA
Attending agents: 15-25 literary agents will be there. Confirmed agents so far include Charlotte Gusay (The Charlotte Gusay Literary Agency); Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman & Associates); Angela Rinaldi (Angela Rinaldi Literary); Susan Finesman (Fine Literary); Paul S. Levine (Paul S. Levine Literary); Dan a Newman (Dana Newman Literary); Annie Bomke (AB Literary); Taylor Martindale (Full Circle Literary); and Steven Hutson (Wordwise Media).

San Francisco Writers Conference
, February 13-16, 2014, San Francisco, CA
Attending agents: This conference has a large “agent speed dating” event and usually draws 15-20 literary agents. The 2013 event had 20 agents in attendance. The list of attending agents for 2014 will flesh out as the date draws near.


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Maralyn D. HillThe Epicurean Explorer

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Editor-at-Large, CityRoom

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Blogs: Where and What in the World & Success with Writing

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By, Maralyn D. Hill

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