The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway 2009, Day Twenty-Nine

Welcome to day twenty-nine of The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. Today’s giveaway is the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino (Writer’s Digest Books)!

Find the right agent to represent your work.GTLA2

Selling your book and securing a good contract often requires more than persistence and a good attitude—you need an agent. The 2010 Guide to Literary Agents is your essential resource for finding that agent—without fear of being scammed—and getting your writing published. This new edition includes:

  • Completely updated contact and submission information for literary agents who adhere to the ethical guidelines established by the Association of Authors’ Representatives.
  • Informative articles on researching agents, preparing your query, composing a synopsis or book proposal, and building a platform through social networking.
  • Hundreds of listings for writers’ conferences across the country—so you can learn where agents will be and when.
  • And—new this year—access to all Guide to Literary Agents listings in a searchable online database!

Save yourself time, energy, and disappointment by researching this newest edition of the Guide to Literary Agents where you’ll find up-to-date contact information and submission guidelines for the agent or editor who is open to looking at your manuscript for possible representation. Listings have been updated and verified. This edition also includes informative articles to help you present your work like a pro.

You’ll find more great info in Chuck’s blog.

Chuck-webAuthor Bio:

By day, Chuck Sambuchino is an editor for Writer’s Digest Books (an imprint of F+W Media). He is the editor of two annual resource books: Guide to Literary Agents, as well as Screenwriter’s & Playwright’s Market. He also assists in editing Writer’s Market. Chuck is a former staffer of several newspapers and magazines – most notably Writer’s Digest. During his tenure as a newspaper staffer, he won awards from both the Kentucky Press Association and the Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists.

By night, Chuck is a writer and freelance editor. He is a produced playwright, with both original and commissioned works produced. He is a magazine freelancer, with recent articles appearing in Watercolor Artist, Pennsylvania Magazine, The Pastel Journal, Cincinnati Magazine and New Mexico Magazine. During the past decade, more than 500 of his articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines and books. Chuck also teaches online instructional courses through Writers Online Workshops.

If you are new to the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.”

Especially since folks have been getting, ahem, a little long-winded lately. This is funny because at the beginning of the giveaway folks weren’t writing long enough. Now I can’t get them to stop writing. 🙂

Please keep it between 50-200 words. Do you best!

Today’s question is…

Your choice today. Tell us about your dream agent and all the glorious doors he or she will open for you. Or turn your worst fears about agents into an “agent monster” and describe him or her in gory, terrifying detail. Have fun!

Give me the goods in 50-200 words, please. :)

Before you go! WE HAVE A CAUSE TO RAISE MONEY FOR THIS YEAR! Please read the story about the Applin family here and consider making a small contribution at some point during the giveaway. We’re aiming for $100/day collectively. Please help us help the Applin family adopt two beautiful children from Russia. :)

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25 Responses to “The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway 2009, Day Twenty-Nine”


  1. 1 Kerri September 29, 2009 at 2:55 am

    My dream agent will be patient with me since I’m a newbie and not rip me off. He/she will walk me through the process and encourage me along the way. Above all, my perfect agent will get my work noticed by publishers and make us both a lot of money.

    • 2 Melinda Emerson September 29, 2009 at 11:32 am

      My dream agent is one who is intersted in helpign me elevate my entire brand, and not just negotiating my next book deal. I negotiated my first book deal myself, and that was hard when things got a little hairy. I need my agent to be a knight who can rescue me from a poison apple should someone try to give me one, just like Snow White. I need a Glenda the Good Witch from Wizard of Oz who will always remind me that I already have everything I need the write inside me.

      Ultimately, I need coach/partner/friend agent who is always thinking about how WE can make money together.

      Melinda Emerson
      @smallbizlady

  2. 3 Kristen Feola September 29, 2009 at 4:05 am

    I had a dream last night. I was sitting at my laptop, furiously typing away the next chapter in my book, when an angel appeared out of nowhere. That’s right, an angel. I nearly fell backward out of my chair when she stood right in front of me. “Do not be afraid,” she said (angels always seem to say that after they’ve just scared the livin’ daylights out of you!). “I have come in response to your request. Today you will meet a literary agent who wholeheartedly believes in the message of your book and who wants to represent you for FREE.” I couldn’t believe it. For weeks I had been doing research, searching for the right agent to work with me. And, now one was practically being dropped in my lap? Better yet, this agent wasn’t going to charge me a dime? It was too good to be true. A huge smile broke out on my face, and that’s when I woke up from my dream.

  3. 4 Pat September 29, 2009 at 5:11 am

    My agent will be witty, talented, and wise (after all, she chose me as a client, didn’t she?).

    She will know who to contact and what to say in order to get things done. Her circle of publishing contacts will be truly endless.

    She’ll believe in and encourage me in my work. Soon she’ll become more than an agent.

    She’ll become my friend.

  4. 5 Maribeth September 29, 2009 at 6:08 am

    I am in the process of searching for an agent right now. I have a dozen queries out there. My dream agent would be someone that I would consider a mentor. Someone who would help me become my absolute best. A feisty, genuine, intelligent, motivating go-getter would sum it up for me.
    My nightmare agent would be an insensitive rip you apart and make you lose faith in yourself type of person while doing nothing to help you become who you are meant to be.
    Hopefully I will land a good one:)

  5. 6 lringler September 29, 2009 at 6:51 am

    My dream agent would be a partner and encourager in connecting my writing to publication, and growing my writing career. She would be like me in attention to detail, follow through, professionalism, and sense of humor. She would know the publishing industry in depth, have productive relationships and connections, and communicate well with all of us. I would sincerely like and look forward to working with her, because she’d have such insights and questions for me. So many authors thank their agents in their book acknowledgements. I would be one of them because we’d have a great relationship.

  6. 7 Cara Holman September 29, 2009 at 7:45 am

    An agent, huh? I never really gave it much thought. For the publications I submit to currently, I work directly with a single liaison: an editor, production co-ordinator, and acquisitions manager all rolled up into one. But let’s just suppose…

    I would want someone above all who believes in the value of my writing, who will work tirelessly with me to produce the best quality of writing possible, and who will use their connections and intuition to land my essays and novels with the best-match publishers.

    Our relationship has to be built on mutual respect. But I would also like an agent who pushes me that little bit farther to grow in my craft, and is not afraid to tell me when something won’t work. Wait, it sounds like I just described my mother. 🙂

  7. 8 merylkevans September 29, 2009 at 8:37 am

    My dream agent would be someone I click with and call a friend. The agent would look after my best interests as if it was his or her own. S/he would know about the publishing industry, have good connections and not do the hard sell. The agent knows that I am not the same as the other writers the agent represents and aims to personalize the experience for each writer.

  8. 9 Carrie Ure September 29, 2009 at 8:47 am

    I suppose my fantasy agent would believe in me 100 per cent and be a tireless resource and energetic cheerleader for my ideas. She would be an unending font of wisdom about publishing, know everyone in the publishing world and she would introduce me to those perfect people to best help me get my project off the ground and publicize it effectively. She would be kind, a good listener and effective communicator. We would treat one another with mutual respect. And while were fantasizing, I would hope to be an author that doesn’t need a lot of handholding even though she might be perfectly willing to provide it.

  9. 10 Jaymie September 29, 2009 at 10:25 am

    My dream agent would get to know me and see what I can bring to the relationship and the work. He/she would be patient with me and teach me as we go so I can contribute more and more to the process. My dream agent would be fun and energetic and encouraging, while also being tough when necessary so I can produce my best work.

  10. 11 writerinspired September 29, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Because I believe in the power of “visualization” let’s go with my dream agent: She would be a prolific writer and voracious reader, established in her career and contacts but willing to take risks. She would be encouraging without being soft and wishywashy. She would be direct and driven and would fall in love with my books and characters, wanting the best for them as I do. She would be fun to hang out with but not easily distracted. She would become a friend and confidente.

  11. 12 Beth Cato September 29, 2009 at 11:04 am

    My dream agent is enthusiastic about my novel and the future of my career. He/she advises me on edits, and makes sure everything is in top form before being sent out to publishing houses. While the manuscript makes the rounds, my agent gives me regular status updates so that I know where my material is at all times. After the deal is made, they are my tireless promoter, and let me bounce ideas off of them for my next novel. We are a team.

  12. 13 Amie September 29, 2009 at 11:21 am

    My dream agent would be someone who knows her stuff. Someone fearless and spunky. Someone – like Dora – with her backpack of helpful literary agent tools ready to lead us to the sparkling land of publication. All it takes to get there is to go over the troll bridge, cross the field of dancing mushrooms and somehow manage to get past the rainbow breathing dragon. She’ll politely pause after she asks a question. And repeat words over and over when I don’t understand. And in the end, the publishers might say “No, de ninguna manera” but at least I’ll learn some spanish along the way.

  13. 14 writethejourney September 29, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    I haven’t given this one little thought but here goes. Someone who likes my writing (is that a foregone conclusion?). Someone who likes me or, at least, works well with me. Someone who prioritizes my work and doesn’t just take me on as a client to fill some kind of quota (I know this can happen in other lines of work). Someone who returns emails. Someone who gently but firmly tells me what I need to do or change to sell my writing and then fills her end of the deal to make it happen. I don’t want to be coddled but hope she could tell me, as a new-to-the-scene author, what it is I need to be doing.

  14. 15 Donna September 29, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Great question.
    My dream agent would be market savvy and known for her ethics and integrity. She would be honest, sincere, knowledgeable, flexible, and wise. A good sense of humor would also be a plus. She would be an excellent communicator who would make solid suggestions to help my manuscript shine, and she would listen to my vision for my work. She would have a sterling reputation and great relationships with editors and publishers, who would take her calls immediately at the mention of her name. She, of course, would do the same for me.
    Donna V.

  15. 16 Susanne Taylor September 29, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    My dream agent would be nurturing yet honest,have all the right connections, yet maintain a down-to-earth quality, ethical yet know when to bluff, and above all, or maybe underneath it all, have a sense of humor.She would know the market and be a fearless negotiator.She would of course understand and enjoy my writing, and be knowledgeable of the world-wide publishing scene.She would be able to tap dance in her sleep…oh, wait, that last part is optional!

  16. 17 Cat September 29, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Can I just say I’ve practiced this exercise before? My dream agent looks at me and my work and believes in us. She loves my work almost as much as I do, and she looks at me as a client whose career she wants to guide. She’s also ethical, well-read, well-connected and savvy, has enough experience to know who my work should place with and what the going rates are. She’s successful and busy, maybe a workaholic like me, so we talk or e-mail often, but maybe not at the usual hours. She has other authors we both admire and respect, and she’s friendly and professional at the same time. Best of all, she gets me a 3-book major deal (as noted in Publisher’s Lunch) with a publisher.

  17. 18 Dawn Herring September 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    My dream agent: someone who is absolutely hooked on what my writing represents and is passionate about getting my work to the right people. Someone who appreciates my humor, understands my hesitations, encourages my insights, and dreams with me about my future realistically.
    Someone who has ideas that resonate with mine; where our personalities and energies work well together.

    Where the circumstances and opportunities are a win-win for both of us.

    Dawn Herring
    JournalWriter Freelance
    Be Refreshed!

  18. 19 Mar Junge September 29, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Most agents are professional and a tremendous asset. But here’s two real-life stories about “disappearing” agents:

    1.Agent represents novelist for many years and does good job of getting four novels published. Unfortunately, agent develops personal problems that affect time she can devote to representing novelist. Novelist writes book of poetry. Agent is nonresponsive to many emails/phone calls requesting representation. Since poetry is a different genre than mainstream fiction, novelist approaches publisher who published novelist’s previous poetry book before novelist had an agent. Numerous attempts to contact agent are fruitless. After book is published, agent finally replies by suing novelist for breach of contract.

    2. Author writes YA fiction book. Hires agent. Five years go by and agent has no luck getting it published. Author requests cancellation of contract and return of original manuscript. Agent nonresponsive. Author dies. Author’s widow revises husband’s manuscript. Shows it to an editor at a YA workshop. Editor is very interested. Widow tries to contact agent to release manuscript, but agent seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Editor tells widow that without deceased husband’s signed release (impossible) or word from agent (unlikely), manuscript can’t be published.

    Moral of story: don’t lose touch with your agent while you’re still under contract.

  19. 20 Amy Simon September 29, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    My dream agent would be supportive and encouraging, backing my desire to put my family first and yet still write. She would understand and love my work, finding just the right publisher to sell my work to. She would give me valuable insights to the publishing world and help point me in the direction I should go in. She would be a friend and confidant. Is all that realistic? Probably not, but you didn’t ask for realism but rather a dream!

    Amy Simon

  20. 21 Karen M September 29, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    This question is timely, because I receive my first rejection letter from an agent today.

    My dream agent will be “the Paula Abdul” of literary agents. But…in a good way. He’ll be encouraging, even when I get “too pitchy” because as a former writer himSELF, he’ll know the insecurities of putting yourself OUT there – on that big stage, er, book…and now the metaphor’s been stretched too far.

  21. 22 karen k September 29, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    My agent would be the hardest working person I’ve ever met. He or she would be ok to work hard to get my book out there because they know it will be worth it to them and the millions of readers whose innocent hands don’t yet know what is about to set them on fire. My agent will be the blocker for my offense so I can do what I’m set out to do. And, they will work at a much reduced commission–if any–until I’m firmly established in the writing/publishing world.

  22. 23 Pam Maynard September 29, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    My dream agent would open every door possible to get my Guinea non-fiction chapter book to the best publisher possible. My dream agent would know what I need before I need it and help me get what I need before I can get it.
    Since I have never used an agent, my dream agent would also be my mentor, trainer, and biggest supporter of my work.
    My monster agent would never return my calls, never understand anything I need and never help me get anything I want.

  23. 24 Brianne A September 29, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    My dream agent would be someone that I click with right away. This person would be trustworthy, reliable, creative, friendly, and dedicated. He or she would go the extra mile for me without even thinking about it. This person would be proactive and look out for my best interest. My dream agent would also be passionate about the work they are doing and set a positive example for those around them.

  24. 25 Brandy September 29, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Agent from Hell: “Never write another word. Ever. I will be forced to stab myself in the eye if you ever commit words to paper again. Blindness would be preferable to reading that drivel!”

    Dream Agent: “I have never encountered anyone more talented in my line of work, and I have been at this for 25 years!”

    Reality Agent (my own addition): “Your work has potential, but I think you can do better. Keep at it, and get in touch with me again when you have improved X, Y, and Z.”


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