Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

About That Slush Pile

Well, I was going to completely ignore The Hills today just to show that a) I am so not obsessed with a show that demonstrates to everyone that I have -- at best -- questionable taste in television, and b) so I wouldn't risk losing readers who are here to learn more about, you know, publishing.

But Justin Bobby. Justin Bobby!! He leaves me no choice. I am now utterly convinced that a crazy homeless person who spent the last two years stowed away on a smuggling ship that ran drugs across the Pacific (how else to explain his hair and, uh, personality) has now stumbled his way onto The Hills. Meanwhile, Audrina vetted Justin Bobby in a meeting with noted relationship expert Lauren Conrad that went something like this:

Lauren: So, hi.
JB: *Burp*

It only got more awkward from there, culminating in a conversation with Audrina about why they should be more than friends that included this classic turn of phrase from JB: "Truth and time tells all." Yes. Yes indeed. Audrina nodded like she had just heard a speech from the Dalai Lama.

Justin Bobby's antics left me *this close* to being over Spencer's transfixing craziness... until Spencer topped his own level of hilarity at the end of the episode. You see, Heidi started painting over his beloved graffitied "Hollywood" on their living room wall, and when Spencer came home he looked like Heidi had smashed his homeboy phone, took away his trust fund, put his jellyfish in a blender and kicked him where it hurts AT THE SAME TIME. I have never seen someone on TV look so sad.

Anyway, next week I will completely show I am over The Hills and don't need to blog about it at all. I hope.

Well, in actual publishing related blog-related... stuff, I seem to have developed a reputation for being a slush pile killjoy. I think this is due in part to the fact that my post on how to find a literary agent (which was written March 28, 2006 -- it was a totally different year!) states that I have only taken on two clients via the slush pile. Hey, that number has since risen to, uh, three (with a few more potentials on top of that), BUT STILL.

The reality is that most agents do not find the bulk of their clients through the slush pile. They find them through referrals, by people they have actively pursued after becoming familiar with their work, and by people they meet at conferences, literary events or at parties. It's worth stressing again that your #1 method for finding an agent should first be to mine your personal connections and to try and not be in the slush pile. The slush pile is a last resort -- it's one that works very occasionally, but it's not the avenue with the best odds.

But this doesn't mean I am anti-slush pile. I am very pro-slush pile. I put a whole lot of time into the slush pile, and I still remain hopeful that the next big thing is going to come through my slush pile, which is why I am more out there on the Internet than most agents. I am, however, very selective, and the numbers bear that out.

Well. I'm selective when it comes to queries. TV is another story.






59 comments:

dr. love said...

I have no contacts, Nathan, so I'm destined for the slush pile, but I think I've got a chance with my novelization of The Hills.

Anonymous said...

I've heard this a lot. What I don't understand is how to approach an author or an agent and try to get them to be friendly enough with you to refer you. They must meet tons of writers that want their help. Do you have any tips on how we're supposed to stand out, to an author or to an agent?

Nathan Bransford said...

Anon-

Getting to know authors and agents who are out there on the internet is a good start, whether it's following and commenting on their blogs, getting to know them on forums, corresponding.. things like this.

But this is actually an area where readers of this blog might be able to help more than I can, because I often don't see what happens before someone gets referred to me, I just see the referral.

So maybe other people can help -- what have you done to make a personal connection to an author or agent?

Anonymous said...

Nathan,

I am well acquainted with my boss's boss, whose son is a successful editor at Simone & Schuster. I delicately mentioned my search for an agent and asked if there's a chance I could get some advice from the editor/son.


I did receive some very helpful advice but I don't have the nerve to ask any REAL favors, and I don't think it's appropriate.

So the question is, how do you take advantage of such a situation, or do you even try?

Anyone care to offer a suggestion?

Kimber An said...

I can count on TWO hands the published authors I know. I've reviewed their books on my sister blogs. I've thrown Cyber-Launch Book Parties for them. I can email them anytime for advice and I always receive quick, friendly responses. *However* I would never ask them for referrals. It feels too much like inviting myself to dinner and rummaging through their underwear drawer.

Feelings swing wide on this issue. Some take it as a matter of course whereas other authors feel very uncomfortable about it. Personally, I can't bring myself to do it.

Ah, well, I like Slushies. Preferably cherry.
;)

Anonymous said...

Nathan, thank you for making me feel less bad about my Hills addiction.

And thank you for reading from your slush pile. Like Kimber An, I'm not comfortable with acquainting myself with someone and then asking for a favor. I sort of hope they'll offer, and if they don't, I leave it alone.

Nathan Bransford said...

I do think one very important thing to learn as you embark on the road to authordom is to be a bit shameless and ask some favors -- the worst thing that can happen is someone saying no. And that's not bad!

Some people are nervous about putting themselves out there, but it's so important.

Kaytie M. Lee said...

My agent found me in the slush pile. It happens!



Here are some ways to make contacts with authors and, less frequently, agents:

If an MFA is right for you and your writing, consider getting one. There are low-res programs that fit work schedules.

Go to conferences and talk to industry people and published writers. Don't limit yourself to socializing with only unpublished writers, even though it feels safer.

Join and participate in larger organizations for the genre you're writing in such as RWA, if they exist.

Publish short work in appropriate publications (easier said than done, I know)--a friend had agents pursue him after his story was published.

Join online writing communities such as the Speakeasy or AbsoluteWrite.

Join local writing communities. You can often find them at libraries or in arts communities.

Attend author signings and actually buy the book and read it, then follow up with the author about the book if possible.

Take workshops at your local college--they're usually taught by published authors.

Use networking sites such as MySpace to meet authors and the occasional agent online.


----------

Even if you never ask an author or an agent for a referral, doing some or all of the above will help you set your query letter apart in the slushpile.

Katie said...

I have to say that I was surprised by this post. (The slush pile part.) Why? Because from everything I've read the VAST majority of published authors get their agents through the slush pile! I've read this on blog after interview after website. Sooo... if such a small percentage of an agency's clients get found through the slush pile, then are all the rest of the authors just trading agents around and around in circles?

The math just doesn't add up, unless you're not the norm. Agent Kirsten, over at Pub Rants says that MOST of her clients come to her through the slush pile: "But to be honest, most of the clients I’ve signed were from cold queries sent to me by email."

Kim Stagliano said...

The Backspace Agent seminar is a GREAT way to get face time with real, live agents. (My blow up doll agent, "Barbara Blower" turned out to be on the P&E list, who knew!) Seriously, if you can get to NY in November and attend the two day event it is worth it. I met my agent at the Backspace agent event last year and signed with him in the Spring.

Kimber An said...

Nathan, I disagree with the worst thing that can happen is being told no. I can live with 'no.'

I could lose their trust and respect. I couldn't live with that.

If I lose their trust and respect, I also lose them as mentors, and potential friends.

Katie said...

I agree with you, Kimber. I've met and become friends with an almost NYT-bestselling author... who writes the same genre I do! Have I asked her for a referral? No. Will I? I'm not sure. If the opportunity presents itself I might politely let her know that I'd appreciate it if she'd like to give me one, but I totally understand if she doesn't. But I won't do that unless I feel like I can and not risk loosing her friendship. I don't want her to think that the sole reason I'm her friend is for what I can get out of the relationship.

Besides... she found her agent (a well-known one) through the slush-pile!

Anonymous said...

I'm represented by Curtis Brown, and my agent plucked me out of her slush pile. (I also received a very high request rate to my cold query letter.)

I had only one personal referral to an agent. I attended the writer's book signing, we chatted, and then out of the blue, she told me to query her agent. (I did, and he requested and then rejected the full.)

Now, if a writer were to ask me to refer them to my agent, I would be very uncomfortable. And I would have to tell them "no." One, I'm unpublished, so I don't have any clout with my agent. Two, how do I know the writer is any good? (Or worse, what if I'm familiar with their work and I don't care for it?)

I think this approach sets up an awkward situation for both parties. Much better, in my opinion, to ask author acquaintances for ideas about successfully approaching agents (or something along those lines). Knowing that you're actively querying, they can offer a referral if they want.

Nathan Bransford said...

katie-

That's an interesting point, and yes, I remember Kristen Nelson saying that. I think this might be partially a result of working at a bigger agency -- we Curtis Brown agents will often recommend prospective clients to each other when we don't feel we're quite the right match (and these recommendations often come from existing clients), and so perhaps a higher proportion of our clients come through referrals.

But even if most authors start in the slush pile, I'd still say you have better odds if you don't end up there.

Nathan Bransford said...

Anon-

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

Perhaps this is just the agent in me and the accompanying "don't take no for an answer" attitude, but I still think it doesn't hurt to ask someone for help if you are exceedingly polite when you do so, you don't put them out, and you thank them profusely if they help you. Sure, like Anon they might not be a position to help you, but there are others who will. I take my client's recommendations extremely seriously, and so while you probably shouldn't go around asking strangers for favors, if you do make those connections there is no shame in trying to get a foot in the door.

There is so much to be said for people who are able to get their foot in the door and create some opportunities for themselves. And this doesn't just go for the query process, once you have a publisher a savvy author will make connections at bookstores, with media, with other authors... networking doesn't stop when you have an agent, and the best networkers are the ones who aren't afraid to put themselves out there.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Nathan, I thought of you last week when the Tour Manager was at poker and I had the peace to try out The Hills. Our connection to Heidi notwithstanding, I could only stand about five minutes, if that.

This from me, who is angry I'm missing a special Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Anonymous said...

I got my agent through the slush pile. All of my friends, with the exception of one, also went the slush route. The exception was a woman who had a book out, but didn't want to continue with her then agent and switched.

Honest, if your work is good, it will get noticed.

original bran fan said...

I met twelve agents through various conferences. (I love writer's conferences!) Out of those twelve times that those agents requested a manuscript, all of them turned it down.

Then I wrote a better book, but ran out of money for conferences. So I queried. 14 queries led to THREE agents who wanted to rep the novel. None of these were the agents I met at the conferences. I had a personal connection with none of them.

So, the slush may not work for Nathan, but it might work for other agents.

Nathan Bransford said...

OBF-

The slush pile does work for me -- I really want to stress that. I give it a great deal of attention and I've found several clients that way, and hopefully more in the future.

JaxPop said...

Based on several websites & blogs out there - Sounds like slush piles get checked when "bidness" gets slow & only after the interns determine "literary worthiness". No worries - if the work's good - it will get picked up. NB - This was NOT a shot at you! - You are one of the most encouraging "not so much for the slush pile" guys out there. Thanks

Michelle Moran said...

I've only ever approached agents through the slush pile, and for the writers here looking for an agent -- take heart -- it does happen! It happened to me twice. But when it comes time for publication, knowing published authors becomes quite important. Especially when your publishing house asks which authors you know who might be able to blurb your book.

For myself, I only knew one author. I was shameless and approached her after a book signing, and instead of wrinkling her nose in disgust (I've had that happen, too!) she gave me her number. We stayed in contact through email, and - six years later - she blurbed my debut novel (thank you Robin Maxwell!). She was my very first blurb.

And Kimber, you have to be shameless, just as Nathan says. You may meet with a wrinkled nose (which I admit from experience is quite embarrassing), but more often than not, I think authors are willing to help because they know how hard it is to get started in this industry. *hint hint ;]

Anonymous said...

THE HILLS

Actors, trying not to act.
Models, trying so damn hard not brush their teeth or hair.
I think they first take the songs and then fit the people looking at the ocean into the soundtrack.
And don't forget the aftershow.
They talk about what didn't happen.

Slushpile. I am pretending I am not in it.
I am looking at the ocean. At sunset.

Kimber An said...

Well, okay, Michelle, but only because you say so.
;)

Lawrence said...

Wow. I just finished crafting my first query letter today and tonight I see this post. Talk about depressing and totally understandable. I work in the animation industry and I know that a great reference and a great reel goes a lot farther than just a great reel. People just trust personal connections a lot more. Now I'm fighting the urge to drop my manuscript off the Bay Bridge :-) (hopefully dropping queries into folks' slush piles will be a bit more productive).

Lawrence said...

A further thought: a lot of new writers have the problem that they don't have inside connections to agents. Of course, one of the many benefits of having an agent is that he or she provides inside connections to publishers. Clearly, what is needed is agent agents: agents that can connect writers to agents, much like agents connect writers to publishers -- a sort of meta agent, if you will.

Of course some folks wouldn't happen to have any personal connections to agent agents either, and for them there would be a market for agent agent agents. And so on, out to the canonical six degrees of separation.

Luc2 said...

Nathan, as much as I like you, this post managed to freak me out!

You and other blogging agents, constantly stress that while querying, follow the guidelines and don't do anything else to distract these busy agents. So if I'm being assertive, or shameless, as you call it, and for instance try to phone you (or any agent) and get friendly with you, or come by your office to hand over my query letter personally, it will most likely lead to me getting rejected.

"Commenting on agent's blogs"? How far will that get me? Correspond with them? You're busy. About what would you correspond with an unpublished author? The Kings?

Agents like Miss Snark (if she is one) complained about conferences and how not to harass editors and agents. I live abroad, so I won't be able to schmooze face to face.

And if somehow, you and I got friendly, and I would query you, would you like me "not to take no for an answer" from you?

And published authors? When I read websites of authors I admire, almost all of them write not to send them manuscripts or ask for referrals. I understand that; they’re busy writing, or reading what is out there (published).

I’m a member of an online critique group. It’s great and I make friends there, but most are unpublished. And even if they were successful; the moment word got out that they helped one newbie find an agent, many other unpublished members would harass them.

So the question is, how do I get friendly enough with you or other agents/authors to be able to ask favors? You tell me. Please.

And yes, i know this rant may put me in your doghouse, but posting anonymously just doesn't feel right.

serenity said...

I'm not sure some of your readers understand what the slush pile is - maybe I don't either? Cherry Weiner told me it was where full manuscripts go that were sent to the agent/editor but not asked for. I'm thinking this is different than a query, which will usually get a response at least. I'm just saying that your comments about the slush pile shouldn't discourage people from sending queries. They can save that despair for when you give your query stats.

Anonymous said...

I think people are missing the point: Agents are people. People have preferences. Nathan's preferences are just different from Kristin Nelson's, or Miss Snark's.

Accept, and move on.

Anonymous said...

I think this is the first one of your posts where the majority of your readers disagree with you and/or have different experiences!

Usually we're cheering you on or amplifying what you say.

Guess there's a first time for everything.

Nathan Bransford said...

lawrence-

Don't give up hope! Just read the comments section to know that querying does work, and you'll be fine. Try to think of any way you can to make some publishing connections, but don't give up on the query either.

And I think your agents agent idea is brilliant!! It would make my life so much easier.

Nathan Bransford said...

luc2-

Agents don't want to be bothered, you're right, we all stress how busy we are and random people should not call up me or any other agent and just pick our brain about things. We can't do that because we'd be overwhelmed.

HOWEVER. I really feel like I know a lot of the people who comment on this blog regularly, I really appreciate that a lot of them have been with me from the beginning and have helped spread the word about the blog. Believe me, I pay extra-close attention when they query me, when they ask questions, need advice, etc. Unfortunately I can't represent them all, but if someone who I feel like I "know" from the blog asks something of me you can bet I'm going to reciprocate as best I can.

Not every agent is going to be receptive to this and not every author has time to get to know people out there. The best way to make a connection, though, is to find people who WANT to make those connections, and a good way of figuring out who those people are is by taking a look at how much they make themselves available online. I don't think J.D. Salinger is going to give you a hearty recommendation, but there are plenty of authors out there who remember what it was like to be an unagented, unconnected author and want to help out people like you because they've been there and know what it's like.

So commenting regularly on author blogs, joining forums -- basically everything Kaytie M. Lee said earlier in the comment thread -- these things work.

And the best way to ask for a favor is to:

1) have already laid the groundwork to ask the favor by getting to know the person, reading spreading the word about their book if it's an author and commenting on their blog if they have one (and don't do this cynically, really invest in the person -- they'll know the difference). It helps to choose peopel you already like.
2) be extremely polite and conscientious about someone's time, thank them profusely every step of the way
3) if they can't help you they can't help you. The road to success is paved with failure. Ha! I sound like a fortune cookie.

Nathan Bransford said...

Serenity-

In this case I was using "slush pile" metaphorically as in the unsolicited queries in general (my slush pile is mostly electronic and not really a pile).

But yes, a lot of times there is an actual pile of manuscripts that people didn't ask for.

Nathan Bransford said...

Anon @ 8:35-

I know, I love that people are disagreeing. I think this is my favorite comments thread yet -- we all will learn so much more from having different viewpoints expressed.

Welshcake said...

I have to say I find your post totally depressing, Nathan.

I agree with the various posters who have said they wouldn’t approach author friends asking to be recommended to their agents publishers.

Imagine the awkward position you would be putting someone in.

I don’t agree that the worst that could happen would be for the author to say ‘no’.

The worst that could happen is you scupper a friendship and make yourself look like a complete twit into the bargain.

Also, I don’t like the thought of participating on author blogs etc to try and get a foot in the publishing door. It seems such a shallow and manipulative thing to do.

I suppose one could ask an author friend to read one’s work and give an opinion in the hope that they’ll say ‘hey, this is great, you should send it to my agent!’ But I’d say that’s a fraught situation too. From what I understand, many authors are wary of reading unpublished works for fear of accusations of ‘stealing’ ideas at some point in the future.

I’ll see you all in the slushpile!

Nathan Bransford said...

welshcake-

And that's fine too - I don't doubt that it's difficult to ask things of people and I agree that if you cynically just get to know people for favors, that's not going to go over well, either. But I bet you would be surprised at how willing people are to help you out, particularly friends, if you've helped them out in the past.

Jess Riley said...

Hey Nathan!! I just discovered your blog--so good to know you're doing well on the west coast!

Luc2 said...

Thanks Nathan.

I'm still not convinced that many authors would do such favors without reading someone's work, and that requires (precious) time. So I'll try to befriend agents...

But seriously, how about the Kings? Do they think Brad Miller is getting younger, Artest is getting wiser, and Kevin Martin the next George Gervin? Why aren't they making a move? Any move?

Nathan Bransford said...

Hey Jess!!

Can't wait unitl RIDING WITH LARRY RESNICK comes out (I'm sure you share that feeling) -- hope things are going well with you too.

Nathan Bransford said...

luc2-

I understand about the authors under time pressure. It's tricky.

And lol, oh man, I'm so depressed about the Kings. I've been waiting for them to make a move, any move, for so long now. Do you have a favorite NBA team? Or are you more of an Ajax type of guy?

Danette Haworth said...

Hi Nathan!

I must say it was a bit of a downer to hear that most of your clients come through referrals, personal contacts, etc. I asked my pizza delivery guy about publishing, but he gave me a coupon for two dollars off. (Hey, good for something.)

I was fortunate enough at an SCBWI conference this summer to get paired with an editor for my critique. Talk about a lucky break! She connected with the story and has the full. Here's hoping . . .

BTW, love the new picture! (Ow! A flying Chinese star just nailed me in the back.)

Lawrence said...

Thanks Nathan -- the comments section does make me feel much less like watching my manuscript flutter away off the bridge.

Now I just have to find one of them agent agents :-).

KateS said...

What a great post. All that information about the Hills - why, it was just the distraction I needed from the monotony of the day job! *g*

I have to say, I don't come to this blog to get the one-up on querying you - you don't represent the genre I write, darn it. But I think a post like this is GREAT for someone who DOES want that one-up in querying you. I think it's admirable that you're honest about what personally works for YOU, and I believe a lot of people could really benefit from a close look at your posts before querying.

Now, in terms of asking an author friend for a referral, it really is a hard one. My critique partner is agented, and she's told me numerous times that when the time comes, she's going to call up her agent and recommend me. Give me that first bump, then leave the rest to me (my talent will speak for itself, obviously ;-)).

So this is great! But wait - what if I don't like her agent? I'm planning on shopping around for agents, and what if she's gone to all this trouble, has the hopes that we'll be "agent buddies" as well as critique partners, but I feel I could click with another agent, with whom I have no referral? How is my relationship with my partner going to be THEN, if I don't sign with her agent? Just asking for a referral could be the easy part.

I look forward to your upcoming posts on The Hills. You've enticed me to watch it merely to view the infamous Justin Bobby.

green ray said...

Hi Nathan, I love the new picture too - great toupee! I could make so many comments here, and one is, I was dropping off a query letter at a top NY agency and I met the head of the agency while waiting for the elevator. He couldn't have been nicer and said he would read my letter and give it to the agent it was actually intended for. Couldn't have been a better connection, but he emailed me a real nice reject, telling me they just weren't doing my kind of thing right now. But he told me it was a good letter, and this was great for me to hear, cause you never really know. I've been completely bold myself, asking writers for blurbs and getting turned down. One famous writer just said to me, "No, I will not give you a blurb!" But another one did on my first novel, which got a lot of people to see it (still didn't sell it yet).

Anyway, great to hear your take on this. My query does pretty well (it worked for you), but I always look for that extra plus, bold as I am. I'm extremely determined to get published!

Luc2 said...

Wow, you know Ajax? That's impressive. Yes, definitely Ajax.

As far as NBA teams go, I'm European, so I love team basketball. I liked the Celtics of the 80's, and right now I can appreciate the Spurs (i know they're dull), Jazz and the Suns.

The Kings weren't bad in their best days with Webber, Stojakovic etc. Crisp passing from all 5 positions! I'll stop now, before I chase people away from your blog.

Nathan Bransford said...

luc2-

I'm actually pretty into soccer, although it's hard to follow as closely on the west coast because it's nearly impossible to wake up early enough in the morning on weekends to watch games live. I used to really like Patrick Kluivert (and thus know about Ajax), but man did he disappoint for Newcastle (the English team I root for). Just not the same.

But yeah, the Kings glory days were really amazing. Sadly they are now receding into the past.

I think I need to start a sports component for this blog. Hmm...

Nathan Bransford said...

kates --

Thanks! And I can only hope that Justin Bobby doesn't disappoint. Not that such a thing is possible.

KateS said...

"But yeah, the Kings glory days were really amazing. Sadly they are now receding into the past."

Um, can we say Celtics? :-P

Actually, the Celts look like they may have a chance to suck less this year!

serenity said...

Ah. Thanks for commenting back on that.

Luc2 said...

Well, since everyone is now probably focused on your new post, I feel free to continue the sports comments.

Kluivert was great, especially in his last years at Ajax and Barcelona. I think the English League was a bad fit for him. And trying to step out of the shadow of Alan Shearer was nearly impossible; that man is a living legend in Newcastle.

And last comment on the Kings. If they didn't get any good offers for Bibby or Artest, maybe it was smart to stand pat. Better no deal than a bad deal just for the sake of doing something.

Other Lisa said...

Oooh! Sports!!!

Can we talk football? Baseball? Go Padres!

(I know, they're a longshot, but baseball is all about atavistic hometown loyalties)

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with you people? Hockey is the only sport that matters. ;-)

Jen A. said...

I LOVE it when you comment on The Hills! Don't stop! It's hilarious. Also, apparently Justin Bobby does hair. For celebrities no less! But I like your idea of his homeless life.

On the industry front...It's hard to hear that very few clients come from the slush pile, especially because I have no resources to get myself to a conference. Sadly, the slush pile is my only hope. At least for now.

Serenissima said...

I've enjoyed this post and the subsequent comments. After attending a couple of conferences with many agents in attendance, my impression has been that very few of their clients came through the slush pile. Yes, this depressed me at first. But, more importantly, it educated me.

It's nice to see in the comments section that there are exceptions to this rule, but I'm definitely pursuing multiple avenues for getting an agent's attention: query + networking + keeping active in the blogosphere.

One avenue I'd previously invested in was in contests, but from what I've read on other blogs, the main benefit of placing/winning in a contest is to get your query letter higher up in the slush pile. Not a bad outcome, but perhaps not the most effective use of resources. Maybe others have a different take? (I'd love to know.)

Thanks for the great post and great comments!

sex scenes at starbucks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Thank you for bringing such nice posts. Your blog is always fascinating to read.

Anonymous said...

Don't despair, you slush dwellers! I was plucked from the Curtis Brown slush and am now a proudly represented, but-as-yet-unpublished author, so have faith. I did, however, know this agent's tastes as much as possible, quite a task considering CB STILL doesn't have that website up and running. (What gives, Nathan?) and I named names in the query letter.
Big "but" here...I WOULD get squeamish if someone I didn't know on a personal level asked for a referral.

Great blog, Nathan!

Anne Dayton said...

I am always really flattered when someon who has read my books e-mails me for advice. I've never had anyone come right out and ask for a referral to an agent, but in the right circumstances, I wouldn't hesitate.

I do occasionally (if it's someone I've gotten to know, and their online writing is good) to take a look at someone's manuscript and offer some editing help, but usually it just takes me forever because I have my own stuff to work on, and I end up feeling really bad about making the person wait months. So I'm not sure that's a boon, but I do like try to help when I can.

DW said...

First-time commenter, love the blog, but yikes!

I just completed my first draft and am taking a bit of time off to edit my first novel, and the writing process, as frustrating as it might seem, appears to be a breeze compared to trying to find someone to find someone to sell it to. I may be echoing a lot of the statements here, but this seems incredibly daunting, especially to someone who has to work as well, and hasn't the first clue at "networking" (every job I have had has been found on an employment website, I've had largely the same group of friends from high school, and the list goes on. I am networking-challenged).

Any advice on how to get over any sort of networking deficiency, or are some people just dead in the water?

Kayla Perrin said...

Katie said:
<< I agree with you, Kimber. I've met and become friends with an almost NYT-bestselling author... who writes the same genre I do! Have I asked her for a referral? No. Will I? I'm not sure >>

I'm not a NYT bestselling author, but I am a successful author, and I have to say that I have had people ask me for favors. I always feel funny about it. If it's someone I'm close to and the request isn't "crazy", that doesn't bother me. But people I don't know emailing me to ask me to read and quote their work--I find that odd. An acquaintance of mine only emails or calls when she wants writing advice, and continues to insist I refer her to agents and editors, and even that I co-write a book with her. This is too much and crosses a line.

Now, as for blogging, networking at writers' conferences and such, I think that's all fabulous. I need to blog more. Online groups are great as well. For me, I've found that networking at conferences has worked very well for me.

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