How Many Agents Does It Take…

How Many Agents Does It Take… …to screw in a lightbulb? Give me the best answer… or simply tell me the best joke… and you’ll win a critique of your query or your first 10 pages, courtesy of moi. Go ahead, make me laugh. *Contest closes Saturday night, 11:59 pm Eastern time. I’ll choose a winner and announce it next week. Standard restrictions apply, i.e. play nice, please. Have a good weekend!     Be Sociable, Share! Tweet
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The Worst Storyline Ever Contest

The Worst Storyline Ever Contest Guest Blogger: Chuck Sambuchino To celebrate the release of the brand-new 2012 Guide to Literary Agents, I am bringing back one of my most popular recurring contests: The “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest. Except this time, it’s hosted on Rachelle’s blog. So if you’re looking for an agent and want a big database, check out the book. And if you’ve got a horrible idea for a story, I want to hear about it. Welcome to the “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest—a competition that encourages terrible loglines. “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest A logline is a one-sentence line that explains what your story is about and shows the “hook” – the unique idea that makes people want to see more. You see loglines all the time on the back of DVD boxes. Here are some examples: “Three...
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Poetry Contest Winners!

Thanks to the 100 people who contributed poems in Friday’s contest! They were all very entertaining and it was difficult to narrow it down. First, let’s start with some honorable mentions. In no particular order… Best Concise Overview of Publishing:Glynis No thank you, thank you no,We enjoyed the giggle,Now off you go. Best Brief Rejection Letter:Amber Skye The plot is pointless.And the writing is banal.Wish you success though! Best Overview of Last Week’s Blog Posts:Chelsea L Difficult Conversation Number Five Your prose shows loads of promise, but it needs an overhaul.Checking out your website, I suspect the text’s too small. Your characters impress me, but the structure’s off the mark.I’m not exactly sold, although I see a teeny spark. Your writing is...
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Bad News Poetry Contest!

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-WxQpSwroWoY/TdYIdx4QHHI/AAAAAAAAEfg/20xHmdPIgq4/s320/laughing-chimp.jpg Whew, it’s been a grim week here on the blog, hasn’t it? All this talk about difficult conversations between authors and agents. I think it’s time to let you put your own spin on all of this. (And hopefully add some humor to the situation.) So I was thinking we should have a contest. How about you write a poem that captures one of this week’s difficult conversations…or any other icky bad news writers have to deal with. (Rejection letters, anyone?) I happen to like haiku. Limericks too. Of course you could write a sonnet if you prefer. Are you ready? Got your pencil sharpened? Let’s write some Bad News Poetry. Here’s the contest: → Write a poem having something to do with the hard parts of publishing.→ Submit your entry in the comments...
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WINNERS: The One-Sentence Summary Contest

Wow! We had nearly 500 entries in last Wednesday’s contest. I’m thrilled, because this means 500 of you worked on creating a concise summary for your book, something most writers find difficult. But it can be done, right? I hope this served as a helpful exercise for you. Of course it was very difficult narrowing down the entries. Don’t feel bad if I didn’t choose yours. There were quite a few really effective ones in the mix, but I was only able to choose 1 out of every 100 entries, so the odds were high. Of course, choosing the winners was an exercise in subjectivity. But notice that the summaries I chose each present an interesting scenario and a clear conflict. Occasionally they break the “formula” but are still successful because of they way they...
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The One-Sentence Summary

*Contest is closed.*Today we’re going to talk about the one-sentence summary, also known as a logline, a hook, or a one-sentence pitch. (It is not a tagline, however.) What: About 25 words that capture your novel, memoir, or non-fiction book. Why: To get someone interested in reading your book. When to use it: The start of a query, or anytime someone asks you, “What’s your book about?” What it does: A one-sentence summary takes your complex book with multiple characters and plotlines and boils it down into a simple statement that can be quickly conveyed and understood, and generates interest in the book. What it should include:→ A character or two→ Their choice, conflict, or goal→ What’s at stake (may be implied)→ Action that will get them to the goal→ Setting (if...
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2009 Book Giveaway

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/Szu9kl8MndI/AAAAAAAADdU/YvYDgdBmsKo/s320/donMiller.jpg Each year on the blog, I choose ten books from my personal bookshelf to give to my readers. They’re all books I’ve read, enjoyed, and want to pass along for others to enjoy. (I have multiple copies of some of of them, so I’m keeping one for myself.) So here’s how you get one of these books: Choose the one you want, then write me a poem. Put it in the comments and I’ll choose the winning poem for each book. I might choose based on the best, the worst, the funniest… basically, the awesomest poem for each book will win. Boring details: → ONE entry per person in each category, fiction and non-fiction. (So that means you may enter twice.) → The poem must be left in the comments to this post. → The poem must be 2 to 14 lines. → I must be able to tell...
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WINNERS of the Words Move Me Contest

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/SyWsED0uJEI/AAAAAAAADTo/JsVnnaVsGk0/s320/sony-words-move-me.jpg This contest was one of my favorites EVER. Reading through the (more than 360) entries was incredibly fun, which just underscores my love of great books, my appreciation for a beautiful sentence, and the joy I get from learning about other people’s favorite books and what moved them. THANK YOU for your entries to this contest! What a treat for me. That said, of course it was difficult choosing winners because there were so many terrific entries. I was impressed by every single one of them, I’m not exaggerating. But you want to know the winners, so here they are. Second Runner Up Prize: evaluation of 20 pagesSubmitted by Katethompson Asking “why?” opens the door to a downward spiral of despair & anger. I never guessed I’d need Pausch’s question,...
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Words Move Me – Sony Reader Giveaway!

http://digitalinfluencegroup.info/sony/widget.swf What moves you? You probably know that words move me. I love reading. I love discovering new worlds and new people in books. I love losing myself in a story. And I really love sharing my discoveries with others. So I’m excited about a new website created by Sony called, appropriately, Words Move Me. On this site, readers post a thought about a book they enjoyed, or a quote from the book, along with tags that describe the emotion of that particular literary moment. Of course, not only am I a fan of words, I also love electronic readers. So I’m excited to be part of a promotion for Sony, in which I’m holding a contest for someone to win a Sony Reader Pocket Edition valued at $199.99. Pretty cool, huh? Here’s how to enter:→ Go to WordsMoveMe.com and register. (It...
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Winners!

A big thank you to the nearly 180 entrants in my guest blog contest! It wasn’t easy, but I’ve finally had a chance to choose my Guest Bloggers for the rest of the year. (See A Blog Challenge for You.) Here are the guest posts I’ve chosen (twelve instead of ten): Reesha: Christian Art – Avoid letting the one water down the other. Rachel Starr Thompson: Keeping the Heart in Writing. Matthew Meadors: Roots before branches, and what does that mean to me? Henriette Power: Sports and writing don’t mix. Angie Ledbetter: Writing Ailments & Hazards. Heather: Finding Your Voice: A Musician’s Look at Writing. Shelley Adina: Gossip Girl, meet Gospel Girl. Nicole O’Dell: When you DON’T Need an Agent. Matt Mikalatos: Embracing Your Inner Weird. Swati:...
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A Blog Challenge for You

I sort of stole this idea from Nathan Bransford but he’s a pretty cool guy so I don’t think he’ll mind. (Think of it as flattery, Nathan.) You’ve no doubt noticed that I often use guest bloggers, usually on Thursdays. I typically get the guest posts from amongst my clients and other friends in the industry. But today, for the very first time… (drumroll please) I am taking auditions for guest posts from YOU, my faithful blog readers. I need about ten guest posts from readers to provide me with one per week for the rest of this year. (I already have some lined up from clients.) So the “prize” for this challenge is getting your post on my blog. Maybe not a huge prize, but hey, I’m getting more than 10,000 page loads per week so it’s not...
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Vote for the Winners

*UPDATE: POLL CLOSED EARLY*Due to suspicious voting activity, the poll has been closed. Official results will be announced Tuesday in the SIDEBAR. → Hey everyone, thanks for sending in your “Writing is Like American Idol Because…” entries! I loved reading them and appreciated all the writing insights. Below are my seven favorites. To vote for the winner, go to the sidebar. Voting will end at noon on Tuesday, and please only vote ONCE. FINALISTS debcleve1971 said… I am Meredith Grey. Afraid, insecure, longing for what I don’t have. Loving McDreamy with a passion (my writing), yet afraid of him at the same time. Will he/my writing just end of giving me more heartache? I’d much rather shake my Meredith skin and climb into Susan Boyle’s any...
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Writing is Like American Idol Because…

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/Sfpym0EVl6I/AAAAAAAAC4M/DgfcQ-K5tVA/s200/American_idol.jpg Go ahead, tell me. How is your writing and publishing journey like “American Idol”? Let’s beat this metaphor to death once and for all. Knock yourself out… you can include “Britain’s Got Talent” if you want, too. Bonus points if you can tell me how the writing and publishing journey is like “Lost” or “Grey’s Anatomy.” (Now you know all three of my favorite shows.)Oh, by the way: This is a CONTEST!→ 150 words max.→ Submit your entry in the comments to THIS post.→ Deadline is tomorrow, Saturday May 2, at 11:59pm ET.→ WordServe clients can enter but are not eligible for the prize.→ I will choose my favorites and you will vote for the winner.→ Winner can choose an evaluation of twenty pages of their work...
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Contest Finalists… and Holiday Schedule

Good morning and happy Hanukkah! We have contest finalists today… and we’re VOTING. A big thank-you to everyone who scribbled down the first thing that came to mind worked long and hard to compose your beauiful haiku for the 17 Syllables Contest. Here are the five I’ve chosen as finalists. VOTE IN THE SIDEBAR. One vote per person, please. Voting closes tonight at midnight. 1. by anlyledo Winter morning yawnsA downy peace covers allI burrow deeper 2. by Elissa D. Cruz On the writer’s desk:Endless possibilitiesFrom an empty page. 3. by Gary Corby In Tokyo I sawNailed upon the Christian crossSanta crucified 4. by J. Jenson Shaffer Dancer is cranky.Vixen is cold. Poor Rudolph.Leadership is tough. 5. by Mark Pent up words rustingIn my soul where I can’t reachWith my...
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