Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to Find a Literary Agent

Three years after Writer Abroad started writing her memoir, the third (or fourth?) revision is complete, the book proposal is in its final edit, so now the real work begins. Writer Abroad should find an agent.

So far, Writer Abroad hasn’t gotten very far with researching agents (being interrupted by baby with foot stuck in parrot toy is a new occupational hazard for her). Anyway, so far, Writer Abroad has a list of about 10 agents. And since she’s not Tina Fey, she realizes she needs to query about 100 agents if she’s really got a shot at this real deal book thing.

Anyhow, in case you’re not Tina Fey either, Writer Abroad thought she’d share some of her agent-finding tactics in hopes that you’ll share some of yours. Here are the places she’s been looking for agents:

In the acknowledgments of books she likes that are similar to hers. Almost all authors have small love fests in the back of their book where they thank their high school teachers, the jerky boy that stuck gum in their hair on the bus when they were in first grade (what endless writing inspiration!), their parakeet, and yes, their agent.

Through LinkedIn. Writer Abroad realizes like most things in life, it’s who you know that matters most. So she’s typing in “literary agent” in LinkedIn and seeing which of her connections know which literary agents. Of course then she must find out about these agents to see if they make sense for the book. But if they do, bonus, maybe one of her connections will introduce her.

With Google Searches. Today Writer Abroad tried searches like “perfectionist literary agent who moved to Europe and failed at something as simple as buying milk” and other searches relevant to someone she thinks might be attracted to a memoir about identity set in a European country about the size of a Walmart parking lot where the bells still ring at 11 a.m. to remind women to get home and cook lunch.

Websites that talk about agents. Ones she’s found helpful so far are Publishers Marketplace, Agent Query, Guide to Literary Agents blog, as well as websites and blogs of literary agencies and agents.

Contacts from writing conferences. Unfortunately, Writer Abroad can’t attend too many this year besides the ones she plans in Zurich (see above—baby with foot stuck in parrot toy occupational hazard). But hopefully her contacts from past and future conferences will come in handy.

If you have an agent, how did you find them? Or if you’re looking, what resources do you find helpful?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Call for Submissions: Anthologies and Magazines

Looking for some publications to submit your stories to? Writer Abroad has some ideas.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is looking for stories that inspire other writers. Submissions should be no longer than 1,200 words. Pieces must be previously unpublished. Pay: $200, plus 10 copies of the book. Deadline: June 30, 2012.

The University of Notre Dame's Department of English is planning a one-day event with fiction/poetry/film/music. The event will include readings of stories and poems published in Paragraphiti. The publication is now accepting submissions of fiction and poetry by non-American authors. There is no word limit. There is also no pay, but authors keep their copyright.

Sibling Rivalry Press is looking for submissions for an anthology called: This assignment is so gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching. Poets can submit up to five previously unpublished poems. Deadline: June 1, 2012. There is no mention of payment.

Adventum Literary Magazine is now accepting submissions for their 2nd annual Ridge to River Contest for an outstanding work of outdoor creative nonfiction. The winner will receive $500. Entry fee: $15. Deadline, May 15, 2012.

Travelers' Tales is looking for travel stories for their "30 Days in" series for the following destinations: Baja, Caribbean, England, Himalayas, Japan, New Zealand, North Africa, Panama, Switzerland. Deadline for submission: open. Payment: $100, plus 1 copy of the book.

Anyone else know of any publications looking for submissions or have experience with any of these? Leave a comment or send me a message.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Summer Writing Conferences in Europe

Thanks to Baby Abroad joining Writer Abroad, she's a bit tied to home this year. But for those with the freedom to travel, Writer Abroad will settle for living vicariously through you. So here's a list of upcoming writing conferences and workshops in Europe. Choose your location. Choose your topic. Then check the dates and costs. (All costs have been converted to USD for comparison purposes). Please note: the costs do not include accommodation unless otherwise stated.

May 11-13: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Topics: Prose and Poetry
Fee: $330

May 18-20: Zurich, Switzerland
Topics: Fiction, Travel Writing/Non-Fiction
Fee: $285

June 24-29: Paris, France
Topics: Short Story, Novel, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry, Writing for Children/YA
Fee: $859 (registration by 31 March) $991 (Registration after 31 March)

July 1-13: Lisbon, Portugal
Topics: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Photo-Documentary Storytelling, Songwriting, Writing for Television
Fee: $974 (one-week workshop) $2700 (two-week workshop)

August 2-8: Ithaca, Greece
Topics: Literary agents, getting published, freelancing, social media, non-fiction book proposals & more
Fee: $950 (without board) $1550 (with board)

If anyone would like more information on any of these workshops, leave a comment and Writer Abroad will do her best to provide more info in another post.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

5 Personal Essay Markets for Parents

Writer Abroad had a few unique experiences giving birth in Switzerland. One involved cheese.

Anyway, four and a half months after the fact, she's finally had the time and energy to turn one of these strange Swiss experiences into a personal essay. Hopefully, she'll be able to share that essay via a published link in the future.

Writing and babies aside, one of the biggest time suckers for most writers is researching markets. And since there may be others out there that are short on time but big on writing and babies, Writer Abroad thought she'd pass along a few paying markets that accept personal essays about motherhood, parenting, and family.

This U.S. publication has a personal essay column called Sharing. One recent essay was about a mother who missed breastfeeding.

A website devoted to all things parenting, publishes many personal essays. A recent one was titled, "Why I want to be a French Mom." Ah, yes, the American obsession with France continues.

The Home Forum section of this national newspaper especially seeks essays about family. Writer Abroad had an essay she wrote about her father published here a few years back.

This well-known website runs many essays about parenting and other topics in its Life section. I especially enjoy the essays under New Mom Confessions.

While not specific to parenting, the popular Lives column is about, well, lives.

Anyone else have a paying personal essay market to recommend?


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