It’s official – I’ve survived my first writer’s conference in one piece and now I’m pumped to jump back into my novel, get it done, and start querying.
Since there was so much great material to share from the conference I have split the review into two posts. Today’s post will cover the workshops and Wednesday’s post will cover the classes.
Workshop #1 – Writing a Killer Query by Elana Johnson
Elana taught exactly how to write a query letter that will catch the agents attention. If you would like to read all about her method go check out her website, there she has a free ebook available to writers called “From the Query to the Call.”
Some of the most important things I learned were:
- The purpose of the query is to get an agent to generate a request, not to get an agent to like you or explain every detail of the story.
- The query should center around the main character’s conflict and nothing else.
- Agents won’t read the whole query unless it catches their interest so each sentence has to have a purpose and make them keep reading.
- Using questions to sell your story is not a good idea, ever. Ex: “Will our hero save the princess?” Well duh, of course he will. But now we think we know the ending and don’t need to read more.
- After briefly showing the main character’s conflict don’t forget a sentence or two about the consequences should he or she fail.
- Use a theme word to tie the beginning and end of the query together so the ideas come full circle.
- Get critiques from people who are unfamiliar with your work, available online at QueryTracker.net and many other places.
Workshop #2 Pitching to Agents and Editors also by Elana Johnson
I had so much fun at her first workshop I stayed around for the second about pitching. There were three agents/publishers at this conference available to do pitching sessions. I chose to skip pitching because my novel still has plot issues that need must be addressed.
Here are some of the highlights about pitching:
- The purpose of a pitch is to get immediate feedback about your work, not to generate requests. That’s a perk.
- Your pitch is as much about attitude as it is your story so pretend you know what you are doing.
- It should answer the “who, what, where, and why should they care” about your book.
- A pitch is short and emotionally driven and centers around the conflicts of the main character using vivid concise details.
- It should reflect the voice and attitude of your book.
- Go to Pitch-University.com to learn more.
Come back this Wednesday for ANWA 2011 Class Reviews!