I was trawling the bookmarks in my “Manuscript” folder today, deleting the ones I don’t need anymore. Kind of a strange experience, all told. About half way through, I realised that the tools I’d collected along the way might be helpful to someone else walking that same rocky road towards a book deal. Then I considered the concept of karma. Then I slapped myself in the chops.
So before the bookmark purge, and not out of any fear of universal retribution, but in the hope of providing some much-needed <3 to all the aspiring writers out there, I hereby provide a list of all the tools I used in finding an agent, learning about the writing industry, and general writer shizz. In hindsight, it would’ve been damn helpful if someone did it for me beforehand. So I do it for you. Such is the love I feel for you, Mr or Ms Complete Stranger.
Miss Snark – This blog is dark now, but the archives are 100% worth your time. Insightful, intelligent, & funny.
Author!Author! –  This site is intimidating as hell. There is simply so much information on there you won’t know where to begin (Hint: Search function). If the extraordinary Anne Mini has one flaw (she doesn’t, imo), is that she actually writes too goddamn much about the publication process. There is solid gold in them thar hills. This site is 100% awesome. BATHE in it.
Query Shark – If you enjoy watching queries that are not your own being torn to shreds and rebuilt with less suckitude, or would like your own query to undergo the same abuse, look no further.
Nathan Bransford – Formerly an agent at Curtis Brown, NB recently got out of the agent game and moved into social media, but his blog archives still contain some splendid advice from a splendid chap. Rather, what, old bean?
Agent Resources
Query Tracker – Great resource to hunt down agents who rep your genre. You also get a rough guide on how long they take to respond in the comments section (very handy if you like watching your inbox and torturing yourself because Mr Agent’s reply is 1 day later than the median response time)
Agent Query – another super-fly site that gives details on submission guidelines, clients, email, snail mail and website address, plus the type of genre they rep.
Publisher’s Marketplace – You need to subscribe to this site (US$20 per month) but it gives you a breakdown of most of the sales being made in publishing atm. Not every deal in the world gets posted (the agents have to supply them to PM, and some can’t be bothered) but it will give you an idea of what is “hot” and what is “not”, and how little moolah even the “hot’ sells for in this day and age.
Preditors & Editors – Worried that your 8-figure deal sounds too good to be true? Concerned that your agent’s street address is actually a laundromat in downtown Kosovo on Googlemaps? Look no further than the publishing world’s ultimate guide to dodgy bastards.
Other tools
Twitter – You can totally stalk agents here. They often only talk about what they ate for lunch, or how lousy the weather is though. But maybe you can slip that into your query letter without sounding like a total psychotic…
The Absolute Write Water Cooler – Best writer community I found on the web. Experienced writing folk and total n00bs brush shoulders here, giving and receiving advice, critiquing queries and chapters. You can find beta readers here (in theory), guest appearances from agents, crit partners. Pretty much any question you can think of has already been asked and answered somewhere in these forums. It’s like a wretched hive of scum and villany. Only nice.
Hmm. That’s pretty much it. Go forth and destroy.
.sgnik wen ehT. sgnik liaH

6 Responses to “Tools”

  1. RB says:

    Thanks for sharing! Author! Author! is one I haven’t seen. You’ve included the creme de la creamy of websites here. A nice deposit you’ve made into the karma bank with this post. May the powers that be reward you with hefty royalties and stress-free fame.

  2. Nick Crowhurst says:

    Hey Jay!
    Soooo happy for you and still blown away by the awesomeness of it all. Thanks for the help – makes me think that my own, incredibly sub-standard writing might not entirely suck and as Mythbusters proved – you can actually polish sh*t, so I might have a go and see if I can get any interest at all.
    Thanks for the inspiration. Hope to catch you soon.

  3. mimetic74 says:

    way to go with the generosity 🙂 it’s pretty damn amazing

  4. You are welcome, my lovelies. May your Agent Search be short and rejection-free (lawwwl)

  5. Cass says:

    Bookmarking this particular one for if I ever finish my project. (The end is nigh, it’s very exciting!) Thanks Jay, and congratulations. 🙂

Leave a Reply