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Guide to Literary Agents - How Live Readings Can Help Your Writing

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2008 (12) November, 2008 (15) October, 2008 (12) Thursday, October 21, 2010 How Live Readings Can

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Posted by Chuck

I am working the streets of San Francisco. Nightly, I prowl around Haight-Ashbury

and North Beach, the Castro and Tenderloin, Fourth Street and Folsom. I ply my trade with men … as well as women, transgenders, at least one self-described Druid and the occasional mental patient. Oh, and writers, lots of wonderful, polished, professional, prolific, amateurish, awful and eager writers.

My trade is my novel: Finding Clarity: A Mom, a Dwarf and a Posh Private School in

the People’s Republic of Berkeley. And reading from it in a wide variety of venues to

a complex and varied audience is a ball. I am having the time of my life – and that’s without landing either an agent or a publisher yet.

that’s without landing either an agent or a publisher yet. Guest column by Laura Novak .

Guest column by Laura Novak. Laura was a television news reporter before writing for The New York Times on business, health and the arts. She is working on the Clari Drake Mystery Series set in Berkeley. Laura lives in the Bay Area and you can find her work on Scribd.com or reach her on Twitter. She also writes the "Medicine & Manhood" column for The Good Men Project Magazine.

Two years ago I began transitioning from my career as a journalist by tapering off my work for The New York Times. I took my debut novel through several edits and began to explore the complicated road to publication. Social Media provided an opportunity to write for others and vastly expand my network of friends and colleagues.

THE VALUE OF AN OPEN MIC

In less than a year, I have become a top female author on Scribd.com, with 43,000 followers. As a result, the Scribd team invited me to read from Finding Clarity at this year’s Lit Quake festival in San Francisco.

I’d been a television news reporter back in the day. But to prepare for Lit Quake, I decided to scour San Francisco’s “open mic” scene. I figured if performance venues are good for struggling comics, they might just as well be a great idea for an author with a completed manuscript.

A simple Google search turned up a well-organized Bay Area open mic calendar,

which meant I had no excuse but to dive in. As with most things in life, the first

Bay Area open mic calendar, which meant I had no excuse but to dive in. As
Bay Area open mic calendar, which meant I had no excuse but to dive in. As

Guide to Literary Agents - How Live Readings Can Help Your Writing

3/14/11 9:38 AM

September, 2008 (13) August, 2008 (23) July, 2008 (17) June, 2008 (23) May, 2008 (20)
September, 2008 (13)
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night was the hardest. But at each reading I’ve made friends, broadened my author
connections and learned about the best places to read (the criteria being
microphone quality, lighting and available food.)
The words “Smack Dab,” “Melt,” “Brain Wash” and the “Sacred Grounds Café” now
roll off my tongue as if I’d been on the scene for decades. I’ve stood elbow to elbow
with scruffy young things and their guitars at the Hotel Utah and I bonded with a
working girl who gave me her undivided attention while I read from Chapter One in
the Tenderloin.
REVISION FROM READINGS
You don't have to wait for "something to happen" in order for things to be
happening with your novel. I am out there doing it, living it! And I'm broadening my
exposure for my manuscript. Each time I read, I explore my own text, emphasize
words differently and take chances on intonation and pacing. I’ve absorbed silence
and learned to pause when the belly laughs were so loud and long, even I had to
chuckle at my own writing.
I don’t know what will happen with Finding Clarity. All I know is that I love it and
love sharing it. And I am delighted that people sit quietly and give me the gift of
7 Things I've Learned So Far
their undivided attention when my five minutes on stage has begun.
Agency Profile
Agent Advice (Agent
Interviews)
Around the Properties
Author Interviews
Breaking In (Writer's Digest)
Children's Writing
Christian Agents
Closings
Contests
Contracts and Copyrights and
Money
Cover Band Venting
Craft and Story Beginnings
Definitions
Dog Stuff
E-Books
Excerpts
Exclusives
Footnotes
Formatting
Genre Writing
Graphic Novels
Guest Columns
How I Got My Agent Columns
Illustrators
Inspiration
Literary Fiction
Magazine Writing
Marketing and Sales
Memoir
MFA
My Writing Life
Narrative Nonfiction
New Agency Alerts
Nonfiction
Paranormal
Pitching
Platform
Playwriting
Poetry
Q&A from Blog Readers
Queries and Synopses and
Proposals
Questions Submitted by
Readers
Random Updates
Revision
Romance
My novel is undergoing a final copy edit as I write this. But I am not on hold.
Finding Clarity doesn’t have to come to a bookstore near me for this journey to be
complete. I am living my life by reading my words weekly, in all sorts of glorious,
wild and crazy places. For me, this is what it is to be an author. And now I believe I
just heard the timer. You’ve been a great audience. Thank you so much!
Need to sharpen the beginning of your novel?
Check out the great resource Hooked, which is
all about writing an excellent Chapter 1.
Want more on this subject?
Want to pen a guest column? Write me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com
Confused about formatting? Check out Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript.
Read about What Agents Hate: Chapter 1 Pet Peeves.
Want the most complete database of agents and what genres they're looking for? Buy the 2011
Guide to Literary Agents today!
Craft and Story Beginnings | Guest Columns
Thursday, October 21, 2010 9:35:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
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More Links

Before you send out your work, have it edited by an established pro!

A literary agent shares secrets.

Agent Lori Perkins blogs and tells all

From the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency

Literary agent Andy Ross in Oakland runs an agency blog.

Agent Barbara Doyen shares her knowledge.

A blog from the whole agency.

Agents from Bookends Literary blog

Agent Brenda Bowen's "Bunny Eat Bunny" kids writing blog.

Cameron, with the Donald Maass Lit Agency, runs her "Book Cannibal" blog.

The official CJLA blog

This blog, run by Alice Pope, is a must- read for anyone writing in the juvenile

market

A Christian agent speaks

Children's Book. Publish & Sell Now

www.Childrens-Book-Publishing.com

Children's Book. Publish & Sell Now www.Childrens-Book-Publishing.com
Publish & Sell Now www.Childrens-Book-Publishing.com The Writer's Digest Master Box Collection Reach Your
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Publish & Sell Now www.Childrens-Book-Publishing.com The Writer's Digest Master Box Collection Reach Your

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Become a Writer's Digest VIP today! Bookmasters Providing Digital Services, Manufacturing and Distribution
Become a Writer's Digest VIP today! Bookmasters Providing Digital Services, Manufacturing and Distribution
Become a Writer's Digest VIP today! Bookmasters Providing Digital Services, Manufacturing and Distribution
Become a Writer's Digest VIP today! Bookmasters Providing Digital Services, Manufacturing and Distribution
Become a Writer's Digest VIP today! Bookmasters Providing Digital Services, Manufacturing and Distribution
Become a Writer's Digest VIP today! Bookmasters Providing Digital Services, Manufacturing and Distribution
Become a Writer's Digest VIP today! Bookmasters Providing Digital Services, Manufacturing and Distribution
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Become a Writer's Digest VIP today! Bookmasters Providing Digital Services, Manufacturing and Distribution

Guide to Literary Agents - How Live Readings Can Help Your Writing

3/14/11 9:38 AM

See where Chuck will be presenting and

 

when!

A

new agent at FinePrint Literary blogs

David Hale Smith's "Literary Show and Tell" blog.

A

literary agent talks publishing

An agent from JABberwocky Literary blogs.

A

blog from the whole agency.

Buy Guide to Literary Agents and a bunch

of

other great WD Books.

A

blog from the whole agency.

All the agents chime in on this new blog

An agency blog.

Agents from Full Circle Literary in California blog

Agent Jamie Brenner of Artists & Artisans blogs.

Agent Sarah Davies shares her thoughts and wisdom

A

blog from the whole agency.

Agent Janet Reid of FinePrint Literary gives her two cents on anything and

everything

An agent with the Donald Maass Literary Agency blogs

From the founder of The Bent Agency.

A

kids agent at the Herman Agency blogs.

JABberwocky Literary Agency

Kathleen with Lowenstein Associates

Agent Kelly Mortimer's "Perils of Publishing" blog.

The president of AEI, a script and literary management co., blogs.

A

blog by kids agent Mary Kole of the

Andrea Brown Literary Agency

A

blog from the whole agency.

Exactly what it sounds like

The "Agent Savant" blog

An agent at the L. Perkins Agency blogs

A

blog on "Authorial, Agently and

Personal Ramblings."

Guide to Literary Agents - How Live Readings Can Help Your Writing

3/14/11 9:38 AM

Agent Jonathan Lyons blogs

This new WD blog features Kate Monahan and all things about getting an MFA

Agent Michael Larsen of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents blogs about publishing and nonfiction writing.

No longer active, but this blog by anonymous agent Miss Snark still has oodles of priceless info in its archives

A

popular blog from an agent at Curtis

Brown in San Francisco

An agent with the Knight Agency blogs

A

poetry blog from the editor of Writer's

Market

WD's own blog of writing prompts, run by magazine staffer Zac Petit

Kristin Nelson's Agent Blog

Janet Reid's blog where she dissects query letters

WD staffer Brian A. Klems answers questions of all kinds

A

blog by an agent who specializes in

Christian Writing

Dorchester editor Leah Hultenschmidt blogs romance.

An agent from Harvey Klinger blogs.

The great Greyhaus agent blogs away.

A

WD scriptwriting blog from Chad

Gervich, TV producer

A

Christian agent and former editor talks

the biz.

A

new assistant agent at FinePrint Literary

blogs.

An agent with Hartline Literary blogs.

"The Writing Life," as told by a former editor and agent.

A

blog dedicated to juvenile writing (YA,

middle grade, picture books) run by an

editor at CBAY Books and Blooming Tree

 

Press

The agency blog.

A

Hollywood Executive Talks About

Screenwriting

A

few new literary agents share advice.

WD contributor Nancy Parish talks writing.

Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest Books,

Guide to Literary Agents - How Live Readings Can Help Your Writing

3/14/11 9:38 AM

talks about publishing trends and has interviews online

 

An agent from Curtis Brown, Ltd. blogs

A

blog from the whole agency at Upstart

Crow Literary.

 

A

blog from the whole agency.

Multiple agents blog.

 

A

site dedicated to protecting writers

from scams of all kinds - including unscrupulous agents

 

Primarily devoted to genre fiction, this site features plenty of interviews with industry pros

This big hub has tons of online articles from past issues of WD. Check out the revamped new site!

Online writing courses are taught by WD staffers and contributors

 

This pay site is our online database of listings (magazines, book publishers, agents, and everything else). It has more than 6,000 listings.

 

A

huge writing website and resource

writers should check out.

 

Agent Andrew Zack blogs.

 
 

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Guide to Literary Agents - How Live Readings Can Help Your Writing

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