Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Inspiration for Writers & Building A Community ©

Is Flattery the Way to Query an Agent..?

April 22, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Blandish – definition: to coax or persuade with flattery : to cajole

flattery

Although flattery might be a temptation, it is probably not the best way to get an agent to recognize your work. Obviously you can mention you have read through their profile, seen the authors they already work with and taken care to submit to their preference. However, blatant cajoling is apt to have the exact opposite result you are wishing for. That is not to say that you can’t use any connections you may have up your sleeve. An introduction or meeting at a conference or another author’s recommendation are excellent ways to open dialogue.

The most important aspect about approaching an agent is to make sure you have thoroughly researched the genre’s they are interested in or promote. A romance agency is not going to accept a science fiction manuscript even if there are romantic elements in it. Wasting the agent’s time is a big no – no! As you can see from these links time taken researching the agency’s website and the individual agent’s will ensure your time is productive.

http://rebeccabradleycrime.com/2013/04/19/querying-that-literary-agent-in-5-simple-steps/

http://chasingthecrazies.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/querying-writers-please-do-your-homework/

The more care we take to polish and correctly submit our submissions the better. An agent will respond more favorably if our pitch is to their criteria. After ‘pressing the submit button’ we can only wait for a reply. Another point to make a note of is the agency’s response guidelines. Some will email back, some not and others may site on their website that if we have not heard in a certain amount of time, our submission has not been accepted.

The waiting is the hard part…!

Toady…do childhood memories inspire?

March 8, 2013
mandyevebarnett


 Toady – definition: a person who flatters another in the hopes of receiving favors.

The-Wind-in-the-WillowsMy first thought when I read this word was Toad of Toad Hall. It was a favorite book when I was growing up – Wind in the Willows. Fascinating animal characters in a natural environment. Then the realization came that my current project is about animal characters in a forest helped by woodland sprites. Is there a sub-conscious link to my childhood do you think? I hadn’t thought of Toad and his friends in more decades than I care to mention but maybe they linger in the depths of my mind. I had thought I was writing this particular story because my parents were always very keen for  my siblings and I to understand and appreciate the natural world around us. Possibly it is a combination of the two. I have passed on my parents legacy to my children and my current project, Ockleberries to the Rescue is partly inspired by the stories I told them when they were little. Their favorite outing was always a wildlife park preferring them over zoos. The animals have so much more space to live in.

Could our current themes or genres be influenced by childhood memories and favorite books? My pal, Vikki at The View Outside discussed favorite books from childhood in a recent post so I thought it only fitting to put it here. http://the-view-outside.com/2013/02/15/the-influences-of-childhood-books/

When you consider what you write now is there any link to your childhood? It may not be so startling obvious as mine is in regard to my current project but what are the underlying traits in your work?

Coax…

March 4, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Coax – definition: 1) to influence by gentle urging, special attention or flattering 2) to get or win by means of gentle urging or flattery

There seems to be two decidedly opposing sides to this manner of influence. We can see it as someone fawning and ingratiating themselves for special favors – we’ve all witnessed it either at school or work. Or it can be a way to assist someone with lack of self esteem or purpose to achieve their goals. When we first ‘reveal’ our writing passion it can be with some trepidation. Will family and friends take us seriously? Will they understand? Talking to many writer friends it has become apparent that the ‘coaxing’ comes from both sides. A writer needs to coax their support system into believing their passion is a worthwhile endeavor while the family and friends have to ‘coax’ the writer into following their goals.

When we set our sights on our writing goals, be it writing that novel, getting published or committing to a blog, it is best to break down that challenge into manageable realistic portions. Telling yourself you can write a novel in three months and have a best seller by the end of the year is not only unrealistic but will be self defeating. Instead decide how much time you can manage for actually writing it. As we all know this first draft will go through many changes as we coax the characters and plot line into a polished project. Be assertive in making this writing time ‘your time’ so you are undisturbed. (Easier said than done I know!) However, if you can distance yourself from people who criticize and demean your efforts you will succeed.

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

Realize a novel or novella is not a ‘quick’ project and the more time invested in it, the better it will become. Whatever your support system – friends, family or writing group – use them for feedback as well as encouragement. We all need coaxing from time to time.

What coaxing have you experienced? One of mine was a new found friend in my writing group ‘persuaded’ me to try NaNoWriMo – this was at a time when the most I had written was a short story! Let’s just say she was insistent but also encouraging and to my surprise I succeeded with that challenge. It was a bit extreme to say the least but it opened the flood gates to my creativity so I’m not complaining.

Blog at WordPress.com.