Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Is Flattery the Way to Query an Agent..?

April 22, 2013

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


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.

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…!

What’s A Writers Main Problem..?

April 16, 2013

Surfeit – definition: 1) a supply that is more than enough : excess; 2) an enjoyment of something (as food or drink) beyond what is good or necessary; 3) disgust caused by excess


I’m sure if we began making lists of writing problems the topics included would be – editing, conclusions, middle of the story arc, and character development to name just a few. However, I feel the main problem happens to be – too many ideas! It is almost a curse. We are concentrating on one project and numerous others are fighting for our attention. We make hurried notes in an attempt not to ‘lose’ the new idea. Then it is filed away with all the others. Gradually we come to realize our idea pile is growing exponentially.

When will we have the time to give them our full attention? Is it actually possible to nurture all of them into fulfilled projects?

Some may say it’s a good problem to have; if they are not a writer that is! Contrarily it actually has the opposite effect from the perceived one. We become frustrated as these new stories tussle for our attention, breaking into our thought processes at inconvenient moments. Worry begins to surface, what if by ignoring them they are lost forever? Should we spend time plotting them out then get back to our current project? When will we get time to enhance them all into cohesive stories?

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How do you cope with multiple ideas? What strategies do you use to keep them from invading your thoughts? Can you share any tips or experience that would help others?







I would also like to mention today a friend’s book as it deals with surfeit.  She has been exceptionally brave and told her story of addiction. An excess she has managed to ‘conquer’.


Toady…do childhood memories inspire?

March 8, 2013

 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.

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?

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