Thursday, December 3, 2009

Book Review: 2010 Guide To Literary Agents

Post by NCW Director Kerrie Flanagan
2010 2010 Guide to Literary Agents
Edited by Chuck Sambuchino
362 page, soft cover book
Published By Writers Digest Books

My Rating: 5 pencils   

As a full-time editor for Writers Digest books and frequent conference presenter, Chuck Sambuchino has his finger on the pulse of the publishing industry, especially when it comes to literary agents. Each year, Sambuchino updates, revises and includes new articles in the Guide to Literary Agents, which makes each edition feel like a brand new book.

Any writer looking to find a literary agent should have a copy of the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents. It is more than just a market guide with the contact information for agents.

When searching for an agent, Sambuchino follows the creed of the boy scouts; be prepared. “Searching for a literary agent can be overwhelming, whether you’ve just finished your first book or you have several publishing credits on your resume...But before you go directly to the listings of agencies in this book, take time to familiarize yourself with the way agents work and how you should approach them. By doing so, you will be more prepared for your search and ultimately save yourself effort and unnecessary grief.”

The 2010 Guide to Literary Agents provides authors everything they need to be prepared

The book is divided into six sections:
• Getting Started
• Contacting Agents
• Sealing the Deal
• Perspectives
• Markets
• Resources

The first four include informative articles by Sambuchino and other writing professionals with topics like, how to research an agent, how to write a good query and synopsis, negotiating your book contract and marketing your book.

One article is full of quotes from agents about what they don’t want to see in chapter one of a book. Agent Stephany Evans said, “I’m turned off when a writer feels the need to fill in all the backstory before starting the story; a story that opens on the protagonist’s mental reflection of their situation is (usually) a red flag.”

“Give them exactly what they ask for,” said agent Paul Lamb. “I know that agents seem like a disgruntled bunch with a classic Napoleon complexes, but I assure you that we are diehard fans of writing who want to contribute to the world of books.”

Most writers understand that acquiring an agent is an important and in some cases necessary step to getting their book published. In the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents, Sambuchino provides the tools needed so writers can all find the right agent.

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of this book by F&W Media


Patricia Stoltey said...

I expect to spend some time with the guide early in 2010 as I decide where to pitch/query two very different novel manuscripts. This part is harder than writing a novel.

Daniel Steeves said...

Query Letters, Snynopsis, and Sample Chapters...oh my! Thanks for the review! It was very helpful and now I know what to expect before making that purchase. Looks like I'll be diving into it soon. Thanks again!

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