Tag Archives: Agents

14.39: Positioning Your Book in the Marketplace

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

“Positioning feels like the most important question in all of publishing.” — Dongwon Song

In this episode we talk about how to ask and answer the question of positioning, which is “who is this book for?”

Credits: This episode was recorded before a live audience aboard Liberty of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Identify and describe your target reader. Use comp titles as necessary.

14.34: Author Branding

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

Authors have brands whether they want to have them or not. It’s a simple principle of marketing, and the better we understand that principle, the better able we are to control how it affects our careers.

In this episode we talk marketing, and freely use terms like “relationship marketing,” “authentic experience,” and “brand loyalty,” despite the fact that sometimes these words make our inner artists cringe.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson. 

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Identify your brand. Think about the core aspects of your personality which you’re comfortable sharing publicly. Pick at least three things, and document them.

Be aware that “Murder Hat” is taken.

Empress of Forever, by Max Gladstone

14.25: Choosing Your Agent

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

Guest-host Dongwon Song joined us at WXR 2018 as an instructor, and gave great advice regarding the business side of working as an author. In this episode he takes us through a conversation about choosing an agent.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Document the attributes of your ideal agent.

Magic for Liars, by Sarah Gailey

14.17: It’s Like “Car Talk” meets “Welcome To Nightvale”

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

This episode is about comp titles (comparative titles), which are those things you use to describe your project in terms of other works. We discuss the ones we’ve used (both successfully and unsuccessfully), and the criteria we use to come up with good ones.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Come up with six comp titles—three for existing projects, and three for projects you may want to write. May, in fact, need to write…

A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine

12.46: Reinventing Yourself

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Mary Anne, and Wesley

We discuss the idea of “reinventing yourself,” which can mean anything from “trying something new” to “completely re-branding yourself as a writer,” and how it’s a difficult thing to do without figuring out what it actually is that you’re currently doing. We talk about how we’ve done it, how others have done it, and how important it is to continue learning as a writer.

Credits: This episode was recorded in Chicago by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Immerse yourself in a genre that is new to you. Short story anthologies in that genre, or award winning novels are a good place to start. Read those.

NOTE: The Lost Book of the White by Wesley Chu and Cassandra Claire has been retitled and rescheduled. You should (eventually) be looking for:

The Red Scrolls of Magicby Wesley Chu and Cassandra Clare, scheduled for release in March of 2019.

11.41: The Editor’s Wish List, with Navah Wolfe

Navah Wolfe, an editor at Saga Press, joined us to talk about the manuscripts she would really like to see. Ordinarily we don’t encourage people to write to the market, but Navah asked specifically for the opportunity to tell our listeners what she’s looking for. As it happens, tracking Navah’s wish list as you write is unlikely to send you haring after the latest trend—you’re far more likely to develop some new writing skills that will make your work more enjoyable, more fulfilling, and ultimately easier to sell.

Spoiler Warning: In three weeks we’ll be doing a Project in Depth on Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal. If you want to get the most out of that episode, you have three weeks to acquire and read the book.

Credits: This episode was recorded aboard Oasis of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson.

 

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Write two different “this meets that” pitches, once with a focus on the emotional heart, and once with a focus on set dressing.

The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, edited by Navah Wolfe (available October 18th, 2016. No audio version available yet.)

11.07: The Convention Survival Kit, with Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger joined us at WorldCon in Spokane, Washington, to talk about her Convention Survival Kit, which is full of things most of us wish we’d known to bring to conventions back when we first started attending them.

Pronunciation note: Brandon uses the soft “g” when saying Gail’s surname, but it’s actually Carriger with a hard “g.”

Liner note: Gail’s convention tips and packing list can be found here. The page is pretty comprehensive, and is worth bookmarking and committing to memory.

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Someone has to make a pitch when they are very, very drunk.

Court of Fives, by Kate Elliott, narrated by Georgia Dolenz, and Prudence, by Gail Carriger, narrated by Moira Quirk

Writing Excuses 10.51: Q&A on Showing Your Work, with Daniel José Older

Daniel José Older joins us for a Q&A on showing your work around. Here are the questions, which were submitted by attendees at the Out of Excuses workshop:

  • What’s the best way to meet editors and agents at conventions?
  • How do you write a good query letter?
  • What do you mention as credentials in your query letter?
  • You didn’t cover self publishing at all this month. Self publishing is legit, right?
  • Can you submit the same work to more than one agent or editor at a time?
  • Can you re-submit a revised work to an agent who previously rejected the piece?
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Write a query letter for a book that you love, but did not write. Then write a query letter for your own work.

Mystic, by Jason Denzel, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal