Writing Contest: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Novels –> Open Until November 10th!

There is a writing contest going on right now.  If you have a finished adult Fantasy or Sci-Fi manuscript then you should submit!  Here are the details:

Welcome to the 26th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a FREE recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. If you’re writing any kind of fantasy or science fiction novel (for adults), then this 26th contest is for you! The contest is live through end of day, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. The contest is judged by agent Mike Hoogland of Dystel & Goderich.

HOW TO SUBMIT

E-mail entries to dearluckyagent26@gmail.com. Please paste everything. No attachments.

(This contest went live a few hours before the e-mail was created, so several people who submitted early had their work bounce back. Apologies if this was you. As of early October 26, 2017, this e-mail address is up and running and fine. Submit! Thank you. All is now well.)

WHAT TO SUBMIT (AND OUR SOCIAL MEDIA REQUIREMENTS)

The first 150-250 words (i.e., your first double-spaced page) of your unpublished, completed fantasy or science fiction novel. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also note your city of residence (i.e. — the city you live in, not your full address). Submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry. Self-published novels are not eligible.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any any social-media. Please provide a social-media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your official e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! In short, simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a TinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is http://tinyurl.com/jymslez

An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino at the end of your mention(s) if using Twitter. If we’re friends on FB, tag me in the mention. If you are going to just use Twitter as your 2 entries, please wait one day between mentions to spread out the notices, instead of simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks. (Please note that simply tweeting me does not count. You have to include the contest URL with your mention; that’s the point. And if you use Twitter, put my handle @chucksambuchino at the middle or the end, not at the very beginning of the tweet, or else the tweet will be invisible to others.)

MEET YOUR (AWESOME) AGENT JUDGE!

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-29-25-pmMike Hoogland joined Dystel & Goderich after completing a foreign rights internship at Sterling Lord Literistic. Before pursuing a career in publishing, Mike studied at Colgate University and graduated with a degree in political science and the intention to work in government. He interned with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but soon realized his interests and passions were better suited to a career in the publishing industry. After Colgate, Mike went on to gain a valuable education at the Columbia Publishing Course and discovered his passion for the agenting side of the business. He is seeking: sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, upmarket women’s fiction, and some children’s books (picture books, MG, and YA), as well as a wide variety of narrative nonfiction, including science, history, and politics. He is particularly interested in seeing thought-provoking, realistic speculative fiction.

What a wonderful opportunity, I bet this will be a fun contest to judge.  I’ll be submitting my first page 🙂  Good luck to all my fellow writers out there!

tree-hart Image Link   

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/26th-free-dear-lucky-agent-contest-fantasy-science-fiction?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=wds-csa-nl-161102&utm_content=893506_GLA161102&utm_medium=email

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Synopsis: an affliction

Synopsis [si-nop-sis] noun: the atrophying of synapses, a common affliction found in the brain of a writer trying to get published.

I thought this somewhat clever while staring at my computer screen this morning at 1:28am.  With a little bit of drool hanging from my lower lip, my synapses certainly felt fried and I seemed to resemble a lobotomy patient.

lobotomy

When I finally did go to bed, I couldn’t sleep.  And what surprised me even more, when I woke up later this morning, after only a few hours of sleep, I felt great.  My brain seemed to be eager to get back to work, back to the synopsis.  Maybe today will be a break through or maybe I will just continue to stare at the computer screen like the victim of an ice-pick lobotomy…

Query letters and synopses present their challenges and there is an overwhelming supply of information and advice on the internet.  There are multiple books published on the topic.  What should an aspiring writer buy into and what should she not?  I’ve tried to save my pennies and do most of my research online but who can you trust?

While I am no expert, I will say that online, the greatest advice I could find about query letters came from Janet Reid the Query Shark.  When I first went to her blog, of course I didn’t want to read through the archives.  I wanted to submit my query.  Dammit.  But I found that after reading through a good majority (seriously, just do it) I was able to critique my own query letter fairly well.  Of course I was still plagued by uncertainty but that will always be part of the game.  Because of the query shark, I was able to compose a brief list of how to detail my query letter.

  1. Keep it main character focused
  2. Keep it around or under 350 words (including everything from the salutation to the sincerely)
  3. Who is the main character?
  4. What does she want?
  5. What is keeping her from getting what she wants?
  6. What must she sacrifice to get what she wants?

http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

I also found a great resource in Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency as she posts awesome PubRants.  Read them, they’re great.

Here are the essentials of what I took from her rants in regard to the query letter:

  1. Shorter queries get quicker results – Make every word count – No more than 5-7 sentences long
  2. Agents read pitch first (you have 30 seconds to sell yourself, go!)
  3. Clearly outline in query letter how story fits in the market – List other titles comparable to yours – Add a line that readers who enjoyed X, Y, Z will also enjoy yours – Clearly distinguish your novel’s correct genre type
  4. Have a good title
  5. Remember that a great pitch is the second most important aspect of writing after, of course, writing a great book.  So perfect your pitch!  A novel’s pitch will be used extensively in the beginning life of the novel.  The agent uses it to get the publisher excited, the publisher uses it to get sellers excited and the seller uses it to get the reader excited.

http://nelsonagency.com/pub-rants/

And lastly, for the synopsis, I have found the best help and advice from Chuck Sambuchino.  He has an amazing blog that I wish I had found earlier.  I feel that nearly every post I read offers some insight or detail into the publishing world.  He also introduces new agents so it is good to keep an eye on his list of literary agents.

What I’ve taken from his blog so far in relation to writing a synopsis:

  1. List no more than 5-6 characters
  2. When name of character first mentioned –> ALL CAPS
  3. Objective – convince agent to read book
  4. Focus on telling the story – think flash fiction – same tone and style
  5. Expand your query blurb
  6. Cover essential points of novel from beginning to end in the correct order
    1. main characters
    2. main plots
    3. ending

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents

Maybe you already knew this and I am late to the game.  If not, I hope I’ve helped, maybe even just a little.  And if you have any advice, please feel free to share 🙂