Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Buy an agent or editor's time for charity

Author Brenda Novak is holding her annual fundraiser for diabetes research. Many of the items are for readers, but writers have some interesting items to look at, as well.

Agents and editors are auctioning off their time to critique parts of your manuscript, read your proposal (partial) with a quick turnaround time, or critique your proposal (partial). Most of the agents/editors are in the romance market, but some also handle other genre and nonfiction.

The prices are mindboggling for those of us with smaller incomes, but the chance to get a major agent/editor to help you polish your book/proposal, or have an agent/editor look at your work when they normally don't read slush pile is priceless.

The auction is here: http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/ To find the items of interest to writers, look at the links on the left side.

Here is a way to get the most out of your money.

First, copy and paste the page/pages of agents/editors onto a blank text document.

At the top, list the date you are doing this and note the number of agents/editors listed (number is on top of the page) so you can refer back to that number in case more items are offered.

Now, go through and delete the items you have no interest in. This would include Harlequin editors if your market isn't Harlequin, etc.

Once this is done, look over the agents/editors to find names/publishers you already know that handle the market you are interested in. Highlight those in some manner. Color fonts or bold text works well.

Is there any agent/editor there who is your dream agent/editor for your manuscript? If so, highlight them with an asterisk or something else.

Agents/editors offer either a fast read and response to your full manuscript/partial/or query, or they offer an evaluation of your manuscript/partial/query. Unless the agent/editor is your dream agent/editor, delete those items that only offer a fast response, not an evaluation.

An evaluation helps you make your book marketable so even if that agent/editor isn't interested, you will gain something more than a fast yes or no. Also, many of these editors/agents will look at your partial or query for free with a longer waiting period.

The items you've highlighted so far are of first interest.

The editors/agents/publishers you aren't familiar with will require research to find out their specialties.

One place to research agents is Publishers Marketplace

You can also Google names. Be sure to put the editor/agent's name in quotes, for example "Kristine Nelson," so that the results only include both names.

If you are a member of RWA, you may also be able to research agents and editors at the RWA site in their market information.

After this research, you will now have the information you need to make the perfect choice for your bids.

If you are just starting in your writing or your craft isn't quite there yet, writers who do critiques may be a better deal for your money. Be sure to pick authors in your own market niche. Look to see if they have any editorial or teaching experience. Those that do may be your best bet for quality feedback.

I can't suggest a price range for items. Only you can make that determination, but remember that you only have one shot at getting that book accepted by a great agent or editor so you are improving your chances of success by having a professional help you polish your work.

At least a portion of this cost may also be used as a tax write-off. I stress "may" since I'm not a tax expert, and I'm not certain if this charity is listed as such by your state or the feds.

Good hunting for that perfect item.

HAVE A WRITING QUESTION? Ask the question at my blog or via email at marilynnbyerly@aol.com.


My mom is out of the hospital and on the way to recovery, but I'm appallingly behind in all aspects of my writing and life so my blog posts will be sporadic in the coming weeks.

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