Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sandy Aftermath: A Helping Hand is Worth More Than Words

After what seemed like an eternity sans heat and electricity post Hurricane Sandy, our power has been restored. Although we have our electricity back, many towns in NY and NJ have been left with unsurpassed destruction never before seen in these areas. With the death toll still rising, many people have been left homeless, stranded, and quite literally powerless.

If you've watched the news coverage you have inevitably heard about people's experiences and their tragic losses. I personally can't stop thinking about the story of the young mother in Staten Island who had to evacuate her home as water started to seep into her house, then poring in from all crevices. She quickly took her two and four year old sons out of the house and into the family car only to be stuck there immobile as the water surged around her. Within a few minutes, unable to go anywhere with the water quickly filling up the car, she took the boys out of the car and put them on the roof telling them that they would be okay. As her screams for help commingled with the wailing winds, another strong wave swept over the car taking both of her babies with it. 

This scene keeps playing in my mind like a wicked loop from a terrifying movie. Only difference being that it is not a movie. It is a horrible and very real tragedy. One that is not an isolated incident for many other families who have suffered unimaginable losses in our area this week. My own family, clients, friends and my community have been severely affected by this storm. 

As you may imagine, all sorts of assistance and donations are needed. Stacey Donaghy, Michelle Johnson, and Jamie Bodnar Drowley and I have offered our services to the Jen Malone Writer's Auction

The Auction has been set up on the Jen Malone's blog so be sure to look at all the latest posts going back to October to see the goodies that have been posted there. For ease of locating our specific posts and placing your bids, I'm listing our respective links below. The proceeds from this auction go directly to the Red Cross.

Auctioned Items: Bid Now!
Marisa Corvisiero (me) -- Query and 10 Page Critique
Stacey Donahey -- 10 Page Critique
Michelle Johnson -- Query Critique
Jamie Bodnar Drowley -- Query Critique

I know that not all of our finances allow us to give donations, so please click here for other ways that YOU CAN HELP. My sister, Emma K. Viglucci, founder and director of Metropolitan Marriage and Family Therapy, PLLC, in her role as Member at Large for the NY Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (NYAMFT), is helping coordinate efforts for the Rockaways, Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, NY and other areas. She has put together a very helpful document listing many things that you can donate, and where and how you can volunteer to help

I hope that you are able to donate help or give a smidgen of your time to possibly ease someone's discomfort or loss, or possibly even save someone's life. 

Happy Helping!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Time Well Spent

A time comes in one's life where absconding our compulsions becomes moot. As much as I like to think of myself as an easygoing person, there is that OCD side of me that rears its ugly head whenever my type A personality is dissatisfied. The result is that it drives me diligently and with obscure focus to the finish line.

Now if you were married to me, you may not like the overly driven Marisa at times. My clients on the other hand... well, just picture them with big grins on their faces, jumping up and down while clapping their hands going, "Yey, keep up the good work!" This of course encourages me even further.

The point that I want to make is that I hate wasting time. When I get into my driven zone, I make my lists and my schedule, and heaven forgive the in-perceptive soon to be sadling that tries to move my cheese.

Every year I travel to several conferences and teach many workshops. This time that I invest in my agenting and consulting practices is time that is often my family time. And so, it is even more important to me to ensure that the event is worth it.

This weekend we hosted Up Close & Personal, a full day workshop with my Literary Powerhouse Consulting partner, Jo Ann Kairys. We invited authors to her home in NJ and spent all day there chatting and working, and drinking lots of good coffee. I have to say that in spite of my apprehension to forego another weekend day away from my husband and kids, the workshop turned out to be a huge success. I am happy to say that it was really a wonderful time. I may have even found an incredible manuscript to represent.

After the workshop on Saturday, I went home content that it had been a good day. This great feeling was reinforced the next morning when I received a very nice note from one of the attendees. In part it read...

"I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for yesterday's amazing experience.  From top to bottom--the expert consultation, the company, and the laughs--it was so much better than I could have imagined." -SW, San Francisco

A note like this pleases me to no end. I'm satisfied that the workshop was productive, interesting, and fun. This type of positive experience serves as incentive for me to keep doing what I'm doing. Although it is difficult for me to find the time to go to conferences, do live workshops and chats on a regular basis, I find that these efforts aren't just helpful to authors' work, they help us all to create a wonderful network and connections between agents, authors, and publishers that may have never been forged otherwise. 

And so you can expect to continue to see my agents and myself at some more of these type of events in the future. I hope that you decide to participate as well, because overall it is time well spent... even for the busiest of us.


Friday, September 28, 2012

New Agents: Congratulations Ladies!

Congratulations to Stacey DonaghyBrittany Howard, and Michelle Johnson for being promoted to Jr. Agents at the Corvisiero Literary Agency, LLC. Effective October 1st, 2012 these amazing ladies will officially become Jr. Agents. On behalf of the Agency, I congratulate you and thank you for a job well done!

Stacey, Brittany & Michelle have been with the agency for most of this year in training to become Agents. They have each surpassed my expectations beyond their respective roles. Not only have they become indispensable to me in the operations of the agency, but they have also become friends and confidants. 
Stacey Donaghy
I am confident to say that they are well on their way to becoming wonderful agents, and look forward to long rewarding relationships with each of them! 
These three ladies join me, Saritza Hernandez (Senior Agent), Jordy Albert (Jr. Agent), and Brittany Booker (Jr. Agent) in the ranks of agent-hood and will be actively looking for new talent to grow their lists. So be sure to take a look at their profiles and our submission guidelines.
Brittany Howard
We also congratulate Jamie Bodnar Drowley, on her promotion to Agent Apprentice! Jamie has been doing a wonderful job as an intern with us for a few months already. She will be Apprenticing with me until she is ready to spread her wings.  Last, but never least, please welcome our newest team member, Wayne Meyers, Intern and IT specialist. We are very exited about the latest promotions and hires. Please feel free to contact them and offer your congratulations!

Michelle Johnson
I was at the Southern California Writer's Conference this weekend, and during an interview someone pointed out that my agency has grown quite a bit since we opened our doors. He asked me, "At what point would the agency no longer be considered a Boutique Agency?" My answer to him was that the Corvisiero Literary Agency will always be a boutique agency, "We don't call ourselves a boutique because we are small. We call ourselves a boutique agency because of our quality of service and exclusivity. We treat our clients as if they are a part of our family, and we pride ourselves in the fostering their growth as professionals. Their success is our success."
I believe that our internal culture and special skills- having a lawyer, editors, PR person, a manger,  a doctor, an IT specialist, etc. sets us apart from many agencies, bigger and smaller. We hope that you think so too!

To submit your work for consideration see our submission guidelines, and e-mail your work to

Happy Welcome!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Up Close & Personal: Workshops, Events, & other Services

I am looking forward to working one on one, for a full day with authors during our upcoming Up Close and Personal workshop
If you haven't already heard, my Literary Powerhouse Partner, Jo Ann Kairys, and I are offering a full day workshop in her beautiful home on October 20th to specifically help authors ready their submissions package to Agents and Editors. 

This workshop is a one of the kind exclusive workshop, and I think that it will be a lot of fun! In a setting like this, we will not only get to know the author's work and focus on what they need, but we will also get to talk about the industry, learn how to build a platform and market books, how things work, and most importantly, we'll get to know each other! 

The setting will be intimate, so space is very limited. If you would be interested in spending the day with us talking about your work (style, plot, voice, arc, etc.), from query, synopsis, and proposal, to selling your book, and everything  in between, this workshop is for you. 
I think that Jo Ann and I are in an incredibly good position to help authors save money and time that is often misspent in this process, and improve their trajectory directly toward success. 

During my agenting years, and even before that, I have heard of too many stories of mistakes authors make that they wish they could take back. But these can be avoided with proper research when you find qualified professionals to help you. Whether it is us at Literary Powerhouse, or an editor, a consultant, or even an attorney, you need to know that your new hire is qualified to deliver what you need to help you succeed in this industry.

I have added a tab to this blog in order to start sharing the events and workshops offered at Literary Powerhouse, as well as the events that I will be hosting and attending as a Literary Agent. We have many upcoming workshops offered by instructors who are industry experts that are especially great at what they do. These will be added and updated periodically, so if you can't find what you're looking for, please visit the Events page on the LitPow site. Also be sure to sign in for announcements. 

Please note that as a literary agent, I can review your work to consider representing it. In such capacity, and through the Corvisiero Literary Agency neither I nor my agents will ever charge any fees for reviewing or considering your work, nor for advice that we share during conferences, live chats and other events. If you seek to participate in workshops, have work edited or critiqued, etc. you may find these services at Literary Powerhouse Consulting. For legal services and contract reviews, take a look at Corvisiero Law

This separability of services is carefully crafted to ensure that all services offered by me and my staffs are clearly delineated and ethically offered to clients. The goal is to maintain proper guidelines as to how work is submitted, accepted, and only when appropriate- billed. An agent should never charge you fees for reading, and they can not require a payment from you to hire an editor to fix your work. It's okay for them to tell you that you need to edit your manuscript before it goes out, but they shouldn't be charging clients fees for such editing after they've agreed to represent it as an agent. 

On the other hand, there is a persistent trend whereby many agents are now finally offering their expertise for hire. In other words, you can hire an agent as a consultant, or for specific services such as coaching, editing or critiques for a fee. This has become increasingly acceptable as long as the fee is not a prerequisite for getting your work reviewed and considered by them. So take advantage of these opportunities, because no one knows the industry better than agents and editors. 

Happy Learning!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Submissions: Package Yourself!

People often ask me why I still attend a number of conferences every year, and how I find the time to do it. Finding the time is the difficult part for me, every time I leave the office and home for a number of days it feels like it all goes to hell in a hand-basket. The why part of this question, however, is the easy part.
I attend conferences for the same many reasons why I offer workshops and do live chats on a regular basis, and why I founded the LitPow Writer's Network Group... its because I enjoy it. I find meeting authors to be very fruitful. These types of interactions give me the unique opportunity to help and and nurture authors, many of whom later become wiser, more knowledgeable and skilled clients. It also allows me to develop relationships with writers that I enjoy working with, and it gives me a chance to get to know them before they actually become clients.
I often say that taking on a client in this business is a lot like choosing a winner on American Idol. Each meeting, interaction and step in the submission process is an episode in the competition. When we find someone who writes well, most agents will also look for the whole package. Can the person write? Are they creative? Do they have more books in them? Are they articulate and presentable? Are they industry and technology savvy? Will they work hard to build a platform or following and push their sales? Are they a good fit for the agency and good to work with? Etc. 
And yes, even though the work always speaks for itself,  to be very successful in the publishing business seasoned agents and publishers will often look for authors that offer the whole package.  It is therefore imperative that as an author you work on all of these things that would make you more marketable, while you continue to hone your craft and prepare yourself to present it all in that neat little package all wrapped up with a bright red ribbon.
This is in no way intended to discourage any author who may be insecure about any of their attributes. I am not sharing these words with you to tell you that you will not succeed if you are not hot stuff. I'm posting this to tell authors what to be prepared for, and to reiterate the importance of paying special attention to how you present, or 'Package,' yourself when you submit your work to be considered for representation or for acquisition by a publisher. 
What I'm saying is that with the proper presentation of yourself and your work, your chances of getting the call and a publishing contract will increase exponentially. 
The proverbial package is comprised of you and your work. These are the things that you are 'selling' when you pitch to an agent or editor. The literal package, however, is made up of the things that you will submit in paper (or electronically) for consideration- query letter, synopsis or proposal, and your manuscript.
Query letters, as short as they are, are considered to be the key to the doorway. Your letter must always be professional, concise, catchy, contain all of the information that is needed by the reviewer to assess your work, and present you in the best light as the foundation of that project. If the foundation is week, anything that is added on top will be more likely to crumble. So when you're preparing your Query, be sure to think about the things mentioned above that agents and editors are looking for, and try to give them what they are looking for. 
Once you've done your best with your letter (and manuscript), I strongly recommend that you have your peers or a consultant critique it and give you constructive criticism. It's always a good idea to participate in workshops, do your research, and to go to conferences to help you prepare. 
A literary consultant or coach will also help you prepare your package - or should we say to package yourself, before you are ready to send things out. A good consultant will also be able to help you with the actual novel, from editing to classifying it, to telling you whom to pitch it to and how. Be sure to research anyone you find before you hire them and ask for recommendations when applicable. 

Next month, my Literary Powerhouse Consulting (LitPow) partner, Jo Ann Kairys and I are offering a full day workshop called UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL. During this exclusive workshop we will be helping a handful of authors with their submission packages, pitch preparation, marketing know-how, etc. LitPow, Writer's Digest and other great companies offer many terrific workshops that are awesomely helpful and usually fun. 
These types of workshops and attending conferences are instrumental to helping authors prepare themselves and their work for success, and often facilitate introductions to agents and publishers that you would otherwise not have access to. So find a conference or a workshop near you (or online) to help you get ready for submissions and on your way to success.
Happy Packaging! And Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On Editing: That's THE WORST Advice I've Ever Heard!

The topic of Editing came up in a recent discussion in a LinkedIn author's group that I belong to. The members discussed their issues with editing, finding editors, and how difficult it is to edit one's work. Somehow this conversation was concluded when some members stated that agents and publishers would help the author edit their work. A person in particular said that as long as you do the best you can, they can't really expect more from you and that Agents and Publishers would help you get your work ready for publication.

Although that sounds like sound advice, it is the WORST advice I've ever heard! The statement is accurate in that you should hand in the best possible work you are capable of producing, and it is true that the publishing house will assign an editor to work with you to get the ms ready, BUT this statement is hugely misleading. Why? because doing your best for most authors may not mean that your work is ready for publishing... and all that it will get you is many rejection letters and waste your time. 

This was my response to the group: 

I'm a literary agent and have seen a truly wide scope of editing skills from the almost perfect Manuscript to things that I can't even read past page 2. I will tell you though that there are many editing services out there and consulting sources such as Literary Powerhouse that will really help you when you feel that you can't trust anyone else with your baby. 

However, I respectfully disagree with comments that editing is no longer needed. If you get a sub par manuscript to an agent, they will decline it and tell you that it is not ready. If you are fortunate enough that an agent will take it on, they may then turn around and tell you that you need to hire an editor to get it ready to be sent out to publishers...*

It is true that when the work gets to an editor they will work with you to edit the work, but this does not mean that they will help you get the manuscript ready. More often than not, this means that they want specific changes that they think will make the book more marketable, and if the MS requires lots of editing they will decline it because it's "too much work"... I'm just relaying this from personal experience and it doesn't mean that this is always the case, but I've been around long enough to know that bad editing is distracting to those of us who read a lot, and often just can't make the time to take something on that isn't ready to be put out there. 

* I would like to Note that forcing clients to hire editors after we take them on is not our policy at the Corvisiero Literary Agency. We do not take on work that needs extensive edits. If we love a concept, but the work isn't ready, we ask for a rewrite. We do not force clients to hire paid editors.

My advice is simple. Yes, do your best always, before anyone sees your work. Then give it to an experienced writer, or professional editor, to clean it up and catch the things that you would just skim over. Lets face it, after you've read your work a million times, your eyes do tend to miss things. Attend conferences and workshops to learn tricks and get professional critiques of your work. You are never too good to continue to hone and improve your skills. After the editor has had a go at it, and you've incorporated all of your learnings into the manuscript, you then give it to a hand full of qualified beta readers to give you unbiased (and free) critiques. These things can be done in any order that works best for you.

Once you've considered all the comments that you were given and made the necessary improvements, then you can say that you've truly done your best with this project, and that it is ready for submission. Doing your best means improving your knowledge and skills, and having professionals and savvy colleagues help you. It does not mean that you write a novel, and look it over, and whala, you're ready to send it in.  It means that you must do anything in your power to get that work to be the best that it can possibly be. 

This will make the difference between a rejection letter and a publishing contract.

Happy editing!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Authors Behaving Badly Part II: Oh My GOD! Who is this diva!? And how did I end up here?...

I'd like to start by giving a special thank you to everyone who responded so positively to my last post. You are all right, when you say that I should not have wasted my time with that impolite author, and that my time would have been better spent with someone who would be more receptive to help. Unfortunately, I don't always know how people will react. Though there are often signs of the evil ego monster within popping out with ready tentacles, sometimes people do surprise me. So I make the decision to give my time on a case by case basis, when I have something to say. Even if in the back of my mind I know that it may not go well, I can still sleep at night knowing that the author did not fail because I failed her. As a person in the business with some knowledge to share, I often feel like I have a duty to say something to nudge people in the right direction. Actually, I'm like this with everything... my family and friends can attest to my pesty opinionated ways. ;) Sometimes it's welcome, sometimes it isn't... and that the way it is.

Now to more Author's behaving badly. As I was writing the prior post, my mind kept going back to one of the first writers I ever worked with. She was friend who used to be semi famous at one point in her younger version, and she carried this sense of entitlement with her thereafter even though it is no longer, if ever, warranted. This friend is an author, whom I met years back when I was writing my first book. We shared manuscripts and helped each other out. When I started agenting, she was one of the first people to submit work to me. Knowing her work and being a friend, naturally I took her on right away.

She wanted me to represent (sell) a novel that I had not read yet. Now let me preface this by telling you that when I first started agenting, Chuck Sambucchino featured me on his Writer's Digest blog. Because of Chuck's introduction and other things that I was working on, I was quickly flooded with 200 queries per day for a while. It was a lot of work, and it was all so new. Needless to say, I was busy and overwhelmed. So when my friend submitted her 'new' manuscript to me, it took me a while to read it. When I say a while I mean a few weeks, which by any standards is not long at all. Sometimes it takes a year for us to get to a manuscript because of the crazy volume.

The day after I got the said manuscript, the client sent me a message asking if I'd had a chance to start reading the manuscript. I responded that I had not, and that it would probably be a few days. After a few days she called me to see what I thought of the manuscript. I apologized to her and explained that I had not had a chance to get started on it yet because of all of the submissions that I was going through and other things that I was working on. She was a bit put off by this, and reminded me that I had agreed to read it and had told her that I would read it in a few days. After patiently telling her that I would do my best, we ended the call.

A week later, I had started the manuscript but had not finished it yet. When I started reading it, to my surprise, the manuscript was sub par and just not ready for publishing. So I started making comments to the ms as I went along to try to help her fix it. Of course, this meant that the reading was going even slower than usual because I was now putting together a critique, if not editing her work. I was about half way through when I received her e-mail inquiring as to the status again. I did not respond right away because I was diligently making head way. When I responded I told her that the ms would need editing. She was not happy to say the least. Upon reading the e-mail she called my office and left a 'not so nice' message with my assistant, basically saying that I should have been done by now and why would she need editing when she herself helps others edit their work for a living!

Yikes! "Seriously?" I asked Alexis at the time, who said that the client was rude to her. I called her back right away and said, "What's going on? Why are you so upset?" I said a couple of things about Alexis' reaction to her attitude that she did not acknowledge at all and instead went right into telling me how to manage my time! She said that I should have been able to read the full manuscript in three seatings of about an hour each.

I took a deep breath and explained to her about all of the work that I was putting into her manuscript and that I had bypassed all of the submissions and other manuscripts in queue to be read so that I could speed up her process. I also explained that I wasn't speed reading her novel, that fantasy novel of this length (about 115K words) normally takes about 8 hours without the comments/edits.

The only part of her response worth repeating, so that you know how far she actually took this, is "Just remember Marisa, I'm the talent, and you're working for me..."

Oh My GOD! Who is this diva!? and how did I end up here?...

Well, if you know anything about me, by now I have smoke coming out of my ears. This time I didn't even bother with the deep cleansing breath. This time I just calmly said to her. "I completely understand how you feel now. And I want you to know that I have finished reading your manuscript." At hearing this was happily says, "Oh finally!"

Ignoring the comment and feeling more resolute I added, "So I have good news and bad news." Without giving her a chance to say anything I continued, "The book needs editing, but with the comments I made for you on the draft you should be able to fix it, and have a good book."

Still clueless that she'd behaved so poorly with me and my assistant, she says, "Great, that's all you needed to do." (What?!) "So what's the bad news?" Her complete lack of awareness and egocentrism gave me that little extra kick to not even buffer the blow for her. "I will not be representing this book or you as your agent," I finally said.

Believe it or not, she was shocked. Especially when I explained the reasons to her. In a nice way I told her that our personalities would not work well together and that I didn't appreciate her attitude toward my assistant, me, or her disregard for my time. I told her that my goal was to work with clients who understand the business and appreciate my efforts, skills, and opinion.

After this incident she has begged for me to read her work again, and to take her on as a client several times. Unfortunately, now I know her true colors and the bridge had burned to the ground. It's not going to happen.

What this person failed to understand is that, no matter who you are, your agent is your partner. She or he will help you, guide you, share information, and when your work is ready, sell it for you. In the mean time, the agent isn't really working for you. Yes, your agent is accountable for her actions, but it doesn't mean that you get to boss them around or make demands. If that were the case, you'd be paying us on an hourly basis for all of the hours spent on your work. But you're not. When we sell the book we both earn money. This is something that many people fail to understand. Shows like Entourage and others showing how movies stars treat their agents are very misleading. That isn't always the reality, especially in publishing.

 The moral of this lengthy story? In short, as my mother used to tell me, "always treat people the way you'd want to be treated". Appreciate their work, their time, their feelings. No one owes you anything, and you must earn what you get... and even then, it's no excuse to behave badly.

Happy behaving!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Authors Behaving Badly: How authors miss opportunities to learn and connect

The other day my Agency received a query that was, lets say, subpar. It was lacking in format, skill, and organization. The author did not follow any of the rules for writing a good Query letter. It included marketing plan information, and failed to tell us the genre and word count of the manuscript. Not to mention that the plot was barely comprehensible within all the self-proclaiming accolades and an endorsement from Chloe, the manager of a Barns & Noble. 

My Agents declined this query by telling the author that his story is not what we are looking for at this time. Naturally, this clever author wrote back a two page e-mail about how short sighted agents are and that our agency is typical, and callous, etc, etc, etc.... sigh

This made me unhappy on multiple levels. First let me say that we at the Corvisiero Literary Agency seriously, and often to a fault, try to help authors as much as possible. Unfortunately, given the volume of queries that we receive, it isn't possible to tell every single author exactly why they are declined and how to fix the shortcomings. So it is inevitable that not everyone will be satisfied. 

However, once in a while, someone comes along with an inferiority complex and upon rejection they go beyond the, "I'll get this published with out you" disgruntled response. This week we had one of these such incidents... The author wrote back a fairly obnoxious letter addressed to me personally... so naturally I had to respond. 

...Well, I didn't have to, and most of my colleagues and clients think that I'm crazy for taking the time to address these things, but I guess that this is part of what makes me. I like to help people. So I wrote the following response:

Dear John,

It has come to my attention that your story was declined by our agency because it does not fit our list. When an agency says this to you, it simply means that we either are not looking for your type of story at this time because they are not selling, or because we have too many of them, or it means that we don't like how you presented it- meaning that the story itself did not sound interesting. I am personally writing to you because you and I had previously communicated, and after seeing this, I am honestly upset that my agents failed to notice that from your query and that you received such generic response.

Unfortunately, when we work with thousands of stories, it is sometimes difficult to provide as much feedback to each deserving author. I'm sorry about that. I think that your skill has potential and that the story could be interesting. And given different circumstances, I would have liked to read your work. However, after reading your e-mail I have to say that I'm dejected by the disparaging tone of response. I'm sorry that you are disappointed, but publishing is a tough business and we as the readers of your work, and the people who will enthusiastically sell that work, have to choose things to represent that truly touch us, appeal to us, and capture our interest. Reading thousands of manuscripts per year otherwise would be torture! Also, there are several books out or about to be released with a common theme (from what we gathered from your query) in the market. So that's the reason why would not it add you to our list. 

On another note, your query also lacked the formalities of standard query letters. The format made it difficult to assess the value of your story or understand the plot and genre from what you wrote. Your blurb sounds like a synopsis and it is difficult to understand. You also don't have a catch phrase, a genre, or word count. I'm sorry to say that your query letter will not help you get this book represented. You're right about the marketing comment, but wrong to have included all of that info in your letter. The query letter is not a proposal. And no one will pay any attention to Chloe from Barns & Noble's comments even if she thinks that you are the new Stephen King. Choose the words carefully. Remember that less is more. If you go to,, and my blog you will find lots of tips and workshops available that will help you work on this. I hope that this is helpful to you. 

Best of Luck!

So how would you react if you received this letter? Would you be satisfied with the answer? Would you go look up the suggested resources? Would you ask how you could change your letter to make this more interesting? Would you take advantage of having the agent's ear and ask if you could fix it and resubmit it? Would you appreciate that the agent took the time to read all of the correspondence and replied to you even though you were so rude to her without knowing that she hadn't even been the one to decline your work? 

I guess I'm still too gullible, because these are the sort of responses I expected. Instead, I received an even longer e-mail from this 'gentleman' with disparaging words and commentary about how he is so much smarter than agents and that all we have to do is decide to sell something to actually sell it, and that we don't have to love the book!

These are the only 2 out of 27 bullet point comments that I had the patience to read in this letter before responding to him, this time with a much shorter response which basically told him that he has too much time on his hands, and that he should better utilize that time to learn to write a query letter. 

Alright, alright... this time I wasn't polite at all... I also told him, "get off your high horse, it has stiff legs and it will get you NO where." 

Then I marked him as Spam. So he will never get a chance to resubmit to our agency again. Although this should be as satisfying as 'defriending' someone on Facebook, it wasn't. It was bitter sweet. 

It made me sad actually, because this author, with a potentially good story, is wasting his time on fighting back the decline letters instead of learning from the feedback. This means that he will have a very hard time selling his work, or even getting it read, simply because he is too proud to take a step back and reconsider his query letter. He looks down upon and resents agents, and does not understand the business. His inflexible attitude and bad behavior are his proverbial horse. 

In my case, it's just as well, because clearly he is not the type of person I want to work with. And I'm not alone in this thinking. In fact, not many of my colleagues would have bothered to reply at all. But I am who I am, and I hope that one day my feedback will help someone get that right agent or that big deal. 

My advice to you is to learn from anyone qualified who is willing to help. Don't get caught up in your feelings of rejection. Use every contact as an opportunity to move forward. Your goal is not to get even, or to get the last word in. Your goal is to get published... that's when you get the last word! ;)

All my best,

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's in the Details: Mastering the little things to hook the big fish

You've heard the expression, "It's in the details." Although it is important to see the big picture and to have set goals, I find that the details to getting a novel published are just as important, and often more difficult, for authors to master.

The details I'm referring to are the things that many authors don't know anything about before they set out to write a novel...things like writing a query letter, researching and pitching to an agent, finalizing their manuscript, preparing their synopsis or proposal, following etiquette in all of the above, etc.

How do authors learn how to do and prepare all of these things to get their work noticed and published? The answer is dedication, skill, and research. They can read multiple books on each one, attend conferences, join writer's critique and networking groups, hire a consultant, etc. All of these methods are good and should not be ignored as sources of great value. 

In order to help authors with their preparation process, I have started offering workshops and coaching sessions at Literary Powerhouse Consulting. Last month I offered a video chat Query Critique workshop, during which we read author's pre-submitted query letters and critiqued them. We engaged in several very fruitful discussions about the issues as they came up, and the participants were able to ask questions and provide input as we went along. Four of my agents in training also participated and provided some wonderful insights! Overall it was a great success. So much so, that I'm already planing the next one.

This week we are offering the HOW TO FIND AND KEEP THE RIGHT LITERARY AGENT Workshop. This workshop will also be an interactive video chat, where we will go through everything from when one should start submitting their work, to how to get the work ready, how to research agents, what agents do, to how to get their attention, and much more. This workshop will be a key opportunity for writers not only to learn a great deal of information, but to learn it directly from literary agents.

Due to high demand, I will be scheduling these two workshops again in the near future. They will be listed in the Events/Workshop Calendar on the LitPow and Corvisiero Literary Agency sites. I have a number of other very useful workshops in mind that will teach authors everything they need to know before submitting their work to an agent or editor for consideration. We call these workshops the "IT'S IN THE DETAILS SERIES," and promise to post their descriptions on the website as soon as possible. I will make announcements when they are up, or you can check in periodically. 

I do hope that you make the time to check these out, and continue to learn as much about the publishing industry as you do about your writing! 

Happy Learning!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Corvisiero Hierarchy

Our new Literary Agency is flourishing. Our staff has grown since March and we plan on more expansions as everyone finds their place and are ready to take on more active roles. You may have read that we have created a new hierarchy that is unique in the industry. We now have a position called Agent Apprentice. The Agent Apprentice position is one step below that of the Jr. Agent. Both positions mean that the Agent is in training. The only difference is that an Apprentice is not representing his or her own clients just yet. We have also been fortunate enough to be joined by three wonderful interns who are so clever, industrious, skilled and hardworking that I'm sure will do very well as Agents soon.

Thanks to a lot of hard work, excellent prospects, and a magnificent staff, I am happy to say that things are starting to work like a well oiled machine. We have reviewed and responded to many many queries, taken on some wonderful new talent, sold many books; and we are in the process of pitching many clients and reviewing lots of manuscripts.

If you submitted a manuscript to us since March, or to me before that, and have not heard back yet, that is probably good news. It means that your work is still being considered. It may also mean that it was lost to spam or during the transition from the L. Perkins Agency to the new agency. If you submitted before March and have not heard back from us at all, you may want to resubmit your work. Please take a look at our submission guidelines before ever sending in your work to make sure that the agent you want to target is taking queries. For more information about our growing staff and our clients, please visit our website at Corvisiero Literary Agency.

We are also offering occasional workshops through Literary Powerhouse Consulting, so be sure to check those out. I'm teaching a few myself! You can still sign up for the "How to Find and Keep the Right Literary Agent" Workshop by e-mailing us or follow the instructions on the site.

If you haven't already, you should join the LitPow Writer's Network Group. My staff from the agency and from LitPow are there on a daily basis, and host genre specific Live Chats almost weekly. This week we had a Romance Writer's chat with more than 700 comments! Next week we're hosting the YA Thursday Chat. See the Workshop and Events Schedule on the LitPow site. We'd love for you to join us.

So that's all for updates... for now. Next blog post will be a substantive one about Publishing Contracts...

Happy writing and reading!