When to Search for a Literary Agent

Literary agents represent writers who want to submit their manuscripts to traditional publishers. Agents manage the submission process and negotiate the resulting contract. Here’s what else they might do for their clients:

  • Advise on developmental edits.
  • Manage relationships with publishers and editors.
  • Handle crisises.
  • Hunt down overdue royalty checks.
  • Submit books to reviewers and literary contests.
  • Offer career advice (marketing, new book ideas, speaking gigs, etc).
  • Submit future projects to traditional publishers.

This guest post is by Windy Lynn Harris. Harris is the author of Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Work Published (Writer’s Digest Books). She’s a prolific writer, a trusted mentor, and a frequent speaker at literary events. Her long list of short stories and personal essays have been published in literary, trade, and women’s magazines across the U.S. and Canada in places like The Literary Review, The Sunlight Press, and Literary Mama, among many other journals. She teaches the craft of writing online and in person. Learn more about Windy at www.windylynnharris.com.


Literary agents are wonderful partners on the publishing path, but you don’t always need an agent to find your way to the traditional market. Here’s a guide to which projects need an agent:

  • Short Stories: No agent required.
  • Poems: No agent required.
  • Personal Essays: No agent required.
  • Nonfiction Articles: No agent required.
  • Short Story Collections, Essay Collections, and Poetry Chapbooks: Yes and No. Most collections sell to small publishers and literary presses, which do not require the aid of an agent. Many other collections are published as a result of a literary contest. The only time you need a literary agent on board is when you want to aim your collection at a large audience. In that case, a literary agent can submit your manuscript to big publishers.
  • Novels: Yes.
  • Memoirs: Yes.
  • Nonfiction Books: Yes.

If you’re sure your project requires representation, there are a few things you’ll need to have ready before you contact a literary agent:

  • For a Short Story, Essay, or Poetry Collection:
    • A query letter
    • A completed manuscript
  • For a Novel:
    • A query letter
    • A synopsis
    • A completed manuscript
  • For a Memoir:
    • A query letter
    • A synopsis
    • A book proposal with sample chapters
    • A completed manuscript
  • For a Nonfiction book:
    • A book proposal with sample chapters

Once you’ve got your submission documents together, you’re ready to find the right agent, but with hundreds of literary agents to choose from, how do you know who to query? Here’s what you’re looking for in a strong candidate:

  • Someone who has the industry contacts needed to sell your specific project.
  • Somebody open to new clients.
  • Someone with a good reputation in this business.
  • Someone you trust.
  • Someone you want to work closely with for years.

To find a good match, look at published books in your category—books that have a similar audience and vibe. Most writers will list their agent in the acknowledgements page near the front of the book. Visit their agent’s website and see if the agency is considering queries from new writers. If so, put them on your list of potential agents.

You can also find terrific information in the annual Guide to Literary Agents. In addition to a thorough listing of credible agents, this book also contains interviews and articles on the topic of agent submissions.


The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.


There are plenty of great resources on the Internet; visit the following resources as you compile your list of potential agents:

Another way to find viable agents is to attend writing conferences that attract them. Many conferences have sessions where you can pitch your project directly to agents. Literary agents who show up to these conferences are actively looking for writers, making it one of the most effective ways to connect. The Writer’s Digest Annual Conference is a great place to start: http://www.writersdigestconference.com.

Take the time to research any potential agent before you make contact with them. You’re looking for a partner here. It’s worth the effort. Find out: Have they actually sold books like yours before? How long have they worked in the publishing industry? Does their agency website look professional? If you see any red flags, move on. There are plenty of terrific agents to choose from.


If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

The post When to Search for a Literary Agent appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/search-literary-agent

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IELTS test in Lebanon – September 2017 (Academic Module)

Our friend D took the IELTS test in Lebanon and remembered the following Writing and Speaking questions:

Writing test

Writing task 1 (a report)

We were given a report showing the percentages of bottled water and soft drinks consumed in a certain country.

Writing task 2 (an essay)

Many people believe that economic development is necessary for a country’s success. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such approach?

Speaking test

Interview

– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– What do you do?
– Will you continue your job in the future? Why?
– What do you like the most about your job?

Cue Card

Talk about a child you spent some time with. Please say

– who the child was
– what you did together
– how you felt after spending time with this child

Discussion

– Describe your vision of raising children and the relationship with them.
– Do all children like music?
– Why do you think it is so?
– What is the relationship between children and music?

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from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-test-in-lebanon-september-2017-academic-module/

List Factors: How to Build Your Own Email List

If I could point to one external factor that has had the biggest positive impact on my career as an author, it would be my email list—and I’m far from alone. Most writers today know they should probably have an email list, but misinformation and confusion abound about what exactly that list should entail, why it’s so crucial and, of course, what to do with it.

Why You Need an Email List

The Internet is always changing. From Facebook to Foursquare, Pinterest to Periscope, it sometimes seems as if a new social media platform pops up every minute. Who can keep up? The beauty of email is that it’s evergreen. While websites, forums and social networks might come and go, email has solidified its place in how we communicate.

Email is a direct line between you and your readers. There’s no “middleman” to get in the way. In a digital world where social networks change their algorithms, sites get hacked and servers crash, direct communication is invaluable. You can export that list and take it with you wherever you go. As long as you build that list correctly, it’s yours and no one can take it away from you.

The connection you make via email has the potential to be far more personal than sending a tweet or posting on your blog. Email lets you talk directly to readers as individuals. You become a welcome presence in their inboxes, where you’ll find a higher level of engagement. Email list subscribers aren’t just people who might pick up your book and read it someday. Many will become dedicated fans who happily receive (and read) your messages every time you send them.

How to Create Your List

To set up a list of your own, simply follow these steps.

Step 1: Choose a system.

First, choose an email system. This is not a piece of paper with a list of addresses on it. It’s not a Google Form or other online survey where your readers enter their email addresses. And it’s definitely not that widget you add to your website that says, “Get blog updates via email.”

To build your email list the right way (and comply with anti-spam laws), you must use an email marketing software (EMS) system. That’s a fancy term for a simple system that allows you to collect email addresses and send messages to the people on that list. An EMS also allows you to set auto-responses or schedule a sequence of messages in advance.

Leading EMS systems include:

MailChimp (mailchimp.com): A popular choice, MailChimp is user-friendly and free up to 2,000 subscribers to any given list, but can get pricey after you exceed that limit. Also, integrating it with wordpress.com websites can be tricky.

Aweber (aweber.com): Reliable, known for customer service, and fairly inexpensive, this system is slightly more advanced than MailChimp, but easy to learn.

Constant Contact (constantcontact.com): This system offers add-ons (for additional fees) that provide more hand-holding than MailChimp or AWeber. Try before you buy with a free 60-day trial.

Infusionsoft (infusionsoft.com): Offering
integrated email and shopping carts, this service is powerful but expensive, and has a steep learning curve.

convertkit (convertkit.com): Equipped with a user-friendly interface, great customer service, and integration with major shopping carts and blogging platforms, ConvertKit will even handle your migration from another EMS (with certain plans).

Step 2: Put the form on your blog or website.

Once you have selected your EMS system and completed the basic setup, the next step is to place a sign-up form on your website inviting readers to join. Follow the simple instructions to design the form in the EMS system you’ve chosen, then insert the embed code on any page of your site that allows for HTML. I recommend these optimal locations (choose one, all or a combination):

In the home page header or just below. This is the most highly trafficked and visible area of your website. If most of your visitors come to your website via the home page, it’s essential to have an email form here (though if your newest blog post doubles as your home page, you can sidestep this option and put your email form at the top of the sidebar).

In the sidebar. Depending on your site’s design, visitors who click to a subpage or blog post through an outside link may not see the sign-up form in the header. This is why it’s also smart to include a form in the sidebar, preferably at the top.

In the footer of each post or page. This might not be the most visible area of your website, but visitors who take time to read an entire post and then sign up will be more committed and engaged.

Dedicated “squeeze page.” This page exists solely to house your email form. Here, emphasize the benefits of joining—what readers will get when they sign up. You can also include a few testimonials about your work or blurbs about your book. Then link directly to this page (keep the URL simple: yourwebsite.com/join or /newsletter) in your social media profiles, email signature, author bio, etc.

Step 3: Offer incentives for opting in.

One of the best ways to entice people to sign up is by offering a freebie that readers can download as soon as they join—say, a sample chapter of your latest book, deleted scenes or other bonus content.

A good opt-in offer will feel valuable to your readers while also providing an immediate benefit. Choose something that is useful or entertaining, but also fast to consume and leaves them wanting more. Your goal is to deliver great value but also build a relationship with your subscribers so they will want to keep hearing from you.

Step 4: Welcome new subscribers.

Most EMS systems allow you to create an automated welcome email that will go out as readers confirm their subscriptions. Use this email to deliver your freebie, but realize, too, that its impact extends far beyond the opt-in offer itself.

Your welcome email lets you set the tone for all subsequent communications. Use it to establish expectations so subscribers know exactly what they will receive from you going forward. Let them know how you’ll send emails or newsletters, what kind of information you’ll share and anything else key to your message.

Finally, consider asking subscribers to reply to you with an answer to a specific question. Ask them about their favorite books, or ask something that relates to your own book or subject matter. For instance, if you write dystopian young adult fiction set in a world with various factions, you might ask your readers which faction they would belong to if they lived in that world, and why.

While only a small number of subscribers may reply, these answers can give you insight into your readers, offer a chance to genuinely connect and even inspire future newsletter content. With an email list, most of the communication goes from you to your readers, but encouraging your readers to message you can create a more interactive and personal relationship.

How to Stay Connected

Once your list is set up and subscribers have started to join, all you have to do is continue the connection. Some authors send email only when they have news about their books, upcoming signings or events, a new byline to share, or something else to promote. Others send regular newsletters on a monthly basis, or even
less frequently.

Personally, I’ve had success with my own list (at DIY MFA) by challenging this paradigm. If you email your readers infrequently, subscribers might forget about you altogether. When they finally hear from you and all you do is promote your next book, they may unsubscribe or, worse, mark your email as spam. Think of your emails as opportunities to offer continued value to your subscribers. Don’t wait too long to send updates. I’ve found it beneficial to email my subscribers every week or two.

Don’t let this schedule scare you, or feel pressure to go overboard creating new material for your newsletter. Instead, think of your list as an extension of your overall online strategy. Find creative ways to expand on content you’ve already created for your blog or social media, but up the ante and offer more value via email.

Remember that subscribers have invited you into their inboxes. They are not random visitors dropping by your website; they want to engage with you on a deeper level. If you’re smart about your content strategy, you don’t have to drive yourself crazy to give these committed fans a little something more. (See the sidebar at left for ideas.)

If handled correctly, an email list of loyal subscribers can become one of the most valuable assets of your author platform—one that allows you to connect with your most loyal readers. These are the people who will buy (and actually read) your work, recommend your books to friends and attend your signings. Not all of your subscribers will be die-hard fans, but some will. Treat them like gold.


Gabriela_PereiraDIY MFA by Gabriela PereiraThis is a guest post by Gabriela Pereira—author, speaker, and self-proclaimed word nerd—whose new book DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, Build Your Community shows you how to recreate the Master of Fine Arts experience without going back to school. As the founder and instigator of DIYMFA.com, Gabriela’s mission is to empower writers to take an entrepreneurial approach to their education and professional growth. She earned her MFA in creative writing from The New School and teaches at national conferences, local workshops, and online. She also hosts the podcast DIY MFA Radio, where she interviews best-selling authors and book industry insiders about the art and business of writing.

The post List Factors: How to Build Your Own Email List appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/online-exclusives/dec-17/list-factors

IELTS test in India – August 2017 (General Training)

An IELTS test taker from India remembered the following details (everything except for the Listening)

Reading testIELTS test in India

Passage 1. About a certain job and benefits to employees.

Passage 2. About rodeo festival in Canada.

Passage 3, 4. Don’t remember

Writing test

Writing task 1 (a letter)

Write a letter to an airline manager to find out about something you forgot on the plane during your travel. In your letter

– give details about your flight
– describe the item you forgot
– explain why it is important that you get it back

Writing task 2 (an essay)

Many people make friends through social sites and chat rooms. Others believe that it is not a good idea to make friends without meeting them face to face. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give your own opinion and relevant examples.

Speaking test

Interview

– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– What is your job?
– Do you like it?

Cue Card

Talk about an invention that is changed the world in a good way. Please say

– What was the invention?
– How do you use it?
– Why do you like it?

Discussion

– Can you name other inventions that you think are great?
– What inventions might be made in the next 20 years?

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from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-test-in-india-august-2017-general-training-2/

New Literary Agent Alert: Ann Leslie Tuttle of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Ann Leslie Tuttle of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

About Ann Leslie: Ann Leslie Tuttle joined DG&B in 2017 after working for 20 years at Harlequin Books where she most recently was a Senior Editor. At Harlequin, she was fortunate to work on an extensive and varied list of best-selling and award-winning titles in romance and women’s fiction. She received her B.A. degree from the college of William and Mary and an M.A. from the University of Virginia. Finding and nurturing talented new writers has always been Ann Leslie’s passion. She lives in New York City with her husband and young daughter, who is just discovering the magic of books and writing.

She is Seeking: At DG&B, she is actively seeking all kinds of romance from contemporaries, historicals, and romantic suspense to paranormals and inspirationals.

How to Submit: Send a query letter to atuttle@dystel.com, and include the full query in the body of the email, not as an attachment. Including a writer sample of the first 25 pages of your manuscript (or the closest chapter break) in the body of the email, below your query letter.

The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.


If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

 

The post New Literary Agent Alert: Ann Leslie Tuttle of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/new-literary-agent-alert-ann-leslie-tuttle-dystel-goderich-bourret

The Misbehavior of Fictional Children: A #DVpit Blog Hop on Character-Driven Fiction

#DVpit, the Twitter pitching event for marginalized creators, returns for its fourth run this October. In preparation for the main event, Writer’s Digest is pleased to participate in the #DVpit blog hop by hosting another guest post. Debut YA novelist and #DVpit success, Aminah Mae Safi is here to share her experience writing character-driven fiction.

“The child is misbehaving again.”

I was texting my husband.

“Lulu keeps glaring at me because I made her sit by Auntie Salwa. She’ll never trust me again.”

“You’re not her real mom,” he sent back, with a laughing emoji.

I had no choice but to get back to work.


This guest post is by Aminah Mae Safi . Safi is a writer who explores art, fiction, feminism, and film. She loves Sofia Coppola movies, Bollywood endings, and has seen all of the Fast and Furious franchise. She lives in Oakland, CA with her partner and a cat bent on world domination. Her debut NOT THE GIRLS YOU’RE LOOKING for will be available June 19, 2018 from Feiwel and Friends. Her 2016 We Need Diverse Books winning story will appear in their forthcoming anthology FRESH INK (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018).

Find her on Instagram at @aminahmae and on her website at www.aminahmae.com.


You see, I don’t have children, not ones on this plane of reality. I have fictional characters with minds of their own.

I write about girls with bad attitudes. Girls who don’t stay in line. Girls that many an agent and an editor said they just didn’t know what to do with.

They weren’t wrong. I don’t know what to do with these young women half of the time.

Because I write that buzzy term, “character driven fiction.” Which sounds fancy, but what it means is this: If I’ve done my job as an author—if I’ve made human characters with their own will, agency, and their own set of hopes, dreams, nightmares, and desires—then, I can only direct the situations these young women find themselves in. Not their actions.

Character driven fiction means I must take my characters as they are, not as I wish they were.

That’s how I ended up with a protagonist who stumbles, tipsy—from a hallway closet at a house party—out of the arms of one boy and into the clutches of another.

And that’s just the first five pages.

Like I said—those agents and editors—they weren’t wrong. Because as Lulu’s story unfolded, I realized Not The Girls You’re Looking For was, by all current definitions, unpublishable. Its main character was willful, angry, petty, and occasionally drunk.

Oh, did I mention, Lulu was Muslim, too?

Would it be too cliché to say that creating fictional characters is akin to being Pygmalion? To craft and to sculpt them, to fall in love with them as they grow more life-like, only to find that my creations are agents beyond my own command?

I was terrified of this girl, of her story. I couldn’t believe I had made her, had fleshed her out until she was so thoroughly herself and so thoroughly out of my control.

[New Agent Alerts: Click here to find agents who are currently seeking writers]

So I tried to soften her. Tried to make her less of what she was and more of what she ought to be. The results were, to use a euphemism from my Southern roots, real interesting.

I tried outlines, rewrites, critiques partners. All of it helped, to one degree or another. But none of it solved the problem. None of them were substitutes for facing Lulu as she was, rather than as I hoped she would be. I had to stop trying to soften her and to stop trying to make her palatable.

Lulu demanded to be seen.

I had, like many parents, to accept her as she was, rather than as who I envisioned her to be when I had created her.

Lulu insisted I tell her tale and tell it true. And the more honest I was with and about her, the more honest she was with me. Until I was left with a novel that I couldn’t believe anyone would want. A novel more unpublishable than the one I had started with, I was sure. The story of Lulu and her three best friends, themselves equally capable of lashing out and turning their hurt inward, until it became an ugly, gnarled, frightening thing. A story of misdeeds and misadventures. Of growing up and hurtling the pain of that onto those whom these girls loved the most.

None of them made this easy on me. Then again, I hadn’t made life very easy on them, either.

The next round of pitches I did—through #DVpit—I stopped trying to tone Lulu down, just as I had in the manuscript as a whole. I declared her as she was: unapologetically raw and fierce and loyal and ambitious. Not a girl as the world sees them, but Lulu as I saw her. As she is. As she sees herself. As she so insistently demanded to be seen.

My hands shook a little as I posted a pitch with a gif that called Lulu a bitch in a uniform. Because she could be. Because when I drafted that tweet, I could hear her laughter ringing through my imagination.

“Welp,” I texted my husband. “There goes my career as an author.”

But life, much like art, is a funny thing.

The response to those #DVpit pitches was overwhelming. People weren’t just mildly curious. They were interested; they were invested. Readers, agents, editors. They wanted more of Lulu, not less. They loved the vibrant, in-your-face Lulu; they had barely had passing interest in the maybe-if-I-couch-this-in-approchable-language-you-won’t-notice-her-edge Lulu.

#DVpit changed my writing life in unimaginable ways. I found an agent, I sold my manuscript. I’m on this wild ride known as “being a debut author” and starting my next book proposal.

But most of all, it changed the way I approach my work.

I’m much less afraid of what people think of what I’ve written, and much more afraid of not listening to who my characters are. I’m more invested in creating a story where the characters leap off of the page, acting all on their own, rather than one I’m in control of at all times. And I’d much prefer to take the time to get to know these young women that I write, than dictate who they are and whether or not they’re allowed to misbehave.

There’s some kind of moral lesson in there. But, if you can’t tell from the girls I write, I’m uninterested in moral lessons. I’m much more interested in telling a story and telling it true.

I learned that from Lulu.

You can meet Lulu in all her brash glory by preordering NOT THE GIRLS YOU’RE LOOKING FOR and adding it on Goodreads. Trust your characters, and believe in your stories. And get ready: #DVpit’s pitch day for children’s and teen projects is October 2nd and adult projects can be pitched on October 3rd. #DVpit was created by Beth Phelan in February 2016. Please visit www.dvpit.com for more information, and stop by the resources page to check out the rest of the blog hop.

The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.


If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

 

The post The Misbehavior of Fictional Children: A #DVpit Blog Hop on Character-Driven Fiction appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/misbehavior-fictional-children-dvpit-blog-hop-character-driven-fiction

IELTS test in Qatar – August 2017 (Academic Module)

An IELTS test-taker from Qatar (thanks, R!) remembered the following details after a recent exam:

Listening testIELTS test in Qatar

Section 1. A person was making a booking for a bed in a showroom.

Section 2. About educational training.

Section 3. About research skills and how to develop them.

Section 4. About crocodiles and how they migrate.

Reading test

Passage 1. About the development of radio using bakelite.

Passage 2. About agroforestry, a land use management system.

Passage 3. The evolution of a person.

Writing test

Writing task 1 (a report)

We were given a bar chart showing different sports’ participation numbers by boys and girls. The sports were swimming, football, netball, and basketball.

Writing task 2 (an essay)

Nowadays people from different countries watch and enjoy the same films, advertisements, music, and fashion. Do you agree or disagree? What are advantages and disadvantages of this development?

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from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-test-in-qatar-august-2017-academic-module/

3 Pieces of Writing Advice From Michael Lewis

For Michael Lewis, literary stardom was never in plan, mostly because there was no plan.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life when I was in college,” the bestselling author of Moneyball, The Big Short, and The Blind Side, said speaking at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 2.

“When I got out, I didn’t have any plan … It didn’t occur to me that I would have to.”

An art history major at Princeton who was in search of a job, Lewis found himself somewhat dubiously moored in a port wholly foreign to the listless Liberal Arts student: Wall Street.

Tapped as a bond salesman at Salomon Brothers in the 1980s, Lewis witnessed the the bull rush of the stock market boom that defined the decade and fueled his first book, Liar’s Poker.

His latest, The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, explores the human nature of decision-making through the work of a pair of Israeli psychologists, but its development is the result of a familiar charmed fortuitousness that followed Lewis’ career. Here are three insights on writing that Lewis shared with the substantial crowd:


This guest post is by Carten Cordell. Cordell is a Senior Technology Reporter for FedScoop. He is a former workforce and acquisition reporter at Federal Times, having previously served as online editor for Northern Virginia Magazine and Investigative Reporter for Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau. Cordell was a 2014 National Press Foundation Paul Miller Fellow and has a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow him @wccordell.


1. Know Your Audience

Attracted to the craft following his senior thesis at Princeton, Lewis said he began writing by first pitching magazine pieces.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said. “I didn’t know anybody who wrote for a living. It was a quixotic enterprise.”

Lewis said he thumbed through The Writer’s Market (WD Books) for the addresses of editors and publications he could pitch, eventually landing in travel magazines.

“For some reason, I got into my head that the easiest thing I might be able to break into was in-flight magazines,” he said. “I was volunteering at a soup kitchen on the Bowery [in New York] and I thought the street people were so interesting. I wrote a piece about New York homeless people, and I sent it to all of the in-flight magazines in America.

“I remember I got this letter back from Delta Airlines and it said, ‘You know, we kind of like the piece, but you do understand what we are in the business of doing. We’re trying to get people to go places, not flee them.’ So it took me a while to figure out the market.”

2. Be Lucky

Lewis credits a significant portion of his success to sheer luck.

“There is an incredible serendipity in my career,” Lewis said. “The fact that I wanted to be a writer and I got this job in the very best place on Earth to write about Wall Street in the 1980s. I was given the leisure by my parents to fart around for two or three years after college. If they hadn’t done that, I doubt I would have become a writer.”

Penning columns about Wall Street under the nom de plume of his mother’s maiden name, Lewis began stacking up clips when he got a phone call from Ned Chase—famous book editor at Simon and Schuster and father of actor Chevy Chase—who had uncovered Lewis’ identity and advised him to write a book, which became Liar’s Poker.

Perhaps even more auspicious was how the author discovered the central narrative for his book, The Blind Side. Pitching a story to The New York Times Magazine about the teacher who changed his life, which happened to be his high school baseball coach, Lewis traveled to Memphis to interview his old teammate, Sean Tuohy.

While talking with Tuohy, Lewis encountered Michael Oher, a homeless teen and gifted athlete who would become the focus of a book about the rise of the left tackle in professional football.

“It is typical of how I find stories in that you’ll see that it’s just chance. I chance into stories,” he said.

3. Don’t Fear the Alien

Coincidentally, shortly after meeting Oher, the success of Moneyball had made Lewis acquaintances with several NFL executives, who were interested to see a version of Moneyball written about football.

Because of the league’s salary cap and free agency, the author discovered that among the highest paid positions on the team was that of left tackle, an insurance policy to protect the blind side of the quarterback.

By this time, Oher’s natural talent at the position had been discovered by college coach Nick Saban. So Lewis saw the elements of a story: an undervalued teen with highly valued talents fostered by the care of a mother.

“Once I realized that, I had a story. And this always happens, I had it for six months before I had the nerve to say, I’m going to write it,” he said. “I often think there is someone better to write this. There always some part of me that thinks it’s alien to me, so I really shouldn’t be the one to do it.

“But the truth is the fact that it’s alien to you is why you should do it. Because it enables you to get across to other people to whom it’s alien the stuff about it that’s interesting.”

The post 3 Pieces of Writing Advice From Michael Lewis appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/3-pieces-writing-advice-michael-lewis

27 Reasons to Read Guide to Literary Agents 2018 (Plus a Giveaway!)

Today is the official pub date of the Guide to Literary Agents 2018, though you may have found that it’s been available earlier in bookstores and on Amazon. (And if you were at the Writer’s Digest Conference, you know we had early copies available of it for purchase!) Nonetheless, today is the official official launch date of the book.

The new edition is updated and packed with brand new info. While there are plenty of places you can turn to for information on agents, the Guide to Literary Agents has always prided itself as being the biggest print edition and the most thorough (guidelines, sales, agent by agent breakdowns, etc.). It’s the Yellow Pages of agents, with interviews, query examples, and profiles of new agents seeking clients right now. That’s why it’s in its 27th edition. In honor of this edition, here’s 27 reasons why you should pick up your copy of GLA—or enter the competition below to win a free one!

The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.


A GIVEAWAY: Send me an email at cris.freese@fwmedia.com, with the subject line “What I Love About GLA” and tell me the thing you enjoy the most about the Guide to Literary Agents blog and/or the print edition of Guide to Literary Agents. In three weeks (deadline October 4, 2017), I’ll pick 3 random winners to win a copy of the book! And if you optionally tweet news of this giveaway and the publication date of GLA, I’ll give you 2 entries into the contest instead of just the one. Just tweet the following, then email me with your Twitter handle: Giveaway: @WritersDigest is giving away 3 copies of the new 2018 Guide to Literary Agents – http://bit.ly/2h4pEGh via @crisfreese.


1. The Same Great Content. Hundreds of updated listings for literary agents, plus informative articles to help you grow as a writer. It’s the same Guide to Literary Agents that you’ve come to expect over the years, just with a new editor.

2. New Agent Spotlights. There are 25 New Agent Spotlights in the book, intermixed with the hundreds of literary agency listings. These listings feature new agents from the past year, with a brief bio, what they’re seeking, and how to submit a query. I’ve also included their Twitter handle so you can get a feel for some of these agents’ personalities, and if they might be a good fit for your query.

3. The Writer’s Toolbox. This is a brand new section I’ve added, where I’ve attempted to arm readers with the tools they need to get an agent. This year, that includes articles about writing a great first page, using hashtags to get an agent, critique groups, conferences, and more.

4. The Online Companion. The Guide to Literary Agents blog is a great resource, as you well know, if you’re reading this right now. But, with thousands of articles, it can be difficult to navigate and find what you really need. I’ll be trying to do the hard work for you by compiling the best-of-the-best into a landing page, which you’ll find a link for in the newest edition!

5. Authors Breaking Out in Your Genre. Looking for inspiration? This year’s edition features 19 writers who broke out and got an agent, making their way to traditional publication. This includes writers of picture books, women’s fiction, science fiction, memoir, literary fiction, mystery, romance, and more.


Missed any of the recent Agent Spotlights? Here are the four most recent updates!


6. More Debut Authors! Those authors that are featured in the debut authors feature? Sophie Chen Keller, Danya Kukafka, Jessica Strawser, Ellie Terry, Angie Thomas, Weike Wang, Lauren Fern Watt, and more. Oh, did I mention Angie Thomas? Like, New York Times best-selling author of The Hate U Give? She shares her story, and it’s awesome. She found her agent through Twitter, after all!

7. An Exclusive Webinar. We did something really cool this year for the free webinar that’s included with the purchase of the book—you get two agents talking getting an agent! That’s right, Danielle Burby and Joanna MacKenzie of Nelson Literary Agency worked together to create an awesome, exclusive presentation. And, when you’re done listening to them, you can find their Agent Spotlights in the book and query them!

8. Trackers for Your Querying. Writer’s Digest Managing Editor Tyler Moss put together some awesome query trackers: one for querying agents and one for tracking your agent’s submissions to publishers. Both are extremely helpful for anyone looking to break out, and needing to keep track of their work. There’s also a pair of freelancer trackers, too, for those who work on the side. They’re all downloadable for free with the book!

9. Sample Query Letters! I know, I know. No one likes writing a query letter. But, it’s a necessity if you’re going to get traditionally published. There’s five samples in this book, including Garth Stein’s query for The Art of Racing in the Rain. I’ll be adding more sample queries on the online landing page, too.

10. Attention, Genre Writers! Here’s another new feature of GLA, which I’ll switch up ever year: A breakout article that’s specific to a certain genre. This year’s featured genre is science fiction and fantasy, and it’s a roundtable discussion with four literary agents who specifically represent these genres. Want to know what Lucienne Diver, Russell Galen, Mark Gottlieb, and Eddie Schneider think about world-building and its importance? It’s all here, in the new edition.

11. The Voices of Agents. That’s not the only article where you’ll hear from agents. The articles, “The Anatomy of a First Page” and “Look Before You Leap,” were also written by literary reps—Paula Munier, and Andrea Hurst and Sean Fletcher, respectively. It’s imperative that writers hear from (and get to know!) literary agents as much as possible.

12. Steven Bohls, author of Jed and the Junkyard Dog (Disney-Hyperion): “For me, the path to getting published felt initially like navigating an ever-changing labyrinth shrouded in darkness. But when I first picked up a copy of the Guide to Literary Agents, I felt as though I had both the map and flashlight I’d been looking for. Anyone searching for direction should make the Guide to Literary Agents their first stop.”

13. Andria Williams, author of The Longest Night: A Novel (Random House): “ I was writing a novel on my own path with no literary-world connections. I went to the bookstore and got Guide to Literary Agents. I wrote a query letter and found my agent, and she got my book published for me. It felt like a fairy tale. I owe it in large part to GLA.”

14. Jeri Westerson, author of the Crispin Guest series (Severn House Publishers): “The whole writing industry is so confusing. Where to begin? I started with the Guide to Literary Agents, where I not only created my list of agents but received all sorts of excellent information in crafting my winning query letter. I recommend it to anyone starting out.”

15. Renée Andieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn (Penguin/Putnam): “The first book I ever bought when I began my publishing journey was Guide to Literary Agents. And it’s one of the first things I recommend to any aspiring writer.”

16. Jessica Lidh, author of The Number 7 (Merit Press): “I found my literary agent in Guide to Literary Agents. The GLA was one of the best writing investments I ever made.”

17. Gennifer Albin, author of Crewel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux): “I got a lot of mileage out of Guide to Literary Agents when I was looking for an agent, and I frequently recommend it.”

18. Kate Maddison, author of The Incredible Charlotte Sycamore (Holiday House): “Guide to Literary Agents was the very first book I bought on the business of writing several years ago. I remember the bookstore, the time of day, and what the young cashier looked like who sold it to me, because she struck up a conversation, as she, too, hoped to get published one day. I read GLA from cover to cover!”

19. Carole Brody Fleet, author of Happily Even After (Viva Books): “I am not overstating it when I say that Guide to Literary Agents was absolutely instrumental in landing me an agent.”

20. Darien Gee, author of Friendship Bread: A Novel (Ballantine Books): “The Guide to Literary Agents was an indispensable tool for me when I was querying agents. I highly recommend it for any aspiring author—in addition to a comprehensive listing of literary agents, it contains valuable information about the query and submission process.”

21. Les Edgerton, author of Hooked (Writer’s Digest Books): “I just signed with literary agent Chip MacGregor, and I came upon him through the Guide to Literary Agents. If not for GLA, I’d probably still be looking.”

22. Richard Harvell, author of The Bells (Crown): “The Guide to Literary Agents contains a wealth of information and good advice, and was crucial to my successful search for an agent. I found a great agent and my book has sold in 11 territories and counting.”

23. Michael Wiley, author of The Bad Kitty Lounge and The Last Striptease (Minotaur Books): “The Guide to Literary Agents was very useful to me when I was getting started. I always recommend GLA to writers.”

24. Deborah Wolf, author of The Dragon’s Legacy (Titan Books): “I have been an avid reader of Writer’s Digest for as long as I can remember, and an aspiring author even longer than that. I found my agent (Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media) through a Guide to Literary Agents new agent spotlight.”

25. Anise Eden, author of All the Broken Places (Diversion Books): “The Guide to Literary Agents blog has been a wonderful resource for me over the years.”

26. Emily France, author of Signs of You (Soho Teen): “It was the Guide to Literary Agents that I studied like a textbook and that ultimately helped me land my agent.”

27. Lee Kelly, author of City of Savages (Saga Press): “ The Guide to Literary Agents has been on my nightstand for years and I swear by it. GLA is an invaluable guide to navigating the publishing world. I used it on my road to finding my agent, and would recommend it to any writer at the beginning of her own journey.”


If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

 

The post 27 Reasons to Read Guide to Literary Agents 2018 (Plus a Giveaway!) appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/27-reasons-guide-to-literary-agents-2018

IELTS Speaking test in India – August 2017

When S recently took the IELTS Speaking test in India, he was asked the following questions:

Speaking testIELTS test in India

Interview

– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– Do you like it?
– How hard is your major?
– How do you usually spend your weekends?
– Why did you choose this activity?
– How often do you talk with your friends?
– Do you like spending time with friends?
– What do you usually do together?
– Do you think you’ll make a lot of friends in the future?
– What kinds of things do you have to bring when you go out?
– Do you carry different things in the morning and evening?
– How do you remind yourself not to forget anything?
– Did you ever forget to bring something?

Cue Card

Talk about a well paid job that you would like to have in the future. Please say

– What is it?
– Why do you want to do it?
– How will you achieve it?

Discussion

– Do you think you will be able to get this job?
– What occupations should be paid better? Why?
– Is high salary important when looking for a job?
– What other aspects of a job are important apart from the salary?
– What do you think is important for job satisfaction?
– What should workers do if they are not provided incentives?
– What is important for motivation?
– Does company get any benefits by providing motivation to its workers?

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from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-speaking-test-in-india-august-2017-3/