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Today we offer another guest post from Dan L. Hays, author of Freedom’s Just Another Word:

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Pitch Meetings With Literary Agents

What is the purpose of a pitch meeting with an agent?  This is just my opinion, but it is primarily a business meeting to try to close a deal for representing a manuscript.

I’ve had five meetings with literary agents at writer’s conferences and they were remarkably similar to meetings I’ve had in the business world over a 30 year career.  Before I went into those meetings, I tried to break down what each of us was there for.  In particular, why would a literary agent attend a writer’s conference and sit through a grueling day of ten minute pitch sessions with nervous authors describing their books?  Answering that question was the essence of understanding how to make that meeting a success. Read More »

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Our good friends at ChamberFour.com have started a new series titled “Deserted Isle Books,” in which “contributors discuss the one book they would choose if they were, well, stranded alone on a deserted isle forever.”

C4 Ed. Nico Vreeland kicked off the series in February with Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, reprinted below (the review, not the novel). Subsequent titles include Franny and Zooey, Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, and the latest, Marcos Velasquez’s exploration of Bless Me, Ultima.

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I/we are looking for various submissions for various things, so here are some various notes for you on this various Tuesday.


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As many of you faithful readers know, I recently became the fiction editor (or Fiction Editor–I never know whether or not to capitalize that) at the Texas Observer, a print magazine based here in Austin.

We’re not open to regular submissions at present, but we are holding our first annual short story contest, aptly named the Texas Observer Short Story Prize. Our guest judge is the legendary Larry McMurtry, author of such classics as Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearment.

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Today we pick up where we left off yesterday, with Dan L. Hays sharing with us a response to a fan’s questions about writing and publishing.

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So my Plan B became to self-publish. I studied this segment of the industry a lot, and advances in technology have changed it dramatically in the last several years. Mainly, because of what is called Print On Demand publishing. It used to be that if you self published (AKA vanity publishing) you would pay a publisher, who would run off a number of your books, which you were then left with trying to sell out of your garage.

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This two-part post comes from our friend Dan L. Hays, previous WBN blog contributor and author of Freedom’s Just Another Word.

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Publishing the Book I’m Writing

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Someone wrote recently and said they were trying to finish a book they were writing, but had gone into a fearful place when thinking about having it published. “It’s got me so twisted up that I am afraid to even write at the moment because I don’t know what I’ll do with the manuscript when it’s done.”

They knew from a friend that I had studied the publishing industry extensively before publishing my first book, and wondered my thoughts on writing and publishing. The following is my reply.

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