Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Kristin Goes Webinar

STATUS: It’s really time to go home now…

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? IS SHE REALLY GOING OUT WITH HIM? by Joe Jackson

Should be interesting.

Sometimes I wonder how I get roped into these things! Chuck Sambuchino from Writers Digest has been bugging me for a while to come and teach a webinar for them.

I haven’t really been tempted until now. What changes is that I feel an overwhelming need to help out writers in the SF&F field. I know I’ve mentioned this before on my blog but the SF&F community has wonderful Cons that cater to fans more than to the business side of publishing. In consequence, often the writers in the SF&F realm are a little at loose ends on how to do things like write good query letter pitch blurbs for their SF&F novels. Seriously, the queries we get for this genre tend to be the weakest we see.

This is a problem we NEVER have in the romance field as RWA probably goes the other extreme in terms of educating writers!

Next month is MileCon here in Denver and sure enough, we proposed some business-y stuff and not much came of it.

So then Chuck touched base and I thought, here’s an opportunity…. Taught by yours truly.

And folks, unlike my blog, this webinar is not free—as it’s through Writers Digest but if you are interested, here are the deets. Click here for more info and to sign up.

How to Write and Sell Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels

This is an intensive workshop on the “how-to” business side of getting your science fiction and fantasy (SF&F) writing published, whether for teens or adults.

Description
We here at Nelson Literary Agency are actively looking to expand our roster of science fiction & fantasy (young adult and adult fiction) authors but frankly, the queries we receive in this genre could use some help. Our agency sees a ton of SF&F queries, for both YA and adult novels, and 90% of them sound completely generic. We can teach you how to make your novel stand out.

Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 1 year.

About the Critique & How it works
After the session, all registrants can submit their revised pitch paragraph (no more than 12 sentences) for a quick critique by Kristin Nelson. Who knows, you might even get a request for sample pages out of it.

What you’ll learn:

• How to compose your query: The top 10 reasons why most SF&F query letters fail
• How NOT to start your story: The top 10 things that shouldn’t open an SF&F novel
• What agents and editors want: What agents and editors look for in terms of pitch, writing, and book premise
• How to pitch: How to nail the story’s hook, and nail the elements of your world-building in the short pitch paragraph

Who should attend?

• SF&F fans who are interested in writing a novel.
• SF&F Writers who want to improve their pitches and hooks
• SF&F Writers who are actively querying agents and publishers with their science fiction or fantasy novel.

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28 Responses

  1. Megan Haskell said:

    I’ve been lurking on your blog for awhile now, and I happen to also lurk on Chuck’s blog, so I heard about your webinar yesterday and immediately signed up! I’m really looking forward to learning more about SF&F publishing and how to write a good query letter. Thank you for taking on the extra work!

  2. bzial said:

    I’ve been looking for something like this.

    Question, if I can’t attend the live
    webinar (smack dab in the middle of my work day), will I still be able get a pitch paragraph critique?

  3. Elizabeth Briggs said:

    I am definitely signing up for this! I took Mary Kole’s webinar today and wanted to try it before signing up for yours. I found it very helpful and I love that we get the materials for a year, plus a critique of some sort.

    I’m editing my YA SF novel and have a rough query written, and I’d love to get some info on how much of the world building, magic/technology, etc to mention in the query. Hopefully the webinar will touch on that a bit.

    Thanks so much for doing this!

  4. Natalie Aguirre said:

    Kristen, this sounds wonderful. I write upper middle grade fantasy like Janice Hardy, one of my favorite authors you represent. It sounds like the workshop could help with my query. Am I right? I could sure use the help.

  5. Chuck Sambuchino said:

    (Hi everyone. Chuck here with WD.) Anyone who signs up gets the critique. If you cannot make it live, it’s not a huge deal because attendees will have access to the presentation for one year archived (so you see it as video, rather than live). The main point is just that if you sign up, whether you see it live or archived, you get the critique.

    Thanks for considering the webinar!

  6. Joseph L. Selby said:

    Woo hoo! I have that day off.

    I’ve been reading your blog for years. I’ve read every entry in the query shark. I’ve written draft after draft, but the query letter is still my weakest spot. They totally bring me down, too, because I can see how bad they are despite trying so hard.

  7. Jennifer said:

    Does this only apply for high fantasy/world building stories or will there be relevant info for those writing urban fantasy as well?

    I actually saw this from Chuck first but was super excited to see the webinar offered – I’m a huge fan of your blog, Kristin!

  8. Marny said:

    I’m a little surprised sf&f writers aren’t getting the same kinds (or maybe the same levels) of support and workshops as other writers. (Maybe because I’m not a writer.)

    I am wondering how you would feel about coming to Life, the Universe, & Everything, the sf&f symposium held at BYU in February. Can you email me if you are interested?

  9. Slush said:

    Definitely gonna try to get involved. I would love a chance to get some more insight on the SF&F side of things.

    Got a project I have been trying to pitch but the query needs help.

  10. Leta said:

    That webinar sounds fascinating. Hopefully I’ll be able to scrounge up the funds to participate!

    Okay, so this is probably presumptuous and irritating … I apologize in advance if it is.

    I just moved to Denver (in a rash gesture of independence post-college), jobless and hopeful, and a Google search of publishing-related businesses in the area brought me to NLA’s page.

    Basically, I was wondering if you have any advice on the best way to go about getting into the publishing industry/literary agency. Preferably advice that doesn’t include “go to New York.”

    But – you’re busy and have no idea who I am, so feel free to ignore this, too.

    Anyway, best of luck with the webinar!

  11. Elizabeth Poole said:

    This is very exciting! I love your blog, and think you will be an amazing teacher. Thank you so much for doing this. I’ve posted about this on my blog to spread the good news.

    Quick question: How do we submit our query pitch for critique AFTER the webinar is over? I know we can still access the archive version of the webinar, but since it’s not live, you won’t be there to offer a critique (unless you’re psychic, in which cases, that’s awesome).

  12. Rachel said:

    I was just at the Writers Digest site and got all excited when I saw your name . . . but then I saw the title. I *WISH* I wrote SF/F! I do love to read it but prefer to write YA contemporary romance. Feel free to teach another webinar in the future on this topic–hint hint 🙂

    Have a wonderful weekend Kristin! You’re a blessing!

  13. Nicole said:

    I love that you and Sara are actively pursuing SF/F! Your blog advice has helped me craft a query for my own fantasy novel, and I’m lookin’ forward to honing it further after the webinar. Perfect timing! Thanks so much for doing this.

  14. Kate C Neal said:

    I signed up for your webinar yesterday! I’m a long-time lurker on your blog, and I’m really excited about this opportunity to learn more from you!

  15. Charlie said:

    Wow, interesting to know–I’ll have to make sure my queries are in tiptop shape. The webinar sounds very interesting.

    I’m also very glad you’re looking for SF&F writers. 😀

  16. Erin Edwards said:

    I signed up for this last week as soon as I heard – I was afraid it would sell out!

    I have struggled and struggled with my query but whenever I try to go into how I think my fantasy is unique it gets too long. I’m looking forward to the webinar.

  17. Madison said:

    Couldn’t come at the better time..I just started writing a hardcore (aka old fashioned) science fiction novel..Looking forward to learning who my audience really is and how to capture their interest.

  18. Adrian said:

    Sounds great. I’m signed up, although I don’t know if I will be able to make it live. From Chuck’s comments, sounds like that shouldn’t be too big an issue (hopefully!). Looking forward to it… 🙂

  19. Lindsay B said:

    Yay, I just signed up! I’m hoping to finish editing my novel and writing that scintillating (no, really) synopsis and query letter by the end of October, so this is timed nicely. Looking forward to it!

    ~Lindsay

  20. Aaron DeMott said:

    Oh how I wish I had money for this! I would love to participate.

    What I’m doing right now is going through the pitch/query workshops on the blog here. I think it’s improved my query letter a lot, but it’s not ready to send out yet.

  21. Bryan F. said:

    I tried to sign up using the link to the WD site, but it came back with a ‘page not found’ error. Searching the available workshops, etc. on the WD site was likewise fruitless. Has the webinar closed or did I miss it?

    Thanks!

    Bryan

  22. bzial said:

    Does anyone who attend know how to access the archived version? I couldn’t attend live, but I didn’t receive any sort of links on how to access the archived version.

    I wrote WD, but still waiting to hear back, just wondered if anyone had any insight.

  23. Anonymous said:

    I know there are a lot of blogs and websites that critique query letters in contests. But I’m trying to look them up now, and the only ones I can find always say that entries are closed. Do you know any that will be doing contests like this any time soon?

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