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9th "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest: Women's/Upmarket Fiction

Welcome to the ninth (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This will be a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, … Read more

Contests: The Writer’s Fairy Godmother


With the exception of shoe size and the fact that I don’t do floors, Cinderella and I are basically twins separated at birth. My stepsisters, Query and Rejection, had been hounding me for months and I was starting to lose hope, when one magical day I received a phone call from an editor—suddenly my editor—telling me that I’d won the St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition and that my manuscript was going to be published. It was the greatest day of my life—with the possible, though not absolute, exception of the births of my kids (and please don’t tell them I said that).

Guest column by Janice Hamrick, author of Death on Tour (2011, Minotaur), the winner of the 2010 St. Martin’s Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition. Read more

Win a Free Writing Course With Holly Lisle

Chuck says: Here’s the deal. Writer Katharina Gerlach is a writer from Germany who writes fantasy and historical novels for all ages, both in English and German. She previously wrote for me … Read more

Agent Irene Goodman Is Holding a Historical Fiction Pitch Contest


I am looking for brilliant new historical fiction, and am holding a pitch contest to find those hidden pearls. I currently represent historical fiction authors Sharyn McCrumb, Diane Haeger, Carrie Bebris, Amanda Elyot, newcomers Anne Barnhill and Juliet Grey, and many other New York Times bestselling authors. Read more

Winner Winner! 8th ''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest Winners Chosen

Agent judge Lindsey Clemons of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents recently wrapped up the eighth “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog and has picked her three winners. The winners (listed below) receive … Read more

8th "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest: Literary Fiction

This contest is closed as of the end of Sunday,Jan. 23, 2011. Winners announced in threeweeks or less. Thanks for entering! ——————— Welcome to the eighth (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on … Read more

7th ''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Young Adult

This contest is now closed. The three lucky winnerswere notified via email on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010.Thanks to all who entered! New contests soon! ————- Welcome to the seventh (free!) “Dear Lucky … Read more

Sixth ''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy

As of Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010  this contest is now closed. Winners notified within three weeks. Thanks to all participants. ——————- Welcome to the sixth (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the … Read more

My Gnome Attack Book Lands Mention in Reader's Digest; Good News Has Inspired Another Free Giveaway to Commenters

(Update: Notified winners are Tom F & Eliza C. Congrats you two!) In appreciation of the extreme good news that How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack got a nice mention in … Read more

Agent Irene Goodman On: How to Write a Thriller


1. I look for something that jumps out at me in an original way. So many thriller queries sound the same that they all start to blur. I lean toward things that have a romanticized air to them, such as finding Noah’s Ark or chasing down some ancient legend or artifact. But so much of that has been done that you need to be careful. Try for something that is fresh and appealing without being too off the mark.

2. So many thrillers are male-driven. No matter how smartass the obligatory female character may be, if she always needs to be rescued, it’s a drag. Read more

Agent Miriam Kriss On: Is There Still Room in Urban Fantasy?


Urban fantasy has become a catchall phrase for contemporary-set fantasy and magical realism. It draws on many traditions of fantasy, horror, hardboiled crime fiction and even romance, blending them together in differing degrees to give us new stories with old tropes. It first really broke out with Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series in the 90s and has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since, cross-pollinating additional genres as it goes, including of course young adult. By this point, it’s a mature subgenre and very crowded. So can a new author still hope to break out? Of course! Here are a few things to keep in mind as you go about breaking out. Read more

Can You Submit the Same Piece to Different Contests?

Q: Is it advisable to submit the same work (essay, short story, etc.) to multiple writing contests at the same time? What if the work is accepted simultaneously by two different contests? … Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Rebecca Strauss and “Stay” by Allie Larkin

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This new series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 37th installment in this series is with agent Rebecca Strauss (McIntosh & Otis) and her author, Allie Larkin, for the women’s fiction novel, Stay (which was just published this week by Dutton!). Read more

Winners Announced: Fifth "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest

The fifth “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest wrapped up last week and agent judge Rosie Wells has chosen her winners (listed below).  Congrats to all three finalists! THE WINNERS (IN NO ORDER) Beyond … Read more

Agent Jon Sternfeld On: 4 Ways to Make Your Query as Professional as Possible


There are lots of dos and don’ts list out there (and I’ve added to that pile), but overall, it’s an approach that agents and agents’ assistants look for:

1. A professional style and format that says, “I am a writer, I take this seriously, I understand that how I write, structure, and format a query letter (shocker!) affects how people view my writing as a whole.”

2. Stay formal, specific and direct. Definitely mention why you’re querying this agent/agency (e.g., an interview you read with them, titles they represent) so it shows you’ve done your research and aren’t just sending this into the stratosphere hoping for a reply. Read more

''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Fantasy and Sci-Fi

Note from Chuck: This contest is now closed. Thank youfor submitting. Winners will be notified by email byaround June 2. Winners announced on the blog thereafter. ——– Welcome to the fifth “Dear … Read more

Winners Announced! Agent Regina Brooks Names Her Contest Winners

Apologies for the delay in announcing winners, but agent judge Regina Brooks of Serendipity Literary recently wrapped up our fourth “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog and has picked her … Read more

Agent Barbara Poelle On: Three Things Debut Authors Should Know When Signing With an Agent


1. Write down questions to ask the agent. Some debut authors are nervous about taking up an agent’s time so they will not communicate concerns or questions upon an offer on representation. After the initial rush and excitement of the offer, there will most definitely be questions, but oftentimes, the mind will go blank when you are actually on the phone. Make sure you take some time to mull over any questions you may have at this step in the process, so that you are prepared when the offer comes in!

2. Make sure the agent has all your info. Make sure, after signing, that the agent has all of your contact information, and also ask what promotional materials they might need for their website (a jpeg of an author photo, the link to your website, etc). Read more

''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Middle Grade and Young Adult (with agent Regina Brooks)

Note from Chuck. It’s April 28 and it’s beentwo weeks. Regina has asked for until Mondayto pick her top winners. Winners will beannounced as soon as we know. Thanks! Note from Chuck: … Read more

'Worst Storyline Contest' Winners Announced

The (third) “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest is now closed and judged. Thank you to all who entered. Here are the winners! “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest GRAND-PRIZE WINNER “When a pack of dingos … Read more

Agent Irene Goodman On: Common Submission Mistakes


1. They try to throw too much into the story, thinking it will appeal to more people that way… Read more

Storyline Contest Closed

The (third) “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest is now closed. Thank you to all who entered. I got a few e-mails saying that blog comment functionality was iffy. This caught me by surprise. … Read more

Contest Winners Announced: Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance

Judging is complete and here are the winners for the third “Dear Lucky Agent” contest, which focused on paranormal romance and urban fantasy writing. Congratulations to all winners! We had about 300 … Read more

The (Third) ''Worst Storyline Ever'' Contest!

Have you got a horrible idea for a story? Well I want to hear about it. Welcome to the (third) “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest – a competition that encourages terrible loglines.  This … Read more

Reminder: Third ''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest Ends Sunday!

Note from Chuck: It’s March 15, 2010, which means this contestis now closed. Thank you for entering. Winners should be announced within 7 days or so.Meanwhile, our next contest should startwithin a … Read more

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