One of the more nerve-wracking challenges in the life of a writer is searching for and securing a literary agent. Some writers fear it enough to just skip the whole thing and try to self-publish—with mixed results. This weekend course will de-mystify the process and guide you step-by-step from the beginning of looking for names and addresses of literary agents, and how to go about approaching them. Topics we will consider include when to contact an agent, and if your book should be completed before you do. We will look at examples of query letters, and you will start writing your own and receive feedback from the group. We will talk about book proposals—what goes in them, and who needs them. We will also discuss narrowing your search to agents that are appropriate for your genre and level, and what to do when you get a response. (Please note that book proposals are almost always required for books of nonfiction, but rarely required for novels. If you are a fiction writer, our discussion of proposals may not apply 100% to you. However, some agents do require a synopsis, so part of this discussion could be relevant).
Learn from an author who enjoys laughing at the mistakes she made along the way and who, in the end, landed one of the top agents in the industry.
June Melby is the author of My Family and Other Hazards (Henry Holt & Co., 2014), a memoir about a miniature golf course her family ran for 30 years. Her work has appeared in Fugue, The Utne Reader, Water~Stone Review, Versal, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, National Lampoon Magazine, and The LA Weekly, among others. As a spoken-word artist she has been featured both in the U.S. and internationally. She holds an M.F.A. from The University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program.