Category : Conferences

  • January 19, 2015

    Ask the Agent: What are you looking for in a query?

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    I’m getting ready to head out to speak at a writing conference at San Diego State this weekend, and someone who is going to be attending wrote to ask, “Can you tell me what you’re looking for in a query?”
    That’s easy: Every time I open a query letter, I’m hoping to see something I’ll fall in love with. I want to see a great idea, supported by great writing, from an author with a great platform. I want to read an idea that makes me go, “Fabulous! Why didn’t I think of that?!” I want to see an author platform that shrieks, “I can help support this book!” I want to come across writing that hooks me from the first line. It’s rare, but it happens.
    Of course, the one thing that makes sit up and take notice is great voice. If an author sounds unique and has personality on the page, I tend to pay close attention. (Unfortunately, some editors and agents don’t want to see any writing at a conference — they only want the idea. If I like your idea, I’m going to want to see if you can support it with good writing, so I encourage authors to bring some sample pages with them to a conference.) Again, I’m a sucker for great voice, and it’s the one thing we rarely see. Much of what we see isn’t bad, but so much as it’s the same as everything else. It sounds the same, it reads the same, and it could have been written by anybody. Great voice in writing always grabs me.
    On the flip side, the thing that makes me immediately plop the query into my “reject” pile is seeing the same old thing — something that’s trying to ride the coattails of a project that’s already been done in a big way. (Examples include, “I’ve created a story about a boy wizard,”

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  • December 22, 2014

    Ask the Agent: What do I need to know to speak at a conference?

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    Someone wrote and said, “I’ve been asked to speak at a writing conference next year. What advice would you give to prospective conference teachers?”

    Well, I’ve taught at a couple hundred writers’ conferences, and I’d probably say there are a few things to consider…

    1. If you’ve only done something once, you may not be an expert. Wait until you’re experienced at your job before giving too much advice on it. My friend and fellow literary agent Steve Laube and I were at a conference once with a brand new agent. I’m sure she was a very bright girl, but her answers on the panel were awful — she was an amateur, and her responses in front of a group made her look that way. The difference between her replies and those of an experienced person like Steve were dramatic. Had she waited a year or so, in order to learn her new job, she’d have done much better. Maybe you don’t have to be in a hurry to teach. (This lesson isn’t just for agents — it’s for anyone working in an area of publishing that would be of interest to conferees.)

    2. If somebody is already covering one topic, pick something else. Writing conferences have a tendency to repeat the same information, and much of it is aimed at entry-level writers. Take the time to consider some niche or alternative topics that might be of interest to that group. (Here’s an example: Most conferences these days need someone teaching a “creating an ebook” workshop. Every conference needs something on the changing face of publishing, career paths, and contracts, but few choose to cover those topics.)

    3. Give participants the real deal. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there’s a lot of inspirational hopnoodle at conferences. Too much of the “let’s stand up and cheer” stuff, which gives people a short-term rush, but doesn’t provide them

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  • August 13, 2014

    Your last chance to join us!

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    On SUNDAY, August 24, we’re going to host the MacGregor Marketing Seminar, a LIVE version of Amanda’s wonderful Thursday marketing blog, set into a seminar format. Amanda and I will be in Nashville, in a conference room at the Airport Embassy Suites, from 9 to 4, talking with authors about how to create a marketing plan for their books. We’re about ready to create the list of participants, so this is your last chance to join us. Here’s what the outline for our day looks like:

    — The New World of Author Marketing — What’s Working (and not working) in Today’s Market
    — Creating a Marketing Plan for Your Novel or Nonfiction Book
    — Maximizing Your Marketing Reach
    — Finding Your Audience and Reaching Your Readers
    — Building Your Author Platform (we are bringing in a specialist to offer some advice and direction)
    — Choosing the Tools You’ll Use to Promote Your Book
    — Getting Recognized in Today’s Market
    — The Traditional Marketer, the Freelance Marketer, and the Indie Marketer

    We’ll also get into a bunch of discussions on related topics — one of the most fun aspects of doing this type of seminar is the chance to talk with other authors who are going through the marketing process. But that’s our basic outline for the day, and again, we’d love to have you join us.

    The cost is just $149 for the entire day. The focus of this day will be on doing something PRACTICAL — not on theory or on promoting a product. We won’t be trying to sell you products or introduce you to some more expensive seminar. Instead, we just wanted to get authors together and have time to explore how a writer can create his or her own marketing plan by focusing on ideas that actually work. I hope you’ll join us. Please let me know if you plan to come by RSVPing me. Thanks,

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  • August 4, 2014

    You're invited to our marketing seminar August 24th!

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    On SUNDAY, August 24, we’re going to try something new… The MacGregor Marketing Seminar, a LIVE version of Amanda’s wonderful Thursday marketing blog, set into a seminar format. Amanda and I will be in Nashville, in a conference room at the Airport Embassy Suites, from 9 to 4, talking with authors about how to create a marketing plan for their books. Here’s what our outline looks like:

    — The New World of Author Marketing — What’s Working (and not working) in Today’s Market
    — Creating a Marketing Plan for Your Novel or Nonfiction Book
    — Maximizing Your Marketing Reach
    — Finding Your Audience and Reaching Your Readers
    — Building Your Author Platform (we are bringing in a specialist to offer some advice and direction)
    — Choosing the Tools You’ll Use to Promote Your Book
    — Getting Recognized in Today’s Market
    — The Traditional Marketer, the Freelance Marketer, and the Indie Marketer

    We’ll also get into a bunch of discussions on related topics — one of the most fun aspects of doing this type of seminar is the chance to talk with other authors who are going through the marketing process. But that’s our basic outline for the day, and we’d love to have you join us!

    The cost is just $149 for the entire day. Again, the focus of this day will be on doing something PRACTICAL — not on theory or on promoting a product. We just wanted to get authors together and have time to explore how an author can create his or her own marketing plan by focusing on ideas that actually work, so the emphasis will on on what an author can take and do, rather than on theory or philosophy. We hope you’ll join us. Please let me know if you plan to come by RSVPing me. Thanks, and we hope to see you in Nashville on August 24.

    -Chip MacGregor
    chip@macgregorliterary.com

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  • July 9, 2014

    The MacGregor Marketing Seminar – In Nashville on August 24!

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    On SUNDAY, August 24, we’re going to try something new… The MacGregor Marketing Seminar, a LIVE version of Amanda’s wonderful marketing information, set into a seminar format. Amanda and I will be in Nashville, at the Airport Embassy Suites, from 9 to 4, talking with authors about how to create a marketing plan for their books. Here’s what our outline looks like:

    — The New World of Author Marketing — What’s Working (and not working) in Today’s Market
    — Creating a Marketing Plan for Your Novel or Nonfiction Book
    — Maximizing Your Marketing Reach
    — Finding Your Audience and Reaching Your Readers
    — Building Your Author Platform (we are bringing in a specialist to offer some advice and direction)
    — Choosing the Tools You’ll Use to Promote Your Book
    — Getting Recognized in Today’s Market
    — The Traditional Marketer, the Freelance Marketer, and the Indie Marketer

    We’ll also get into a bunch of discussions on related topics — one of the most fun aspects of doing this type of seminar is the chance to talk with other authors who are going through the marketing process. But that’s our basic outline for the day, and we’d love to have you join us!

    The cost is just $99 for the entire day, if you register in July (it will go up on August 1). Again, the focus of this day will be on doing something PRACTICAL — not on theory or on promoting a product. We just wanted to get authors together and have time to explore how an author can create his or her own marketing plan by focusing on ideas that actually work, so the emphasis will on on what an author can take and do, rather than on theory or philosophy. We hope you’ll join us. Please let me know if you plan to come by RSVPing me. Thanks, and we hope to see you in Nashville on August

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  • July 3, 2014

    Thursdays with Amanda: Attend a “Thursdays with Amanda” Workshop!

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    2013amanda2Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    _____________________

    If you love my Thursday posts on marketing, and if you’ve ever wished for an in-person “Thursdays with Amanda-type” event, then you’re in for a treat.

    You’re invited to come hang out with me (and Chip, of course!), for a marketing intensive on Sunday, August 24th, in Nashville, Tennessee.

    HERE ARE THE DETAILS! And no, this will NOT simply be a rehashing of the info found in my book, The Extroverted Writer. Sure, we’ll touch on that a tiny bit, but we’ll also be bringing to life the content found in my blog posts, as well as new material. Plus, there will be plenty of time for you to ask questions, share your marketing struggles or victories, and learn from others in attendance.

    Questions? Sound off in the comments below! And please share with your friends!

     

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  • April 22, 2014

    If you could sit down to dinner with a literary agent…

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    Imagine this: You get to sit down to have dinner with the literary agent of your choosing. You can ask anything you want? So… what would you ask? I’ve been taking the entire month of April to let people send in the questions they’ve always wanted to ask a literary agent. Recent questions include…

    A friend of mine in our writers’ group asked me if she can be sued if she uses the name of a real town — i.e., Witch Hazel, Oregon, in her novel. Is that true?

    Okay– I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not giving you legal advice. If you need legal advice, go talk to an attorney. What you’re getting is my take as an agent… Sued? For what? No. You can be sued for defaming or libeling someone, but you can’t be sued for simply using the name of a town. Does she think she can’t say, “The plane flew to New York”? (But thanks for the call-out to my hometown of Witch Hazel!)

    It’s my understanding that publishers will often pay higher royalties for hardcover than softcover. Why is this?

    It’s true. The standard book contracts pays 10% of the retail price on the first 5000 hardcopies sold, 12.5% on the next 5000 copies, and 15% thereafter. A trade paper pays a flat 7.5%. The cost of the hardcover is higher, the production costs are a bit higher, people are willing to pay more, so there is more money to divide. Thus the royalties are higher. (By the way, most CBA publishers pay on net contracts, so it’s a bit different.)

    I’d like to know what goes on in a Pub Board meeting, and why does it sometimes take so long for them to make a decision on a book?

    The pub board is where a decision is made to publish or not publish a book. Usually it includes the editor presenting the project,

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  • April 18, 2014

    If you could sit and have a beer with a literary agent…

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    I’m taking the month of April and letting people send in ANY question they have about writing and publishing. If you could sit down for an hour over a beer with a literary agent, and ask him anything you wanted, what would you want to know? Here are questions I’ve been sent recently…

    If I am offered a contract, should I then get an agent?

    That depends on the situation. Although I’m a longtime literary agent, I’m not an agent-evangelist, insisting everyone needs an agent. So think about the big picture here — your agent didn’t discuss the idea with you, or help you sharpen your proposal, or introduce you to editors, or send it out to publishers, or offer career advice. Once you’re offered a contract, the agent is going to step into it and earn a commission. So here’s my thinking… IF the agent can bring value, in terms of doing a great negotiation, and improving the contract & terms, and getting involved in the marketing, and stepping in to help with dramatic and foreign rights, and offering advice for your future, then it might be worthwhile to have an agent step in. But if all he’s going to do is say “yes” to the offer, it may not be worth paying him 15%. Consider talking with a good contract evaluation service, which might only charge a couple hundred dollars. (Or you might talk with an attorney, but be careful — they tend to charge by the six-minute increment and want to keep the clock running, so it can be expensive. Maybe consider this option if you’ve got something complex, such as a series offer or a movie deal.) But don’t sign with someone just so you can have the honor of saying, “I have an agent!”

    If my novel is women’s fiction, is it best to target a female agent?

    It’s best to target an agent who

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  • February 11, 2014

    Calling all writers in the Dallas area…

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    A new writing conference is fast approaching — and you’re invited.

    On Saturday, February 15, I will be speaking at the Dallas Writers’ University. It’s a one-day event, with a rather intensive agenda:

    • I’ll speak on “developing a book proposal that sells,” and the focus will be on giving practical, hands-on help to writers who want to create a proposal that will get noticed.
    • I’ll also be speaking on “creating your long-term publishing strategy,” with an emphasis on traditional publishing, niche publishing, self-publishing, and alternative strategies for writers to make a living.
    • Michelle Borquez, bestselling author and entrepreneur, will explore “building a platform around your concept.”
    • There will be a Q&A time, and everybody there will have a face to face meeting with me sometime during the day.
    • Finally, Michelle and I will be talking about the secret to success in contemporary publishing.

    You can read all about it here: www.eventbrite.com/e/dallas-writers-university-tickets-9845287520

    I’m really looking forward to this opportunity. I’ve largely taken time away from conferences the past couple years, but I love talking to authors about proposals and strategy. And you’re invited. Again, every participant gets face time with me, where we’ll be reviewing proposals and talking about next steps in a one-on-one setting. That means our space is limited to just 30 people.

    Here’s the thing . . . there are a hundred conferences you can go to in order to get some basic information on writing. But if you really want to join a small group and find out how to create a book that will sell, make some money, and gain entry into the world of publishing by talking to some experienced people in the industry, I hope you’ll consider joining us. I don’t do many conferences anymore (and rarely do a writing conference), so I’m excited to be asked to be part of this one.

    The event is going to be in the Dallas area, at

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  • January 7, 2014

    A Workshop on Getting Published

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    BY CHIP MACGREGOR

     

    A new writing conference is fast approaching — and you’re invited.

    On Saturday, February 15, I will be speaking at the Dallas Writers’ University. It’s a one-day event, with a rather intensive agenda:

    • I’ll speak on “developing a book proposal that sells,” and the focus will be on giving practical, hands-on help to writers who want to create a proposal that will get noticed.
    • I’ll also be speaking on “creating your long-term publishing strategy,” with an emphasis on traditional publishing, niche publishing, self-publishing, and alternative strategies for writers to make a living.
    • Michelle Borquez, bestselling author and entrepreneur, will explore “building a platform around your concept.”
    • There will be a Q&A time, and everybody there will have a face to face meeting with me sometime during the day.
    • Finally, Michelle and I will be talking about the secret to success in contemporary publishing.

    I’m really looking forward to this opportunity. I’ve largely taken time away from conferences the past couple years, but I love talking to authors about proposals and strategy. And you’re invited. Again, every participant gets face time with me, where we’ll be reviewing proposals and talking about next steps in a one-on-one setting. That means our space is limited to just 30 people.

    Here’s the thing . . . there are a hundred conferences you can go to in order to get some basic information on writing. But if you really want to join a small group and find out how to create a book that will sell, make some money, and gain entry into the world of publishing by talking to some experienced people in the industry, I hope you’ll consider joining us. I don’t do many conferences anymore (and rarely do a writing conference), so I’m excited to be asked to be part of this one.

    The event is going to be in the Dallas area, at a church in White

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