Category : Conferences

  • October 22, 2013

    Last Chance: You're Invited to our Marketing Seminar

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    As I’ve noted on this blog already, on Saturday, November 2, we’re doing our annual MacGregor Marketing Seminar in Chicago. We do this every year, and invite the authors we represent to come — and this time, you have an opportunity to join us. This year we’ll be at the Embassy Suites at O’Hare (5500 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018), starting at 9 in the morning, and running until about 5 pm. We always hold the Marketing Seminar close to an airport, so out-of-town authors can fly in, take the free shuttle, spend the day with us, and either choose to stay the night or simply fly home the same day.

    This year, we’re going to be breaking the day into five modules:

    1. I’m going to start the day by talking about trends in the industry, and what authors need to know about making a living in today’s current publishing climate. The goal of this session is to help authors think through a realistic plan for making money with their writing.

    2. The second session will be taught by Amanda Luedeke, assisted by agent Erin Buterbaugh. If you’re a follower of Amanda’s great “Thursdays with Amanda” marketing posts, or if you’ve read her incredibly helpful book The Extroverted Writer, you already know how much wisdom she has to offer writers. The focus on this session will be on making money with your ebooks, and she’ll be presenting a real-world plan for generating income via your digital rights.

    3. In the third session we plan to break into genre groups (historical novelists together, nonfiction self-help writers together, etc) and go to lunch in order to talk through ideas with other people who write in your space and are trying to reach a similar audience.

    4. The fourth (and longest) session is entitled “Maximizing Your Marketing Plan,” and is going to be led by Jeane and Tyson

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  • October 14, 2013

    Inviting you to join us at our marketing seminar

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    Every year we host a marketing seminar for the authors we represent here at MacGregor Literary. We’re doing it again this year, but opening it up to writers who we don’t represent, just so they can take part in the day. The guest speakers this year are Jeane and Tyson Wynn, principals at Wynn-Wynn Media. who have created the marketing campaigns for hundreds of successful titles. Again, we’re meeting all day Saturday, November 2, at the Embassy Suites O’Hare in Chicago. The day starts at 9, and goes until 5 pm.

    This year’s schedule looks like this:

    Opening Session: I’ll be talking about trends in the industry, and will talk through a specific plan for how an author can make a living in today’s publishing market.

    Session Two: Literary agent Amanda Luedeke, author of The Extroverted Writer, will lead a session on how to make money with ebooks.

    Session Three: We’ll break into groups by genre and introduce writers, so they can swap ideas over lunch.

    Session Four: Longtime marketing professionals Jeane and Tyson Wynne will talk with us about the big picture — what marketing is, how you work with your publisher’s marketing staff, ideas for how you can fill in the gaps of your marketing plan, and the secrets to making your book marketing effective.

    Session Five: Longtime literary agent Sandra Bishop will a Q&A session, “Ask Me Anything,” where you’ll be able to ask the staff your specific questions.

    —————-

    I’d love to have you join us. We’ve always kept this closed to just the authors we represent, but we had so many requests that, this year, we simply booked a larger conference room at the hotel, and we can take an extra 20 people. The cost is $199 for the day. If you’d like to participate, just get in touch and we’ll reserve you a seat. Simply drop an email to Holly at

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  • October 11, 2013

    The MacGregor Marketing Seminar: You're Invited

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    On Saturday, November 2, we’re doing our annual MacGregor Marketing Seminar in Chicago. We do this every year, and invite the authors we represent to come — and this time, you have an opportunity to join us. This year we’ll be at the Embassy Suites at O’Hare (5500 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018), starting at 9 in the morning, and running until about 5 pm. We always hold the Marketing Seminar close to an airport, so out-of-town authors can fly in, take the free shuttle, spend the day with us, and either choose to stay the night or simply fly home the same day.

    This year, we’re going to be breaking the day into five modules:

    1. I’m going to start the day by talking about trends in the industry, and what authors need to know about making a living in today’s current publishing climate. The goal of this session is to help authors think through a realistic plan for making money with their writing.

    2. The second session will be taught by Amanda Luedeke, assisted by agent Erin Buterbaugh. If you’re a follower of Amanda’s great “Thursdays with Amanda” marketing posts, or if you’ve read her incredibly helpful book The Extroverted Writer, you already know how much wisdom she has to offer writers. The focus on this session will be on making money with your ebooks, and she’ll be presenting a real-world plan for generating income via your digital rights.

    3. In the third session we plan to break into genre groups (historical novelists together, nonfiction self-help writers together, etc) and go to lunch in order to talk through ideas with other people who write in your space and are trying to reach a similar audience.

    4. The fourth (and longest) session is entitled “Maximizing Your Marketing Plan,” and is going to be led by Jeane and Tyson Wynn, principals at Wynn-Wynn Media. Jeane

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  • September 20, 2013

    Thursdays with Amanda: How to Throw a Book Launch Party

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    Amanda 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.

    Well, it’s not Thursday…it’s Friday, but for the sake of Brand you’ll have to suffer through my wrongly-titled post.

    We’re all back from ACFW, which proved to be a bunch of fun, as always, but also quite interesting in terms of industry stuff. But something happened there that rarely ever happens at any conference…ever.

    A literary agency threw a launch party.

    You may have heard/read me talk about Playlist Fiction. In thinking about how to help the authors create awareness and buzz we considered what most publishers/authors consider. We considered running an ad. But let’s face it:

    1. Ads are expensive

    2. Ads get buried by other ads

    3. Ads are forgetful

    So when Chip asked me what my ideal method of creating buzz at ACFW would be, I said a party! Which of course meant it became my responsibility, but I took it on happily.

    Here’s how I did it…

    • We got some big names to agree to attend, and we asked them to read excerpts from the books our authors did
    • We created invites (we had a Facebook event page, a physical paper invite, and we hit up the big My Book Therapy e-blast as well as a few blogs)
    • We secured a local venue (Buca di Beppo) and promised free dessert (I mean hello! ACFW is 90% women. There was no way we could lose here)
    • We got the go-ahead from the conference directors and made sure that our time slot wouldn’t interfere with ANYTHING
    • We unashamedly mentioned the party during the agent panel
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  • August 21, 2013

    What's the best way to approach an editor at a conference?

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    I’ve been trying to catch up on all the questions people have sent in, so let me share a handful of queries: “When speaking with an editor at a conference, what is the best way to approach the allotted 15 minutes? Do I focus on the editor and the titles she’s worked on? Do I focus on my novel? Do I bring a one sheet?”

    The best way to approach your time at an editorial appointment is to do some research and practice. Check to make sure the editor you’re meeting actually acquires books in your genre. Find out what you can about the editor’s likes and dislikes. Then practice what you’re going to say — sharing your name, your book idea, the conflict, theme, genre,and  hook. Be clear and succinct, and rehearse your talk out loud, so you know what it feels like to say the words. Be ready to engage in dialogue with the editor. Dress professionally, and bring some words to show them (many like a one-sheet; I prefer the first five pages). In my view, the focus of a successful editorial appointment is your book, so think through how to talk about your book in an engaging way without sounding like just another pitch.

    Another person wrote to ask, “Should I pay more attention to a literary agent’s list of authors they represent, or to their agency’s list of authors? In other words, if a Big Deal Agency has bestselling authors, how much does that mean if the agent I’m talking to doesn’t represent any of those writers?”

    That’s an interesting question, since every agency tries to promote their bestselling authors. I was at Alive Communications when we represented the Left Behind series that sold 70 million copies worldwide — and while I didn’t have much of anything to do with that series, I certainly mentioned that we represented it when I was a young agent

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  • August 17, 2013

    What is "new adult" (and other questions from a conference)

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    I just got back from a writing conference, and I kept track of several interesting questions that writers wanted to ask me…

    “What is New Adult?”

    A number of people asked me about this relatively new term — we’re using it in publishing to talk about books aimed at the 18-to-25 year old audience. These are basically readers who grew up buying “young adult” books (those aimed at the 13-to-18 year old audience), and they’re ready to move to new topics, but perhaps are looking for books that explore the transition from “young adult” issues to standard “adult” themes. So most of the “new adult” (or “NA”) titles focus on that transition — relationships, independence, identity, sexuality, empowerment, moving, career choices, etc. It’s a growing category in publishing, even if you may not have heard the term yet.

    “If a publisher expresses interest in my manuscript at a conference, does that change the way I approach another editor or agent?”

    I doubt it changes the way you approach other editors at a conference (and the words “another editor asked me to send it” tend to mean little, since every experienced conference faculty member can tell you that new writers tend to take ANY encouragement from an editor as “they love my book and are going to publish it!”). Most agents won’t be swayed by the thought that an editor asked to see your proposal, since the agent has to like it personally (I’d never agree to represent someone based on the fact that an editor liked the manuscript). So no, a publisher expressing interest at a conference, while certainly fun and encouraging for you, probably doesn’t mean you should change the way you approach others.

    “If an editor asked me to send my manuscript at a conference, should I mention that in the query letter?”

    If an editor asks you to send your manuscript to him or her, by all

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  • July 31, 2013

    How does a new writer get noticed?

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    A regular reader of the blog sent in this question: What can a new author do to get noticed by an agent or editor?

    The most essential thing you can do as someone new to the industry is to be a great writer, of course. All the agents and editors have seen wannabe writers who are anxious to get published, but haven’t put in the time to really learn the craft. We see stories that have plot problems, shallow story lines, weak characters, bad dialogue, tons of description… And the surprising thing to me is that I’ll sometimes see that from a writer at a conference who is pushing hard for representation.

    It’s why I’ll frequently ask people at a face-to-face meeting, “What’s your goal for this meeting?” I mean, some people at a conference are looking for me to react to their story. Others want to show me some writing and interact a bit on it. Some people just have questions about the business or their career. But if a writer sits down at a ten minute meeting and expects an agent to offer representation, that’s probably unrealistic. A much more realistic goal would be to have a discussion about the salability of your work, and see if the agent or editor wants to take a more in-depth look at some later date. Maybe have you email the manuscript to him or her.

    If you want to get noticed at a conference, show up for your appointment on time. Dress professionally. Have a brief pitch prepared, and make sure you’ve actually practiced it out loud, so you know what you’re going to say. (Your family will think you’ve gone crazy for talking to yourself in the basement… but that’s okay. If you want to be a writer, you probably already qualify as “crazy.”) Do some research on the agents, to make sure you can target your pitch. (I’ve lost

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  • July 15, 2013

    Pitching: Are You Prepared?

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    Guest writer HOLLY LORINCZ is a novelist as well as a publishing consultant at MacGregor Literary, and Chip’s assistant.  Before Mac Lit, Holly was the editor of a literary magazine and then an award winning instructor, teaching journalism, speech and writing at the high school and college level. She was also a nationally recognized competitive speaking coach for years, giving her a unique perspective on book pitches. 

    PITCHING: ARE YOU PREPARED?

    By Holly Lorincz

    The brilliant Chip MacGregor (the man who signs my checks) recently posted an article regarding what agents look for when they attend writing conferences. I would like to extend his comments on pitches, since many of you are getting ready for RWA.

    When was the last time you were at a conference, pitching? Sitting in a hotel banquet room crowded with tables and sweaty, nervous writers? I’m not saying that to be judgmental . . . I’ve been that sweaty, nervous writer hoping to win over an agent with my charm, if not my book. I went in with my satchel stuffed with one-sheets, copies of the synopsis and the first fifty pages. I’d even made up clever business cards. I was dressed in a skirt and heels, making sure I didn’t look stupid even if I said something stupid. Which, with me, was bound to happen. And knowing that, I practiced the heck out of my pitch, making sure I sounded comfortable and natural (though completely memorized) while describing the hook and major premise in less than two minutes. I made sure the agents/editors I was signed up to talk to were actually looking for books in my genre, checked out their bios so I could try to figure out what they might be interested in. Oh, I had done my research. I was prepared.

    Shockingly, a good chunk of the writers were less prepared. Or not prepared at all. They were using their expensive

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  • June 27, 2013

    Thursdays with Amanda: ICRS Recap

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    Amanda 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.

    We’re going to take a break from the Overly Aggressive Marketing Syndrome series I’m doing here on Thursdays with Amanda to talk about Christian publishing industry schtuff…so for all of you who aren’t interested in talking “Christian publishing industry schtuff,” you’re free to go. But I encourage you to stay…because I have pictures!

    I just got back from ICRS…the big Christian retail show.

    This was my first ever time at ICRS. I’d heard much about it, but for all intents and purposes, I was a total n00b. Sure, I may have had some preconcieved notions about the “Jesus junk” that you may find there. And yes, I’d heard about dwindling attendance numbers. But I like to think of myself as the type of person who is able to come to their own conclusions and think for themselves, so I figured it would be fun/beneficial/entertaining and of course HIGHLY EDUCATIONAL if I shared my thoughts on the event, as seen through my unsullied eyes.

    THOUGHTS ON ICRS:

    1. Many talked about how the floor lacked energy…but I don’t think that’s a result of people being “meh” or unexcited about the whole thing so much as it was the result of THE FLOOR BEING TOO FREAKING HUGE. I mean the reason BEA is so crazy and feels so energetic is because there’s no room to breathe, let alone walk. And when you shove two of the big six houses’ booths right by one another it creates an LA-sized traffic jam that in turn, generates this feeling of energy and excitement. So, I think

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  • May 26, 2013

    The Christy Awards make another major mistake…

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    So, if you haven’t heard the news, I’ve been asked to be the keynote speaker at the 2013 Christy Awards. Yes — me. Chip MacGregor, literary agent. I’m fairly certain this was a clerical error, but it’s exactly this sort of thing that causes people to shake their heads at the decline of Solid American Values in publishing. Next thing you know, they’ll be having an agent serve as the Master of Ceremonies…

    Oh, wait. It turns out they also asked my good buddy Steve Laube to serve as the emcee. He is also a longtime literary agent. Um… Well this just goes to show that anyone can make a mistake. I mean, first they forgot to give Jerry Jenkins a Christy Award, now they hire a couple of agents to man the microphone. I’m telling you, we need a blue-ribbon panel to check into this. (Heads will roll.)

    If you’re not familiar, the Christy Awards are really the premier award for those who write inspirational fiction. They’ve been around about 15 years, and are named after Catherine Marshall’s seminal novel, Christy. Originally created by a dozen CBA publishers, the awards intended to honor Ms Marshall’s contribution to the field of faith-infused fiction, as well as providing opportunities to recognize the best novels and novelists in the genre. I’ve long been a fan of the Christy Awards, and have represented dozens of finalists and several Christy winners (including last year’s winners Mindy Starns Clark, Leslie Gould, and Ann Tatlock). We have several finalists again this year in the different categories — which you can find by going to www.christyawards.com .

    So I’m completely surprised and flattered that they’d invite me to speak, even if the person on the other end of the line MEANT to call Chip Kelly, the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and, like me, a former Oregon Duck. (Don’t worry — I get that a

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