If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

KIller Nashville Agent Roundtables


Agent Roundtables at Killer Nashville





A new experience for me during this year’s great convention “Killer Nashville” was to attend two agent roundtables.  Writers who were prospective clients were advised to bring multiple copies of the first two pages of their unpublished but completed novels to a room where one or two agents or publishers listened to a reader read aloud each submission.  The idea was to avoid having a long line of authors sweating and exuding massive amounts of anxiety waiting for overworked agents or publishers who were inevitably running late and wondering when they’d have time for a bathroom break.
I remember one time during an agent event when the woman immediately in front of me in line sat down at a table with an agent. A workshop staff member told her she was out of time before she had a chance to say a single word.  The agent the writer and I all objected.  I assured the staff member I was willing to wait until the writer had her full time with the agent.

I was surprised by how well the roundtables worked.  Two pages were enough for experienced professionals to get a flavor of the work and make insightful suggestions. I have always been aware of the need for strong openings and — wow— do I believe it now. I was very impressed by the quality of the submissions.  I heard a wide variety of genres and approaches with strikingly good writing.
I do have one hint for those who attend similar events:  Follow the directions! The agents I met with were polite when presented with single-spaced submissions, three-page submissions and two pages that were not the first two pages in the novel.  So this is my reaction, not theirs.  How utterly clueless. If you were an agent, and a prospective writer/client did not comply with simple, clear directions would that make you more or less interested in representing the writer’s work? Well?

I used to be part of a team at work that hired mental health professionals.  We always had at least five candidates for every opening. While it was often difficult to choose between qualified candidates, each time the task was made much easier by those applicants who disqualified themselves. Some people did not following the simple directions on the application form. Some submitted ungrammatical resumes with spelling errors and clumsy sentence structure.  (Writing clinical progress notes was one part of the job.) Inappropriate dress and/or behavior and a lack of basic information about the jobs, which was available online, were other clues that a person would not be a good fit. 

My wife used to help hire people for academic positions. She still talks about a candidate who called the next day asking to be bailed out of jail. That candidate was not offered a position.

What have you seen people do that undermined their attempts with an agent, an editor or an employer?  

19 comments:

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I don't attend conferences, Warren, but this sounds very good. My contact with agents is mainly by e-mail. I haven't got one as yet. So I suppose conferences like Killer Nashville are worthwhile.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Warren, I think agent conferences are an excellent benefit many conferences offer to their attendees. I think it's very important for people to realize when they're ready to go agent-hunting, though. If that manuscript is not the best you can absolutely make it after lots of feedback and revision, don't waste an agent's time--and put yourself in his/her memory as an amateur. Agents and editors have surprisingly good memories, especially for submissions that are subpar. I've too often seen people who had real talent give in to that anxiety to be published NOW. They've often set up memories with agents or editors that will harm chances of the truly professional work they'll eventually have if they just keep on learning their craft.

Warren Bull said...

Jacqueline, I don't have an agent either so I'm not the best person to ask. When When I have spoken to agents they have given me very good advice.

Warren Bull said...

Linda, One of the hardest things for a writer to do is to be objective about his/her writing. I agree when in doubt wait and revise again,

VR Barkowski said...

I've known a number of writers who've met their agent through conferences. I met mine through my CP, but she met her via a conference, although I can't remember which one now.

I used to work for a major museum. One of my responsibilities was to run a first pass on employment applications. We'd often receive 100+ resumes for a single position. Ways to land at the bottom of my ranking? Fail to follow directions when completing the application, write a poorly executed cover letter, call on the status of your application before the position even closes, resubmit your application half a dozen times in a two week period so you're remembered.

When seeking an agent—and in most cases a job—unconventional isn't the answer. Agents don't have time for unconventional. Following the rules levels the playing field, giving the "applicant" an opportunity to go in for the win with an excellent pitch and outstanding manuscript.

Warren Bull said...

Good advice, VR.

E. B. Davis said...

Between Killer Nashville and the New England conference, I'm torn. What you described though, would be ideal for my purposes. I really like that they had readers instead of getting the writers to read. Writers are too nervous to read in front of the professionals. Thanks for the conference write up, Warren. Do you have any contact information to get on their mailing list?

Jan Christensen said...

Great post, Warren. And a nice change from those intense one-on-one agent meetings most conferences have. I've been to a few of those, and some strange things happened--strange from my point of view. I hope not from the agent's point of view about me. I'm a stickler for the rules when applying for a job, and as pointed out, trying to land an agent is a similar process. But I did see one woman land a job when the rest of the women in the office thought her attire was a bit over the top for an office. The head of HR thought she was great and hired her to be his secretary. LOL Worked for her in that case.

Warren Bull said...

E B, their website in http://www.killernashville.com/
They are also on Facebook and and Twitter. They are a very friendly group of people.

Warren Bull said...

Jan, LOL there are exceptions for every rule.

Gloria Alden said...

Good blog, Warren. I've often thought of going to that conference, but I can't afford to go to all I'd like to go to. I have to limit it to no more than two - less if my other writing event was a retreat like this year.

E.B. I get news from Killer Nashville on a regular basis. I think it's because I submitted a submission for their contest several years ago. I'd imagine if you'd go to their webste, you could get on their list.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks Warren and Gloria.

Warren Bull said...

Gloria,

You're right. There are more conferences than I, at least, can afford to attend. I was impressed by the friendliness and help offered by the staff at KIller Nashville.

Dana said...

Great post Warren.

I was skeptical about the whole round table thing before I participated, but I found it to be a great process. I learned a great deal about what works well for an opening, what falls flat, and it was such a treat to get a flavor of everyone's work. I can also attest to the success of the approach :)

It was wonderful to meet you at KN, and I hope to see you in the future.

And a job candidate calling to be bailed out of jail? Wow, now I've heard everything ...

Warren Bull said...

Dana, Thanks for your comments.

Peg Nichols said...

A job candidate who wants to bailed out of jail? Don't you think there's a story in that?

Hope Clark said...

Warren,
I was there at Killer Nashville. Nice event, for sure. I wasn't seeking an agent so I missed the opportunity you mention, but I know conferences are turning in to the best way to find an agent. Mine ONLY seeks new clients at conferences now.


C. Hope Clark

Author
The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, Bell Bridge Books
Lowcountry Bribe, Feb 2012
Tidewater Murder, early 2013
www.chopeclark.com

-and-

Editor, FundsforWriters, www.fundsforwriters.com
Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers, 2001-2012

Warren Bull said...

Peg, I'm sure there is.

Warren Bull said...

Hope, Thanks for the information. I did not know that.