Submitting Your Novel to Agents – A Topic Chat

When submitting to an agent or a publisher, there are several important items you must keep in mind—follow the agent’s submission guidelines, spell his or her name correctly, etc. But there are six basic elements you really need to focus on when crafting and submitting your query letter. Thankfully, we’ve gathered them here in one helpful checklist. Bookmark this list and reference it each and every time before you send out your queries to agents that represents fiction.

check list boxes with a red pencil

—Mollie Glick

Checklist: The 6 Essentials for Submitting Your Novel to Agents

Bonus Information about How to Find a Literary Agent for Your Book is contained in the Newsletter. If you have not subscribed to the newsletter, use the form below to find out what you’ve been missing.

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What to Include and Exclude in Author Bios

Join us Sunday evening for a Topic Chat – What to Include and Exclude in Author Bios an article by Robert Lee Brewer Writers Market Blog.

Robert Lee Brewer PhototRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He edits the Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market books, writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, maintains the Poetic Asides blog, speaks at conferences, leads online webinars and tutorials, and so much more.

Robert is also the author of Solving the World’s Problems, a poetry collection published by Press 53. A former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, he’s been a featured poet across the country at poetry events in Austin, Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta, and more.

What to Include and Exclude in Author BiosImage of Typewriter Ready to get published on rough paper

It’s a paradox: The author is the most important part of a book project, but the author bio may be the least significant part of a query.

That said, future authors constantly ask me (and other publishing professionals) how to handle their author bios in their queries and book proposals. And honestly, it is a part of the query that has more potential to harm a pitch than help. So here’s a quick list of what to include and exclude in author bios.

I’ve never questioned assigning an article because the bio was too brief. However, I have read bios that made me question how professional and experienced the writer is. So when it comes to author bios, follow this mantra: When in doubt, leave it out.

Join us at 7PM ET at The Writers Chat Room


Writing Exercises

Prismatic 3D Question MarkThis week I thought I’d touch on Prompts, again.
This site provides (completely free) writing prompts and exercises to help you get started with creative writing and break through writing blocks.
Generate random story ideas, plots, subjects, scenarios, characters, first lines for stories and more.
“Why shouldn’t they help themselves, after the way they’d been treated?”
“He was unconscious when I found him”
“Your main character is a woman in her early forties, who is very idealistic. The story begins in a penthouse apartment. Someone is tormented by the memory of a dead family member. It’s a story about infidelity. Your character has to do some quick thinking to keep ahead.”
Go ahead and check out the whole Writing Exercises Website


Celebrity Sunday Welcomes C Hope Clark

Photo of Hope Hope Clark was born and reared in the South, from Mississippi to South Carolina with a few stints in Alabama and Georgia. The granddaughter of a Mississippi cotton farmer, Hope holds a B.S. in Agriculture with honors from Clemson University and 25 years’ experience with the U. S. Department of Agriculture to include awards for her management, all of which enable her to talk the talk of Carolina Slade, the protagonist in most of her novels. Her love of writing, however, carried her up the ranks to the ability to retire young, and she left USDA to pen her stories and freelance.

Hope’s 4th Edisto book, Edisto Stranger, is on sale in ebook for $1.99 thru Jan 15.

The Edisto Island Mysteries: Destination Reading contains 4 published titles. She has just started writing Crossed on Edisto, a crossover book where Callie meets Slade.

The Carolina Slade Mysteries: Justice Her Way are 3 books strong.  Newberry Sin the 4th in the series is at her publisher.

On the Non-fiction front, FundsforWriters she plans to put out a couple of nonfiction books in 2018 – Finding Funds for Your Book, and The Best of FundsforWriters Vol 2. Hope is also thinking about writing a book on dialogue since she’s been a contributing writer for Southern Writers Magazine for over two years now, doing solely a column on dialogue.

Find Hope here –

Hope Clark
Bell Bridge Books

Hope can also be reached at her social media connections below:


What Is Literary Fiction (and What Sets It Apart)?

Join us on January 3rd for a Mini Topic

What Is Literary Fiction (and What Sets It Apart)?

literary fiction quote

We have talked about Short Story Writing and Creative Non-Fiction and now, to start off the New Year let’s talk about Literary Fiction. 

I have pulled some things out of a rather long article and hope to touch on all five areas regarding the things which set Literary Fiction apart from Genre Fiction. Some of the five points are obvious, others are a little hard to sum up and I am counting on you to help us through the topic.

What sets literary fiction apart from genre fiction?

  1. Literary Fiction Looks Different
  • The Covers are Different
  • Genre and Literary Novels Might Be Sold in Different Formats
  • The Titles are Different
  • You’ll Find Them in Different Sections of the Bookstore


  1. In Literary Fiction, Character Comes Before Plot
  • If writing a gripping plot is important in genre fiction, in literary fiction the plot can be less momentous, more subtle, less frenetically-paced, more beneath the surface. But it still needs to be there, as the literary agent Nathan Bransford points out…


  1. Literary Novels Are More “Meaningful”
  • As readers of fiction, we like to be entertained by the surface plot. But we also like a deeper experience, one in which the novel’s events “say” something about what it means to be a human and what it takes to get by in this world.


  1. In Literary Fiction, “Fine Writing” Is Essential
  • Both fans and publishers of literary fiction expect the writing itself to be excellent…
  • Not poetic, exactly (though it can be).
  • Not lush and sensual and vivid with imagery (though it can be).
  • Not “difficult” (though some literary novels don’t exactly make for great beach reading).
  • Instead, literary writers need a masterful way with words. Their voice can be simple or ornate, but the prose must always be rich and finely-crafted and a pleasure to read.


  1. In Literary Fiction, Anything Goes
  • You’re free to tackle any subject matter and any theme you choose, and to structure the story however you wish.

Join us on January 3rd for a mini-topic chat.

Rejections – Proof you are a Writer

I’ve been reading and writing and reading some more. I’ve been thinking about submitting some short stories in 2018 and maybe some Creative Non-Fiction. So, I have also been researching the markets.

Rejections are a source of pride. Rejections are tangible proof you are a writer. Well, maybe not so tangible in the days of email submissions.

I used to watch my mailbox for SASEs in my own handwriting. I used to keep a ledger with a record of postage, paper, envelopes, copy expenses and market research. When I was trying to home my stories and articles I would buy magazines locally or send off for copies to be delivered.

Things have changed. Now, I can do much of my marketing and submissions using the internet. But the price of being online may be more than what I spent in the 90s and the 00s.

Rejection IdeogramOh, right, back to why I started this post.

I cannot name my source but I read that some, many, rejections are not because your work sucks the big one. Your work may be rejected simply because the upcoming issue already has three stories about breast cancer and they need some comic relief in the issue.

Many magazines have an editorial calendar of themes and submission deadlines for those themes. You may scour their websites or go ahead and shoot off an email asking for the calendar. It will help you plan. You may want to hold onto the Thanksgiving story until after the Spring Solstice. August would have been a great time to submit that Valentine’s Day short.

What are you planning or even planning on planning for 2018?

Is it a Novel or a Short Story?

photo of an open book Join us in the Chatroom for a Mini Topic.  Is it a Novel or a Short Story?

Wednesday 6 December 2017 at 8PM ET

Three Ways Short Stories are Different Than Novels

Writing short stories is different than writing novels. Many authors are nervous about writing short stories because they’re not sure how short stories differ from novels.

Like all forms, short stories have their own unique rules. However, the rules for writing short stories are not difficult to master.

We will talk about the big three during the first hour of chat.

Celebrity Sunday Presents Emerian Rich

Cover Art Emerian Rich is the author of the Night’s Knights Vampire Series. She’s been included in many short story anthologies and also writes romance under Emmy Z. Madrigal. She is the horror host of and Editorial Director for the San Francisco Bay Area magazine, SEARCH. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. Find out more about Emerian at:

Visit with us Sunday December 3rd right here in the Chatroom.  For more information on this Celebrity please check our  December 2nd Issue of The Writer’s Chatroom Newsletter.

Celebrity Sunday Presents Emerian Rich

Submission: Holiday Season Critique Chat

Welcome to our Holiday Season Critique Chat

Would you like a crit from the entire chatroom? Then read and follow the guidelines exactlySubmissions that do not follow the guidelines will be rejected.
Email 200-300 words from your work. Paste your submission into the email, do not send an attachment. Do not hit reply!
 Figure reading a book of notes
Use the subject line “Submission: Holiday Season Critique”.
Copy this list and put it at the beginning of the email, with your answers:
Format: (short story, novel, etc): 
Section: (beginning, middle or end of piece)
Name you intend to publish under: 
Name you use in the chatroom: 

You can add one or two sentences to set the scene, if needed. But no more than two sentences.

Submissions must be received by 3 pm ET on Sunday, November 26, 2017 to be eligible for chat.

Submissions following the guidelines will be used in the order they are received. I don’t know how many we will get through, but the queue starts when the first correct submission is received.
I strongly suggest you submit polished work. Most of our chatters are aiming for publication. To get there, you have to be able to handle honest critiques. I will not allow personal attacks, but problems in the writing will be openly discussed.
If you are not in attendance, your submission will be skipped. It’s a waste of everyone’s time to critique something if the author isn’t there to hear it.
Fiction, nonfic, essay, query letter…it doesn’t matter. I recommend trying to get an entire scene into 300 words. Full scenes get better crits.
Why only 300 words? More than that will scroll off the screen too quickly. People need to be able to read it, to give a good crit.
Please be on time for this chat. Crosstalk, including greetings, will be kept to a bare minimum. Make sure you have floated and enlarged your screen in chat, so you can keep up. Here we go…let’s see how many of you have learned to write well and follow submission guidelines.