on 11 August 2012
All of us aspiring-to-be-published writers should be grateful that Nicola Morgan continues to release nuggets of knowledge from the formidable Help! I Need a Publisher goldmines. Following on from last year's brilliant Write to be Published and Write a Great Synopsis, we now have Dear Agent.
As a writer who has received an unwanted hat-trick of rejections for my novel, I wanted to know if I was not making a huge mistake. I realised, quite soon, that I was. I wasn't spending enough on the soul of my book, what Nicola calls "the hook", and although the writing will speak for itself, the cover letter has an important job to do, too. Looking back over my three rejections, I've realised quite quickly that I've not "sold" my book as much as I should have. And with generous examples to learn from, I know that the next time I submit my work to an agent, my pitch paragraph will sing.
You'll have your eyes widened, you'll hide behind your fingers when you realised you've veered close to a no-no, but most importantly you'll learn where you went wrong. Or, if you've not submitted yet, you'll find it hard to go wrong with Nicola's honest crabbitness and sharp wit at your side.
But make sure you have Write to be Published and Write A Great Synopsis too, just to be on the safe side...
on 12 August 2012
If I can learn something and be entertained at the same time, you're on to a winner. Dear Agent ticks both boxes for me. Nicola draws on her personal experience and gives us the reasoning behind the conventions. The book is divided up into manageable chunks and it's he sort of book you can return to again and again. Recommended.
on 9 August 2012
This book finally answered the question that's been worrying me for a while. Exactly what do you write in that oh so important letter if you've had nothing published, don't lead a fabulously exciting life or bump into agents at parties every week. Thank you!
The different sections of your letter are clearly explained, suggestions are made for things you could include and just as importantly what to avoid. Why has nobody written this book before?
So now I have my letter, my synopsis from Nicola's equally great 'How to write a synopsis' and I may be out of excuses to not send my novel to an agent. *Gulp*
on 15 August 2012
I am half-way through the first draft of my first novel, so Nicola Morgan's book has appeared at just the right time. It is an interesting and comprehensive guide to the rights and wrongs of approaching a literary agent to represent you in securing your first and subsequent book deals.
As the title suggests, Dear Agent concentrates on getting that first approach right. It looks at the preparation (research and qualification of the right literary agent to approach) and the important points to cover in drafting the cover letter (which in most UK submissions will accompany the supporting documentation such as synopsis and sample chapters) or the query letter (the standalone equivalent in the US). In referring to a 'letter' of course, I noted that Nicola also covers the commonalities and differences of submission by e-mail.
Nicola Morgan's writing style is easy-going on the eye and comprehension. It was as if she was in the room with me, having a conversation on the subject. She took me step by step through the actions needed to draft a letter that will I hope get me noticed for all the right reasons. A book is of course essentially a monologue but Nicola knows her stuff, and anticipates and answers the questions I posed as I read it, as if it were a face-to-face dialogue. As well as the things I should be doing, Nicola also covers the things not to do.
I read this book in two sessions across one day, so Dear Agent scores high on the 'unputdownable' scale. If I hadn't won my copy in a guess-the-word-count competition, I would buy it. I recommend it.
P.S. Coffee and Chocolate not included.
on 22 August 2012
What can I say that hasn't already been said? I read this book during a long train journey. I nodded, I grimaced, I grinned, and a couple of times, I actually laughed out loud. Everything I've read of Nicola Morgan's seems to encompass the old bat's personality. She is so full of wit and wisdom, so generous in sharing it, and is not afraid to poke fun at herself while she's doing so. She says herself, she's been there, she has made the mistakes and learned from them, she KNOWS her stuff, as her publishing record shows. Above all, she is known and respected throughout the UK writing scene as someone who tells it like it is.
Dear Author... treat yourself to a copy of Dear Agent, for the sake of agents everywhere.
on 11 August 2012
I have to admit that I'm a fan already. Under my pen name Nicola Morgan helped me to get published. This is another in her series of "must-reads" for would-be authors. Too many good books get put aside by agents because the covering letter is either fatuous or hopelessly convoluted.
Buy it, read it, get it right.
on 8 September 2012
I downloaded this book because I have had trouble writing cover letters in the past. They've never quite hit the right spot, never quite seemed right to me.
I was ready to submit my manuscript, but was nervous about writing the letter, knowing how important it is.
So I bought Dear Agent, and read it through as I sat at my computer, document open, so I could write the letter as I went through it, as ideas occurred to me.
By the time I had finished the book, I had finished my letter, and for once I was pleased with it. Fingers crossed it worked!
Dear Agent saved me a lot of time and worry, and it gave me something that I was pleased with in the end - so pleased that I submitted my novel to an agent on the same day as I completed the letter. Without the help of Dear Agent, I would have wasted a lot of time, and may not even have come up with anything useful.
Very helpful, and highly recommended.
on 9 August 2012
For some the greatest struggle to approaching a Literary-Agent is the dreaded Synopsis and the Covering Letter.
Hell - I should know... they used to give me sleepless nights, and often when I thought I had it covered, I'd then doubt myself. You know that if you get it wrong, or don't make the agent punch the air and scream "woopla", you just wasted their time and yours. I need to get it right. I need to make that impression and make it stick. I needed help - and yes there was lots of help out there. If you google, Agent Covering Letters, you will find zillions of articles written that offer tips. The problem is when you read tips that contradict anothers, or if you put faith into an article written by someone who knows... urm... very little about the process.
So - who do you trust?
Well - that's a moot point, but surely, reading the viewpoint of a seasoned-veteran (is that a double-barrel description of the same thing - go figure) has to be good - right? Well, believe me, the book I just read wasn't good - it was acetastically-flipping-ace (yes, yes, I know that's not a real phrase).
Nicola Morgan - has just released her brilliant book - Dear Agent. And it is exactly what you think it is. A book that covers the goods, the bads and the much needed paragraphs of a covering letter.
FINALLY - I have a book that collates and brings together with great wit the points you should consider when writing a letter.
Nicola should be congratulated for inspiring me to realise that my covering letter (that I thought was pretty good) needs work. And I know where the work is needed. Note; This is not just a book with tips and bullet points. Oh no - this is a book with examples, and lots of them, and you will find at least one that you can relate to.
For the price of a microwaveable ready-meal - this novel made eating an afterthought.
BUT - it's on an introductory price for this weekend! Get it - get it - get it!
It's 78 pages. I read it in one go. I loved it.
Dear Agents out there... watch out... you may just get knocked off your chair when my letters start rolling out.
Nicola - I salute you :)
on 10 August 2012
This is another of Nicola Morgan's extremely helpful books on how to get your book published that follows on from Write To Be Published and Write A Great Synopisis. This e-book is full of sensible advice and is in Nicola's very easy to read style.
There really should be no excuses for writing a bad letter to an agent after you've read this. I'm sure all agents will be extremely grateful.
on 26 September 2012
Found this extremely helpful - the letter and synopsis for my book are finally complete thanks to this. I was struggling for inspiration. This was short, concise and helped me get the job done!