Two years ago at GrubStreet in Boston a very smart editor thrust a rather startled author at me and said "here, read her stuff. She's amazing."
No fool I, I did. And the author was amazing. Unfocused, without a plot anywhere near ready, but with an amazing voice.
The author reworked the opening scenes, sent it back to me. When we next met at 2008 CrimeBake I gently urged her to put this one away and start on something new. I still couldn't see a plot, and couldn't see what the hell she'd do with the situation she'd put her characters in, but oh man, her voice was AMAZING.
I also encouraged her to talk to other agents, and she did.
This year at CrimeBake as we were lying around yapping, Slithery Barbara Poelle mentioned a book she was excited about. She described it and about six of us came up off the bar.
"Wait! I read that!"
"Hey, I read that!"
"What do you mean, you fixed that!!"
What Barbara had done as pretty much only Barbara can do, is see past what's wrong, and make pretty good suggestions for how to FIX things.
Frankly, I'm in awe of SBP and her ability to do this. It's one of the many things that make her a very smart, very formidable talent spotter.
Now, what does that mean for you?
Well, if you've gotten a lot of "nice rejections" or lots of comments like "I like this but it's just not quite right" you'd benefit from some time with Barbara.
And you're in luck. This coming weekend, she'll be the agent in residence at the Berkley Crime Conference. And further luck: this is a small conference, not one with hundreds of writers. You'd get some serious time for Barbara to hear about your book, and work her magic.
Frankly, you'd be a fool to miss this chance.