Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Feeling stuck? Live in the Bay area? Here's help

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.

Register here.


Mags said...

That's a very lucky writer.

Anonymous said...

A very enticing post, how can I resist? A quick phone call, and my weekend plans have shifted. Thanks.

Vacuum Queen said...

Dang. Slithery indeed. Does she do Seattle??? Is she only crime involved?

Kelley said...

A very lucky writer, indeed, Mags. But obviously also a very talented writer who knew how to run with great feedback-from both Janet and Barbara.

I just love stories with happy endings like this...

Laurel said...

Lucky, talented, and willing to listen. The trifecta!

Diana said...

A lucky and smart writer willing to listen to suggestions on how to fix a story, that sounds like win all around.

Cornelia Read said...

You are a goddess, as always, O Great and Powerful Reid. And I'm looking forward to meeting Cathryn this weekend in Berkeley.

Stephanie Feldstein said...

When I was querying I had several agents who said they loved it, but it wasn't quite there and if they knew how to fix it, they would. Barbara gave me more feedback than any other agent...and after I finally figured out what needed to be done, I revised like crazy and went back to her.

Love my slithery agent!

Joanna said...

Slithery, indeed.

Blee Bonn said...

Darn, wish I wrote crime/mystery.