Lessons from the Agent Author Day at Backspace

Today was the Agent Author Seminar of the Backspace conference. I’m pretty burnt out so I’ll just share the highlights…
  • Less is more–shorter queries are better
  • Query style should match project style
  • If make comparisons to other books, deliver on it!
  • Having a referral from a published author is really useful
  • Finding an agent is like dating–you need the right fit.
  • Titles are frequently changed by publishers
  • Some agents like to know if this is the first book in a series, other not so much–can mention series potential in query
  • Don’t use passive voice in queries
  • Have a clear distinct voice that is to the point
  • dazzle people
  • Writing is rejected generally when the writing is not strong enough or the premise isn’t interesting
  • Show did your research by mentioning why querying agent
  • Never send attachments unless instructed to do so
  • Be professional—No LOL in query
  • Timing Is everything–right agent, right time, right place
  • Getting first agent is harder than falling in love


  • Don’t go panoramic and zoom in like movies. Weather, scenery, looks of protagonist don’t need to be there unless really relevant
  • You don’t need to mention all 5 senses in one scene
  • Writers don’t finish manuscripts, they abandon them.


  • What is your book about–be clear concise and compelling. 3-5 sentence state what book is about.
  • Goal=tell and sell it to audience
  • protagonist, basic plot and catalyst
  • So what? Who cares? what’s in it for me?
  • Who was it about? What happens to him/her? What is at stake?
  • Short sentences, punchy. Say each sentence with one breath
  • Want people to hear it and get it
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2 Responses to Lessons from the Agent Author Day at Backspace

  1. Emma says:

    Wow, having found your blog is really one of the best things that could happen to me. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even have to be at this conference because you take such great notes and publish them here. And although I’m still far from querying (I think I should finish my book first :s) thank you so much for sharing all this!

    • Well thank you I’m glad you like it. Finishing the book is a good idea and maybe trying one or two conferences once you’ve revised it and you’re ready to shop it around. But until then I’ll keep sharing my conferences with you.

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