On The Writer’s Almanac today, Garrison Keillor noted that on May 30, 1849, Henry David Thoreau self-published his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers: “Since A Week was initially rejected, Thoreau was only able to publish it by paying for its printing from its sales. Four years later, after paying off the printing debt, Thoreau wrote in his journal that his publisher had delivered the remaining unsold copies to his home. He wrote, ‘I have now a library of nearly nine hundred volumes, over seven hundred of which I wrote myself.’ “
For anyone interested, on May 18 & 19 and May 25 & 26, Carte Blanche Studios will host the 26th One Act Festival, presented by the Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa. Hopefully, I’ll see you there.
Interested? Go to http://villageplayhouse.org/HistoryPages/One%20Acts/oneact_27/2012_original_one_act_festival.htm
If you are an aspiring novelist, I found a really interesting article you might want to read.
WARNING: Upon reading this, both pie-in-the-sky optimists and self-doubting pessimists will cry at its dream-crushing sentiment. However, even-keeled realists will find this extremely revealing and monumentally beneficial.
The Novel Group is going to hold an open session dedicated to query letters. The plan is for members to show up with eight copies of a (singular) query letter they’ve already written and pass it around to all the other members. Then, each member will act as an agent, reading the other members’ queries and identifying the one query that intrigued him or her enough to ask for a partial. Participants will be required to explain why they picked Query X as well as why they didn’t pick Queries A, B, C, D, E & F.
The exercise is intended to provide some insight into why agents, inundated with as many as a fifty queries a day, short-cut their way through the noise to find something they like. Members can then take what they learn and apply it to their next query draft.
For those unfamiliar with the query letter structure, check out this link http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx.
For those who want a crash course on what works in query letters, check out this link http://queryshark.blogspot.com/
For those too lazy to go to the links above, a query letter is your sales pitch to an agent or publisher. It must be one page (with a reasonably sized font) and should: 1) summarize the plot; 2) provide basic information about the book (author, title, genre, word count, etc.); 3) explain something about the author. Above all, it must SELL the book.
This should be a fun exercise. Interested? We’ll meet at 7:00pm in the Wauwatosa Public Library’s Conference Room on May 23rd.
I hope to see you there.