Agent Panel

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I went to the agent panel Saturday morning, Kick It Up a Notch, with Elaine Spencer, Carolyn Grayson, Lucienne Driver and Kristin Nelson. I wasn’t taking notes at first till I remembered it wasn’t taped.

Elaine Spencer started with a list of what not to do, things that could ruin your career. Most of the stuff was pretty common sense, and I was still not thinking about taking notes, so all I remember was that she said not to spend so much time online getting riled up about different issues and comparing yourself to others and she said not to piss off your agent, by missing deadlines, pestering and making end runs.

I was very impressed with her, and she does have a query from me….

Carolyn Grayson was next, and spoke about writing the market-fitting novel.

She said to think about how your last book turned out in investment of time, and should you write another like that. You know, like the LAST jungle book I wrote that didn’t sell, yet I’m writing another?

She said beware of “wild-catting,” writing a fun book that may not sell because no one knows how to market it. I know this happened to a friend of mine. But then we’re told to write fresh….

She advised tapping an aspect of the field that hasn’t been done before, and figuring out what readers like about best-sellers and use the same qualities in your book. Some of those qualities are:

◊ Hero/heroine need a goal readers can identify with at the moment, and that goal must be larger than each other
◊ Hero/heroine need to have thoughts other than each other. They have a past. THEY HAVE A LIFE THE NOVEL EVENTS IS INTERUPTING!!! (I love that – doesn’t that make complete sense?)
◊ Be unexpected
◊ Readers invest in character
◊ Establish a sense of community.

Lucienne Driver spoke on branding.

She wants to know why your book is different from everything out there. The risk is that you’re identified too strongly with a brand that you can’t move away from it. The reward is that you’re at the forefront of a trend and everyone emulates you. I have something here about author branding vs. genre branding but I can’t make sense of my notes….

Kristin Nelson was also very impressive. She spoke on the top ten internet marketing tools. She mentioned you need to find your target market and think, “Where would they be online?” I know Joanna Moore did this with one of her paranormal romantic suspenses – I don’t remember where she advertised, but it wasn’t just to other authors.

Okay, Kristin’s top ten:

◊ Dynamic PROFESSIONAL website. She also said you need to create reasons for readers to come back: links to resources, what you’re reading, deleted scenes, letters to readers about what you were thinking when you were writing the book, make your own fan fiction and have readers respond, making characters “real.” If you have a blog, update as close to everyday as you can. Make it about content. She also mentioned something called video blogging. I’m not familiar with this.
◊ Reader/author group where readers interact with authors.
◊ Proven reader/author sites, with reviews, chats, contests, interviews and banner ads
◊ Teach online workshops
◊ Have your own personal ORGANIZED fan group
◊ Newsletter – maintain subscriber list, put in good content, send out monthly
◊ Go after what’s new and what makes sense. For some people this could be,,
◊ Book trailers – wave of the future. Border’s e-newsletter uses these. People like the one with actors instead of stills, 60 second or less, professional. Borders also likes author letters to readers - they get more click-throughs than the Borders coupon!
◊ Contests
◊ Websites such as,,,,,, are all good uses for time. She also talked about and the PLOGS they use. If you don’t shop there – an author writes a plog, and that goes to a reader every time that reader buys that author’s book. When the author updates, the reader gets the new plog as well. She also said to have a lot of reviews – people pay more attention to the number than the ratings.

Her last piece of advice was to give readers something for free. She said if you did that, you’d have readers for life!

Today I’m doing nothing but reading…and getting the ds whatever he needs for his “HOUSE party” – they’re going to have a HOUSE marathon. Last night they went to see Harry Potter again, and then Friday is the big release party…I want to stay HOME for a change!!!

Tomorrow – I’ll type up my notes on Robin Perini’s workshop.

I will be revising my GH finalist beginning before sending to Cori, so…

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Jennifer Shirk said...

Oooh. Interesting stuff! Thanks!

MicheleKS said...

Sounds like a great workshop.

But I hope you don't mind my asking who's the guy in today's pic? Major hottie.

MJFredrick said...

Michele!!! It's GERRY!!

MicheleKS said...

Oh my Gawd! Why can't Gerry be sitting there reading my book? With me? Hmmm? Hmm?


M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
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Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
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Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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