Sunday, August 30, 2009

How I Got My Agent: Guest Blog with Lara Chapman

Welcome to another edition of How I Got My Agent. Lara Chapman, a fellow member of the West Houston chapter, recently signed with an agent and graciously agreed to guest blog today.

Welcome, Lara. Tell us a bit about yourself, your book, and your agent.
This is my first guest-blog and I'm very excited. I write Young Adult Contemporary Fiction. My agent is Holly Root with the Waxman Literay Agency. The title of my book is FLAWLESS (a Cyrano love story with a modern-day twist).

How long have you been writing?
Three years.

Along the way to representation, did you change subgenres?
Yes! I began writing adult contemporary romantic suspense because that’s what I liked to read. What I found, though, was that my voice was too immature for an adult heroine (as pointed out on several occasions by contest judges) so I did some research and read a ton of YA books before making the switch. There’s been no turning back since!

How many books did you write before signing with your agent?
Two adult contemporary romances, then two YA novels. The third YA novel was FLAWLESS.

What steps did you take to find your agent?
I actually queried pretty widely in the beginning. I made a list of the agents who repped my favorite YA authors and started with them. One of those agents was Jenny Bent (agent to tres extraordinaire YA authors, Tera Lynn Childs and Stephanie Hale). Jenny liked my writing, but didn’t have time to give it the attention she thought it deserved, so she referred me to Holly, who had previously worked as Jenny’s assistant and had recently moved to the Waxman Agency as an agent.

How did you go about researching agents?
While I definitely spent plenty of time trolling the internet for information – especially Agent Query and Publisher’s Marketplace. I found the most useful research was identifying agents that repped authors I enjoyed reading and thought my writing resembled. Once you see the list of authors an agent has signed and later sold, you get a feel of their interests and the type of voice that catches their attention.

What were some of the most important characteristics you were seeking in an agent?
Communicative – I really wanted an agent that stayed in communication and was accessible. Because I teach full time, it was imperative that my agent be email friendly as most of my communication takes place after working hours. I knew from the communication I’d had with Holly when I’d queried her with my first two YA novels that she was that kind of communicator.

Credibility – We all want an agent that has credibility within the industry. I knew I wanted an agent that was actively selling books in my genre because that meant she had contacts in the YA publishing market. It also meant she knew what editors were looking for!

Did you have more than one offer of representation?
Holly was my only offer of representation, and it was truly the only one I wanted. I just “knew” she was the one. Our personalities clicked, she was easy to talk to, and I trusted her advice implicitly. The backstory on my relationship with Holly is long… as in 2 ½ years long. I would query her, she’d ask for the partial, then the full. Twice she rejected me, but you could tell it just pained her to pass, even though it was the right thing to do (much as I hate to admit it). She’d offer some advice about how to make the next manuscript bigger and better. The term “high concept” was mentioned frequently, and we all know how elusive that term can be! During those 2 ½ years, I’d make pitch appointments with Holly when we were at the same conference and just talk about the industry. Keeping in touch was key to developing our relationship.

Now tell us about the day you got the call saying I'd love to represent you!
Holly emailed me on Monday afternoon (on the first day of school, which is crazy for teachers everywhere!) and asked if I’d be available to chat the following afternoon with the note that she was “so happy with the work” I’d done on the manuscript. I quickly replied with a manic YES and spent the next 24 hours obsessing if this would be “the call” or if she was planning to let me down gently. When she called the following day, 20 fifth graders had just returned to my classroom from PE, sweaty, stinky, and well… generally just icky! I grabbed the phone off my desk, left the sweaty preteens to make wild guesses about who I was talking to, and took the call in the hallway.

There’s nothing quite like hearing an agent talk about your writing using phrases like “really hit it out of the ballpark” and “high concept” (I finally got it!) and “I’m really excited about this!” When she finally asked, “So, what do you think? You want to do this deal?” I nearly screamed! Instead, I just gushed effusively and think I got a “yes” in there somewhere. When she sent me the contract via email an hour later (See? Good communicator!), I read it at least a thousand times, making sure it was MY NAME on the paper. A copy of it is still sitting on my nightstand so I can look at it every single day! I’ve decided that August 25th is a new family holiday… aka Holly-Day… to be celebrated for many years to come!

Who was the first person you called/emailed after getting the agent call? How did you celebrate?
I texted my husband and my critique partners first thing! Next up were my sisters! Honestly, the only people that really “get” what an accomplishment signing with an agent is are other writers. Husbands, sisters, and friends are happy for you and proud of you, but your writing circle explodes in celebration! My personal celebration was pretty low key… my only requirement was that I not be required to cook or clean for 24 hours and I got what I wanted.

Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for writers?
It sounds so trite and I’ve read the same words while stifling an eye roll more than once, but it’s so true… NEVER QUIT WRITING! You can’t sell what you don’t write and that’s just the plain and simple truth. I had all but decided to toss in the towel on writing, deciding instead that maybe I should consider it a hobby, not a career. But just listen to this story… the manuscript Holly actually signed me on had been lost in her email for nearly a year! When she never responded to my partial submission, I took her silence as a polite “don’t call me, I’ll call you” brush off. Regardless, I kept tweaking the story, loving it more and more with each revision, but never querying another agent. Fast forward a year… when Holly was cleaning out her email, she saw it, loved what she read, and asked for the full. Six weeks later, she offered representation! You never know what’s just around the corner. Believe in yourself, in your story… and never, ever quit! Oh, and you might want to follow up when an agent doesn’t respond to your submission.

What a great story, Lara!

Lara's website and blog are under construction, but be sure to bookmark the sites: and

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How I Got My Agent: Guest Blog with Lark Howard

As promised, here is the next installment of How I Got My Agent featuring my West Houston chapter buddy, Lark Howard.

Welcome, Lark. Thanks for agreeing to guest blog. Please tell us a bit about yourself, what you write, and about your agent.
I've written a contemporary paranormal romance set in Paris entitled DEYROLLE. The title is the name of a real place--an elegant townhouse full of taxidermied animals. The hero, Adrien Deyrolle, is a French aristocrat with vast psychic powers including the ability to bring the animals to life. Needless to say, the frequent trips to France for research were a blast. I recently signed with Becca Stumpf, of the Prospect Agency.

Have you been previously published?
I’ve published a lot of magazine articles over the years, mostly ghost writing for architects or engineers. No novels so far……

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing fiction since junior high when I made myself the heroine of a West Side Story inspired saga. The hero was a boy I worshipped from afar because he was actually taller than me. Most of my colorful jobs involved lots of marketing and PR writing. Then about five years ago I wrote a woman’s fiction tome to entertain myself and found my way to RWA. Writing seriously for publication? About 4 years.

Along the way to representation, did you change subgenres?
Are we counting the sci-fi fantasy I wrote right out of college? Let’s not. Since getting serious I’ve written in two genres, suspense and paranormal romance. I love suspense and have not given up on that manuscript. Frankly I'd probably be on my 3rd suspense if my critique partners, Sarah Andre and Fleury Sommers, hadn't bullied me into writing Deyrolle after the first 25 pages--the only pages I had--won a contest. I loved my premise but thought the story would be a marketing challenge because it involves psychic powers rather than the vampire/werewolf/witch/demon characters paranormal readers love. My CPs insisted the story was fresh and original and I should finish. I think it was a good change and now I have a spin-off WIP and three more stories in the series I’m dying to write.

How many books did you write before signing with your agent?
Three including the 200,000+ word woman’s fiction tucked under the bed where it will forever remain.

What steps did you take to find your agent?
I soaked up every piece of knowledge and advice I got from the wonderful authors at West Houston RWA--especially Sharie Kohler, Tera Lynn Childs and Colleen Thompson. I entered contests hoping to be discovered, attended conferences where agents talked about what they were looking for and how to submit. I pitched whenever I could—local conferences, out of town conferences, RWA National—and cold queried via email. As it turned out, the face-to-face seemed to work best for me. Several agents I met informally requested fulls and followed-up with interest in possible representation. I met Becca at a conference in Houston last fall, chatted with her at the Friday evening reception, sat at the agents' table at lunch (hey, they asked for volunteers!) then pitched in the afternoon. All three agents at the conference requested Deyrolle and I ended up sending fulls to two of the three. All that and a great program for $100!!!

What were some of the most important characteristics you were seeking in an agent?
I wanted an agent with a good agency who loved my writing and wanted to be part of my career. The business is too tough to risk your career on an agent who's less than totally gung-ho about your work. Contacts, industry savvy, understanding the business were basic requirements, of course. As was professionalism. It was also important to me that she/he represented authors outside the romance genre as well as within. My work tends to break a lot of the romance genre conventions which was an issue for some of the very romance oriented agents.

Did you have more than one offer of representation?
I had serious interest from other agents but no offers on the table…the dating with no ring sitch. Some of those I'd eliminated from consideration before I made my decision.

Now tell us about the day you got the call saying I'd love to represent you!
We'd been in contact and an email proceeded the call—an are-you-available-to-talk email—so I suspected the offer might be coming. I had my questions ready for her and we talked about the story—what she loved about it and what I was in the midst of revising. Her excitement and enthusiasm was exactly what I'd been hoping for. My decision to say yes came about halfway through the call although I had many more questions. After accepting, it struck me that I’d made a commitment to my writing in committing to my agent. From then on, writing was my career, not a hobby I hoped to turn into a career.

Who was the first person you called/emailed after getting the agent call? How did you celebrate?
I was in Pennsylvania visiting my sister/beta-reader, Cheryl, so she heard my half of the conversation. I called my husband then Sarah Andre and Fleury Sommers, my CPs who midwifed the book. I’m not sure when the Grey Goose made its appearance.

Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for writers seeking representation?
I can only repeat advice I got from some fabulous and generous authors. Write the very best book you can. While you’re agent hunting, write the next one, and the next. You never know which will catch someone’s attention. Try everything. What works for one person might not work for someone else. A lot of people get their agent through queries, some through contests, some through pitching. Unless you get your work out there, you won’t get an agent, so just do it. Submit to a lot of agents. Some will be very slow in responding, some won’t respond at all and other will send rejections. And a few agents will show interest. It’s business for them, not a personal thing, so toughen up and keep submitting.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Lark!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Business Savvy Author

Stay tuned for the next edition of How I Got My Agent with debut author Lark Howard. Meanwhile, here's a post to tide you over. Let me know your thoughts!

After nine years working as a market research analyst for a F500 corporation, I've learned valuable lessons about professionally managing my day career. I apply those lessons to my writing career as well. Here are my tips to become a business savvy author.

You are your own public relations manager.
Every time you speak or post on the Internet, you are essentially putting out your own press release. What you say and how you say it affects your reputation as an author. Consider how you want agents, editors, booksellers, other authors, and readers to view you as an author. Act accordingly.

In marketing, perception is reality.
In focus groups, I've witnessed the shock of engineers and product managers when they hear respondents' erroneous perceptions of a product. I always tell them Perception is Reality. What that means is that it will take a great deal of work and positive messaging to reverse the incorrect or negative perceptions. As writers, this means avoiding shooting yourself in the foot. Recently, I've seen several authors publicize bad news such as poor reviews, low sales or rejections online. If you get a negative review, don't publicize it. Focus on the positive ones. If you are currently submitting manuscripts, don't post about recent rejections on your blog or website. Why? Because you may create a negative perception about your work to other agents or editors. Remember, perception is reality.

If you want to succeed, don't make enemies.
You may have had negative experiences with a former critique partner, agent or editor, but be wary of venting your frustrations to anyone except the most trusted friend. Be honest with yourself as well. There are always two sides to a disagreement. If a relationship goes sour, then have the strength to do what you can to either improve it or sever it if necessary. Don't burn bridges because you never know when you might have to work with that person again.

Propose solutions.
One of the most important lessons I've learned in my marketing career is to avoid complaining. My previous manager gave me some great advice. She worked hard to overcome emotional reactions because it wastes energy. Instead of complaining, focus on finding solutions to the problem. Others will view you as a team player and a positive influence.

Do network.
You don't have to be an extrovert to form relationships with other authors. Dare to reach out. In my opinion, the majority of RWA writers are friendly and helpful. If you're a newbie, volunteer for your local or online chapter. Take advantage of mentoring programs if they're available. Write favorable reviews for an author whose book you enjoyed. Give and you will receive.

Formulate a marketing plan.
Set an overall goal and then list realistic steps to achieve it. Periodically review your intermediate goals and be flexible about making necessary changes. Setting an overall goal to publish in five years is unrealistic; it may happen sooner or later. Instead, honestly evaluate your writing capabilities and let that guide you.

Kick the green-eyed monster to the curb.
At some point in your career, you'll likely feel a pang of envy over another writer's good news. It's especially difficult if you've gotten a rejection or a low contest score. But don't let that pang of envy turn into raging jealousy. We've all seen authors give back-handed compliments to a writer celebrating good news. These back-handers are the types who let jealousy fester and spend their time ripping others apart. But while they're wasting energy disparaging others, the successful author is working hard on her next project. Develop strategies to deal with the inevitable disappointments in this writing business and keep your focus on your own career.

Ask for what you want.
If you don't ask, you'll never get it. This particular subject highlights the importance of having a business savvy agent. Sometimes what you ask for is inadvisable. Other times, it doesn't hurt to try. In the latter case, the worst that can happen is the other party will say no.

Take control of your career.
Yes, there are aspects of the publication business that you have no control over. Lines fold, editors move to new houses, and trends change. You have two choices: whine about your misfortune or reinvent your career. Successful authors do the latter.

Dare to Submit.
Once you've polished your manuscript to the best of your ability, do your homework and then start submitting. Fear is your greatest enemy in this business.

Have the courage to say no, thank you.
There may be times in the course of your career when you will be offered an opportunity that does not align with your goals. The decision is often gut-wrenching. Take your time, ask questions, and do your research. You can only make the best decision you can with the information you have at the time. Remember, it's your career. Do what's best for you, even if it means turning down an opportunity. For the record, I've done it, and I have no regrets.

Finally, the best advice I ever got.
When I was a newbie, an editor told me something I've never forgotten. She put her fist to her heart and said, "Listen to your own inner voice."

May the Magic Romance Fairies be with You!

Friday, August 14, 2009

How I Got My Agent: Guest Blog with Sarah Andre

My West Houston RWA chapter mate and talented author Sarah Andre agreed to be my next guest blogger. If you're seeking an agent, be sure to read Sarah's journey to representation with the agent of her dreams!

Welcome, Sarah! Please tell us a bit about yourself, what you write, and about your agent.
I write Romantic Suspense. Although my first novel finaled in three contests, it has all the markings of a first novel and is now under my bed. The second novel: LOCKED, LOADED AND LYING finaled in the Lone Star, Finally A Bride, the Houston Writer's Guild and won the Linda Howard Award for Excellence in Writing. It's LOCKED, LOADED AND LYING (LLL for short) that captured my agent, the fabulous Maura Kye-Casella from the Don Congdon Agency in NY.

I majored in Creative Writing as an undergrad and won writing awards. But this is where I realized how difficult writing was and had my sites set on being a corporate big-shot, so fast forward many, many years and bottom line: life simply got in the way of writing.

In 2004, my husband took me to Italy for my 40th birthday and I swear to God, there is something in the air or water over there that inspires the artist in all of us! Even at the IAH airport on the trip out I spontaneously bought a notebook and began writing a story about an architect and an interior designer. While everyone slept through the flight I wrote and wrote and wrote, literally until my hand cramped up so badly I had to stop. No plot, scenes just flowed as I got to them...hence the discovery that I am a panster. In all 3 stories there is something of Italy or an Italian in the plot--it's my way of honoring a place that reminded me of the creative soul inside who'd waited so patiently all these years.

Along the way to representation, did you change subgenres?
When I first began writing I was an avid suspense reader- and I mean gritty, page-turning suspense, not RS. So when I opened the notebook that first day I automatically assumed that's what I'd write. Well! Out came the most cliche, over-dramatic soft contemporary romance with a misunderstanding for 400 pages instead of a conflict! A romance? No one was more shocked than me. But because it had flowed from me so naturally, I shrugged and looked up RWA and the local RWA chapters. And I picked romance books back up (I'd read romances as a teen) and read the modern evolved stories, went to workshops, writer's presentations and my second and third stories are solid, tense RS.

How many books did you write before signing with your agent?
I had two stories under my belt (the first under the bed, the second in a bunch of contests) and was a third of the way through my present WIP when Maura called.

What steps did you take to find your agent? How did you research agents?
I had decided the way to get an agent was through one-on-one personal interaction instead of cold E-queries. So I pitched 3-4 agents a year or got in front of professionals through contest finals. Then a friend of mine, Sarah Castleberry, finaled in 2008 GH and created a spreadsheet of all RWA approved agents and shared it with me. The list was extensive and my two critique partners, and I split it into thirds and each of us researched massive amounts of info for each name on our list. We used a variety of websites, PW, P&E, Googling their names, checking out the agency's website, chapter rumors, etc...

So, I had this gold-mine of info and still was reluctant to use it...I perseverated that meeting an agent face to face or through a contest was a more successful way to go. The down side was only reaching an average of 7 a year. So, I'd been shopping LLL since 2006 when I'd only had a few chapters written. I'd received 3 full requests and many partials this way.

In May at a West Houston RWA meeting, best-selling author Sharie Kohler/Sophie Jordan met up with me at break and said "I keep hearing your name mentioned in all these contest finals...why aren't you published?" And the frank answer..."Because I'm lazy." Well! No need to go into her blistering "pep-talk" (lecture) but she ended with "you HAVE to start e-querying...everybody! Start with my agent if you have to. Even if she rejects you, at least you queried and got your work out there!"

Thus, soundly spanked, I queried her agent that week (specifically so I could get rejected and prove my point to Sharie that my way was slow, but better.) Therefore, I knew very little about Maura Kye-Casella, other than how incredibly successful she is at managing Sharie's soaring career.

What were some of the most important characteristics you were seeking in an agent?
I'd heard over and over at the chapter meetings that you should not jump at the first agent offer, but to wait for someone who went absolutely gah-gah over your writing, voice, story, etc, because they'd believe in you and a long term relationship was the focus here. So I knew that was criteria #1. I'd also been in the contest/pitching circuit long enough to also know I wanted an agent who got back to writers in a (relatively) timely manner, and if they took 6-12 months to read something that they'd requested, they were not the agent for me.

Now tell us about the day you got the call saying I'd love to represent you!
Imagine my utter shock when, 3 weeks after sending the full to Maura, she called and spent 20 minutes gushing over LLL. It's innate in me to interrupt people who compliment me in any way with a modest "oh thanks, but really- let's drop the subject now" or to immediately volunteer "oh, but here's what's wrong with me" and I found myself opening my mouth to stop her after she'd say phrases like "hooked me," "tight storyline," "interaction between the brothers, wow!" And then I realized this is MY moment, I'd worked so hard all these years and received so many rejections or harsh feedback on this story that had reduced me to a fetal position and here was someone who GUSHED. This experience would never come again (getting your very first agent call) and I needed to just shut my mouth and absorb every second of it!

So I did, and the shock and sheer joy of a prestigious agent going on and on, and who GOT my characters and my plot, and who spoke to me as if she'd been a critique partner on it all these years was mind blowing. I wish this type of experience for every writer.

Who was the first person you called/emailed after getting the agent call? How did you celebrate?
Of course my first call was to my husband, then my best friend in DC (both went straight to voicemail, sadly) then I ate lunch with my writer-friend Sarah Castleberry, who was ecstatic and made the achievement that much more real and exciting for me. I couldn't have celebrated better than lunch with a writer-friend who GOT the significance of this moment.

Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for writers seeking representation?
So I guess you could say my recommendation for writers is A) NEVER give up and B) don't get too caught up in one method or mindset. Pitch, enter contests, e-query and network, network, network. You never know when another writer's simple advice will change your life.

Sarah, thanks so much for sharing your exciting story. I can't wait to hear the news of your first sale!

Sarah Andre can be found on FaceBook and MySpace.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How I Got My Agent: New Guest Blog Post

Finding the right agent is critical to your writing career, but it can be a difficult journey. When my Twitter buddy Elyssa Papa recently announced she'd signed with an agent, I thought her journey to representation could help others. So I decided to start a series of guest posts, and Elyssa agreed to be my first interview.

Eventually, I'll confess my own wacky story of how I accidentally met my agent - twice! But first up, read about the steps Elyssa took to successfully sign with the agent of her dreams.

Welcome, Elyssa. Please tell us a bit about yourself, what you write, and your agent.
Thank you, Vicky! It’s a pleasure to be invited to be part of this interview series. I’m a former high school English teacher, a chocoholic, and live in upstate New York.

I write light, sexy contemporary romances that have deep emotion under the sparkling humor. The name of my book is AS YOU WISH. It’s about a jaded rock star determined to make amends with his estranged family during the Christmas season and falls for an optimistic florist; it’s set in Burlington, Vermont.

I’ve recently signed with Kimberly Witherspoon of Inkwell Management. I’ve been a finalist in three contests with my first book. My blog is:, or you can follow me on Twitter:

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing all my life, but it wasn’t until three years ago that I became serious about pursuing publication. It’s thanks to the Eloisa James and Julia Quinn Bulletin Board and the Avon Fanlit competition in 2006 that I really started believing that my dream of being a published author was possible. I also met great friends in Fanlit and two of my critique partners---Tiffany Clare and Maggie Robinson (both of whom are debut historical romance authors in 2010)---on the EJ/JQ bulletin board. Tiffany Clare met our third CP, J.K. Coi, at a local RWA chapter meeting.

Along the way to representation, did you change subgenres?
Well, in the Fanlit competition, all the chapters were in the Regency era. The historical voice didn’t fit my voice. I started writing contemporary romances at this same time, and it all clicked. I knew Contemporary Romance was the subgenre I was meant to write in.

How many books did you write before signing with your agent?
I’ve written two books prior to AS YOU WISH.

What steps did you take to find your agent?
I owe it all to my frend, Sara Lindsey, who is a client of Kim Witherspoon's. Sara's debut historical romance, PROMISE ME TONIGHT, releases Feb 2010. Sara read the first chapter of AYW and emailed Kim to be on the lookout for my query. Long story short, Kim requested the full and is now my agent!

How did you go about researching agents?
I used Agent Query, Publisher’s Marketplace, and RWA.

What were some of the most important characteristics you were seeking in an agent?
The most important characteristics for me in an agent were: someone who “got” and loved my voice, would be an advocate for me and my work, and who would help me grow my career. I think it’s important to make sure you know as much as possible about that agent before signing.

Did you have more than one offer of representation?
Kimberly Witherspoon is my dream agent. Of course I was going to sign with her! Kimberly was also the first agent who called; even though AYW had eleven requests overall---there was no question in my mind whatsoever.

Now tell us about the day you got the call saying I'd love to represent you!
I got the call on August 12th. The previous day, I’d received an email from Kimberly’s assistant asking to schedule a call. I was nervous and excited.

Kimberly began talking about the book and how much she liked it. She started talking about one of the characters, and I remember thinking: Oh my god, she really read my book. At one point I asked, “So does this mean you’re offering representation?” That’s how much of an out-of-the-body moment I was having. She replied yes and that I was her client. I repeated, “OMG!” about three or four times and said how thrilled I was. It was the best conversation of my life!

Who was the first person you called/emailed after getting the agent call? How did you celebrate?
I called my parents, then I called my best friend/critique partner, Tiffany Clare. We started squeeing, and that type of excitement continued throughout the day as other friends and authors learned about the news. I celebrated by eating a few chocolate chip cookies and happy dancing.

Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for writers seeking representation?
Write the best book you can, and one that comes from your heart. Push yourself constantly and set writing deadlines for yourself. Know when to put a book away---and keep on writing. Surround yourself with a support system. And last importantly, believe in yourself!

Elyssa, thank you so much for sharing your great story! We're all anxiously waiting for your news of a first sale!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Emily Contest Open for Submissions!

Want a chance to get a read from an agent and an editor? Here's your chance! My home chapter, West Houston RWA, has opened up submissions for our 21st annual writer's contest for unpublished and published authors (Some restrictions apply. See details at

Yes, I highly recommend the Emily. When I finaled in 2008, I got a request for the full manuscript.


DEADLINE: OCTOBER 7, 2009. ENTRY FEE: Members of West Houston RWA - $20; Non-members - $30. Electronic Entries Only.

Check out the fantastic line-up of final round editors and agents judging the categories!

Contemporary Single Title/Women' s Fiction: 90,000+ words
--> Final Judges: Frances Jalet-Miller, editor with Grand Central; Carolyn Grayson, agent with Ashley Grayson Literary Agency

Contemporary Series: Under 75,000 words
--> Final Judges: Patience Smith, editor with Silhouette Books; Sha-Shana Crichton, agent with Crichton & Associates, Inc. Literary Agency

Historical: Word count 50,000 - 110,000.
--> Final Judges: Esi Sogah, editor with Avon ; Barbara Poelle, agent with Irene Goodman Literary Agency

Paranormal: 50,000+ words--> Final Judges: Chris Keesler, editor with Dorchester; Maura Kye-Casella, agent with Don Congdon Associates

For additional details click on