Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Three Things I learned From Chuck

Chuck Sambuchino, that is. You know, from The Guide to Literary Agents blog?

The dude that pretty much knows agents like the back of his hand, is an editor for Writer's Digest Books (and other annual resource books) and has his own non-fiction book coming out in September entitled: How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack?

Anyway, he came to Cleveland for a SCWBI workshop on Saturday morn, entitled "What Editors Want: Good Writing Practices and More" and "Everything You Need to Know About Getting an Agent".

I already knew a lot of what he presented, just from being through the query trenches long enough.

But he threw out some pearls of wisdom and had a wicked sense of humor, which made him a great speaker.


What Chuck meant was, write for other publications while you are waiting for your big break. Publications that are small, local, or new. For example, local newspapers (like the one I work for) or magazines that will pay.

Need ideas for articles? He said, STEAL them (love it). He meant: from national headlines (and bring the topic local), or from local headlines (and take the topic national), or do a follow-up to a news story you saw, or look at what local mags are doing and create your own version (for example, a top ten list of the best ice cream stands or oldest libraries, etc.).

He also said you should steal from yourself. What he meant was, use different versions of something you've already written and pitch it. It worked for Chuck. In fact, his pitch for one magazine led to another magazine, then to a chance meeting, then to his non-fiction book.

See? Success Breeds Success.


What he meant was, while querying one novel, start writing the next. It'll help lessen the sting of rejections. Plus, if you keep writing your chance of success increases. So don't be a one book wonder.


And both are okay. Actually, that was really validating for me. Because some weeks I struggle with my freelance writing gig, because I am dying to get back to my manuscript. And it all works out. I get paid and I still get to write my young adult books.

Good stuff, right?

If you don't follow Chuck's blog already, get over there!


Natalie Aguirre said...

Great advice. I really enjoy his blog.

Unknown said...

These are great!!! At first I was all excited walking over here thinking you were going to be talking about Chuck Norris, and though that would have been fun I loved your take, very good advice!

Happy Tuesday!

Martina Boone said...

Thanks for posting this. His blog is fantastic, but I've never seen these tips there. Good stuff!


Maddy said...

Great words of advice, even for an aspiring photographer like myself! Especially the last bit. I realize there are going to be somethings I do just to "pay the bills" and some things for art...I think all photogs face that dilemma. I guess the focus is not to let one (the paid gigs) completely remove the attention for what you really want to explore in your art.

Unknown said...

Not a bad combo :) Thanks for posting.

Bossy Betty said...

Thanks for these reminders!

Lourie said...

Wow! Thanks for posting this. I am heading over to Chuck's now.

Kelly Polark said...

Thanks for posting these great tips! I'm off to check out his blog!

Anonymous said...

Great advice. I'll have to check him out. Thanks.

InspiredDreamer said...

That is great advice! I'm following his blog now, thanks!

Have an Extraordinary Day!

WritingNut said...

Great advice - thank you for posting!

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

Definitely going to check him out!

Sharlene T. said...

Just checked it out and love his blog... thanks for the info and sharing... I totally agree that you keep going... never know who's going to be the next client... when you get a chance, come visit and check out my very first vlog!

Twitter: SolarChief

Portia said...

Great post! I love his blog--he always has such great tips :-)