Welcome to the book blog of writer and creative writing tutor, Diane Paul.

Thanks to the publishers and kind PR people who send me books and releases about their clients' books for review. Press releases and review copies of fiction and non-fiction are always welcome. (No sci-fi, fantasy or erotica please.)

Due to the barrage of requests from self-published authors for reviews, I'm unable to deal with them all, although I'm sometimes drawn to non-fiction for the subject matter. And because I love print books, the smell, the touch of the paper and the sight of the words, I don't have an electronic reader or review e-books.

E-mail to: bookblogforbookworms@keywordeditorial.com for the postal address.

My writing website: http://www.keywordeditorial.com/

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

New online database helps writers find agents

There was a time when publishers received thousands of unsolicited manuscripts a year from would-be authors, more than they could cope with. They employed readers who were skilled enough to recognise within 10 pages and often by the end of the first page, whether the sender could write. Infrequently, they found a gem hidden in what was commonly termed 'the slush pile'.

Nowadays, most of the major publishers no longer accept unsoliciteds and only deal with agents, though in some cases a well-written enquiry letter can result in a request for sight of the manuscript. But finding an agent to take on an unknown writer with no track record can be as difficult as finding a gem in a slush pile. Most publishers want to work with people already in the business who understand what writing and publishing is about and writers who can churn out a book a year. The alternative, a growing trend, is self-publishing but this is expensive and time-consuming, so often ending up with a heap of unsold books under the bed or stacked in the garage. And paying for a book to be published is by no means an indication that someone is a writer.

The Writers' Workshop have set up a new website to help would-be writers find the right agent for them. www.AgentHunter.co.uk is a searchable database of UK based agents and publishers. The site development has taken a long time for the team to define what agents are looking for. It includes contact details and advice along with links to their twitter feeds. Agents' personal tastes are highlighted and the site includes articles by or about them. Writers will find great advice on site to guide them through the process of seeking representation, how to go about doing it and what they might expect.

The Writers' Workshop say there is nothing like this site in the world and that 'it's the best course of action you can take when you feel you have a manuscript which is ready to be viewed commercially'. If you have a book with an original plot that's well-written and to publishable standard, there is no reason why an agent should not be interested in taking it on. It's a matter of finding the right agent for you and Agent Hunter may be just what you need to get you started.

And if you want to meet the agents, don't forget that the Writers' Workshop Festival of Writing takes place this year in York from 13-15 September. Details from info@WritersWorkshop.co.uk

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